Looks like President Trump has inspired the New England Patriots to be on the lookout for “fake news.”
The team’s official Twitter page called out the New York Times on Wednesday for posting photos of their White House visit that “lack context.”
The Times posted a side-by-side photo comparison of the Patriots with President Obama in 2015 and the visit with President Trump in 2017.
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Patriots’ turnout for President Obama in 2015 vs. Patriots’ turnout for President Trump today: https://t.co/OxMEOqZonI pic.twitter.com/pLmJWhOw1j
— NYT Sports (@NYTSports) April 19, 2017
A few hours later, the Super Bowl champions responded, schooling the New York Times about what the real “facts” were.
These photos lack context. Facts: In 2015, over 40 football staff were on the stairs. In 2017, they were seated on the South Lawn. https://t.co/iIYtV0hR6Y
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 20, 2017
The 40 members of the team’s staff who were on the stairs for the 2015 photo ended up seated on the South Lawn for the visit with Trump.
Well that has to be a little deflating for the NYT https://t.co/e7m0RozfVa
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) April 20, 2017
When the New England Patriots has to fact check the New York Times over a misleading story that has received 30K+ retweets. https://t.co/8gRHgNvLSI
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) April 20, 2017
I’m thinking @NYTSports needs to offer some comment or retraction here. https://t.co/4TsFh3UDz2
— Ben (@BenHowe) April 20, 2017
While Obama hosted 50 players back in 2015, Trump welcomed 34, though the total number of attendees, including staff and coaches, remained roughly the same.
UPDATE: Patriots say # of players was smaller this year than 2015 (34 vs. 50) but total delegation was roughly the same. pic.twitter.com/Ij77Def8z5
— NYT Sports (@NYTSports) April 20, 2017
Neither president hosted quarterback Tom Brady who skipped the trip both times, citing “personal family matters” for preventing his Wednesday visit with Trump, who has been a friend for years.
Trump did get to fist-bump Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski in the Oval Office, something Obama could not boast about.
.@RobGronkowski fist pumping @POTUS ?? pic.twitter.com/q25w8JnZaT
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) April 20, 2017
Gronkowski appeared to enjoy his visit, and even dropped in on White House press secretary Sean Spicer during a press briefing.
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#ICYMI: WH PRESS BRIEFING@RobGronkowski pops in on @PressSec this afternoon in the middle of his briefing…a priceless moment unfolds⤵️ pic.twitter.com/ujCVF6hBnB
— Dan Scavino Jr. (@Scavino45) April 19, 2017
The Times tweet, and subsequent clarification from the Patriots, did not go unnoticed on social media.
@Patriots Even the Patriots are calling out the Fake News media! haha ? ?
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) April 20, 2017
@zrf97 @Patriots Can’t really trust anything the media says anymore without actually researching the topic
— Adam Allison (@adam_allison_) April 20, 2017
@NYTSports @bruce_arthur Suddenly I am a Patriots fan.
— Art Chamberlain (@chambart) April 19, 2017
Comedian and television talk show host, Stephen Colbert, offered up his idea of humor on the tweet.
Doesn’t look like a lot of Patriots visited the White House. Maybe some players got confused and went to Mar-a-Lago instead? pic.twitter.com/C8369Gwjua
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) April 20, 2017
Senior Reporter for Gizmodo Media Group, Ashley Feinberg, set off another thread of comments with her take on the Patriots’ tweet.
I used to have no sports takes and now I have one and this is it
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) April 20, 2017
@ashleyfeinberg Good take Ashley
— Jason (@JaR45) April 20, 2017
@ashleyfeinberg this is a hot take
— K-Pony (@krispekitty) April 20, 2017
@ashleyfeinberg It’s a good take imo
— Justin Arnold (@JustinOArnold) April 20, 2017
Owned by both Ted Cruz & the Patriots. https://t.co/3KXKM3DbhN
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) April 20, 2017
In the end, Twitter users noted that having the New York Times fact-checked by the Patriots was not going to help the publication with its “fake news” image.
The New York Times did issue a correction and remove the picture from its story:
Correction: April 19, 2017
An earlier version of this article included photos comparing the size of the Patriots’ gathering at the White House in 2015 and the gathering on Wednesday. The photo from Wednesday only showed players and coaches; the 2015 photo showed players, coaches and support staff and has been removed.
But, as noted by Twitchy, the offending tweet is still up, “earning clicks” for the Times despite their error.
With the original post nearing 45,000 retweets, Twitchy may be right with it remark, “Hey, fake news sells.”
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Aaaand there’s the picture with all additional #Patriots staff. Visual narrative go poof.
Don’t compare apples and oranges. Always dumb pic.twitter.com/80i5akb0Pd
— Matt Chatham (@chatham58) April 20, 2017
@BenHowe @NYTSports I agree. Items like this do nothing but give more ammunition to trump’s fake news narrative. Really bad judgement by The NY Times here
— james t (@TJames516) April 20, 2017
@BenHowe @NYTSports Nah, let’s make it the main subject of the next press conference, instead.
— Hollywoo Star (@wh0sthatd0g) April 20, 2017
Patriots give the stiff arm to NYT fake news. https://t.co/j7xtImK2jB
— Jimmy (@JimmyPrinceton) April 20, 2017
@chatham58 @ShillForHillary Boys will be boys… always measuring who’s is bigger ?
— Lipstick & Laughter (@MissLynneO) April 20, 2017
@NYTSports Even the NYT sports section can’t help themselves with fake news. Sad. Patriots tweeted at you to correct this. You guys suck so much. Sad.
— Marcus Jones (@trumarcusjones) April 20, 2017
.@NYTSports The Patriots already pointed out this is a fake story but please continue to misinform and wonder what credibility looks like.
— Frank Migliaccio (@navymig) April 20, 2017
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