Outraged US congressman, journalists fall for fake Trump quote by TIME contributor
The 'quote' was posted by foreign policy expert and TIME magazine contributor Ian Bremmer on Sunday and was quickly picked up by media people and politicians, including Democratic US representative and fervent Trump critic Ted Lieu.
The since-deleted tweet by Bremmer read: "President Donald Trump in Tokyo: 'Kim Jong Un is smarter and would make a better president than Sleepy Joe Biden.'" It was retweeted almost a thousand times before being taken down.Also on rt.com Kim 'sending me a signal'? Trump joins in N. Korea's mocking of 'Swampman Joe Bidan'
In all fairness, the fictitious remark sounded almost on par with a recent tweet by Trump, who on Saturday complimented the North Korean state news agency's insult towards Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, saying that he "smiled" when it called Biden "a low IQ individual."
Still, none of the journalists and pundits – CNN political commentator Ana Navarro, former Clinton campaign staffer Zac Petkanas, ex-CIA Emily Brandwin and others among them – double-checked the quote before crying foul over it.
And... the RT count on @ananavarro's tweet is at 4,770. Also note that a former CIA hand fell for the @ianbremmer prank without thinking that if this were true then other Journos there would confirm it and/or there would be audio/video if it. pic.twitter.com/Vb9Bi5W1oN— Yossi Gestetner (@YossiGestetner) May 26, 2019
Navarro took to Twitter to post a lengthy rebuke, seizing on the opportunity to bash Trump for cozying up to a "cruel dictator."
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Ca) likewise did not miss out on a chance to remind his followers of Trump's misdeeds as interpreted by the #Resistance narrative: "kowtowing" to Russian President Vladimir Putin, "obstructing justice" in the Mueller probe, controversial Charlottesville remarks, and a zero-tolerance migration policy – it was all there.
While Twitter was focused on ravaging Trump for singing fresh praise of Kim, Bremmer came clean. When actually asked if the quote was real, he responded with "It's plausible," and framed it as "a comment on the state of media and the twitterverse today."
He further added that the quote was "objectively completely ludicrous" but might have seemed plausible to those who think uncritically. "Especially on Twitter, where people automatically support whatever political position they have."
When you put out a fake Trump quote without any indication you were making it up, and then blame the readers for not realizing you were making the quote up.Nice work, @ianbremmer. You're only helping the cause of people like Trump who want to label everything "fake news." pic.twitter.com/BYYKmNmDNU— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) May 26, 2019
The various commentators were not pleased at having completely proved Bremmer's point, with many demanding an apology and accusing him of giving ammunition for Trump's crusade against "fake news."
TIME magazine's @ianbremmer has deleted his fake Trump quote tweet, but has not issued a retraction, apology, or even mentioned what he has done. He's just pretending like nothing happened despite his "report" being taken as real by multiple other self-described journalists.— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) May 26, 2019
I notice that not only did @ianbremmer delete his viral fake quote from Trump about Kim Jong-Un, he also deleted all the responses he sent to ppl defending it, meaning he either no longer stands by those defenses or doesn't want people to find them. And yet...no public apology.— Esoteric Jeff (@EsotericCD) May 26, 2019
While Bremmer's stunt left some demanding that Twitter remove his blue tick, others, like conservative political commentator Mike Cernovich, lauded the researcher for exposing the modern-day media's lack of diligence and uncritical acceptance of statements that validate their views.
How many passed the Bremmer IQ test? Be honest pic.twitter.com/eEY0ukuZQv— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) May 27, 2019
Deleted this tweet because apparently it’s literal fake news. @ianbremmer fabricated it. Sorry for commenting on it without corroborating with the president’s pool reporters. Regardless of your feelings for Trump’s earlier tweets, verified politicos shouldn’t be lying here. pic.twitter.com/qjtiU6yNak— Tiana Lowe (@TianaTheFirst) May 26, 2019
Doing shit like Ian Bremmer did should get your verified status revoked. People see blue checkmarks and assume a level of credibility. Abusing it like that, even "ironically" is a legit fake news problem.— neontaster (@neontaster) May 26, 2019
Fantastic social experiment by @ianbremmer Shows that members of Congress like @tedlieu will share fabricated quotes and never fact check or confirm.Democrats are all Alex Jones! pic.twitter.com/SAsdXtZ2DE— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) May 26, 2019
Bremmer has since deleted not only the original fake quote, but also his own explanations and responses amid the growing backlash.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!