Donald Trump complains incessantly about "fake news" -- on Twitter, the president nearly always
puts the phrase in all caps -- which is ironic given his fondness for helping disseminate news that isn't true. BuzzFeed had this report
over the weekend:
President Donald Trump on Thursday posted to his official Facebook page a news report that erroneously claimed Kuwait had followed his recent immigration order by implementing a visa ban on several Muslim-majority nations.The story from Jordanian outlet Al Bawaba claimed "Syrians, Iraqis, Iranians, Pakistanis and Afghans will not be able to obtain visit, tourism or trade Kuwaiti visas with the news coming one day after the US slapped its own restrictions on seven Muslim-majority countries."
The story out of Jordan said Kuwait had "mirrored" the Trump administration's controversial executive order. On his Facebook post, which was shared more than 65,000 times, the American described the country's purported ban as "smart."The trouble, of course, is that the Kuwaiti policy doesn't appear to exist. Reuters reported
...Kuwait's foreign ministry refuted the report, which was widely picked up by news websites popular with Trump supporters including Breitbart, Infowars and Sputnik.Kuwait "categorically denies these claims and affirms that these reported nationalities ... have big communities in Kuwait and enjoy full rights," a ministry spokesman was quoted as saying on state news agency KUNA on Friday. Citizens of the countries mentioned visit Kuwait regularly, it added.... Pakistan ambassador to Kuwait Ghulam Dastagir also told Pakistani television station Geo News the latest reports were "baseless."
To be sure, plenty of people have made mistakes like these. Folks see a report via social media, they don't pay too much attention to the source or its credibility, and they eagerly share content that reinforces their preconceived ideas and worldview.The difference is, this isn't the kind of mistake a Leader of the Free World is supposed to make. When your weird uncle does it on Facebook, it's annoying. When a president of the United States does the same thing, there are real-world consequences.President Obama patiently tried to explain to Trump ahead of Inauguration Day that what a president says and does matters, so the person behind the desk in the Oval Office has to exercise caution and discretion. It's a lesson that Trump, desperate to find something he can use to defend a failing policy, chose to ignore.