The New York Times must have thought it had a good "gotcha" moment.
The paper published a report Tuesday evening dinging President Trump for supposedly botching the number of people who were affected by his recent executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven Middle Eastern countries. But the Times article relies on a figure that was not available at the time Trump made his inital comment, and the news group didn't even paraphrase the president accurately.
The story's original headline read, "721 People (not 109) Were Denied Entry Under Trump."
The first problem with the article is that it seeks to correct the president by using a number that was not available at the time he made the 109 citation. Trump tweeted his figure, which was based on the most up-to-date data provided by the Department of Homeland Security, at 7:16 am Monday morning.
"Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage," Trump said.
Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage,.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 30, 2017
On Tuesday, DHS updated its figures to reflect a larger number.
Trump wasn't wrong when he claimed 109, because he was going with a number provided to him by a federal agency. To suggest a "gotcha" based on an updated figure released after Trump's initial Monday tweet is absurd.
That's not the only thing this story botches.
First, the opening paragraph originally stated incorrectly that Trump referenced the number of individuals who "were denied entry into the United States." That is incorrect because Trump used specific DHS figures to say 109 people had been detained, not denied entry.
"The number of people that DHS announced had been denied boarding (that Trump didn't tweet about) was 173 prior to Tuesday's statement," said conservative blogger and attorney Gabriel Malor, who was the first to note and point out the inconsistencies.
The Times report now has a correction affixed, which reads:
An earlier version of this article misstated what the number 109 referred to in a Twitter post by President Trump. It was the number of people affected by the travel ban, not the number of people denied boarding on planes to the United States.
The correction failed to note that Trump's figure came before DHS had released its updated numbers.
The story's headline has since been changed so that it now reads, "More People Were Affected by Travel Ban Than Trump Initially Said." This is still a nonsense headline, which ignores the timing and context of Trump's tweet.
The opening paragraph has also undergone slight corrections. The report no longer leads with, "A far larger number of people were denied entry into the United States than President Trump initially said," and instead begins with, "A far larger number of people were affected by President Trump's executive order on refugees than he initially said."
Like the amended headline, the story's updated lede also ignores the timing of Trump's original comment.
(h/t Gabriel Malor)