USA Today caused a stir on Wednesday when it published an op-ed by Donald Trump that contained “the record for the number of falsehoods from a President ever published in a newspaper”, according to CNN’s Jim Acosta.
The piece, titled “Donald Trump: Democrats ‘Medicare for All’ plan will demolish promises to seniors”, was littered with claims about his administration’s work on universal healthcare that have been contested.
Whoever posted the article on behalf of the President appears to have noticed this – as a number of hyperlinks in the article took readers to articles that directly contradicted what was written.
When Trump said he was “fighting so hard against the Democrats’ plan that would eviscerate Medicare,” clicking on the text took readers to a September 2017 New York Times report explaining the exact opposite is actually true.
Another hyperlink took readers to a November 2016 Forbes column by a contributor who said Trump would likely be the one to gut Medicare.
The current version of the op-ed contains no hyperlinks at all but an older version can still be viewed here.
USA Today’s editorial page editor, Bill Sternberg, said in a statement that the piece had been fact-checked but that Trump, like any opinion author, had been given “wide leeway to express [his] opinion.” He said the paper’s opinion section is meant to as a forum for discussion.
“We see ourselves as America’s conversation centre, presenting our readers with voices from the right, left and middle,” he said. “President Trump’s op-ed was treated like other column submissions; we check factual assertions while allowing authors wide leeway to express their opinions. Readers are invited to submit opposing viewpoints and provide additional context, some of which will be published in the days ahead.”
But this failed to placate many with one commentator saying the piece was “lies” and other asking if it should have been printed at all.