The unsolicited "step away from your Twitter account" advice Donald Trump is constantly receiving needs to be turned around on certain members of the media.
One such person would be Kurt Eichenwald at Newsweek — except, as will be seen later, the magazine apparently lets him intemperately and obsessively tweet at will. In claiming that Donald Trump's victory rally audience in Iowa began booing at the mention of John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit the earth who died on Thursday, Eichenwald joined the growing pantheon of fever-swamp occupants who have imagined crowds at Republican and conservative gatherings saying and doing mean things that never happened.
Eichenwald posted the following tweet Thursday evening (HT Alex Griswold at Mediaite):
Note the significant traction the tweet received in the form of thousands of likes and retweets.
An hour later, apparently after catching flak from some commenters, Eichenwald tweeted his speculation as to why, i.e, not whether, Glenn was booed:
On Friday, Eichenwald began backtracking:
The conduct of protesters explains why Trump, referring to how some of them might feel once he's into his presidency, said "maybe they'll come around."
Eichenwald's first tweet has been deleted, per Griswold (I also searched for it at Eichenwald's Twitter account and couldn't find it). His third tweet has also vanished. But as of 11 p.m. Friday evening, his second tweet, which, as seen above, speculates — falsely, per the now-deleted Tweet 3 — that Glenn was booed because he was a Democrat, remains.
Eichenwald has issued two subsequent tweets (here and here) admitting his error. That's nice, but note that they only have about 10 percent of the likes and a tiny percentage of the retweets his false original had. This proves the old saying about how "if a lie (is believed) ... only for an hour, it has done its work, and there is no farther occasion for it." Thousands will apparently believe Eichenwald's original "fake news," and only a relative few will eventually learn that it was a lie.
Eichenwald's conduct calls into further question the judgment of Newsweek management, particularly that of Matthew Cooper, its political editor. This is not the first time Eichenwald has irresponsibly tweeted utterly unsupported assertions.
As I noted at NewsBusters on December 3, Newsweek published, released, and then pulled the "Madam President" issue Carlson held up at the end of the video segment above. In a November 30 interview with Fox News's Tucker Carlson, Cooper, either covering for his own newsroom or admitting to an extraordinary level of irresponsibility, claimed that the "Madam President" issue's over-the-top narrative temporarily hit the streets because it completely outsourced the drafting and production of that issue to another company. Cooper further claimed that no one at Newsweek itself reviewed any of that issue's content before it went out.
Cooper's horrid judgment regarding Eichenwald, as seen in the following latter portion of that same interview, also needs further exposure:
Transcript (bolds are mine):
TUCKER CARLSON: You've got this guy, Kurt Eichenwald, who works for you.
He tweeted out in September (link is to a post containing the related series of tweets — Ed.), this tweet. Its says: "I believe Trump was institutionalized in a mental hospital for a nervous breakdown (in 1990), which is why he won't release medical records."
No evidence of that at all. Newsweek wouldn't answer any questions about why he did that, or back up his claim. And then they allowed him to keep covering the campaign. Why? That seems really nutty to me, making an allegation like that and not backing it up.
MATTHEW COOPER: Well, I can't speak to that tweet. I don't know about it.
Let me just say this, I mean, Kurt's done some incredible reporting for Newsweek. So, you know, I'm 100 percent, you know, behind what he's done in the magazine in terms of, you know, sussing through Donald Trump's finances. He did a great cover a few weeks ago about how Trump's organization had violated the Cuban embargo —
CARLSON: I mean I'm not saying everything he's writing is wrong or anything or he's a bad person or anything. But he's such an anti-Trump advocate, and it's so clear on his Twitter feed and in his pieces, you can't pass him off as a reporter, can you?
COOPER: Well look, I think, I think his writing speaks for itself and people are going to have to judge it as it is. But I think for the stories, you know, leaving his tweets aside, I think, you know, judging from the stories in Newsweek —
CARLSON: Did he write this? (holds up the released and then pulled "Madam President" issue)
Eichenwald is such an "anti-Trump advocate," using Carlson's description, that, as Sam Dorman at NewsBusters noted on November 8, "Eichenwald launched a Twitterstorm of 'top 129 findings from my investigation of Trump'" — all but one negative — on the day before Election Day.
Cooper's "I know nothing (and I don't care to know)" response when questioned about Eichenwald's tweets is so obviously clueless and irresponsible that it makes one wonder how he can possibly stay in the job he currently holds.
In Cooper's world, Kurt Eichenwald apparently has free rein to tweet whatever he wants whenever he wants. Cooper, and apparently the rest of Newsweek's management, based on the non-reaction to Eichenwald's "mental hospital" tweet to which Carlson referred, don't care enough about maintaining their organization's reputation, even though he describes himself at his Twitter account as, among other things, a "senior writer, Newsweek." Further, Eichenwald will apparently be able to cover President-Elect and then President Trump as long as he wishes, and regardless of the severity of Trump-related falsehoods he propagates on Twitter.
All of the reporters out there who have been deservingly fired for intemperate tweets must be lining up at Newsweek's door, secure in the knowledge that if they can somehow get on board, they can tweet anything they want, no matter how false or outrageous.
And they wonder why an unprecedented percentage of the public has utterly lost faith in the press.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.