Trudeau’s office takes aim at Fox News over tweet

Prime Minister’s director of communications asks Fox News to remove inaccurate tweet about Quebec City shooting


OTTAWA – One of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s senior officials took Fox News to task for describing the alleged gunman in the Quebec City shooting as Moroccan.

Kate Purchase, director of communications in the Prime Minister’s Office, pointed out the “false and misleading language” in a letter to Fox News Channel co-president Bill Shine that was released to the media Tuesday.

“Canada is an open, welcoming country that stands by its citizens,” Purchase wrote in the letter, which goes well beyond simply asking for a correction.

“We are a nation of millions of immigrants and refugees, of hundreds of cultures, languages and religions bound by one, unwavering, unshakable belief: we are stronger not in spite of our differences, but because of them.

“These tweets by Fox News dishonour the memory of the six victims and their families by spreading misinformation, playing identity politics, and perpetuating fear and division within our communities.”

Refet Kaplan, the managing director for, issued an apology.

“ initially corrected the misreported information with a tweet and an update to the story on Monday,” Kaplan wrote a statement sent by email Tuesday evening.

“The earlier tweets have now been deleted. We regret the error.”

A tweet from Fox News containing inaccurate information. The Prime Minister's Office has asked that it be removed.

A tweet from Fox News containing inaccurate information. The Prime Minister’s Office has asked that it be retracted or updated.

The tweet had appeared to be a consequence of early police reports in the wake of the shooting that said two suspects had been taken into custody. Later reports said one of those people was not a suspect, but a witness.

Purchase noted the tweet appeared early Monday afternoon, but remained online even after police had confirmed that the sole suspect, Alexandre Bissonnette, is a 27-year-old man of French-Canadian origin.

Before it was deleted Tuesday evening, the tweet had been retweeted more than 900 times, and liked about 1,600 times. It also had about 7,200 replies, many of them pointing out the inaccuracy and calling for a correction.

A subsequent tweet posted Monday evening noting the second person in custody had been cleared was retweeted only 72 times and had 162 likes.

The PMO’s interest in the earlier, incorrect tweet may have a lot to do with the fact that it also includes an image of Trudeau and his quote from the night of the shooting: “We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge.”

It also links to a story published on the Fox News website that includes the updated information and notes that the earlier detail about a second suspect came from other media reports.

The PMO would not comment further on the letter, but confirmed it did not send any similar letters to other media outlets that had reported – and since corrected or otherwise updated – similar earlier misinformation.

As of Tuesday evening, Reuters UK had a post on Twitter from Monday afternoon describing two suspects – one as French-Canadian and one as Moroccan.

Meanwhile, a tweet from Montreal newspaper La Presse that also described one of the suspects as Moroccan was not deleted until sometime Tuesday evening. That one had been retweeted more than 500 times and liked nearly 300 times.

Purchase ended her letter by asking Fox News to either retract or update the tweet, but not before delivering a broader message that was likely intended for an audience much bigger than its named recipient.

“We need to remain focused on keeping our communities safe and united instead of trying to build walls and scapegoat communities,” she wrote.

Nor was the phrase about building walls the only veiled reference to U.S. President Donald Trump and his controversial comments and policies on immigration.

“Ramping up fear and closing our borders is not a solution,” Purchase wrote. “It distracts from the real issues that affect people’s day-to-day life.”

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Trudeau’s office takes aim at Fox News over tweet

  1. It wasn’t Fox News’ fault. This is what several different local media outlets in Quebec were reporting that night. Of course, that won’t stop shitlibs from virtue signaling about stuff they know nothing about, as per usual.

  2. Fox is a national news service which can certainly do a better job than that to verify its information, especially considering the inflammatory propaganda value of the false claim that the terrorist was Muslim. It is perfectly clear that they publicized the claim knowing, like Trump, that a certain number of people will believe it, and continue to believe it even when it is contradicted. And I notice that “virtue-signalling” is the latest epithet used when trying to denigrate anyone who objects to vice. Good luck with that.

  3. Wouldn’t be surprised that Fox News purposely wrote the tweet without
    mention of the second suspect being a white French Canadian, and then
    left it uncorrected. The Fox News website and their cable news channel
    normally produce stories that reflect visible minorities in a negative way.

  4. There was good reason to believe the shooter was a muslim. Other outlets such as RT and Radio Canada reported witnesses claimed the shooter yelled allahu akbar. English CBC reported the shooter used a full auto AK-47 which has been a stable in the endless cavalcade of islamic attacks in the EU by muslim rapefugees, which have killed hundreds of more people than this anecdotal one off of a “terrorist” attack. But we’d never take aim at our paid propagandists at the CNN now would we.

    And the NeoCon globalists at Fox News hate Trump and spent the last 20 months trying to undermine him at every turn; they wanted Jeb Bush, so nice try. They made an honest mistake dude just admit it. Virtue-signalling is a great new term and it describes exactly what shitlibs do to a tee. You signal sanctimoniously about things you know nothing about for the social status. You people never actually solve any issues. It’s just obnoxious, baseless moralizing and we’re not listening to it anymore.

    • While I agree that – at the time the tweet was posted – the situation wasn’t clear, and they had good reason to post it. The problem is that they failed to update with the correct information for a good 24 hours after they knew the true situation. They were told repeatedly by any number of people that it was false, and asked to correct it. It took a public shaming by the PMO to get them to act.

      As for Fox hating Trump – what planet do you live on? He’s practically named them the official Trump news source.

      • I’d be very surprised. Fox tries harder than most media in the US to get it facts straight. And when it erred, based on wire service provided by Reuters, it apologized.
        I’ve yet to see anyone from the left media apologize for lying and spreading the mistruth that Trump had removed the bust of Martin Luther King from his office. That lie was very inflammatory.