When using social media to report on President Donald Trump’s comments, many major corporate media outlets often succeed only in amplifying his misinformation and lies instead of setting the record straight, according to a new study.
After examining about 2,000 tweets from more than 30 Twitter accounts controlled by major news sources over three weeks earlier this year, Media Matters for America (MMFA) reported Friday that the accounts simply spread Trump’s lies 65 percent of the time, without providing context or disputing his remarks.
— Media Matters (@mmfa) May 3, 2019
You aren't imagining it. Major news outlets amplify false or misleading Trump claims without debunking them an average of 19 times per day. https://t.co/8OV2FFVBMN
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) May 3, 2019
The group found Trump’s lies about subjects including the Mueller report, North Korea, and his claim that former President Barack Obama was spying on him were amplified by NBC, ABC, and other sources more than 400 times over the course of the study, or an average of 19 times per day.
The findings left MMFA convinced that the news media is failing during Trump’s presidency in many of the same ways it did during his 2016 presidential campaign.
“News outlets are still failing to grapple with a major problem that media critics highlighted during the Trump transition: When journalists apply their traditional method of crafting headlines, tweets, and other social media posts to Trump, they end up passively spreading misinformation by uncritically repeating his falsehoods,” said Rob Savillo, a senior fellow and data analyst at MMFA, who co-authored the report.
This is a pretty damning article and one that suggests that #Trump's nonstop propaganda (a nice word for lies) can is being aided the news media. #journalism #journalists #emjrn https://t.co/W47NPkhVVh
— Jerry Lanson (@jerrylanson) May 3, 2019
About 30 percent of the tweets MMFA examined contained quotes from the president, with the quotations often making up the entire tweet.
The findings have major implications for how the press is helping Trump to spread misinformation, MMFA said, pointing to an earlier study by the American Press Institute which showed that many social media users only read a tweeted article’s headline or the text within a post instead of reading whatever context exists in an article, which outlets often link to in their tweets.
“The way people consume information in the digital age makes the accuracy of a news outlet’s headlines and social media posts more important than ever,” wrote Savillo and co-author Matt Gertz. “But journalists are trained to treat a politician’s statements as intrinsically newsworthy, often quoting them without context in tweets and headlines and addressing whether the statement was accurate only in the body of the piece, if at all.”
Most of the lies were spread after Trump hosted informal news briefings known as press gaggles and after his interviews with the press. News outlets passed along his false statement without debunking them 92 percent of the time during the former and 73 percent of the time during the latter.
The online news source The Hill amplified the most lies and misinformation, according to MMFA. The website’s Twitter account sent 40 percent of the misleading or false tweets containing Trump’s quotes or ideas, and passed along incorrect information from the president 88 percent of the time it tweeted about him.
“The Hill also frequently resends the same tweet at regular intervals, not only amplifying his falsehoods, but also making it more likely that the misinformation will stick with its audience through the power of repetition,” wrote Savillo and Gertz.
ABC News amplified Trump’s lies about 74 percent of the time, and even major cable networks that spread misinformation less frequently did so more than half the time. NBC News amplified bad information 52 percent of the time it tweeted about Trump and MSNBC did so 55 percent of the time.
NPR and the Washington Post were among the best performers. The Post disputed the president’s claims 33 out of the 37 times it tweeted about them, and NPR tweeted Trump’s quotations only 20 times. The outlet corrected Trump’s false statements all four times it shared them with the public.
“The results were striking,” the researchers wrote, “demonstrating that media outlets have a serious, ongoing problem dealing with passive misinformation.”
New testimony adds 2 stunning — and previously unknown — details about the Ukraine extortion
New testimony released Monday from the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the Ukraine scandal included at least two new stunning details about the quid pro quo scheme at the heart of the matter.
Overall, the transcripts for depositions of Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson, who were advisers to U.S. envoy Kurt Volker, built on the story of that we already know: that President Donald Trump pushed a shadow foreign policy to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political opponents, a scheme that involved using his office and military aid as leverage over the country in opposition to the official policy.
Trump blasted for his ‘Endorsement of Doom’ after Sean Spicer loses on ‘Dancing with the Stars’
Team Trump had gone all in urging supporters to vote for former White House press secretary Sean Spicer on the game show "Dancing with the Stars."
Votes had been urged by RNC officials and Trump himself had urged his 66 million Twitter followers to vote for Spicer.
Despite the full heft of the Trump campaign, Spicer lost on Monday's show.
Trump deleted his failed tweet urging votes for Spicer -- and instead said it was a "great try" by his former advisor.
Looks like this endorsement was as successful as your last one!
‘He’s misunderstood’: Nikki Haley tells Fox News how Trump is actually a really good listener
Former Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley defended President Donald Trump during a Monday appearance with Fox News personality Sean Hannity.
Hannity asked the former South Carolina governor if Trump was "misunderstood."
"I do think he’s misunderstood," Haley replied.
"I can tell you, from the first day to the last day that I worked for the president, he always listened, he was always conscious of hearing other voices, allowing people to debate out the issues, and then he made his decision," Haley claimed.
She argued that, "I saw a president that was very thoughtful, looked at all of the issues, made decisions, and it was a pleasure and honor to work with him."