According to the Associated Press's Steve Peoples in a Saturday evening report, presidential candidate Rick Perry, speaking at a private reception in New Hampshire (which begs the question of whether Peoples was even there), told those attending: "I don't support a fence on the border." Then, again according to Peoples, "The answer produced an angry shout from at least one audience member."
"Jane" (actually Jane Woodworth) at the YouTooCongress blog (HT Instapundit) says otherwise: "I attended that event, stood about 15 feet from where he delivered those remarks and never heard an 'angry shout.' Either the AP is making it up or it wasn’t much of a shout. Perhaps they can supply the audio." They definitely should.
Absent audio, Peoples, his wire service, and other establishment press reporters do not deserve the presumption of truth in matters such as these, as they have a track record of misreporting campaign and protest-related statements and actions. What follows are several examples out of many which could be compiled.
First, there's this from September 4, 2004 at Newsmax:
AP Retracts 'Clinton Booed' Story
The Associated Press has retracted its Friday afternoon report that a crowd at a Bush rally in West Allis, Wisc., booed when President Bush offered ex-President Clinton best wishes for a speedy recovery from coronary bypass surgery scheduled for next week.
In a report that moved on the AP wire at 9:27 a.m. Saturday, the AP said:
"This is a correction to an incorrect story posted by AP on Friday stating the crowd booed the President when he sent his good wishes. The crowd, in fact, did NOT boo."
A transcript of Bush's remarks released by the White House noted applause after Bush offered Clinton "best wishes for a swift and speedy recovery."
ABC Radio Network news also confirmed that the Clinton reference was applauded, not jeered.
In its original version of the story, the AP had reported: "Bush's audience of thousands in West Allis, Wis., booed. Bush did nothing to stop them."
The original report of booing was traced to the AP's Scott Lindlaw, who according to Powerline and several other sources in 2004, "has told fellow fellow members of the White House press corps that his 'mission is to see that George Bush is not re-elected.'" As seen here, even after AP head Tom Curley acknowledged that "it was oohs, not boos," Lindlaw himself refused to back down. Lindlaw remained with AP until 2006, and is now a legal extern at the First Amendment Coalition.
Then there were the reports of "kill him" apparently shouted at Sarah Palin rallies in 2008:
The Secret Service is looking into a second allegation that a participant at a Republican political rally shouted "kill him," referring to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.
The Scranton Times-Tribune reported that someone in the crowd shouted "kill him" after the mention of Obama's name during a rally Tuesday for Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Last week The Washington Post reported a similar incident during a Palin rally in Clearwater, Florida. The Secret Service investigated that allegation and found no indication that "kill him" was ever said, or if it had been said, that the remark had been directed at Obama.
Concerning the second "kill him" incident, the Scranton Times Leader (apparently a different publication from the Times-Tribune) later reported that "The agent in charge of the Secret Service field office in Scranton said allegations that someone yelled 'kill him' when presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s name was mentioned during Tuesday’s Sarah Palin rally are unfounded." The campaign-undermining mission was nonetheless accomplished: "News organizations including ABC, The Associated Press, The Washington Monthly and MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann reported the claim ..."
Then there were the March 2010 allegations that members of the Congressional Black Caucus outside of the Capitol Building on their way to vote for Obamacare were spat on and subjected to racial slurs. Numerous press outlets reported those claims without a shred of evidence, for the spitting or the slurs; many if not most have not backed down from those reports.
That the pre-Obamacare vote lies still have life is seen in the final paragraph of an unbylined AP report out of Indianapolis last week -- the same one in which, as I noted a few days ago (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) the writer claimed that Congressman Andre Carson's statement about Tea Party-sympathetic members of Congress -- that "Some of them in Congress right now with this tea party movement would love to see you and me - hanging on a tree" -- was only a "lynching metaphor":
This isn't Carson's first go-round with the tea party. In March 2010, he accused protesters of yelling racial slurs at him and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., outside the Capitol during the heated health care overhaul debate.
Of course, the AP writer never noted that no evidence of any racial slurs was ever found, or that, as Jack Cashill observed, "Not one of the many videos shot that day recorded any."
Absent the audio and given the statement at YouTooCongress by Ms. Woodworth, there is no reason to believe what the AP's Steve Peoples wrote, either about the existence of "at least one" (clever spin, isn't it?) audible dissenting statement, or about it being "an angry shout," unless and until he produces authentic audio. None. In fact, given that the New Hampshire event was supposed to be "a private reception," I think we deserve to see evidence that he was even there.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.