Monday, February 13, 2006

Is Accuracy Still Important to the AP?

The Ranger has a hilariously titled post linking to this debunking of an AP article on the infamous non-story of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, a favorite around here.
Here's the AP sentence:
Wilson's revelations cast doubt on President Bush's claim in his 2003 State of the Union address that Niger had sold uranium to Iraq to develop a nuclear weapon as one of the administration's key justifications for going to war in Iraq.

And Simberg's response:
We've been over this many times, but apparently, it's necessary to do so again. Here are the sixteen words:
"The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
That's it. It doesn't say that uranium was sold to Iraq, it doesn't say Niger. It says that the British government has learned about attempts to purchase uranium from Africa. Africa is a big place. Nowhere in the speech does it claim that the attempts were successful, and nowhere in the speech is Niger mentioned. The sentence, as written in the AP story, is completely false, but many persist in believing it, because apparently it confirms their prejudices

Seriously though, this is a non-story, and it will become more and more irrelevant as news organizations continue to get the facts wrong. How can we be bothered to care about it if they don't even care enough to do a little fact checking?

NOTE: The AP has changed the story linked on Transterrestrial Musings to a different AP article. The article I've linked above is the one from which Simberg is quoting.