Reading the New York Times, Washington Post, or watching CNN or MSNBC, there was never any doubt where they stood regarding President Trump. At times, the Mueller probe tended to take on the feel of mythic quest or worn religious trope–Mueller Hero with a Thousand Faces sent to slay the monster.
Votive candles sold in his image and Saturday Night Live cast members singing “All I Want for Christmas is You” to him featuring the line: “Mueller please come
But what happened? Is Mueller still a hero? In an apparent endorsement of an investigation that Mr. Trump has relentlessly attacked as a “witch hunt,” Mr. Barr said Mueller always acted appropriately and never stepped out of the bounds of his job description.
It will be a reckoning for President Trump, to be sure, but also for Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, for Congress, for Democrats, for Republicans, for the news media and, yes, for the system as a whole…
This is a historic admission by the Times. Despite the editorial the paper also ran suggesting “We don’t need to read the Mueller report” because we know Trump is guilty, Baker at least began the work of preparing Times readers for a hard question: “Have journalists made major errors by betting heavily on a new, politicized approach, and essentially becoming the propaganda department for the Democratic Party?
Ironically, the press has now handed Trump the Excaliber of campaign issues heading into 2020. And, as Baker notes, a full 50.3% of respondents in a poll conducted this month said they agree with Trump the Mueller probe is a “witch hunt.”
What the press has done to itself is the equivalent of jumping off a cliff.
The worst thing they found was that Donald Trump paid off a porn star, which is
The story hyped from the start was espionage: a secret relationship between the Trump campaign and Russian spooks who’d helped him win the election. It was literal spying, treason, and election-fixing – crimes so severe, former NSA employee John Schindler told reporters, Trump “will die in jail.”
Do you remember how crazy this got?
In the beginning, the New York Times said Trump’s campaign had “repeated contacts” with Russian intelligence; the Wall Street Journal said our spy agencies were withholding intelligence from the new President out of fear he was compromised; news leaked out our spy chiefs had even told other countries like Israel not to share their intel with us, because the Russians might have “leverages of pressure” on Trump.
CNN told us Trump officials had been in “constant contact” with “Russians
Hillary Clinton, who paid for the fake dossier, insisted Russians “could not have known how to weaponize” political ads unless they’d been “guided” by Americans. Asked if she meant Trump, she said, “It’s pretty hard not to.”
To be clear, this stuff is still out there, and none of this has been walked back.
How dangerous is all of this? From his own testimony, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had some kind of role in helping CNN do its report.
Why would security officials litigate this through the media? It still makes no sense.
In January of 2017, Buzzfeed published all of Steele’s dossier, even admitting as it did so, “It is not just unconfirmed–It includes some clear errors.” Essentially, they published it even as they doubted its veracity.
The most embarrassing episode involved Yahoo! reporter Michael Isikoff.
In its FISA application, the FBI included both the unconfirmed Steele report and Isikoff’s September 23,
CNN has its own blunders. Three of the network’s journalists resigned after a story purporting to tie Anthony Scaramucci to a Russian investment fund was retracted. Four more CNN reporters (Gloria Borger, Eric Lichtblau, Jake Tapper
In another CNN scoop that went off into the weeds, “Email pointed Trump campaign to WikiLeaks documents,” the network’s reporters were off by ten days in a “bombshell” that supposedly proved the Trump campaign had foreknowledge of Wikileaks dumps. “It’s, uh, perhaps not as significant as what we know now,” offered CNN’s Manu Raju in a painful on-air retraction.
The worst stories were the ones never corrected. A particularly bad example is “After Florida School Shooting, Russian ‘Bot’ Army Pounced,” from the New York Times on Feb 18, 2018. The piece claimed Russians were trying to divide Americans on social media after a mass shooting using Twitter hashtags like #guncontrolnow, #gunreformnow
The Times ran this quote: “This is pretty typical for them, to hop on breaking news like this,” said Jonathon Morgan, chief executive of New Knowledge, a company that tracks online disinformation campaigns. “The bots focus on anything that is divisive for Americans. Almost systematically.”
About a year after this story came out, Times reporters Scott Shane and Ann Blinder reported that the same outfit, New Knowledge, and in particular that same Jonathon Morgan, had participated in a cockamamie scheme to fake Russian troll activity in an Alabama Senate race. The idea was to try to convince voters Russia preferred the Republican.
The Times quoted a New Knowledge internal report about the idiotic Alabama scheme:
We orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet…
So it goes.