Sep 11 2002

AP Clarifies Report on Florida Ballots

The Associated Press has issued a clarification to a story highlighted in a recent FAIR action alert.

On September 3, FAIR alerted readers to an August 25 story about Florida secretary of state Katherine Harris. In the piece, the AP recalled the ballot recounts in Florida this way: “Some unofficial ballot inspections paid for by consortiums of news agencies showed Bush winning by varying margins.”

As FAIR pointed out, the Associated Press, itself a member of the main media consortium recounting Florida ballots, had incorrectly stated its own findings. As the AP originally reported it, “A full, statewide recount of all undervotes and overvotes could have erased Bush’s 537-vote victory and put Gore ahead by a tiny margin ranging from 42 to 171 votes, depending on how valid votes are defined.”

Days after the FAIR action alert, the Associated Press issuing the following clarification:

AP Clarifies Harris Book Story Fri Sep 6,11:18 AM ET

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – In an Aug. 25 story on former Secretary of State Katherine Harris’ upcoming book, The Associated Press reported that some inspections by news organizations of uncounted Florida ballots in the 2000 presidential race showed George W. Bush winning more votes than Al Gore.

The story should also have noted that some scenarios showed Gore coming out ahead. For example, a vote-by-vote review of untallied ballots by The Associated Press and seven other news organizations found Bush would have narrowly prevailed in the partial recounts sought by Gore, but that Gore would have finished ahead by the barest of margins had he pursued and gained a complete statewide recount.



Thanks to the many FAIR activists who contacted the AP to request this clarification.