If you do an online search with the headline, Trump supporters confuse LeVar Burton with LaVar Ball online, you’ll see that many news outlets around the country republished the story because it originated from The Associated Press!
However, if you read the entire AP “news” story, expecting to see examples of Trump supporters’ online confusion between the two (the insinuation being Trump supporters are racists and see all blacks as looking alike), you would be disappointed because they didn’t provide ONE.
Burton is an actor best known for playing Lt. La Forge in “Star Trek” on TV and film and for championing kids’ education through the “Reading Rainbow” series. Ball is the father of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball and UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball, one of three student players recently arrested in China for shoplifting.
Trump tweeted that Ball was an “ungrateful fool” for not being more appreciative of presidential intervention in LiAngelo Ball’s case. Some of the president’s followers in turn attacked Burton on Twitter, with one calling him a “has been actor with a thief for a son.”
Burton and Ball haven’t let the controversy interrupt their holiday plans — both tweeted Thanksgiving wishes to their followers Thursday.
— Associated Press, 11/24/17
The fact the Associated Press failed to provide ONE example of a confused, racist Trump supporter makes their website’s front page declaration even more of a punchline.
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But this piece of journalistic malpractice, if not slander, also brought out another journalistic trend from the lazy blogger class: making a story about Tweets. You’ve seen them: a short premise from the “writer” is offered and the rest of the piece is a dozen or so embedded Tweets from newsmakers to nobodies to back up the point.
Sometimes, you even get bad journalism repeated and backed up by lame Tweets.
CBS affiliate KUTV in Salt Lake City published the AP story on their website, used the same title, but added one cute “offbeat” twist. He or she added embedded Tweets from racist Trump supporters who confused LeVar and LaVar and added the following caption underneath the picture of the two men….
This combination photo shows LaVar Ball, father of UCLA basketball player LiAngelo Ball, left, one of three student players recently arrested in China for shoplifting, and actor LeVar Burton, who is being mistaken for Ball by some supporters of President Donald Trump. Trump tweeted that Ball was an “ungrateful fool” for not being more appreciative of presidential intervention in LiAngelo Ball’s case. Some of the president’s followers in turn attacked Burton on Twitter, with one calling him a “has been actor with a thief for a son.” (AP Photo/File)
Whomever wrote this for KUTV repeated that it was President Trump’s “followers” who attacked Ball and Burton and was inspired enough to provide TWO examples.
Looking at the Twitter feeds of the two confused Trump “supporters” cited reveal a couple of people not likely to be Republicans, let alone Trump supporters.
What’s sad is how quickly it’s published and not only repeated but expounded upon by the partisan lazy.