In Oklahoma, the AP Gets It Wrong One More Time

Charles Key is a one-man truth squad.

The Oklahoma state legislator – who has been a tireless investigator of the Oklahoma City bombing and champion of the Tenth Amendment – was recently misrepresented in an Associated Press report on Tea Parties, militias, and Sooner State lawmakers.

And he’s speaking up about it – loudly, but civilly.


You may recall that Key’s colleague, state senator Randy Brogdon, was falsely typecast just last week by the same AP as a backwoods gun nut – eager to use force against the federal government.

In the same article, AP reporters Sean Murphy and Tim Talley wrote that Key claimed there was a “good chance” that legislation for a state-authorized militia would be introduced in 2011.

Guess what? That was a complete fabrication.

In a guest editorial for the Tennessean (kudos to the paper for publishing the piece), Rep. Key says he not only has no intention of filing such legislation, but he made it clear, several times during the AP interview, that he knew of no legislator who was planning to make such a move. Rep. Key explains what is really at work, and it ain’t pretty. He writes:

Two days later, in a meeting with the reporter (Murphy) and his supervisor, it was revealed that the AP had decided to write a story on the militia. They were determined to find a connection to the tea parties, conservative legislators, and other grassroots constitutional organizations one way or another. The story not only attributed false statements to me and others but also went national to a willing press who repeated the false information over and over.

Classic example of the Big Lie.

Needless to say, Rep. Key’s office has been flooded with calls and emails about the AP story, while some Sooner State bloggers have been demanding that he (and Randy Brogdon) resign.

Apparently, reporter Murphy tried to make amends by offering lame excuses. Key explains:

He (Murphy) then made a statement that stories are sometimes edited and that can alter the intent of the interviewee. He then said he wanted to get it right and asked if he could record our conversation. I agreed and we did another interview. I expected to see a corrected article to follow. I am demanding a retraction and that the recording from the second interview be released.

This is what the AP deems a retraction regarding the phantom militia-bill they insist upon creating:

‘I do not expect legislation to be filed, but I can’t predict the future,’ said state Rep. Charles Key, R-Oklahoma City. ‘There are 101 members out here (in the House) and 48 over there (in the Senate). How could I make a statement that it will or won’t?’ He told AP last week he thought there was a ‘better than 50-50 chance’ such a bill would be filed.’

Bizarre and, no doubt, incomplete.

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Andrew W. Griffin, of the Oklahoma Watchdog website, reports that he has been attempting to get a comment from the Associated Press regarding the militia article, but he’s mostly being blown off by Murphy’s, supervisor, Kelly Kissel.

Contact information is here if you’d like to take a stab at asking the AP to issue a real-man retraction/correction/mea culpa.

Meanwhile, Rep. Key, in his Tennessean Op-Ed, asks, “Why did this happen? Will the media probe this question of how they got it so terribly wrong with as much zeal as they pursued their pre-determined effort to make a connection between militias and conservatives? I wouldn’t bet on it.”

Charles Key is right … again.