A number of major news outlets claimed they independently “confirmed” the fraudulent report by the Washington Post regarding President Trump’s phone call with a Georgia official regarding election fraud.
“It’s one thing if a single news outlet publishes a fraudulent anonymously sourced ‘scoop.’ It’s another thing entirely if multiple newsrooms claim they independently ‘confirmed’ the fraudulent ‘scoop’ with anonymous sources of their own,” wrote at the Washington Examiner columnist Becket Adams.
Two months after its story helped fuel House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s impeachment of President Trump, the Post admitted Monday it wrongly attributed the quotes to Trump.
In its January report, the Post reported Trump told the official in Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office, Frances Watson, to “find the fraud” in the 2020 election result and that she would be a “national hero” if she succeeded.
But a recording of the Dec. 23 call released last week by the Wall Street Journal tells a different story. Trump said Watson would be “praised” when the “right answer comes out.” He encouraged her to review mail-in ballots in the Democratic stronghold of Fulton County.
Watson replied to Trump: “I can assure you that our team and the (state investigators), that we are only interested in the truth and finding the information that is based on the facts.”
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) March 15, 2021
The Post’s foul up “can reasonably be explained away as a simple error,” Adams wrote. But what about the others who claimed to have confirmed the story?
He noted NBC News said it “confirmed The Post’s characterization of the Dec. 23 call through a source familiar with the conversation.”
USA Today claimed a “Georgia official speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters confirmed the details of the call.”
ABC News said: “President Donald Trump phoned a chief investigator in Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office asking the official to ‘find the fraud’ and telling this person they would be a ‘national hero’ for it, an individual familiar with the matter confirmed to ABC News.”
And PBS NewsHour and CNN “likewise seemingly claimed they independently ‘confirmed’ the story through their own anonymous sources.”
Adams wrote: “The uncomfortable questions we are left with now are: To whom did these news outlets speak? How did the source or sources get the details of the phone call wrong? Are there additional examples of the media reporting bad information provided by anonymous sources we don’t know about, merely because there’s no contradictory audio or video? Just how many anonymously sourced stories are not true? If it can happen this easily, who is to say it doesn’t happen often? Further, how many of these bogus stories have enjoyed the backing of supposed independent corroboration when, in fact, newsrooms most likely talked to the same person or people?”
He asked: “How does one ‘confirm’ something that is not true?”
INBOX: Trump statement on Washington Post correction: pic.twitter.com/vTcKSI1gEN
— Henry Rodgers (@henryrodgersdc) March 15, 2021
Trump expressed gratitude in a statement Monday that the record was set straight but called for an investigation.
“The Washington Post just issued a correction as to the contents of the incorrectly reported phone call I had with respect to voter fraud in the Great State of Georgia. While I appreciate the Washington Post’s correction, which immediately makes the Georgia Witch Hunt a non-story, the original story was a Hoax, right from the very beginning. I would further appreciate a strong investigation into Fulton County, Georgia, and the Stacey Abrams political machine which, I believe, would totally change the course of the president election in Georgia,” Trump said.
“Fulton County has not been properly audited for vote or signature verification. They only looked at areas of the State where there most likely would be few problems, and ever there they found large numbers of mistakes. We are seeking to find and reveal the large-scale election fraud which took place in Georgia. Many residents agree, and their anger caused them not to turn out and vote for two Republican Senators in the January election.
“The Consent Decree signed between Raffensperger and Stacey Abrams was not approved by the Georgia State Legislature, and therefore should be deemed invalid, and the election result changed. Why the Governor and Raffensperger ever approved this Consent Degree is one of the great questions? We look forward to an answer.
“You will notice that establishment media errors, omissions, mistakes, and outright lies always slant one way – against me and against Republicans. Meanwhile, stories that hurt Democrats or undermine their narratives are buried, ignored, or delayed until they can do the least harm – for example, after an election is over. Look no further than the negative coverage of the vaccine that preceded the election and the overdue celebration of the vaccine once the election had concluded. A strong democracy requires a fair and honest press. This latest media travesty underscores that legacy media outlets should be regarded as political entities – not journalistic enterprises. In any event, I thank the Washington Post for the correction.
you all are missing the real story re: WaPo’s correction of its Trump/Ga. investigations chief “scoop.”
the real scandal is that a bunch of newsrooms claimed at the time they “confirmed” the details of the “scoop” with their own anon sourcing.https://t.co/4Xqxt3mcHk
— tsar becket adams (@BecketAdams) March 15, 2021
During the failed impeachment trial in January, Democrats used the false quotes in the Post story to make their case. An impeachment manager contended Trump was “asking the official to say there was evidence of fraud when there wasn’t any.”
FLASHBACK: Democrats used the fake Washington Post “find the fraud” quote that was retracted today in the Trump impeachment trial
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 15, 2021
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