The Sacramento Bee apologized Wednesday for publishing an opinion piece that made false claims against Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, including the inflammatory accusation that he has called for the lynching of trans people in the past.
The article was widely considered to be at least partly behind the violent Antifa riots reported on by RedState managing Editor Jennifer Van Laar which occurred before Kirk’s Tuesday evening speech at the University of California, Davis.
Two people were arrested after the melee.
Kirk was furious over the allegations, calling them outright lies:
Charlie Kirk calls out the Sacramento Bee for saying he has "called for the lynching of trans people."
"That is a lie. I have never done that. I have never thought that. There is zero evidence of that… I've always been clear about peaceful activism." pic.twitter.com/Ak0BHdFbpR
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) March 15, 2023
As Van Laar reported, Kirk threatened to sue the paper over the falsehoods, and apparently, that threat was enough to make the publication think twice. The paper changed several words in the article, and also had to issue a lengthy—and embarrassing—explanation:
An earlier version of this column included a statement that Charlie Kirk had “called for the lynching of trans people.” The basis for this accusation is a video clip in which Kirk was upset that a trans woman had won an NCAA swimming championship. In the clip, Kirk said that instead of letting the woman compete, “Someone should have took (sic) care of it the way we used to take care of things in the 1950s and 60s.” Some trans advocates on social media extrapolated from Kirk’s comments that he called for trans people to be lynched – an accusation The Bee repeated. But a review of the video shows that Kirk never advocated for trans people to be lynched. In fact, he strongly denies the accusation. These notes have been added to the column. The Bee regrets its comments and we apologize for any misunderstanding this earlier version may have caused.
As one of my colleagues noted, “Can’t help but note they managed to repeat the allegation three times in the retraction.”
Good Morning Twitterland. Last night’s Antifa attack on Charlie Kirk was due to a false statement by the Sacramento Bee. Now will the DOJ go after these thugs and condemn the Bee? An apology is not enough. 🤬🤬🤬 pic.twitter.com/VqBXT6xclO
— SweetPeaBelle (@SweetPeaBell326) March 15, 2023
In the updated version of the story, last corrected at 10:20 am Wednesday morning, the sentence about lynching has disappeared. The paper had also taken down a tweet that promoted the allegation the night before, but not before it had been seen 111,000 times.
I am unable to find a tweet from the outlet with their correction and apology.
The newspaper also changed the headline, which originally read, “Another fascist is coming to UC Davis. How should the community respond?” It has now been softened to read, “Another far-right speaker is coming to UC Davis. How should the community respond?”
Fox News reports that this pattern of slurring a conservative then retracting it after the damage has been done is becoming a recurring event:
This isn’t the first time the liberal media targeted Kirk and Turning Point USA. In January, MSNBC was forced to edit a column after it referred to the prominent conservative group as a “MAGA white supremacist cult.”
Last July, “The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg falsely accused the group of “letting in” neo-Nazis, who showed up outside to protest its Student Action Summit event. [RedState’s own Nick Arama covered that story.]
Following a cease-and-desist letter sent to ABC News, “The View” was forced to issue multiple on-air retractions and apologies.
The problem with this kind of attack journalism is that it seems “accidentally on purpose,” and it’s become the norm for the legacy media to target conservatives, regardless of the facts.
The View’s two million plus viewers heard Whoopi announce that Kirk supported neo-Nazis, and that will stick in their heads despite the apologies. The SacBee claimed that he wanted to lynch trans people, and that too will be hard to forget for many.
It’s yet another reason why so many people have turned away from legacy media and to sites like RedState.
(The opinions expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of RedState.com.)