The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin is the latest mainstream media figure to use Twitter in a blatant attempt at dividing and misinforming the American people.
Earlier today, Rogin tweeted “Trump told the Finnish President Just now he enjoyed spending time with him at the NATO summit. Finland is not part of NATO. #awkward @jaketapper @camanpour”
Rogin’s implication and assumption, which naturally are both tasked with making President Trump and his supporters look stupid, is that the Finnish President wasn’t actually at the NATO summit.
There’s just one problem, as Mollie Hemingway quickly pointed out…
Rogin got the message quickly and added the following “updated” tweets…
Rogin laughably argues that these clarifications absolve the divisive fake news that he originally spread, despite leaving that fake news out there to keep spreading.
As of this writing, the false/misleading/partisan tweet has been retweeted 2.4K times and “Liked” 6.4K times.
The two clarifying/corrected tweets have, combined, 162 retweets and 595 “Likes.”
As is the case every time — the false/misleading/partisan tweet has exponentially faster and better conditioned legs, while the clarifying/corrected tweet is basically sitting on the couch eating cheese dip with its fingers.
What Rogin did here is like littering a playground with recreational drugs and instructions on how to use them, and then putting up a sign a few blocks down the road that says “Drugs are bad.”
I’ve written about this several times now including a piece from last year and a piece from last week, both of which cite examples of allegedly impartial journalists doing it wrong, and also examples of them doing it right.
For this post, I’ll let the text of an email I sent Rogin today make the case:
There is one right way for journalists to account for tweets that turn out to be inaccurate, misleading and/or false.
1). Take a screenshot of the tweet
2). Delete that tweet
3). Include the screenshot for accountability in the corrected/clarified version.
If you merely offer a correction in a later tweet, but leave the misleading/incorrect version out there, you’re still responsible for and guilty of spreading fake news. In fact you’re even more guilty, because you’ve ceded that the original version was wrong but would rather let it keep spreading rather than take it down.
It leads people to believe that you actually want to promote the false/misleading version.
And that’d be understandable if you were a politician, or if you were a political partisan trying to play dirty.
But as an allegedly honest member of the media whose only job is to inform accurately, you’re doing it wrong.
You should clean up your mess properly, like NBC News’ Leigh Ann Caldwell did just last week.
cc: Tons of WaPo folks and a few from The Federalist
I don’t understand why this concept is so difficult to grasp, which is why it’s so painful to see. The only explanation is that people like Josh Rogin — who is employed by both The Washington Post and CNN — are purposefully spreading false information. Whether they think it’s their duty in a dirty war to discredit the sitting US President, or their right because the politicians they cover also deal in false/misleading information, is unclear. Maybe it’s both.
But neither is acceptable and both are examples why people are right to distrust the media, and President Trump can be forgiven for seeing them as an enemy of the people.
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