10 Days Ago, WRAL Printed a Fake Quote. They Still Haven’t Corrected It.

WRAL: “Senator Berger released a statement demanding no stay-at-home-order”

Reality: No such statement exists. It is made up.

Raleigh, N.C. — WRAL, in its opinion section, ascribed to Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) a statement that he never said. The news organization has still not corrected it.

In a March 30 editorial, WRAL wrote: “State Senate leader Phil Berger, just hours before the governor’s announcement [of a stay-at-home order], released a statement demanding no stay-at-home order until there was ‘the benefit of relevant and obtainable data.’”

Sen. Berger’s full statement is copied below. A stay-at-home order is not mentioned, much less a demand issued.

When contacted for a correction request, WRAL said that a reasonable person could infer from the timing of Sen. Berger’s statement that he intended to say that Governor Cooper should not issue a stay-at-home order.

Sen. Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick) said, “WRAL invented a quote out of thin air and then falsely claimed Sen. Berger said it. Their excuse for doing so just doesn’t hold water. It’s disappointing to see this type of behavior from a news outlet. Making up quotes undermines the entire organization’s legitimacy and credibility.”

Sen. Berger’s office has requested a fact check from PolitiFact NC, which is run by WRAL.

Here is the full statement from Sen. Berger that WRAL referenced in its editorial:

“Government leaders are making decisions without the benefit of relevant and obtainable data. Unfortunately, they don’t know how prevalent the virus is and has been in the population. Therefore, we do not have sufficient, reliable information to understand true hospitalization and fatality rates.

“That necessary data is easily obtainable through random sample testing, which world-renowned scientists at Harvard and Stanford have been recommending for some time.

“We owe it to the hundreds of thousands of newly unemployed North Carolinians to check the math.

“If the true data supports the most stringent measures, then presenting that data to the public will increase compliance and confidence in government. If the data does not provide such support, then easing of current restrictions will be possible to do safely.

“We must immediately conduct random sample testing to know the answer.”

The official Medium account for N.C. Senate Leader Phil Berger’s press office.