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Washington Post Correction Triggers Furious Debate About Whether False Report Influenced Georgia Senate Race
BY CHRISTINA ZHAO ON 3/15/21 AT 6:06 PM EDT

The Washington Post's correction to a January report about a phone call between former President Donald Trump and Georgia's top elections investigator has sparked a furious debate online about whether the false information influenced the outcome of the state's Senate runoff elections.

The Post's original story, released just days before the January 5 runoffs, reported that Trump told the chief investigator of the Georgia Secretary of State's office during a call to "find the fraud" and that she would be "a national hero" if she did so. On Thursday, the newspaper released a 129-word correction to the story after the Wall Street Journal released a recording of the December call.

"Two months after publication of this story, the Georgia secretary of state released an audio recording of President Donald Trump's December phone call with the state's top elections investigator. The recording revealed that The Postmisquoted Trump's comments on the call, based on information provided by a source," the correction read.

Trump did not tell the investigator to 'find the fraud' or say she would be 'a national hero' if she did so. Instead, Trump urged the investigator to scrutinize ballots in Fulton County, Ga., asserting she would find 'dishonesty' there. He also told her that she had 'the most important job in the country right now.'"

Georgia Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock won the Senate runoff elections, securing the party control of the chamber and delivering a final rebuke of Trump in his final days in office.

With the Post's misquotes confirmed, and a flow of corrections from other outlets that covered the original report, including Newsweek, some conservatives have taken to Twitter to insist that the false report had impacted the Senate runoffs. Meanwhile, voters from the other side of the political aisle have argued that the correction does not exonerate Trump.

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Conservative activist Jack Posobiec tweeted, "The Washington Post made sure not to issue their correction until well after the Senate changed hands thanks to Georgia."

Bezos WaPo domestically interfered in January GA Senate election," tweeted Republican strategist Blair Brandt.


"WaPo and the rest of the criminal lying media dropped this completely bullshit story right before the Georgia Senate runoff election. They deliberately fed the public disinformation to try to throw the election to Democrats. And it worked. The media is the enemy of the people," user @angusparvo tweeted.


User @jdskyles tweeted, "How much did this claim effect [sic] turnout in the Georgia Special Senatorial Elections? This cost Republicans the Senate. WaPo is guilty of Journalistic Malpractice and influencing an election with falsehoods."


Elizabeth Spiers, the founding editor of Gawker, tweeted, "Right wing media is trying to pretend that the WaPo correction exculpates Trump, so here's a conservative noting the very obvious reason that it does not." Spiers included a retweet of remarks shared by conservative ex-Congressman Joe Walsh, which read, "Bad on the WaPo, good on the correction, but the point is this: THERE NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN A CALL TO BEGIN WITH."

“Uhm, the correction doesn't absolve Trump. It's also not the only imperfect recorded call he made around that time to 'find' votes. Donny believes in miracles: he expected Covid to just disappear & votes for him to suddenly appear," tweeted user @wilescape.
 

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