Associated Press Reportedly Fires Reporter Over Fake News on 'Russian Missile Hitting Poland'
09:35 GMT 22.11.2022 (Updated: 09:36 GMT 22.11.2022)
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Associated Press has fired a journalist who used erroneous information from a source to report that the missile that fell in Poland and killed two last week had allegedly been launched by Russia, media reported on Tuesday.
In an article dated November 15, journalist James LaPorta reported that an unnamed "senior U.S. intelligence official says Russian missiles crossed into NATO member Poland, killing two people." Through Associated Press' alert service, the article was picked up by numerous other media, thus raising public fear over a direct conflict between Russia and the military alliance.
The next day, on November 16, the Associated Press took down the report and replaced it with an editor's note saying that the anonymous source had been wrong and that "subsequent reporting showed that the missiles were Russian-made and most likely fired by Ukraine in defense against a Russian attack."
LaPorta was fired following a brief investigation, people at Associated Press told The Washington Post. The newspaper quoted an AP spokesperson as saying that the decisions on firing staff were not "based on isolated incidents."
© AFP 2023 / WOJTEK RADWANSKIAerial view taken on November 17, 2022 shows the site where a missile strike killed two men in the eastern Poland village of Przewodow, near the border with Ukraine on November 15, 2022.
Aerial view taken on November 17, 2022 shows the site where a missile strike killed two men in the eastern Poland village of Przewodow, near the border with Ukraine on November 15, 2022.
© AFP 2023 / WOJTEK RADWANSKI
Meanwhile, the editor of the scandalous article, John Leicester, has kept his job, according to the Daily Beast tabloid.
The missile fell on Poland on November 15. Initial reports suggested there were two missiles, but the Polish Foreign Ministry clarified there was only one, believed to be Russian-made. At the time, Polish President Andrzej Duda stated that Warsaw had no accurate information about the origin of the missile, but the next day, he said that it most likely belonged to Ukraine.
NATO and the United States have also concluded that the missile had not been fired from Russia.
The Russian Defense Ministry, in turn, has said that Russian forces launched no strikes on targets near the Ukrainian-Polish border that day, and that the released photos of the missile's debris indicated it was not Russian. According to Moscow, the emphasis put on the missile's Russian origin in statements and media reports was a deliberate provocation aimed at escalating the situation around Ukraine.