One month after Bloomberg Law published a story with false allegations of antisemitism from a Trump appointee at the Department of Labor, the outlet has officially retracted the article.
“In reporting on a series of social media posts from Department of Labor official Leif Olson, we failed to meet our editorial standards for fairness and accuracy,” Bloomberg said in a statement announcing its decision where the article would otherwise be posted. “We regret that lapse and apologize to our readers and to Mr. Olson.”
Last month, Bloomberg published a story charging Leif Olson, a senior policy adviser at the U.S. Department of Labor, of antisemitism over Facebook posts that were clearly sarcastic.
The posts in question, dated in early August 2016, were about then-House Speaker Paul Ryan facing a primary challenger against Paul Nehlen and suffering a “massive, historic, emasculating 70-point victory” against Nehlen.
Someone commented on Olson’s post arguing that Ryan must be a neo-con and a Jew, to which Olson responded, “It must be true because I’ve never heard the Lamestream Media report it, and you know they protect their own.”
Olson was quickly reinstated to the department after Bloomberg faced backlash from both liberals and conservatives crying foul reporting.
Trump Labor official Leif Olson has resigned due to a putatively anti-Semitic Facebook post. But if you read the post, it appears to be mocking anti-Semitic conspiracy theories: https://t.co/C9UPvhKbzz
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) September 3, 2019
Ironic that this disgracefully shamefully dishonest reporting is coming out the same day people are complaining that the Trump administration is going to hold reporters to the same standard. Here is the plainly ironic statement at issue: https://t.co/BTAcIpmE7J https://t.co/TnSuSM27qQ
— tedfrank (@tedfrank) September 3, 2019
Bloomberg’s decision to retract its reporting comes a day after emails between Bloomberg and the Department of Labor revealed through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request show the entire operation to be a hit job by the outlet where the reporter, Ben Penn, mischaracterized Olson’s posts from the start.
🔥 🔥 🔥@blaw refused to answer my questions about their abusive journalism fail on the Leif Olson story, so we FOIA’ed Penn’s emails to DOL to see how it happened. As you can see, this was a total hit job, @benjaminPenn truncated & mischaracterized the Facebook posts. pic.twitter.com/CzTsMKWUBN
— tedfrank (@tedfrank) October 3, 2019