CNN pretty much screws Paladino on “Lynch @Loretta Lynch” typo

A screen shot from this morning

A screen shot from this morning

It’s no wonder Carl Paladino supports the candidate for president who wants to do something about the media. The Buffalo businessman last graced the news in April, when he told NPR’s Morning Edition that he and his fellow Trump supporters wanted an exterminator “to get the raccoons out of the basement” of government. I assume he was referring to waste, fraud, and abuse, for which raccoons are notorious, but some reporters thought he meant black people. In defense of this maybe tenuous reading, Paladino does look like the kind of person who refers to black people in code, constantly. But you can understand why he might consider himself the victim of uncharitable reporting. This morning, CNN comes along with this:

A top Donald Trump supporter drew fire Wednesday for a tweet that he says was a “well-intended mistake,” which seemed to call for the lynching of Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The tweet from New York businessman and former gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino said “Lynch @LorettaLynch let the Grand Jury decide,” according to reports and screen grabs on Twitter. The message was replaced with another that simply said “@LorettaLynch let the Grand Jury decide.” Paladino was apparently weighing in on FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that the bureau would recommend no charges in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

This story appeared under the headline Trump supporter tweet appears to call for lynching of Loretta Lynch. Appears to whom? Speaking as a person who has to go back and delete part of every tweet in which I use Twitter’s @ autofill, I did not at first read Paladino’s as advocating the lynching of the Attorney General.

Too bad for him she isn’t named Loretta Fuck. He’d have a less viral scandal on his hands. Paladino told CNN that he had “never personally tweeted,” and that an assistant new to the medium1 “tried to send [the tweet] directly to Loretta Lynch by adding ‘@Loretta Lynch.'” Probably, that same assistant tried to explain to Paladino that using @ to mention Lynch would draw her attention to the tweet but not send it to her directly, but whatever. In order to argue that the “Lynch” immediately preceding @Loretta Lynch is an imperative verb ordering the reader to lynch the attorney general, you have to reconcile it with the second half of the tweet, “let the grand jury decide.”

It’s a particular viewpoint that wants the Attorney General lynched for not indicting Hillary Clinton but also demands due process. I guess that reading makes sense if you assume mad-dog racism. But who does? CNN answers this question not at all in paragraph eight:

But the use of “lynch” in front of the attorney general’s Twitter account handle drew notice. In addition to being interpreted as a call for violence, the charged term had added connotations in relation to Lynch, who is only the second African-American to hold the office of attorney general.

Ah yes: the use of “Lynch”2 drew notice. It was interpreted and had connotations. The absence from these sentences of any person who noticed, interpreted, or reconnoitered is conspicuous. It remains so for the whole article, which does not name anyone who read Paladino’s tweet this way. One begins to suspect the interpreting party is CNN.

I can see how Tal Kopan, whose beat includes “breaking news,” might read Paladino’s tweet and convince herself he really did mean “lynch Loretta Lynch.” What a story! But between malice and incompetence, assume incompetence. Like so much that isn’t news, “older man flubs tweet” seems the more likely story here.

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  1. This is another classic example CNN producing fake news and is why they have shown themselves to be the enemy of American citizens yet again.

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