Politics

New York Times Editor Apologizes for Posting Misleading Patriot White House Photos

“Bad tweet by me. Terrible tweet. I wish I could say it’s complicated, but no, this one is pretty straightforward: I’m an idiot.”

The New England Patriots visited the White House on April 19 for the customary celebration given for winners of the Super Bowl. With the exception of a few players who decided to forego the invitation over political differences with President Donald Trump, the team enjoyed their day meeting him and hanging out at the White House. However, naysayers were also out in full force.

The New York Times took to Twitter in an effort to undermine the celebration and President Trump by posting photo comparisons with a false narrative. The Times Sports Twitter account took the Patriots’ 2015 team photo with former President Barack Obama, which featured NFL staff also posing in the shot, and did a side-by-side comparison to President Trump’s photo with the team, which did not feature the staff. This was done to imply that more players attended the celebration under the Obama Administration.

However, the New England Patriots official Twitter account corrected the post, saying that it was done out of context. In 2015, both players and staff were shown in the White House photo. In 2017, the staff were actually seated on the lawn. Jason Stallman—sports editor for the Times—took responsibility for the misleading photo comparison in a statement he released, saying,

“Bad tweet by me. Terrible tweet. I wish I could say it’s complicated, but no, this one is pretty straightforward: I’m an idiot.”

You don’t say!

The incident even received a response from President Trump himself:

“Failing @nytimes, which has been calling me wrong for two years, just got caught in a big lie concerning New England Patriots visit to W.H.”

The New York Times and President Trump already have a tumultuous relationship and have been known to exchange words—putting it mildly. This is just another example of irresponsible journalism that has spread throughout the United States, prompting the need for awareness in order to combat fake news. Facebook has even started a campaign in efforts to assist users in spotting fake news.

Many so-called news sources have gotten into the habit of pushing information out of context. Big publications like the New York Times should be above these practices. In the current political climate, news sources race to break the next negative piece to fit the anti-Trump narrative. In doing so, the New York Times made a huge mistake and gave credibility to President Trump’s claim that they’re failing.

Any responsible editor should know that stories like this need to be fact-checked before publication. With more people turning to social media for news articles—especially millennials—getting information correct needs to be executed the same as it would be in newspapers.

While Stallman did own up to his mistake, part of his statement reads that he searched for excuses for the false information that he put out. I also have to wonder if there would have been an apology had the New England Patriots not explained that the photo comparison was taken out of context.

Angelina Newsom

Angelina Newsom is an OpsLens Contributor and U.S. Army Veteran. She has ten years experience in the military, including a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She studies Criminal Justice and is still active within the military community.

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