When the mainstream media started complaining about “fake news” in the aftermath of Hillary Clinton’s election loss, I was skeptical. After all, they’d been spitting fake news for years. Now, suddenly, they were worried about a few dodgy Ukrainian websites?
The reporting we’ve seen from the mainstream media since the election has borne out this assessment, more or less. Between BuzzFeed’s infamous “Trump dossier” and the uproarious hypocrisy of NBC’s Brian Williams‘ attack on “fake news,” there’s been more than enough evidence that if you want fiction, you can just turn on any major establishment source and get plenty of it.
ABC managed to get into the fray this week when it used a photoshopped image of President Donald Trump in the Oval Office to promote its Wednesday interview with the newly minted chief executive.
This is the image the network used, from Imgur:
OK, looks harmless enough. However, take a look out the window. Notice anything? As Mashable pointed out, there wasn’t snow on the ground for Trump’s Inauguration Day nor has there been any snow in the nation’s capital since.
In fact, the picture is from a September article in The New Yorker called “President Trump’s First Term.” For those of you who have taken Common Core U.S. civics classes or simply have poor memory, this was well before Trump was even elected.
In September, it would have been obvious to any reader that the image was photoshopped, since — duh — Trump hadn’t been elected yet. However, ABC seems to have grabbed it and tried to pass it off as a real picture without mentioning that the imposing image was photoshopped.
In a statement to Politico, ABC News acknowledged its “mistake.”
“When the marketing team created the promo, they included the wrong image by mistake,” the statement said. “They updated it with a new photo as soon as they realized the error. We regret the mistake.”
While certainly not the worst story we’ve seen — that prize easily goes to the “Trump dossier” — it’s rather shoddy journalistic ethics to make some minor changes to a image from The New Yorker and then pass it off, more or less, as an official photo of Trump in the Oval Office, all to promote an interview.
While this may not be as big as the trumped-up “dossier” scandal, it’s yet another case of “fake news” in the mainstream media that complains about “fake news” so incessantly. If they’re really so concerned about it, then they should at least try to live up to their journalistic standards.
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