Tuesday, 16 March 2021

'So, they made up quotes?!': Washington Post is slammed after admitting it misquoted Trump's call to Georgia elections investigator asking her 'to find the fraud'

 The Washington Post has been slammed after it admitted it misquoted Donald Trump in his call to a Georgia elections investigator and issued a correction to its January story.

The Post issued a lengthy correction on Monday after audio of the December call between the then president and Frances Watson was released.

At the time, the outlet published a bombshell report claiming Trump urged Watson to 'find the fraud' and told her she would be 'a national hero' if she did. 


The Post has now said they misquoted him after the Georgia Secretary of State's Office released the December 23 recording. It was located it in a trash folder on the investigator's device as the office responded to a public records request, a source told CNN.

The original Post story now has a prominent correction, reading: 'The recording revealed that The Post misquoted Trump's comments on the call, based on information provided by a source. 

'Trump did not tell the investigator to "find the fraud" or say she would be "a national hero" if she did so. Instead, Trump urged the investigator to scrutinize ballots in Fulton County, Ga., asserting she would find "dishonesty" there. He also told her that she had "the most important job in the country right now."'


The Washington Post has been slammed after it admitted it misquoted Donald Trump in his call to a Georgia elections investigator and issued a correction to its January story

The Washington Post has been slammed after it admitted it misquoted Donald Trump in his call to a Georgia elections investigator and issued a correction to its January story

The Post issued a lengthy correction on Monday after audio of the December call between the then president and Frances Watson (pictured) was released

The Post issued a lengthy correction on Monday after audio of the December call between the then president and Frances Watson (pictured) was released

The original Post story now has a prominent correction, reading, in part: 'The recording revealed that The Post misquoted Trump's comments on the call, based on information provided by a source'

The original Post story now has a prominent correction, reading, in part: 'The recording revealed that The Post misquoted Trump's comments on the call, based on information provided by a source'

It linked to a new story about the recording, adding: 'The headline and text of this story have been corrected to remove quotes misattributed to Trump.'

The Post was slammed for the mistake, with journalist Mary Katharine Ham writing on Twitter: 'So, they made up quotes. What in the actual F.'

Twitter user Glen Hilts added: 'Great. And, 90% of folks will never see the “correction”.'

Another added: 'This is disgraceful. People on the left believed this garbage, and won’t even read this “correction”.'

Independent journalist Kyle Becker added: 'The ironic thing is that intelligent people knew this was made-up BS from the get-go.'

Investigative reporter at the Washington Examiner, Joe Gabriel Simonson tweeted: 'Actually "wow'd" at this correction. incredible.'

But not everyone criticized the outlet, with one user writing: 'Misquotations are bad, but I am confused as to what the substantial difference is supposed to be. The meaning of both versions seems to be the same.' 


Another, Bubba Karras added: 'How dare they correct an error that doesn't substantially change the story!' 

And MSNBC's Hayes Brown said: 'Corrections are good! what would be corrupt and unaccontable (sic) is to not put out corrections when we get things wrong.'

He also said the quotes were from 'a person who heard the call and described it to a reporter,' adding 'nobody in the “media” made that up'.

He was responding to Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway who said: 'Our media are so, so, so breathtakingly corrupt. They *always* mischaracterized this call -- in a corrupt and fraudulent way. But to actually make up quotes in service of that? We are so screwed. By our disgustingly corrupt and unaccountable media.'

Before the discovery of the audio, state officials originally said they they did not think an audio file of the call between Trump and election investigator Frances Watson existed. 

The call to Watson came as she was leading an audit of mail ballot signatures in Atlanta suburb Cobb County.      

The call was reported in January by the Washington Post and audio released last week by The Wall Street Journal

In the call, Trump asked Watson to look into 'dropped ballots' and said he was the rightful winner of the November 3 vote in her state - telling her she would be 'praised' when the 'right answer comes out.' 

It came just days before his infamous call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, whom he asked to 'find' 11,780 votes that would make him the winner. 

The former president lost the state by over 11,000 votes, an outcome that was confirmed by audits and Georgia's Republican election officials.  

In February, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis wrote to Georgia state officials, including the Georgia Secretary of State's Office, asking them to preserve any documents relevant to election interference.

The Post was slammed for the mistake, with journalist Mary Katharine Ham writing on Twitter: 'So, they made up quotes. What in the actual F'

The Post was slammed for the mistake, with journalist Mary Katharine Ham writing on Twitter: 'So, they made up quotes. What in the actual F'

But not everyone criticized the outlet, with one user writing: 'Misquotations are bad, but I am confused as to what the substantial difference is supposed to be. The meaning of both versions seems to be the same'

But not everyone criticized the outlet, with one user writing: 'Misquotations are bad, but I am confused as to what the substantial difference is supposed to be. The meaning of both versions seems to be the same'

Willis is currently conducting an investigation into Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia, something the secretary of state's office is also separately investigating.

The call came the day after White House chief of staff Mark Meadows visited Cobb County, Georgia to ask questions about the state's on-going audit of signatures.

While in the county, Meadows met with Watson and got her phone number. Trump called her the following day.

The elections investigator told an investigative reporter from WSB-TV that she had recorded the call from the then-president for posterity, saying: 'It's not every day, that probably will never happen again in my lifetime.'

It is currently unclear why Watson moved the audio file into her trash folder, but Watson told the station that she was surprised Trump called her, saying that she did not believe he was pressuring her during the phone call.

'It is something that is not expected, as I mentioned in the call you know I was shocked that he would take the time to do that,' Watson said.   

In the newly revealed audio tape, obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Trump appears to be trying to court the state's top elections investigator, Watson - both flattering her and alluding to claims of fraud.

It was a move Raffensperger would later call inappropriate. 

'That was an ongoing investigation,' he told the Washington Post on January 9. 'I don't believe that an elected official should be involved in that process.'

On the call, Trump made repeated claims that he 'won' the state – and mentioned other southern states that he did, in fact, carry. 

He called vote-rich Fulton County - in which Atlanta sits - the 'mother lode.'

'I won everything but Georgia. And I won Georgia, I know that,' he told Watson.

He complements Watson at the start of the call, and she reveals that Meadows had met her the day before.  

'Something happened. Something bad happened,' he said of the election – echoing claims by his election lawyers, as well as lawsuits claiming massive fraud in the state, which ultimately came to nothing.

Multiple recounts determined that Joe Biden won the state. Two Democrats were subsequently elected to the Senate from Georgia in runoff elections on January 5. 

Trump told Watson that Meadows 'thinks you've been great.' He continued: 'And you know, this country is counting on it because it's very interesting. 

'So I won Florida in a record number, Ohio in a record, Texas in a record, Alabama by 40 – 40 points. And I won everything but Georgia. 

'I won Georgia, I know that, by a lot, and the people know it.' 

'Something happened. Something bad happened,' he said.

He did not offer an explanation, but alluded to his own repeated public comments of widespread voter fraud. 

'I hope you're going back two years,' he told the investigator, urging more than a 'signature check' that verifies a signed ballot matches the signature on files with state election officials.  

'You're going to find things that are going to be unbelievable. The dishonesty, That we've heard from – just good sources.  Really good sources,' Trump said, without naming them. 

'Fulton is the mother lode, you know as the expression goes, Fulton County.'

The appeal appeared to catch Watson off guard, and she told him she was 'shocked' that he called.  'I appreciate your comment,' she told him, but made no promises.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger called Trump's call to the investigator inappropriate

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger called Trump's call to the investigator inappropriate

Trump pressures GA Secretary of State to find 11,780 votes
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'I can assure you that our team and the [Georgia Bureau of Investigation], that we are only interested in the truth and finding the information that is based on the facts.'

Watson told the president: 'I know that you're a very, very busy, very important man. And I'm very honored that you called. Quite, quite frankly, I'm shocked that you, that you would take time to do that. But I am very appreciative.' 

Trump told the investigator she had 'the most important job in the country right now,' adding Georgia residents were 'so angry' and claimed he won by 'hundreds of thousands of votes.'  

'They dropped ballots. They dropped all these ballots,' he said. 'When the right answer comes out, you'll be praised.'

He also told her at the end of the call: 'Whatever you can do, Frances, it's a great thing,' before referencing January 6 – the date Congress met to count the certified votes and thousands of Trump's MAGA rioters stormed the steps of the Capitol.

The riot in the Capitol resulted in five deaths. 

'We have that date of the 6th, which is a very important date,' Trump told her.  

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