-By Warner Todd Huston
The Associated Press does it again, falsely reporting something that might tend to make Mitt Romney look bad. This time, with a headline that screams, “Perry calls on Mitt Romney to release tax returns,” the AP garbles the story of Texas Governor Rick Perry's comments about Romney's tax returns. Contrary to the AP, Perry made no such call on Romney, however.
We should be suspicious of the initial AP report right off because it doesn’t contain a single, actual quote from Gov. Perry. Here is how the AP report begins:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is calling on fellow Republican and former rival Mitt Romney to release his tax returns.
Perry said anyone running for office should make public as much personal information as possible to help voters decide.
The report goes on with a bit of padding but also notes that "Romney has come under increasing pressure" for not releasing more tax return information, a demand that itself is nonsense.
Telling is the fact that even as AP just claims Gov. Perry made this demand of Romney, it doesn't bother to give an actual quote from the Gov. and there's good reason for that omission. He didn't really say that.
Sadly, quickly getting caught up in the Romney slamming, Politico reporter Jonathan Martin went right along with the incorrect report in a Tweet earlier today.
But not every Old Media outlet got scammed by the AP. The Texas Tribune has a more accurate story. What really happened is that Perry stopped short of saying Romney should release more of his documents.
Here is how the Texas Trib puts it (my bold):
Gov. Rick Perry, who called on Mitt Romney to cough up his tax returns when they were running against each other, stopped short Tuesday of pressing the presumptive Republican nominee to produce more records.
"Stopped short" is hardly how the AP put it!
The Austin Stateman's account tallies with the Trib's. Even the Washington Post got the "stopped short" part of the story right even though it adds undue commentary that Perry is part of the "increasing number" of Republicans scolding the presumptive GOP candidate over his tax returns.
They all make the AP look like Obama shills with its misreporting.
Amusingly, without any notice, a half-hour after its
first report the AP changed its story to better reflect the truth.