Home / Politics / USA Today had one job after publishing Trump's lies—owning up to it. It failed

USA Today had one job after publishing Trump's lies—owning up to it. It failed

TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump listens to a speaker during a Greek Independence Day celebration in the East Room of the White House on March 24, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN        (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

USA Today had one job on Thursday, after giving its op-ed page Wednesday over to the occupier of the Oval Office. The one job was to acknowledge that it was a pack of lies. USA Today failed.

As the Washington Post’s fact-checker Glenn Kessler wrote “almost every sentence contained a misleading statement or a falsehood. Many of these are claims we have already debunked.” The paper acknowledged in series of tweets that it had created a massive controversy by printing Trump’s disinformation, but insisted Trump’s “op-ed was treated like other column submissions; we check factual assertions while allowing authors wide leeway to express their opinions,” and that “Readers are invited to submit opposing viewpoints and provide additional context.”

Which readers did, including Topher Spiro, the vice president for Health Policy at the Center for American Progress. He wrote that “President Donald Trump’s column attacking “Medicare for All” was filled with falsehoods to distract voters from the truth: He and his party are on a wildly unpopular mission to gut Medicare and protections for pre-existing conditions,” and proceeded to debunk—again—Trump’s lies.

Which is all well and good, but if anything, printing this rebuttal piece actually makes it seem like there’s a legitimate “debate” to be had. On the one hand, Trump gets to say “The Democrats want to outlaw private health care plans, taking away freedom to choose plans while letting anyone cross our border” and want to turn America into Venezuela and on the other reality. Without acknowledging that the former is batshit insane and full of lies.

There’s no attempt at all by USA Today to acknowledge that they did not fact check Trump’s dreck and published it as if it was a normal op-ed by a normal president, not a screed by a hyper-partisan pathological liar. And that’s a problem.

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