Washington Post Corrects Multiple Pieces Of Story About Passport Denials

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Amber Athey Podcast Columnist
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The Washington Post issued a lengthy editor’s note at the top of an August report blaming the Trump administration for passport denials at the southern border.

The Washington Post reported on Aug. 29 that the Trump administration was not renewing passports for people born near the border. WaPo said the administration was accusing hundreds of Hispanics at the border of using fraudulent birth certificates given to them by midwives, but failed to note until the ninth paragraph that the crackdown started well before Trump took office. (RELATED: WaPo Buries Bush/Obama Connection To Pin State Dept Policy On Trump Admin)

The story has been updated and corrected multiple times since its publication. The Huffington Post reported on Monday that WaPo ignored and “distorted key facts” on the passport renewal denials.

On August 31, the story was corrected to indicate that the passport denials began during the Bush administration, not the Obama administration, as WaPo originally claimed.

“As was noted in an Aug. 31 correction, the State Department began denying passports during the George W. Bush administration, not the Obama administration,” WaPo explained in one portion of the latest editor’s note on the piece.

Another major false claim in the piece stated that there was a “surge” in renewal denials under the Trump administration. The State Department provided data showing that the denials were actually at their highest level in 2015, during the Obama administration. (RELATED: State Department Refutes Washington Post Story)

“After this story was published on Aug. 29, the State Department issued a statement challenging the accuracy of the article and provided previously unreleased data on passport denials. That information has been added, as was indicated in a Sept. 1 editor’s note,” WaPo’s editor’s note said.

The WaPo story also focused on renewal denials to babies born by Jorge Treviño, a well-known doctor near the border who passed away in 2015. WaPo referenced an affidavit with allegations that Treviño had fraudulently issued birth certificates, but failed to mention that the affidavit was submitted “as part of an Obama-era case” and had nothing to do with Trump.

WaPo also incorrectly called Treviño a gynecologist — he is a general practitioner — and did not reach out to his family for comment on the story. The newspaper finally added comments from his daughter on September 13, even though she tried to contact WaPo the day the original story was published.

“On Sept. 13, the story was updated to include comments from the daughter of Jorge Treviño, who had contacted The Post immediately after the story was published. Additional changes have been made to clarify that an affidavit about Treviño was submitted as part of an Obama-era case and to correct a reference to his profession — he was a general practitioner, not a gynecologist,” the editor’s note concluded.

Washington Post Editor’s Note On Passport Denial Story (Screenshot Captured September 17, 2018)

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