In a misleading headline published Tuesday, Newsweek falsely attributed the decision to remove the historic Jackson Magnolia tree from the White House grounds to First Lady Melania Trump but failed to mention that experts had recommended the removal of the tree because it had become a hazard.
“Melania Trump orders removal of the near-200-year-old tree from the White House,” Newsweek tweeted from its verified Twitter account. The outlet also used the same headline for its news story that erroneously villainized the first lady.
On Tuesday, Melania Trump did make the decision to have the historic tree removed after specialists determined that “the overall architecture and structure of the tree is greatly compromised,” according to CNN.
The specialists also determined the tree, which has long been supported by poles and wires, to be a danger to anyone standing near it.
Stephanie Grisham, communications director for Melania Trump, told Fox News: “Newsweek’s bias and disdain for the first lady and our administration was on full display when they actively chose to use a false headline instead of practicing responsible journalism. This is why Americans’ trust and confidence in mass media continues to fall.”
Also criticizing Newsweek was Media Research Center Vice President Dan Gainor, who contended that the outlet was partaking in the “usual war on Trump” perpetrated by the mainstream media.
“They either find something to attack him on or they just make it up,” Gainor told Fox News. “Remember, Newsweek sold several years ago for $1. It appears the buyers were cheated.”
In a Tuesday tweet, White House Director of Social Media Dan Scavino Jr. called Newsweek’s headline “100% misleading” and added the hashtag, “#FakeNewsweek.”
— Dan Scavino Jr. (@Scavino45) December 26, 2017
Although Newsweek has updated the narrative of its story, the misleading headline remains. The article now cites a report obtained from the United States National Arboretum regarding the condition of the historic tree.
“Without the extensive cabling system, the tree would have fallen years ago. Presently, and very concerning, the cabling system is failing on the east trunk, as a cable has pulled through the very thin layer of wood that remains. It is difficult to predict when and how many more will fail,” the updated story states.
According to Fox News, “[s]ome industry insiders feel that Newsweek deploys over-the-top click bait on purpose in an attempt to gain coverage from media reporters at respectable news organizations. Even left-leaning reporters and news organizations criticized Newsweek for the misleading tweet.”
“Another BS Newsweek tweet,” wrote HuffPost reporter Yashar Ali. “With 280 characters there’s no excuse for this.”
NBC News reporter Tom Winter wrote, “Another Newsweek headline doing nothing for the credibility of the news industry as a whole. This headline is grossly misleading.”
The Jackson Magnolia tree, which was planted in the early 1800s, is scheduled to be removed later this week.
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