As COVID-19 continues to ravage the U.S., Democrats and their media allies have accused President Donald Trump of dismissing the coronavirus pandemic as a “hoax.”
But that accusation stems from a quote that was deliberately taken out of context — and after her own employer debunked the ridiculous narrative, one Washington Post reporter walked back a tweet claiming that Trump had said as much, the Washington Examiner reports.
Spreading a lie
On March 21, Washington Post reporter Amber Phillips tweeted out a link to a highly critical article from her own outlet about the Trump administration’s coronavirus response efforts.
“Trump called it a ‘hoax’ in late February,” she wrote of the virus in her Saturday tweet, according to the Examiner.
But just a few hours later, a pro-Trump Twitter account called Phillips out for continuing to perpetuate the debunked “hoax” narrative:
This Washington Post reporter is spreading a lie previously debunked by at least 5 different independent fact checkers, including her own paper.
POTUS never called the coronavirus a hoax!
— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) March 21, 2020
Indeed, one of five separate fact-checks on the claim came from Phillip’s own Washington Post, which a week earlier had given four Pinocchio’s — the paper’s worst rating — to an attack ad from former Vice President Joe Biden that included “manipulated” video of Trump’s remarks at a campaign rally in February.
As the Post fact-checker pointed out — including by sharing the president’s entire quote, instead of just a snippet like the Biden ad and others in the media did — President Trump had been referring to media talking points about the new coronavirus as a “hoax” that was intended to harm him politically — not the virus itself.
Whether it was because she was called out by Trump campaigners or because she was confronted by multiple fact-checks proving her wrong, it appears that Phillips got the message:
My apologies for quoting the president out of context. As The Washington Post’s Fact Checker makes clear, he called Democrats politicizing coronavirus a hoax. I have deleted the incorrect tweet. https://t.co/R38kPEdBG3
— Amber Phillips (@byamberphillips) March 21, 2020
An apology and retraction from a member of the anti-Trump media is an incredibly rare occurrence in the current day and age.
Phillips did the honorable thing, however, and for that, we commend her. All we ask going forward is that she, as well as other reporters like her, take a moment to double-check things for themselves before perpetuating the next bogus narrative cooked up by their media cohorts.