Even with a recent study finding fake news had zero impact on the results of the 2016 election, the New York Times is desperate to further the narrative. This time, they’re talking about fake news coming out of the Trump administration (referring particularly to Kellyanne Conway’s recent “Bowling Green Massacre” gaffe).
In the words of columnist Jim Rutenberg:
the “Bowling Green Massacre” may go down in the record of the Trump presidency as the first break in the “fake news” clouds that have cast such gloom over our fair and once (relatively) true republic.
The same internet that enabled false stories to run unchecked through news feeds during the election year dispatched new white blood cells that attacked Ms. Conway’s “alternate facts” with “true facts” (a redundant term that I guess we’re stuck with for now). Their most effective attack was traditional reporting, in many cases from news organizations that have doubled down on fact-checking, joined by newfangled memes that accentuate the truth.
You know who else is guilty of spreading a lot of fake news? The mainstream media — including the Times themselves!
Brit Hume had quite a few examples of “fake news” their article forgot.
NYT has big article on fake news today. All about Kellyanne Conway gaffe on Bowling Green. Nothing about these–> https://t.co/rrc77LXlKJ— Brit Hume (@brithume) February 6, 2017
Here’s the list of fake stories the mainstream media has pushed, courtesy of The Federalist:
Early November: Spike in Transgender Suicide Rates
After Trump’s electoral victory on November 8, rumors began circulating that multiple transgender teenagers had killed themselves in response to the election results. There was no basis to these rumors. Nobody was able to confirm them at the time, and nobody has been able to confirm in the three months since Trump was elected.
November 22: The Tri-State Election Hacking Conspiracy Theory
On November 22, Gabriel Sherman posted a bombshell report at New York Magazine claiming that “a group of prominent computer scientists and election lawyers” were demanding a recount in three separate states because of “persuasive evidence that [the election] results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked.” The evidence? Apparently, “in Wisconsin, Clinton received 7 percent fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic-voting machines compared with counties that used optical scanners and paper ballots.”
It wasn’t until the next day, November 23, that someone threw a little water on the fire. At FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver explained that it was “demographics, not hacking” that explained the curious voting numbers. “Anyone making allegations of a possible massive electoral hack should provide proof,” he wrote, “and we can’t find any.” Additionally, Silver pointed out that the New York Magazine article had misrepresented the argument of one of the computer scientists in question.
December 1: The 27-Cent Foreclosure
At Politico on December 1, Lorraine Wellert published a shocking essay claiming that Trump’s pick for secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin, had overseen a company that “foreclosed on a 90-year-old woman after a 27-cent payment error.” According to Wellert: “After confusion over insurance coverage, a OneWest subsidiary sent [Ossie] Lofton a bill for $423.30. She sent a check for $423. The bank sent another bill, for 30 cents. Lofton, 90, sent a check for three cents. In November 2014, the bank foreclosed.”
The problem? The central scandalous claims of Wellert’s article were simply untrue. As the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Ted Frank pointed out, the woman in question was never foreclosed on, and never lost her home. Moreover, “It wasn’t Mnuchin’s bank that brought the suit.”
January 20: Nancy Sinatra’s Complaints about the Inaugural Ball
On the day of Trump’s inauguration, CNN claimed Nancy Sinatra was “not happy” with the fact that the president and first lady’s inaugural dance would be to the tune of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” The problem? Nancy Sinatra had never said any such thing. CNN later updated the article without explaining the mistake they had made.
January 31: The Big Travel Ban Lie
On January 31, a Fox affiliate station out of Detroit reported that “A local business owner who flew to Iraq to bring his mother back home to the US for medical treatment said she was blocked from returning home under President Trump’s ban on immigration and travel from seven predominately Muslim nations. He said that while she was waiting for approval to fly home, she died from an illness.”
There was just one problem: it was a lie. The man had lied about when his mother died. The Fox affiliate hadn’t bothered to do the necessary research to confirm or disprove the man’s account. The news station quietly corrected the story after giving rise to such wild, industrial-scale hysteria.
February 1: POTUS Threatens to Invade Mexico
On February 1, Yahoo News published an Associated Press report about a phone call President Trump shared with Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto. The report strongly implied that President Trump was considering “send[ing] U.S. troops” to curb Mexico’s “bad hombre” problem, although it acknowledged that the Mexican government disagreed with that interpretation. The White House later re-affirmed that Trump did not have any plan to “invade Mexico.”
And that’s just a few! You can read the rest in the original Federalist article, which details all the mainstream news sites that fell for the fake stories.
The MSM doesn’t care about “fake news” — they care about gotcha journalism and trying to trip up the Trump administration. Too bad (for them) that he’s onto their tactics.
[Note: This post was written by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]