Not fake - just wrong

I won’t be surprised to see a complaint by the new President that reports of his administration removing LGBTQ, climate change, and other pages and content from the White House website constitutes “fake news.” It wasn’t fake – it was just wrong, at least as reported on People.com.

Another article, on the Advocate website, didn’t report the erroneous allegation that the Trump administration or transition team took the pages and references down.

It just didn’t report that, in the normal scheme of things, the orderly transfer of power to the new administration includes archiving the White House website under the departing president and, simultaneously, launching a new version produced by the incoming head of state.

Obama’s archived website:

          

 

Trump’s transition website:

 

The Advocate article reported on alarm in the LGBTQ community over disappearance of pages on whitehouse.gov reporting on gay rights, as well as other subjects that were Obama administration priorities, including climate change and civil rights. It may have been accurate as reported, but it wasn’t complete.

The Advocate’s failure to include a nut graph on the way things generally work when one president departs and another one is sworn in leaves the story without context – and misses an opportunity to give readers a more accurate picture of what happened. The transition version of whitehouse.gov launched at noon on Inauguration Day had no pages other than the splash inviting people to sign up for email updates. Reporting that fact would have been a good story on its own, but it would have taken away the hook for the story the Advocate ended up telling.

It’s no surprise that gay rights, climate change, or civil rights (among other topics) aren’t a priority for the Trump administration – any expectation that these issues would continue to have prominence on the White House website after Obama left was misguided. But telling the story and not giving context needed to paint an accurate picture adds fuel to an already hot fire around “the media” and how we cover the new administration.

We need to be more careful. We need to do better work.

Just sayin’ …