Author J.K. Rowling recently issued an apology on social media after accusing President Donald Trump of purposely ignoring a disabled child during a media event.
Rowling, probably the world’s best-known modern fantasy author, has long been a critic of President Trump. In this case, though, she took things too far and ended up back tracking – even by her own admission.
Trump Ignores a Disabled Toddler…or Did He?
In an era when the mainstream media is already framing conservatives and Donald Trump in particular as evil incarnate, Rowling’s over the top tweets hit a nerve and triggered some backlash online. The popular author is accustomed to receiving accolades and acclaim from any opinion she posts, so the backlash from followers was surely a shock.
“How stunning, and how horrible, that Trump cannot bring himself to shake the hand of a small boy who only wanted to touch the president,” is just one of several scathing Tweets posted by the author.
Rowling was reacting to a portion of a video, which showed the US president greeting and interacting with a variety of visitors, including adults, children and one three-year-old boy in a wheelchair. Montgomery Weer, who has Spina Bifida, visited the White House with his family – and his interaction with the president was captured on film.
The problem? The video had been edited, and Rowling was reacting to something that was not complete or accurate.
According to CNN, Rowling shared a portion of the video, which had been edited to suggest that Trump ignored the outstretched hand of the child. Rowling quickly launched an attack, calling Trump “horrible” and launching a deluge of derogatory Tweets. Just 48 hours later, those Tweets had accrued more than 75,000 retweets or shares on the social media site.
Unedited Video Reveals the Truth
A longer, unaltered version of the video reveals what actually did happen. During the meeting, President Trump not only greeted the boy and took his hand, he crouched down to do so, so he could greet the boy at his own eye level. The reveal of the unaltered video led to a backlash on social media and in the news; Politifact gave Rowling a “Pants on Fire” rating for her involvement in spreading the false narrative.
“My mother used a wheelchair. I witnessed people uncomfortable around her disability, but if they had a shred of decency they got over it,” wrote Rowling, in a now deleted series of Tweets. “So, yes, that clip of Trump looking deliberately over a disabled child’s head, ignoring his outstretched hand, has touched me on the raw.”
A Kind-Of Apology
Little Montgomery’s mother, Marjorie Weer, shared her thoughts on social media as well, taking to Facebook to post:
“If someone can please get a message to JK Rowling: Trump didn’t snub my son & Monty wasn’t even trying to shake his hand,” she wrote.
Rowling did eventually issue an apology to the Weer family, but not to President Trump.
“Multiple sources have informed me that that was not a full or accurate representation of their interaction,” Ms. Rowling shared on Twitter “I very clearly projected my own sensitivities around the issue of disabled people being overlooked or ignored onto the images I saw and if that caused any distress to that boy or his family, I apologize unreservedly.”
The original Tweets have since been deleted, but screenshots remain. This is not the first time the outspoken author has criticized President Trump. In the weeks before he even became president, Rowling compared Mr. Trump to Lord Voldemort, the villain in the Harry Potter series.
Even the mainstream media covered Rowling’s miss-step; CNN, the New York Times and the Washington Post, who usually gleefully cover anything negative that they can confirm about President Trump were quick to point out the issue. By jumping the gun and assuming that the edited clip she saw was not only authentic, but the whole story, Rowling revealed just how eager she was to have to opportunity to criticize the American President.
The author and other prominent figures like her, wield incredible power on social media, thanks to large followings amassed of loyal fans. Hopefully the backlash she faced this week will encourage her to research sources more carefully before blindly lashing out.
~ Conservative Zone