Some mainstream media stand by Trump 'animals' comment stories, despite other organizations' corrections

Several news organizations have refused to correct wildly misleading reports that took a comment made by President Trump out of context, even after other organizations such as the Associated Press have issued corrections.  

Earlier this week President Trump referred to dangerous MS-13 gang members as “animals,” but several media organizations conveniently took his comments made it appear that he was talking about illegal immigrants. 

The Associated Press, New York TimesWashington Post, ABC NewsNBC NewsCBS News and CNN all published misleading pieces of content that failed to mention Trump was speaking about MS-13.

The AP issued a tweet correcting its error, and CNN also clarified its initial report. The other news organizations? Not so much.

CBS declined to comment, while NBC did not respond when asked if they would follow the AP’s lead. ABC has also not clarified its tweet that claimed Trump referred to “some who cross the border illegally as ‘animal.’”

The Times did acknowledge the situation, posting the full video and noting, “Several reporters and news outlets, including The New York Times, posted the remarks on Twitter, noting that they had been made about unauthorized immigrants, but without saying that the president had specifically referred to MS-13.”  But star New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman defended publications who took the president out of context.

“Most people if they were actually being taken out of context would find a different way of saying things after the first 100 times, particularly when they are president,” Haberman wrote. “So it’s a bit clever to do ‘boy the media botched this again!’”

The Washington Post is firmly standing by its reporting. When reached by Fox News, a spokesperson pointed out that the Post’s article states Trump was talking about “deporting those here illegally who commit violent crimes,” although the paper’s story makes no mention of the ruthless gang that Trump was actually talking about.

Trump was asked about the gang by Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims when addressing California sanctuary city laws. Mims specifically said, “There could be an MS-13 gang member I know about, if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about them.”

The president responded, “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.”

MS-13 doesn’t simply commit “violent crimes” as the Post suggested, the group commits some of the most vicious, merciless crimes imaginable.

MS-13, who motto is literally “rape, control kill,” has, among countless other crimes, beaten four young men to death with wooden clubs and butchered their bodies with machetes. “Video of the mutilated bodies was sent to a girlfriend of one of the victims,” CNN reported in 2017.

The group is also responsible for stabbing a man over 100 times, cutting off his head and then ripping out his heart, as reported by the Washington Post in 2017. 

“The victim had been stabbed over one-hundred times, decapitated, dismembered, and his heart had been excised from his chest and thrown into the grave,” detectives wrote in court documents, according to the paper that didn’t mention Trump was referring to the gang when he made the “animals” remarks.

Back in 2015, the Post reported that MS-13 killed five people in the area, one of them was pummeled with rocks after being fatally stabbed.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders stood by President Trump’s comments on Thursday, saying the term “animal” isn’t harsh enough to describe the dangerous gang members.

Trump even defended the rhetoric himself during remarks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House shortly after Sanders’ briefing.

“I am referring to the MS-13 gangs coming in. I was talking about MS-13. If you look further in the tape, you'll see that. I'm surprised you're asking the question because most people got it right,” Trump said. “MS-13, they're animals, we're getting them out.”

On Friday, after the AP and CNN clarified their reports and Trump himself explained that he was referring to the violent gang, Rolling Stone magazine published a story headlined, “They Are All MS-13 to Trump: The truth about the animals and the dog-whistles”

“Whomever President Trump was speaking about on Wednesday, they began the paragraph as human beings,” the magazine wrote. “The central debate about whom Trump was truly describing was largely pointless. Whether or not he was referring directly to MS-13 with the word ‘animals,’ as he and his defenders insist – or to undocumented immigrants generally, using the gang as a placeholder – is beside the point.”

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