Associated Press continues to stand by a story that strongly implies but never substantiates that Republican Senate Candidate Kevin Nicholson’s consulting work for companies led to layoffs. And Nicholson’s campaign continues to push back. The story, in which AP acknowledges that it is based on information supplied by the liberal advocacy group American Bridge, says that companies Nicholson consulted for laid off nearly 1,900 people since 2015, shutting down plants in Wisconsin and other states as they moved to save money and shift production overseas.
Nicholson campaign spokeswoman Ronica Cleary said neither Nicholson nor his employer, ghSMART was involved in decisions concerning layoffs or shuttering facilities. Nicholson complained shortly after the piece ran that AP’s Scott Bauer, author of the piece, didn’t reach out to ghSMART for comment:
Do you know @sbauerAP from the @AP didn't even call my firm before he wrote Friday's hit piece? I explained that my firm doesn't do this kind of work, and he didn't have the professionalism to check w/ them to confirm. #FakeNews https://t.co/Q6Q1mYfroQ pic.twitter.com/rhBbRuv4S2
— Kevin Nicholson (@KevinMNicholson) July 23, 2018
Media Trackers reached out to Bauer, asking the following questions:
Good afternoon Scott:I saw this response to your latest piece on NicholsonDid you contact his firm? Or the campaign? Did you take any steps to validate the claims by American Bridge?I’m inquiring for a Media Trackers piece.Thanks.
Good afternoon to you. Scott passed your note to me.
In answer to your questions, we talked with the Nicholson campaign over several days before publishing a story. They directed us to portions of the ghSMART website, which we quoted from. As you see, we also quoted the campaign directly, and prominently in the story.
The actions taken by companies with whom Mr. Nicholson contracted aren’t in dispute.
We shared Glass’ response with Cleary, who responded via email:
“The AP decided to carry water for Democrat-attack group American Bridge. The AP’s lack of understanding of ghSMART’s products and services does not excuse writing such a blatantly partisan attack article with so many falsehoods. As we stated to the AP directly: ‘ghSMART has nothing to do with the type of decisions described in Scott Bauer’s AP article.’ The AP used their ignorance of the industry as cover to connect Kevin with decisions unrelated to his or his firm’s work. In fact, journalistic integrity clearly necessitated a call to ghSMART to confirm the nature of the work that the firm does. This article is professional misconduct.”
Cleary then provided detailed bullet points that sharply criticize the piece:
· The AP took inaccurate research from George Soros-funded Democrat attack group American Bridge (https://en.wikipedia.org/
wiki/American_Bridge_21st_ Century) to write a news article. While they did disclose this in the article, American Bridge’s entire purpose was to get a headline they can use in an attack ad – and the AP was complicit and more than willing to play this role. Kevin has been contacted by other journalists who asked him about the exact same research dump from American Bridge, Kevin responded, and those journalists chose not to write about it, recognizing that to do so would be inaccurate and unethical.
· The AP wrote an article that completely mischaracterized the work of ghSMART, the firm where Kevin works. Furthermore, they failed to contact the firm directly to test the veracity of what they reported.
· The AP quoted an “expert” who didn’t understand the nature of ghSMART’s work. And the AP chose to not try to understand the nature of the work ghSMART does, despite Kevin’s campaign spokesperson pointing them directly to case studies (https://ghsmart.com/clients/
our-approach/) and books from the firm (https://ghsmart.com/clients/ books-articles-and-white- pages/) – NONE of which have anything to do with cutting jobs.
· Because the nature of the work of ghSMART was in dispute – as referenced by us calling the allegations by the AP a “lie” – journalistic ethics clearly necessitated a call to ghSMART for comment.
· The AP reporter’s lack of understanding of ghSMART’s products and services does not excuse their having written such an ignorant article, a clear partisan attack.
· As we stated to the AP directly, ghSMART has nothing to do with the type of decisions described in the AP article in question. ghSMART helps companies select their top leaders, and definitively doesn’t do strategy work related to reorganizations leading to job cuts. To suggest otherwise is like blaming the Packers for a Brewers loss.