RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – News that the Associated Press fired three journalists, including longtime Virginia political reporter Bob Lewis, disappointed Virginia’s governor.
“While I think that it is good to elevate the standard in the media,” Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said when asked about the firing, “it appears that this was a mistake as opposed to a knowing violation of journalistic standards. I’ve always had a high regard for Bob Lewis and I’m disappointed and sad for him and his family.”
Governor McDonnell said he has known Lewis for most of the 22 years he has spent in public office.
"I thought he was a tough, but fair and straightforward reporter. I don't know all the facts and what the AP thought the tremendous credibility flaws were in his story, but I think in every area of public life we have a high duty to be responsible and be held accountable and to make sure what is printed or broadcast is fair and accurate as human beings can make it."
On Monday Lewis confirmed to CBS 6 anchor Bill Fitzgerald that he had been fired over a mistake he made in a report published earlier this month about Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. The Associated Press has yet to comment or confirm the firings.
In the article, which the AP retracted less than two hours after it was published Oct. 9, Lewis reported McAuliffe may have "lied to a federal official" looking into the candidate's investment ties with known felon. As it turned out, the "T.M." referenced in the documents did not stand for Terry McAuliffe.
The Huffington Post's Michael Calderone reported two other AP editors lost their jobs as a result of the article. The Huffington Post also reported the News Media Guild filed a grievance over the firings.