The Associated Press has fired Bob Lewis, the Virginia politics reporter behind a mistaken report about gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, and Dena Potter, the news editor who edited the report.
The two journalists were fired on Monday, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.
Lewis filed a story alleging that McAuliffe lied to a federal official investigating a death benefits claim. It was published on Oct. 9 and the AP retracted the story less than two hours later.
“The initial alert moved on AP’s Virginia state wire at 9:45 p.m. The story was withdrawn one hour and 38 minutes later. That was an hour and 38 minutes too long,” AP spokesman Paul Colford said at the time.
Colford didn’t immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment and confirmation on the terminations.
Lewis had covered Virginia government for about two decades. Many who knew him or his work expressed shock over the firing on Twitter:
HuffingtonPost was first to report the news of the firings.
AP’s Bob Lewis has been a fixture at the Va Capitol and his reporting will be missed by Virginians. Best wishes at a tough moment, Bob.
– Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) October 21, 2013
Virginia just lost the best political reporter in the state – AP punished public (not Bob Lewis). http://t.co/uSvcxCbdFL
– Ed Matricardi (@EMatricardi) October 21, 2013
Shame on the @AP for firing Bob Lewis. A complete overreaction to a fair reporter with a decades long stellar career.
– Jonathan C (@jcpolitech) October 21, 2013
Sad. Bob Lewis is one of the best reporters out there. Mistake was huge, stunned all while tarnishing AP’s image but is this overreaction?
– Lynn R. Mitchell (@swacgirl) October 21, 2013