Robert Gehl writes that nobody jumps to conclusions faster and with flimsier evidence than the mainstream media.
This is really depressing because they’re supposed to be the ones who look at events with a critical eye – not believing the first thing you see.
So when an image emerged of President Donald Trump listening to Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni speaking at the G7 summit without headphones, it was disappointing that the media made the assumption that he simply wasn’t listening.
And it was the heralded BBC no less.
Diplomatic Correspondent James Landale tweeted what he says was a “short clip that sums up this G7 summit,” editorializing with: “Look who has chosen not to hear a translation of his Italian host’s speech.”
— James Landale (@BBCJLandale) May 27, 2017
As the camera panned, Trump appeared to be the only world leader not listening to the translation through headphones.
Then the media went ape. Landale’s tweet was shared thousands of times.
Huffington Post editor Sam Stein snarked: “Trump obviously speaks fluent Italian so there is no need for headphones for translation.”
Trump obviously speaks fluent Italian so there is no need for headphones for translation https://t.co/CTq0N5iJu2
— Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) May 27, 2017
German newspaper Der Spiegel ran a story, too.
One problem: It’s not true. Trump was listening to the speech through an earpiece in his right ear, according to press secretary Sean Spicer. “As usual [President Trump] wears a single ear piece for translation in his right ear,” Spicer said on Twitter.
— Sean Spicer (@PressSec) May 27, 2017
There are even photos of the President with the earpiece in his ear.
— Chad Kimball (@chadkimball1) May 28, 2017
You’d think the media will learn their lesson and not jump to conclusions next time.
Don’t hold your breath.