Politics

Busted! Journos Rush To Spread Fake News Following Trump’s Latest Press Conference

CNN

Ian Miles Cheong Contributor

Donald Trump gave a speech addressing the violence this past weekend in Charlottesville.

During his speech, the President asked if the “alt-left” bore as much responsibility for the chaos as its extremist counterparts on the alt-right. Following the publication of an erroneous transcript, journalists and liberal pundits are spreading fake news about what Trump actually said in a rush to condemn him.

Politico’s White House reporter Annie Karni was among the first to falsely highlight that Trump had referred to the alt-right as “us” in his speech. “Just noticed the use of ‘us’ in this transcript,” wrote Karni in a now-deleted tweet.

“Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at us?” she wrongly quoted the president as saying

Annie Karni tweets about Donald Trump (Screenshot: Twitter)

Annie Karni tweets about Donald Trump (Screenshot: Twitter)

Speaking to the press, Trump stated that members of the “alt-left” (which is commonly understood to be made up of Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and other social justice groups) were equally responsible for violence as their alt-right counterparts.

In the speech, Trump clearly says “Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at ‘em?”

As Karni’s tweet made the rounds on Twitter, some—including CNN’s Brian Stelter cast some doubt on the transcript. “Transcript may be funky,” he wrote.

Others, like New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, were less discerning and more eager to spread the fake news to thousands of her followers.

Haberman corrected herself after dozens of people who listened to the clip pointed out the falsehood.

Despite her corrections, variations of the fake news continued to circulate on Twitter as some. One user, Brian Klaas, jumped to erroneous conclusions and wondered if Trump had made a Freudian slip. “Trump lumps himself with his white supremacist supporters,” wrote Klaas in a now-deleted tweet.

Brian Klass tweet (screenshot: Twitter)

Brian Klass tweet (screenshot: Twitter)

The fake news stems from Politico’s inaccurate transcription of Donald Trump’s speech. A snapshot of the transcript on Archive.is reveals the presence of the fake quote.

Politico archived article (Screenshot: archive.is)

Politico archived article (Screenshot: archive.is)

The updated version of the transcript fixed the error, but did not acknowledge that any edits were made. Following complaints on Twitter, the transcript has been updated with a correction at the bottom.

Politico fixed article (Screenshot: archive.is)

Politico fixed article (Screenshot: archive.is)

“In a review of the audio, we could not definitively discern Trump’s exact words at that moment in the news conference,” the site claims. Rather puzzlingly, Politico had no problem peppering “REPORTERS YELL INDISTINCTLY” throughout the piece.

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.