The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Tuesday, January 06, 2004

AP Kills Limbaugh Painkillers Story - what on earth is going on?

AP have been having their problems - trace the detail at Kos - the Limbaugh story (also originally from Kos) is surely in a class of its own.

The piece, currently available on the WaPo site, is datelined The Associated Press
Saturday, January 3, 2004; 5:06 PM
and says:
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Please kill the story Limbaugh-Painkillers, V9991. Rush Limbaugh has not been charged with doctor shopping.

A kill is mandatory.

Make certain the story is not used.

There is plenty of wire service action on the main story (that Limbaugh is under investigation - 67 of 1,050 on Google News for limbaugh painkillers), in which the most recent item of news that is news is that Limbaugh's medical records continue to be sealed.

No sign of AP Story V9991, though. No sign of the story killing V9991, either on Google News - 22 of 58 on regular Google for v9991 limbaugh.

How did AP manage to get such a high-profile story so wrong? Why did a few only of AP's many US clients put the kill story online?

Interestingly, there is what looks like an AP paper [1] on libel. Chapter 7 is entitled
and is well worth a look.

And, in Chapter 6, it states clearly:
If the story is libellous or potentially libellous, if you can't prove it and if it is not privileged, don't move it. If it is already on the wire KILL IT AT ONCE.

In this case, the correction (which itself is potentially libellous, I would have thought) has got more prominence than the original story. Go figure...

  1. It purports to have a foreword by
    LOUIS D. BOCCARDI President and Chief Executive Officer
    and to be
    a guide for The Associated Press staff. It explains fundamental principles in libel for working writers and editors.
    Boccardi is kosher.

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