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Thursday, October 12, 2006
NewsBusters' Double Standard on the AP
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters is quick to attack the Associated Press when it reports anything seen as reflecting poorly on conservatives or the Bush administration -- for example, Al Brown's Oct. 12 post bashing the AP for "spreading disinformation" through a "dishonest" headline on the Army's plans to maintain current troop levels in Iraq through 2010. But what happens when the AP issues misleading information that reflects poorly on Democrats?

Why, it promotes it, of course -- then criticize folks for not similarly giving it big play. From an Oct. 11 post by Terry Trippany:

Did you happen to go home from work this evening and miss this AP Exclusive?


Not too surprisingly the exclusive AP story didn’t make its way onto the front page of the New York Times or Washington Post web editions yet (at the time of this posting). You can search for it however. It appears that the powers that be in our lib friendly newsrooms are too busy pushing speculative studies with inflated numbers of deaths for the war in Iraq.

But the article Trippany is promoting -- claiming that "Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn’t personally owned the property for three years, property deeds show" -- has problems. As TPM Muckraker points out, that claim isn't true:

Reid made a $700,000 profit on the sale, not $1.1 million. Also, the story, by the AP’s John Solomon, makes it sound as if Reid got money for land he didn't own. But that's not the case. It purports to show that Reid collected $1.1 million on the sale of land he didn’t own.

Yet, as Solomon obliquely acknowledges, Reid, who had bought the land along with a friend in 1998, transferred his ownership in the land to a limited liability company in 2001. The company, which was composed solely of this land owned by Reid and his friend, in turn sold the land in 2004. That's when Reid collected his $1.1 million share of the sale. Since Reid had originally put down $400,000 on the sale, his profit was $700,000, not the full $1.1 million, as Solomon states in his lead.

And, as Media Matters notes, AP reporter John Solomon has previously written misleading reports by Solomon about Senate Democrats, including Reid.

Yet, NewsBusters has chosen not to point out these problems to its readers -- solely because the article's target is a Democrat instead of a Republican. Double standard, anyone?

UPDATE: NewsBusters' Clay Waters, Greg Sheffield and Scott Whitlock also promote the AP's allegations at face value without noting the questions raised about them. Waters also notes Reid's "hanging up on an AP reporter questioning him about the deal" without noting that reporter's history of reporting misleading claims about Reid.

UPDATE 2: Tim Graham joins in, again without noting questions about the article's accuracy.

UPDATE 3: Brent Baker comes to the party. 

Posted by Terry K. at 3:28 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 12, 2006 9:18 PM EDT

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