The greatest threat to the press’ credibility is the press.
Consider, for example, the extra-absurd and bogus viral narrative created Tuesday by Mic Senior Political Reporter Emily Singer.
Singer found a Getty Images picture from May 2017 showing Trump meeting in the Oval Office with a delegation of Russian officials, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. If you look at the photo carefully, you can see White House National Security Council staffer Cari Lutkins huddled in the back.
This is where things take a turn for the stupid.
On Monday, the Justice Department announced charges against Russian national Maria Butina, who they say conspired against the U.S. as a secret agent.
Butina has red hair. Lutkins also has red hair. This shared trait was enough for Singer, who tweeted the Getty picture Tuesday morning with the accompanying caption: “I thought this was a photoshop, but it's not. This is Maria Butina — arrested for being a Russian spy — in the Oval Office with Trump.”
Her unverified allegation, which was based entirely on the fact that the two women have red hair, was rewarded immediately with more than 1,500 retweets. Politicos and pundits soon jumped on board, eager to share what was clearly not true.
“Lucky for Trump he didn’t accidentally spill any noteworthy intel this time he brought a Russian spy into the Oval Office,” Vox co-founder Matt Yglesias tweeted.
Clinton devotee Peter Daou said elsewhere in a tweet that has been shared by more than 1,200 social media users, “This is truly unbelievable. A photo of #MariaButina, charged Russian spy, in the Oval Office has been making the rounds. Has it been verified?”
Good thing he asked a question. People might get the wrong idea.
“Fortunately, the House Intelligence Committee it's [sic] going to be too busy with Peter Strozk's text messages to his girlfriend to investigate how a Russia spy got into the Oval Office. I feel safer already,” said Republican strategist and CNN and MSNBC regular Rick Wilson.
Columnist Paul Brandus added elsewhe