On Saturday, like many online news outlets, New Century Times was taken in by an incorrectly-timed photo of Donald Trump’s rally for accused child molester Roy Moore in Pensacola, Florida. In lieu of running the same correction as everyone else, allow us to apologize here and move on to what’s important about the story. We’ll even use the same apology as the source of the original photo:
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) December 9, 2017
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After all, that was the basis for our own belief that the photo was of quite a low turnout at the rally — the fact that Trump himself is in the photo walking into frame, leading one to believe that the rally was about to begin and that the photo was not, therefore, hours in advance, or after the rally, or some other time when the sparsely-filled arena could be explained by timing.
So there it is: We made the same mistake that Dave Weigel made.
Fortunately for us (and not so much so for Dave), the president only cyber-bullies the first person to make a mistake about him. Or maybe the most famous person? I’m not sure. Whatever his policy is, Donald Trump didn’t send his online mob after us, but he certainly did after Dave.
On Twitter, it’s common practice to send a message to a person who has aggrieved you in some way, a direct message that is intended for that person. Using the person’s Twitter handle as a “mention” instead is literally an invitation for others to join your conversation. So after Donald Trump, a 71-year-old man, got the apology he demanded from Dave Weigel — one that certainly wasn’t warranted to begin with, since it was both a mistake and in line with everything we know about Trump — it still wasn’t enough.
He publicly bullied Dave Weigel by inviting his 40+ million followers into the conversation. That’s, um… That’s called a mob, Mr. President. You’re inciting a mob.
But here’s the heart of the problem. It’s not the “Fake News” itself, or the fact that false things are so easy to report on, be fooled by, and repeat. It’s the double standard.
Here we have a president calling for the firing of Dave Weigel from his job for a tweet that was from his personal account after he’d already apologized.
That’s the same president who, just the other day, retweeted fake videos from the ultra-right-wing British version of the KKK which were proven to be intentionally deceptive. He never apologized, and never deleted the tweets. It’s the same president who, while attempting to orchestrate national outrage against black NFL players who protest police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem before games, had his own Vice President stage a walkout from an Indianapolis Colts game, complete with a photo tweet that was intentionally deceptive about when it was taken.
Donald Trump is a proven liar, and he does it every day, on purpose.
At least Dave Weigel — and we here at New Century Times — are capable of acknowledging a mistake.