If you’ve watched Joy-Ann Reid in her role as weekend host on MSNBC, you’re aware that she’s arguably the biggest stickler for factual accuracy on cable television. She won’t allow guests to get away with making false statements or dodging questions, and she’s gained a loyal following because of it. And after a number of news outlets falsely credited Donald Trump today for something he had nothing to do with, she demanded that those news outlets change their headlines.
The saga began when a number of House Republicans held a secret session to sabotage their own Ethics Office, which set off widespread public backlash last night and took over several of Twitter’s trending topics. There was so much pushback from the public that by morning it had become clear the GOP would have to reverse itself. Donald Trump, sensing an opportunity to take credit for something that was going to happen anyway, posted a tweet which referred to the Ethics Office as “unfair” but encouraged House Republicans to not make killing it off a priority.
When various major news outlets reported that the GOP had changed its tune, they credited Trump for the reversal in their headlines. This despite the fact that CNN reporter Robert Costa had confirmed in a tweet that “Most members [of the House] tell me blizzard of angry constituent calls were most impt factor in getting the House to sideline the [amendment].”
This prompted Joy-Ann Reid to quote Costa’s tweet, and then add her own demand: “Dear @nytimes @washingtonpost @AP @CNN @nprpolitics etc etc etc … please change your headlines and stop falsely crediting Donald Trump.” Sure enough, she got some results.
For instance, this New York Times article initially credited Donald Trump in the headline. In fact if you peek into the web link for the article, you can see that “trump” is still the first word in the link, followed by “house-ethics-office.” But as of now the headline reads “House Republicans, Under Fire, Back Down on Gutting Ethics Office” with no mention of him. In other words, Joy Reid appears to have gotten results by shaming her media counterparts into factual correctness.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report