The Daily Beast on Wednesday falsely attributed quotes to the El Paso district attorney, even though no one from the DA’s office had communicated with them, according to a spokeswoman from the office.
In the story, The Daily Beast’s Pilar Melendez reported that El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza told the media outlet that he would not be pressing charges against an assailant who attacked the media during President Trump’s rally in El Paso, Texas, Monday night.
During the disturbance, BBC cameraman Ron Skeans was “violently pushed and shoved by a member of the crowd,” a BBC spokesman said.
“F— the media,” the man shouted before he was ushered out of the venue.
'F*** the media!' – this is the moment a #BBC cameraman was attacked by an angry Trump supporter at a rally in El Paso https://t.co/FU3r3g4oDG pic.twitter.com/5oUO3kqRA5#Trump #FreePress #TrumpElPaso #TrumpRally
— Jewish News Agency (™) (@JewishNewsUSA) February 13, 2019
The individual “was not immediately identified but was wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat,” NBC reported. Of course, most of the people at the event were wearing red MAGA hats.
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) February 12, 2019
“The man was removed by security and Ron is fine,” the BBC statement said. “The president could see the incident and checked with us that all was OK. It is clearly unacceptable for any of our staff to be attacked for doing their job.”
The Daily Beast initially reported that the Esparza told them that he would not be pressing charges against the assailant.
The headline caused confusion and consternation on Twitter, with some readers demanding to know why the DA, who happens to be a Democrat, wasn’t pressing charges:
That's ridiculous! Why would you not press charges?
— Twisted-n-Confused (@twisted_lilo) February 12, 2019
He absolutely needs to be charged! If not, Trump supporters continue to think they can harm members of the Press because there are no consequences!
— Kathy Medellin (@MedellinKathy) February 12, 2019
The act of aggression is intolerable, yet there will be no prosecution. Isn’t the lack of prosecution making the situation tolerable?
— Flattery Operated (@Vitale_IVplay) February 12, 2019
Well this behavior is just not acceptable. Some consequence must be done!
— lisadesanti (@lisade1255) February 12, 2019
The man is a trump fixer! So it’s no surprise he didn’t get charged.
— Steve P (@italypete10) February 13, 2019
How many people still think that white privilege doesn’t exist? 🤔 I’ll wait…
— Vivian Sampson (@getnoticedbseen) February 12, 2019
According to the Daily Beast’s initial report, Esparza said: “We are looking into the situation and the released video of the incident but we are not pressing charges at this time. If there are any changes to our course of action, we will inform the public.”
But when PJ Media contacted the El Paso District Attorney’s Office for a comment on the story, a spokeswoman said Esparza did not talk to The Daily Beast at all, and that their information was inaccurate.
“The story in The Daily Beast is not accurate,” said Claudia Duran, the spokeswoman. “The District Attorney never spoke to The Daily Beast.”
Duran told PJ Media that she is the person who releases statements on behalf of the district attorney and she had not spoken to anyone.
She added that the Secret Service “escorted the individual from the Coliseum and law enforcement did not present the case for review by the District Attorney’s Office.”
PJ Media requested information about the assailant’s identity, but the DA’s office apparently doesn’t have that information yet.
“We will review the case once law enforcement presents the case,” Duran said.
The Daily Beast has since changed its story to reflect what Duran told PJ Media: Trump Supporter Who Attacked BBC Cameraman at Rally May Not Be Charged: El Paso DA
They changed the article to say:
“We have not reviewed any material from law enforcement for charges at this time,” a district attorney spokesperson said on Tuesday. “No charges will be filed until we do.”
The Daily Beast did not respond to PJ Media’s request for a comment, but did add a correction at the bottom of the article saying, “This article has been updated regarding information from the District Attorney’s office regarding the status on possible charges.”