At least two media outlets misleadingly reported that the Twitter account and website of the White House press corps were hacked on Friday.
The Huffington Post appeared to be the first to report the story, which referred to the Twitter account @whpresscorps. Early Friday morning, the account sent Tweets criticizing news outlets for meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder for an off-the-record discussion.
One tweet said, “UNTRUSTWORTHY: New Yorker, Washington Post, Politico, New York Daily News, Wall Street Journal -- attended Thursday's meeting with Holder.”
TheWrap also reported on the alleged hacking. Both outlets said that the WHPC homepage appeared to be hacked as well. The website, whitehousepresscorps.org, featured hashtags #IRS, #Benghazi and #DOJ on Friday.
However, neither the website nor the Twitter account is affiliated with the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA), the group of journalists that represents the White House press corps in its dealings with the administration. Instead whitehousepresscorps.org describes itself as an “independent media watchdog source providing information and commentary on the relationship between the press and the White House.”
HuffPost, for its part, mentioned that the allegedly hacked account and website had no affiliation with WHCA. TheWrap story did not. But then how does the incident merit headlines about the White House press corps possibly being hacked? The press corps was not hacked. Both the WHCA website and the Twitter account affiliated with it are fine. In fact, the only evidence of any hacking is a series of strange tweets from a shadowy, self-proclaimed media watchdog with apparent right-wing leanings.
Interestingly, that watchdog has far more twitter followers than the actual WHCA (44,667 versus 414 as of Friday morning), and it’s safe to say that many of its followers simply assume it represents the actual press corps. A quick scroll through of the account’s tweets reveals mostly re-tweets and occasional commentary. Friday’s series of tweets calling the media “losers” and “untrustworthy” may be a little abrupt, but it’s hard to see how they show evidence of hacking, especially considering that the tweets are still up more than seven hours after they were posted.
BIG L0ZERS OF THE WEEK, NEVER TRUST THEM: Journalists Meet With Eric Holder, Say He Pledged "Change" huff.to/18AJigs
â€” WhiteHousePressCorps (@whpresscorps) May 31, 2013
There may yet be more to this story. IBTimes reached out to whitehousepresscorps.org via a Gmail account associated with the website. Updates will be posted here. Got a news tip? Send me an email. Follow me on Twitter: @christopherzara