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TV Station Posts 'Test Report' Saying Bush Wins Presidency

Paul Joseph Watson | October 8 2004

WBAY TV in Green Bay, Wisconsin ran an AP article reporting that Bush has won the election, weeks before the election is to take place. (Click here for enlargement."

The article reads, "At this hour, President Bush has won re-election as president by a 47 percent to 43 percent margin in the popular vote nationwide. Ralph Nader has 1 percent of the vote nationwide. That's with 51 percent of the precincts reporting."

WBAY withdrew the article after 35 minutes claiming it was a 'test story' which was mistakenly picked up by their automating software.

Why would the Associated Press be sending out articles of this nature three weeks before the election? On what basis do simple format news articles need to be tested?

The original article page now reads, "You have reached a page that is currently unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please use your browser's BACK button to return to the previous page."

WBAY then issued a seperate article which outlined why the article was posted in the first place. The text of that article is reprinted below.

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Correction: President Bush Did Not Win Election on October 7

With less than a month before the presidential election, an Associated Press test article declaring President Bush the winner was picked up by WBAY.com's automated system. The article was not recognized by our web host's system as a test message.

The mistake was picked up by a discussion group on Daily Kos, prompting a phone call that alerted us to the problem. Our web host, WorldNow, removed the story in less than five minutes. The article appeared on WBAY.com for 35 minutes.

WBAY apologizes for the error, and we took quick action to correct it.

The Associated Press tests election results about four times a week leading up to elections, especially one as crucial as a presidential election, to help TV stations and newspapers make sure they are receiving the numbers. The numbers are random with every test; if this error happened a day sooner or a day later, it could've been Senator Kerry or Ralph Nader who was declared the winner.

WBAY.com automatically receives news from the Associated Press on national, state, political, entertainment and other topics, allowing our web site to be updated throughout the day with more articles than we could publish on the web site by our staff alone.

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