Featured Journalist Sharyl Attkisson– One of the last REAL journalists. Emmy-Award Winning Investigative Journalist, New York Times Best Selling Author, Host of Sinclair’s Full Measure
We the media have “fact-checked” President Trump like we have fact-checked no other human being on the planet—and he’s certainly given us plenty to write about. That’s probably why it’s so easy to find lists enumerating and examining his mistakes, missteps and “lies.” But as self-appointed arbiters of truth, we’ve largely excused our own unprecedented string of fact-challenged reporting. The truth is, formerly well-respected, top news organizations are making repeat, unforced errors in numbers that were unheard of just a couple of years ago. Our repeat mistakes involve declaring that Trump’s claims are “lies” when they are matters of opinion, or when the truth between conflicting sources is unknowable; taking Trump’s statements and events out of context; reporting secondhand accounts against Trump without attribution as if they’re established fact; relying on untruthful, conflicted sources; and presenting reporter opinions in news stories—without labeling them as opinions.
What’s worse, we defend ourselves by trying to convince the public that our mistakes are actually a virtue because we (sometimes) correct them. Or we blame Trump for why we’re getting so much wrong. It’s a little bit like a police officer taking someone to jail for DUI, then driving home drunk himself: he may be correct to arrest the suspect, but he should certainly know better than to commit the same violation. So since nobody else has compiled an updated, extensive list of this kind, here are:
89 Notable Mistakes and Missteps in Major Media Reporting on Donald Trump
1. Aug. 2016-Nov. 2016:
The New York Post published modeling photos of Trump’s wife Melania and reported they were taken in 1995. Various news outlets relied on that date to imply that Melania—an immigrant—had violated her visa status. But the media got the date wrong. Politico was among the news agencies that later issued a photo date correction.
2. Oct. 1, 2016:
The New York Times and other media widely suggested or implied that Trump had not paid income taxes for 18 years. Later, tax return pages leaked to MSNBC ultimately showed that Trump actually paid a higher rate than Democrats Bernie Sanders and President Obama.
3. Oct. 18, 2016:
In a Washington Post piece not labelled opinion or analysis, Stuart Rothenberg reported that Trump’s path to an electoral college victory was “nonexistent.”
4. Nov. 4, 2016:
USA Today misstated Melania Trump’s “arrival date from Slovenia” amid a flurry of reporting that questioned her immigration status from the mid-1990s.
5. Nov. 9, 2016:
Early on election night, the Detroit Free Press called the state of Michigan for Hillary Clinton. Trump actually won Michigan.
6. Jan. 20, 2017:
CNN claimed Nancy Sinatra was “not happy” at her father’s song being used at Trump’s inauguration. Sinatra responded, “That’s not true. I never said that. Why do you lie, CNN?…Actually I’m wishing him the best.”
7. Jan. 20, 2017:
Zeke Miller of TIME reported that President Trump had removed the bust statue of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office. The news went viral. It was false.
8. Jan. 26, 2017:
Josh Rogin of the Washington Post reported that the State Department’s “entire senior administrative team” had resigned in protest of Trump. A number of media outlets ranging from politically left to right, including liberal-leaning Vox, stated that claim was misleading or wrong.
9. Jan. 28, 2017
CNBC’s John Harwood reported the Justice Department “had no input” on Trump’s immigration executive order. After a colleague contradicted Harwood’s report, he amended it to reflect that Justice Department lawyers reportedly had reviewed Trump’s order.
10. Jan. 31, 2017:
CNN’s Jeff Zeleny reported the White House set up Twitter accounts for two judges to try to keep Trump’s selection for Supreme Court secret. Zeleny later corrected his report to state that the Twitter accounts had not been set up by the White House.
11. Feb. 2, 2017:
TMZ reported Trump changed the name of “Black History Month” to “African American History Month,” implying the change was untoward or racist. In fact, Presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton had all previously called Black History month “African American History” month.
12. Feb. 2, 2017:
AP reported that Trump had threatened the president of Mexico with invasion to get rid of “bad hombres.” Numerous publications followed suit. The White House said it wasn’t true and the Washington Post removed the AP info that “could not be independently confirmed.”
13. Feb. 4, 2017:
Josh Rogin of the Washington Post reported on “Inside the White House-Cabinet Battle Over Trump’s Immigration Order,” only to have the article updated repeatedly to note that one of the reported meetings had not actually occurred, that a conference call had not happened as described, and that actions attributed to Trump were actually taken by his chief of staff.
14. Feb. 14, 2017:
The New York Times’ Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo reported about supposed contacts between Trump campaign staff and “senior Russian intelligence officials.” Comey later testified “In the main, [the article] was not true.”
15. Feb. 22, 2017:
ProPublica’s Raymond Bonner reported CIA official Gina Haspel—Trump’s later pick for CIA Director—was in charge of a secret CIA prison where Islamic extremist terrorist Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times in one month, and that she mocked the prisoner’s suffering. More than a year later, ProPublica retracted the claim, stating that “Neither of these assertions is correct…Haspel did not take charge of the base until after the interrogation of Zubaydah ended.”
16. April 5, 2017:
An article bylined by the New York Times’ graphic editors Karen Yourish and Troy Griggs referred to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, as Trump’s wife.
17. May 10, 2017:
Multiple outlets including Politico, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, AP, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal reported the same leaked information: that Trump fired FBI Director James Comey shortly after Comey requested additional resources to investigate Russian interference in the election. The New York Times’ Matthew Rosenberg and Matt Apuzzo, and CNN’s Sara Murray reported the information in sentences and paragraphs that omitted attribution, as if it were an established fact. The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, Sari Horwitz and Robert Costa wrote news articles in the style of opinion pieces and from an omniscient viewpoint as if they were somehow in the mind of Trump. For example, they reported, “Every time FBI Director James B. Comey appeared in public, an ever-watchful President Trump grew increasingly agitated that the topic was the one that he was most desperate to avoid: Russia.” (Other reporters —Reuters’ Dustin Volz and Susan Cornwell— did properly attribute the claim.) The Justice Department, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said the media reports were untrue and McCabe added that the FBI’s Russia investigation was “adequately resourced.”
18. May 27, 2017:
The BBC’s James Landale, The Guardian and others reported that Trump wasn’t bothering to listen to the translation during a speech in Italian by Italy’s Prime Minister. They drew that conclusion without asking the White House and based on a video that showed other political leaders wearing large headphones. The Guardian even claimed Trump was fake listening (smiling and nodding). After the reports circulated, the White House stated that, as always, Trump was indeed wearing an earpiece in his right ear.
19. June 4, 2017:
NBC News reported in a Tweet that Russian President Vladimir Putin told TV host Megan Kelly that he had compromising information about Trump. Actually, Putin said the opposite: that he did not have compromising information on Trump.
20. June 6, 2017:
CNN’s Gloria Borger, Eric Lichtblau, Jake Tapper and Brian Rokus; and ABC’s Justin Fishel and Jonathan Karl reported that Comey was going to refute Donald Trump’s claim that Comey told Trump three times he was not under investigation. Instead, Comey did the opposite and confirmed Trump’s claim.
21. June 7, 2017:
In a fact-check story, AP reported erroneously that Trump misread the potential cost to a family with insurance under the Affordable Care Act who wanted care from their existing doctor.
22. June 8, 2017:
The New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman reported that Comey testified Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Comey not to call the Russia probe “an investigation” but “a matter.” Weisman was mistaken about the attorney general and the probe. Actually, it was Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch (not Sessions) who told Comey to refer to the Hillary Clinton classified email probe (not the Russia probe) as “a matter” instead of “an investigation.”
23. June 22, 2017:
CNN’s Thomas Frank reported that Congress was investigating a “Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials.” The report was later retracted. Frank and two other CNN employees resigned in the fallout.
24. December 2, 2017:
ABC News’ Brian Ross reported that former Trump official Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was going to testify that candidate Trump had directed him to contact “the Russians.” Even though such contact would not be in of itself a violation of law, the news was treated as an explosive indictment of Trump in the Russia collusion narrative, and the stock market fell on the news. ABC later corrected the report to reflect that Trump had already been elected when he reportedly asked Flynn to contact the Russians about working together to fight ISIS and other issues. Ross was suspended.
25. July 6, 2017:
Newsweek’s Chris Riotta and others reported that Poland’s First Lady had refused to shake Trump’s hand. Newsweek’s later “update” reflected that the First Lady had shaken Trump’s hand after all, as clearly seen on the full video.
26. July 6, 2017:
The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, CNN and numerous outlets had long reported, as if fact, the Hillary Clinton claim that a total of 17 American intelligence agencies concluded that Russia orchestrated election year attacks to help get Trump elected. Only three or four agencies, not 17, had officially done so.
27. Aug. 31, 2017:
NBC News’ Ken Dilanian and Carol Lee reported that a Trump official’s notes about a meeting with a Russian lawyer included the word “donation,” as if there were discussions about suspicious campaign contributions. NBC later corrected the report to reflect that the word “donation” didn’t appear, but still claimed the word “donor” did. Later, Politico reported that the word “donor” wasn’t in the notes, either.
28. Sept. 5, 2017:
CNN’s Chris Cillizza and other news outlets declared Trump “lied” when he stated that Trump Tower had been wiretapped, although there’s no way any reporter independently knew the truth of the matter—only that what intel officials claimed. It later turned out there were numerous wiretaps involving Trump Tower, including a meeting of Trump officials with a foreign dignitary. At least two Trump associates who had offices in or frequented Trump Tower were also reportedly wiretapped.
29. Sept. 7, 2017:
The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman reported Democrat leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi called President Trump about an immigration issue. Trump actually made the call to Pelosi.
30. Nov. 6, 2017:
CNN’s Daniel Shane edited excerpts from a Trump event to make it seem as though Trump didn’t realize Japan builds cars in the U.S. However, Trump’s entire statement made clear that he does.
31. Nov. 6, 2017:
CNN edited a video that made it appear as though Trump impatiently dumped a box of fish food into the water while feeding fish at Japan’s palace. The New York Daily News, the Guardian and others wrote stories implying Trump was gauche and impetuous. The full video showed that Trump had simply followed the lead of Japan’s Prime Minister.
32. Nov. 29, 2017:
Newsweek’s Chris Riotta claimed Ivanka Trump “plagiarized” one of her own speeches. In fact, plagiarizing one’s own work is impossible since plagiarism is when a writer steals someone else’s work and passes it off as his own.
33. Dec. 4, 2017:
The New York Times’ Michael S. Schmidt and Sharon LaFraniere and other outlets reported that Trump Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland supposedly contradicted herself or lied about another official’s contacts with Russians. The story was heavily, repeatedly amended. CNN, MSNBC, CBS News, New York Daily News and Daily Beast picked up the story about McFarland’s “lies.”
34. Dec. 4, 2017:
ABC News’ Trish Turner and Jack Date reported that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had recently worked with a Russia intelligence-connected “official.” But the Russian wasn’t an “official.”
35. Dec. 5, 2017:
Bloomberg’s Steven Arons and the Wall Street Journal’s Jenny Strasburg reported the blockbuster that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had subpoenaed Trump’s bank records. It wasn’t true.
36. Dec. 8, 2017:
CNN’s Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb reported that Donald Trump Jr. conspired with WikiLeaks in advance of the publication of damaging Democrat party and Clinton campaign emails. Many other publications followed suit. They had the date wrong: WikiLeaks and Trump Junior were in contact after the emails were published.
37. Jan. 3, 2018:
Talking Point Memo’s Sam Thielman reported that a Russian social media company provided documents to the Senate about communications with a Trump official. The story was later corrected to say the reporter actually had no idea how the Senate received the documents and had no evidence to suggest the Russian company was cooperating with the probe.
38. Jan. 12, 2018:
Mediaite’s Lawrence Bonk, CNN’s Sophie Tatum, the Guardian, BBC, US News and World Report, Reuters and Buzzfeed’s Adolfo Flores reported a “bombshell”— that President Trump had backed down from his famous demand for a wall along the entire Southern border. However, Trump said the very same thing in February 2016 on MSNBC, on Dec. 2, 2015, in the National Journal, in October 2015 during the CNBC Republican Primary debate, and on Aug. 20, 2015, on FOX Business’ Mornings with Maria.
39. Jan. 15, 2018:
AP’s Laurie Kellman and Jonathan Drew reported that a new report showed trust in the media had fallen during the Trump presidency. But the report that AP cited was actually over a year old and was conducted while Obama was president.
40. Feb. 2, 2018:
AP’s Eric Tucker, Mary Clare Jalonick and Chad Day reported that ex-British spy Christopher Steele’s opposition research against Trump was initially funded by a conservative publication: the Washington Free Beacon. AP corrected its story because Steele only came on the project after Democrats began funding it.
41. March 8, 2018:
The New York Times’ Jan Rosen reported on a hypothetical family whose tax bill would rise nearly $4,000 under Trump’s tax plan. It turns out the calculations were off: the couple’s taxes would go actually go down $43; not up $4,000.
42. March 13, 2018:
The New York Times’ Adam Goldman, NBC’s Noreen O’Donnell and AP’s Deb Riechmann reported that Trump’s pick for CIA Director, Gina Haspel, had waterboarded a particular Islamic extremist terrorist dozens of time at a secret prison; and that she had mocked his suffering. In fact, Haspel wasn’t assigned to the prison until after the detainee left. ProPublica originally reported the incorrect details in Feb. 2017.
43. March 15, 2018:
AP’s Michael Biesecker, Jake Pearson and Jeff Horwitz reported that a Trump advisory board official had been a Miss America contestant and had killed a black rhino. She actually was a Mrs. America contestant and had shot a nonlethal tranquilizer dart at a white rhino. Watch Sharyl Attkisson’s TEDx Talk: Is Fake News Real?
44. April 1, 2018:
AP’s Nicholas Riccardi reported that the Trump administration had ended a program to admit foreign entrepreneurs. It wasn’t true.
45. April 30, 2018:
AP reported that the NRA had banned guns during Trump and Pence speeches at the NRA’s annual meeting. AP later corrected the information because the ban had been put in place by Secret Service.
46. May 3, 2018:
47. May 7, 2018:
CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger reported that Trump’s personal lawyer, Cohen, paid $1 million in fines related to unauthorized cars in his taxi business, had been barred from managing taxi medallions, had transferred $60 million offshore to avoid paying debts, and is awaiting trial on charges of failing to pay millions in taxes. A later correction stated that none of that was true.
48. May 16, 2018:
The New York Times’ Julie Hirschfeld Davis, AP, CNN’s Oliver Darcy and others excerpted a Trump comment as if he had referred to immigrants or illegal immigrants generally as “animals.” Most outlets corrected their reports later to note that Trump had specifically referred to members of the murderous criminal gang MS-13.
49. May 28, 2018
The New York Times’ Magazine editor-in-chief Jake Silverstein and CNN’s Hadas Gold shared a story with photos of immigrant children in cages as if they were new photos taken under the Trump administration. The article and photos were actually taken in 2014 under the Obama administration.
50. May 29, 2018
The New York Times’ Julie Davis reported the estimated size of a Trump rally to be 1,000 people. There were actually 5,500 people or more in attendance.
51. June 1, 2018
In a story about Trump tariffs, AP reported the dollar value of Virginia’s farm and forestry exports to Canada and Mexico was $800. It’s $800 million.
52. June 21, 2018
Time magazine and others used a photo of a crying Honduran child to illustrate a supposed Trump administration policy separating illegal immigrant parents and children. The child’s father later reported that agents had never separated her from her mother; the mother had taken her to the US without his knowledge and separated herself from her other children, whom she left behind.
53. June 22, 2018
MSNBC personality mistakenly stated that Trump had “banned” the Red Cross from visiting children separated from illegal immigrant parents.
54. June 28, 2018
After a newsroom shooting, a newspaper reporter falsely tweeted that the shooter “dropped his [Trump Make America Great Again] hat on newsroom floor before opening fire.”
55. July 10, 2018
NBC reporter Leigh Ann Caldwell reported that outgoing Supreme Court Justice Kennedy only retired after months of negotiations with Trump that concluded with Trump agreeing to replace Kennedy with Judge Kavanaugh.
Support Sharyl Attkisson’s fight against government overreach in Attkisson v. DOJ and FBI for the government computer intrusions. For more info visit: https://www.gofundme.com/sharyl-attkisson-4th-am-litigation
56. July 16, 2018
Washington Post reporter implied Trump doesn’t understand NATO countries. In fact, Trump met with the Finnish President at the NATO summit. Further, Finland is a NATO partner, just not a member.
57. Sept. 14, 2018
The New York Times issues a major correction (below) to an original “unfair” article about U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
58. Tues. Sept. 18, 2018
The New York Times falsely reported that a man, Mark Judge, testified he remembered an incident more than 30 year ago in which Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is accused of assault. Judge actually said the opposite: he does not remember such an incident, and that the allegations are “absolutely nuts.” The Times corrected its article in an editors’ note.
59. Sept. 23, 2018
Multiple news outlets report that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein has resigned or been fired. Neither turns out to be true. Axios and others eventually “update” and “clarify” their erroneous reports.
60. Oct. 14, 2018
NBC News falsely reports that President Trump praised Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Actually, Trump had praised the Union General Ulysses S. Grant.
61. Nov. 14, 2018
CNN’s Jeff Zeleny reports that President Trump has decided to fire a deputy national security adviser upon the First Lady’s demand. The Wall Street Journal reports the adviser has been “escorted out” of the White House. Later, it’s reported that neither case was true. “This did not happen. She is still here at the WH,” a senior official told the press. The adviser was reassigned to another job.
62. Dec. 24, 2018
It’s discovered that nearly everything written by a Der Spiegel reporter, who had been honored by CNN, about a supposedly racist Trump stronghold town was fabricated–like much of his other work.
Consider supporting the landmark Attkisson v. DOJ/FBI computer intrusion lawsuit: Attkisson 4th Amendment Litigation Fund
63. Dec. 26, 2018
NBC reports that Trump was the first President since 2002 not to visit the troops at Christmastime. But he (and First Lady Melania) did. NBC added a note to its story but left the false headline in place.
64. Jan. 1, 2019
CBS News claimed, in June of 2018, that Trump spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders would retire by the end of the year. She didn’t. As of May 2019, she was still on the job and there had been no correction or editor’s note. The same CBS story also quoted sources as saying the departure of White House assistant Raj Shah was also imminent. It wasn’t. Shah continued to serve seven more months.
65. Jan. 9, 2019
The New York Times issues a correction to a report that falsely stated former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort asked for campaign polling to be given to a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, who has ties to Russia President Putin. Instead, the Times now claims, Manafort actually asked his associate Rick Gates to give polling data to Ukrainian oligarchs –not Deripaska.
While working at Politico, one of the New York Times reporters, Ken Vogel, got caught sending drafts of stories to democratic officials. Another co-author, Maggie Haberman, was considered a “friendly” by Clinton campaign officials who turned to her when she worked at Politico.
“We have had her tee up stories for us before and have never been disappointed. We can do the most shaping by going to Maggie,” wrote Clinton officials in emails.
66. Jan. 11, 2019
Fox TV affiliate in Seattle, Washington airs fake, doctored video of President Trump that altered his face and made it appear as though he had stuck his tongue in and out while giving an Oval Office address.
67. Jan. 18, 2019
The Buzzfeed exclusive with anonymous sources implicating Trump in potentially criminal behavior (that Democrats and pundits said would be the nail in Trump’s impeachment coffin) is refuted in a rare rebuke from Special Counsel Mueller’s office. Buzzfeed stands by its reporting.
Fight improper government surveillance. Support Attkisson v. DOJ and FBI over the government computer intrusions of Attkisson’s work while she was a CBS News investigative correspondent. Visit the Attkisson Fourth Amendment Litigation Fund. Click here.
68. Jan. 22, 2019
The New York Times and Washington Post are among the publications that issue corrections after falsely reporting that an anti-Trump activist had served in the Vietnam War.
Additionally, multiple news employees, including a CNN employee, apologize for mischaracterizing as the aggressors Trump-supporting teenagers at a pro-life rally.
69. Jan. 26, 2019
The UK Telegraph apologizes for all the facts it got wrong in a Jan. 19 article criticizing the First Lady.
70. Feb. 18, 2019
While some media outlets responsibly reported and properly attributed allegations in the racist attack alleged by actor Jussie Smollett, others did not. Some unskeptically furthered the narrative that Smollett, who is black, was attacked by Trump-supporting racists who put a noose around Smollett’s neck, shouted racial slurs, told him it’s “MAGA” (Make America Great Again) country, and poured bleach on him. While details are still emerging as of this date, Chicago police have stated that Smollett is no longer considered a victim of the crimes he alleged. The New York Times receives special mention here for adding a biased non sequitur in its early reporting that treated skepticism of Smollett’s story as if it were unfounded, and fit in a dig at President Trump’s son.
Sopan Deb, New York Times
But the lack of progress in the investigation has fueled speculation about whether the report was exaggerated. The president’s son Donald Trump Jr., who is known to disseminate conspiracy theories on his Twitter feed, retweeted an article this week about Smollett declining to turn over his cellphone to the police.
71. Various dates: Other faked attacks reported by the news as if confirmed
- A week before Trump was elected, Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Mississippi was torched and the words “Vote Trump” found painted on the outside. The mayor condemned the incident as a hate crime and stated it was “an attack on the black church and the black community.” However, police later arrested a black church member for the arson. They say the man staged the fire to look like an attack by Trump supporters. Even today, some of the corrected news reports retain headlines seeming to blame Trump.
- The day after Trump was elected, an incident at Elon University in North Carolina made national news. Hispanic students found a “hateful note” written on a classroom whiteboard reading, “Bye Bye Latinos.” After the story made news, it was learned that the message was written by “a Latino student who was upset about the results of the election.”
- Also the day after Trump was elected, a gay man — reportedly a filmmaker — claimed that homophobic Trump supporters smashed his face with a bottle outside a bar in Santa Monica, Calif. A bloody photo was posted on Twitter, and he was said to have been treated at a local hospital. Police investigated the media reports. They said no complaint was ever filed, there was no evidence of a crime, and a check of local hospitals showed no victim in such an incident.
- The week after Trump’s election, a Muslim student at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, claimed Trump supporters pulled off her head covering, and assaulted and robbed her. She later admitted fabricatingthe story.
- A month after Trump’s election, a Muslim-American woman claimed Trump supporters tried to steal her headwear and harassed her on the New York City subway. She ultimately was arrested after confessing she made up the whole story.
72. Feb. 26, 2019
It’s as good a day as any to point out that The Washington Post and others reported last November that Trump was imminently about to fire DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. The Post confirmed this with five anonymous sources. The firing was said to be likely to happen the following week.
Nielsen remained on the job for five more months before resigning.
73. Feb. 27, 2019
Testimony by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen seemed to put the final nail in the coffin of the “dossier” claim reported by many— that Cohen had visited Prague to meet with Russians to help collude on Trump’s behalf. Cohen told Congress he’s never been to Prague or the Czech Republic, for that matter. McClatchy even reported that Cohen’s cell phone had pinged off Prague towers. Where did this apparently false information come from? “Four people spoke with McClatchy on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of information shared by their foreign intelligence connections. Each obtained their information independently from foreign intelligence connections,” reported McClatchy.
74. March 1, 2019
The Washington Post deleted a tweet containing false reporting about a January 19 incident regarding a standoff between Trump-supporting pro-life Catholic high school students and a pro-choice Native American activist. The Post wrongly stated, without attribution, that the activist had fought in the Vietnam War. The activist also falsely stated that a high school student had blocked him and “wouldn’t allow him to retreat.” These events were later called into question, and the Washington Post is being sued in a multi-million dollar libel suit over its allegedly false reporting and misrepresentations. The Post also posted an “editor’s note” on this date stating that “a more complete assessment” of the incident contradicted or failed to confirm accounts as originally reported, including that a particular student was trying to instigate a conflict.
75. Various dates
Multiple reporters and media outlets have provided false information and/or quoted incorrect anonymous sources as to the timing of the release of Special Counsel Mueller’s report on Trump-Russia collusion. The Washington Post said it would be out in summer of 2018. Bloomberg said it would be shortly after the 2018 Midterm elections. In February 2019, CNN, The Washington Post and NBC reported the report was coming the last week of February. However, it was not announced at that time.
The release of the Mueller report in April 2019 belies countless news stories over more than two years. The report does not find collusion between Trump and Russia President Putin and also concludes there’s no evidence that any American conspired or coordinated with any Russian. The many who claimed there was hard evidence of collusion in hand proved to be wrong, yet there is no record of media apologies and corrections on these points.
76. May 29, 2019
The Wall Street Journal reports the Navy used a “tarp” to cover the name of the U.S.S. John S. McCain so that President Trump wouldn’t see it on his recent visit to Yokosuka, Japan. (The late Sen. John McCain frequently attacked Trump and cast a deciding vote contrary to McCain’s campaign promise to repeal Obamacare. Trump also attacked McCain and derided McCain’s performance as a soldier in Vietnam where McCain was held as a Prisoner of War.)
After the tarp news is reported, reporters quote McCain’s daughter attacking Trump as if he had given the orders to cover the name.
It is further reported that the U.S.S. John McCain was kept out of Trump’s view, and that sailors wearing hats with the ship’s name on it were turned away and/or given the day off so that Trump would not see the McCain name.
However, shortly after these news reports, key parts of the storyline began to fall apart.
The one grain of truth appeared to be that, in advance of Trump’s trip, a military official sent an email directing that the U.S.S. McCain be kept from Trump’s view. However, importantly, that direction was not followed. Further, Trump and White House aides indicated Trump played no role and was unaware of the direction.
Significantly, military officials stated that it was untrue that a tarp was placed over the ship’s name to block it from Trump’s view. They say it was the other way around: a tarp on the ship for maintenance was removed for Trump’s visit.
Further, U.S. officials said a paint barge in front of the U.S.S. John S. McCain was ordered to be moved for Trump’s visit and was gone by the time he arrived.
The tarpaulin was used as part of hull preservation work on the McCain and was removed on Saturday, two days before Trump delivered a Memorial Day address at U.S. Naval Base Yokosuka, where the McCain was stationed. All ships remained in normal configuration during [the President’s visit.Cmdr. Nate Christensen, spokesman for U.S. Pacific Fleet, to NBC News
Though the main components of the Wall Street Journal story appeared to have been debunked, the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman oddly tweeted out a statement that the Times had confirmed the Wall Street Journal’s “excellent scoop.”
The main part of the story that the Times seemed to have confirmed was that unnamed White House officials were concerned about Trump seeing the McCain name and that sailors wearing ball caps that sported the ship’s insignia were turned away.
However, CBS News pointed out that “it is possible the reason they were turned away is that ball caps were not part of the dress code for the event.”
U.S. officials said about 800 sailors from more than 20 ships and Navy commands were present for the president’s visit and “all wore the same Navy hat that has no logo, rather than wearing individual ship or command hats.”
77. July 4, 2019
Several news outlets seemed to be victimized by a bad case of wishful thinking when they reported that President Trump’s Fourth of July celebration did not draw crowds. One analysis incorrectly claimed there were “small crowds.”
The Guardian featured a photo of an empty podium in Washington D.C. prior to the celebration and claimed the White House was “struggling” to draw crowds.
However, by any factual assessment, the crowds were, in fact, huge. That’s in spite of the bad weather.
78. January 2019
In January, New York Times, Vice and others reported on the “lost” immigrant children of the Trump administration. However, AP and other fact checks stated this was a misleading term. According to AP, the “lost” children were a matter of the government not being able to track them once placed with sponsors. In some cases this was because the sponsors– many in the U.S. illegally– would not respond to the government’s follow up phone calls.
It’s not highly unusual to fail to keep track of many minors who came unaccompanied to the border. During the last year of the Obama administration, HHS was able to locate 85 percent of the minors or their sponsors, according to an inspector general’s report. The Trump administration slightly exceeded that success rate in the last three months of 2017, even as it is accused of losing children.Associated Press fact check
79. July 13, 2019
In a story about a lawsuit alleging that candidate Trump forcibly kissed a campaign worker, CNN failed to mention that that lawsuit had been dismissed. It later corrected its story to include the information.
80. July 21, 2019
Many in the media uncritically report a Georgia State legislator’s racist and false claim that a “white” man at a grocery store told her to “go back where you came from.”
Media reports link the supposed hateful comment to President Trump because Trump recently said several Democrats in Congress should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
However, the following day, the legislator acknowledges the man did not say she should “go back to your country” or “go back to where you came from,” as she originally claimed. She goes on to say she told him to “go back.” The man adds he is not white, but a Cuban and a Democrat.
I know I told him to ‘go back.’Rep. Erica Thomas, Georgia, a day after her original accusations
After the legislator changes her story, the local news plays up the headline that the man “admits he swore,” rather than the far more important acknowledgement that her major claim was false. (See around 2:05 in the video near the end of the story.)
Even after the legislator retracted her original accusation, it remained widely published in national headlines and news reports.
81. July 21, 2019
An MSNBC contributor and law professor falsely tweets that Fox is not going to show upcoming Congressional testimony by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the Trump-Russia investigation. When the error is pointed out, the contributor says she was just kidding and deletes her tweet–but not before it has been “liked” and “retweeted” thousands of times.
82. Aug. 2019
Multiple news outlets including CNN and MSNBC falsely reported that an illegal immigrant had her nursing baby ripped from her arms. The mother was not lactating, CNN later acknowledged.
83. Aug. 28, 2019
MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell apologizes for and retracts anonymous, unverified claims stating that Trump had loans with Russian co-signers. At last view, it appeared that far more people had seen or remarked on the initial information than the apology.
The now-deleted original tweet by O’Donnell stated: “A source close to Deutsche Bank says Trump’s tax returns show he pays very little income tax and, more importantly, that his loans have Russian co-signers. If true, that explains every kind word Trump has ever said about Russia and Putin.”
84. Aug. 28, 2019
Ken Dilinian of NBC News corrects a false report he and others disseminated claiming that starting October 29, “children born to U.S. service members outside of the U.S. will no longer be automatically considered citizens. Parents will have to apply for citizenship for their the [sic] children in those situations.”
85. Sept. 7, 2019
CNN and nearly every major media outlet criticized President Trump for tweeting that Alabama would likely be impacted by Hurricane Dorian. They claimed that was never the case. However, Trump was correct that multiple official hurricane advisories had put Alabama in a projected impacted area.
There is no record of any corrections to these incorrect news stories. In fact, there are multiple follow ups repeating the false claims that Alabama was never in a projected path, and doubling down on the claim that Trump was inaccurate.
Rather than admit an error, some news outlets skirted the issue, parsing probabilities, “would” vs. “could,” the National Weather Service vs. the National Hurricane Center, and whether tropical storm force winds really qualify as hurricane effects.
86. Sept. 10, 2019
Citing anonymous sources, CNN reported— and other media repeated– claims that the CIA had to remove a top U.S. spy from Russia in 2017 because of concern over President Trump’s handling of classified information.
The CIA, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and the White House strongly refuted the story. Other media, including The New York Times and Washington Post, also contradicted CNN and reported the decision to remove the spy happened before CNN said it did and for different reasons.
[CNN’s] reporting is not only incorrect, it has the potential to put lives in danger.Stephanie Grisham, White House press secretary
CNN’s narrative that the Central Intelligence Agency makes life-or-death decisions based on anything other than objective analysis and sound collection is simply false…Misguided speculation that the President’s handling of our nation’s most sensitive intelligence — which he has access to each and every day — drove an alleged exfiltration operation is inaccurate.Brittany Bramell, CIA Director for Public Affairs
The reporting is materially inaccurate… as a former CIA director, I don’t talk about things like this very often — it is only the occasions that I think put people at risk, when the reporting is so egregious as to create enormous risks to the United States of America, that I even comment the way I just did.Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State
At least some of the original stories remained posted a day later without correction, clarification or updating to include CIA’s refutation.
87. Sept. 16, 2019
The New York Times publishes an editor’s note about its recent story recounting a newly-reported accusation about an incident decades ago involving Trump-nominated Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The editor’s note discloses for the first time that the Times never spoke to the alleged victim, and that the alleged victim had told friends she had no recollection of any such event. The Times reporters explained that that information had mistakenly been edited out of the story.
88. July 24, 2019
In testimony to Congress, special counsel Robert Mueller puts to final rest the widespread reporting in 2016 originating with Slate.com that claimed a Russian bank server had been illicitly communicating with Trump Tower. When asked about it by a member of Congress, Mueller replied that “my belief at this point is…not true.”
89. July 29, 2019
Vox.com’s Aaron Rupar tweeted that Trump suggested he was a “9/11 First Responder.” In fact, Trump stated the opposite: “I’m not considering myself a first responder.”
About Sharyl Attkisson
Sharyl Attkisson is a nonpartisan Investigative Journalist who tries to give you information others don’t want you to have. What you do with it is your own business. Do your own research. Seek advice from those you trust. Make up your own mind. Think for yourself. Full bio