In the age of Fake News, it can be difficult to tell truth from fiction. There are many examples of inaccurate reporting, and Fake News doesn’t just mean telling lies. Mainstream media outlets can lie through the omission of truth.
Here, we outline some of the biggest cases of ‘Fake News’ and inaccurate reporting. Some of these have long been debunked, whereas others are still out there, swirling on the internet.
The truth is out there. Somewhere.
CNN Accuses President Trump of Over-Feeding Fish
During a trip to Japan, President Trump met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. CNN posted a tweet that appeared to show Trump over-feeding fish from above. The tweet quickly went viral, suggesting that Trump was careless towards the culture and well-being of the animals.
CNN had actually cropped the footage to hide the fact that the US President was merely copying the Japanese Prime Minister. An apology and correction were sent out but it did not attract the same attention.
False Reporting On Michael Flynn
ABC News falsely spread misinformation regarding National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Brian Ross was Chief Investigative Correspondent for ABC News and had spread the rumor that Michael Flynn would plead guilty to lying to the FBI and that President Trump ordered him to contact Russians about foreign policy before he was elected.
The report was incorrect and led to Dow Jones dropping 350 points. After an apology was issued, Brian Ross was suspended and ultimately fired from ABC after 24 years at the network.
The Removal Of A Bust
Early reports from January 20, 2017, suggested that US President Donald Trump had removed a bust of Martin Luther King from the White House. TIME reporter Zeke Miller had deliberately spread the misinformation about the newly-elected President that fit the narrative of racism spread during the 2016 election.
TIME issued an apology after it was proven on Twitter to be incorrect. The story had already gone viral and the correction did not pick up as much steam as the initial claim.
In January 2017, two photos of Presidental inaugural crowds were quickly shared when it became clear who had larger audiences
Then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer stood in front of the media and boldly stated: “this was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” He has since regretted his comments and admitted it was incorrect at the time.
The conspiracy surrounding Pizzagate has since been debunked but caused quite a stir when it started circulating in 2016. After John Podesta’s emails were hacked, people claimed they could see coded language implying there was a human-trafficking operation out of Comet – a pizza place in Washington, DC.
The conspiracy theory started on 4chan and Twitter, before being reported by The New York Times. To date, it has not been validated since a lot of the ‘evidence’ is uncorroborated and debunked.
The Buzzfeed Dossier
Soon after Donald Trump was elected President, Buzzfeed released a damming dossier claiming misconduct and conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. The contents within the report were quickly spread online and was eventually debunked as complete misinformation.
It was revealed that the dossier was paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic Party, who worked with foreign investigation firm Fusion GPS. Buzzfeed even admitted at the time they had no evidence to suggest any of it was truthful.
Another Buzzfeed Report…
Two years after their famous dossier, Buzzfeed again published unverified content on their site. In January 2019, Buzzfeed claimed that Donald Trump had forced his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress. The bombshell news report went viral until it was debunked by Robert Mueller himself!
Buzzfeed has published two false reports in the hope to impeach President Donald Trump, with both backfiring and costing them their credibility. It was considered fuel for the President in his ongoing battle with the press.
The Birther Movement
Rumors circulating Barack Obama’s heritage were started by Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2008 and propelled to the mainstream by Donald Trump a few years later. The conspiracy theory suggested that Barack Obama was not born in the US and therefore ineligible to be President.
Many people believed he was born in Kenya and not Hawaii, leading him to reveal his birth certificate. It is widely considered to be the major talking point of Donald Trump before his own run in 2015 – aided by Fox News.
The Clinton Death Count
To date, there have been more than fifty people with close ties to the Clintons who have ended up dead. Many of these people are investigative journalists, secret service agents, government officials, and court witnesses.
The death of these people usually vary from suicide, gunshot wounds from the back of the head, and plane crashes. Rumors started from the 1990s that claim people close to Bill and Hillary Clinton end up dead, although no formal link between all these people has been found.
Scaramucci And CNN
In 2017, CNN fired three of its journalists for falsely claiming Anthony Scaramucci was involved with a Russian investment fund. Thomas Frank, Eric Lichtblau and Lex Harris all pushed a story that was 100% fabricated.
This was in an attempt to undermine the former Communications Director and his connection to Donald Trump and The White House. They were fired for failing to reach the standards of CNN and how it covers stories. For three years, the relationship between CNN and The White House has been tense.
THAT Newsweek Cover
After seeing HuffPost state that Hillary Clinton had a 98% chance of winning the White House, Newsweek created a front cover ahead of time. Unfortunately, they got it wrong and had to quickly change it to feature Donald Trump instead.
It’s not uncommon for news organizations to create two, conflicting covers depending on election results, but this one leaked online. Even though they were recalled, you can still buy them online. Some are going for as much as $10,000!
Trump Was Banned From Barbara Bush’s Funeral
When former First Lady Barbara Bush died in April 2018, President Trump was widely criticized by the media for not attending the funeral. Many publications were calling it disrespectful, while others assumed it was because the Bushes have famously not liked the sitting President.
However, it is against protocol for sitting Presidents to attend the funerals of former First Ladies due to the added security. Then-President Barack Obama didn’t attend the funerals of first ladies Nancy Reagan and Betty Ford.
Rolling Stone Fabricated Rape
In 2014, Rolling Stone published a 9,000-word article about a woman claiming to have been gang-raped at the University of Virginia. The article claimed she had reported the event but that the university did nothing to investigate.
The publication of “A Rape on Campus” led to investigations on and off campus by the faculty, the police, and many students got lawyers for protection. Later, the writer confessed she had not fact-checked anything – and Rolling Stone was sued by the fraternity for $3 million.
MAGA-Wearing Teenagers ‘Attacked’ A Native American
In January 2019, all major media outlets reported that a group of young Trump supporters attacked a Native American during the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington, DC. They reported on the hate and bigotry from kids as young as 15 years old.
However, the entire 1-hour video shows that it was the old man who loudly approached and screamed in the boy’s face – while they stood silently. The uncut version of the video has been removed by Facebook and is not mentioned by the mainstream news.
Fox Doctored A Presidential Address
In January 2019, President Trump appealed to Americans with an Oval Office address providing updates on the government shutdown. However, during the live-streamed event, a staffer at Q13 Fox in Seattle had altered the recording, making it appear as if Trump was sticking his tongue out.
After videos circulated online, Q13 admitted they had altered the footage and the staffer was quickly fired for deliberately making the President look bad. The staffer had also deliberately made the video appear more orange.
The Hill Confused Two Black Women
In July 2018, The Hill published a headline: “Susan Rice says she has been ‘moved by the enthusiasm’ for her possible Senate run”. The only problem? They used a picture of Condoleezza Rice – not Susan Rice.
The publication confused the first black woman to hold the post of National Security Adviser with the second black woman to hold it. Even though they share the same last name, they are not related. A correction was quickly sent out.
Fake Torture Photos
In 2004, Piers Morgan was fired from the Daily Mirror after publishing inaccurate photos of British soldiers in Iraq. As the editor, he has decided to publish unverified photos of British soldiers torturing Iraqi citizens.
During the outrage, it was revealed that they had been faked and it cost the paper its editor and its reputation. 15 years later, Morgan still states that he believed the photos were real at the time and that the paper had been hoaxed.
Catching The Boston Bomber
In 2013, the media came under fire for its reporting on the Boston marathon and the details surrounding the bomber. In a rush to report it first, many news anchors were sharing details that proved to be entirely incorrect.
CNN’s John King identified the suspect as ‘dark skinned’ and Fox News’ Megyn Kelly even claimed someone had been arrested. The New York Post published a photo on its front page of the suspects which featured random innocent people. The media was quick to delete its tweets and offer redactions.
Trump Jr. Collusion With Wikileaks
In 2017, CNN reported that Donald Trump Jr. colluded with Wikileaks and Russia about confidential documents. The network reported that he received the documents on September 4, 2016 – and ‘confirmed’ it with two unnamed sources.
In fact, Donald Trump Jr. was emailed about the documents on September 14 – the day after they were already available to the public. CNN apologized for the inaccurate reporting but has not explained how two sources gave them the misinformation.