CNN Silent on Contributor’s False Viral Tweet Washington Free Beacon

CNN Silent on Contributor’s False Viral Tweet Washington Free Beacon

CNN has remained silent about a contributor’s viral tweet that misleadingly claimed to relay a conversation between Republican senators.

Former Clinton White House press secretary Joe Lockhart received more than 9,000 retweets and 36,000 likes for a tweet claiming to report an overheard conversation between two Fox News-watching GOP senators. “Is this stuff real? I haven’t heard any of this before. I thought it was all about a server,” the senators supposedly said. “If half the stuff Schiff is saying is true, we’re up shit’s creek. Hope the White House has exculpatory evidence.”

Overheard convo between two Republican Senators who only watch Fox News. “is this stuff real? I haven’t heard any of this before. I thought it was all about a server. If half the stuff Schiff is saying is true, we’re up shit’s creek. Hope the White House has exculpatory evidence

— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) January 22, 2020

Replies to the tweet indicate that many people took Lockhart’s scoop seriously. When reached for comment about the episode, a CNN spokesman redirected the Washington Free Beacon to a communications director for the network who ignored multiple requests for comment.

In follow-up tweets, Lockhart acknowledged that he “made up” the overheard conversation and called it satire. Lockhart did not delete the misleading tweet even as it went viral, and the clarifying tweets did not achieve the same reach as the original.

Ok maybe I made up the convo, but you know that’s exactly what they’re thinking.

— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) January 22, 2020

After he continued to receive criticism from conservative and liberal journalists alike, Lockhart characterized his detractors as “purveyors of Pizzagate and the Seth Rich conspiracy.”

Seems like I poked the bear today. The purveyors of Pizzagate and the Seth Rich conspiracy are lecturing me on honesty. I told a joke, you guys are a destructive joke that is killing our democracy. Other than that, hope you’re enjoying the trial and have a nice evening

— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) January 22, 2020

CNN reporters on the media and “disinformation” beats have repeatedly said that satire is no excuse for spreading “fake news,” particularly if some internet users mistake it for genuine news. Some have accused comedy websites of hiding behind satire to mislead voters while dodging punishment from social media companies.

Having a disclaimer buried somewhere on your site that says it’s “satire” seems like a good way to get around a lot of the changes Facebook has made to reduce the spread of clickbait and misinformation.

— Donie O’Sullivan (@donie) January 5, 2020

Brian Stelter, the network’s media critic and host of Reliable Sources, was also silent on the matter, although he did tweet about President Donald Trump’s “false claims.”

Lockhart, who has made frequent appearances during the network’s impeachment coverage, also sparked controversy on Tuesday when he said that Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) should face prison time for tweeting while he was on the Senate floor. The former public relations executive was seemingly unaware that most politicians have dedicated press staffers who handle their social media accounts, and that senators cannot be imprisoned for breaking Senate floor rules.

Senators on the floor are sworn to silence and have no electronic devices. So how is this Senator tweeting? Did he sneak a phone in. Is he willing to go to prison? Or is the tweet from someone other than Cruz. @jack you should investigate

— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) January 21, 2020

Cruz mocked the tweet with a graphic of a cell phone reading, “Come and Take It”—a mock-up of a popular flag commemorating the famous victory at the Battle of Gonzales that sparked the Texas Revolution.

https://t.co/FNTogu1IUt pic.twitter.com/cuO8Sz5Vls

— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 21, 2020

The post CNN Silent on Contributor’s False Viral Tweet appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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