Ready, fire, aim seems to be the new standard for journalistic excellence as left-wing media outlets were so ravenous to report any salacious news relating to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that they retweeted a false story about him they thought originated with The Wall Street Journal.
Needless to say, they never checked the source before the tweet storm ensued.
The tweet that set things off, which came from the account of a Twitter user identified as “Alan Covington,” read as follows, according to BuzzFeed News:
“WSJ: Mitchell advised Republicans that to continue questioning Kavanaugh she was required by her oath in Arizona to inform Kavanaugh of this rights after he lied to her about July 1, 1982, entry on his calendar. Maryland Statutes was last question she asked, then break was called…”
There was no link to the story because there was actually no story by The Wall Street Journal on this issue.
BuzzFeed News reported: “The tweet implied, without any proof, that the prosecutor Republican senators retained to question Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, one of the women accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, stopped asking Kavanaugh questions because she determined that he lied. It falsely sourced the information to the Wall Street Journal and was soon amplified by reporters and commentators on Twitter, racking up thousands of retweets and likes.”
BuzzFeed also reported a second tweet from the Covington account stating the American Bar Association referred to the same WSJ report in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee asking for a delay on the Kavanaugh vote for confirmation to allow more time for the FBI to investigate allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford.
Like the first tweet, that has been deleted.
Unsourced tweets or unsourced information spread is a cause for real concern in this era of fake news. Matt Murray, editor in chief of The Wall Street Journal, issued this warning after the aforementioned tweets spread far and wide.
The person behind the Alan Covington account where the first tweet originated returned to Twitter account to announce that he had been hacked and to apologize for chaos that ensued as a result, according to a screen shot published by BuzzFeed.
“My account was hacked overnight and a series of tweets were sent between 6-9 this morning. I did not write these tweets though the responsibility for the account and the fault is mine. I sincerely apologize to @murrymatt @WSJ @JaneLytv and all others drawn into this fiasco.”
That tweet has now also been deleted.
It didn’t take long for other retractions to follow.
According to BuzzFeed, Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe also retweeted the original post. He told BuzzFeed News he corrected his retweet to his 400,000 plus followers on Twitter.
“I’ve been watching what’s going on in the Senate and deleted the WSJ report as soon as I learned it was inauthentic,” he wrote in a direct message, according to BuzzFeed.
I erred in believing that the WSJ “story” was authentic and deleted my retweet as soon as I learned the tweet below was fake but didn’t have time to tweet a correction until now. Sorry for the delay. https://t.co/0wDniFLzA6
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) September 28, 2018
Johnathan Chait, a writer for New York magazine, and John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary magazine, New York Post columnist and a Contributing Editor of the Weekly Standard, had the good sense to call it out for what it was.
This tweet is going viral, but I haven't seen a link or been able to find the story at the WSJ. https://t.co/nGbPEM8vO7
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) September 28, 2018
This is a lie, and you're falling for it. https://t.co/zm7qZSteaI
— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) September 28, 2018
TheBlaze reported the outcry, highlighting the bad form and backtracking of those who ran with the tweet before authenticating the sources.
The Nation contributor Joshua Holland tweeted, “They covered up a felony in the middle of the f**king hearing.” Soon after discovering the story was fake he tweeted, “Couldn’t find the story at WSJ so I deleted this tweet.”
Aaron Blake, senior political reporter for The Washington Pst, acknowledged re-tweeting the original post, and warned others not to do the same.
Bloomberg’s Justin Sink “mocked everyone for reposting the false story, and also for ‘freaking out’ over it,” reported TheBlaze.
If this is all it takes for news outlets to go running after a shiny object then President Donald Trump is right to label many mainstream news outlets as “fake news.”
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