Why do people claim that the mainstream media (MSM) pushes fake news? Reporter responds with “My bad.” …!
More accurately you could call it, misrepresenting and misleading news. …P.D.
My bad, didn’t realize there were three tweets. Carry on!
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) November 14, 2017
Everyone was buzzing about the shocking, bombshell new report by The Atlantic yesterday, which revealed that Donald Trump Jr. and the WikiLeaks Twitter account had engaged in a “largely one-sided” conversation in private messages over the course of several months.
Don Jr. actually comes off looking fairly normal in the report, while WikiLeaks comes off looking weird and sleazy in a way that will likely damage its reputation even further than the mainstream media campaign to smear the outlet already has. WikiLeaks is seen asking for favors Trump never fulfilled, making recommendations Trump Jr. didn’t act upon, and asking for leaks Trump Jr. never gave them, which when you step back and think about it are actually fairly normal things for a leak outlet to do, all things considered. But the following passage from the Atlantic report makes the whole thing look far darker:
It is the third reason, though, Wikileaks wrote, that “is the real kicker.” “If we publish them it will dramatically improve the perception of our impartiality,” Wikileaks explained. “That means that the vast amount of stuff that we are publishing on Clinton will have much higher impact, because it won’t be perceived as coming from a ‘pro-Trump’ ‘pro-Russia’ source.”
See that full stop at the end of the last sentence there? That’s journalistic malpractice. We learned this when Donald Trump Jr. published the entirety of his private messages with WikiLeaks in response to the Atlantic article:
Here is the entire chain of messages with @wikileaks (with my whopping 3 responses) which one of the congressional committees has chosen to selectively leak. How ironic! 1/3 pic.twitter.com/SiwTqWtykA
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 14, 2017
The author of the Atlantic article, Julia Ioffe, put a period rather than a comma at the end of the text about not wanting to appear pro-Trump or pro-Russia, and completely omitted WikiLeaks’ statement following the comma that it considers those allegations slanderous. This completely changes the way the interaction is perceived.
This is malpractice. Putting an ellipsis (…) and then omitting the rest of the sentence would have been sleazy and disingenuous enough, because you’re leaving out crucial information but at least communicating to the reader that there is more to the sentence you’ve left out, but replacing the comma with a period obviously communicates to the reader that there is no more to the sentence. If you exclude important information while communicating that you have not, you are blatantly lying to your readers.
There is a big difference between “because it won’t be perceived as coming from a ‘pro-Trump’ ‘pro-Russia’ source” and “because it won’t be perceived as coming from a ‘pro-Trump’ ‘pro-Russia’ source, which the Clinton campaign is constantly slandering us with.” Those are not the same sentence. At all. Different meanings, different implications. One makes WikiLeaks look like it’s trying to hide a pro-Trump, pro-Russian agenda from the public, and the other conveys the exact opposite impression as WikiLeaks actively works to obtain Donald Trump’s tax returns. This is a big deal.