Politico on Friday accused President Donald Trump of calling Coronavirus a “hoax,” when the president said no such thing. The news company has yet to correct its error.
“Trump rallies his base to treat coronavirus as a ‘hoax,’” the paper’s headline read, based on comments Trump made during a South Carolina rally on the eve of the state’s primaries.
“Trump called coronavirus, ‘their new hoax,’” the authors wrote, even after typing out a short, accurate transcription of the president’s speech, wherein Trump clearly called the Democrats’ politicization of the outbreak the “hoax,” and not the virus itself.
If you are pushing the narrative that Trump called coronavirus a “hoax,” you’re lying.
It’s pretty obvious what he’s saying here. pic.twitter.com/RlSoJ8ZSb8
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) February 29, 2020
Here’s the transcript of the comments in question:
Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. … One of my people came up to me and said, “Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia. That didn’t work out too well. They couldn’t do it. They tried the impeachment hoax that was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything. They tried it over and over. They’ve been doing it since you got in. It’s all turning, they lost, it’s all turning. Think of it. Think of it. And this is their new hoax.”
The piece from Politico was even flagged on Facebook as fake news, warning viewers of its misleading content.
That hasn’t stopped other reporters from misconstruing the president’s words to fit a false narrative peddled by Democrats.
It is unclear whether the Politico reporters have been disciplined, and Politico has not responded to The Federalist’s requests for comment.
“Trump calls Coronavirus Democrats’ ‘new hoax,’” headlined NBC.
“The president decried the coronavirus-related ‘hoax’ just hours before news of the first US death broke,” Vox wrote.
Many mainstream reporters have even pointed out the absurdity of the false reporting.
“He was saying the hoax is that he’s handled it badly. Not the virus itself,” wrote Will Saletan, a national correspondent for Slate.
Trump's use of "hoax" tonight (7:45 in this video) referred to what he said a minute earlier: "The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. … We did one of the great jobs."
He was saying the hoax is that he's handled it badly. Not the virus itself. https://t.co/m6GG7OMLvd
— Will Saletan (@saletan) February 29, 2020
“In context, heard it as him saying *Democrats’/media criticism of his handling of the virus* was their latest hoax,” said Daniel Dale of CNN.
Trump left it ambiguous. In context, I heard it as him saying *Democrats’/media criticism of his handling of the virus* was their latest hoax. But if you were inclined to see the virus as a hoax, you could walk away thinking Trump agreed. https://t.co/3JpKvI9T3p
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) February 29, 2020