It was an embarrassing week for the mainstream media. In case after case, stories pushed by news outlets turned out to be either unsubstantiated or fell apart upon closer scrutiny.
Here's a list of stories that the media botched this week:
Trump Eases Russia Sanctions
BREAKING: US Treasury Dept easing Obama admin sanctions to allow companies to do transactions with Russia's FSB, successor org to KGB.— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) February 2, 2017
The left lost it after it was reported that Trump was easing restrictions on Russia. The news seemingly confirmed the Democratic narrative that Trump showed favoritism to Vladimir Putin.
In truth, it turned out that the "easing of sanctions" had been a "technical fix" planned under the Obama administration.
NEW: Source familiar w sanctions says it's a technical fix, planned under Obama, to avoid unintended consequences of cybersanctions— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) February 2, 2017
Trump Threatened To Invade Mexico
Earlier this week the Associated Press reported that President Trump threatened to send U.S. troops into Mexico.
The reports were based on a White House readout of a call between Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Trump.
Upon the release of the actual transcripts of the conversation, it turned out that President Trump actually offered to send U.S. assets to assist in Mexico's fight with drug cartels.
Even the Mexican government vehemently denied the story.
"The assertions that you make about said conversation do not correspond to the reality of it,” the Mexican government said in a statement. "The tone was constructive … and it was agreed by the presidents to continue working and that the teams will continue to meet frequently to construct an agreement that is positive for Mexico and for the United States."
Iraqi Mother Dies While Waiting From Trump's "Muslim Ban"
It was reported that the mother of an Iraqi-born veteran of the fist Gulf war died due to being denied entry under Trump's so-called Muslim ban.
According to the original report:
A local business owner who flew to Iraq to bring his mother back home to the US for medical treatment said she was blocked from returning home under President Trump’s ban on immigration and travel from seven predominately Muslim nations.
The story eventually fell apart when the man's Imam came forward and said that the man's mother had died before the ban had even been signed.
Judge Gorsuch Started A "Fascism Club" In High School
On Thursday, the media ran with reports that Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court Judge Neil Gorsuch founded and presided over a club called the "Fascism Forever Club" while he was in high school.
The "evidence" for the claim came from the Georgetown Preparatory School yearbook from Gorsuch's time at the school, and was first reported on by the U.K. Daily Mail.
As it turns out, no such club ever existed.
The "Fascism Forever Club" had been a sophomoric joke amongst the students.
The National Review's Ed Whelan wrote:
Earth to newpaper reporters: High-school yearbook editors sometimes have a sophomoric sense of humor.
I am reliably informed that no such club ever existed and that there was instead an inside joke among friends in the senior class that parodied political debates happening at the school. A contemporary of Gorsuch’s at the school also tells me that yearbook editors added stuff to student blurbs without their permission.
Trump Renamed "Black History Month" To "African American History Month"
This one was originally reported by TMZ:
TMZ eventually changed the story to acknowledge that "National African American History Month" has been the title of the month for decades.
"Donald Trump, turns out, did not officially change Black History Month to National African American History Month ... it's been that way for decades," TMZ laster reported. "Trump's official presidential proclamation uses the words, 'African American History Month' — but President Obama did the same. In fact, since President Carter ... almost all Commanders-in-Chief have used the same language in proclamations."
Trump Setting Up A Supreme Court "Contest" Between Judges
This whopper was originally reported on by CNN's Jeff Zeleny:
This one just turned out to be fake news in its most distilled form, as Zeleny quickly backtracked: