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LA Times Deletes Tweet Quoting Trump on COVID Vaccine After Reader Outcry

The paper acknowledged the deletion overnight Thursday, tweeting about it for transparency

The Los Angeles Times deleted a tweet about President Donald Trump late Thursday. The tweet uncritically quoted the president’s proclamation that a vaccine for the coronavirus is immediately forthcoming, which is an unfounded assertion.

“We deleted a previous tweet because it did not meet our editorial standards,” tweeted the Times’ account late Thursday.

The original tweet in question said, “‘We are delivering life-saving therapies. We will produce a vaccine by the end of the year — or maybe even sooner,’ President Trump said during his #RNC2020 speech.”

The tweet linked to a Times article on Trump’s address during the fourth night of the Republican National Convention, saying it aimed to “rekindle” support for his “flagging” re-election campaign.

Another tweeted promotion of that same article took a more fact-based approach, describing the scene at the fourth night of the RNC: “Sitting close together in narrow rows of chairs, the crowd listening to President Trump’s #RNC2020 speech was mostly un-masked and only slightly larger than the number of Americans who died of COVID-19 on Wednesday.”

Before the deletion, a reader on Twitter said Trump’s claim was “lies” and urged the Times to do more fact-checking instead of simply repeating Trump’s words. Journalist Ashley Spencer, too, dinged the paper for quoting the president on a supposed vaccine timeline “without giving context that it was completely unfounded.”