It was the headline too good to be true posted at 10:22 a.m.:
TRUMP WEIGHS MOBILIZING NAT GUARD FOR IMMIGRATION ROUNDUPSAn email to Matt Drudge and voila! Writer Garance Burke of the Associated Press had her Drudge link and her deluge of hits.
Within minutes she would regret the hits she received.
Drudge dropped his across-the-masthead inch-high-letter all-cap link like a bad blind date. Drudge has enough trouble without linking Fake News -- even if it comes from the Associated Press.This is not true. DHS also confirms it is 100% false https://t.co/MFIJci7XaU— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) February 17, 2017
Later, Drudge linked a Daily Mail debunking the Associated Press story:
AP BOTCH: NATIONAL GUARD NOT CALLED ON ILLEGALSDrudge also linked a story from McClatchy that pointed out Presidents Bush 43 and Obama used far smaller contingencies of National Guardsmen to staff surveillance outposts, build fences, and the like -- but not to conduct raids.
Let's apply the test to the Associated Press report: Is the news story true? If not, it is Fake News.
The story began:
The Trump administration is considering a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press.So the story dropped from President weighing a plan in the headline, to his administration "considering a proposal" in the first paragraph.
That's when the BS meter hit P-U.
It got worse. As her story wore on it became more and more clear that far from a decision by the president being imminent to a story about a vague proposal to maybe have National Guardsmen in eleven states help the Border Patrol.
Garnace Burke sold her story on the basis of Trump making a final decision -- "weighs mobilizing" -- but all she delivered is his staff considering an idea.
Such a move would require the Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon signing off on it, as well as Homeland Security.
The idea seems impractical to me. The government would disrupt the lives, again, of 100,000 people, train them to be Border Patrol personnel, have them round up millions of people, who would then need a place to stay pending judicial review of their status.
So this story had more holes than a pound of Swiss cheese, but Garance Burke posted it nevertheless. The biggest was a deal breaker in Paragraph Eight:
Requests to the White House and the Department of Homeland Security for comment and a status report on the proposal were not answered.At that point, no editor should have allowed her to post that story until the White House returned her call. The editor should have told her that without the White House response to a such a serious claim, she had no story.
Because she did not.
This was not breaking news. Her duty was to be patient and await a response. She, her editor, and the Associated Press failed to be patient, published Fake News, and now should suffer diminished credibility.
On Twitter, Garance Burke described herself as: "I'm an Associated Press data journalist & truth sleuth. I tweet & code in several languages."
The truth is, she did not report the truth because Trump is not weighing mobilizing the National Guard.
Oh, someone may be preparing such a proposal. I don't know. It does not seem feasible, but we have plenty of plans. It is what the military does: plan. Somewhere in the Pentagon there very well may be a contingency plan to invade Freedonia.
The AP published Fake News today. The question is, why does Garance Burke still have a job? Why does her editor?
The only reason I can think for keeping either of them is that credibility means nothing to AP.
Web hits do.
Until there is a penalty for Fake News, we shall get more Fake News because it is so easy to manufacture.
UPDATE: AP updated its original story with a new headline and top part, which carries no apology or explanation for the Fake News:
AP EXCLUSIVE: DHS WEIGHED NAT GUARD FOR IMMIGRATION ROUNDUPS
The Trump administration considered a proposal to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, including millions living nowhere near the Mexico border, according to a draft memo obtained by The Associated Press.
Staffers in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said they had been told by colleagues in two DHS departments that the proposal was still being considered as recently as Feb. 10. A DHS official described the document as a very early draft that was not seriously considered and never brought to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly for approval.So it never got past Kelly, much less to the president to "weigh."
No wonder less than a third of Americans trust the media.
Kindle is now taking orders for my book on the general election. The Kindle version appears on March 1.
"Trump the Establishment" is already available in paperback.
This is the sequel to "Trump the Press," which covered the nomination. It is available on Kindle, or in paperback on Create Space.
Autographed copies are available by writing me at DonSurber@GMail.com
Please follow me on Twitter.