When you see a tweet, the first thing any writer should do is verify that it’s not a fake. Except at Mediaite. Consider Ken Meyer:
O’Reilly on Trump’s Cancelled Rally: ‘A Sign of What’s to Come’ Under President Sanders
Meyer offers a “screengrab” that isn’t even a screengrab; it’s just indented text:
BREAKING: Bernie supporters shut down free speech, a sign of what’s to come under a socialist government. #TrumpRally
— Bill O’Reilly (@oreilIyfactor) March 12, 2016
From the get-go this should raise red flags. Bill O’Reilly doesn’t sign his name to tweets. He uses BO’R. And sure enough, when you look closely at the account Ken Meyer is citing, you’ll note that the second “l” is actually a capital “I”. It’s a hoax account.
Meyer’s post was up long enough to acquire a hundred comments, many of them pointing out the obvious forgery, yet it was still there for over an hour. Just as we were about to publish, the article vanished; perhaps someone finally read our tweet:
There is now no sign of Ken Meyer’s post ever having been there, let alone any acknowledgement of the error. But on the internet, it’s not so easy to bury your mistakes.
Ken Meyer did no verification, not even the rudimentary step of looking at O’Reilly’s twitter account to see if the tweet is there. Instead he served up smart cracks about O’Reilly taking a “pot shot” and hit “publish” without even a smidgen of fact checking. And he’s given Mediaite one big, fat black eye.