Vice-owned technology culture news site Motherboard retracted two stories that claimed Walt Disney World’s Hall of Presidents was struggling to incorporate Trump into the attraction. According to Motherboard, the articles had “several factual errors” and sourcing issues.
One such problematic claim? Motherboard’s anonymous source said Trump’s team “turned what should have been a simple recording process into a public relations nightmare” for Walt Disney World, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The article also claimed that Trump’s team wanted to write his speech for the attraction, Variety noted.
Motherboard also said it is “conducting a full editorial review”of the stories. iMediaEthics wrote to Motherboard to ask what that review entails, how the errors were flagged, and what the list of errors includes. Vice Media’s Jake Goldman declined to comment to iMediaEthics beyond the editor’s note.
The two stories were
- “Here’s the Secret Backstage Trump Drama at Walt Disney World’s Hall of Presidents” published May 19
- “Behind the Scenes of Disney’s Donald Trump ‘Hall of Presidents’ Installation,” published June 26
iMediaEthics found a Google Cache for one of the articles, the May 19 article.
That article reported that the Hall of Presidents attraction probably would incorporate Trump, but unlike other previous presidents, wouldn’t have him record a speech for the attraction. The claim was based on an “inside source” who is “close to Walt Disney Imagineering” who also told Vice that Disney Parks & Resorts was trying to include Trump without endorsing his policies.
Disney Parks’ Editorial Content Director disputed Vice’s reporting, without naming Vice or its story. In a statement on its website, Disney Parks’ Thomas Smith said, “Despite some media reports to the contrary, President Trump will have a speaking role in The Hall of Presidents, like every president since 1993. We have been working closely with the current White House — just as we have with previous administrations — and the president’s recording session has been scheduled. The attraction will re-open in late 2017.”
iMediaEthics has written to Walt Disney World to ask about the retractions.
Motherboard Editorial published this note retracting its stories:
“After a thorough investigation into the sourcing of two stories, “Here’s the Secret Backstage Trump Drama at Walt Disney World’s Hall of Presidents” and “Behind the Scenes of Disney’s Donald Trump ‘Hall of Presidents’ Installation”, and the identification of several factual errors, we have decided to retract both pieces. We are conducting a full editorial review to pinpoint how this source was vetted, and how these stories were approved and published in violation of our usual editorial workflow. We fell short of our standards, and regret the error.”
Hat Tip: Sopan Deb