The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, May 31, 2006

AP alters story to decrease objectivity

Yesterday's AP story on Harry Reid's free boxing tickets was an odd one. It hinted at corruption even as it acknowledged that Reid had done nothing against the rules, but failed to include facts that demonstrated there was no quid pro quo. The worst that can be said is that Reid did something might've exercised bad judgment in attending three boxing matches (himself a former boxer and big fan of the sweet science). The story was by John Solomon, who has a history of writing accusatory and misleading articles that paint Democrats in a bad light.

But if yesterday's Ed Schultz show is any indication, it had quite an impact. Breathless callers were outraged, disgusted, horrified. It was even suggested that he resign immediately, being just another member of the 'culture of corruption.'

The thing is, AP edited the story after publication to remove a passage from the second paragraph that is as close to exculpatory information as the article gets.

The original story: Reid, D-Nev., took the free seats for Las Vegas fights between 2003 and 2005 as he was pressing legislation to increase government oversight of the sport, including the creation of a federal boxing commission that Nevada's agency feared might usurp its authority.

The 'updated' story: Reid, D-Nev., took the free seats for Las Vegas fights between 2003 and 2005 from the Nevada Athletic Commission as he pressed legislation to increase federal oversight of boxing, including the creation of a government commission.

The crux of the matter is that,
tickets or no tickets, Reid was opposed to the agency's position from start to finish. And that's what the article omits.