Errors From The Press Are Piling Up In The Opening Weeks Of The Trump Administration

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Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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Journalists can’t seem to get their stories straight in the opening weeks of the Trump administration, whether in tweets or in articles where falsehoods have been spread almost daily.

The mistakes have not just been from newer liberal news outlets such The Huffington Post or BuzzFeed, but from legacy media like Reuters, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

What follows are several botched stories or conflicting reports since President Trump took office.

The Trump administration eases sanctions on a Russian intelligence agency.

NBC reported Thursday that the Trump administration was easing sanctions on the FSB, one of Russia’s primary intelligence agencies. Peter Alexander, NBC’s national correspondent, tweeted, “US Treasury Dept easing Obama admin sanctions to allow companies to do transactions with Russia’s FSB, successor org to KGB.”

Less than an hour later, he wrote, “Source familiar w sanctions says it’s a technical fix, planned under Obama, to avoid unintended consequences of cybersanctions.” His initial and incorrect tweet received nearly seven thousand retweets and the correction has less than 300 retweets.

Vanity Fair is still running the uncorrected article: “Russian Stocks Surge As Comrade Trump Eases Relations With Vlad.”

The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice were blindsided by Trump’s executive order on immigration and refugees.

The New York Times came out with a report this past week titled: “How Trump’s Rush to Enact an Immigration Ban Unleashed Global Chaos.”

It stated: “Gen. John F. Kelly, the secretary of homeland security, had dialed in from a Coast Guard plane as he headed back to Washington from Miami. Along with other top officials, he needed guidance from the White House, which had not asked his department for a legal review of the order. Halfway into the briefing, someone on the call looked up at a television in his office. ‘The president is signing the executive order that we’re discussing,’ the official said, stunned.”

Secretary Kelly, however, later strongly denied this report during a press conference Tuesday. “We knew it was coming. It wasn’t a surprise,” Kelly said.

NBC had their own story about Trump blindsiding officials. John Harwood tweeted, “senior Justice official tells [NBC News] that Dept had no input. not sure who in WH is writing/reviewing. standard NSC process not functioning.” This tweet received over 3,000 retweets. (RELATED: NYT/CNBC’s John Harwood Advises Clinton Campaign, Gloats About Provoking Trump At Debate)

A few days later, CNN reported that an internal memo showed that the DOJ had in fact approved Trump’s executive order.

Steve Bannon went to visit Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to convince him to temporarily ban certain green card holders.

The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin forgot to ask the White House for comment about the movements of a White House official for a story he published Saturday.

Rogin reported Saturday: “White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon wanted to stop Kelly in his tracks. Bannon paid a personal and unscheduled visit to Kelly’s Department of Homeland Security office to deliver an order: Don’t issue the waiver. Kelly, according to two administration officials familiar with the confrontation, refused to comply with Bannon’s instruction.”

The report was spread by journalists on Twitter and picked up by New York magazineThe Week, and Mother Jones.

However, an editor’s note was later added to Rogin’s story. It states: “Prior to publication of this column, The Post sought comment from the Department of Homeland Security but not from the White House. We should have done both. After publication, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told The Post that Stephen Bannon did not travel to see Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on the evening of Jan. 28.”

It was also Rogin who reported that the entire senior administrative team at the state department resigned in the opening week of the Trump administration. The columnist failed to mention that only one undersecretary of state stayed in the transition from the Clinton to Bush administration.

The Trump administration forces the resignations of several senior Secret Service officials.

The Atlantic’s Washington editor-at-large Steve Clemons tweeted Friday that Secret Service management level personnel were forced to resign Thursday night and escorted out of the Eisenhower executive office building. He subsequently tweeted that one of these “fired” Secret Service agents “speculates” that Trump is “restructuring the service.”

A Secret Service spokeswoman told The Daily Caller that Clemons’ reporting is “completely false.” The Secret Service even tweeted at him “Still waiting for you to contact us for official statement.” Clemons has not deleted his false tweets which have received thousands of retweets.

Trump thinks Sean Spicer overdid it in his first appearance. Or does he?

White House press secretary Sean Spicer used his first appearance behind the podium on Jan. 21 to scold the press for what he perceived as dishonest reporting about the crowd size at Trump’s inauguration. Spicer was aggressive and loud during his statement, and The New York Times subsequently reported that day that Trump believed Spicer went too far.

Two days later, The Washington Post reported: “In Trump’s mind, Spicer’s attack on the news media was not forceful enough.”

The Associated Press and CNN can’t agree whether Trump threatened to send troops into Mexico. 

The AP, arguably America’s most reputable news source, reported Wednesday that President Trump threatened to send troops into Mexico while on the phone with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. “You have a bunch of bad hombres down there,” Trump told Peña Nieto in the excerpt provided to the AP. “You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down to take care of it.”

Hours later, however, CNN would report that the AP excerpt was an internal readout of the call and not the actual transcript. CNN said Trump actually told Peña Nieto, “You have some pretty tough hombres in Mexico that you may need help with. We are willing to help with that big-league, but they have be knocked out and you have not done a good job knocking them out.”

“The excerpt of the transcript obtained by CNN differs with an official internal readout of the call that wrongly suggested Trump was contemplating sending troops to the border in a hostile way,” the CNN report said. This report by CNN came shortly after Jim Acosta, CNN’s White House correspondent, tweeted, “Source on Trump foreign leader calls says POTUS offered EPN the help of US troops to help get the ‘bad hombres.'”

The White House denied that the AP report was true, but the following day said that Trump’s comments were “lighthearted,” making it unclear if he indeed threatened to send troops into Mexico.

Reuters screws up the timing of Trump’s executive order.

Reuters confidently reported two weeks ago: “U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign executive orders starting on Wednesday that include a temporary ban on most refugees and a suspension of visas for citizens of Syria and six other Middle Eastern and African countries.”

The order from Trump, however, came that Friday. Reuters also reported Thursday that, “Yemeni officials say warships, likely American, shell al Qaeda positions.” Another Reuters reporter subsequently stated that “US officials say this is not true.”