Bob Lewis, AP Reporter, Fired Over Erroneous Virginia Political Story: Report

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
October 21, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Bob Lewis, an Associated Press reporter, was fired for his erroneous story about Terry McAuliffe, who is campaigning to be the next governor of Virginia.

Lewis was initially suspended after publishing the report, alleging that Terry McAuliffe, a contender for Virginia governor, lied to a federal official about a death benefits scam.

The Associated Press retracted the story on the same day.

“The initial alert moved on AP’s Virginia state wire at 9:45 p.m.,” AP spokesperson Paul Colford told Poynter via email. “The story was withdrawn one hour and 38 minutes later. That was an hour and 38 minutes too long.”

Lewis said via Twitter: “The error was mine and I take responsibility for it.”

Now, according to the Huffington Post, Lewis has been fired over the story.

Lewis was a political writer based in Richmond, Virginia. He covered politics, elections, and government, he says on his Twitter page.

Sources also said that Dena Potter, a news editor for the Associated Press for Virginia and West Virginia, was also fired. 

No one confirmed the firings on record. 

The Virginia governors race will end with a vote on November 5. 

Bob McDonnell, the current governor, is prevented by term limits to run again. Auliffee, a Democrat; Republican Ken Cuccinelli; and Libertarian Robert Sarvis are vying to replace him.

After Lewis said on Twitter he took responsibility for the error, people responded.

“One of the best reporters in VA,” said Ben Tribbett. “No other would survive this.”

“Classy move by one of best reporters in the business,” said Mo Elleithee.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.