Over the weekend, we wrote about the false Associated Press report on a rally for President Bush in West Allis, Wisconsin. The AP report, by AP correspondent Tom Hays, said that “Bush’s audience of thousands in West Allis, Wis., booed. Bush did nothing to stop them.” This was a lie; the audiotape of the rally discloses no booing whatsoever. The AP subsequently issued a corrected version of the article, which deleted all reference to the non-existent booing.
I emailed Mr. Hays over the weekend to ask for an explanation. This morning I sent Mr. Hays the following email:
Mr. Hays, I assume that you are back in your office after the holiday and will now be in a position to respond to my earlier email asking about your false report that Republicans booed President Clinton at a rally in West Allis, Wisconsin, and President Bush “did nothing to stop them.” I have listened to the audio of the rally; there was no booing. I have been told by a number of people who were present at the rally that there was no booing. The Associated Press issued a corrected version of your story deleting the false claim that the crowd booed.
So, I want to know what you have to say for yourself. Were you actually at the West Allis rally? If not, from whom did you get the false information that the crowd booed? If you were at the rally, what was your basis for reporting that the crowd booed and President Bush did nothing to stop it? And what relationship, formal or informal, do you have with the Kerry campaign?
I look forward to hearing from you. We have a website that is read by 50,000 or more people, and we have commented on this incident at length. Those comments have been linked to by other websites with readerships totaling in the millions. If you have anything to say for yourself, I will happily print it. Otherwise, I will be forced to conclude, and will publish my conclusion, that this is a naked instance of press bias, and that you deliberately filed a false report for the purpose of aiding the Kerry campaign.
Mr. Hays’ email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I will advise our readers if and when I get a response from him. In the meantime, polite emails to the above address, asking for an explanation of his false report, would be appropriate.