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June 09, 2016 03:38 PM UTC

FACT CHECK: Coverage of Chimp meme that appeared on Delta Republican's Facebook Page

  • by: Jason Salzman

(So much BS to cut through – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Journalists should take note of the factual errors in Delta County Republicans’ explanations of how and why a racist meme appeared on the Facebook page of Delta GOP Chair Linda Sorenson. Some of the lapses are going unchecked in media coverage of the incident.

Sorenson didn’t simply “like” the Chimp post; she shared it. As you can see on the right where it says “Linda Storm Sorenson shared…”, she affirmatively shared the chimp meme; she posted it to her profile, as GOP Chair Steve House explained to CBSDenver TV.

So Sorenson’s apology is wrong when she writes, “I confess to ‘liking’ a tired old Facebook meme, and I apologize for my bad judgment.”

The Grand Junction Sentinel reported Wednesday:

“While reports have circulated that Sorenson posted the meme, she is claiming that ‘someone I don’t know tagged me’ in the post and that she ‘liked’ it — which led to its appearance on her public timeline. She has yet to clarify her story.”

Sorenson’s Facebook page was not hacked. The Sentinel reported: “‘It was hacked,’ [Sorenson] said Tuesday night at the meeting, before adding: ‘I liked it, and then it was there.’”

There’s no evidence of hacking, and Sorenson’s own story precludes it. Sorenson made the decision to share the racist meme. Where she first saw it is not known, but it doesn’t matter. She made the decision to share it. (Plus, if hacking were a serious accusation, this would presumably have been reported to the police.)

Sorenson misquotes herself. “I admit to saying to the blogger that; ‘I don’t care if you’re offended,’ however I do care very much if anyone else was offended,” wrote Sorenson in her apology first reported by the Colorado Statesman’s Ernest Luning. “Please forgive me for being insensitive and not thinking of others in the heat of the moment.” The blogger she references is yours truly, and she actually factually told me, “I don’t care if people are offended.” (Listen to the recording here.) She did not say, as she claims in her apology, “I don’t care if you’re offended.” Of course, I take Sorenson at her word that she’s sorry she offended others, not just me. But she told me she didn’t care if people were offended, as in all people.

In addition to watching out for these errors, some clarifications are needed:

What does Rep. Scott Tipton mean? He told the Colorado Statesman that there is no place for racism in the GOP. Does that mean he wants Sorenson to resign?

Finally, Sorenson does not offer a full apology. Sorenson apologizes for her insensitivity, not for the sharing the meme. She doesn’t say she thinks it was a racist act, or that the meme was racist. Instead, she regrets that others view it that way.

She wrote in her apology: “I apologize for my bad judgment.” And, “Please forgive me for being insensitive and not thinking of others in the heat of the moment.” This is in keeping with her original comment to me, that her post was a joke.


4 thoughts on “FACT CHECK: Coverage of Chimp meme that appeared on Delta Republican’s Facebook Page

  1. Jason, 

    you win.

    If she isn't forced out, they don't care.

    Tipton's quote would be hilarious if it wasn't so stupid.

    first, his Speqker of the House already said the Republican nominee has said racist things about the judge. I suppose it is possible for Mr Trump to say racist things, without actually being racist. Likewise the Delta County Republican chair.

    but surely there is no way Representative Tipton is claiming there are no racists in America. And it stands to reason if there are racists, some of them are Republican.

    What Tipton, and all Republicans supporting Trump should address is whether there is room in the GOP for nominees, leaders and office holders who say racist things.  Clearly, there is. Indicating clearly, they don't care.


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