Snopes Fiction: Media Has 'Consistently Claimed' Little Girl at Border 'Was Never Separated'

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Snopes.com has once again created fact-check fiction. On Friday, the site's Kim LaCapria contended that the press has "consistently reported" that the girl photographed by Getty Images' John Moore "was never separated from her mother," and that any claim to the contrary is "Mostly False."

There is more evidence than one can even hope to chronicle that it is LaCapria's claim which is false.

LaCapria's primarily relied on stories at the Washington Post and CNN, but both stories effectively refute the Snopes evaluation.

LaCapria's Post link didn't work when tried; this one does.  The Post is not convinced that it told readers that the girl was not separated from her mother, based on this "Update":

 

WashPost2YOchildStoryUpdate

The Post clearly believed that it had previously given readers the impression that mother and daughter were to be and had been separated, and needed to correct the record — with good reason, based on these excerpts:

 

WashPostOn2YOchildBorderPhoto061818

 

But the fact that the Post waited until Friday, June 22, means that it ignored what happened four days earlier at the CNN story LaCapria cited.

As seen in a Wednesday morning NewsBusters post, CNN stealth-edited the following paragraph into its original June 12 story on June 18:

 

CNNparagraphOnNonSeparation061818

 

In other words, what LaCapria's referenced CNN article really shows is that the Post "consistently failed" to report what should have been common knowledge, namely that mother and daughter were never separated, for four days.

It wasn't common knowledge, however, because CNN inserted the extra paragraph without posting a correction or otherwise disclosing what it had done. Many other outlets which had previously posted online stories implying or stating that there was or would be mother-daughter separation continued to do so for at least the next three days, and didn't began cleaning up their content until the UK Daily Mail's June 21 interview of the girl's father (and mother's husband) in Honduras.

When CNN weekend anchor Ana Cabrera interviewed Moore on June 17, she implied separation: "When you took that picture did you know that it was something that it could become a defining image of this moment in history?" Moore proclaimed "the knowledge that these parents and their children would soon be in separate detention facilities made it hard for me personally as a journalist, as a human being and especially as a father." But at interview's end, Cabrera asked if these two were separated, and he said "I wish I knew."

It gets much worse for LaCapria.

Getty Images itself contended with shrill certainty on June 14 that mother and daughter would be separated, and has not updated its article to reflect the fact that it didn't happen.

Side-by-side, here is how Getty's first two paragraphs looked in a June 15 Archive.org search, and how they read as of Wednesday afternoon (click on the graphic to see a larger image):

 

GettyImages2YOgirlSideBySide0618

 

The "Editor's Note" in Getty's update explains nothing. The updated story does not mention that the girl and her mother were never separated.

On the morning of June 21, as Kyle Drennen at NewsBusters noted, CNN's Erica Hill said this on the network's New Day program:

Also new this morning, Time magazine out with a stinging new cover. Take a look at this. The president being hit there for separating children from their parents at the border.”

Obviously, viewers would infer that the girl on Time's cover has been among those separated.

The examples provided here only scratch the surface.

One runs out of adjectives trying to adequately describe how fundamentally dishonest Kim LaCapria's fictional "fact-check" at Snopes really is. 

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.


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