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Almost everyone gets dragged on Twitter eventually. Last night, it was highly respected news agency the Associated Press after its Trump tweet was heavily criticized—and ratioed into meme stardom.
Following President Trump’s primetime address, the AP tweeted a fact-check of statements from President Donald Trump as well as Sen. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “Democrats put the blame for the shutdown on Trump,” the tweet reads. “But it takes two to tango. Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for his border wall is one reason for the budget impasse. The Democrats refusal to approve the money is another.”
Twitter users were quick to accuse the tweet of presenting a false equivalency and wasted no time in tweeting about it, making the “it takes two to tango” line into a meme.
AP FACT CHECK: Democrats put the blame for the shutdown on Trump. But it takes two to tango. Trump's demand for $5.7 billion for his border wall is one reason for the budget impasse. The Democrats refusal to approve the money is another. https://t.co/9IWnqUgl2d— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) January 9, 2019
Comments on the tweet quickly surpassed its number of retweets and likes several times over. At the time of this writing, the tweet had 1,043 retweets and nearly 3,000 likes to its more than 11,000 comments. Nearly all 11,000 comments were united against the AP’s tweet.
Umm... the shutdown started before Christmas. When the GOP was in control of the House, Senate, and White House. Your fact check needs a fact check.— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) January 9, 2019
“Umm… the shutdown started before Christmas. When the GOP was in control of the House, Senate, and White House. Your fact check needs a fact check,” one user wrote. Others compared the tweet to ridiculous situations to highlight AP’s mistake.
@MikeDrucker wrote “Some people blamed the mugger for the stabbing but it takes two to tango. The mugger demanded your wallet or else. By refusing to give the mugger your wallet, the stabbing is also technically your fault.”
“Some people blamed the mugger for the stabbing but it takes two to tango. The mugger demanded your wallet or else. By refusing to give the mugger your wallet, the stabbing is also technically your fault”— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) January 9, 2019
“Yes, your face is bruised because he hit you, but you didn’t duck it either,”@TVietor08 wrote.
Homer now doing fact checks for the AP.— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) January 9, 2019
The AP has lost its damn mind. "Monster wants to eat children, but also, isn't the problem that the children refuse to be eaten by the monster?" https://t.co/tBEnYpR5jQ— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) January 9, 2019
A peek into the story accompanying the tweet reveals the Associated Press systematically disputing nearly every one of Trump’s claims from his address, including that the shutdown is the Democrats’ fault. Most folks didn’t read that far.
The text of the tweet is taken from the story. In the small section in which AP fact-checked Pelosi and Schumer, it breaks down their statements following the president’s address and delivers the heavily criticized text of the tweet. Minus the “it takes two to tango” bit.
Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.