Saturday, May 20, 2017

Tabloid Journalism

The media, particularly the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, and MSNBC, are yearning to get something on Trump that could topple his presidency. So eager are they to relive the glory years of the early 1970s and Watergate that, in lieu of anything substantial to nail the president with, they've decided that simply making stuff up is not beneath them.

Here's a sample of fabrications by "journalists" at the Washington Post excerpted from a column by Mollie Hemmingway:
1. On May 10, the Washington Post‘s Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, Sari Horwitz, and Robert Costa claimed that:
[Deputy Attorney General Rod J.] Rosenstein threatened to resign after the narrative emerging from the White House on Tuesday evening cast him as a prime mover of the decision to fire Comey and that the president acted only on his recommendation, said the person close to the White House, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
It turns out, however, that this report was false:
But the “person close to the White House” who made the claim without using his or her name was contradicted by none other than Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein himself. The next day he said, “I’m not quitting” when asked by reporters. “No,” he said to the follow-up question of whether he had threatened to quit.
2. On May 10, Ashley Parker wrote:
Last week, then-FBI Director James B. Comey requested more resources from the Justice Department for his bureau’s investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, according to two officials with knowledge of the discussion.
This story was also false:
The story was based on anonymous sources, naturally, and noted “The news was first reported by the New York Times.” If true, it would support a narrative that Trump had fired Comey not due to his general incompetence but because he was trying to thwart a legitimate and fruitful investigation. Anonymous sources again had something very different to say from people whose comments were tied to their names, who all denied the report. The Justice Department spokeswoman immediately responded that the claim was false....

The next day under oath, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe repeatedly denied that the probe into Russia was undersourced or requiring any additional funds.

3. On January 26 Josh Rogin reported that “the State Department’s entire senior management team just resigned” as “part of an ongoing mass exodus of senior Foreign Service officers who don’t want to stick around for the Trump era.”
This story was false, too:
The story went viral before the truth caught up. As per procedure, the Obama administration had, in coordination with the incoming Trump administration, asked for the resignations of all political appointees. While it would have been traditional to let them stay for a few months, the Trump team let them know that their services wouldn’t be necessary. The entire story was wrong.

4. Rogin also had the false story that Steve Bannon had personally confronted Department of Homeland Security’s Gen. John F. Kelly to pressure him not to weaken an immigration ban.
False again:
‘It was a fantasy story,’ Kelly said. Of the reporter, he said: ‘Assuming he’s not making it up… whoever his sources are, [they're] playing him for a fool.’

5. This week, the Washington Post reported that President Trump threatened national security during his meeting with Russians last week....
The report was immediately slapped down as false by multiple high-level Trump officials who were present in the meeting, including National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster who said,
The story that came out tonight as reported is false. The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time, were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. Two other senior officials who were present, including the Secretary of the State, remember the meeting the same way and have said so. Their on the record accounts should outweigh anonymous sources. I was in the room. It didn’t happen.
If the WaPo keeps this up pretty soon you'll be able to buy it in the supermarket checkout lane where it'll be displayed right next to the Globe, Star, and National Enquirer. In fact, all it needs to compete with those tabloids is go half-size and add a few lurid photos. It's already got the story-telling down pat.