If you’ve been following the news lately, odds are you’ve wanted to cuddle up in a corner and hide out. Especially in the wake of the Muslim ban, claims of “fake news” and the awful shooting in Quebec. But even within all of the awfulness there’s been some good to come of it, and that in itself is worth celebrating.
As it turns out, we Canadians are holding hard and true to our values despite the terrorist attack in Quebec on Sunday night, in which a lone gunman shot and killed six muslims and wounded eight during their prayers at a mosque. Those values include inclusiveness and being respectful of all cultures, religions and races, according to the office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who wrote a letter affirming as much on Tuesday.
In part as a result of today’s 24-hour news cycle, there’s been a lot of confusion and misreporting that went on following the shootings. Originally outlets reported that there were two suspects in the case, but that was later clarified and it was confirmed that only one man — a right leaning French-Canadian — was the suspect. The other man, a Moroccan, was a witness.
Plenty of outlets made the mistake of reporting the original information, but one — Fox News — didn’t bother to immediately clarify that mistake. According to the PM’s office the outlet kept an erroneous tweet, identifying the shooter as Moroccan, online even after the real information was released, causing Trudeau and his director of communications, Kate Purchase, to write an open letter to them.
“Canada is an open, welcoming country that stands by its citizens. We are a nation of millions of immigrants and refugees, of hundreds of cultures, languages and religions bound by one, unwavering, unshakable belief: we are stronger not in spite of our differences, but because of them,” Purchase wrote on Trudeau’s behalf. “These tweets by Fox News dishonour the memory of the six victims and their families by spreading misinformation, playing identity politics, and perpetuating fear and division within our communities.”
It probably didn’t help the PM’s feelings that the original tweet identifying the wrong man was accompanied by a picture of Trudeau and a quote of him saying that he condemns the terrorist attack on Muslims in “a centre of worship and refuge.”
At least, following the letter, it didn’t take Fox News long to respond. They issued a statement of their own, apologizing for the misinformation and finally taking down the earlier tweets.
“FoxNews.com initially corrected the misreported information with a tweet and an update to the story on Monday,” managing director Refet Kaplan wrote in a statement. “The earlier tweets have now been deleted. We regret the error.”
Guess we have to take news with a grain of salt these days. In the rush to get everything up and online first, things aren’t always fact-checked or even confirmed before they’re reported. We’ll say one thing for Trudeau though: no matter where you stand on his politics, at least he’s willing to make sure the proper facts eventually get out there. And he’ll write you an epic letter in order to do it.