ABC News cut away from its regular programming Wednesday afternoon to show President Donald Trump speaking live about the issue of families being separated on the border, but for a few seconds, a stunning note along the bottom of the screen had everybody scratching their heads. The network accidentally posted a “fake news” update regarding a supposed Paul Manafort plea deal and they were then scrambling to apologize and rectify the situation.
Adweek explains that as President Trump was speaking Wednesday afternoon, ABC News briefly posted a puzzling graphic at the bottom of the screen. The note stated that Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort had entered a guilty plea related to five manslaughter charges.
While Manafort is facing multiple charges and two trials related to a handful of various allegations, none of those pending charges is related to any manslaughters. Trump’s former campaign head was recently put behind bars after violating the terms of his bail, but it is indeed fake news to state that he’s agreed to plead guilty to any manslaughter charges, nevermind five of them.
The incorrect information was up for only about seven seconds, but it definitely got noticed and within moments it had gone viral on social media. The graphic was quickly changed, and the incident was addressed on Twitter. The public relations Twitter page for ABC News apologized for posting the false information and said that they regret what aired.
The statement went on to say that they were investigating how the information was added to their system and put on the air. In addition, ABC News apologized to both their viewers as well as to Paul Manafort, noting that there is no excuse for making that type of mistake.
The president is fond of accusing numerous media outlets of spreading “fake news,” but this time there is no arguing that ABC News indeed posted false information related to Manafort and his cases. It didn’t take long for people of all political persuasions to pounce on this via social media, and this may be one of the few times that everybody more or less agreed on the situation at hand.
President Donald Trump has made some comments on the Paul Manafort situation, but he and his team have also worked to distance themselves from the former campaign manager. It will take some time yet to see how these legal cases go, but it is certainly incorrect to tie them to any supposed manslaughter cases. How did ABC News mess this one up? The answer to that question remains to be seen.
Statement from @ABC News: We regret and apologize for the false lower third graphic that aired during our special report. We are investigating how incorrect information was in our system and how and why it was allowed to air. (1/2)— ABCNews PR (@ABCNewsPR) June 20, 2018
(cont.) We apologize to our viewers and to Mr. Manafort. There simply is no excuse for this sort of mistake. (2/2)— ABCNews PR (@ABCNewsPR) June 20, 2018