How the Media Reacted to Trump's Election Fraud Tweet is a Warning for the Next Four Years

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While Barack Obama may have made history as the first President to have an active Twitter account, Trump may be the first President to have his account banned. From sexism to Islamophobia, Trump has shown that he has no filter when it comes to posting — and this Sunday’s tweet about election fraud is no exception. Trump’s tweet came after a firestorm of posts which referred to the Clinton campaign saying it would participate in a recount of the states that were headed by Green Party nominee, Jill Stein. In the tweet, Trump states that “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” Unsurprisingly, the mainstream media has had a field day over Trump’s unsupported claim and even some of the notoriously right-wing news sources couldn’t come to his defense on this one.

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Beginning with the top of Trump’s hit list, The New York Times responded to Trump’s allegations with a headline that was in no way written to protect the President-elect’s feelings. In the article entitled, “Trump Claims, With No Evidence, That ‘Millions of People’ Voted Illegally,” The New York Times explains that while the Republican party has been claiming foul play on the part of a rigged and corrupt government, there is little to no evidence that supports these claims, especially given the scale of votes that Trump is suggesting. The New York Times also addressed Trump’s tweet arguing that a recount should be made in Virginia, New Hampshire, and California—which contradicts statements made by his campaign that the results of the election should not be challenged. Clearly ,The New York Times isn’t buying any of Trump’s BS.

CNN and The Washington Post reacted similarly to Trump’s tweet, with titles reading “Trump Falsely Claims ‘Millions of People Who Voted Illegally’ Cost Him Popular Vote” and “Donald Trump’s Bogus Claim That Millions of People Illegally Voted For Hillary Clinton” respectively. Like The New York Times, they were clearly not giving Trump any leeway with this statement, coming to the conclusion that Trump has no evidence to back up his claim that voter fraud led him to lose the popular vote.

Even Fox News, which has come to Trump’s aid on more than one occasion, sided with other media sources. They wrote an article entitled “Trump claims he won popular vote, if ‘illegal’ votes for Clinton are deducted,” and like CNN, the Post, and the Times — Fox News argues that Trump has no proof behind this statement. It is clear that none of the major news sources are buying Trump’s false claims. As the recent Facebook news scandal indicates, however, many Americans look too fake media sites to receive their news. This means that we need to address that some sources of hoax new are reporting that Trump’s statement election fraud should be read as absolute truth.

Sites like Breitbart, The Political Insider, and Conservative News Today have recently published articles stating that an organization called True the Vote has proven that Trump’s claims were, in fact, valid. These sites have submitted headlines such as “True the Vote Supports Trump’s Claim on Illegal Voters” and “As Media Attacks Trump’s Claims of Voter Fraud, One Group Proves Him Right!” — which have led voters to believe that Trump’s tweet is true because an election integrity organization says that they are looking into election fraud. Yet, as the Huffington Post points out, although this organization says that they are going to investigate the supposed voter fraud, neither Trump nor True the Vote have any proof that the popular vote was rigged but they are both publicizing their views as fact.

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Although conservative sites are saying that True the Vote proves that Trump’s statement was correct, they did not provide any evidence to suggest that there was, in fact, any voter fraud. A statement released by True the Vote states that while they do support an investigation of voter fraud, they are still looking into the case of voter fraud of the popular vote and will be doing so for the next several months. Nowhere do they indicate that there actually was voter fraud; True the Vote merely suggest that it may or may not have taken place and that investigation is underway. Therefore news sources like Breitbart and The Political Insider, which reach millions of Americans both on-site and on social media, are going against journalistic ethics by jumping to conclusions that Trump’s loss of the popular vote was due to voter fraud. Journalists, regardless of political affiliation, have a duty to spread truth and to dismiss grandiose conspiracy theories when they are unsupported by fact — even when said theories are proposed by elected officials.

Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has made false statements both in debates, in interviews, and on social media — which have largely gone under the radar of the media. Finally, now that he is the president-elect, the media is calling him out for some of the ridiculous statements that he has made and it’s fair to say that this won’t be the last time that the media has to step-in to inform Americans about what is really going on.

Photos via Twitter and Graphiq

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