In a rare turn of events, a major media outlet has apologized after publishing a false claim against a right-wing commentator. In other news, if anyone’s checked the temperature in hell today, it might be time to take that ski trip - just watch the sky for flying pigs first.
The Sacramento Bee issued a correction and an apology after publishing an article accusing commentator Charlie Kirk of publicly calling for the “lynching” of transgender people. There was just one problem - Kirk, who leads the nationwide group Turning Point USA, did no such thing.
In the original article, SacBee writer Hannah Holzer openly labeled Kirk "another fascist” ahead of his speech at UC Davis on Tuesday, calling the TPS founder a “vocal transphobe and Donald Trump fanatic” who once “suggested transgender people, who he has referred to as ‘garbage,’ ought to be lynched.”
As her proof, Holzer pointed to a soundbite clipped from a previous event in which Kirk, in discussing biological men invading the locker rooms and personal spaces of women, suggested that "someone should have took care of it the way we used to take care of things in the 1950s and 60s."
But in the world of social media clips and viral videos, context is king - a little journalistic detail Holzer here should remember.
In his challenge to the Sacramento Bee’s allegations, Kirk pointed out that the lifted clip was taken from his discussion with female college swimmer Riley Gaines, who had claimed that trans swimmer Lia Thomas (a man allowed to handily trounce his female competitors in the pool) had exposed his male genitalia in front of women in the locker room, despite him supposedly identifying as a woman.
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Kirk added that his comments, when put into context, were simply suggesting that ”local law enforcement would have interceded" if a man had exposed himself to women in a women’s locker room back in the 1950s.
Oh - and then he threatened to sue.
In the face of a potential defamation lawsuit, the Sacramento Bee scrubbed their article of the claim and issued a public apology for the error.
"Some trans advocates on social media extrapolated from Kirk’s comments that he called for trans people to be lynched - an accusation The Bee repeated," the Bee continued. "But a review of the video shows that Kirk never advocated for trans people to be lynched. In fact, he strongly denies the accusation. These notes have been added to the column. The Bee regrets its comments and we apologize for any misunderstanding this earlier version may have caused."
The updated version of the article also removed the label “fascist” from Kirk’s description, instead calling him “another far-right speaker.”