AP finally deletes wrong tweet about Clinton Foundation

After two weeks of complaints, including over 1,700 people signing our petition, the Associated Press has finally relented and deleted its inaccurate tweet about Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.

The AP had claimed in its tweet, incorrectly, that “more than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation.” That is not only false, but it’s not even what the AP story actually alleged.

The AP story claimed that 85 of 154 people Hillary Clinton met or had a phone call with as secretary of state were donors to the Clinton Foundation. AP implied that Hillary only met or talked to 154 people during her time as secretary — in fact, Hillary and spoke with thousands. So the 85 number is pretty small.

ap clinton foundation tweet

But it gets worse for AP. In the story, AP never showed that any Clinton Foundation donor who got a meeting with Secretary Clinton wouldn’t have gotten the meeting without a donation. In fact, the “proof” that AP offered is that Hillary met with Muhammad Yunus, who had donated to the Foundation. What AP doesn’t tell you is that the Secretary of State would have met with Yunus anyway, as he’s the lead international development expert in the world, and a Nobel Peace Prize winner for his work in fighting global poverty.

Second, AP never showed any pay-for-play — meaning, AP couldn’t find anyone who actually got something untoward in exchange for their meeting with Hillary.

So, AP could prove that anyone got a meeting who wouldn’t have gotten a meeting, and AP couldn’t show that anyone got anything they wouldn’t have gotten anyway.

As the saying goes, there’s no there there. I did a longer analysis of the AP story here.

And after two weeks of pressure, AP finally admitted its mistake.

Why did it take AP this long to fix an obvious error? It’s not entirely clear. On its face, the tweet was wrong, and any editor at AP should have recognized it the second the concern was raised. AP treated this situation as thought it required some kind of nuanced hanging-chad analysis of something that wasn’t obvious on its face. But the error was obvious on its face. It is untrue, and unsupported by AP’s own story, that “more than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation.” So why two weeks to fix the error?

And by now, even with the fix, the damage is done. I’ve had several people ask me about the “fact’ that they heard more than half of Hillary’s meetings at State were with Clinton Foundation donors. And we have pundits, and media, calling for the entire closure of the Foundation itself, putting at risk the lives of 11.8m people with AIDS, 12m people with malaria, and 50,000 children saved by the Foundation every year.

So it’s good that the AP finally corrected the story, but the two-week wait has already taken its toll.

In my second story, I discuss the challenge social media poses for established organizations, and how they can address them.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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11 Responses to “AP finally deletes wrong tweet about Clinton Foundation”

  1. Uncle Luie says:

    “Why did it take AP this long to fix an obvious error?”

    Because they are in the bag for Trump, no other answer is possible.

  2. Ericakvargas2 says:

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  4. Andrew J. Wolf says:

    The AP should be above this kind of behavior. I do not support Hilary Clinton, but I don’t condone the media’s bias and manipulation of the news.

  5. Kellykforman3 says:

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  6. Zorba says:

    Are you kidding? Yellow journalism has been around for a long, long time. Well over 100 years, at least.
    Look up William Randolph Hearst, among others. And Joseph Pulitzer, for that matter. Going back to the late 1800’s. (Pulitzer did regret his paper’s yellow journalism eventually and stopped that type of journalism, to earn respect for his paper. Hearst never did.)

  7. sane37 says:

    When the 4th estate got bought out by the 1%ers.

  8. GlennF says:

    John Aravosis asks:
    “Why did it take AP this long to fix an obvious error?”

    My guess is AP wanted to use its misleading tweet, in conjunction with the rest of the Hillary haters in the mainstream media, to get Clinton’s high poll numbers down. They succeeded. Misleading tweet is not needed any longer, so AP took it down.

  9. Badgerite says:

    This is the way the press has always been with the Clinton’s. This has gone on for 20 years and nothing has changed. There never is any there there. Hilary Clinton is as squeaky clean as they come. Always has been.

  10. wildcatter says:

    When did yellow journalism become the standard for the 4th estate?

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