The Associated Press reports today that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) misstated the ethics rules when defending his receiving of boxing seats and will no longer accept tickets to boxing matches to avoid the appearance of any impropriety. Unfortunately for the AP this story continues to misslead readers. Paul Kiel explains:
In an interview that appeared in Wednesday’s The Las Vegas Review-Journal, Reid said that the exception for state agencies only applied to Senators from the state in question. Therefore, the exception applied to him and not Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who paid for his seat, because he was from out of state.
It has nothing to do with what state you’re from. The AP caught that and brought it to Reid’s people. They admitted the AP was right on this point and Reid was wrong. And that’s how Solomon can write that Reid “acknowledged Wednesday night he misstated the ethics rules governing his acceptance of free boxing tickets.” … But let’s be clear: What Reid was wrong about wasn’t whether he was allowed to take the tickets. He was wrong about whether McCain was allowed to because he was from out of state. On the larger question, whether he was permitted to accept the tickets, Reid didn’t admit to being wrong because he wasn’t. Zinging Reid on his error would certainly be in order.
Here is the misleading lede from the AP:
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid learned that what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas after all. A day after The Associated Press reported Reid accepted free ringside seats to boxing matches from a Nevada agency trying to influence him on federal boxing legislation, the senator offered his own ethics justification to a home state audience in Las Vegas.
And he vowed to keep taking such gifts.
But Reid’s comments Tuesday quickly reached Washington, where several ethics experts concluded the Senate leader had misstated the Senate rules to his constituents.
Within hours of being questioned by AP about the ethics experts’ assertions, Reid’s office abruptly reversed course and acknowledged Wednesday night he had misspoken about the ethics rules.
Now, I’m all for muckraking and uncovering what our elected officials are up to in Washington — what they are doing in broad daylight. But writing a piece that seems intent on misleading the reader is unethical in itself. We already have enough disillusionment with our leaders who actually are corrupt. We don’t need some hatchet job article that makes somebody who doesn’t seem to have done anything wrong look corrupt. I’m sure that there’s more corruption and graft going on in earmarking and government contracting. If the AP wants to break a story why don’t they focus there instead of following dead-end trails that force them to make stuff up.