Update (Jan. 14): Still more fake news from the Washington Post!
Jim Hoft (Gateway Pundit) has this report on the newspaper’s failure to tell the whole story on the resignation of the general in charge of the D.C. National Guard (unsurprisingly, the story it did tell makes President-Elect Donald Trump look bad), and on its further resort to Stalinist memory-holing (rewriting an article to fix mistakes, without noting the changes, or indeed noting that any update was made).
And this blogger has prepared a video (embedded below) documenting the fake news created by Doris Truong yesterday when, in a Facebook live interview, she complained that no one “reached out” to her to ask whether she had taken photos of Rex Tillerson’s notes and, if so, why. (If you like the video, please retweet this.) Borrowing from the Boston Globe, Ms. Truong has dubbed this a “reachable moment.”
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Poor Washington Post. Once a highly esteemed newspaper, by 2011 its own ombudsman acknowledged that the Post had “become riddled with typos, grammatical mistakes and intolerable ‘small’ factual errors that erode credibility,” and that “[t]he Post often trails the competition on stories.”
By 2013, it was so troubled financially that Jeff Bezos, a billionaire with no experience in the publishing industry, snapped it up “for the equivalent of pocket change.”
By August, 2016, “a fast-growing pool of distrustful detractors” had taken to calling this once-respected institution the “Washington Compost.” The slide in its reputation has only accelerated since then.
By November, the Compost was in the business of publishing fake-news stories, in particular false claims about the Russians supposedly engaging in nefarious plots against America: for example, as Glenn Greenwald has summarized, “one on how Russia is behind a massive explosion of ‘fake news,’ the other on how it invaded the U.S. electric grid. Both articles were fundamentally false.” (See also Alex Griswold.)
In December, the Compost attacked Donald Trump’s pick to head the Office of Management and Budget, Rep. Mick Mulvaney, as unqualified because he had not served on the House Budget Committee — when, in fact, he had.
Also in December, the Compost was caught engaging in Stalinist memory-holing, in an effort to hide from readers its misreporting of the Michigan recount, which completely missed a key federal-court ruling which had been issued 17 hours prior to the Compost article in question.
In January, the Compost published, and doubled down on, a claim about how firearms actually work which was so “outrageous and obviously absurd” that firearms experts reacted with “shock.”
Perhaps most absurd in a long line of fake-news stories, the Compost put on the cover of a special publication this photo, intended to illustrate the upcoming Women’s March on Washington:
An avalanche of derision followed, from numerous media outlets (e.g., BBC, Breitbart, BuzzFeed, The Hill, Hollywood Express, New York Daily News, NY Mag, Sydney Morning Herald, Washington Examiner, and Washingtonian), which pointed out that the Compost had mistakenly used the wrong gender symbol — it had used the male (Mars) symbol instead of the female (Venus) symbol. As a result, the Compost was forced to issue this embarrassing correction:
But the Compost had still not reached its nadir. That came (at least for now; from all indications, one can expect the slide in journalistic standards to continue) yesterday evening, when one of the Compost‘s top editors evidently decided that it’s not enough simply to publish fake news — that the Compost needs to get into the business of actually creating fake news.
Meet Doris N. Truong, the weekend homepage editor for the Compost. At 7:53 p.m. (Eastern time) on January 11, 2017, Ms. Truong was sitting at home when the following tweet was posted, inquiring into the identity of the Asian woman caught on video taking photographs of Rex Tillerson’s notes during a break in his testimony on his nomination to serve as Secretary of State:
Within hours, a rumor began circulating that Ms. Truong was the woman who had taken the photos.
Shortly after 11 p.m., hundreds of people began tweeting to Ms. Truong (replying to her then-latest tweet), either asking her whether she was the woman taking the photos, or accusing her of being the woman and asking why she’d taken the photos, and/or condemning her for doing so. For example:
Ms. Truong admits that she was aware, in real time, of this massive tweetstorm directed at her, prior to retiring for the evening on January 12.
Now, any normal human being and ethical journalist, upon reading such tweets accusing her of committing an unethical, even criminal, act, if innocent would take care to set the record straight, before going to sleep, with a quick tweet saying something like: “that wasn’t me at Tillerson’s hearing.”
Obviously, for someone with an active presence on Twitter to fail to promptly answer such a charge would be widely regarded as a tactic admission that the charge was true. Indeed, that very point was made to Ms. Truong on the evening of January 12:
But Ms. Truong is not a normal human being and ethical journalist. She’s a top editor at the Washington Compost, and apparently felt she could not pass up a unique opportunity to create fake news — to remain silent, and induce onlookers to conclude that because she had had every opportunity to deny the charge, and hadn’t, the charge must be true.
So on awakening this morning, despite a late-night post by Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit identifying her as the person who took the photographs, Ms. Truong remained mute. She allowed 7 a.m. to pass without tweeting that she was innocent. At 7:35 a.m., Jim Hoft’s post went viral via a prominent (fifth line in left column) link on the Drudge Report:
Still Ms. Truong — and all her editors at the Compost — remained silent, doing nothing to prevent the spread of the fake news they had helped create.
They allowed 8 a.m. to pass without comment. Then 9 a.m.
At 9:31 a.m. one concerned citizen tweeted Ms. Truong asking why, in the face of the allegations surrounding her, she had remained silent for 18 hours:
Still Ms. Truong remained silent. 10 a.m. passed. Then 11 a.m. Then noon.
1 p.m. and 2 p.m. came and went without any public statement by Ms. Truong or anyone at the Compost. Perhaps they were occupied finding an affordable place for lunch.
Then 3:00 p.m. came. Although Ms. Truong had been mysteriously silent since the rumor had spread that she had been the one taking photos of Rex Tillerson’s notes, her fellow editors at the Compost had hardly been silent.
In fact, in the fifteen and a half hours between when Jim Hoft published his post flagging Ms. Truong as the likely photographer and 3 p.m., the paper had tweeted 105 times, including three tweets specifically on the Tillerson hearing that was at the center of the viral story about a woman who had photographed Tillerson’s notes:
Although Ms. Tillerson’s colleagues didn’t tweet out a rebuttal to the Drudge Report and other outlets reporting that Ms. Truong was the culprit, they did tweet on a variety of seemingly less urgent topics. For example, dogs:
Their boss’s house:
How cartoonists are mocking Donald Trump:
Pink pussycat hats:
What clothes Melania and Ivanka Trump should wear:
A (black) 4-year-old girl who likes to read:
Yoga with goats:
The yacht from “Caddyshack”:
Finally, shortly after 3 p.m. this afternoon, Ms. Truong broke her silence to address the fake-news story which she and her editors had helped create, and had allowed to fester, by remaining silent for two-thirds of a day. At 3:03 p.m., roughly 16 hours after Ms. Truong was first asked, via Twitter, whether she was the woman who took the photos, she answered no: “I wasn’t even there.”
Ms. Truong then sent out the short tweet that she could easily have sent out the night before, prior to retiring for the night, which would have halted the creation of a viral fake-news story:
Publishing fake news and engaging in Stalinist memory-holing is bad enough, but for editors at the Compost to deliberately stage matters, through strategic silence, to actually create fake news marks a new low for the Compost.