WaPo, Atlantic Rush To Change Stories After Labeling Louis Farrakhan ‘Far Right’ In Facebook Ban Story

Scott Morefield | Reporter

Two major media outlets on Thursday described Nation of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan as “far right” in stories about Facebook and Instagram’s most recent platform ban.

Before changing their stories later, both The Washington Post and The Atlantic at first lumped Farrakhan in with right-wing figures Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Paul Nehlen and Laura Loomer in stories describing the social media giants’ latest attempt to regulate online speech.

“Facebook said on Thursday it has permanently banned several far-right figures and organizations including Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan …” the Post article’s lede by Elizabeth Dwoskin read. (RELATED: Don Jr.: The ‘Alliance’ Between Big Tech And The Activist Left ‘Prevents People From Being Heard’)

Later, the correction called Farrakhan an “extremist leader who has espoused anti-Semitic views.” The reworded article included “anti-Semitic figures” to describe the Nation of Islam leader:

Correction: Louis Farrakhan is an extremist leader who has espoused anti-Semitic views. An earlier version of this story and headline incorrectly included him in a list of far-right leaders.

Facebook said on Thursday it has permanently banned several far-right and anti-Semitic figures and organizations, including Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, Infowars host Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos and Laura Loomer, for being “dangerous,” a sign that the social network is more aggressively enforcing its hate speech policies under pressure from civil rights groups.

The Atlantic made the same mistake.

The original Atlantic write-up by Taylor Lorenz reads:

In an effort to contain misinformation and extremism that has increasingly spread across the platform, Instagram has banned several prominent right-wing extremists.

Specifically, Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, have banned Alex Jones, Infowars, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, Paul Nehlen, and Louis Farrakhan under their policies against dangerous individuals and organizations.

The Atlantic story header – screengrab

The new write-up separated the ideologies of the extremists mentioned in the post:

In an effort to contain misinformation and extremism that have spread across the platforms, Instagram and its parent company, Facebook, have banned several prominent right-wing extremists including Alex Jones, Infowars, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson, Laura Loomer, and Paul Nehlen under their policies against dangerous individuals and organizations. They also banned Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has repeatedly made anti-semitic statements.

The Atlantic’s header, however, remained the same at the time this story was published.

The New York Times’ social media team even got in on the action with a tweet that seemed to lump Farrakhan in with “other fringe right-wing personalities.”

New York Times tweet (Twitter screengrab)

Axios characterized the Nation of Islam leader as “far right” in its email alert:

The Washington Post also changed their headline to read “extremist leaders,” but The DC Examiner’s Julio Rosas saved a version of the original and posted the link via Twitter:

The “buried lede,” according to Rosas, is Farrakhan’s history of meeting with left-wing leaders.

In addition to recently uncovered pictures and footage of the Nation of Islam founder and prominent anti-Semite posing and gladhanding with prominent Democrats from Barack Obama to Maxine Waters over a decade ago, Farrakhan found time just last September to pose for a picture with former Attorney General Eric Holder at singer Aretha Franklin’s funeral, where he sat in the front row.

Meanwhile, the reaction on Twitter was swift and brutal:

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Tags : louis farrakhan nation of islam the atlantic the washington post
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