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Associated Press Fires Journalists Over Erroneous Terry McAuliffe Report (HuffPost / The Backstory)
The Associated Press has fired a reporter and editor over an erroneous Oct. 9 report that Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe lied to an investigator in a federal fraud case, according to sources familiar with the matter. The AP retracted the article in question roughly an hour and a half after publication, and last week, suspended its author, veteran political reporter Bob Lewis. According to sources, Lewis has since been fired. The AP has also fired Dena Potter, a Richmond-based news editor for Virginia and West Virginia. Politico The move, according to sources familiar with the AP’s thinking, was meant to send a clear signal that such mistakes could not be tolerated by an international news organization that prides itself on accuracy. But for those who had worked with Lewis, a highly respected veteran on the Richmond political scene, the AP’s decision was seen as an overreaction. The Washington Post / Erik Wemple The excruciating question faced here by managers at the AP relates to how much immunity a long record of achievement affords a reporter who commits a monstrous mistake. In this case, not enough to save Lewis’ job. That’s a tough call, but also a highly defensible one for a wire service whose entire purpose hinges on nailing high-pressure reporting, every single time. NY Mag / Daily Intelligencer “We’ve consistently said this story is water under the bridge and did not ask for any actions to be taken against those involved,” said the McAuliffe campaign in a statement.