Accuracy in Media

Would the reputable, unbiased news reporting organization, The Associated Press, ever resort to making a story out of inconsequential pop-culture Michele Bachmann gaffes? Certainly, and of course as they did recently in this article about Bachmann mixing up the day Elvis died (Aug. 16th) with the day he was born (Jan. 8th). While it may be funny, is this the kind of story AP should run, given its influential role as a news agency? Perhaps there are outlets for stories such as these in Comedy Central but when something like this is run as a legitimate newsworthy article, one, at least, has to guess at ulterior motives, especially when compared to similar reporting of gaffes made by Obama.

They also ran a lengthy article on her “bomblets” which included the John Wayne and John Wayne Gacy mix up. In that same article, they delve into “Fact Checks” on her statements concerning Obama and his policies, which is perfectly appropriate; however, their angle is quite striking when compared to Obama “bomblets.”

Notice the AP’s stance from these quotes about Bachmann flubs:

“Those were among the latest examples of how the Minnesota congresswoman has become one to watch — for inaccuracies as well as rising support — in the Republican presidential race.”

“…her misrepresentations of the health care law, misfires on other aspects of President Barack Obama’s record and historical inaccuracies have saddled her with a reputation for uttering populist jibes that don’t hold up.”

“The more the political season heats up, the more that exaggerations and sound-bite oversimplifications emanate from the Republicans going after Obama — and from the Democrats playing defense. Still, Bachmann’s record on this score is distinct.”

Now notice the AP’s stance when covering misstatements from Obama:

“The White House is confirming that President Barack Obama misspoke about a Medal of Honor winner coming home alive during comments at Fort Drum in upstate New York.”

“Obama spokesman Josh Earnest says the president misspoke. He noted that Obama paid tribute to Monti in remarks to troops in Afghanistan in March 2010. But Salvatore Giunta was the first living recipient of the medal among veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.”

Sounds like pretty straightforward reporting, something Bachmann does not receive from the AP when she misspeaks.

Where was the AP when Obama made a very embarrassing gaffe during the 2008 campaign when he said, “I’ve now been in 57 states—I think one left to go?”

How about when Obama flubbed the date when he signed the Westminster Abbey guest book with the year 2008 instead of 2011? The AP photo’s caption doesn’t go to any length in cleverly creating any jibes at the President when they plainly state:

“A message from US President Barack Obama and his wife, first lady Michelle Obama, apparently signed by the President with the wrong date of 2008 in the distinguished visitors’ book during a tour of Westminster Abbey, in central London, as part of his state visit to the United Kingdom, Tuesday May 24, 2011. (AP Photo/John Stillwell, Pool).”

To be fair, the AP did do a similar “Fact Check” on Obama but it only concerned his actions in Libya which didn’t sit well across the political spectrum.

At least if the AP is going to be boring covering Obama gaffes, they should also be boring covering others. And if boring does not suit them, then enjoy the freedom in making fun of everyone.




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