Politico published an editor’s note admitting errors in its reporting on Pres. Donald Trump and the Bank of China. “We fell short in this case,” Politico wrote.
In an April 27 editor’s note, Politico admitted it didn’t contact Bank of China USA before publication, but that it did hear from them after publication to inform them that their story was outdated.
The article was originally headlined, “Trump owes tens of millions to the Bank of China – and the loan is due soon.” But, now that article has been changed to read, “Trump owed tens of millions to Bank of China.” The original article claimed the Bank of China was one of the banks involved in a “nearly $1 billion refinancing deal” with the Trump Organization and “Trump, through the Trump Organization, owes the Chinese state-owned bank tens of millions of dollars on a loan that comes due in 2022.”
However, the editor’s note said that, in fact, the Bank of China “sold off, or securitized, this debt shortly after the 2012 deal” and has “no current financial in any Trump Organization properties.” In addition, Politico said one of its source documents, a 2017 document filed by Wells Fargo with the N.Y. Department of Finance, had an error in saying Bank of China had a “‘secured’ interest” in the 1290 Avenue of the Americas; that document is being corrected by Wells Fargo, Politico said.
A Politico spokesperson provided iMediaEthics with a copy of the note Politico‘s editor-in-chief sent staff which read in part, “As we make clear, we got a central premise of our original story wrong. President Trump doesn’t currently owe the Bank of China anything. It’s no consolation that the 2012 deal that we led off with was just one of several examples we used.
The note explains why the mistake happened. Public records were in error. Multiple sources, including from Trump’s orbit, were consulted. We also committed a basic and inexcusable fault ourselves: We didn’t ask the Bank of China for comment before we published the article. Once we got new facts on Friday night, we updated the story. Once we confirmed the Bank of China’s claims to us on Monday, we corrected the story and told readers what happened.”
In addition to its editor’s note, Politico published this correction on its article:
Correction: An earlier version of this article reported that President Trump owes tens of millions to the Bank of China stemming from a 2012 real estate deal. Though Bank of China helped finance the deal, it later sold its interest in the loan.
Hat Tip: Mediaite