President Donald Trump slammed a New York University professor who regularly appears on cable news for brazenly making up a fake quote and attributing it to the president, leading dozens of people involved in the media to share it.
Ian Bremmer, a political scientist and Time columnist who is openly anti-Trump, posted the fake quote on his Twitter account, which has over 425,000 followers.
“President Trump in Tokyo: ‘Kim Jong Un is smarter and would make a better president than Sleepy Joe Biden,'” Bremmer wrote in a missive.
Some users immediately questioned the accuracy of the quote, including Washington Examiner reporter Jerry Dunleavy. “What is the source of this quote and does video exist?” he wondered.
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) May 26, 2019
After criticism from users for brazenly making up a quote and attributing it to Trump, Bremmer got defensive. “It’s plausible,” he told one user. Asked why he didn’t clarify it was fake, he added, “Because it’s a comment on the state of media and the twitterverse today.”
“UPDATE: It’s objectively a completely ludicrous quote. And yet kind [of] plausible. Especially on twitter, where people automatically support whatever political position they have,” he later said.
Dozens of media employees and liberal politicians shared the fake quote, including U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Los Angeles Times columnist David Lazarus, and Quartz editor Mike Murphy.
Former CIA operative Emily Brandwin, Virginia Senate candidate Qasim Rashid, Wall Street Journal writer Farnaz Fasshihi, former Hillary Clinton senior adviser Zac Petkanas, NPR correspondent Pam Fessler, and CNN analyst Ana Navarro-Cárdenas were also among those duped by the fake quote, as seen in a compilation thread by independent journalist Nick Monroe.
— Nick Monroe (@nickmon1112) May 26, 2019
He murders his own people. Not to mention an American student. https://t.co/uajdRNYYrN
— pam fessler (@pamelafessler) May 26, 2019
Few users apologized for spreading the fake quote. Fasshihi, for instance, admitted that Bremmer “tweeted incorrectly” but did not apologize for sharing fake news, while Murphy wrote “o [sic] apparently this was fake,” with no apology.
Many deleted their tweets but Fessler, the NPR reporter, had not deleted her tweet as of Monday morning.
Trump took to Twitter early Monday decrying Bremmer’s actions.
“Ian Bremmer now admits that he MADE UP ‘a completely ludicrous quote,’ attributing it to me. This is what’s going on in the age of Fake News,” he wrote.
.@ianbremmer now admits that he MADE UP “a completely ludicrous quote,” attributing it to me. This is what’s going on in the age of Fake News. People think they can say anything and get away with it. Really, the libel laws should be changed to hold Fake News Media accountable!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2019
“People think they can say anything and get away with it. Really, the libel laws should be changed to hold Fake News Media accountable!” he added.
Bremmer declined to take responsibility or apologize for making up the quote despite heavy criticism. Neither New York University nor Time magazine has responded to the situation.
The media personality, whose Twitter feed is virulently anti-Trump, deleted all of his tweets about the situation, including those that confirmed it was fake.
As always, I’m blown away by what journalists will permit themselves on Twitter. Any reporter could’ve checked WH pool reports and seen quote’s not there. Did they think the pooler would’ve left that out? Why would she do that? Or did they not bother checking at all? https://t.co/WQeX7kvz85
— Omri Ceren (@omriceren) May 26, 2019
People also wondered how so many journalists could have fallen for the fake quote.
“As always, I’m blown away by what journalists will permit themselves on Twitter,” said Omri Ceren, national security adviser to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
“Any reporter could’ve checked WH pool reports and seen quote’s not there. Did they think the pooler would’ve left that out? Why would she do that? Or did they not bother checking at all?”