Washington Post's unbalanced reporting on Bill Clinton alleged son
A recent opinion article in the Washington Post, entitled "Howard U. paper scrubs fake news story from site," by Erik Wemple, celebrates a little known student newspaper's deletion of a true story on Danney Williams. The original story is archived here for the time being.
The story in question does not state as fact that Danney Williams is Bill Clinton's son. In fact, it has a question mark in the headline, "Justice for Danney Williams, Son of Bill Clinton?," that can't be ignored. The article also states that Danney Williams "claims to be the illegitimate son of former President Bill Clinton" and that Danney "claims Bill Clinton had gifts and child support delivered to him" and does not make any false claims or unbalanced pronouncements. The article concludes with "Williams hopes for success with the DNA from Lewinsky's dress," again portraying Danney's wishes accurately.
The retraction of the Hilltop student newspaper, which does appear to be on the Hilltop's site itself, according to the Washington Post states that "there is absolutely no proof or evidence that Williams is Bill Clinton's son, as well as no proof or evidence that Williams has ever been financially supported by the Clintons," and that "[t]he Hilltop sincerely regrets this error in it's [sic] reporting." Yet as mentioned, the original article makes clear that Danney is claiming to be the son of Bill, and to a reasoned mind, it is clear that Danney presents no hard evidence of his claim. Therefore, there appears to be no need for a retraction, or to add such additional words to the piece when it is clear that Danny was only claiming to be Bill's son.
Another Washington Post claim that can be disputed is the oft-mentioned claim that a DNA test was conducted in the 1990s and was found negative. For example, Erik Wemple's article states that, regarding the blood samples, "[t]here was no match. Not even close, concluded the Star, according to Time magazine." Yet the aforementioned Time Magazine article only quotes an unnamed source from this tabloid, stating, "'There was no match. Not even close,' says a Star source." No one has gone on the record, therefore. As well, there was never any article in the Star releasing the results of the test they had done on Danney Williams, even though the issue of the test was on the cover of this tabloid on January 5, with the headline "Bill Clinton in new sex charge shocker." Nor did the writer of the piece, Richard Gooding, ever say on the record that there was no match. Yet the Washington Post still reported Star's unnamed source as representing the magazine as recently as October 2016, stating, "'But there was not a match. "Not even close,' Star said at the time," in an article by the Post's Callum Borchers.
The Washington Post must immediately become more clear regarding what we know and don't know about Danney Williams's DNA test and specifically note that the Star magazine has never published an article regarding the results of the Danney Williams test, nor has anyone on record from that magazine stated that he has seen the results of the test and that they are negative. In fact, the editor of that tabloid at that time now says he never saw the results, stating, "I don't remember ever seeing any laboratory test that was done on Clinton's DNA." He just took the word of the writer, Richard Gooding, who had let him know the results, stating, "[W]hen Gooding told me it wasn't a match, I wouldn't have taken any interest in looking at the report."
It is time citizens expect more balanced writing from the Washington Post.