Several legacy media outlets failed to correct their headlines after a Wednesday report proved that they were false.
During a June 1, 2020 protest, Park Police cleared demonstrators from the area between Lafayette Square and St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C. After police cleared the area, then-President Donald Trump walked through in order to take a photo in front of St. John’s church holding a bible.
Legacy media was quick to report that police had cleared the area so that Trump could walk through for the photo. Cable news programs including CNN and Good Morning America slammed the former president for allegedly tear-gassing peaceful protesters, and even President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris tweeted about the incident. (RELATED: Trump Thanks Inspector General For ‘Exonerating’ Him Over Lafayette Park)
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris both tweeted that Trump had protesters tear gassed for a photo op.
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) June 9, 2021
A Wednesday report from Interior Department Inspector General Mark Greenblatt determined that the Park Police had planned to clear the area long before anyone knew of Trump’s plans to take the photo, and that the president’s plans had no influence over the police’s decision to clear it. Washington, D.C., police did use tear gas but the Park Police did not, according to the report.
Park police had cleared the area in order to install extra fencing after the riots that took place in the city May 30 and 31, the report said.
Despite the new report, several media outlets that had reported the story incorrectly at first had, at time of publication, still failed to change their headlines.
NPR’s headline from June 2 still reads “Peaceful Protesters Tear Gassed To Clear Way For Trump Church Visit.”
“Protesters Dispersed With Tear Gas So Trump Could Pose at Church,” The New York Times declared. Politico said in a headline that Trump faced “condemnation for clearing protesters” and “threatening military force,” adding that the president was “spurring a violent incursion against apparently peaceful protesters for the purposes of staging a political photo opportunity.”
Both of these headlines remain unedited.
Vanity Fair’s unedited headline boldly declares, “The White House Tear Gassed Protesters So Trump Could Have A Photo Op.”
The Washington Post ran several articles about the incident, including one titled, “I’m a priest. The police forced me off church grounds for Trump’s photo op.” Another article said, “2 new developments reinforce how problematic Trump’s church photo op was.” Neither article featured a correction or additional information following the release of the Inspector General report.