The Associated Press may be bucking a recent trend of failing to correct factual errors. As a result of CAMERA’s communication today with a senior editor regarding two errors in a Paul Garwood article, AP corrected a statistic on U.S. aid to Egypt. Garwood had said American aid totaled just $2 billion since 1979; the actual figure since 1979 is more than $60 billion. The error and correction follow:
Error (Associated Press, Paul Garwood, 2/3/05): Strong ties with the United States, the source of more than $2 billion worth of military aid and civil aid since Egypt signed its 1979 peace treaty with Israel. . .
(Updated story, 2/3/05): Strong ties with the United States, the source of more than $2 billion per year worth of military and civil aid since Egypt signed its 1979 peace treaty with Israel. . . (Emphasis added)
It is particularly beneficial to get wire stories corrected the same day with updated stories because then the errors never make it into newspapers around the world.
The Associated Press, however, has more room to improve in the corrections department. The second error is Garwood’s contention that “the cycle of Palestinian-Israeli bloodshed [was] sparked by Sharon's September 2000 visit to a revered Muslim shrine in Jerusalem.” The contention that Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount (Judaism’s most sacred site, in addition to being a Muslim shrine) sparked the intifada–passed off in this news article as fact–is contradicted by earlier AP coverage. A March 2, 2001 article from Sidon, Lebanon begins:
A Palestinian Cabinet minister said Friday that the 5-month-old uprising against Israel was planned after peace failed in July, contradicting contentions it was a spontaneous outburst by Palestinians.
Communications Minister Imad Falouji said during a PLO rally that it was a mistake to think the uprising, in which more than 400 people have been killed, was sparked by Israeli Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in late September. (“Palestinian Cabinet minister says Palestinian uprising was planned”)