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Reuters, AP and AFP Flub, Then Retract Stories on UN Report

Reuters, the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse have an enormous impact around the globe, with the news agencies’ content appearing in thousands of media outlets through syndication agreements.

Yet all three were sloppy in hastily publishing false articles about immigration that painted the Trump administration in a negative light.

“Reuters and Agence France-Presse — both news agencies trumpeted a United Nations report that accused the U.S. of keeping 100,000 children in immigration detention, then quickly scrubbed [1] the news from their sites when they noticed the fine print: The figures date from 2015 when Obama was president,” noted The Wall Street Journal’s Holman Jenkins.  [2]

Reuters noted its retraction of the inaccurate article in a statement.

“A Nov. 18 story headlined ‘U.S. has world’s highest rate of children in detention -U.N. study’ is withdrawn,” Reuters wrote in a statement edited by Howard Goller [1]. “The United Nations issued a statement on Nov. 19 saying the number was not current but was for the year 2015. No replacement story will be issued.”

In its correction, the AP said it would send a substitute article out.

“The Associated Press has withdrawn its story about a claim about the number of children being held in migration-related detention in the United States,” the AP stated [3]. “The story quoted an independent expert working with the U.N. human rights office saying that over 100,000 children are currently being held. But that figure refers to the total number of U.S. child detentions for the year 2015, according to the U.N. refugee agency. A substitute version will be sent.”

The AFP followed Reuters’ route and deleted its article.

“AFP is withdrawing this story,” the agency tweeted. “The author of the report has clarified that his figures do not represent the number of children currently in migration-related US detention, but the total number of children in migration-related US detention in 2015. We will delete the story.”