“REPORTERS” APPEAR UNCONCERNED ABOUT ACCURACY, SOURCING, PURVEYING FALSE INFORMATION
by Sharon Rondeau
(Mar. 4, 2019) — On Monday evening, Rep. Matt Gaetz tweeted an admission from Edward-Isaac Dovere of The Atlantic that his tweet last Thursday claiming the congressman was overheard speaking with President Trump from Hanoi Wednesday evening was inaccurate.
Since Friday, Gaetz has asked Dovere and others who based reports on his tweet for a retraction. On Monday, Dovere tweeted that according to the office of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, DeSantis was the individual speaking on the phone with Gaetz at the time in question.
Dovere’s initial tweet last week, which was never part of a formal article, was based on second-hand information but nevertheless vigorously retweeted and echoed in mainstream reports over Thursday and Friday.
On Thursday morning, Gaetz reportedly called the claim that he had been speaking with Trump “hilariously false.”
At 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, in an article carried by Salon, Raw Story reported, “Edward-Isaac Dovere, a staff reporter for The Atlantic, tweeted Thursday that he overheard a phone conversation between Gaetz and Trump, whom he said called the Florida Republican from Hanoi to discuss the Cohen testimony and apparent threat.”
On Friday evening, Gaetz appeared on “The Story” with Martha MacCallum to say that he and DeSantis had been speaking about a person Gaetz recommended for a Florida city aviation commission at the time Dovere reported he was communicating with Trump, who was in the midst of a summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un.
In his admission on Monday, issued at approximately 3:15 p.m. EST, Dovere wrote, “Asked Matt Gaetz last week about call someone told me they’d overheard him having with Trump. Didn’t deny, told me ‘I don’t do read outs on my convos w POTUS…'” Dovere evidently took Gaetz’s initial statement to be an affirmation that he had, in fact, been speaking with Trump at the time.
When asked, Gaetz told MacCallum that he had proof of the telephone call with DeSantis.
On Saturday, multiple mainstream journalists reported that DeSantis’s spokesman confirmed that the governor and Gaetz had a conversation on Wednesday before 9:00 p.m. The same day, Ana Ceballos of News Service of Florida displayed a screenshot from Gaetz’s phone showing that a call from DeSantis of a personal nature had arrived at 8:37 p.m. on Wednesday lasting 13 minutes.
“Isaac’s initial false tweet was retweet nearly 10k times and cited across the MSM. His correction has fewer than 10 rt,” Gaetz tweeted Monday shortly after 5:00 p.m., with “rt” meaning “retweets.”
Although specifically mentioning it last week among the media furor, an article published at The Washington Examiner based solely on Dovere’s initial claim remains online with its original title, “Matt Gaetz overheard telling Trump about threatening Michael Cohen tweet: ‘I was happy to do it for you.'” However, an editor’s note was added on Friday after Gaetz’s appearance with MacCallum.
The Examiner‘s Daniel Chaitin issued a follow-up article Friday titled “Matt Gaetz says ‘happy to do it for you’ phone call was with Florida governor, not Trump” which the author concluded with:
Gaetz said on Fox News “what’s crazy” is that DeSantis also informed the Atlantic that the call took place, but Dovere or the outlet still have not issued a retraction or taken down “their allegation.”
Asked if he has proof, Gaetz said, “yeah, absolutely,” but did not offer any on air.
A paragraph invoking Dovere’s initial claim in an editorial highly critical of Gaetz in The Miami Herald has been slightly reworded since its publication on Friday at 7:00 a.m. from:
Edward-Isaac Dovere, a staff writer for The Atlantic, said he heard Gaetz take a call from Trump about the Cohen tweet. The president was calling from Hanoi, where he was negotiating a deal with Kim Jong Un that went south.
Edward-Isaac Dovere, a staff writer for The Atlantic, says Gaetz took a call from Trump about the Cohen tweet. The president was calling from Hanoi, where he was negotiating a deal with Kim Jong Un that went south.
On Friday The Post & Email left a message for the writer, Fabiola Santiago, asking why her column was not labeled as “Opinion” and appears on a page with “straight news” pieces. We received no response.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.