Fake News: Journalists Invent ‘Super Awkward’ Handshake Snub of Trump

July 6th, 2017 4:00 PM

In the latest example of fake news, journalists on Thursday hyperventilated about a dramatic snub of Donald Trump by Poland’s first lady. Agata Kornhauser-Duda, it seemed, refused to shake the hand of the President. Except, that’s not what happened. Mere seconds after shaking Melania Trump’s hand, Kornhauser-Duda and the President shared a warm embrace. 

You wouldn’t know that from the coverage. Newsweek opted for this all-caps, blaring headline: “WATCH DONALD TRUMP HANDSHAKE REJECTED BY POLISH FIRST LADY IN HILARIOUSLY AWKWARD EXCHANGE.” Like it was grainy Bigfoot footage, the website even slowed down a shortened version of the footage to showcase the fake snub. (See the full exchange below.) 

The article was eventually updated three hours later with this not-quite correction. Making the whole story pointless, it read: 

An extended video of the encounter during which President Donald Trump reaches out his arm to the first lady of Poland shows Agata Kornhauser-Duda eventually shaking the president’s hand, after initially passing him by in favor of greeting first lady Melania Trump. The mildly awkward and humorously relatable exchange was just that, and no apparent swipe at the U.S. president.

The original Newsweek article by Chris Riotta hyped the non-snub as a big deal: “On Thursday, the world was once again blessed with an unusual, albeit hilarious, apparent slight, this time involving Trump and the first lady of Poland." 

USA Today took a similar route. Writer Jessica Estepa freaked out with this headline: “Another awkward handshake overseas: President Trump left hanging as Polish first lady greets Melania.”

She also included the deceptive, short video, touting, “Kornhauser-Duda's enthusiastic welcome for Melania Trump meant that President Trump was left handshake-less and looking on.” 

As of 3:30pm ET, USA Today has not updated the article to offer the full story. 

In a tweet, The Washington Post called the incident “super awkward.” Then, Chris Cillizza of CNN actually tweeted the shortened version this way: 

Seemingly trying to cover himself, the journalist later downplayed the non-event: “It was a funny video of a misunderstanding! Nothing more! The same thing has happened to me a billion times!” A simple misunderstanding? Talk about liberal spin.