It is clear from the exchange that Trump thinks Hillyard is talking about new entrants to the United States, presumably Syrian refugees. But Hillyard reports Trump’s answer as if he is talking unambiguously about Muslims already in the United States.

Step 4: Smear. Hillyard comes back later, asking Trump: “Mr. Trump, why would Muslim databases not be the same thing as requiring Jews to register in Nazi Germany?” Trump realizes Hillyard is out for blood. “You tell me,” he says, and walks away.

The story goes viral: “Donald Trump Is In Favor Of Legally Requiring American Muslims to Register on a Database,” writes Zeke Miller of Time, linking to Hillyard’s story at NBC. A proposal Trump never made is now an established mainstream media fact.