What is going on with Mr. Khan?

There’s a rumor — or a thinly-sourced-until-now story — going around that the US-Constitution-waving Mr. Kahn, of Democratic convention fame, has been blocked by the US government from visiting Canada.

Now, we don’t know if this incendiary story is true. We do know that some august Canadian news sources have shared it on Twitter based on the claims of a lone Canadian organization that reportedly had booked Khan for a lunch tomorrow.

I’m not alleging that the Canadian group is lying. I am saying that I’ve never heard of this organization, and a two paragraph Facebook post from a group I don’t know even exists isn’t enough to run with a story this explosive.

Now, that doesn’t mean we bury the story forever. People are trying to confirm it. I just worry about sharing these kind of stories publicly when we don’t really have them fully sourced.

Khizr Khan, with his wife Ghazala, talk at the 2016 Democratic Convention about their son U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, who died in 2004 in a car bomb in Iraq at the age of 28.

I’ve been writing professionally for a long time. And I’ve seen my share of real “fake news.” And over time you develop a gut for it. Something feels not quite right about a story. This is one of those stories. And I don’t mean to say that this story is fake news. I mean to say that we don’t have enough proof yet to confirm it and share it as true.

Now why does this matter? It shouldn’t take much explanation. We live in an era where everyone on the right is promoting the notion that anything they disagree with is “fake news.” It doesn’t help that climate to publish stories that may end up not being real.

But more generally, we have a responsibility to our readers, our profession and our country to get it right. So, yeah, it irks me when I see big-name publications, and others, jumping the gun on a story that’s only half-baked. I realize in the Internet age we all feel pressure to be first. We all want those beloved ad-paying pageviews. But come on, let’s show a little professionalism.

I hope the Khan story isn’t true, as it would be a huge violation of one of the most basic tenets of American citizenship: our freedom of movement. And if it is true, we will raise unholy hell over it. (According to some stories, Khan refuses to comment, which isn’t terribly helpful, though to a degree it isn’t a denial.)

But let’s get this one right.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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    I agree 100% that this story should be put on the proverbial back burner until and unless it’s confirmed by reliable sources. Now, John, I’ll freely admit I don’t agree with you all of the time, but this time, you make a good case I’m on board with.

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    They took Paul Robeson’s passport away, why is it a surprise that they can stop this immigrant from traveling.

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    Lock up trump the racist PIG!!

  • Jasper Avelis

    That just uses the same quote given by Ramsay Talks. Khan has not commented on this to anyone except, supposedly, the event organizer. The same “lone Canadian organization” mentioned in the article.

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  • 2patricius2

    I saw the story on only one site, and on no mainstream resource, though I have been checking all day. I won’t believe it till I see confirmation on reliable sources.

  • Stuart Wyman-Cahall

    I’ve been saying the same thing all day. Until Mr. Kahn can tell us better than a “no comment” there is no story. I’m tired of “sharing” news for the sake of making the bumbling Trump administration look incapable of running our government when they’re doing a damn good job of screwing up our country on their own. There real news stories about this administration are horrifying enough, thank you.

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