The mainstream media has had a tough time with the truth this week. First, the heavily-reported story of the Minnesota gym owner who falsely claimed on Twitter that the Vikings planned to open their stadium to the homeless on a frigid night. Then the near-universally reported tale of the YouTube star who lied about getting kicked off a Delta flight for saying a word in Arabic to his mother.
Now, enter legendary college football coach Barry Switzer who, while inside Trump Tower in New York a few weeks ago, told reporters that he had a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump. The story, picked up by ESPN, reported it with the headline: “Barry Switzer Makes Case To Donald Trump For ‘Secretary of Offense.’”
— Barry Switzer (@Barry_Switzer) December 7, 2016
The only one problem with this is that Switzer never had a meeting with Trump.
According to Pro Football Talk, “Switzer told Politico that in reality he was simply getting coffee in Trump Tower while traveling to New York, and when reporters spotted him and asked him what he was doing, he joked that he was meeting with the next president. Reporters believed him.”
Switzer told Politico, “All the media people said, ‘Coach what are you doing here,’” I told them I was here to see the president like everyone else. . . . I told the reporters I had a great visit, and that we were going to make the wishbone great again. I told them I was going to be Secretary of Offense and that Trump knew how to run the ball down the field. Then I went back to my hotel and laughed my ass off. It went everywhere. Everyone believed it. I had all these calls, but I was just jerking people around.”
I must say, “Secretary of Offense” does sound like a really cool and much needed cabinet position. However, there are at least two unbelievable things about this. First, how in the world could the media take Switzer seriously about this? He’s “going to be the Secretary of Offense,” while making the “wishbone great again?” A hilarious line from Switzer, don’t misunderstand, but they ran with that?
Secondly, what happened to the “if your mother tells you she loves you, check it out” school of journalism? Why didn’t they call the Trump people to confirm whether or not this meeting had happened? If people can just walk up to reporters and say things, and then have them reported all over the internet, why would anyone need to go to journalism school?
The mainstream media claims to have a high level of concern over “fake news.” If so, they might want to stop creating it.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn