President Donald Trump pours the remainder of his fish food out as he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe feed fish in a koi pond at the Akasaka Palace, Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, in Tokyo. Trump is on a five country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
There is nothing quite like catnip for the anti-Trump media of all stripes as some perceived faux pas by President Trump. This was on full display in Japan just a few hours earlier. Apparently, it is a tradition that visitors being welcomed to Akasaka Palace in Tokyo are invited to join their host in feeding the koi. Simple one would think. But not if you are deeply dishonest.
— AFP news agency (@AFP) November 6, 2017
This is CNBC’s reporter:
TRUMP: So Obama just gave them a few flakes?
ABE: Yes. These ceremonial Koi are very sensitive to foo— pic.twitter.com/fMSXuAtzME
— TrivWorks (@TrivWorks) November 6, 2017
Obama did it better, as usual. pic.twitter.com/At6CxQ81FC
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) November 6, 2017
Four stages of Trump’s latest diplomatic incident: Tokyo koi pond edition. pic.twitter.com/Bx3FsEoXyq
— Zack Whittaker (@zackwhittaker) November 6, 2017
PM Abe was supposed to feed the koi by the spoonful with Trump but quickly got impatient and dumped the whole box of food into the pond. pic.twitter.com/j5vgF0rBS0
— Baghdad Ted (@BaghdadTed) November 6, 2017
In fact, Prime Minister Abe fed the fish exactly the same way:
Trump and Japan PM Shinzo Ave decide to dump entire boxes of fish food into a koi pond at the Japanese palace. pic.twitter.com/aPAP6IdRhP
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) November 6, 2017
Though you’ll note CNN got in on the act selectively editing a video of the event to remove Abe from the picture and thus keep the bogus story alive:
— CNN (@CNN) November 6, 2017
There have been a couple of bursts of conscience. Christina Wilkie from CNBC, for instance:
This is correct, and my tweet about the Koi pond was incorrect. I’ve since deleted it. https://t.co/uxMhj4EYBp
— Christina Wilkie (@christinawilkie) November 6, 2017
I've deleted this tweet which was based on multiple news reports but the video clearly shows Abe dumping his box of food first. pic.twitter.com/nsdt8U0awj
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) November 6, 2017
What is striking about this is that absolutely no one who a) was at the event or b) saw video of the event could have concocted this story. It seems to have been based on still images taken at the site even though the still image collection would have inevitably included Prime Minister Abe’s feeding the fish. This all implies that someone in AFP and maybe in other news services made the deliberate decision to run the Trump story knowing it was false.