How to deal with a false report about a presidential candidate
It’s not just Trump that has made headlines lately.
On Tuesday, reports surfaced that a false news report had caused Sen. Bernie Sanders to miss an event.
That prompted CNN to tweet, “The false rumor that Bernie Sanders missed an event with #BernieSanders is false.
Sanders is in DC.
We’ll have more information on the senator later.”
And on Wednesday, Trump, who has been feuding with the news media for months, took to Twitter to bash the media and accuse it of “sending the wrong message.”
But there is one major difference between those two stories: Neither Sanders nor the Democratic National Committee are responsible for their false reporting.
“It’s really, really sad, and I’m sorry to say it,” Sanders’ communications director, Michael Briggs, told The Hill.
“I think the press should be very careful not to let it be the sole factor.”
CNN and others have long argued that false reporting on the campaign trail, especially by outlets like the Trump campaign, is part of the “political playbook.”
They point to an article in Politico in December that reported that a group of Republican operatives had secretly obtained voter information and shared it with conservative media outlets, including Breitbart News.
That article led to the resignation of the chairman of the RNC, Reince Priebus, and a number of other members of the GOP, including House Speaker Paul Ryan.
But Briggs and other members said there was no collusion between the Trump and Democratic campaigns and said there were legitimate concerns about how false reports about Sanders were spreading.
The Politico article also included a report that the Trump team had been secretly negotiating a $1 billion deal with NBCUniversal, a media company that is owned by Comcast.
Trump’s campaign denied the story.
Briggs said the Politico story was not about the Trump-Democrat deal, but instead about the RNC’s decision to make a deal with Comcast instead of NBC.
CNN also disputed the Politico article, saying it was “nonsense” and that Trump’s team “had no idea that the RNC was negotiating with Comcast.”
But that’s a far cry from what Briggs and others in the press said on Tuesday.
“If you’re going to be reporting on this stuff, you have to be careful not only about what’s being reported, but also about what you’re not reporting,” Briggs said.
“There are lots of stories out there that are totally untrue and the people that are doing it don’t have a clue about what they’re saying.”
CNN’s coverage of the Trump camp is also far from the only example of misinformation and misreporting coming from the media.
On Wednesday, BuzzFeed published a piece alleging that a reporter for the New York Times had received a fake call from the president-elect.
BuzzFeed was also quick to correct the article.
“We’re investigating the matter,” a spokesperson for the Times told The Huffington Post.
“The article that BuzzFeed published is inaccurate and did not originate from the NYT.”
CNN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
CNN host Don Lemon was also critical of the media, telling a group on Thursday that “this is really bad journalism.”
He added that the media was “not reporting anything that’s not true.”
The Hill reached out to CNN, but did not receive a response.
But Trump himself has been quick to take to Twitter, suggesting CNN is working with the Clinton campaign.
“CNN is the worst.
The Fake News Network,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday.
“They do Fake News with the greatest lack of integrity.
They lie and cheat and get away with it.”
He also called BuzzFeed’s article a “disgrace.”
“CNN’s coverage is so bad, they’re trying to get their panties in a bunch about me being in the White House,” Trump said.
BuzzFeed News, which published the article, said it had “no comment.”