Nikki Haley is the Victim of a Smear Campaign
I have to hand it to all the people who passed around the “story” that over $50,000 was spent on curtains for the office of the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley.
The story was powerful and seemed to show an example of one of the worst kinds of abuse of unnecessary expenditures for a public servant on the taxpayer’s dime.
The story was initially reported by the New York Times and spread through social media like wildfire, with all the usual “Resistance” types losing their minds as if they had caught a murderer in the act of killing one of his victims. But also, numerous reputable and well-known journalists jumped in on social media to help spread the outrage.
Only problem is, the story was not true.
According to the actual report in question, these curtains were decided upon in 2016, before President Trump took office and well before Nikki Haley began in her current post. Once this started being pointed out, people started to backtrack and make excuses for the New York Times, saying that at least the Times later made a correction and this was proof they are a responsible journalistic outfit.
In their rush to jump to the Times’ defense, many of these mainstream journalists completely ignored the obvious, which is that the story had been reported in a certain way and passed around on social media focusing on the fraudulent point about Haley for a reason. It was done in an attempt to make Nikki Haley — and by extension President Trump — look like corrupt bureaucrats that had fleeced the taxpayers for their own personal gain.
Unfortunately, we have seen many similar cases during the Trump presidency. For example, the recent story about the Trump administration’s new program of abusing children based on a story from 2014 when Barack Obama was president.
Last year, a story circulated that Orrin Hatch had said on the Senate floor that CHIP — the health insurance program for low income children — needed to go because he was tired of funding programs for people who refused to help themselves. Except as even Ezra Klein of Vox — who is no fan of Republicans — pointed out, Hatch was not talking about CHIP when he made those comments and even said he would see to it that CHIP got funded.
But do not tell that to all the people who made fun of Hatch for disparaging “free loading” children.
There are many more recent examples of this, but you get the point.
I understand we are in an age of social media where everything happens fast. But when incidents like this happen — repeatedly — it becomes quite obvious what is really going on.
As I said, the social media age has certainly made things worse.
In the old days, a news story would not be instant because you were waiting to air it on the evening news, or if you were a newspaper, get it into tomorrow’s edition.
But now? Got to get it out there first and worry about accuracy later. Nuance and thorough checking be damned.
Put simply, people need to be better than this. Incidents like this are what give the president ammo to shout “fake news.”
These kinds of major mistakes actively keep that from happening. We are officially in the National Enquirer era now, where nothing matters except outrage. Accuracy is irrelevant if a story involves pushing your preferred narrative.
In this case, the curtains were purchased for an exorbitant amount at taxpayer expense, but by pretending the timeline of events was different than it actually was just to drive a narrative they wanted to be true, all that ended up happening was the reporter, newspaper, and other prominent people who were responsible for printing and sharing the story on social media took another hit to their credibility.
Job well done. Take a bow, guys.
The fact is, anti-Trump hysteria is very real and it extends far past left-wing activist groups and active democrat party circles. It has engulfed numerous members of the mainstream media and prominent personalities who willfully play into the hysteria while seeming to care more about clicks than careful reporting both because it drives their own numbers and because — whether they want to admit it or not — they absolutely despise President Trump.
Unless media members think spreading news around that is not true and hurting their credibility just to get the “scoop” and attempt to damage the president is more important than maintaining long-term trust with the public.
Because if that is how they feel, then they should just go on doing what they are doing and expose themselves as frauds even further.
If you're interested in writing for International Policy Digest - please send us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org