During a Sunday segment sounding the alarm about the rise of “fake news” in the mainstream media, Fox News anchor Leland Vittert twice claimed that The Washington Post had fired a reporter over a misleading tweet that sparked the ire of President Donald Trump.
In reality, the Post did no such thing.
Vittert’s comments came during an on-air discussion with conservative radio host Jeff Katz about a handful of recent errors in reporting on the Trump administration.
“I think it’s inexcusable,” Vittert said after Katz claimed many newsrooms were acting on behalf of the so-called resistance movement with little regard for the facts. “You talk about this, and at least for one reporter it turned out to be inexcusable, he doesn’t have a job anymore, and that’s from The Washington Post.”
“He apologized, and he now has since left,” he said again later in the segment.
Vittert was referring to Post reporter Dave Weigel, who retweeted a widely shared photo of a sparsely filled Florida venue where Trump was scheduled to speak on Friday. “Packed to the rafters,” Weigel wrote with the image, quoting Trump’s own description of the rally.
Trump, who often fixates on the sizes of his crowds at speaking engagements, went after Weigel over the tweet and said the photo showed the venue “hours” before he arrived ― though that detail has been the subject of debate. Trump tweeted that the Post should issue an apology and a retraction ― despite the photo appearing only on Weigel’s personal Twitter account ― and called for his firing.
The Post has not done so. It issued a statement standing by Weigel’s integrity as a reporter, noting that he promptly apologized to Trump and deleted the tweet.
Vittert released an on-air correction and apology for the error after it was brought to his attention.