FACT CHECK: Did Ivanka Trump Say She Would Mace Her Father? (VIDEO)
Ivanka Trump is in the news. Again
So what is the statement?
“If he wasn’t my father, I would spray him with Mace,” in reference to dad Donald Trump’s now-famous remark that if Ivanka wasn’t his daughter, he’d date her.
Which he said on The View:
So why is this statement that’s been attributed to Ivanka Trump controversial? Because she never said it. But even so, several reputable sites swallowed this fake news hook, line and sinker.
So how did this fake story get started?
Never saw much reporting on Ivanka's response to Trump saying he wanted to date her: "If he wasn't my father, I would spray him with Mace." pic.twitter.com/RVlP4DdIc1
— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) November 24, 2016
The quote was such a hot one that lots of sites just couldn’t resist running with it. The story was on our radar, too, but around here we try to double-check things. Mediaite went with it as did Esquire. Boy would I be embarrassed if I fell for that sort of thing – and yet it can be hard to avoid.
Kendzior apparently discovered the alleged quote in the Quotables section of the Chicago Tribune. The screenshot she shared was authentic, having been published in the newspaper in August 2006.
So where’d it come from?
Snopes did a bit of digging.
“The earliest version of this quote we could uncover was published on 17 March 2006, in the ‘News For Dumb Guys’ section — a weekly feature in Louisiana’s Shreveport Times — where it was attributed to comedian Conan O’Brien,” who joked:
“While appearing on The View, Donald Trump said if his 25-year-old daughter Ivanka wasn’t his child, he would date her. Meanwhile, Ivanka said if Donald Trump wasn’t her father, she would mace him.”
Snopes reported it isn’t clear if this is indeed a real quote from O’Brien (it has yet to find video of the joke) many of the quotes on the “Dumb Guys” page were correctly attributed to comedians. And it means the “Mace” quote definitely didn’t come from Ivanka Trump.
During the 2016 election, news stories proliferated. Many were poorly reported, misleading or just plain made up. Facebook users discovered the pope endorsed Donald Trump (um, no, he didn’t), a Democratic operative was murdered after agreeing to testify against Hillary Clinton (nope), Bill Clinton raped a 13-year-old girl (also nope) and a plethora of other completely false “news” stories.
But what’s really happened is that the internet has shattered the traditional distinction between good, old-fashioned sweat-of-your-brow professional news-gathering and amateur rumor-mongering a la The Weekly World News. Which, by the way, runs articles like:
- U.S. Confirms Existence of Mermaids
- Learn To Read Minds in 10 Minutes
- How To Sell Your Soul To The Devil
And after all, The Weekly World News is “The World’s Only Reliable News.” Or so it says.
So now we have venerable news sites like the New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times competing with Bat Boy. Sites that trip people up, like say, the Denver Guardian, which is designed to look like a real newspaper, but is fake-fake fakity-fake, now reach wide audiences as easily as authentic newspapers like the Denver Post, the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle.
And since the election, a fiery debate has raged over whether the deluge of fake news — much of it aimed at Hillary Clinton — could have resulted in Trump winning. Social media giants are now receiving plenty of heat over this to find ways to combat this problem.
Earlier this month, Google announced plans to cut fake news sites off from access to its lucrative advertising network, thus depriving them of a crucial source of revenue. And Facebook is doing the same thing with its own ad network.
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And if there’s one thing that’s clear, it’s that this issue is going to grow larger over time. People are increasingly getting the bulk of their news over the internet, giving social media giants like Google, Twitter and Facebook more and more power. But along with that power comes increased pressure to use it wisely.
I believe this may well be a good thing, because sites that are reputable will continue to put out the informative stories that so many of us have come to depend on while those that would lie will wither and die without their life support. At least I’m hopeful this will happen, anyway.
But perhaps what’s most important is that writers and editors will hone their fact-checking skills. And that’s never bad news.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
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