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Newsweek Was Great Once. Now It’s A Joke.

Trump Houston

I had a subscription to Newsweek when I was a kid. Yeah, I know: total loser. Back then, Newsweek was one of the world’s great publications. Even current Newsweek staffers agree that those days are over.

In it’s current setup, Newsweek has ditched actual journalism in order to become a news aggregator. Their writers pull content from other sources and rewrite it, often times distorting facts in order to draw clicks. It’s nothing more than a clickbait site mostly focusing on Donald Trump.

Want proof? Here are 3 stories where Newsweek distorts reality. And I didn’t have to go searching: all 3 examples are from the last 24 hours.

1. Hillary Can Still Be President

Hillary can still be presidentNewsweek wrote a preposterous story in October 2017 suggesting Hillary still can (and should!) become president.

No, really.

Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig explains what it would take:

  • Trump resigns or is impeached.
  • Pence becomes president. He resigns out of a sense of duty, according to Lessig.
  • Paul Ryan then becomes president. He nominates Hillary as his VP. (This assumes Hillary is confirmed by a republican house and senate. Good luck with that.)
  • Ryan resigns the presidency, making Hillary president.

You gotta jump through a lot of hurdles to get to that finishing move. After Lessig admitted that it would never happen, no credible source would publish his nonsense. So he posted it on Medium (with a 900-word intro to his 800 words of foolishness). CNN found his story and wrote about it.

Worse than that, Newsweek re-wrote the story again today – same story, different writer:

Why would 2 journalists, just 3 months apart, write about the same asinine theory? And the clickbait tweet makes it sound like it’s a serious possibility.


2. Donald Trump Math

This story is my favorite, as it combines both dishonesty and really terrible math. The article takes issue with the following Trump tweet:

Newsweek writer Josh Saul spent 13 paragraphs explaining that Trump is wrong, even quoting the New York Times saying the tweet is a “blend of misleading and false information.”

Unfortunately, what’s misleading and false is Saul’s math:

Newsweek Math

First thing, Josh: 31,000 is not “more than twice as many” as 19,000. Any local 2nd grader could help you with this.

But if we are to believe his numbers, 11% of 31,000 black women and 23% of 19,000 black men approve of Trump. That equals 7,780 approvals (out of 50,000) or 15.6% – double the 8% that exit polls said voted for Trump. Saul curiously disputes Breitbart’s 17% (which was slightly off) but doesn’t provide the real number which would defeat his narrative. A reasonable person would conclude that 15.6% is, in fact, twice as much as 8%.

In the 14th (and last) paragraph, after most people have stopped reading, Saul finally acknowledges that Trump is correct in saying that black unemployment is at it’s lowest level ever.

“Reporting” should be able to hold up under basic scrutiny. Josh Saul and Newsweek failed that test.

3. Trump the Racist

The first sentence of this article sets the tone:

President Donald Trump can’t possibly be a racist because all he cares about is money, his son said on Wednesday.

But is that what Eric Trump said? Here’s the entire quote via the Daily Beast:

“My father sees one color—green. That is all he cares about. He cares about the economy. He does not see race. He is the least racist person I ever met in my entire life.”

So there are 2 problems here: the tweet quotes Eric Trump with words that are not his own. Newsweek simply made it up. And second, once you see his words you realize that the sentiment of the tweet and the story are completely wrong.
In 1998, writer Mike Isikoff had the best story in the history of Newsweek: Bill Clinton had obstructed justice and committed perjury, all stemming from his affair with Monica Lewinsky. But Isikoff’s editors killed the story and Matt Drudge ended up getting the scoop.

Just 20 years later, Newsweek has become the opposite of that serious publication. To stay financially viable, Newsweek has become a content aggregator that spreads factually-dubious stories to their millions of social media followers.

It’s a damn shame.

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