Senator John Fetterman (D–PA) is in hot water after a major journalism scandal erupted this week. During a hearing on Wednesday, Washington Post reporter Jeff Stein attempted to make Fetterman sound more coherent than he actually was by fabricating a quote.
Well he deleted the tweet. So here’s the screenshot pic.twitter.com/WTeQo8aIq4
— Andrew Wimsatt 🖐 (@ajwimsatt) May 17, 2023
The original tweet that included the fabricated quote was eventually deleted after Stein was ratioed so badly, but what he wrote was truly appalling. Stein tried to pass off a quote that was nearly out of whole cloth as something Fetterman actually said, and he even went so far as to transplant an earlier mention of Republicans to try to make him sound more coherent.
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This is the most painful 90 seconds you will watch all month.
“That’s like if you have I mean like, eh eh and and they also realize is that that that now they have, it’s in they… pic.twitter.com/lgy7UTNipc
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) May 16, 2023
“What kind of journalism is that?” many people have asked online. “Making up quotes to protect a politician? I’d expect that kind of thing from the White House, but the Post is supposed to have basic standards. Is Jeff Stein a reporter or a political operative?”
While the scandal has been met with widespread criticism from both sides of the political aisle, some have tried to downplay the incident by claiming that Fetterman is still recovering from a massive stroke he suffered in 2022. However, this misses the point entirely. It doesn’t matter if Fetterman is recovering from a stroke or not; what matters is that Stein fabricated a quote and tried to pass it off as Fetterman’s actual words.
The Washington Post has yet to comment on the incident, but many people are calling for Stein to be fired or at least suspended. After all, if journalists can’t be trusted to accurately quote politicians, then what is the point of them even being in the profession?
At the same time, it’s also important to note that this isn’t just about one reporter. This is about the mainstream media as a whole and how they are often more concerned with protecting politicians than they are with reporting the truth. This scandal should serve as a wakeup call to all journalists that they need to be more careful in their reporting. Otherwise, they risk losing the public’s trust and credibility.