Earlier today, I gave the Associated Press an unwarranted benefit of the doubt. I figured that there was no way the language contained in an offensive AP tweet on the Israel-Gaza situation would appear in an actual story by an alleged professional journalist. Boy, was I wrong.
The language in question was posted at 6 a.m. ET and is still present at the wire service's official Twitter account. It reads: "As much of world watches Gaza war in horror, members of Congress fall over each other to support Israel." I wrote this afternoon that "The tweet ... links to a brief dispatch by Bradley Klapper, whose coverage, to be fair (but only if he's not the tweeter), doesn't reflect the sentiments expressed in the tweet." Well, it didn't then, because the underlying story had been revised. Here's are the first five paragraphs of Klapper's story as they appeared before comprehensive cleanup efforts ensued:
So the AP's Klapper put the obviously unprofessional and ridiculing language underlined above into an actual wire service dispatch before either he or a flunky just doing his or her job put it into an AP tweet. Though the AP's subtle bias goes back decades (it's routinely blatant now), it's almost impossible to imagine that any of its stories written 20 or more years ago would have been composed this way.
Here's one more later paragraph from Klapper's claptrap:
The ebullient bipartisan support for Israel is also leading many House and Senate members to rev up their opposition to the Obama administration's nuclear negotiations with Iran.
"Ebullient" means "overflowing with fervor, enthusiasm, or excitement; high-spirited." Surely many lawmakers are passionate in their advocacy for Israel, but calling supporters of aid to to a country in a state of war with a no-scruples terrorist group "ebullient" is simply out of control.
Bradley Klapper has a serious problem with Israel. He clearly shouldn't be covering any Israel-related story. If I were running AP, I'd suspend him in a heartbeat (the AP is militantly unionized, so firing him is probably out of the question). Perhaps, when he returns, I'd consider assigning him to sewer board meetings in rural America — except that would probably be unfair to rural America. Maybe the bureau up by the Hudson Bay in Canada would work.
As to the tweet itself, it's still there. At 10:40, the wire service posted the following tweet:
There is no indication at the original tweet that a "revising" tweet was issued. At the new tweet, comments extremely hostile to Israel and anger at AP for issuing the "revision" currently dominate.
Clearly, the AP's "members of Congress fall all over each other" mantra is carrying the day in the Twitterverse. The Associated Press, working hard to be seen as Hamas's Press, is apparently okay with that.
Noah Rothman at Hot Air believes that "A string of poorly worded and misleading tweets from that news organization have begun to seriously damage that institution’s coveted brand as an apolitical and trusted reporting outlet." I'd say that those who believe that ship has long since sailed have a pretty strong case.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.