On August 7, the wire service’s Russ Bynum inserted unspoken words into a direct quote from Obama’s appearance on Jay Leno’s NBC show to make it appear as if the president didn’t misspeak when he referred to Charleston, South Carolina, Savannah, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida as ports “along the Gulf”:
“If we don’t deepen our ports all along the Gulf — (and in) places like Charleston, S.C., or Savannah, Ga., or Jacksonville, Fla. — if we don’t do that, these ships are going to go someplace else and we’ll lose jobs,” Obama said.
After a tidal wave of outrage and ridicule administered by Matt Drudge, Rush Limbaugh, and center-right sites like Twitchy.com, which first discovered Russ’s ruse, the AP issued a childish “correction.” Its introduction still would not concede that Obama had committed a gaffe. The revised story itself, which is what will remain in the historical record, let Obama’s quote stand without its parenthetical addition, but failed to note that his statement was factually wrong.
All three of these faux news organizations are suffering as a result of their persistent patterns of bias and ignorance. None of them seem to really care.
Drudge reports that HuffPo, which became part of AOL in 2011 as a result of “Huffington’s Heist” — in which Arianna Huffington pocketed an estimated $18 million and a plush CEO job after building her “business” on the backs of unpaid content contributors for over five years — “is said to have lost $7 million last year.”
AP, organized as a not-for-profit cooperative, has seen its newspaper subscriber base shrink from roughly 1,700 in 2005 to 1,400 in 2011. Employment fell by over 6 percent in 2012. An expected decline in revenues this year will be the wire service’s fifth straight. The AP Stylebook has turned into a parody of political correctness, potentially courting widespread rejection by everyday news consumers. Difficult contract negotiations with its Occupy movement-sympathetic union loom.
Still, AP’s subscriber base, its influence on broadcast and online outlets, and its completely undeserved but still widely perceived reputation for objectivity make it the most perniciously negative news organization in the U.S. Far too many still treat AP content as presumptive gospel.
These three news organizations are likely among the cadre of supposedly legitimate “media outlets” to which Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, who believes that the government “must define a journalist” and determine their “constitutional and statutory protections,” would want to provide full First Amendment protections. Everyone else? You would apparently be at the government’s tender mercies.
A recent Investor’s Business Daily editorial asserted that if Durbin ever gets his way, “our republic and the liberty it guarantees are in trouble.”
Actually, thanks to the journalistic malfeasance at the three news organizations just discussed and at so many others imitating their Pravda-like practices, they already are.