During his Wednesday appearance on Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show,’ President Obama made three factual gaffes; one of them involved the claim that cities not found along the Gulf of Mexico are. Were Obama a Republican, these gaffes would have led news coverage for the next forty-eight hours. Not only did most of the media ignore or downplay these gaffes; the Associated Press went so far as to cover one of them up.
In its coverage Thursday, rather than point out the president’s geographical error, the wire service made it look as though no error was made. Here is how the AP memory-holed the gaffe:
If we don’t deepen our ports all along the Gulf – (and in) places like Charleston, S.C., or Savannah, Ga., or Jacksonville, Fla. – if we don’t do that, these ships are going to go someplace else and we’ll lose jobs.
Obama did not say “and in.”
The AP did it for him.
Today, buried in its correction section, the AP owned up to covering for the president:
In an Aug. 7 story on President Barack Obama’s comments on the need to deepen U.S. harbors, The Associated Press wrongly inserted an interpretive phrase in parentheses into a quote by Obama:
“If we don’t deepen our ports all along the Gulf – (and in) places like Charleston, S.C., or Savannah, Ga., or Jacksonville, Fla. – if we don’t do that, these ships are going to go someplace else and we’ll lose jobs,” Obama said.
Charleston, Savannah and Jacksonville are not Gulf ports. It wasn’t known if the president was suggesting they were. The AP should not have added the phrase in an effort to clarify his statement.
The media not reporting on or making an issue of an Obama gaffe has become the norm over the last five years. This is the first time I’m aware of, though, in which a major news outlet went so far as to correct a gaffe in order to fool its readers into believing it never happened.
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