Facebook announced last week that the social media company would be teaming up with sources such as ABC News, Politifact, and Snopes to identify and eradicate “fake news” across Facebook. But each of the sources vetting the so called “fake news” have a track record of partisan politics, regularly pushing a left-leaning bias to their viewers.
ABC News has a long history of false reporting, lying, and even entirely fabricating stories. Here are six of ABC’s most blatant acts of “fake news” that demonstrate why appointing this news network as the arbiter of truth is far from a good idea.
1: In one of the most blatant acts of dishonesty and manipulation, ABC News set up a fake police crime scene in order to fool their viewers into believing that ABC reporters were actually at a the site of a kidnapping in Woodruff, South Carolina. The news segment appeared on Good Morning America and featured ABC reporter Lindsey Davis standing in front of what appeared to viewers to be a police crime scene cordon with a bright yellow strip of tape that read “SHERIFF’S LINE DO NOT CROSS.”
In reality, ABC producers had strung the tape between two tripods behind the reporter in order to give the illusion that she was present at the crime scene. CNNMoney initially reported on the story. saying, “Sources with knowledge of the matter say the tape was placed there by ABC News.”
2: Another segment featured ABC reporter John Quinones going undercover, pretending to be arrested by a police officer in an attempt to prove a point about a newly passed Arizona law that would allow police to investigate people that they suspected to reside in the US illegally. However, no such law in Arizona gives police officers the right to arrest or search anyone simply because of the colour of their skin. ABC purposefully misrepresented the law in an attempt to create controversy. The episode of ABC’s very own reality TV show, What Would You Do, can be watched here.
3: In 2009 ABC ran a climate change news special called Earth 2100. This piece of supposedly undeniable scientific evidence and thorough research claimed that by 2015 we’d be paying $9 per gallon for gasoline, that milk would cost $13 a gallon, and that many other parts of the US would be under water thanks to what ABC called “settled science.” Proof that these predictions are entirely untrue is quite evident. However ABC had no issue with pushing the fear mongering angle on this story, even claiming that we may be “living in the last century of our civilization.”
4: In 2012 ABC investigative correspondent Brian Ross implied that James Holmes, the gunman behind the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, was a member of the political group known as the Tea Party. Ross’s entire basis for this claim was simply that a man named Jim Holmes was listed on a single web page as a member of Colorado Tea Party Patriots. It seems that Ross did not further investigate the identity of the man, or if he did he never publicly announced it, instead he reported the fact to ABC host George Stephanopoulos who referred to it as “significant.”
It of course transpired that Jim Holmes was not the gunman behind the Aurora shootings but simply had a similar name, and Ross’s reporting was seen as a blatant smear attempt on the Tea Party, which he later apologised for.
5: ABC host George Stephanopoulos also has a long history as serving the Democratic party as a political advisor and even served as White House Communications Director under the Bill Clinton administration. He is also a prominent donator to the Clinton Foundation, something which he failed to disclose to ABC News before conducting a hostile interview with Clinton Cash author and Breitbart Editor at Large Peter Schweizer. Stephanopoulos apologized following the revelation and recused himself from moderating the February 2015 Republican primary debate as a result, but ABC took no disciplinary action in response to the violation of journalistic standards.
6: In another example of complete misrepresentation and a subsequent about face, ABC News reported that George Zimmerman had received no injuries on the back of his head the night that Trayvon Martin died, contradicting Zimmerman’s own claims. To prove this, ABC provided a video of Zimmerman being arrested and stated that the video “shows no blood or bruises on George Zimmerman.” Just two days later, MSNBC ran a story contradicting ABC News’ version of events with a higher quality version of the video footage where blood and scratch marks were visible on Zimmerman’s head. Five days after their initial report, ABC ran another story claiming that they had “digitally enhanced” the footage and were now able to see the visible marks on Zimmerman’s head. ABC admitted no fault on their part in the initial reporting on Zimmerman’s injuries.
Facebook will be testing and rolling out their fake news updates in the coming weeks.