Why is ABC News helping the White House lie?

Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

Earlier this week, news broke of the arrest of Christopher Paul Hasson, a Coast Guard officer and self-described white nationalist whom prosecutors have termed a “domestic terrorist” and who had accumulated an arsenal he allegedly planned to use to murder prominent Democratic lawmakers and CNN and MSNBC hosts.

On Thursday morning, a reporter asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders whether President Donald Trump had any intention of toning down his regular attacks on the press in light of Hasson’s arrest and if she thought his rhetoric contributed to extremists hatching such plots.

In response, Sanders lied, saying that Trump hasn't “at any point” done anything “but condemn violence, against journalists or anyone else.” ABC News rushed to tweet out Sanders’ comment without fact-checking it.

ABC News’ reporters know that what Sanders said isn’t true. In October, after the president publicly praised a sitting U.S. congressman for body-slamming a reporter, ABC published a lengthy report detailing cases in which Trump “appears to encourage or support violence.” The article contrasted those examples with a similarly false blanket denial from Sanders that the president had “ever promoted or encouraged violence.”

The Twitter accounts of major publications keep tweeting out false claims from Trump and members of his administration who lie all the time. There's no reason or excuse for the outlets to do this, and they should stop.