So, too, went the Covington Catholic scandal whereupon a white teenager was reviled in the press for appearing to smirk at a Native American protestor. When the full facts of the incident were known, however, the teenager in question proved a mere bystander trying to keep his cool in a strange and dangerous situation.
Even more recently, the story of three white boys at the Christian school where Vice President Mike Pence’s wife sometimes teaches holding down a black female classmate and cutting off her dreadlocks ripped through the news cycle like wildfire.
When the whole incident was proven to be a hoax, complete with a heartfelt apology letter from the female student and her family asking the school, and the falsely accused boys, for forgiveness- the media was less enthusiastic.
Same story with a recent report that ripped the U.S. and the Trump administration for having 100,000 immigrant children currently in detention centers. When the retraction came- that those numbers were from 2015, when Barack Obama was president, and even then, those numbers represented an entire period of time, not the number of children detained at one time by the U.S. federal government- crickets.
There are people who still believe Jussie Smollett, and always will. The same people who likely think Donald Trump is a Russian asset and will believe such until the day they die.
But what is perhaps more embarrassing than the stories mainstream media outlets have jumped all over in order to discredit anything and everything Donald Trump says or does- that have later proven to be false or misleading- are the stories they have passed on.
The Harvey Weinstein story, for which Ronan Farrow received a Pulitzer, was axed by executives at ABC for “not meeting their reporting standards” three years before the story finally broke.
Considering some of the worst accusations against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were later proven to have been leveled by a woman who had never even met Kavanaugh, this is somewhat surprising.
Very rarely does any media outlet, or indeed any journalist, face any disciplinary action or consequences as a result of false or misleading stories that attempt to make Trump, or Trump supporters, look bad.
Reporting on the Trump-is-a-Russian asset story received a Pulitzer as well, in spite of what the Mueller Report revealed- which was a whole lot of nothing.
However, the recent, extremely ill-timed Newsweek Report article criticizing President Donald Trump for spending his Thanksgiving break golfing and cavorting with his rich friends in Mar-La-Go was apparently one step too far.
The juxtaposition, Tweeted first by Donald Trump Jr., then later re-Tweeted by Trump himself- of the Newsweek headline coupled with photos from Trump’s surprise trip to Afghanistan to visit U.S. troops, under the heading “Fake news vs. Reality” was damning.
So damning, in fact, that the reporter responsible for the story has been fired.
But as anyone defamed or embarrassed can attest, the damage to Newsweek, and the press’s reputation in general, may already be done.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump comes out of the ordeal smelling like a rose and poised to win reelection.
The other thing Donald Trump understands and does well is play to his audience. His supporters, conservatives, Trumpers and everyone else planning on voting incumbent in 2020, like seeing their president visit the troops on Thanksgiving Day.
And they like seeing him win against the media once in a while even more.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)