So there was this story last week about three sixth-grade white boys at Immanuel Christian School in Virginia.

A 12-year-old black girl with dreadlocks was about to go down a slide during recess when these three boys pounced. One grabbed her arms, one held his hand over her mouth and the third cut off some of her dreadlocks, the girl tearfully told a family member.

"They said my hair was nappy and I was ugly," she said.

Vice President Mike Pence's wife, Karen, worked as an art teacher at Immanuel for 12 years previously when her husband was in Congress. She started teaching there again in January and still does on a part-time basis. The school made headlines when she started working there because they don’t hire or condone “homosexual or lesbian sexual activity” or “transgender identity."

At the time, Pence’s communications director said, “It's absurd that her decision to teach art to children at a Christian school, and the school's religious beliefs, are under attack.”

Narrative complete. Black girl attacked at racist, homophobic school where Vice President Pence’s wife teaches and it’s President Trump’s fault.

The media were the next to pounce. Somber-faced news anchors weepily shared the news.

The headlines and tweets were rampant across the internet:

“Sixth-graders hold down classmate, cut her dreadlocks at school where Karen Pence teaches.”

All news outlets were careful to point out that Pence was a teacher there. The intent was clear. Newsrooms across this great land stumbled over themselves to link Pence to the racist attack, thereby shaming the vice president.

Some stories suggested the intolerance the girl suffered was a direct result of the Trump presidency.

But uh, oh.

Turns out it was a hoax. Days later, on Monday, the girl said she lied about the incident. Video from the school confirmed it. Her family issued the following:

“To those young boys and their parents, we sincerely apologize for the pain and anxiety these allegations have caused. To the administrators and families of Immanuel Christian School, we are sorry for the damage this incident has done to trust within the school family and the undue scorn it has brought to the school. To the broader community, who rallied in such passionate support for our daughter, we apologize for betraying your trust. We understand there will be consequences, and we’re prepared to take responsibility for them. We know that it will take time to heal, and we hope and pray that the boys, their families, the school and the broader community will be able to forgive us in time.”

Several of the news outlets simply updated their original stories with an editor’s note at the top. Some news outlets did a separate story, but the girl recanting didn’t get near the network and cable coverage as did her bogus initial story.

What if Jill Biden, back in 2015, was a part-time teacher at a school where something untoward happened that didn’t involve her? Do you suppose the media would have dragged her, Vice President Joe Biden, and by association, President Barack Obama into it?

The saddest part is, this is nothing new. It happens over and over again. And it only happens to people on the right.

There was the kid who was labeled a racist for staring at the native American. There was the guy who’s mom supposedly died in Iraq because of the travel ban. All bogus. It goes on and on.

Earlier this month, some Ph.D. students at Harvard debunked a study that went viral earlier this year.

The study purported to show a rise in hate crimes in towns following Trump rallies.

According to reporting by Jack Crowe in National Review:

“The study, which found a 226 percent increase in white-nationalist propaganda and hate crimes in counties that hosted Trump campaign rallies, failed to account for political campaigns’ preference for hosting rallies in highly populated areas that naturally tend to experience more hate crimes,” according to the analysis conducted by Harvard P.h.D. candidates Matthew Lilley and Brian Wheaton.

“Lilley and Wheaton were able to replicate the initial study’s findings with respect to Trump rallies, but found an even greater increase in hate crimes in counties that hosted Clinton campaign rallies during the same period. Once the researchers controlled for population size, the effect of rallies on hate crimes became ‘statistically indistinguishable from zero.’”

But the fatally flawed study went viral. It was picked up by CNN, the Washington Post, et. al. A New York Times article said, “The president cannot be absolved of responsibility for inciting the hatred that led to El Paso.”

It was quoted on the campaign trail by Democratic presidential hopefuls.

Bernie Sanders said Trump creates “a climate which emboldens violent extremists.” Beto O'Rourke said Trump's rhetoric "has a lot to do with" the shooting and Kamala Harris said Trump was "tweeting out the ammunition" used in the El Paso.

To be fair, unfairly linking a politician’s rhetoric to something heinous without any evidence is nothing new.

But this is different.

A bogus academic study suggested Trump is actually to blame for an increase in hate crimes. It was reported by multiple national news outlets before it went through any peer-review process. They just unquestioningly ran with it. Again, one must wonder: If the study had blamed an increase in hate crimes on Elizabeth Warren’s  rallies – which, apparently, it could have – would it have received the same level of national exposure?

We are told it is bad for America when Trump lies, exaggerates and uses bogus information to support his positions and policies. I agree whole-heartedly. It is bad for America.

But isn’t it bad for America when news organizations do precisely the same thing? Of course it is.

Meanwhile, network and cable channel execs wring their hands in incredulity over why trust in media numbers have dropped below 40 percent in recent years.

Seriously, is it any wonder?