Skip to main content

Pencil, pad of paper and hat with 'press' pass in brim
Ho-lee smokes! If you were online and tuned into the news late Wednesday night, you may have seen an incredible train wreck of a story unfold in real time—one so remarkable, you've probably heard about it by now. It began when the Associated Press released an odd and confusingly written teaser that led off with a startling claim that turned out to be completely false:
Documents in a federal fraud case allege that Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe lied to a federal official investigating a Rhode Island estate planner now imprisoned for receiving death benefits on annuities secured on terminally ill people without their knowledge.
McAuliffe's camp quickly and forcefully denied the allegations. Stunningly, it turned out that the AP's Bob Lewis had concluded that a person identified in the indictment only by the initials "T.M." was Terry McAuliffe, which was not in fact the case. (McAuliffe was simply one of hundreds of passive investors in the estate planner's fund and was otherwise uninvolved in the fraud case.)

Ninety-eight minutes after first publishing it, the AP retracted the article, which inspired an outpouring of mockery on Twitter. (Sample: "Terry McAuliffe has been upheld as a tax.") McAuliffe also made a $74,000 donation to the American Cancer Society, which his campaign described as his approximate return on his investment with Joseph Caramadre, the now-convicted estate planner, as well as the amount of a donation Caramadre made in support of McAuliffe's previous gubernatorial bid in 2009.

So all in all, this was a giant nothingburger, politically speaking, but it's a huge black eye for the AP, which admitted that the retraction took "an hour and 38 minutes too long"—that is, the piece should never have been published. It was a terrible mistake to make, and not like we needed one, but it's yet another example of how the race to be first with the news has so badly undermined the paramount importance of accuracy.

Originally posted to David Nir on Thu Oct 10, 2013 at 10:45 AM PDT.

Also republished by Virginia Kos and Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site