We’ve said it numerous times before. Always double check your sources, especially if they’re online and especially if you work in the world of journalism.
This is something that may have been lost on FOX host Sean Hannity last week. FOX News already doesn’t have the best of reputations for delivering unbiased reporting, and many of its hosts – including Hannity – are often accused of approaching current events with an agenda leaning towards the American right-wing.
But reporting demonstrably false information is something that anyone in the journalistic community should really be avoiding. So when Sean Hannity exclaimed in two separate interviews with Jeb Bush and Donald Trump that the USA has pledged to house 250,000 Syrian refugees, he was probably not doing his reputation any favours.
And that’s because it doesn’t appear to be true whatsoever. There has been no announcement from Obama nor his administration that the number of refugees would amount to 250,000, with current figures standing at a cap of 85,000 for 2016 and that cap being raised to 100,000 in 2017 (and these numbers are not just Syrian refugees.)
So where did Hannity get this figure of 250,000 from?
The answer may lie in the notorious spoof news industry that has been growing from strength to strength recently. Two months prior to the time of writing, a website called RealNewsRightNow.com – which publishes largely satirical content – penned an article that claimed the U.S. State Department announced that the United States would house 250,000 refugees and housing them in sparsely populated areas of Arizona and North Dakota. The article reads in part –
The U.S. Department of State announced today that it will grant upwards of two-hundred and fifty thousand Syrian refugees temporary amnesty in the United States. Over the next four months, State Department officials working in conjunction with FEMA will begin processing and transporting the refugees to sparsely populated parts of Arizona and North Dakota…
…Pieper said the tribal leadership of the Navajo and Standing Rock territories respectively, will hold sole responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of the refugees. “Due in part to shared experiences, we believe Syrian refugees will find it relatively easy to assimilate themselves into the native culture,” Pieper said.
This is really the only recent mention we could find that claimed the United States would be housing 250,000 refugees, and it comes from a spoof news website that has also written articles claiming that Donald Trump asserted he could have saved the dinosaurs from the asteroid that wiped them out. So not something that really should be making its way into interviews between Sean Hannity and Republican presidential candidates on FOX News.
Did Sean Hannity and his team fall for a spoof news article? It looks that way though they haven’t conceded to it. What do you think?