When we last left the Washington Post’s fake quote debacle, the paper had identified Georgia’s Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs as the source of a false account of then-President Trump’s phone call to the state’s investigator into irregularities in the 2020 election. Both Fuchs and Post blogger Erik Wemple were channeling Dan Rather “ethics,” arguing that Fuch’s lie that the President said “Find the fraud!” was inaccurate but true.
Now we learn, after someone checked the record, that at least one of the media sources had in fact unwittingly allowed Fuchs to verify her own lie, and claimed it had received a confirmation of the Post fake news from “a source familiar with the conversation.”
CNBC reported the following on January 9, the same day as the Washington Post story:
NBC News has confirmed The Post’s characterization of the Dec. 23 call through a source familiar with the conversation. Georgia’s Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs told NBC News: “We can confirm the events in the Washington Post story.”
Nice! So far, we don’t know if Fuchs was the source of other such “confirmations.” USA Today claimed it confirmed the details of the call from “a Georgia official speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.” ABC News said it confirmed the details with “an individual familiar with the matter.”
Sure sounds like Fuchs to me.
The news organizations that were this sloppy—as in eager to make President Trump look bad—employed disgraceful journalistic incompetence, all spurred by confirmation bias. Can you imagine any news organization being that cavalier in verifying a quote that reflected poorly on Barack Obama? Yet the news media is cutting its own metaphorical throats with such behavior: the public increasingly distrusts journalists, and should.
What, however, is the appropriate punishment for a Jordan Fuchs? She has revealed herself as an ethics villain, unfit for public office, unfit to be trusted in any endeavor. I’m sure she will find some kind of companionship among virulent Trump-haters, but she is not fit to associate with decent citizens, who should shun her. I wouldn’t want her as an employee, a neighbor, or a friend.