Newsweek has fired the reporter who wrote a blindingly inaccurate story about President Donald Trump’s Thanksgiving plans, according to the Washington Examiner, but the outlet is refusing to admit it committed its own mistakes in greenlighting and posting the faulty piece.
On Thanksgiving, Newsweek reporter Jessica Kwong, who covers the Trump family for the magazine, wrote a story then-titled, “How is Trump spending Thanksgiving? Tweeting, golfing and more.” The “more” included a secret visit overseas to serve a Thanksgiving dinner to Americans serving in Afghanistan, but Kwong’s original piece didn’t include the trip, even though, by the time the story hit both the internet and social media, photos and narrative from Trump’s mission abroad were readily available, at least
“Hours after the president’s trip was announced, Newsweek edited Kwong’s story and added a note at the bottom of it. The beginning of the story now focuses on the president’s trip and his speech to the troops, while the new headline reads, ‘How is Trump spending Thanksgiving? Tweeting, golfing — and surprising U.S. troops in Afghanistan,’” the Examiner reports.
The note at the end of the story reads, ‘This story has been substantially updated and edited at 6:17 p.m. EST to reflect the president’s surprise trip to Afghanistan. Additional reporting by James Crowley.” There is no mention of Kwong’s very serious mistake.
Kwong also corrected her story on social media, Tweeting, “Trump headed to Afghanistan to surprise U.S. troops on Thanksgiving… Deleting this tweet because it was written before knowing about the president’s surprise visit to Afghanistan-an honest mistake. Story has already been updated, as shown in the screenshot.”
The President was quick to pounce on the “fake news” story, tweeting that he believed Newsweek had gone out of business.
I thought Newsweek was out of business? https://t.co/3ro4eSJloo
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2019
Newsweek told the Examiner that they terminated Kwong: “The story has been corrected, and the journalist responsible has been terminated…We will continue to review our processes and, if required, take further action.”
“The next day, [writer Jessica] Kwong reached out to the editor on duty and relayed the president’s latest actions, after which the story was published,” the Examiner reported. “When the president’s trip to Afghanistan was announced, that editor then decided to assign another reporter to write a new story about it but neglected to update Kwong’s original piece in a timely manner.”
Kwong said on Twitter that she’d been assigned the story on Wednesday and filed it early Thursday. She says she had no control over when it posted, and appeared to blame her editors at Newsweek for both accepting the story and making it public without checking on its validity.
Donald Trump, Jr., the President’s son, was unconvinced that it was merely a comedy of errors on Newsweek’s part, even if both Kwong and the paper say the whole ordeal was an “honest mistake.”
‘It wasn’t an ‘honest mistake’ you tried to dunk on Trump and ended up dunking on yourself because you couldn’t resist. Notice how there’s never been a story that broke in Trump’s favor & had to be corrected the other way? These aren’t mistakes, they are a very consistent pattern,” he tweeted.