Accuracy in Media

In one of the more dishonest examples of journalism, NowThis News published a video where four pro-Palestinian student activists at George Washington University criticized President Donald Trump for signing an executive order on anti-Semitism.

The video echoed progressive activist rhetoric that Trump is not only a white supremacist at heart, but that he is an anti-Semite.

At least three of the students wore a keffiyeh, a checkered black and white scarf, which is considered a symbol of Palestinian nationalism. The students held up a flag that read, “Jewish Voice for Peace,” and the video referred to another pro-Palestinian activist group, Students for Justice in Palestine.

The website’s video selectively clipped some of Trump’s remarks and claimed it was anti-Semitic, but it missed that Trump cracked a joke to a mostly-Jewish audience. The video played his line, “You’re brutal killers. Not nice people at all. But you have to vote for me; you have no choice.”

NowThis News neglected to point out that he was joking and followed up with the line, “You’re not going to vote for Pocahontas, I can tell you that,” a reference to his nickname for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). The video also ignored many parts of his speech that praised Israel and championed his executive order to combat anti-Semitism. You can find the transcript of his speech on the White House website, which NowThis News does not appear to have consulted before publishing the video.

Additionally, one of the activists claimed that Anne Frank did not die in a concentration camp. Referring to Trump and his support for Israel, the activist said, “We’re already seeing what’s happening. We’re seeing people die at the border from lack of medical care. That’s how Anne Frank died. She didn’t die in a concentration camp. She died of typhus.”

But the video glanced over that comment and continued to espouse anti-Trump rhetoric.

NowThis News edited her comment in the subtitle and replaced “in” to “from” to mitigate the impact of what the activist said. Yet the damage was done and the video demonstrated that it was not factual nor accurate.

The video did not address the activist’s denial of the Holocaust and played it off as if nothing happened. Though Anne Frank did die of typhus, she died of typhus while living in a concentration camp. Concentration camps were Nazi Germany-run facilities where people died in various horrific ways, such as gas chambers, lack of nutrition, government experimentation, and abuse. The activist denied that Anne Frank died in a concentration camp and therefore implied that the Holocaust did not happen, which was an example of Holocaust revisionism and anti-Semitism at its worst.

Neither did the activists acknowledge how the Jewish community responded to Trump’s executive order, such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which tracks anti-Semitic crimes as a part of its mission. The ADL praised Trump’s executive order and said:

“In a climate of rising anti-Semitism, this Executive Order provides valuable guidance on anti-Semitism, giving law enforcement and campus officials an important additional tool to help identify and fight this pernicious hate. It also reaffirms protection of Jews under Title VI without infringing on First Amendment rights. These are all important steps forward.”

NowThis News’s video covered up a pro-Palestinian activist’s Holocaust denial and revisionism, for the sake of criticizing Trump. Among other inaccuracies, such as taking Trump’s comments out-of-context and failing to acknowledge the support Trump received from the Jewish community, NowThis News published a one-sided video supportive of pro-Palestinian causes.

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