Washington Post makes ‘smiles’ controversial to smear Donald Trump Jr. with misleading headline

The Washington Post pulled back after publishing a misleading headline on Wednesday when it took a quote by Donald Trump Jr. out of context in an apparent attempt to smear the president’s oldest son.

The Post headlined a story, “Donald Trump Jr. says he likes India’s poor people because they ‘smile,’” but that is not what he actually said while praising the attitude of India’s residents. 

Trump Jr.’s actual quote, which is the second paragraph of the misleading story, is not as polarizing, click-worthy or smearing toward the Trump family.

“I don't want to be glib, but you can see the poorest of the poor and there is still a smile on a face,” Trump said in an interview with CNBC that the Post picked up. “It is a different spirit than that which you see in other parts of the world, and I think there is something unique about that.”

The Post attempted to portray Trump Jr. as a xenophobic villain, but he was actually discussing the spirit of Indian people in a constructive manner. In fact, the Post didn’t use Trump Jr.’s entire quote, as the full conversation reveals that he was actually complimenting Indian people for their unique positive outlook on life.

The Post changed the story headline to read: "Donald Trump Jr. says he admires India’s poor people because of their spirit and smiles" after Fox News inquired about the original version.

"The headline on this post has been changed to more accurately describe Donald Trump Jr.'s comments," a Post spokeswoman said in an email to Fox News.

Media Research Center Vice President Dan Gainor called the Post a “garbage” organization when shown the original headline by Fox News.

“I remember when The Washington Post wasn't a clickbait site, he said. “The news media so hate the Trumps that even smiles have become controversial. Is use of the many smile emojis going to get counted as Russian propaganda, too?”

The language through the Post’s story paints Trump Jr. in a negative light. He was in India to promote a business project, but the paper made sure to mention that he “was born and raised in Manhattan and attended prep schools before graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, joining his father’s real estate business and appearing on his television program ‘The Apprentice.’”

The story also points out months-old news of Trump Jr.’s meeting with “a group of Russians in 2016” and notes that he traveled to India on “his family’s private jet” for “a week of schmoozing.”

“Remember, this is only 2018. Imagine how bad Marty Baron's Post will be in 2020. He'll have his reporters writing controversy stories about the breakfast cereals the Trumps eat,” Gainor said.

The Washington Post did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.