In an article on the sudden stroke suffered by Senator Mark Kirk, the Associated Press on Monday gratuitously piled on the Republican, currently in intensive care, making sure to note that in his last campaign, questions were raised "about his own honesty." The section has since been removed from the version on the Washington Post's website but can be found below in a screen capture. [Update: The Post has added the paragraphs back.]
After detailing the condition of Kirk, the AP's Sophia Tareen and Tammy Webber devoted three paragraphs to dredging up old attacks: "Kirk was elected to the Senate in 2010, winning the seat formerly held by President Barack Obama after a hard-fought election that often focused on questions about his own honesty."
The article continued, "Kirk at times exaggerated his record in the Navy Reserves. He incorrectly said he had been named intelligence officer of the year and took part in the invasion of Iraq. He said he came under fire while on a military flight but wouldn't provide details and stopped making the claim when questioned about it."
See file photo of Kirk at right.
The piece concluded:
"I'm not perfect. I made a mistake and then apologized," Kirk said in a 2010 interview with The Associated Press. "Going forward, the question we have and the choice we make as to who our senator is has a lot less to do with what happened in the 20th century and a lot more with what's happening in the 21st century."
How, exactly, is any of this relevant to a piece on Kirk's medical condition?
Although the Post removed the offending three paragraphs, the long version can still be seen on websites such as NPR and Time (as of 3:50pm EST on January 23, 2012). CBS News, however, opted for the version without the offending paragraphs.
See below for a screen shot of the Washington Post version before the three paragraphs were removed: [UPDATED 2012-01-23 16:37 The Washington Post has added back the longer version with the three paragraphs intact.]