The media world is reeling from a series of high profile retractions and corrections from some of the biggest names in broadcast and print. ABC, CNN and The Washington Post have all been accused of publishing ‘fake news’ by the White House over the last week. All stories have resulted in corrections, retractions or deletions.
When asked about the series of journalistic errors and if they are different from organized disinformation, Sanders said:
The president is calling out a very direct and false accusation lodged against him. There was nothing more than an individual trying to put their bias into their reporting, and something that frankly has gotten a little bit out of control. We have seen it time and time again over the last couple of weeks. A number of outlets have had to retract and change and rewrite and make editor’s note to a number of different stories. Some of them with major impacts including moving markets.
This is a big problem.
We feel it should be taken seriously.
After the answer, CNN’s Jim Acosta piped up, complaining that “journalists make honest mistakes and this does not make them fake news.”
Sanders began to respond to Acosta, saying, “Journalists make honest mistakes, they should own up to them…” but the press secretary was interrupted mid sentence by Acosta.
Sanders then let the room know who was at the podium, saying loudly, “I am sorry — I am not finished.”
There’s a very big difference between making honest mistakes and purposely misleading the American people. Something that happens regularly. You cannot say that it is an honest mistake when you are purposely putting out information that you know to be false or when you’re taking information that has not been validated, hasn’t been offered with any credibility and continually denied by a number of people including people with direct knowledge of an instance. I am speaking about the number of reports over the last couple weeks. I am stating that there should be a certain level of responsibility in that process.
When asked to name a specific instance of misleading reporting, Sanders did not have to think twice:
The ABC report by Brian Ross I think those misleading, and that is very telling that individual had to be suspended because of that reporting. I think that shows the network took it seriously and recognized that it was a problem.
Ross was suspended without pay for an inaccurate report he took to air about Trump and Russia.