Vox writer Aaron Rupar cherry-picked quotes from a news conference addressing the Atlanta spa shootings, misleading readers about what the police officer said about the shooter, Robert Aaron.
In a video for Vox, Rupar reported that the officer downplayed Aaron’s intentions, saying he just “had a bad day.”
But once the full video of the press conference was released, showing the officer’s comments in their entirety, it was clear the officer had not been speculating on Aaron at all. Instead, the officer was detailing what Aaron had told him after he was taken into custody.
“A police officer excusing Long’s actions as merely the result of him having a ‘bad day’ would indeed be contemptible,” Reason reported. “But that’s not what Baker did. In fact, many of the people so infuriated about the quote were misled by Rupar’s edit of the video.”
New York Times writer Kenneth Vogel took to Twitter to point out Rupar’s mistake.
— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) March 19, 2021
Other Twitter pundits also slammed Rupar.
Here is Aaron’s original tweet.
Folks can decide for themselves if the way he phrased it made it clear that this was a paraphrase of what the suspect said rather than the official offering his own explanation. pic.twitter.com/VqomL7BdY7
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) March 20, 2021
Rupar misled tens of thousands of people into thinking this was the officer giving his own view of the suspect’s motive. That narrative got picked up by several major outlets. And his defense is that the officer wasn’t directly quoting, just paraphrasing. https://t.co/pKsGrVTccA
— AG (@AGHamilton29) March 20, 2021