Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Friday, January 08, 2010

  Associated Press 26 days late to the story

Here is an example of astounding incompetence by journalist Pete Yost and the Associated Press. Today he produced a not-very-enlightening report for the AP on a ruling by U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan in a habeas case brought by a Guantanamo prisoner, Musa’ab Omar al-Madhwani. Yost states – rather vaguely – that the ruling was made "this week".

That’s false. Judge Hogan made his ruling on December 14, 2009 (PDF). By the next day there were multiple news reports available on the ruling, such as this from the WaPo and this at McClatchy.

So how did Yost get this so badly wrong? The short answer is pure sloppiness. A longer answer would point out that Yost appears to have little independent understanding of what Hogan’s ruling entailed; and that this item on the Madhwani ruling from the Courthouse News Service appeared today shortly before Yost produced his report.

For what it’s worth, the Courthouse summary of Hogan’s ruling was prompted by the publication (dated January 6th, 2010) of a one-page order formally denying the habeas petition. Why Courthouse News is producing these summaries weeks after the rulings are actually handed down is another question. In any case, it seems likely that Yost relied uncritically upon this unreliable service, without even doing minimal diligence to check whether the ruling was recent or indeed had already been reported in the news media. It's noteworthy that the Courthouse News summary did not supply a date for Hogan’s ruling; you’d have thought that would have been a red flag for Yost.

What’s more troubling than Yost's sloppiness is the failure of the Associated Press editors to catch this fiasco before it was released. This is the outfit, remember, that has been up in arms about bloggers who dare to link to its "news" reporting. At the rate they’re going, the AP shouldn’t have to worry much longer about anybody linking to their "work".

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  • This issue will never end unless the court has decided to punish those who really have sinned. But what do we expect from it, it's nothing!

    By Anonymous Health Information, at 1:31 PM  

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