Accuracy in Media

Despite an Inspector General (IG) report saying NPR, ABC News and CNN reported incorrectly when they said last June that violent protestors in Lafayette Park were pushed out of the park so President Trump could do a photo-op, none of the outlets have retracted their original stories or issued corrections in their “new” reporting.

Each outlet has acknowledged the conclusion from the IG that the Park police cleared the park over concerns about escalating violence in the park, not for a Trump photo-op. Yet none of them have acknowledged that their original reporting was wrong.    In their “updated” reports, none of the outlets provided links to the original erroneous stories.

ABC News’ YouTube account still captions their original story “Police use tear gas, push back peaceful protesters for Trump church visit”.


In new ABC News reporting, they simply state that Trump’s Secretary of the Interior at the time, David Bernhardt, “called on lawmakers and the news media to apologize to law enforcement,” for getting the story wrong.

NPR’s original story is still headlined “Peaceful Protesters Tear-Gassed To Clear Way For Trump Church Photo-Op”.  

Yet their reporting dated June 9th, 2021, NPR seemed to blame the erroneous reporting on “timeline of events that day shows chaotic parallel tracks emerging — on one side, the Park Police’s plan to clear protesters to build a fence and then on the other, Trump’s desire to address what he described in a Rose Garden speech as violent protests and then walk to the church,” without acknowledging their previous stories about a Trump photo-op were incorrect.

The closest to a retraction comes from CNN, which previously had reported “Peaceful protesters forcibly moved for Trump photo op.”

“CNN previously reported that Barr had ordered authorities to clear the crowd of protesters,” said CNN on June 9th in wake of the IG report, “according to a Justice Department official, minutes ahead of a televised address by Trump from the Rose Garden.”

While technically that’s true, it’s not the whole truth, as the headlines clearly indicate.

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