Twitter drags CBS News for misleading headline, tweet about that viral Beto O’Rourke video

Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) eloquently defended NFL players who kneel. CBS News drew viral outrage when it completely mischaracterized O'Rourke's words.
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) eloquently defended NFL players who kneel. CBS News drew viral outrage when it completely mischaracterized O’Rourke’s words.

Image: Chris Covatta/Getty Images

If you bothered to log onto your Twitter account at least once this week, you almost definitely saw the viral video of Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke responding thoughtfully to a question about whether he finds it disrespectful when NFL players kneel during the national anthem. The clip drew wide praise, including from LeBron James, Ellen DeGeneres, and Janelle Monáe

But a CBS News story on the exchange created viral outrage by reducing the nuance and insight of O’Rourke’s response to a terribly misleading headline and tweet.  

This is what O’Rourke said: “I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up, or take a knee, for your rights, anytime, anywhere, in any place.” (The full clip is below.)

This is how CBS News translated those words: “Beto O’Rourke says there’s ‘nothing more American’ than NFL players protesting the national anthem.” 

In case anyone needs a refresher, NFL players who choose to kneel are not protesting the national anthem but racial inequality and police brutality. 

Journalists, advocates, activists, and even Mark Cuban called foul on CBS News for essentially adopting the same false language Fox News and O’Rourke’s opponent, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, used to describe O’Rourke’s answer. 

The story’s headline has since been corrected, and the piece now includes an editor’s note that accurately states why NFL players kneel during the national anthem. Yet a tweet with the original language has not been deleted from CBS News’ Twitter account as of Saturday evening, even though it had a like/comment ratio of 4,800 to 11,000 by Saturday afternoon (which definitely isn’t good). It might not be long before the news outlet does the right thing and retracts the tweet as well. (Update: The tweet was deleted Saturday evening.)

In the meantime, here are O’Rourke’s comments for your own listening pleasure: 

UPDATE: Aug. 25, 2018, 6:28 p.m. PDT This story was updated to reflect CBS News’ deletion of a controversial tweet that mischaracterized Beto O’Rourke’s comments. 

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Copyright or Author: Rebecca Ruiz
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