Major media outlets rushed to characterize the entire WhiteHouse.gov switch over as the Trump administration selectively deleting pages lauding gay rights and climate change.
All of those pages result in the same 404 “not found” error. The media, however, never pointed out that they were missing.
Instead, TechCrunch demanded to know why a page, according to its own screenshot, with the title “President Obama and the LGBT Community” and a giant picture of former President Barack Obama, were taken down.
CBS News blared: “Moments after Donald Trump became president, the White House’s LGBT rights page disappeared.”
People Magazine wrote, “Trump’s White House Website Takes Down Official Pages on Civil Rights, Climate Change, LGBT Rights.”
The Daily Beast: “Trump’s WhiteHouse.Gov Disappears Civil Rights, Climate Change, LGBT Rights.”
Forbes said the pages had “gone missing,” and Vox got in on the action. The Chicago Tribtune wrote that Trump had “revised” the website “to remove climate change.”
On Facebook, the news articles became a rallying cry for people using them as a reason to go to the protest marches Saturday.
In fact, almost all pages were gone, for the simple and obvious reason that Obama’s website had been replaced with a new website that inherited the same domain, just as all presidents do. Even if President Donald Trump’s website had launched with mountains of content about issues like gay rights, the Obama pages would still have “disappeared,” and there’s no reason to expect Trump’s pages would share the same URL.
As might be expected on day one, Trump’s website actually doesn’t have many pages on many topics.
The Bush site shows that when he was president, there was a page titled, whitehouse.gov/kids. During the Obama years, going to that site would bring up the same 404 error as can be seen now. Reporters did not suggest that Obama hated children.
Buried among hundreds of such comments were factual observations like this one: “As a IT professional I understand what happen [sic] to the whitehouse.gov website today. The old site was transferred and a brand new site was brought online.”
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