A writer at the liberal media outlet Huffington Post falsely assumed that a black coach of Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) was his “basketball” coach when Gohmert referenced the man’s influence on his life in response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.
Gohmert’s black coach, he told Breitbart News on Thursday, was not in fact a “basketball” coach—he was a football coach.
In a blaring headline across the Huffington Post Politics section website, writer Julia Craven wrote: “Louie Gohmert Wishes Obama Led Like His Black High School Basketball Coach.”
The reporter’s story was based on comments Gohmert made about Obama’s remarks about race in the State of the Union.
“He’s been so divisive on the issue of race,” Gohmert said after Obama’s speech on Tuesday night. Gohmert added, according to Craven, that after Obama’s election, the issue of race was supposed to be “behind us.”
Gohmert also said that he wished Obama had been more like a black coach of his from his childhood, who worked to unite everyone regardless of race.
“But unlike my favorite coach in high school, who happened to be black, he has been more divisive — when I had a coach that brought us together as a team like never before,” Gohmert said. “I thought this president would do that. He has divided more than united, so that’s been heartbreaking.”
The Huffington Post reporter took that comment to mean Gohmert was talking about a basketball coach. Craven, the reporter, wrote leading into Gohmert’s quote: “Gohmert expressed a wish that Obama were more like his black high school basketball coach.”
Gohmert didn’t, in fact, specify during his remarks that night which sport his black coach handled—and as it turns out, it wasn’t basketball. It was football.
Gohmert said in an emailed statement to Breitbart News:
I am amazed that simply mentioning ‘my favorite coach in high school who happened to be black’ caused liberals to start asking about my high school ‘basketball’ coach. I did not mention the sport, but it happened to be my Junior Varsity FOOTBALL coach. I was a captain, played quarterback, thought the world of Coach Williams and loved the way he brought everyone together as a team.
It’s unclear why the reporter wrongly assumed the coach was a basketball coach, and it may not have anything to do with race—the reporter, Craven, is herself black—but it’s not the first time the Huffington Post has gotten details like this wrong in news coverage.
Back during the 2014 midterm elections, the Huffington Post’s Sabrina Siddiqui immediately jumped on false accusations against former Sen. Scott Brown about New Hampshire geography after a debate between Brown and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).
Siddiqui printed that Brown mishandled a question on New Hampshire geography—when Brown was in fact correct in his answer—after a debate co-moderator, WMUR’s James Pindell, incorrectly told Brown that the location of a New Hampshire county was not in where Brown said it was.
The Huffington Post issued a series of updates and corrections to its piece, and ultimately apologized for the mistake.
As for this piece, the Huffington Post hasn’t yet updated its inaccuracies, apologized, or issued any corrections. Breitbart News has reached out to the site’s editorial leadership for comment. But the Huffington Post piece also spawned at least two other pieces across the media that echoed the inaccuracy—a piece from the liberal bastion Salon and the more mainstream Mediaite.
Huffington Post has since updated its article to change the term “basketball” coach to “high school” coach.