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Vanity Fair Lets Anti-Trump Bias Get Ahead of Itself, Walks Back Claims That Old Gaffe Happened Today

I saw some people on Twitter expressing shock that Donald Trump would criticize the weight of Kim Kardashian West mere days after coming under fire for criticizing Alicia Machado the same way. I clicked on the video they were discussing. Here it is:

It was uploaded to YouTube today but a few things stuck out to me.

1. The reporter interviewing Trump for HLN’s Showbiz Tonight referenced the star signing up for a baby registry.

1.5 The reporter did not refer to her as Kardashian West. Admittedly, many reporters don’t, but it’s still noteworthy here because at least half do now that she is married, which she has been since 2014.

2. Kardashian West’s last pregnancy ended in December of 2015 with the birth of her second child, Saint West. The previous pregnancy was in 2013. There’s no way any baby registry of hers is relevant on September 28, 2016.

3. The photo of Kardashian West used in the report was taken in 2013, when she was pregnant with North West.

4. Trump said, “She’s gotten a little bit large. I would say this, I don’t think you should dress like you weigh 120 pounds.” That’s strange, considering that just last month, she released photos on Snapchat showing her weight at 123 pounds and was roundly celebrated in the press for slimming down so quickly after the birth of Saint just days after those Snapchats were released.

5. Oh, yeah, and HLN canceled Showbiz Tonight in 2014.

I decided to find out where the people on Twitter had gotten their video and learned that it was not only embedded into a Vanity Fair article, but that the entire article was criticizing Trump for making those comments days after Machado started hammering him for being the cause of her eating disorder, which she developed after he called her “Miss Piggy” during her reign as Miss Universe.

Here’s what the Vanity Fair article said:

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-7-32-27-pm

VF has now updated their article and added an editor’s note to claim their mistake. Granted, it does underscore the point being made by VF, Machado, and Clinton: He used a question about a baby registry to insult a woman’s appearance. He just didn’t do it today.

Had the magazine not been so eager to push the gaffe and make Trump look bad for doing such a thing as the Machado story still dominates the news cycle, the real point about his misogyny being a years-old characteristic would have stood a better chance. Now, however, it just strengthens the narrative that the press is so rabidly anti-Trump that due diligence and lack of bias have flown out the window.

Let this be a lesson to us all.

[image via screengrab]

Lindsey is on Twitter and Facebook.

Author’s note: This same thing happened a few days ago when the Armenian Education Foundation used one of Kardashian West’s old blog posts from April to create a full-page ad in the New York Times. A number of blogs ran with the story that she herself had purchased the ad and written the copy for it even though it has existed on her blog since April. As with this weight gain/pregnancy story, there were clues that it was not as it seemed. She referenced not wanting to link to another ad in it. Why would she have said that if she were writing for print? Moreover, she referred to Gawker with no mention of its demise, which would have been more normal in April than in September.

Celebrity gossip may appear more vapid than political content, but writing about it still requires the same journalistic efforts and standards. I saw no less than eight blogs write pieces claiming she wrote and bought that ad. Just like the above story, those reports got traction and retweets. Say what you will about the Kardashians and similar celebrities, but they leave a very easy, linear trail to follow. It’s still our job to follow it.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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