Last Friday, PJ Media’s estimable and inimitable Zombie strongly advocated getting in the faces of those who take the world’s daily events and turn them into barely recognizable, left-distorted “news.” Earlier that same day, Associated Press reporter Steve Peoples and his employer duly qualified for such treatment with coverage that was at once outrageous and all too sadly typical.
That morning, Peoples told readers that Mitt Romney’s definition of “middle class” is “income of $200,000 to $250,000 a year.” He then snarked that “the Census Bureau reported this week that the median household income — the midpoint for the nation — is just over $50,000.”
Romney actually told former Clinton administration de facto press secretary George Stephanopoulos, who is now at ABC’s Good Morning America, that “middle income is $200,000 to $250,000 and less.” It’s hard to imagine how the AP reporter could have missed the clearly spoken final two words in Romney’s statement, but he acted as if the Republican presidential candidate never uttered them.
Combined, Peoples’ recent record as a “journalist” and his employer’s reaction to his “error” make the idea that the two-word omission was deliberate the default assumption.
Peoples’ dispatch went to the AP’s thousands of print, online, and broadcast subscribers, and officially stood unaltered long enough for leftist bloggers and other commentators to spread the cut-off “Romney’s out of touch” quote far and wide, while center-right commentators like the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto played catch-up with the truth.
The AP copped to Peoples’ error later Friday morning, but almost invisibly and without apology. A Sunday morning Google News search returned only two results containing the wire service’s admission, after adding “and less” to Romney’s quote in an earlier paragraph, that it “initially reported that Romney defined ‘middle-income’ as $200,000 to $250,000.” The self-described “essential global news network” did not include Peoples’ error in its list of corrections. Additionally, a version of the report with “and less” omitted was still present in its original form at the wire service’s “hosted2.org” site on Sunday morning. Beyond that, even with the content corrected, dozens of headlines claiming that Romney defined “middles class” as “$200-250K” remain.
In a later report which failed to mention his previous error, Peoples acknowledged that President Obama “has also has set his definition for ‘middle class’ as families with income of up to $250,000 a year.” In other words, the two candidates agree, and Romney’s statement wasn’t news at all. But I’d say that the attempt to undermine the campaign of Obama’s challenger went off pretty well.
A look at even a small sample of Steve Peoples’ body of work provides ample support for the notion that he is not a reporter of events, but one who opportunistically pushes the envelope to discredit conservatives and protect liberals.
At a private reception for then-GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry a year ago, Peoples claimed that the Texas governor’s opposition to a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border “produced an angry shout from at least one audience member,” exposing “an ongoing rift with some conservative voters over Perry’s immigration record.” The rift existed, but, according to a person who claims she “stood about 15 feet from where he (Perry) delivered those remarks,” the shout didn’t. Reporters at the AP, which as far as I know provided no proof for Peoples’ contention, have a long and sordid record of hearing things not said.