January 27, 2018

USA Today, Before Trump’s Friday Davos Speech: He May See ‘An Empty Room’

Thursday, USA Today headlined the possibility, with an accompanying video, that President Donald Trump might “be giving a speech to a empty room in Davos” on Friday. It didn’t work out that way.

USA Today content provider Veuer built on a report at Quartz that an unspecified “growing number of Davos attendees are planning to walk out of US president Donald Trump’s speech at the World Economic Forum this Friday.” Obviously — or it should be — this means that some attendees were planning a boycott, and many others weren’t.

Veuer’s USAT’s video, utterly without basis, turned Quartz’s claim into a potential total boycott (h/t Instapundit):

Transcript:

NARRATOR: President Trump may be giving a speech to an empty room at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Trump is set to speak on Friday, and Quartz reported that a number of people were considering walking out. The reason? The President’s now-infamous “****-hole countries” comment.

Now the idea of the boycott came originally from the CEO of Business Leadership South Africa. He wrote an open letter calling for the walkout, attacking Trump for the “overt racism” of his comments. His words sparked outrage on both sides of the aisle in DC and around the world.

He reportedly made the remarks during a closed-door meeting on immigration.

The White House says to expect an “America First” speech from Trump.

Trump is the first U.S. president to visit Davos since Bill Clinton did in 2000.

Things worked out quite differently, as seen in press reports about Trump’s speech crowd.

CNN, despite predictably lukewarm coverage, acknowledged that “Trump spoke to a packed conference hall on Friday, and more attendees watched on screens in three overflow rooms.”

The Associated Press all but admitted that attendees were Trump admirers:

Trump addressed the crowd of over 1,500 people packed into a high-ceilinged hall in the modern conference center. Anticipation was high from attendees, who have watched the president closely since he arrived, snapping photos when he entered and as he moved from room to room.

A pre-speech tweet from Bloomberg’s Javier Bias indicated that this is because Trump really did have a lot of admirers at Davos who arrived at the conference center early in hopes of getting a seat:

TrumpPreSpeechCrowdBloomberg012618

Starstruck billionaires and CEOs? That’s some “boycott.”

It had to be pretty tough for those who wanted a “walkout” to pull one off when they were not even sure they could walk in.

Why did this media failure happen?

USA Today outsourced the story to Veuer, which claims to be “a go-to resource for social media-driven custom video content” that can “locate unique stories or breaking news content emerging in the social ecosphere” based on “social media buzz.”

In other words, USA Today irresponsibly relied on a very questionable “news source” which created fake news on its behalf.

Bigger-picture, this is how a supposedly “trusted news source,” as defined by Facebook, Google, and Twitter, can sneak utterly bogus reports into users’ social-media news feeds.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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