Correction: Two months after publication of this story, the Georgia secretary of state released an audio recording of President Donald Trump's December phone call with the state's top elections investigator. The recording revealed that The Post misquoted Trump's comments on the call, based on information provided by a source. Trump did not tell the investigator to "find the fraud" or say she would be "a national hero" if she did so. Instead, Trump urged the investigator to scrutinize ballots in Fulton County, Ga., asserting she would find "dishonesty" there. He also told her that she had "the most important job in the country right now." A story about the recording can be found here. The headline and text of this story have been corrected to remove quotes misattributed to Trump.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week on audio of the Dec. 23 call between Trump and investigator Frances Watson, noting that the Post reported on the call in January but that this was the first time the recording had been released.
The Post, in its story about the recording, said Georgia officials indicated they didn't believe a recording existed. But the Post said officials found the recording on a trash folder on Watson's device while responding to a public records request — and that tidbit came courtesy of "a person familiar with the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the internal process."
The whip comes down
Alex Thompson, Politico's White House reporter, characterized the Post's errors as "real bad" and noted that "this quote was and still is everywhere":
real bad. this quote was and still is everywhere. https://t.co/jZwQ9rPwRp— Alex Thompson (@Alex Thompson) 1615828592.0
Thompson added that CNN issued "a sorta vague 'editor's note.' The Wapo correction was much more comprehensive":
CNN issues a sorta vague "editor's note." The Wapo correction was much more comprehensive. https://t.co/XshPapFF3G https://t.co/kSRqHE4sLQ— Alex Thompson (@Alex Thompson) 1615833545.0
The Daily Beast acknowledged that the Post "quietly" corrected its story, while a number of other media watchers were taken aback — to put it mildly — by the Post getting such crucial details wrong:
🚨 So basically a "source" made up a bunch of Trump quotes, WaPo ran with it, and now they're issuing a correction *… https://t.co/04f40w79id— Caleb Hull (@Caleb Hull) 1615830267.0
The media told us that Trump pressured a Georgian election official to "find the fraud." Nope! Anonymous sources st… https://t.co/FNkUq25tnF— Robby Soave (@Robby Soave) 1615836586.0
GIANT correction. Those quotes were everywhere. "The recording revealed that The Post misquoted Trump’s comments o… https://t.co/P5rxRVIorB— Harry Zahn (@Harry Zahn) 1615832825.0
The MSM is a bunch of rumor mongers. Look how one lying anonymous source can shape a narrative by shouting into the… https://t.co/h8BHQSOG46— Eddie Zipperer (@Eddie Zipperer) 1615830583.0
The Washington Post quietly admits that Trump never told the Georgia elections investigator to “find the fraud.”… https://t.co/oHEbOzWauT— Sara Gonzales (@Sara Gonzales) 1615833039.0
Significantly, Democrats used the two false quotes attributed to Trump in their impeachment proceedings:
FLASHBACK: Democrats used the fake Washington Post “find the fraud” quote that was retracted today in the Trump imp… https://t.co/7TmVZe2vsT— Daily Caller (@Daily Caller) 1615837309.0
David Shafer, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, called out the Post's "false reporting":
You may have missed this correction from The @WashingtonPost in which the paper retracted its false reporting that… https://t.co/HtXMlqV6C6— David Shafer (@David Shafer) 1615833549.0