The Associated Press will no longer employ Melanie Plenda, a leftist activist exposed by Breitbart News, after she was caught violating the news wire service’s editorial standards.
Plenda announced that the AP has terminated her effective immediately in an interview with the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple. Her termination comes as a Nov. 10, 2016, Facebook post she wrote—in which she pledged resistance to then-incoming President Donald J. Trump—was found to be in direct violation of the AP’s editorial standards.
Plenda, in her interview with Wemple, confirmed she wrote the leftist activist post on her Facebook page—a post she has since deleted, but of which Breitbart News published a screenshot earlier this week.
“There’s no denial from Plenda that she authored the tract in question,” Wemple wrote, summarizing their interview.
“I wrote that,” Plenda is quoted as saying.
“It started out on her ‘personal, private’ Facebook page, she says, and then someone shared it more widely,” Wemple continued, paraphrasing the interview with Plenda before dropping the biggest revelation—one the AP’s own spokeswoman Lauren Easton would not confirm earlier in the day for Breitbart News’s second investigative report into Plenda’s activities—that the AP has terminated Plenda entirely.
“The AP, she continues, has barred her from future political assignments because of the posting,” Wemple wrote.
Plenda is then quoted saying she should have kept her leftist activism to herself, rather than posting it on Facebook for the world to see in violation of AP standards.
“I should have known better and should have been more careful with my private thoughts,” she said.
When asked for comment on Plenda’s revelation she was terminated from the AP, Easton—AP’s spokeswoman—simply re-sent Breitbart News a quote sent earlier in the day when she previously said that the wire service “refrain[s] from commenting on personnel matters.”
Easton also said earlier in the day: “AP standards require employees to refrain from sharing political views in any public forum.”
Plenda snuck into a closed press New Hampshire GOP fundraiser featuring White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, President Trump’s successful campaign manager in 2016, in Nashua, New Hampshire. Her story about how she got into the event has changed multiple times, as Breitbart News has documented, and she demonstrably inaccurately reported on the event’s crowd size.
The AP, for several days, refused to correct the error until it faced public pressure on the matter. Late on Wednesday afternoon, the wire service issued a correction. That means the AP, after days of saying “AP stands by its reporting,” has completely changed direction by correcting the inaccuracies and terminating the perpetrator of those inaccuracies for violations of editorial standards.