After the Washington Post claimed that Press Secretary Sean Spicer was “hiding in bushes” to avoid questions from reporters about FBI Director James Comey’s firing, the paper has once again had to admit that they published fake news.
In an article titled “After Trump fired Comey, White House staff scrambled to explain why” by Jenna Johnson, she made the spectacular claim that Spicer had actually hid in bushes to avoid questions from the Washington elite media.
— Michelangelo Signorile (@MSignorile) May 10, 2017
“After Spicer spent several minutes hidden in the bushes near these sets, Janet Montesi, an executive assistant in the press office, emerged and told reporters that Spicer would answer some questions, as long as he was not filmed doing so. Spicer then emerged,” Johnson wrote.
The claim went rapidly viral, the latest bit of gossip to paint the White House as being run by a bunch of hapless nitwits.
Democracy dies in the bushes.
— Tasneem Raja (@tasneemraja) May 10, 2017
Hiding in the bushes, Spicer finally took reporters' Qs last night for 10 min — mostly just referring them to DOJ https://t.co/6sW55325LH
— Catherine Rampell (@crampell) May 10, 2017
this gif is overused, but in light of sean spicer in the bushes…. pic.twitter.com/FnLfVL1QYK
— marisa kabas (@MarisaKabas) May 10, 2017
Like so many of these stories, the claim ended up being false.
Hours later, the story was updated.
This story has been updated to more precisely describe Spicer's location near White House bushes on Tuesday night https://t.co/kRwAq4lLeo
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 11, 2017
“EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to more precisely describe White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s location late Tuesday night in the minutes before he briefed reporters. Spicer huddled with his staff among bushes near television sets on the White House grounds, not ‘in the bushes,’ as the story originally stated.”
Essentially, Spicer was standing outside.
The countless articles and viral tweets citing Johnson have not all been updated, however — and this is how fake news is born.
Despite being one of the leading organizations against “fake news,” the legacy paper seems to have a problem with getting their facts straight.
For example, in January, the paper published an alarming story falsely claiming that Russian hackers had penetrated the US power grid through a Vermont utility.
The headline of the story declared, “Russian operation hacked a Vermont utility, showing risk to US electrical grid security, officials say.” But the story was a complete fabrication. The article, which sourced unnamed officials, was rapidly debunked as officials on record stated that there was no evidence that the Russian government hacked or targeted the utility.
Not only was there no penetration of the US power grid by Russia, there was no penetration of the grid by anyone.
Perhaps the Post is correct, and “fake news” is a serious problem. To begin cleaning it up, maybe they should start in their own newsroom.
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President Trump’s Approval Rating Soars as the Public Increasingly Supports His Coronavirus Response
The public supports Trump’s crisis response.
A Gallup poll has shown that President Trump’s approval rating has jumped to 49 percent as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
His approval rating has jumped five points in the past month. This matches his all-time high, which was previously achieved in late January and early February. Ninety-two percent of Republicans support the President, while 43 percent of independents and 13 percent of Democrats approve of Trump.
Americans also approve of the way President Trump has handled the coronavirus pandemic. Sixty percent of Americans support Trump’s disaster response while 38 percent of Americans disapprove. Ninety-four percent of Republicans support his response, while 60 percent of independents and 27 percent of Democrats support how Trump has handled coronavirus.
“The Trump administration has received some criticism for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic — including that the president downplayed the threat, at least up until his nationally televised address on March 11,” Gallup noted in their report.
“On March 16, Trump acknowledged the seriousness of the situation by urging people to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and to have workers and students stay home if possible. The administration has had daily press conferences since then to update the nation on what the federal government is doing to address the situation,” they added.
It is not uncommon for an incumbent president to gain in popularity during a crisis, as every commander-in-chief in office during a serious threat has gained support from the public as a result.
“Historically, presidential job approval has increased when the nation is under threat. Every president from Franklin Roosevelt through George W. Bush saw their approval rating surge at least 10 points after a significant national event of this kind. Bush’s 35-point increase after 9/11 is the most notable rally effect on record,” Gallup noted.
Although he is peaking right now, President Trump has consistently shown strength in various polls for many months as the public realizes the fake news is lying about his administration:
New polling from Quinnipiac released Thursday shows President Donald Trump handily defeating every major Democratic presidential candidate in hypothetical general election matchups…
Well-known Democrats Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are the most competitive candidates against Trump in the Wisconsin general election, and even they lose by a considerable seven points to the incumbent Republican president.
Even Pete Buttigieg, an Indiana mayor who claims to have a credible path to victory in midwestern states the President grabbed from the Democratic Party in 2016, appears nowhere near seriously competing in the state.
The polling suggests Democrats will have a serious uphill battle in order to contend for the electoral votes of midwestern states such as Wisconsin, in 2020 or other future Presidential elections.
President Trump’s polling in statewide and national surveys has consistently improved as the Democratic Primary erupts in contention, suggesting that the divisions within the Democratic Party may bode well for his re-election.
The state was formerly assumed to be a safe blue state, before Trump won its electoral votes in a shocking upset in 2016. Pennsylvania and Michigan also went Republican for the first time in decades in Trump’s victory, and will prove essential to the election in 2020. Polling of the latter two states shows closer general election contests than in Wisconsin.
President Trump is showing his leadership bona fides during the crisis, and the public is thrilled with the way he is handling the coronavirus pandemic.
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