News | Politics: USA Today responds after being slammed for publishing Trump's op-ed riddled with inaccuracies

Politics: USA Today responds after being slammed for publishing Trump's op-ed riddled with inaccuracies

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  • USA Today faced harsh criticism for publishing an op-ed authored by President Donald Trump and riddled with inaccuracies.
  • In his rare piece one month before the midterm elections, Trump attacked Democrats as "radical socialists" and made numerous false claims about the party's "Medicare-for-All" proposal and his own record on healthcare.
  • USA Today said the op-ed "was treated like other column submissions; we check factual assertions while allowing authors wide leeway to express their opinions."

USA Today on Wednesday faced harsh criticism for publishing an op-ed authored by President Donald Trump and riddled with inaccuracies, in which he attacks Democrats as "radical socialists" and pillories the party's "Medicare-for-All" proposal.

In his rare piece one month before the midterm elections, Trump falsely claimed that Democrats' single-payer healthcare plan would strip benefits from seniors and promised that he will protect insurance for Americans with preexisting conditions.

"The truth is that the centrist Democratic Party is dead," Trump wrote. "The new Democrats are radical socialists who want to model America’s economy after Venezuela."

Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler found that "almost every sentence" of the op-ed "contained a misleading statement or a falsehood." In a thorough analysis of the piece, Kessler noted that the president repeated several already debunked claims and even cited some of the Post's fact-checks and other sources that contradicted his claims.

In a statement posted on Twitter, USA Today said its opinion section "provides a forum for a diversity of views on issues of national relevance. We see ourselves as America’s conversation center, presenting our readers with voices from the right, left and middle."

"President Trump’s op-ed was treated like other column submissions; we check factual assertions while allowing authors wide leeway to express their opinions," the publication said, adding that it invited readers to submit opposing viewpoints for consideration.

But the publication was slammed by reporters and media critics, among others, who argued that the paper shouldn't have uncritically published a piece of political spin.

"Publishing this op-ed is journalistic malpractice. It is full of outright lies, easily demonstrated lies. Disgraceful," tweeted Dan Gillmor, a professor of journalism at Arizona State University.

Others argued that the newspaper's massive platform had been successfully hijacked by the president's communications operation.

"USA Today not only published a White House press release disguised as an 'op-ed by Donald Trump,' it is using its Twitter account to blast out the article's lies to 3.6 million followers," Daniel Dale, Washington correspondent for The Toronto Star, tweeted on Wednesday.

"This column may break the record for the number of falsehoods from a President ever published in a newspaper op-Ed. Just this tweet alone is false - 'outlaw private health care plans' and 'letting anyone cross our border' Huh? Fact check: false and false. Come on USA Today," tweeted CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta.

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