Reuters Mocked for Coverage of ‘Peace Activists’ at Trump Protest, Robert E. Lee’s ‘Doppelgänger’ at ESPN

Confederate General Robert E. Lee, left, and ESPN announcer Robert Lee / Twitter


The international news agency Reuters found itself with a pair of self-inflicted, social media-induced headaches on Wednesday.

Covering protests of President Donald Trump's rally in Phoenix, Ariz. on Tuesday, Reuters tweeted that "peace activists" faced off with Trump supporters there. The Hill noted four of the "peace activists" were arrested for throwing rocks and bottles at police officers, and the Washington Free Beacon reported that one African-American Trump supporter was sucker-punched by another protester.

Reuters announced Wednesday it had changed the description from "inaccurately" referring to the anti-Trump protesters as "peace activists."

Later, Reuters reported on the viral story about ESPN deciding to remove an Asian-American announcer named Robert Lee from calling an upcoming Virginia Cavalier football game, due to the similarity of his name to Confederate General Robert E. Lee amid the recent tumult in Charlottesville, Va.

ESPN's decision drew mockery and outrage, largely because Lee has nothing to do with the Confederacy besides his name and is not even Caucasian. However, Reuters initially referred to him as General Lee's "doppelgänger," meaning they had a physical similarity.

Reuters deleted its tweet and then called him General Lee's "namesake," but Lee the announcer was not named after Lee the general, either. That tweet was deleted, too.

Get the news that matters most to you, delivered straight to your inbox daily.

Register today!
  • Grow your email list exponentially
  • Dramatically increase your conversion rates
  • Engage more with your audience
  • Boost your current and future profits