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NYT Called Out After Quietly Removing Trump-NRA Quid Pro Quo Insinuation

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The media’s found another Donald Trump quid pro quo that isn’t really — this time having to do with the National Rifle Association.

A Friday report from The New York Times originally described a tense meeting between NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre about funding for the president’s legal defense and re-election campaign.

The NRA apparently wasn’t too happy with how the president has been handling gun control issues and said so, although The Times is rather unclear about how this displeasure was expressed.

Here’s how the open of the story, written by Maggie Haberman and Annie Karnie, reads as of early Monday morning: “President Trump met in the White House on Friday with Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the National Rifle Association, and discussed prospective gun legislation and whether the N.R.A. could provide support for the president as he faces impeachment and a more difficult re-election campaign, according to two people familiar with the meeting.

“During the meeting, Mr. LaPierre asked that the White House ‘stop the games’ over gun control legislation, people familiar with the meeting said. It was not clear whether Mr. Trump asked Mr. LaPierre for his support, or what that support would look like.”

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That’s not how it originally read, however.

The Los Angeles Times’ Matt Pearce was among the first to notice the discrepancy:

Does The New York Times owe its readers an explanation for these changes?

As you can see in the first graphic, the original version of the story specifically described “financial support” for the president and stated: “But in return for the support, Mr. LaPierre asked that the White House ‘stop the games’ over gun control legislation, people familiar with the meeting said.”

The revisions not only deleted the word “financial,” but, as The Daily Caller noted, added a sentence to say: “It was not clear whether Mr. Trump asked Mr. LaPierre for his support, or what that support would look like.”

In short, the story was gutted.

Pearce noted “the first version seemed pretty crimey, the new version is much more ambiguous.”

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Curiously, the snippet that appears below the story in social media links still seems to indicate a quid pro quo:

The original version also had certain Democrats salivating…

… as well as certain reporters, like the aforementioned Pearce, unhappy that the change was made so quietly and without a correction or editor’s note.

“As a professional courtesy, I am not a big fan of unacknowledged story edits that make my early tweets summarizing their piece into something potentially libelous,” Pearce wrote, after originally summarizing the arrangement as a quid pro quo.

The NRA, meanwhile, has called reporting on the story “inaccurate.”

“The N.R.A. categorically denies any discussion occurred about special arrangements pertaining to the N.R.A.’s support of the President and vice versa,” a statement from the group said.

The problem is that insinuating a quid pro quo exists isn’t just “crimey” but potentially criminal. The fact that the report was changed so quickly was likely indicative of the fact that The Times editors weren’t all that sure about the nature of the NRA’s warning in the first place — which means, obviously, that the insinuation shouldn’t have been in there.

As for what these “games” may be, the only real indication is that the NRA seems to want “to move Mr. Trump away from proposing any sort of background check measures akin to what he said after the mass shootings he might support.”

The rest of the article, which is somewhat amorphous in nature, seems relatively concerned with whether Trump will go in for gun control while impeachment concerns exist and whether the NRA is in good enough financial shape to help Trump.

As for the meeting in the White House, which is supposed to be the scoop here, there’s actually about as much column space spent on the NRA’s denial as there is on the substance of the meeting.

There’s way more, indeed, about how impeachment might affect any sort of gun control push.

You know, I’m starting to get an idea of why The Times might have been fixated on the whole quid pro quo thing…

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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