Asking Questions of the AP

This is the email I sent to the Associated Press this morning:

I am writing to lodge an ethics complaint against Tom Hays and the Associated Press in connection with a story that you published on Friday, Sept. 3. The story was by-lined Tom Hays; it reported on a rally for President Bush in West Allis, Wisconsin. Mr. Hays’ story said that: “Bush’s audience of thousands in West Allis, Wis., booed. Bush did nothing to stop them.” These statements were false. Later the same day, the AP released a second version of the article that did not contain these false claims.
I have written about this scandal extensively on my web site, Power Line, http://powerlineblog.com. I also have an informant who is a reporter covering the Bush campaign, who was at the West Allis rally, and who saw what happened. Here are what I understand to be the facts:
1) Tom Hays was not at the West Allis rally, even though his by-line appeared on the story.
2) The real source of the story was Scott Lindlaw. Lindlaw was at the rally, along with at least one other reporter from the AP.
3) Lindlaw is a well-known Democratic partisan; my source has heard him say, “My mission is to see that Bush does not get re-elected.”
4) During President Bush’s speech, Lindlaw had earplugs of some kind in his ears to deaden the noise. This is apparently a common practice of his.
5) After the speech, Lindlaw approached another AP reporter and said that he thought he had heard boos. The other reporter told him, “there weren’t any boos.” In fact, as the audiotape of the event makes clear, no one booed. No one. No one made any sound that remotely resembled a boo.
6) Despite the fact that he could not hear the crowd, and despite the fact that another reporter from the AP had told him that there were no boos, Scott Lindlaw–a vicious Democratic partisan–lied, and told the world that “Bush’s audience of thousands booed,” and “Bush did nothing to stop them.” This was a conscious, deliberate lie, which Mr. Lindlaw perpetrated for the purpose of helping his own party in the ongoing Presidential campaign.
Now, you tell me–are the above facts correct? What investigation have you carried out of this matter? This appears to me to be a major scandal, which goes to the heart of the Associated Press’s credibility as a news organization. Someone here should be fired–Tom Hays, if he really was responsible for the lie, or Scott Lindlaw, if, as my informant says, he was the actual source.
I know for a fact that the White House press corps is buzzing about this scandal and wondering what the Associated Press intends to do. You can’t cover this up. You must take appropriate action against the individual or individuals who have betrayed their profession.
Please contact me at your earliest convenience to discuss the status of your investigation, and what actions you intend to take.
John Hinderaker

The AP will not direct telephone calls to a person responsible for complaints, but suggests sending such complaints and inquiries to [email protected]

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