As you’ve likely heard, a certain Newsweek reporter got herself in a spot of trouble when she reported about President Trump’s Thanksgiving day plans last week. Jessica Kwong published a typical MSM article bashing Trump for his plans to spend Thanksgiving “tweeting and golfing,” making it sound as if he was out of touch with the realities of today’s world. (The linked article has since been updated multiple times.) When it was revealed that the President had actually spent his day traveling to Afghanistan to serve Thanksgiving dinner to the troops, the article turned out to be a black eye for the publication.
The first attempts at damage control consisted of edits to the article saying that Trump was tweeting, golfing “and more.” Finally, they arrived at a point where the reporter had to admit that they’d gotten the story entirely wrong. So how did Newsweek resolve the issue? They fired Jessica Kwong. (Washington Examiner)
The Newsweek reporter who published an inaccurate story about President Trump’s Thanksgiving Day plans has been fired. The outlet’s original story claimed the president only planned on tweeting and golfing during his holiday break, neglecting to mention his trip to Afghanistan.
Newsweek’s Jessica Kwong, whose Twitter handle identifies her as a political reporter “covering Trump administration and family,” initially published the article Thursday morning, before the president’s trip to Afghanistan was announced publicly. The story’s initial headline was, “How is Trump spending Thanksgiving? Tweeting, golfing and more.”
“Newsweek investigated the failures that led to the publication of the inaccurate report that President Trump spent Thanksgiving tweeting and golfing rather than visiting troops in Afghanistan,” a Newsweek representative told the Washington Examiner. “The story has been corrected, and the journalist responsible has been terminated. We will continue to review our processes and, if required, take further action.”
Was this really Jessica Kwong’s fault? Her initial story turned out to be completely wrong while keeping with the MSM’s fine tradition of bashing the President, but the trip was a closely guarded secret. And once the big reveal had been made, Kwong tweeted out an announcement that the original announcement was being deleted.
Trump headed to Afghanistan to surprise U.S. troops on Thanksgiving https://t.co/f7Xeqz1ZGQ Deleting this tweet because it was written before knowing about the president’s surprise visit to Afghanistan-an honest mistake. Story has already been updated, as shown in the screenshot. pic.twitter.com/g9CfPaV2kQ
— Jessica Kwong (@JessicaGKwong) November 29, 2019
Kwong is now out of a job, but who is the real villain in this story? Sure, it’s easy enough to say that the reporter was looking for an angle to make Trump look out of touch and run with it. If he was going to spend Thanksgiving day on the golf course, it was an easy target. But Kwong didn’t make the decision in a vacuum. Her editors were obviously looking for a holiday story to make the President look bad (again) and they quickly approved the copy and ran with it.
But plenty of news outlets were caught by surprise. For obvious security reasons, Donald Trump’s team wasn’t letting out details about the Commander in Chief flying into a war zone ahead of time. The terrorists would be all too happy to take advantage of that information. And in today’s media climate, it wouldn’t have been at all shocking if one of the major outlets revealed the information ahead of time.
Kwong was delivering the red meat that her editors (and their liberal readers) wanted. It was a shot against Trump intended to make him look bad. Once the information about the Afghanistan trip was revealed, updates were posted, albeit very inaccurate ones. (“Tweeting, golfing and more” was completely fake news.) But who’s fault was it that she originally wrote the Trump-bashing story?
That’s what Newsweek’s target audience expects. If there was a chance to portray the President as an out-of-touch autocrat lounging around his country club while our soldiers fought and died overseas, that’s what the editors would have salivated over. And Kwong delivered. But after everyone learned what was really going on, the article was slowly (and clumsily) corrected.
Should Jessica Kwong have been fired over reporting what was known at the time of her writing and putting a spin on the story to discredit the President? Or should the editorial board take responsibility for expecting that sort of negative press for the President and approving the original article? It seems to me that she delivered precisely what the people who sign her paychecks expected. And now she’s being tossed under the boss to cover editorial failures.