In just one tweet, ABC News committed journalistic malpractice

It started out as a simple tweet from the ABC News twitter account that read “Peaceful protest followed by Oregon wildlife refuge action”.

Screenshot from 2016-01-03 22-33-39

This seems like pretty harmless stuff, right?  So, why would anyone have a bone to pick with this?

To understand, one must have a little back story.  The protest was in regards the sentencing of two Oregon ranchers, Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond, for arson.  The two convicted for intentionally setting fire to federal lands.  To be fair, the first part of the tweet was true.  The original protest was a peaceful march however, the “followed by Oregon wildlife refuge action” understated what happened by a long shot.

After the protest, a group of armed militia members broke off from the protest and took over the headquarters of Malheur Wildlife Refuge, which is a federal building.  This group is presumably not made of Oregonians but, is led by Ammon Bundy, a rancher from Nevada.  If the name Bundy sounds familiar, Ammon is the son of Cliven Bundy, who, along with a number of supporters, had an armed standoff with federal agents from the Bureau of Land Management because Bundy did not want to pay fees to the government even though his cattle was grazing on federally owned land.

So, in short, the “refuge action” being referred to here was actually and armed takeover.

After being mocked mercilessly on Twitter, ABC News took down the tweet and replaced it with this:

abc-fixed-tweet

Only 3 days into the New Year and ABC is a strong contender for worst tweet of 2016.

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