The Washington Post had an explosive report out yesterday: It argued that not only had Russian operatives used Facebook ads to “exploit America’s racial and religious divisions” in the 2016 presidential election, but that then-President Barack Obama had personally contacted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the problem.
The article was originally headlined “Obama sought to prod Facebook on Russia role.”
Unfortunately, it had to be revised after the report was discovered to contain more than a tad of “fake” news in it.
According to Fox News,
The Post added significant information to the digital version of the story with the disclaimer, “This story has been updated with an additional response from Facebook.” The response from Facebook that didn’t make the paper’s print edition is vital and changed the story enough that the word “Russia” was removed from the updated headline.
The story detailed how then-President Obama gave Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg a “wake-up call” regarding fake news spreading on his social media platform. After reporting that Obama “made a personal appeal to Zuckerberg to take the threat of fake news and political disinformation seriously,” the paper has added that Obama “did not single out Russia specifically.”
The paper also added a statement from Facebook’s vice president of communications, Elliot Schrage, which it received after the front-page story was published. Schrage told the Post that Obama’s talk with Zuckerberg was about “misinformation and false news” and “did not include any references to possible foreign interference or suggestions about confronting threats to Facebook.”
The initial correction was unclear and only mentioned that it added Schrage’s statement, but this was eventually corrected by the paper’s editorial staff.
What appears to have occurred is that the writers over at the Post simply took a story about the role of fake news in the election, automatically assumed it had to be of Russian origin, and then ran with it.
Given how willing the left has been to accept conspiracy theories as of late, it’s no surprise the editors didn’t think anyone would question it.