One of the contributing factors to Donald Trump’s election last year was the widespread perception that the media elites were completely detached from the rest of the country. Many see the media, with its credibility shredded, alternate between reckless mishandling of the truth and pathological lying.
Take, for instance, an entirely manufactured controversy taken from President Trump’s current visit to Japan.
An otherwise uneventful photo op with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been falsely spun by the White House press corps as a massive diplomatic blunder.
During the photo op, Trump and Abe were feeding koi in a pond below the balcony with spoons.
After several spoonfuls, PM Abe dumps his box of fish food into the pond. Trump follows in kind.
Here’s the video:
But the pool reporter traveling with the president, Justin Sink of Bloomberg, tweeted out that Trump had just decided to dump the whole box into the pond — never mentioning that he was following PM Abe’s lead:
CNN even edited out of its video PM Abe dumping his box of fish food first, zooming in on Trump to make it appear he did it on his own:
— CNN (@CNN) November 6, 2017
ABC News also ran with the deceptively edited video:
— ABC News (@ABC) November 6, 2017
Huffington Post also pushed out the fake news:
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) November 6, 2017
And the White House press corps ran hard with the fake news headline:
NBC News White House reporter Monica Alba:
— Monica Alba (@albamonica) November 6, 2017
New York Times White House reporter Julie Davis:
Per pool, Trump & Abe were each feeding koi in a pond spoonfuls of fish food. Then this happened: https://t.co/1eI8IbA8hc
— Julie Davis (@juliehdavis) November 6, 2017
Associated Press White House reporter Jonathan Lemire:
Photo of Trump hastening to finish feeding the koi https://t.co/zrcXphtAoc
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) November 6, 2017
CNBC Trump administration reporter Christina Wilkie:
CNN breaking news reporter Veronica Rocha posted video of the event, but the video zooms in on Trump so you don’t see Abe spill his box of food first:
President Trump feeds fish with PM Shinzo Abe in Japan, then pours the entire box of food into the koi pond. pic.twitter.com/CQjGGf5k0J
— Veronica Rocha (@VeronicaRochaLA) November 6, 2017
New York Magazine/Huffington Post correspondent Yashar Ali:
And now the fake news Koigate scandal is a full-blown international media narrative:
Trump told to feed koi fish by spoonful, gets impatient and tips entire box in https://t.co/VlIq51Muqx
— Metro (@MetroUK) November 6, 2017
Trump dump: president throws entire box of fish food into precious koi carp pond https://t.co/Uz9r2dFnQF
— The Guardian (@guardian) November 6, 2017
— AFP news agency (@AFP) November 6, 2017
It’s even become a Twitter Moment.
(It seems Twitter deleted their moment. Here’s a screenshot.)
But the entire thing is 100 percent fake news pushed by the shameless White House press corps.
Hours after having pushed out the fake news narrative, to her credit, New York Times reporter Julie Davis did correct the record:
Tale of the tape: Abe dumped his fish food first! https://t.co/ddkiyc8riU
— Julie Davis (@juliehdavis) November 6, 2017
Initial (fake) tweet: 2,200 retweets, 3,200 likes.
Follow-up (correction) tweet: 31 tweets, 83 likes.
Some tried to call out the media, so far unsuccessfully:
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) November 6, 2017
— Amanda (@aivencha) November 6, 2017
Is it really any wonder why no one trusts the media?
It's precisely the sort of nonsense that erodes trust in the media. BS narrative debunked by facts or in this instance a video. https://t.co/4G6GYZt93K
— Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) November 6, 2017
Even if one would concede that this was not done out of malice, just reckless indifference to what the truth is, the fact that falsehood has so quickly taken root that it is now a full-blown media narrative demonstrates the destructive power of the media cartel.
And there are increasing concerns that they are increasingly irresponsible with the social power that they wield.
These aren’t just stringers. These are supposedly the White House press corps media vanguards of democracy.
As the writer Jonathan Swift once wrote, “Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it.”
New York Mag’s Yashar Ali and CNBC’s Christina Wilkie deleted their tweets and corrected themselves after getting hammered on Twitter.
I've deleted this tweet which was based on multiple news reports but the video clearly shows Abe dumping his box of food first. pic.twitter.com/nsdt8U0awj
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) November 6, 2017
This is correct, and my tweet about the Koi pond was incorrect. I’ve since deleted it. https://t.co/uxMhj4EYBp
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) November 6, 2017
Some didn’t buy the “relied on multiple media reports” (meaning, a bunch of other media people I follow on Twitter):
Cf. “As if someone were to buy several copies of the morning paper to assure himself that what it said was true“ — Wittgenstein https://t.co/lB1dfoBUw8
— Adrian Vermeule, Thanatotheristes (@Vermeullarmine) November 6, 2017
Twitter added a new Corrected Moment.
Images of President Trump 'overfeeding' fish in Japan were not what they seemed.https://t.co/lQ7J8HeQPc
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) November 6, 2017
Longtime media political analyst Jeff Greenfield admitted his bias:
This is a caution to those (like me) who, based on his conduct, assume the worst of Trump in every situation. Flatly unfair journalism. https://t.co/Ciw9LBQqza
— Jeff Greenfield (@greenfield64) November 6, 2017
But the slow-walk retractions aren’t nearly as heartfelt as the initial fake news push.
Media's Trump/fish spin was bogus, but, as designed, by the time it was called out it was too late. pic.twitter.com/vXuWHUKZ82
— Doug Powers (@ThePowersThatBe) November 6, 2017