The City of Los Angeles claims Arnold Schwarzenegger filled a trench for construction, not a pothole, in his viral video.
A recent viral video showed former California governor and known Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger filling in what he describes as a “giant pothole” that had been damaging cars and bikes in a Los Angeles neighborhood. A headline from CBS News stated that, according to the city of Los Angeles, the so-called pothole was a utility trench. Schwarzenegger took to Twitter to call out the newspaper, saying that the headline completely misrepresented what happened.
The headline is worded to make it seem like Arnold Schwarzenegger interfered with in-progress utility work, making his good intentions obstructive to the neighborhood. However, according to Schwarzenegger, the trench had been left open for three months after the roadwork had been completed, creating a hazard for anyone traveling through the neighborhood. In fact, Schwarzenegger pointed out that the city kept his fix in place, showing that the trench did need filling in.
The fact that the deep, dangerous, tire-popping pothole was instead an abandoned deep, dangerous, tire-popping utility trench was newsworthy enough for CBS News to write a headline that strongly implies Arnold Schwarzenegger made a humorous mistake instead of doing a good deed. Schwarzenegger stated that the misleading headline should be used as an example in schools of why trust in the media is deteriorating.
It’s worth noting (as Arnold Schwarzenegger himself did) that the actual news story includes all of this information — it even notes that the open trench (which had no markings or cones around) had been popping tires for months and that the gas company was supposed to fix the pavement after completing its work. Rain had delayed the fix for months, however, which prompted Arnold Schwarzenegger to step in.
However, as anyone who has spent an iota of time on social media already knows, most people just read the headline and move on instead of reading the story. This means that, if the headline is misleading, most people who see the story will get the wrong impression about what happened. However, since engagement matters more than anything else in the social media world, provocative and eye-catching headlines are modern media’s bread-and-butter.
Twitter has since added context to the headline using its “community notes” feature. The attached note provides a link to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tweet and explains the three-month gap between Schwarzenegger’s public service and the end of utility work.
Filling in a dangerous trench is not the first time that Arnold Schwarzenegger has gained some flack for an attempt to do good on social media. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Schwarzenegger was adamantly in favor of wearing masks, telling opponents “screw your freedom!” He recently apologized for this outburst, saying that he tries to remain positive, but “sometimes my mouth gets ahead of me.”
The 75-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger is doing more than just filling in trenches these days. He has begun acting again in a limited capacity, appearing in Terminator: Dark Fate and providing voices for Little Demon, Stan Lee’s Superhero Kindergarten, and Predator: Hunting Grounds. He is also rumored to appear as a Na’vi in an upcoming Avatar film.