A photo of USPS mailboxes in a big pile has gone viral in an effort by the left to push the lie that Trump is going all out to remove the boxes before the election. The problem is that the fake news tweet is STILL UP on Twitter and is being shared like wildfire. So much for the ‘fact-checkers’ who are supposed to be policing Twitter. Nothing has been done to delete the lie, so by the time the tweet is taken down, it will be everywhere.
The original tweet that tries to fearmonger is on the left below from Thomas Kennedy:
“Photo taken in Wisconsin. This is happening right before our eyes…”
Gary He did his due diligence to get to the bottom of this story:
OK so everyone has seen the “viral” photo going around of the piles of mailboxes in Wisconsin being used as evidence that Trump is sabotaging USPS. Problem is, they have been there for years: Hartford Finishing Inc. powder coats and refurbishes the old mailboxes.
This conspiratorial post office tweet has more than 82,000 retweets & counting and it is complete bullshit. pic.twitter.com/Q6Or24x8Ys
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) August 18, 2020
The truth is that a company in Wisconsin has a contract with the USPS to refurbish mailboxes. Yes, these mailboxes will be reused.
Gary He calls out Reuters and the left for pushing this complete lie:
When I called up Hartford Finishing, Inc., a woman on the phone confirmed that they have a government contract for the mailbox refurbishing and that they “get them from all over and make them look good again.”
This is where I have to give some tough love to my friends at @reuterspictures. They sent a staff photog to these mailboxes. And then posted them to the wire labeling the site of the mailboxes as just an “industrial lot” when context is our entire job as journalists.
This is where I have to give some tough love to my friends at @reuterspictures. They sent a staff photog to these mailboxes. And then posted them to the wire labeling the site of the mailboxes as just an "industrial lot" when context is our entire job as journalists. (3/8) pic.twitter.com/FFTPODFXFR
— Gary He (@garyhe) August 17, 2020
To find this location on Google, you have to search for “Hartford Finishing”. It’s a side road, not like you can spot the mailboxes from a highway. The sign for the business is 20 feet away from the mailboxes. To omit all this from the caption is journalistic malpractice.
Let me be clear: the @reuterspictures photos are very good. And as stock art for “pile of mailboxes”, it works. But @Reuters
is one of the best news organizations in the world. And telling the full story and context is everything. This is an intentional omission.
Especially since @Reuters is a wire service, other news orgs are going to use these pictures as evidence of Trump tampering with the USPS. When it’s later revealed that it was just a place where mailboxes get refurbished, trust in news organizations is further eroded.
Is having a photo go viral worth it if it’s at the expense of journalistic integrity?? I think at the very least my friends at
@reuterspictures should issue a caption correction for every single one of these frames, and alert editors that have used them out of context.
Reuters should do what He says and label each photo. He’s very generous to Reuters in his doubt that they were up to something nefarious with the photos. It is a good question to ask, though, if Reuters was up to something by taking these pictures and not giving any explanation.
Our previous report on this false narrative: