The "Trump hates babies" story lives on after being completely debunked

When this particular bit of nonsense first showed up in the press (and was hammered on for days on end) Allahpundit did an admirable job of seeing through the smokescreen before any follow-up work was done. You can find all the originally available details at the link, but I’m sure everyone with a television or a smartphone caught up on them. The short version was that a woman with a baby was watching a Trump rally at a high school. The baby started crying and after a few jokes, Trump had her thrown out of the event.

If the story sounds implausible to you, that’s because it is. I’ll be the first to admit that Donald Trump is almost completely lacking in the traditional “skills” we associate with being a politician in the commonly defined sense of the word. (A fact that doesn’t upset the candidate or most of his supporters at all, by the way.) But even he isn’t that completely tone deaf. He may not be going around kissing babies, but he’s not tossing them out of rallies either.

That didn’t stop the MSM from repeating the story endlessly on a loop though. Hillary Clinton even featured it in a video within 24 hours. The only reason the story finally died was that it was repeatedly shown to be false, and at long last the Washington Post fact checker, Glenn Kessler, took down the claim.

Trump has been unfairly maligned here. We can see why some reporters ran with this tale, based only on the videotape, but it’s good example of why everything must be checked out.

We’ve given Trump many Pinocchios over the course of the campaign but he earns a Geppetto Checkmark for getting at least this story right.

To see Kessler offering Trump the rare Geppetto Checkmark is a sign of how badly this story was covered. Glenn digs up the account of Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale who was sitting in the row immediately behind the woman with the baby.

A joke? Possibly. An insensitive, heartless, ordinary-person-embarrassing remark? Possibly. Trump’s tone is eternally hard to read. But, to my eyes, it certainly was not an ejection — it was an unusually barbed endorsement of the mother’s own decision to depart.

One other salient fact is missing from all the pieces on babygate. Mom and baby, very much not kicked out, came back to their seat a bit later.

The baby was sucking a pacifier, silent.

The problem is that the tale has now passed into history as fact. The media, so skilled at jumping all over a story the moment it emerges and seems to serve a political narrative, is rarely comfortable talking about something they got wrong after the fact. Would a lengthy apology even change the “reality” for this election cycle? Unlikely. Even though the entire attack was concocted, it’s now become cemented in the history of the 2016 race as a fact. Trump hates babies and kicks them out of his events.

Oh, SMOD… why hast thou forsaken us?


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