A longtime Associated Press reporter was fired for mistakenly reporting that Virginia now-Gov.-Elect McAuliffe “had lied to a federal investigator probing a Rhode Island estate planner involved in a fraudulent death-benefits scheme.” The Washington Post asks, “did the punishment fit the crime?”
This an egregious error, to be sure, perhaps even abetting libel by alleging criminal conduct. (Two other AP employees were also fired.)
The Post article notes how rare it is for reporters to be fired over factual errors, citing the previous examples of “widespread reports of murder and mayhem following Hurricane Katrina and Army Pvt. Jessica Lynch’s supposed heroics at the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.”
What is different about those and other previous errors? The Post rationalizes the case, quoting a professor citing the “sensitive time — in the middle of a heated political campaign.” Could it be that the previous cases advanced narratives that the liberal mainstream media supported, compared to a negative story about a Democrat candidate/Clintonite?