Bremmer’s Tweet was Stupid

Making up a Trump quote just gives cover to the real ones.

I have long thought that any joke tweets or parodies of Trump’s Twitter account are a bad idea. This is because they are often hard to distinguish from the real thing, which are plenty absurd on their own, and just add fuel to the “fake news” fire.

Ian Bremmer, as political scientist and commentator, demonstrates the point:

Time Magazine columnist Ian Bremmer on Sunday tweeted a quote from President Donald Trump about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un that quickly went viral  but it wasn’t real.

“President Trump in Tokyo: ‘Kim Jong Un is smarter and would make a better President than Sleepy Joe Biden.'” Bremmer wrote on Twitter.

Via The Daily Caller: Time Magazine Columnist’s Trump Quote Went Viral — Then hr Admitted he Made it up.

To be honest that is the kind of Trump-attributed quote that I would have needed to find independent verification before I shared it, as it seems like too much, even for him. BUT, I will admit, it is not outside the realm of possibility that Trump might say something like that.

After all, he did tweet the following this weekend:

BTW: that’s the corrected version. as he originally spelled the former VP’s last name as “Bidan.”

Nonetheless, given the already difficult nature of getting truth into public discourse, not to mention the highly problematic nature of Trump’s real communications, it behooves anyone who cares about accuracy to not muddy the waters any further.

Any time Trump supporter can point to actual “fake news” it makes it easier for the real news to be ignored. It also obscures the real nonsense that comes from Trump’s twitter feed.

For example, it allows The Federalist to fume Ian Bremmer Pushes Fake News On Twitter. Will Liberals Care? But, I will note, a perusal of their list of recent stories has nothing about Trump praising Kim’s insult of Biden.

Whether this was some kind of joke or experiment doesn’t matter. It was irresponsible and it is a reminder that we should double-check things like this before hitting the retweet button (something a number of real journalists failed to heed).

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Mister Bluster says:

    Just plain dumb.

  2. Kathy says:

    Well, yes. But Dennison’s Tweets are 95% either stupid, dumb, idiotic, false, lies, exaggerations, distortions, and bragging on made-up facts.

    The remainder are attempts at making policy or diplomacy via Twitter.

  3. Gustopher says:

    It reads like a biased paraphrase of Trump’s actual Bidan tweet, more than a joke. In fact, it reminds me of the classic NY Post headline from the Koch Era: “Ford To City: Drop Dead”.

    Sloppy use of quotation marks, but that’s par for the course on Twitter, where you will often see things like “Ryan health care plan: ‘Die quickly’”, in quotes, despite it not being a quote.

    A real reporter should not do that of course, even on Twitter. But the Twit-culture rubs off. Someone needs to smack Bremmer in the side of the head, and make him read his employers guidelines for use of social media — this was awful regardless of how easy it was to slip into it. I wouldn’t complain if he was fired.

    And, it would be nice if there was punctuation in the English language for “he didn’t literally say this, but he basically said this”, as it comes up all the time.

    Trump: [[I will eat your children]]

  4. Teve says:

    Fittingly he got a shit-ton of scorn all day yesterday for it.

  5. CSK says:

    Yes, it was very stupid…but I can imagine Trump saying this. Quite easily.

  6. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    It looked like to me that Bremmer was trying to joke, even if that was unfunny. That is not worse than his profile of Jair Bolsonaro for Time.

  7. Raoul says:

    Totally agree, not sure why someone would parody something like this as it continues our downward spiral. Now I know we tend to ignore Trump’s twitters to a certain extent but the actuality is the that this Twitter is beyond reproach, truly really unbelievable. Citing a mass murderer who is an enemy of the US to mock your political opponent- no words.

  8. Mikey says:

    One thing to be clear on: Bremmer’s not a reporter, he’s a columnist. The Trumpist cult is falsely claiming he’s a journalist, to further their “fake news” authoritarian line, but he’s not.

    And of course, as we all know, Trump’s tweets contain both idiocy and lies about 101% of the time.

    And there simply isn’t time to get into all the pure bullshit the right spreads all day, every day.

  9. Teve says:

    Bremmer was beaten up on Twitter all day yesterday for it until he finally deleted it, and he’s going to get shit about it for months.

    That said, Trump complaining about that comment is a bit like John Wayne Gacy complaining that one of the kids he victimized had an overdue library book.

  10. Gustopher says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa: It’s too close to reality to be a joke. I’m going with paraphrase.

    But, I guess people thought The Colbert Report was funny, over-the-top satire. I never saw much difference between that and what was regularly on Fox. Colbert smiled more, and seemed less angry? Was that what made it funny?

  11. Hal_10000 says:

    Ann Althouse made a good point, though: Bremmer is not a journalist. He could have made the joke clear by adding, “Donald Trump, probably” or something. But the real failure here was in actual journalists who RT’d this quote seriously without confirming it. They’re now solemnly saying that it’s Twitter’s fault or something that they didn’t do their job, just mindlessly RT’d something that stroked their outrage engine.

    You’d think after the Covington fiasco, we’d learn not to mindlessly RT the Outrage of the Day. Apparently, you’d think wrong.

  12. Andre Kenji de Sousa says:

    @Gustopher: I don’t really know if it was really a joke. Part of the problem is that Twitter is Twitter and everyone is subject to writing bad tweets. To me Bremmer article about Bolsonaro for Time was much more atrocious than this tweet.