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Associated Press caught deleting line in news story, makes story more biased against Senator Reid

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UPDATE: It gets worse.

This is rather serious. The Associated Press ran a story yesterday (byline John Solomon) attacking Senator Harry Reid for accepting tickets to a boxing match in Nevada as the guest of the Nevada state government (something that appears totally fine under Senate ethics rules).

AP then comes under some rather severe criticism from bloggers, this blog included, because the article notes in its second paragraph that rather than doing the bidding of the Nevada boxing folks, Reid was in fact pushing legislation they didn't like - i.e., Reid was not in the pocket of the Nevada boxing folks.

Today, Josh Marshall discovered that AP appears to have edited its story and deleted the sentence that makes clear that Harry Reid was pushing legislation the Nevada boxing folks didn't like. I.e., AP just happened to delete the key line of their story that proves that Harry Reid isn't dishonest. And AP happens to delete this line from their story right after we all criticize them, using the line as proof that AP's story doesn't hold water.

This is what AP was saying yesterday about Harry Reid in the second paragraph of their story. Note that this version mentions that the legislation Reid was pushing was not favored by the boxing commission:

And here is what the AP story NOW says after someone edited it. Note that there's no longer any mention that Reid was at odds with the boxing commission over the legislation - i.e., he was his own man:

What you will find in the "edited" story is a mention of this "usurping" of state authority in the 30th paragraph. It was initially in the 2nd paragraph of the story. It comes as no surprise that in some versions of the "new" story, the 30th paragraph was cut out entirely by local papers trying to conserve space.

It is very difficult to believe that this was anything other than intentional on the part of the Associated Press. They appear to have changed a story - taken the most significant piece of information out of a story - in order to better smear a sitting US Senator. And before the AP says it was a simple mistaken edit, a number of the top blogs wrote about that very sentence yesterday, showing how that sentence proved the AP story was a hatchet job. Would AP now have us believe that they never heard of the criticism, and the sentence simply disappeared by accident?

The Associated Press and its reporter John Solomon need to issue an immediate correction along with a statement explaining why this key line of the story was deleted, and apologizing to Senator Reid. And if you don't think this is important, CNN and MSNBC already got the story wrong, and it appears they may have relied on the "new" AP story.

The Associated Press, under the byline of John Solomon, has an ever-growing history of smears against Democrats, including Ambassador Joe Wilson, Senator Dorgan, and Senator Reid. One of the adults at the AP needs to step in now and find out what the heck is going on.

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