Multiple news outlets ran a story with fake quotes attributed to former President Donald Trump, according to a now-released recording of Trump’s call with Frances Watson, the chief investigator of the Georgia secretary of state’s office.
The Washington Post first reported the false quotes via an anonymous source in January and said that Trump urged Watson to “find the fraud,” adding she’d be a “national hero.” The Post updated its article with a lengthy correction on March 11 after a recording of the phone call revealed no such quotes from Trump.
In the audio, Trump said he won the 2020 election and pushed Watson to look into ballots in Fulton County, Georgia, as he was convinced there was “dishonesty” going on there. The former president also told Watson she had “the most important job in the country right now” – not, as The Post claimed, that she’d be a “national hero” if she found fraud.
Multiple publications swiftly followed The Post’s reporting, citing both the newspaper and the anonymous source as evidence. CNN published an article on the phone call declaring “Trump pressured Georgia elections investigator to ‘find the fraud’ in 2020 election.'”
The network issued an “editor’s note” on March 15 after The Post’s quotes were determined to be inaccurate. The “editor’s note” came after a request for comment from the Daily Caller on Monday.
real bad. this quote was and still is everywhere. pic.twitter.com/jZwQ9rPwRp
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) March 15, 2021
“An earlier version of this story, published January 9, presented paraphrasing of the President’s comments to the Georgia elections investigator as direct quotes. The story has been updated following the discovery of an audio recording of the call,” CNN’s article, updated Monday afternoon, now reads.
The note also links to a new article published early Monday about the recording, which was found in Watson’s trash folder on her device. (RELATED: Trump Waged All-Out War Against Georgia Republicans On Twitter While Ignoring Warnock And Ossoff In Leadup To Runoffs)
Other publications that ran with the story have yet to issue any corrections. Vox, for example, cited The Post’s report and ran with the false quotes.
Vox did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller about its plans to correct the article.
Both ABC News and NBC News ran the fabricated Trump quotes as well. Neither outlet responded to a request for comment from the Daily Caller nor issued a correction by the time of this story’s publication.
After being the first news outlet to report the fake quotes, The Post appears to have also been the first to issue a correction. The correction came the same day as The Wall Street Journal’s article, which first published the audio recording of Trump’s phone call with Watson.
Given the WSJ published the recording in an article on March 11, the various other publications that ran with the story have had days to correct the record.