Oops: White House Release Exposes Fake News From New York Times

Listen to the Article!

Seven weeks ago, after the White House released its official summary of a July 25 phone call between President Trump and the Ukrainian President, the New York Times noted that the two had previously spoken on April 21 and wrote the following about that conversation:

When Ukraine elected its new leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, on April 21, Mr. Trump seized on the moment as an opportunity to press his case....He urged Mr. Zelensky to coordinate with Mr. Giuliani and to pursue investigations of “corruption,” according to people familiar with the call, the details of which have not previously been reported.

On Friday morning, the White House released its official summary of that earlier call, and it completely debunked the Times reporting that appeared in a front-page September 26 article. The official summary shows a light-hearted conversation about Zelensky’s election victory, Trump’s promise that a “very, very high level” delegation would attend his inauguration, and an invitation for Zelensky to visit the White House.

There’s not the slightest indication that he “seized on the moment as an opportunity to press his case,” nor any reference to Joe Biden, Rudy Giuliani, or anything else suggested in the Times story.

The Times account of the today’s White House release is silent on the Times earlier, apparently false reporting. But it does complain about how “a White House readout of the call in April provides a different account.”

Reporters Mark Mazzetti and Eileen Sullivan point out: “In that summary, provided to reporters shortly after the call took place, the administration said that Mr. Trump promised to work with Zelensky to ‘implement reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity and root out corruption.’”

Indeed, today’s White House release does contradict the White House report released at the time of the call, but the erroneous September 26 Times’ story does not rely on the “readout” as the basis for its wrong claims, but rather “people familiar with the call.”

In other words, the Times can’t blame the White House for its mistake in September. That’s all on them, and their anonymous source. (Maybe secret sources aren’t the best sources after all.)

Here’s more showing how the Times mischaracterized the April 21 call in its September 26 article (which was picked up and promoted as real news by sites such as the Huffington Post).

When Ukraine elected its new leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, on April 21, Mr. Trump seized on the moment as an opportunity to press his case. Within hours of Mr. Zelensky’s victory, Mr. Trump placed a congratulatory call as he was en route from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida to Washington.

He urged Mr. Zelensky to coordinate with Mr. Giuliani and to pursue investigations of “corruption,” according to people familiar with the call, the details of which have not previously been reported. On Wednesday night, a spokesman for Mr. Trump declined to respond to questions about the call and whether Mr. Trump mentioned Mr. Giuliani. Officials at the National Security Council declined to comment.
    
    ...
    
The White House released a summary — but not a full transcript — of the April call, noting that Mr. Trump pledged to work with the new administration “to implement reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity and root out corruption.”

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