GQ correspondent Julia Ioffe has had to publicly admit making a rather glaring gaffe and delete several tweets after pointing out a “Russian quotation mark” in a story by the American outlet Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
The 200-year-old American outlet reported that a DNA test proved Hunter Biden, the son of former US Vice President Joe Biden, has been named as the father of Lunden Alexis Roberts' 15-month-old child. Roberts filed a lawsuit in late May asking a court to establish paternity of her child.
On Wednesday, Ioffe, who previously lost her job at Politico following a scandal involving comments about Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka, shared a viral post from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, expressing skepticism about the aofrementioned story and hinting that it might have been boosted by “Russian trolls”.
“Note the Russian quotation mark", Ioffe wrote in her Twitter post, pointing out the symbol the paper used in the viral post.
Ioffe admitted her blunder and deleted her tweets after receiving pushback and a wave of responses from social media users, including the former President of Estonia, who observed that this symbol should not necessarily be linked to the Russian language and suggested the journalist was “a bit paranoid”.
“Deleted a couple tweets after being correctly corrected. Turns out the paper had used that symbol before", the journalist wrote.
Deleted a couple tweets after being correctly corrected. Turns out the paper had used that symbol before. It had jumped out to me, a Russian speaker (and keyboard user) as a quotation mark and looked like other, sloppy attempts by Russian trolls to push stories. 1/ pic.twitter.com/EcRkpkA6GT— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) November 20, 2019
Although Ioffe publicly retracted her claims, the trolling did not stop, with social media users mocking the “Russians everywhere” craze and the idea that a media outlet in Arkansas is “totally in bed with the Russians”.
Yes, every time I’m in Little Rock Arkansas, Russians everywhere— D Gunn (@dlgwoodwork) November 21, 2019
a Russian quotation mark on a tweet from a verified legitimate news outlet in Arkansas.— 16 Handles fan accou🎄 (@BasedKashiBar) November 20, 2019
So...is the story true or a plant by Arkansas Russians using their special Russian only codes?— Christian Allen (@Serellan) November 20, 2019
Now I need to know!
Yeah the Arkansas Democrat Gazette is totally in bed with the Russians.— Jules of Denial (@Coolish_Breeze) November 20, 2019
EVERYONE FREAK THE FUCK OUT THE RUSSIANS INVADED MY KEYBOARD— ☭ Lawrence❔ (@WhereIsLawrence) November 21, 2019
"Don't question the press!!"— Kyle Tittle (@Tittlewk93) November 21, 2019
"I screamed about a Russian conspiracy because I couldn't figure out what an arrow looks like"
The news comes following reports that Hunter Biden has been recognised by DNA testing to be the father of a 15-month old child with 28-year-old Lunden Alexis Roberts. Roberts filed a suit in May of this year seeking to establish Biden's paternity of her child despite his constant denials.
The child was born in August 2018, while Hunter was still in relationship with his brother Beau’s widow Hallie Biden. Biden’s lawyers agreed to DNA testing in October of this year, and he is not expected to challenge the results, according to the revealed court documents. Biden, who has been married to South African filmmaker Melissa Cohen since May, has not publicly commented on the revelation yet.
The son of former US Vice President and current presidential candidate Joe Biden came under increased scrutiny this year following an impeachment inquiry launched against US President Donald Trump alleging that he pressured his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky to start a probe into the Biden family's activity in Ukraine, where Hunter Biden was on the board of directors of the Ukrainian company Burisma.