Liberal media bias can turn up in some very unlikely places. One example of this concept is an article on the Business Insider website in which Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus was quoted as saying that the concept of illegal immigrants “self-deporting” back to their native countries -- as proposed by 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney -- was “racist.”
Soon after, the following message was added at the top of Brett LoGiurato's article: “An original version of this story said that Reince Priebus referred to Mitt Romney's comments as "racist." He said it "hurts us." Business Insider regrets the error.”
The original article began by stating that Priebus said talk of “self-deportation” was “horrific” and even “racist.”
LoGiurato continued by indicating that:
Mitt Romney repeatedly used the term during the Republican primary campaign to talk about how his immigration enforcement policies would lead to unauthorized immigrants leaving the U.S. of their own accord, rather than needing to be deported.
“Using the word 'self-deportation' -- it's a horrific comment to make," Priebus was quoted as saying. “I don't think it has anything to do with our party. When a candidate makes those comments, obviously, it hurts us."
It's possible that LoGiurato misheard "hurts us" as "racist." Still, something as politically charged as that should have been double-checked and even triple-checked before the article was posted.
It wasn't long before people on the Twitter social media website began attacking Priebus over the supposed “racist” remark.
“You know, I always had the feeling you were a douchebag,” @artfromtex tweeted. “Thanks for removing any doubt.”
@JgreenDC told the RNC chairman that “it's pretty foolish to describe 'self-deportation' as racist, and it's an insult to Mitt Romney, who was and is a decent man.”
“Lots to say about Romney's failings as a candidate, but he isn't racist,” noted @DraftRyan2016, who said that former GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan should “call Priebus out for saying Mitt is a racist” because the party leader “is unworthy of [the] RNC chair.”
In several angry posts on the topic, @chuck_dizzle called the Republican leader a “monster” and charged: “You pander to ineligible voters while calling your base racist. No wonder you lost to the worst President ever. Twice.”
“I hope people self-deport from the GOP, leaving it to wither on the vine,” he added. “By imagining and rejecting racism where it doesn't exist, you accept the false premise that all Republicans are racist.”
The hostile Twitter user then wrote:
I don't suppose it occurs to any of the GOP “leaders” that cannibalizing their own is counter-productive. Good luck digging your sorry asses out of this hole.
After word of the fact that LoGiurato had misquoted Priebus got out, the tone of the posts changed dramatically.
@BenHowe stated that the author of the article “has some 'splainin' to do.”
Meanwhile, LoGiurato quoted one of Priebus's remarks “that promoted the GOP's message on immigration also gave a signal of how far it has to go.”
The episode also proved how rapidly a false statement can spread in the age of Twitter.