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I'm not as generous as Rachel Maddow. I'm not a fan of the Associated Press, I think they skew their reports toward right-wing readers and consumers, and they are unashamed of their own bias. Still, even for them this is pretty amazing.
As Rachel notes, the thing about the Associated Press is that they are an echo chamber. One article published by the AP will land in every major newspaper and broadcast news site on the web. Indeed, the article giving Rachel (and I) heartburn was easily located on the ABC News website.
The article concerns the District Attorney's race in Wichita, Kansas. With the current DA, a Democrat, stepping down, the race will be between two anti-abortion Republicans. The focus of the AP's article was to say that one of those Republicans will be at a disadvantage because of his service as an assistant District Attorney.
Kevin O'Connor, a former assistant district attorney in Wichita who now works as a special prosecutor for the Kansas attorney general's office, is running against deputy district attorney Marc Bennett. O'Connor has support from Kansans for Life and other high-profile anti-abortion activists, while Bennett has the perhaps too-visible support of his boss.
To understand why that's a liability in this race, it's important to note that Scott Roeder — the abortion opponent serving a life sentence for killing Tiller — once told The Associated Press that he believed the doctor would never be brought to justice as long as Foulston was in office.
The district attorney had refused to allow then-Attorney General Phill Kline to prosecute Tiller in her jurisdiction, resulting in a judge dismissing charges that the doctor had performed illegal late-term abortions. Tiller was later acquitted of misdemeanor charges that he failed to get a second opinion from an independent doctor before performing late-term abortions. Roeder killed the doctor weeks after the jury's verdict.
While Foulston has insisted she was simply upholding the law, many abortion opponents blame her for derailing Kline's prosecution and, ultimately, for Tiller's death.
"If Nola Foulston had done her job with George Tiller, he would still be alive today," said Troy Newman, president of Wichita-based Operation Rescue.
You see what that reporter did?
Dr. Tiller's death is the fault of the district attorney who did not prosecute him? The crazy nutbag holding the gun had nothing to do with it? This is reported and echoed by the Associated Press, uncritically and as though it was fact.
I can't decide which is more disgusting. Quoting Operation Rescue as a credible actor, or the whole slimy argument. But that paragraph about the district attorney refusing to allow the Attorney General to prosecute Tiller might as well read like this, in 50-point Drudge type:
SCOTT ROEDER HAD TO KILL DR. TILLER BECAUSE DISTRICT ATTORNEY WOULDN'T INTERVENE.
What personal responsibility? Where is there some sort of critical examination of the nonsense spewed forth by this reporter, who clearly seems to think the victim should be blamed for his own execution?
I agree with Rachel on this. The AP ought to retract this story in their entirety and they should apologize. It never, ever should have made it into print, much less before Tuesday's primary. If they want respect, they should earn it by owning the despicable thing they tried to do there.