The Associated Press reporter canned an erroneous report claiming Russia had fired a missile at a NATO country
An award-winning Associated Press reporter got the boot Monday after claiming a “senior US intelligence official” said Russia fired a missile at Poland. Before the AP offered a correction, 35-year-old James LaPorta’s report – which contained a false proposal with potentially catastrophic and nuclear ramifications – was widely circulated, sparking panic and stoking geopolitical tensions.
On November 15, Russia launched brutal rocket fire at power infrastructure in western Ukraine. During the attack Ukrainian air defenses allegedly a misguided missile fired at Poland.
The resulting explosion rocked the Polish village of Przewodów, just five miles from the Ukrainian border. Two farm workers were killed.
NATO, Polish and American leaders hinted shortly after the blast that it was not a direct Russian attack.
Polish Presidential Advisor Jakub Kumoch said Days later, Polish broadcaster TVN24 reported that there was “a lot of evidence that one of the (Ukrainian) missiles used to launch a Russian missile missed the target. Their self-destruct system didn’t work, and unfortunately that missile resulted in one Tragedy.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called the claim that the blast was caused by Ukraine a “conspiracy theory”.
Fake news, real consequences
Hours after the incident, the Associated Press published a news piece co-authored by LaPorta and reporter John Leicester, which said: “A senior US intelligence official says Russian missiles entered NATO member Poland and killed two people.”
A Russian attack on Poland would have been enough to trigger it Articles 4 and 5 of the NATO charter, possibly putting the US in direct conflict with the nuclear power.
The Washington Post written down that the AP report was sent to and seen by thousands of news outlets. News organizations often reprint reports from the AP.
CNN Solidified The narrative reporting that Poland “confirms a Russian-made missile” was behind the blast. CNN reportedly did not mention how the Ukrainian military is also using Russian-made weapons.
Fox News and the Daily Mail similarly carried the AP reporter’s suggestion, with the former running an article entitled “Russian missiles enter NATO member Poland, killing 2: senior US intelligence official‘, and the latter said: ”Russian bombs’ kill two in POLAND.’
CBS Evening News tweeted: “RUSSIAN MISSILE STRIKE: Two Russian missiles crossed Ukraine’s border into Poland, a NATO country, killing two civilians.”
In addition to cable news channels and print news organizations spreading the wrong information, social media influencers began banging the war drums based on the AP report, signaling that Russia’s war on Ukraine had finally spilled over into a NATO country.
For example, Irish writer Jennifer Cassidy took the AP’s claim to her 167,000 or more Twitter followers:
Although it is unclear whether he spoke out on the basis of the AP report, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy issued a forceful statement expression, saying“Russian missiles hit Poland, the territory of our friendly country. People died.”
If LaPorta’s news alert were true, millions of people would have been immediately informed of the facts of the matter. Unfortunately that was not the case.
After the original report was updated several times, the AP pointed out that a new assessment by three US officials “contradicts information contradicting the original article.” Shortly thereafter was the article allegedly taken offline.
The AP granted a revocation Later that day he wrote: “In earlier versions of a story published on November 15, 2022, The Associated Press incorrectly reported, based on information from a senior American intelligence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, that Russian missiles had crossed and killed Poland Two people. Subsequent reports indicated that the missiles were manufactured in Russia and most likely launched by Ukraine in defense against a Russian attack.”
On November 21, LaPorta, a former US Marine serving in Afghanistan, was discharged. Co-byliner Leicester is reportedly still working at AP.
An AP spokesman did not comment on LaPorta’s firing said The Daily Beast that The Associated Press’s “rigorous editorial standards and practices are critical to AP’s mission as an independent news organization using anonymous sources.”
Typically, the AP “requires more than one source when the sourcing is anonymous,” with one exception when a source is an authoritative person who “provides information that is sufficiently detailed that there is no doubt as to its accuracy.”
The Washington Post reported that LaPorta received and passed on the tip of the suspected US intelligence agent in an electronic message around 1:30 p.m. on November 15.
An editor asked whether to issue a warning or seek “confirmation from another source and/or Poland” based on LaPorta’s tip.
A second editor said she would “vote” to publish a warning, noting that she “couldn’t imagine one US intelligence officials would be wrong to.”
Although these exchanges may hint at broader guilt, the Post reported, based on an anonymous source at the AP, that LaPorta allegedly told its editors that a senior executive had already verified the source of his tip, though that executive does not verify the missile story have .
AP spokeswoman Lauren Easton pointed out that there will likely be no discipline for an AP editor.
https://www.theblaze.com/news/associated-press-reporter-canned-over-report-suggesting-russia-had-launched-a-missile-into-a-nato-country The Associated Press reporter canned an erroneous report claiming Russia had fired a missile at a NATO country