Barack Obama Conspiracy Story On Hawaii Visit Link To Block Of Travel Ban Results In Suspensions
By Shawn Rice
Former President Barack Obama was accused without evidence in a story by Independent Journal Review (IJR) that his trip to Hawaii was connected to a Hawaii federal judge’s order blocking President Donald Trump’s travel ban. However, there was no evidence to support that story, which has since been deleted and resulted in a number of suspensions.
Why should IJR sound familiar? It is the favorite millennial-focused news website of Trump’s because of its conservative bent. Recently, the site received the only media access to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as he traveled to Asia for his first trip there as the nation’s top diplomat.
In the Obama story, IJR’s viral editor, Kyle Becker, published a conspiracy theory that Obama’s visit to Hawaii and a ruling by a federal judge there that blocked Trump’s revised travel ban would linked. Reporters took notice and ridiculed the baseless report on social media. Subsequently, IJR’s congressional reporter, Joe Perticone, resigned. IJR was forced to retract the report. Below is a snapshot of the now deleted story.
— Betsy Woodruff (@woodruffbets) March 16, 2017
— Gabby Morrongiello (@gabriellahope_) March 16, 2017
Alex Skatell, the founder of IJR, told Business Insider in a statement that the incident was under investigation. He said Becker, Johnson, and content editor Becca Lower had been suspended:
“We are committed to an editorial team that includes voices, perspectives and geographies that span the country but equally committed to quality standards in our newsroom. As we’ve grown we’ve sought to improve on that front and last month we launched our six person editorial operations team along with enforcement and review for all editorial content. Last week we got it wrong and ultimately deserve all the criticism if we want to be taken seriously. As a result of last week’s failure Kyle Becker has been suspended indefinitely as well as his supervisor and Chief Content Officer Benny Johnson and the content editor approving the post Becca Lower. We are reviewing all the details to determine if further action is necessary, this ultimately falls on me to get right and we have to do better in the future.”
The Business Insider further reported that there is a concern among IJR’s current and former staffers that IJR is pursuing clicks with their conservative base.
Here are some reactions on social media to the inaccurate IJR story and subsequent actions.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 16, 2017
Looks like IJR is not Independent, doesn’t practice investigative Journalism, and does very little Reviewing. https://t.co/lsmwKlBNpl
— Kristin LeydigBryant (@ClarityatWork) March 21, 2017
If IJR wants to recover, they need to do less clickbait and more journalism. Go to the full article.