Trudeau v Fox News

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s spokesperson is demanding that Fox News delete or amend a false tweet the news outlet released yesterday regarding the identity of the man who allegedly opened fire into a mosque Sunday evening in Quebec City.

On Monday, police charged Alexandre Bissonnette, a 27-year-old Quebec man who appears to hold right-wing sympathies, with six counts of first degree murder and five counts of attempted murder. He is believed to be the only shooter. Earlier that day, police had said there were two suspects, and a number of media reports identified the second man as Mohamed Khadir, a Muslim man who, it later emerged, was actually helping victims of the shooting and had nothing to do with the attack.

Well after it was widely reported that Bissonnette was the only suspect, Fox News tweeted: “Suspect in Quebec mosque terror attack was of Moroccan origin, reports show.” The tweet remains live. A number of media outlets who had published Khadir’s name deleted or amended their reports on Monday.

“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,” Trudeau communications director Kate Purchase said in a strongly worded missive sent directly to the media outlet.

“If we allow individuals and organizations to succeed by scaring people, we do not actually end up any safer,” she continued. “Ramping up fear and closing our borders is not a solution.”

Fox News’ tweets, and examples of misinformation and fake news, helped fuel a number of racist rumors on social media that Syrian refugees were to blame for the mosque attack. Other news outlets including Reuters and La Presse still have similar tweets with the false information regarding the suspect, but it doesn’t appear that Purchase has requested they be removed. The Prime Minister’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from VICE News.

A spokesperson for Fox News also did not immediately respond to a request for comment from VICE News Tuesday evening.

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