Reporters accurately repeat what VP spokesperson says; different official cites “misreporting”

The media reports that on an official trip to Ireland, VP Pence will not stay in the vicinity where he is doing work, but his entourage will fly 180 miles away to stay at a Trump-owned property.

To respond to public criticism, the Pence camp organizes a media event, where the main speaker is the VP’s spokesman, Marc Short, who says Trump said, “Well, you should stay at my place.”

Reporters publish several quotes, including one in which Short clarifies that Trump was not a “request, like a command” but rather “a suggestion.”

On whether the president asked Pence to stay at his Irish golf club, [Pence spokesman Marc] Short said: “I don’t think it was a request, like a command. … I think that it was a suggestion.”

“It’s like when we went through the trip, it’s like, well, he’s going to Doonbeg because that’s where the Pence family is from,” Short said before describing the president’s suggestion. “It’s like, ‘Well, you should stay at my place.'” —NBC News

 

 

Here’s how the Washington Post covered this part of the developing story. I think “encouraged” is a fair way to describe a suggestion that is not not a request but not a command. 

Unfortunately for an administration already facing criticism that Trump is illegally profiting from his duties as president, headlines that mention Trump’s suggestion feed nicely into the existing conflict-of-interest narrative.

When reporters accurately repeat what the VP’s spokesperson says, a different official later releases a statement blaming  “misreporting.”

“Because of some misreporting, we want to clarify that the decision to stay at Trump National in Doonbeg, Ireland was solely a decision by the Office of the Vice President and was based on the requirement to find accommodations near the Vice President’s ancestral hometown that could satisfy official meetings on both coasts of the Emerald Isle,” the statement said. —NBC News

A few weeks ago I saw in my social media feed complaints that use two completely different CNN stories as evidence to support unfair claim that CNN is allegedly biased against Bernie Sanders.

I’m making an effort to point out to my students this strategy, adopted by both the left and the right, to use people’s mistrust and misunderstanding of journalism to manipulate their beliefs.