Rachel Stoltzfoos, DCNF
The New York Times has corrected five stories on President Donald Trump’s response to the Charlottesville protests, admitting in each report to misquoting what the president said in the aftermath of the violence.
Four of the corrected reports misquoted what Trump said about who is to blame for the violence, and a fifth report from two star reporters misquoted what Trump said about the push to tear down Confederate statues. One of the corrections is egregious, while others are fairly minor, but taken together they reveal a trend of careless mistakes in reporting on Trump’s remarks.
Let’s do a quick run through.
Two reports misquoted this line from Trump’s initial statement on the violence: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides — on many sides.”
Glenn Thrush bungled the quote in a report on the furious reaction to Trump’s remarks.
“Correction: August 14, 2017 An earlier version of this article misquoted part of President Trump’s statement on the violence in Charlottesville, Va. He blamed ‘many sides,’ not ‘all sides,’ for the violence that left one woman dead.”
Andrew Ross Sorkin also bungled the quote that same day in a report on “outraged” CEOs, prompting an identical correction:
“Correction: August 14, 2017 An earlier version of this column misquoted part of President Trump’s statement on the violence in Charlottesville, Va. He blamed ‘many sides,’ not ‘all sides,’ for the violence that left one woman dead.”
The next day, star reporters Maggie Haberman and Michael Shear misquoted what Trump said about the push to tear down Confederate statues in a critical story about his press conference that Tuesday.
“Correction: August 15, 2017 An earlier version of this report incorrectly quoted President Trump’s words about taking down statues of historical leaders. His correct quote is: ‘So this week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?’”
A NYT reporter falsely claimed Trump said “alt-left” protesters were “solely responsible” for the violence in another mistaken report a few days later.
“Correction: August 18, 2017 The Common Sense column on Thursday, about the calculus of chief executives in deciding whether to take on the president, referred incompletely to President Trump’s comments on Tuesday about the instigators of last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Va. He said there was ‘blame on both sides,’ including club-wielding members of what he called the ‘alt-left’; he did not say that group was solely responsible.”
The correction fixed an egregious misstatement of Trump’s remarks in the Tuesday presser: “I think there’s blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it, and you don’t have any doubt about it either. And, and, and, and if you reported it accurately, you would say –”
More than 10 days after Trump’s initial statement on Charlottesville, the paper issued yet another correction, again regarding Trump’s remarks on Charlottesville at Trump Tower that Tuesday after the violence.
“Correction: August 22, 2017 An earlier version of this article misquoted President Trump. He said there were ‘very fine people on both sides’ of the deadly melee in Charlottesville, Va., not ‘the good people on both sides.’”
Trump characterized some of the protesters on the right as “very bad people,” but also said both sides included “very fine people.”
“The neo-Nazis started this thing,” a reporter said at the presser. “They showed up in Charlottesville.”
“Excuse me, they didn’t put themselves down as neo-Nazis, and you had some very bad people in that group,” Trump replied. “But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.”
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