Three days ago, the Washington Post embarrassingly reported on a faux FBI raid taking place at the house of Jack Burkman, a notorious hoaxer and conservative lobbyist.
“FBI agents raided the home of lobbyist, conspiracy theorist and right-wing operative Jack Burkman early Monday,” their article began.
Here are some screenshots of the Washington Post’s apparently now-debunked Jack Burkman story pic.twitter.com/fI7F7RaGts
— Andrew Beaujon (@abeaujon) September 14, 2020
The Post dropped the story early Monday morning without confirmation from the FBI, straying from journalistic standards to receive verification from an definitive source before publishing.
The article’s headline began as “FBI raids home of conservative conspiracy theorist Jack Burkman,” evolved to “Conservative conspiracy theorist Jack Burkman claims FBI raided his home,” and has resolved as “FBI says no raid was conducted at home of conservative conspiracy theorist Jack Burkman.”
WaPo replaced the original article with an editor’s note:
On Sept. 14, 2020, The Washington Post published an erroneous story about a purported FBI raid on the home of conservative operative Jack Burkman. After the story published, the FBI said that the raid did not take place. The story was published because The Post failed to obtain appropriate confirmation. A story about the hoax can be found here.
Jacob Wohl, Burkman’s fellow trickster, staged the raid with actors he found on Craig’s List who — wearing fake FBI badges and windbreakers — believed they were acting in a TV pilot, according to the Daily Beast.
Burkman’s supposed neighbor Bev Donahue sent pictures and a video of the staged raid to the Post Monday morning.
Media outlets speculate the Bev Donahue is merely a pseudonym for Wohl.
The Post included Burkman’s confirmation of the raid in their initial article.
Burkman and Wohl have an extended history of working together on many hoaxes.
Among other things, they fabricated accusations of sexual assault against White House Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Democratic Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg, and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci.
In an interview with the Post, Burkman said in response to their question about the validity of the raid: “You have to remember in journalism you have to be careful — I’m not saying you did this — creating your own reality and ensnaring yourself in those realities.”