AP Fires 2 Journalists Responsible for Mistaken Terry McAuliffe Report

AP Fires 2 Journalists Responsible for Mistaken Terry McAuliffe Report

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Virginia politics reporter Bob Lewis and Richmond-based news editor Dena Potter were let go

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.

Also read: Associated Press Retracts Erroneous Report About Terry McAuliffe

“The initial alert moved on AP's Virginia state wire at 9:45 p.m. The story was withdrawn one hour and 38 minutes later.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:

Also read: Daily Download Editor Lauren Ashburn Retracts Kurtz Video, Apologizes

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




  • David

    Meanwhile over on Drudge it's just the beginning of a giant scandal
    involving a high-powered Democratic official, bribery, corruption and a
    growing government conspiracy to hide the truth. Stay tuned for further

  • Woody McBreairty

    It's about time political hacks disguised as “reporters” are fired. Are you listening Fox “news”? How long will Sean Hannity's lies & distortions be part of your propaganda machine? Sean doesn't care how badly his lies damage innocent people as long as his “followers” believe him & help spread his lies. These “reporters” should be an example of the lack of ethics in political reporting & hopefully legitimate, honest reporters will strive for a harder standard of journalism that is based on facts & not personal ideology.

  • A.L. Hern

    The above article fails to mention how it came to AP's attention that the story Lewis filed, and Potter edited, was inaccurate.

    The summary dismissal of the two suggests that the story was entirely fabricated, but how AP could conclude that that fabrication was to any degree the handiwork of Lewis and Potter is mystifying.

    If the pair failed to corroborate the imformation fed them by their sources, then it was grounds for disciplinary action against employees of such longstanding, nothing more, especially in an age when dissemination of disinformation is standard operating procedure from most corners of the partisan political map.

    • read more carefully please

      He got the info from an indictment that had McAuliffe's name in it and later someone else with the initials “T.M.” was accused of lying to investigators. Lewis assumed T.M. was McAuliffe. It wasn't. No bad sources here, just bad conclusion-jumping.