A Washington Post reporter has apologized for tweeting out a photo that seemed to mock President Trump for claiming that his Friday night rally in Pensacola, Florida, was packed to the rafters. If Trump had his way, however, the Post would be telling that reporter, Apprentice-style, “you’re fired.”
In a now-deleted tweet, Post journalist Dave Weigel shared an image on Twitter, the New York Times reported, of a half-empty arena, the Pensacola Bay Center, but apparently that was before most of the crowd, and President Trump himself, had arrived. Other news organizations picked up the same tweet.
While the president tends to perhaps be unduly sensitive about crowd size generally, and regardless of whether you support or oppose Trump, he routinely gets an immense turnout for political rallies, a trend that began during the 2016 presidential campaign. Pensacola may have been selected this time around because of its proximity to Alabama, where the important U.S. Senate special election is happening on Tuesday. President Trump is supporting controversial GOP nominee Judge Roy Moore over Democrat Doug Jones.
For Trump fans, it was another example as they see it of how the relentlessly negative mainstream media will breathlessly report virtually any anti-Trump story or portray Trump-related news, even petty incidents, in the worst possible light without proper due diligence or context.
President Trump took to Twitter and demanded an apology for the Pensacola tweet as well as calling for the reporter to be fired for what he described as fake news. See the Trump tweets below and draw your own conclusions.
Weigel complied with the president’s request for an apology over the “bad tweet,” noting that Daily Mail political editor David Martosko clued him in on where he went wrong.
“Sure thing: I apologize. I deleted the photo after @dmartosko told me I’d gotten it wrong. Was confused by the image of you walking in the bottom right corner.”
In a follow-up tweet, Weigel emphasized that the Pensacola image was sent out on his personal account unrelated to the Washington Post, a publication that opposes much of the Trump agenda, and that it was fair game for him to be called out.
It was a bad tweet on my personal account, not a story for Washington Post. I deleted it after like 20 minutes. Very fair to call me out.— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) December 9, 2017
Everything I say on Twitter is a joke, except what I say about @swin24. https://t.co/tI7SQnpoN9
The Pensacola-related tweet mini-controversy comes against the backdrop of CNN being called out for a false story on Friday that the Trump campaign, including Donald Trump Jr., supposedly was offered early access to a WikiLeaks hack of the Democratic National Committee emails.
It turns out, however, that the CNN “bombshell” was a non-story in that the random email was dated September 14, 2016, not September 4 as CNN originally claimed. WikiLeaks had already released the DNC leaks into the public domain on September 13, the day before, so the CNN exclusive, which it promoted for hours on end, was actually insignificant.
GREAT EVENING last night in Pensacola, Florida. Arena was packed to the rafters, the crowd was loud, loving and really smart. They definitely get what’s going on. Thank you Pensacola!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2017
.@DaveWeigel @WashingtonPost put out a phony photo of an empty arena hours before I arrived @ the venue, w/ thousands of people outside, on their way in. Real photos now shown as I spoke. Packed house, many people unable to get in. Demand apology & retraction from FAKE NEWS WaPo! pic.twitter.com/XAblFGh1ob— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2017
.@daveweigel of the Washington Post just admitted that his picture was a FAKE (fraud?) showing an almost empty arena last night for my speech in Pensacola when, in fact, he knew the arena was packed (as shown also on T.V.). FAKE NEWS, he should be fired.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2017