From PolitiFact to Snopes, there is no shortage of fact-checking authorities policing the internet and reporting on what's real and what's fake, and now there's a new name to add to the list of fact-checking organizations-- the New England #Patriots.
On Wednesday, the #New York Times tweeted photos comparing the number of New England Patriots players and personnel who visited the Barack Obama and the #White House in 2015 against the turnout for the Patriots who attended the White House in 2017..
At first glance, it would appear that more Patriots turned out to see Obama than Trump. But a picture is worth a thousand words, and the New England Patriots delivered a devastating open field tackle to the NYT as they tried to waltz into the end zone with misleading photos intended to smear President Trump.
Patriots set the record straight
After the New York Times posted the pictures, the Patriots wasted no time in setting the record straight. "These photos lack context," tweeted the Patriots, pointing out that, in 2015, forty staff members of the NFL team were positioned on the stairs, flanking President Obama and making for an impressive photograph. In 2017, the Patriots personnel were seated on the South Lawn, thereby taking them out of the photograph.
The Patriots then tweeted pictures showing the actual player turnout this year versus the player turnout during the Obama administration, and these pictures tell a very different story than the New York Times tweet.
In spite of all the talk and speculation about New England players boycotting the White House visit out of a passionate dislike for President Trump, the player turnout failed to reflect that sentiment.
Thirty-six players visited the White House the last time the Patriots won two Super Bowls in three years, which was back in 2015. On Wednesday, 34 players visited the White House.
These photos lack context. Facts: In 2015, over 40 football staff were on the stairs. In 2017, they were seated on the South Lawn. https://t.co/iIYtV0hR6Y— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 20, 2017
NYT tweets retraction
The New York Times, perhaps ashamed by the fact that a bunch of "dumb jocks" did a better job of journalism than they did, had no choice to but to tweet a retraction-- sort of.
Admitting that the overall turnout was virtually the same between 2017 and 2015, NYT "corrected" their mistake, claiming that 34 players turned out to visit Trump in 2017, while 50 turned out for Obama in 2015.
UPDATE: Patriots say # of players was smaller this year than 2015 (34 vs. 50) but total delegation was roughly the same. pic.twitter.com/Ij77Def8z5— NYT Sports (@NYTSports) April 20, 2017
However, the New York Times failed to mention that the likely reason more players turned out in 2015 has less to do with presidential popularity and more to do with "been-there-done-that". In 2015, when 50 players made the trip to D.C., the Patriots had just snapped a nine season drought without an NFL championship.
To paraphrase the New England Patriots, it's all about context.