Newsweek has set a new low in journalistic integrity, publishing a piece on Tuesday connecting President Donald Trump and recently deceased cult leader Charles Manson. The backlash was so immediate, however, that Newsweek suddenly discovered their “journalistic standards” after the outrage.
The article, written by Melissa Mathews on Monday (20th), was originally titled “How Murderer Charles Manson and Donald Trump Used Language to Gain Followers.” Mathews did everything she could to draw a line between Trump and Manson in style and substance, even when the experts she cited said the exact opposite.
The implication, of course, is that both appealed to the darkest side of human beings to push them to do terrible things. It required some journalistic gymnastics and rhetorical gobbledygook, but Newsweek somehow deemed it worthy of publication, even when her premise was undermined by psychologists she quoted. From the original article, via the Daily Wire:
“A charismatic leader knows how to speak to people in a way that will emotionally engage those people,” Smaller told Newsweek.
Smaller is clear that he does not believe President Donald Trump is similar to the convicted killer, or that their followers have any shared beliefs or characteristics, but he did say we can look to the current president to see how language is used to form a bond with followers.
“Our current president speaks in an emotional or affective way to large numbers of people in our country who feel a kind of alienation or disconnection from the government,” he said. “They feel very responded to and become his political base.”
Here is the tweet from Newsweek promoting the article.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) November 21, 2017
After the outrage, Newsweek totally revamped the story, removing any reference to Trump and making it a sole piece about Manson. It included the following message at the end: “An earlier version of this story did not meet Newsweek’s editorial standards and has been revised accordingly.”
Charles Manson died on Sunday due to natural causes, according to the California Department of Corrections. He was 83.
Twitter users reacted swiftly, criticizing the outlet for comparing the president to the cult leader and mass murderer.
Mathews has yet to comment on the hit piece.
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