An NBC reporter tweeted this earlier today about Justice Kennedy and Judge Kavanaugh:
That got a lot of attention. In fact you can see the tweet has over 15k shares and almost as many likes.
But it turns out not to be true! Geoff Bennett attributed it to Leigh Ann Caldwell, who also works as a reporter for NBC News. She had to retract it over four hours later:
I’ve deleted this tweet because it incorrectly implies a transactional nature in Kennedy’s replacement. I am told by a source who was not directly part of the talks that Kennedy provided Pres. Trump/ WH a list of acceptable replacements. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/ptxJmrbH9S— Leigh Ann Caldwell (@LACaldwellDC) July 10, 2018
Kavanaugh was the only one who was thought conservative enough to consider, I’m told. They added Kavanaugh – and 4 other names - to the public Federalist list that Trump would choose from in November. We are continuing to report this story. (2/2)— Leigh Ann Caldwell (@LACaldwellDC) July 10, 2018
So it went from Kennedy was in direct negotiations with Trump to Kavanaugh was just one name on a list of recommendations from Kennedy.
Geoff Bennett, whose original tweet got so many shares, did put out a correction – twice:
As you can see, both of these tweets have gotten far fewer engagements than the original tweet. But that’s to be expected on corrections. The problem is they ran with with controversial unvetted information before they knew if wasn’t true.
I know these media outlets can’t be perfect all the time, but to suggest that an active Supreme Court justice was so invested in one person that he was in negotiations with the Trump administration to get that specific replacement before he retired – well that should have given them at least SOME pause.
So why hasn’t Bennett deleted his original fake news tweet? I give him credit for making the correction twice, but even so, he should probably delete it as it is still getting retweeted a bunch!