What’s worse than fake news? Fake news that’s called out and never gets fully corrected.
Such is the case with an NBC story which claimed in its title, “Trump Becomes First President Since 2002 Not to Visit Troops at Christmastime.”
To quote the Big Cheese:
The story’s author — Elyse Perlmutter-Gumbiner — contrasted the terrible Trump with Obama and George W., who made yuletide trips to Kaneohe Bay and Walter Reed each year during their time in office, starting in 2002.
Donald, by comparison, was “the first President [since] who didn’t visit military personnel at Christmastime.”
Trump did indeed make a surprise visit to troops, leaving Washington on December 25th yet landing in Iraq on the 26th.
Here’s an explanation from The Washington Post:
There were merely seven hours and 47 minutes left of Christmas Day when NBC News published this story: “Trump becomes first president since 2002 not to visit troops at Christmastime.” It seemed to be a safe assertion, considering the scene at the White House on Tuesday morning. “The White House complex, you will be unsurprised to learn, is very quiet as of now,” wrote Niall Stanage of the Hill in a pool report on Christmas morning. Trump would later speak from the White House with service members at remote sites around the world, along with taking some questions from reporters.
So how far could the president stray?
Well, about 6,200 miles. Here’s what happened, in the words of a White House pool report that was embargoed until Wednesday afternoon: “Trump left the White House late on Dec. 25 for an unannounced movement to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. Pool was prepositioned on the plane and did not see Trump board. Air Force One was wheels up at 12:06 am ET on Dec. 26. POTUS landed at 11:16 am ET/ 7:16 pm local time at Al Asad Air Base, a joint U.S.-Iraqi military base west of Baghdad.” The president left under the cover of darkness in order to maintain operational security.
NBC ran the story with just under 7 hours left of the 25th.
Upon learning of Trump’s trip to Iraq the following day, the network slightly adjusted its title and added this:
On Wednesday, NBC News compiled a list of every Christmastime visit to active troops by a president since 2001. That list, as detailed in the article below, showed that former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama visited troops on or before Christmas every year since 2003, and President Donald Trump did so in 2017. As of the end of Christmas Day 2018, Trump had not visited troops during the holiday season, and had announced no plans to do so.
The article was correct, but on Dec. 26, the situation changed. Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, made an unannounced visit to troops in Iraq. As a result, the thrust of this article is no longer correct, even if it was at the time. In the interest of transparency, we are keeping the article on NBCNews.com so that the record will reflect the situation on the day the article was published, and are directing readers to the article about Trump’s Iraq visit here. We are also altering one line in the article, as well as the headline, to be more specific and to note that Trump was the first president since 2002 who didn’t visit military personnel on or before Christmas, rather than at Christmastime.
But the title — which, it should be noted, now says “on or Before Christmas Day,” rather than “Christmastime” — still gives the impression that the Commander-in-Chief was, well, crappy.
Furthermore, they haven’t removed their tweet based on the first iteration of the article, the premise of which got roundly retweeted:
President Trump becomes first president since 2002 not to visit troops at Christmastime. https://t.co/Ih4wYKQnWA
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 26, 2018
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) December 26, 2018
— The Hill (@thehill) December 26, 2018
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) December 26, 2018
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how we get fake news.
BONUS DUMBNESS: Leaving no good deed unpunished, the media also attacked Trump’s interaction with the troops (here).
Nice job, everyone.
Find all my RedState work here.
Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below. For iPhone instructions, see the bottom of this page.
If you have an iPhone and want to comment, select the box with the upward arrow at the bottom of your screen; swipe left and choose “Request Desktop Site.” You may have to do this several times before the page reloads. Scroll down to the red horizontal bar that says “Show Comments.”