Confirmation bias is a dangerous thing in the news media. Too many times in the last month have reporters jumped on and spread fake news stories that confirm what they believe — President Trump is dangerous to the Republic and must be stopped.
On Wednesday, Fox 2 News, a local outlet in Detroit, had to correct a story it originally reported, saying a local man’s mother died in Iraq because of Mr. Trump’s immigration ban. With further reporting, it was discovered the woman didn’t die after the ban had been put in place, but before.
“The leader of a mosque in Dearborn has confirmed to FOX 2 that a man who claimed his mother died in Iraq after being barred from returning to the United States under a ban instituted by President Trump this weekend, lied to FOX 2 about when her death occurred,” the correction read.
But that was after several reporters throughout the nation had retweeted the original story, making it go viral.
Gideon Resnick, a reporter at the Daily Beast, linked to the fake story and wrote on Twitter: “Holy sh*t. A man in Detroit says that his mom died in Iraq before he could bring her home because of Trump’s ban.”
Liam Stack, a newsman at the New York Times tweeted: “A 75-year-old green card holder died after she was turned away at Baghdad Airport because of Trump’s immigration ban.”
“75 year-old green card holder died in Iraqi hospital after being blocked from flight and separated from son,” penned Ishaan Tharoor, a foreign affairs writer for The Washington Post, linking the comment to Mr. Trump’s tweet defending the ban, saying it was keeping the “bad people (with bad intentions)” out of our country.
And the list continues.
Yes, the fault originally lies with Fox 2, but these blue-box verified reporter accounts should be more careful in the news they retweet. Instead of confirming the story for themselves, they propagated out on their Twitter feeds because the story confirmed what they felt — the ban was bad and hurting innocent people.
The same thing happened with The Associated Press misreporting a readout of Mr. Trump’s call with Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto. The AP, citing excerpts obtained from a transcript of the call, said Mr. Trump told Mr. Pena Nieto that the U.S. military was prepared to handle “bad hombres down there” if Mexican authorities won’t.
The Mexican government was quick to say the AP report was inaccurate, with the White House issuing its own statement the report was false.
However, that didn’t stop it from going viral — among both reporters who so badly wanted the report to be true, and Democratic political operatives.
“I’m sorry, did our president just threaten to invade Mexico today?” penned Barack Obama’s speechwriter Jon Favreau, based on the faulty report.
Regardless of whether Mr. Favreau knew if the report was accurate, tweeting his response just put more negative news about Mr. Trump in the ether — it was all an upside for him.