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AP stealth edits news story that initially contained obviously biased anti-Trump language

A man walks out of The Associated Press headquarters on Jan. 9, 2003, in New York City. An Associated Press story from Tuesday stated as fact that Trump was "fearmongering" and trying to "stoke fears" in his supporters in order to get them to vote. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

In an article Tuesday, The Associated Press accused President Donald Trump of trying to make the November midterm elections about “fearmongering” and of stoking “anxiety” about the migrant caravan from Central America. The AP prides itself on having a system in place that “safeguards AP stories from bias and inaccuracies.”

After being online for a few hours, that article has since been changed; with a new headline, two new writers and no editor's note indicating that any changes to the story were made.

What happened?

An AP article that was published Tuesday morning covered Trump's announcement that he would end birthright citizenship in the United States by executive order — a proposal which would likely be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court if he did actually sign an executive order to that effect. The initial version of this article was significantly more partisan than the updated version.

The second paragraph of the original Associated Press article read:

With seven days to go before high-stakes elections that he has sought to focus on fearmongering over immigration, Trump made the comments to “Axios on HBO.” Trump, seeking to energize his supporters and help Republicans keep control of Congress, has stoked anxiety about a caravan of Central American migrants making its way to the U.S.-Mexico border.

The new second paragraph of the significantly altered Associated Press article reads:

With his eyes squarely on next Tuesday’s elections, President Donald Trump is rushing out hardline immigration declarations, promises and actions as he tries to mobilize supporters to retain Republican control of Congress. His own campaign in 2016 concentrated on border fears, and that’s his final-week focus in the midterm fight.

Notably, the word “fearmongering” has been removed, as has the reference to how Trump has “stoked anxiety.” None of those three words appear anywhere in the updated version of the story.

The first few paragraphs of the original version of the Associated Press story. This story has since been updated. (Image source: Associated Press screenshot)

While most of the article has been changed, at least four paragraphs were reproduced verbatim or with only minor changes (like the addition of the word “however ”). Several other portions of the text were similar, but more substantially rewritten. The original article had two reporters on the byline: Laurie Kellman and Catherine Lucey, while the second did not have Kellman, and included Jill Colvin and Colleen Long.

In addition to the similarities, links to the original article now go to the updated version. An Associated Press tweet of the article also includes the new headline (“Trump targets citizenship, stokes pre-election migrant fears”) in the preview, but still has the old headline in the caption (“Trump says he wants to order the end of birthright citizenship for some U.S.-born babies”).

What else?

According to its “News Values and Principles” page on its website, The Associated Press says: “We are The Associated Press. We have a long-standing role setting the industry standard for ethics in journalism. It is our job — more than ever before — to report the news accurately and honestly.”

It also says that “[j]ournalists at The Associated Press utilize a set of standards and practices that safeguards AP stories from bias and inaccuracies.”

TheBlaze has reached out to The Associated Press by email and by phone for comment, but has not received a response.

One last thing…
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