May 29, 2018

Busted With Fake-News North Korea June 12 Summit ‘Impossible’ Claim, Childish Press Attacks Trump

NOTE: A heavily revised version of this post went up at NewsBusters on June 2, reflecting President Trump’s June 1 announcement that the June 12 Singapore summit is on.
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Friday, the New York Times, published a claim now established as false about the Trump administration’s planning for a U.S.-North Korea summit. Mollie Hemingway at TheFederalist.com identified the real problem Monday: “The New York Times couldn’t be trusted to accurately summarize what … (a) White House official said.” The press wants us to believe that Trump’s error in contending that the falsely reported conversation didn’t happen is more serious than the Old Gray Lady’s fake news.

The Times paragraph in question at the Times story reads as follows:

NYTimpossibleQuote052518

This incorrect contention might have survived attempts at scrutiny, except that then, per Hemingway:

Media types rushed to The New York Times’ defense, claiming they heard a White House official say the “impossible” line in a background briefing they were privy to. Someone leaked audio of a background briefing that they said supported The New York Times’ “impossible” characterization.

Yashar Ali, who writes for New York magazine and HuffPo, then outed the name of someone who briefed reporters on background and provided audio that he erroneously claimed supported The New York Times’ characterization.

 

Hemingway correctly noted that the recorded exchange in question involving White House official Matthew Pottinger does not support the Times’s “impossible” claim:

AudioTextOnNoKoPlanning052518

Hemingway’s obvious observations:

at no time does the White House official say a June 12 meeting is “impossible,” and at no point does he agree that the “ship sailed” or that time has run out. He definitely says it would be difficult to prepare for the summit given the lack of time to do so.

But of course, difficult does not mean “impossible”; as such, it doesn’t appear in a list of synonyms for “impossible.”

Before the audio was released, Trump, accurately believing that no White House official could have made the “impossible” statement, tweeted that the Times should have used “REAL people, not phony sources.”

Trump was wrong in that the Times talked to a real person. The paper then deliberately mischaracterized what he said, and then spread the lie to its readers, perhaps including North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

But according to the paper’s defenders, Trump is still the at-fault guy in this saga. As seen above, Yashar Ali falsely insists, even with audio evidence, that the Times story is correct. Descending into utter madness, a Newsweek writer even claims that the Times “quoted” Pottinger.

Other media members, including the Twitter-run “Twitter Moments,” are savoring the idea that Trump must have offended Pottinger by claiming that he “doesn’t exist.” There’s a far better chance, per Hemingway, that he “is angry that The New York Times claimed he said something he didn’t say,” especially because the Times has not issued a correction.

Here’s the real lesson, via John Hinderaker at Powerline:

This is a case study in the genesis and propagation of fake news. It supports the view that we should never believe anything that comes from the New York Times, if it is attributed to an unidentified source. Reporters cannot be trusted.

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