AP is living out the joke but in reporting rather than changing light bulbs. The Associated Press recently assigned eleven (count 'em, eleven) reporters to a big news project. Mark Steyn explains:
If you wonder why American newspapering is dying, consider this sign-off:As Steyn points out, it took almost two AP reporters to unearth each "error". But, it turns out that a cursory read through shows a third of them aren't errors.
AP writers Matt Apuzzo, Sharon Theimer, Tom Raum, Rita Beamish, Beth Fouhy, H. Josef Hebert, Justin D. Pritchard, Garance Burke, Dan Joling and Lewis Shaine contributed to this report.Wow. That's ten "AP writers" plus Calvin Woodward, the AP writer whose twinkling pen honed the above contributions into the turgid sludge of the actual report. That's 11 writers for a 695-word report. What on? Obamacare? The Iranian nuke program? The upcoming trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?
No, the Associated Press assigned 11 writers to "fact-check" Sarah Palin's new book, and in return the 11 fact-checkers triumphantly unearthed six errors. That's 1.8333333 writers for each error.
The first cited error is self-refuting on the AP's own terms. The AP Eleven make a big deal of Palin saying she didn't "often" stay at more expensive hotels. They then give one example when she did.
PALIN: Says she made frugality a point when traveling on state business as Alaska governor, asking "only" for reasonably priced rooms and not "often" going for the "high-end, robe-and-slippers" hotels.Uh, Calvin Woodard, Matt Apuzzo, Sharon Theimer, Tom Raum, Rita Beamish, Beth Fouhy, H. Josef Hebert, Justin D. Pritchard, Garance Burke, Dan Joling and Lewis Shaine, last time I checked one hotel stay is the same as (maybe even less than) “not ‘often’”.
THE FACTS: Although she usually opted for less-pricey hotels while governor, Palin and daughter Bristol stayed five days and four nights at the $707.29-per-night Essex House luxury hotel (robes and slippers come standard) for a five-hour women's leadership conference in New York in October 2007. With air fare, the cost to Alaska was well over $3,000.
Some actually relevant facts the AP Eleven had problems unearthing:
[Palin’s family] travel was processed by the Administrative Services Department, whose director served under the previous governor. Governor Palin followed the same protocol that past governors had followed. The one obvious difference, however, is that Governor Palin and her family spent less than her two predecessors. In fact, she spent over $913,000 less on personal expenses in her first two years than former Governor Frank Murkowski did his last two years.Another AP Eleven assertion is not about facts but opinion about Palin's political motivation.
PALIN: "Was it ambition? I didn't think so. Ambition drives; purpose beckons." Throughout the book, Palin cites altruistic reasons for running for office, and for leaving early as Alaska governor.This isn't THE FACTS. This is opinion. There are no FACTS cited from Palin's time in office as either city councillor, mayor or governor (more than a decade in office). The only fact given is that Palin has written an autobiographical book (Going Rogue). The book was written after Palin left office. Even if it is a "pre-campaign manifesto" (again, no facts given in support) how does that show motivation for her previous time in office (which is what the fact check is supposedly about)?
THE FACTS: Few politicians own up to wanting high office for the power and prestige of it, and in this respect, Palin fits the conventional mold. But "Going Rogue" has all the characteristics of a pre-campaign manifesto, the requisite autobiography of the future candidate.
For a debunking of the other four AP Eleven fact check errors see Power Line and for an in depth, fact-filled treatment see Conservatives 4 Palin.