Journalism

Political Journalists Have Themselves to Blame for Sinking Credibility

Sloppy work creates self-inflicted wounds.

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"Our record as journalists in covering this Trump story and the Russian story is pretty good," legendary reporter Carl Bernstein recently claimed. Pretty good? If there's a major news story over the past 70 years that the American media has botched more often because of bias and wishful thinking, I'd love to hear about it.

Four big scoops recently run by major news organizations—written by top reporters and, presumably, churned through layers of scrupulous editing—turned out to be completely wrong. Reuters, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and others reported that special counsel Robert Mueller's office had subpoenaed President Donald Trump's records from Deutsche Bank. Trump's attorney says it hadn't. ABC reported that candidate Trump had directed Michael Flynn to make contact with Russian officials before the election. He didn't (as far as we know). The New York Times ran a story claiming that K.T. McFarland, a former member of the Trump transition team, had acknowledged collusion. She hadn't. Then, CNN topped off the week by falsely reporting that the Trump campaign had been offered access to hacked Democratic National Committee emails before they were published. It wasn't.

Forget your routine bias. These were four bombshells disseminated to millions of Americans by breathless anchors, pundits and analysts, all of whom are feeding frenzied expectations about Trump-Russia collusion that have now been internalized by many as indisputable truths. All four pieces, incidentally, are useless without their central faulty claims. Yet there they sit. And these are only four of dozens of other stories that have fizzled over the year.

If we are to accept the special pleadings of journalists, we have to believe these were all honest mistakes. They may be. But a person might then ask: Why is it that every one of the dozens of honest mistakes is prejudiced in the very same way? Why hasn't there been a single major honest mistake that diminishes the Trump-Russia collusion story? Why is there never an honest mistake that indicts Democrats?

Maybe the problem is that too many people are working backward from a preconception. Maybe newsrooms have too many people who view the world through an identical prism—which is to say they believe he stole the election with the help of Russians. And perhaps the president's constant lashing out at the media has provoked some newsrooms to treat their professional obligations as a moral crusade rather than a fact-gathering enterprise.

For instance, the CNN reporters who wrote the DNC story, Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb, contend they had two sources who told them Donald Trump Jr. was offered encryption codes to look at hacked DNC emails. They both must have lied to them about the same date on the same email. CNN says that the duo followed "editorial process" in reporting the piece. This brings three lines of questioning to mind.

First: Do news organizations typically run stories about documents they've never authenticated? If so, what other big stories over the past few years have been run based on unauthenticated documents? Can they point to a single story about the Obama administration CNN has written using a similar process? What part of CNN's editorial guidelines deals with this sort of situation?

Second: Why would two independent sources lie about a date on the email to Trump Jr. if they didn't want to mislead the public? And how independent could they really be? How many stories regarding the Russian-collusion investigation has CNN run from these same sources?

Three: If sources lie to you, why not burn them? There may be good reasons to avoid exposing a dishonest source. Perhaps it will scare away legitimate whistleblowers. Perhaps reporters want to preserve relationships with people like Adam Sch—er, with those in power—because they may help on other stories in the future. And at the end of the day, you're in contest for information. But these people have put the reporters' reputation—even their jobs—in danger. Moreover, they have engaged in a serious abuse of the public trust and an abuse of power. Who knows how many of these mistakes, spread over numerous outlets, came from the same sources? This seems newsworthy.

When honest mistakes are found, the reflex of many political journalists has been portraying themselves as sentinels of free speech and democracy. Often they will attempt to do this by contrasting their track record on truth with that of Donald Trump. Yes, Trump is a fabulist. His tweets can be destructive. And maybe one day Robert Mueller will inform us that the administration colluded with Russia. What it has not done up to this point, however, is undermine the ability of the press to report stories accurately. Trump didn't make your activist source lie.

The fact that many political journalists (not all) have a political agenda is not new (social media has made this fact inarguable), but if they become a proxy of operatives who peddle falsehoods, they will soon lose credibility with an even bigger swath of the country. They will have themselves to blame.

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  1. Unbiased? Hah! The only people they are fooling are themselves and their fans.

    I remember some analysis of political donations by government employees — 95% went to Democrats. The percentage for “journalists” was similar.

    And they wonder why their ratings are dropping and why they have such low reputations.

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  2. “And perhaps the president’s constant lashing out at the media has provoked some newsrooms to treat their professional obligations as a moral crusade rather than a fact-gathering enterprise.”

    And if you think that’s an accident, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you. I STILL think Obama played the ‘Truthers’ to make them look even more ridiculous. And Trump is doing the same thing to the media. If they don’t stop going into frenzy every time he tweets something negative about them, he’ll nose-lead them for eight years.

    1. “I STILL think Obama played the ‘Truthers’ to make them look even more ridiculous.”

      I agree. In fact I think the truther movement was started by someone in Obama’s camp. Obama won that battle by a score of 100-0. If we ever figure out who orchestrated it we should put them in charge of the CIA.

      1. 100 -1. Let’s not forget that the number one truther won the presidency.

      2. Don’t you mean “Birthers”?

        I believe that originated with Clinton’s oppo research against Obama.

  3. Do news organizations typically run stories based on documents they haven’t authenticated? Clearly. And clearly Rathergate taught them absolutely nothing.

    1. It taught them that no one is paying attention to stories that contradict their world view.

  4. Putin is controlling Trump’s Brain

    News at 11!!!

    1. No one is controlling Trump’s brain, absolutely nobody.

  5. I’m a big believer in the media protecting the anonymity of sources, but I do see some merit in adding the caveat that such protection is forfeit if it can be proven definitively that the source lied.

    1. It’s the reporter and the news organizations responsibility to confirm their sources. If they publish something bogus, they need to take the fall.

  6. I disagree in some regards. News organizations have to cover an insane amount of bull crap and cover up coming from the White House.

    The WH has consistently and blatantly lied to the press. It wasn’t like this under Bush or Obama. If 99% of their reporting is correct…. that is still a much much higher percentage that what comes from the White House.

    Second, where is Fox Noise in the mix here? Although they are not critical of the president, they still consistently push false narratives, conspiracy theories and propaganda from the WH. They are OBSESSED with Hillary Clinton.

    I agree that there were some things she did that were unethical and maybe illegal…but good golly. Let the Justice Department handle it and move on! If the Trump led justice department doesn’t do anything…. nothing will ever come of it.

    1. “The WH has consistently and blatantly lied to the press.”

      Since the administration of Woodrow Wilson, at the latest. And in recent decades the Media have consistently fought back…when there was a Republican administration. When there was a Democrat they COULD be lead to expose some of the more egregious lies, if their feet were held to the fire.

      And often they have reported the Democrat establishment’s narrative with little or no scrutiny. Which is how they are beclowning themselves now. Is there something shady between Trump and the Russians? Maybe. Kind hard to tell, what with the amount of unsupported bullshit being spouted by a Democrat establishment anxious to duck responsibility for what an awful candidate they nominated. There appears to have been a pretty certainly shady connection between the Russians and Hillary, and it’s instructive how little attention the Media wants to pay to it.

      But the problem isn’t the bias. All news media is biased. The problem is the idiotic notion that unbiased media is even possible. The Mainstream Media should admit they are the Democrat Establishment News services and have done with it. And Fox should admit THEIR bias. And while we’re at it, let’s do away with PBS’s reporting, as the notion that a government supported news service would be somehow LESS biased than corporate ones is amazingly stupid.

    2. The WH has consistently and blatantly lied to the press. It wasn’t like this under Bush or Obama

      LOL

      1. Because those presidents and THEIR press secretaries were fonts of integrity and full disclosure. They never said blatant shit like “We have to invade Iraq because they were responsible for 9/11” or “If you like your insurance, you can keep it.”

    3. “I disagree in some regards. News organizations have to cover an insane amount of bull crap and cover up coming from the White House.”
      Well, they’d do better if they didn’t generate their own insane amount of bull crap and cover up.

      “The WH has consistently and blatantly lied to the press. It wasn’t like this under Bush or Obama. If 99% of their reporting is correct…. that is still a much much higher percentage that what comes from the White House.”
      Speaking of an insane amount of bull crap, you’re doing just fine on your own.

      “Second, where is Fox Noise in the mix here? Although they are not critical of the president, they still consistently push false narratives, conspiracy theories and propaganda from the WH. They are OBSESSED with Hillary Clinton.”
      Fox “Noise”. How………….juvenile.

      “I agree that there were some things she did that were unethical and maybe illegal…but good golly. Let the Justice Department handle it and move on!”
      So news organizations are only supposed to cover politicians YOU don’t like?
      Buzz off.

    4. “The WH has consistently and blatantly lied to the press. It wasn’t like this under Bush or Obama”

      Ha! Ha! Ha!

  7. It wasn’t like this under Bush or Obama.

    Are you for real?

    1. He is not for real. He’s peddling a false narrative for partisan sake. Any real journalist would point out that FOX and the right are just as, if not worse, when it comes to peddling bad stories. And it does not take a PhD in history to see that this stuff has been happening for decades. Nope, just like CNN Reason publishes this crap because it gets ratings and scores points for their side.

      1. Any real journalist would point out that FOX and the right are just as, if not worse, when it comes to peddling bad stories.

        I’ve heard this said repeatedly.

        im not a fan of *any* of the presitige news-media; but please share with me your top 3 examples of Fox, et al of “The right”, knowingly pumping falsehoods, just so we’re clear on how incredibly obvious this is

  8. Left, right, and center really define a spectrum, if you will. They’re more relative terms, really, and what they mean depends on who you ask.

    Lots of people think the media is biased to the left.
    Some people think the media isn’t biased at all.
    A few people think that Fox news is biased to the right, but nothing else is.

    And that doesn’t tell you anything about media bias!

    1. The idea that ANY news media is or can be unbiased is amazingly stupid. Even with the much more relaxed news cycle of 19th century newspapers, there was damn little time to check stories, and reporters and editors had to make decisions on the fly. This decisions would be made from personal POV and experience. What’s different is that we have since bought the lie that unbiased news is a possibility. The narrative goes that when there were two or more profitable major papers in any city of size, bias was acceptable, but since that has changed it is now the Duty of Good Journalists to be unbiased.

      Horsepucky.

      Read Mencken. He makes it clear that in his day, in cities with two or more major papers, one paper was profitable. That paper supported the incumbent administration, got the local government printing contracts, and made money. Any other paper lost money, and was supported by some opposition hopeful with a fortune. There may have been a few exceptionally large cities that actually supported two or more major papers, but they were rare.

      The lie that unbiased news is possible has discouraged other POVs from starting their own media and presenting their own narratives. Look at the hullaballoo the very existence of Fix News causes! It’s high time we dropped the fairy tale and started accepting that all media is biased. Even celebrated it.

      1. “What’s different is that we have since bought the lie that unbiased news is a possibility.”

        EXACTLY. 1,000% this. I get the impression, when reading the comments from some of the complainers on the right, that they really want some sort of Walter Cronkite figure saying “and that’s the way it is” but from some hypothetical completely objectively neutral position. That can’t ever happen. People have to read multiple sources and construct their understanding of the world by synthesizing divergent views. There isn’t ever going to be one “unbiased” gatekeeper of all knowledge that will “tell it like it is”.

        1. And I don’t know if the lie is a conscious attempt by the Political Left to capture the news media, or if it’s simply the natural consequence of Reporters reinventing themselves as Professional Journalists (wouldn’t a journalist be somebody who keep a diary, professionally?) and the natural egomania that comes from taking a college degree in something that used to be catch as catch can. Either way, it needs to die.

        2. Walter Cronkite was one of the original purveyors of bias. Why would the right want him as a model?

    2. I think a reasonable way to measure bias is to listen to people’s opinions on the purported bias.

      NPR fans say NPR is neutral and Fox is biased

      Fox fans say Fox is neatral and NPR is biased

      I think that gives you a pretty good reading that they are both biased in the way the opinions indicate.

      1. I think NPR is hilarious. A government supported news source that is supposedly The Real Truth. Can you say ‘Pravda’? I suppose it’s a silliness that we caught from the British and their BBC, and it says something wonderful about NPR, the BBC, the British, AND us that both networks have occasionally been government funded news sources with distinct anti-government biases.

        All news sources are biased. They have to be. Nobody can process all the news there is, or even all the facts about any one story. Oh, you say you can process all the RELEVANT facts? Who decides? See? Bias.

        I was so disappointed in Fox news when I heard their slogan. It should have been “You’ve heard their side, this is ours.”

    3. And that doesn’t tell you anything about media bias!

      Well, actually, what “lots of people think” about media bias is one way of measuring media bias, and it’s pretty consistent with other measures of media bias: statistical text analysis, sentiment analysis, topic analysis, political identifications of journalists, political donations by journalists, party affiliation of journalists, party affiliation of the demographics that journalists come from, party affiliation of readership, to name just a few.

      Of course, the corrupt, biased state of journalism is no more news than that politicians are corrupt perverts and frauds. The difference is that in the early 21st century, (1) we are becoming more conservative and intolerant of such behavior, and (2) the Internet has destroyed the oligopoly a few media corporations used to have on disseminating information.

      1. (2) the Internet has destroyed the oligopoly a few media corporations used to have on disseminating information.

        I think you misspelled temporarily disrupted.

        1. Just a few goolebookter bans from achieving purity of message.

      2. You can add as contributors-to-the-corruption journalism departments and media academics, many of whom proffer to their wide-eyed wannabe journos the idiotic notion that media has become MORE concentrated than it was when ABC, NBC, CBS, WaPo and NTY had true media cartel.

        Of course this is rooted in tired anti-capitalism from a bunch of old greybeards/ponytails who refuse to retire. Blame the corporations for monopolistic behavior.

  9. Do news organizations typically run stories about documents they’ve never authenticated?

    Yes. All the time.

    If sources lie to you, why not burn them?

    Most likely, because they are fabrications or legal covers for media-contrived propaganda.

    Why would two independent sources lie about

    See above.

    1. media-contrived propaganda

      Okay, this is an example of the crap I was talking about.

      Do you REALLY believe that the straight media – not partisan media, but mainstream media outlets – deliberately concocts “propaganda” that they know is false, in order to hurt Republicans?

      See that seems like a completely batshit crazy position to me. Since it is much more believable, and doesn’t require belief in grand conspiracies, to simply say that their natural partisan bias leads them to making mistakes more often than they should when the story is one that they would like to be true (i.e., anti-Republican). Yes, most of their mistakes are against one side only. But it’s not a conspiracy, it is natural human bias.

      1. I think the “mainstream media outlets” deliberately push false stories in order to achieve their own ends. That has a tendency to be anti-Republican and pro Democrat, but it’s not really a necessity to the process. More important is that they kill stories that are counter to their narratives.
        eg. “Hands up don’t shoot”; Treyvon Martin; Trump-Russia-Collusion; Hilary has a 98% chance of winning…

        We could go on to other stuff, like their decidedly pro-immigrant stance on all things.

        A lot of this is multifaceted, IMO and is at least in part motivated by the fact that they can get more viewers / more clicks.

      2. That somehow makes it worse that they create fantastical narratives spun out of their wishful thinking and honestly believe they are true.

        The openly dishonest man at least knows the truth in his own head.

        1. “That somehow makes it worse that they create fantastical narratives spun out of their wishful thinking and honestly believe they are true”

          WE ALL DO THIS. Because we are all flawed biased human beings. It doesn’t make us sinister or terrible people. It just makes us people.

          1. The difference is, that journalists are supposed to be professionals and try to police that tendency. Just like we believe that a cop should have the impulse control to not to beat up someone who is verbally abusing them.

      3. “Do you REALLY believe that the straight media – not partisan media, but mainstream media outlets – deliberately concocts “propaganda” that they know is false, in order to hurt Republicans?”

        After Rathergate, do you REALLY believe that they don’t? Do you also believe in the Easter Bunny?

        Look, to take an example from a completely different society, I have watched BBC spokespeople say with a straight face that studies showed that wind farms to not kill unusual numbers of birds. I not that the BBC is an organ of a government that, at that time, had made a politically expensive commitment to wind farms. There are no such studies.

        An unbiased media is impossible.The Mainstream Media is unusually awkward about it bias, however.

        1. JournoList.
          Podesta email leaks
          etc, etc

          Or… just watch the news

          How many “local stations” actually report the exact same mundane phrase pushed by their corporate overlords? And somehow it’s hard to believe that there isn’t some hand behind every single major media company pushing the exact same anti-republican news.

          1. You just tore down all of Jeff’s heroes, you monster.

          2. Lazy TV personalities reading from the same script is not the same as a purposeful conspiracy to brainwash people and push a narrative. You do get this, right?

            If there is a conspiracy, then start giving some DIRECT EVIDENCE for this conspiracy, not this indirect suppositional nonsense. Who are the conspirators? What is your DIRECT EVIDENCE for this conspiracy – again, not among opinion writers or partisan media, but mainstream straight news outlets – to push a deliberate narrative that purposefully harms Republicans?

            My explanation makes gobs more sense and doesn’t insist on the existence of some vast conspiracy.

        2. You do realize that Dan Rather didn’t actually forge the memos, right?

          1. I realize that Dan Rather presented, as fact, a narrative supported by memos that would not have passed the most superficial vetting. Oh, I suppose they could have been more obvious fakes, if they were (say) on Snoopy stationary……

            1. He wanted to believe a claim that was true, even though it wasn’t, because of partisanship or because of animus agianst Bush. Yes. That is wrong. But it is not the same as actually concocting the story himself. That is the difference.

              1. If he had halfway done his job, he would have caught that the documents could not stand up to scrutiny. Either he deliberately closed hid eyes to the problems, or he was ostentatiously stupid.

                Or, of course, both.

        3. I can’t believe people don’t see it! The whole WalkAway movement started because networks
          stopped trying to hide the bias. I was probably 12 when my parents told me never to believe news on TV…lol.
          It’s so much worse now than it was then.

          If anyone cares about real news, they cannot get it from the TV. It’s getting a lot more difficult to get it online now too. I don’t know if an unbiased media is impossible, but I know we will never see one.

    2. Not only are news orgs using documents that were never authenticated…
      The FBI used a dossier funded by the DNC and Hillary Clinton to get FISA warrants
      to spy on Carter Page (a low-level participant of the Trump campaign).
      By getting those warrants, they could then spy on Trump.
      Sounds like crazy, conspiracy theory, doesn’t it?
      It’s not. These are facts but the Democrat House has no interest in outing
      corrupt members of the FBI and DOJ.
      Several of those who were involved have already been fired: James Comey, Andrew McCabe,
      Peter Strzok, Lisa Page. Bruce Ohr is under investigation.
      This should scare everybody! When the FBI uses unverified, campaign propaganda to get a warrant, the country is in trouble.

  10. Between what the MSM says and what The Donald does (despite what he says), I’m hoping the LP doesn’t run a decent candidate in 2020; I’d really like to vote for The Donald next time. [kicks Never Trump sign under the sofa].

    1. I hope you’re serious. It’s really sad because we can see the economy improve, the jobs grow, we no longer have a war with North Korea hanging over our head. I don’t think they’ll ever give up their nukes, but at least they stopped threatening us. They released 3 American prisoners thanks to Trump.
      Even if I didn’t like Trump, I would think what they’re doing is wrong.
      There is no evidence of Russian collusion. The special counsel investigation is backwards. Normally a special counsel is hired when a crime has been committed. This counsel was hired to find a crime. All this because Democrats and the establishment don’t like the man who won the election.
      If they would succeed and remove Trump from office (they won’t), there would be no point in anyone voting anymore.
      It would mean the people don’t choose the president. Politicians and lobbyists do.

  11. Okay yes, the media is biased.

    But holy shit does the right go absolutely apeshit about it. They hate the media more than they hate Hillary or illegals.

    And a lot of grifters on the right realize this and publish misleading clickbaity stories about MEDIA BIAS that serve only to gin up anger and outrage and clicks and bucks. And the cynical side of me sometimes thinks that the demagogues on the right deliberately want to scream FAKE NEWS at everything negative about them, regardless of its merit, so as to destroy trust in the media as an exercise in achieving power.

    So YES the media is biased, YES they get some big stories wrong most likely out of a desire to want to believe that they are true (because they are anti-Republican) rather than going the extra mile of fact-checking, but I am not going to cast my lot in with the charlatans of the right. They all deserve a big heaping dose of blame.

    1. “But holy shit does the right go absolutely apeshit about it.”

      *sigh*

      I have watched this for literally DECADES. I first noticed it in the 1070’s. It’s the deflecting effect of the lie that media CAN be unbiased.

      1. Holy shit, Methuselah!

        1. I THOUGHT Schofield sounded like a Saxon name.

      2. “I have watched this for literally DECADES. I first noticed it in the 1070’s. It’s the deflecting effect of the lie that media CAN be unbiased.”

        Interesting… are you aware of a significant amount of lying when reporting the battle of Hastings? LOL (sorry, I couldn’t resist)

        1. I’m sorry too. My fingers are fungers all too often, and I’m a lazy proof-reader at best.

    2. Oh sure they lie and are biased but I won’t hold them accountable because I agree with their bias.

      See? You really didn’t need that many words.

      1. But I don’t agree with their bias, Skippy. That is what you don’t get.

        I don’t agree with their bias, and I don’t agree with the claims, made by many on the right, that it is some sort of deliberate conspiracy to destroy Republicans.

        1. They aren’t trying to destroy Republicans necessarily, but they are trying to get Trump impeached both inside the government and inside most big-name media outlets and they DO NOT CARE how much collateral damage might be incurred. They are literally willing to burn their credibility to the ground in order to impeach Trump. Not all media, obviously, but I suspect that those outlets are willing to burn through Journalists to put these stories out there.

          If one of those journalists goes a little ‘too far’ for the public, the outlet just cuts off that head (who then goes and gets a job at another outlet) and says ‘oops, we’re unbiased again now!’ and moves along onto the next attack angle.

          It’s not like most media outlets are surviving on their own merits, they’re supported by billionaires who are willing to take a loss to get their message out there. Some outlets function as lobbyist firms only instead of reaching out to Congress they reach out to the public, and you can put a dollar value on that.

          1. “They are literally willing to burn their credibility to the ground in order to impeach Trump.”

            Really? You think they have a conscious desire to impeach Trump? I think they are reporting on stories that their audience wants to hear, and to the extent their audience consists of left-of-center Beltway types, they are going to be reporting on sensationalistic Trump stuff. CNN (IMO) gives too much attention to the Trump Russia investigation not because they want Trump to be impeached over it, but because their audience is more interested in that than on, say, what the new tax rates are going to be.

            I also find it hard to believe that so many people think that the media is purposefully anti-Republican when they were such big cheerleaders for Bush’s Iraq War.

            1. So aside from all of the twitting. The severe slant to the coverage. The continied massive botching of important stories (did you even bother to read the article?). The massive differential in political affiliation. Aside from all of that you conclude that because they supported intervention in iraq jist like a majoritu of democrats did at the time and jist like they supported in libya after, that, that is conclusive proof that they aren’t biased.

              The logic is impeccable.

              1. I agree that they slant their coverage. I agree that they don’t do enough fact-checking, in part because of their bias. I AGREE WITH YOU THAT THEY ARE BIASED. This is different than hypothesizing the existence of some coordinated conspiracy.

                1. So it’s back to the handshake. As long as they don’t conspire you’re “not going to cast your lot in with the charlatons on the right.” I mean those righties were asking for it with their short skirts and all.

                  1. I’m not going to join in with their delusions and conspiratorial nonsense, no. When they wish to join the rest of us in reality, then we can have a sober discussion about media bias.


            2. Really? You think they have a conscious desire to impeach Trump?

              Yes. Obviously. Recall that we are currently on impeachment attempt #2, with another likely to come soon.

              1. And, I can guarantee you that literally every left-of-center (whatever the fuck THAT means) is actively digging for dirt to impeach Trump with that as their explicit goal.

                You’d think after a year they would have something actionable, yet nope. They don’t. So they continue to throw as much shit as possible in the hope that something, anything, sticks.

                Please note that much the same was done to Obama by ‘right-of-center’ outlets. That doesn’t mean everything Obama did was above board, it just means that partisans are going to partisan. That said, I don’t think those ‘right-of-center’ outlets were ever under the impression that they were going to impeach Obama. I imagine some hoped for that but it was never to the same scale that we’re seeing now from the left. Or, at the very least, it was never as successful. Recall there have now been two attempts to impeach Trump without any evidence of anything at all.

                Do you reckon if Republicans had done that to Obama that the media would have said ‘well, I don’t know, maybe Obama did something to deserve it so why not try?’ That is what most of them appear to be saying about Trump. Hilarity ensues?

              2. So you think straight news reporters at mainstream outlets – not the opinion writers, and not the partisan writers at partisan outlets – are intentionally trying to get Trump impeached? Wow.

                1. Uhh, yes? Why else would they run with so many stories using factually untrue information that has repeatedly gone in the same partisan direction? Especially regarding the case that Democratic lawmakers are using as their basis for their repeated attempts to impeach?

                  I mean, you can blow as much smoke as you want but it is what it is. If an outlet only vet’s stories that disagree with their narrative you have a problem.

                  it provides those networks with just enough cover that they can say it wasn’t the outlet, but rogue actors within it. With the frequency of heads being rolled, I’d say those ‘rogue actors’ are more like sacrificial lambs.

            3. They had a conscious desire to impeach W, let alone Trump.

        2. What was journolist? What was thrush allowing clinton editorial privilege? You can always try to hide behind “well that doesn’t rise to the level of CONSPIRACY” but when the bias is this blatant no honest person can conclude it isn’t intentional.

          1. Then who are the conspirators? How EXACTLY does this conspiracy work? Do the reporters from NYT, WaPo, CNN, etc., have secret teleconferences every day to coordinate their messaging and narrative propaganda?

            1. Holy shit. Have you honestly never heard of the JournoList? And how did I know you would try to weasel your way out by playing the conspiracy card? It’s literally in the post you are replying to.

            2. Reporters from CNN? There are no “reporters” on CNN. Most of their staff were politicians before they worked for CNN. Same thing at MSNBC. Van Jones was Obama’s green Czar. Jake Tapper worked for a bunch of Democrat candidates. Chris Cuomo’s brother is the governor of New York. Joe Scarborough was a congressman. Chris Matthews worked for Tip O’Neal. George Stepanopoulas calls himself a journalist and his degree is in political science. He worked for Bill Clinton.See a pattern yet?
              These are just off the top of my head.
              As for the “secret teleconferences”….Haven’t you ever heard a montage of anchors using the exact same verbiage when they report a story? They can’t even change the words a little bit to make it look less obvious. This happens ALL the time. https://youtu.be/PStpvviPgxk

            3. Reporters from CNN? There are no “reporters” on CNN. Most of their staff were politicians before they worked for CNN. Same thing at MSNBC. Van Jones was Obama’s green Czar. Jake Tapper worked for a bunch of Democrat candidates. Chris Cuomo’s brother is the governor of New York. Joe Scarborough was a congressman. Chris Matthews worked for Tip O’Neal. George Stepanopoulas calls himself a journalist and his degree is in political science. He worked for Bill Clinton.See a pattern yet?
              These are just off the top of my head.
              As for the “secret teleconferences”….Haven’t you ever heard a montage of anchors using the exact same verbiage when they report a story? They can’t even change the words a little bit to make it look less obvious. This happens ALL the time. https://youtu.be/PStpvviPgxk

          2. I mean, shit, wapo fact checkers actually just played the game of ‘oh sure it may be a fact but that doesn’t make it .’ What do you call that level of dishonesty?

            1. I call it reporters who are being overly harsh on a Republican because of their intrinsic left-wing bias.

              I don’t believe it is part of some coordinated conspiracy among reporters to tear down Mike Pence.

              See the difference?

              1. Whst is so magical about the word conspiracy to you?

                1. Well, as I said from the outset,

                  “I don’t agree with the claims, made by many on the right, that it is some sort of deliberate conspiracy to destroy Republicans.”

                  Do you think it is a conspiracy? Do you think there is active coordination between reporters in order to thwart and destroy Republicans? If not then we are on the same page. I agree that reporters are biased. I have never claimed otherwise. In that sense the right is correct. But they go TOO FAR with their criticism, drifting into la-la land.

                  1. You’re the one who brought up fringe conspiracy thinking. Your entire original post was deflection from the issue. Which came first: the blatant dishonesty of the media or the conspiracy thinking (and lest we forget JournoList WAS a real thing).

                    1. I think in most cases, it goes too far to call the media “blatantly dishonest”. Yes there are actual examples of fraud or plagiarism. But – lest I remind you, as just an example – Dan Rather himself didn’t actually forge the TANG memos. He was wrong to believe in them so fervently, and likely he was blin.ded by his own bias into believing them when he would have been more skeptical if the memos had been directed against someone else. So the media doesn’t actually concoct the rumors or the fraudulent documents, but they do amplify the ones that fit their biases. The unequal amplification of particular stories is wrong. I agree with you there. But can we talk about this issue without accusing the media of bad faith or evil intent? Trump says that the media is the “enemy of the people”. That kind of discourse on the subject is not helpful and IMO completely wrongheaded. They are not “the enemy”.

                    2. I think in most cases, it goes too far to call the media “blatantly dishonest”. Yes there are actual examples of fraud or plagiarism. But – lest I remind you, as just an example – Dan Rather himself didn’t actually forge the TANG memos. He was wrong to believe in them so fervently, and likely he was blin.ded by his own bias into believing them when he would have been more skeptical if the memos had been directed against someone else. So the media doesn’t actually concoct the rumors or the fraudulent documents, but they do amplify the ones that fit their biases. The unequal amplification of particular stories is wrong. I agree with you there. But can we talk about this issue without accusing the media of bad faith or evil intent? Trump says that the media is the “enemy of the people”. That kind of discourse on the subject is not helpful and IMO completely wrongheaded. They are not “the enemy”.

                    3. “I think in most cases, it goes too far to call the media “blatantly dishonest”. Yes there are actual examples of fraud or plagiarism”

                      Like NBC’s “Dateline” rigging the gas tanks of Chevy trucks to explode.

          3. What you are doing, Skippy, is taking isolated data points and trying to force it into a pattern that is soothing to your worldview. That is what conspiracy theorists do. They take unrelated matters and try to impose a pattern on them, a pattern that *just so happens* to align with their preconceived ideas.

            Yes it is possible that JournoList could have been this conspiratorial tool to foist a coordinated anti-Republican message. Or, it could have been a bunch of colleagues discussing interesting matters among themselves, and since they all came from the same basic social milieu – college educated, working in big cities – they all shared roughly the same political orientation. Which do you think better passes the Occam’s Razor test?

            1. What you are doing, jeffie, is trying to weasel your way out by holding everything to an explicit conspiratorial standard. That is completely beside the point when virtually the entire journalist community behaves like a hive mind with reinforcing narratives. You desperately do not want to see this because you desperately do not want to agree with the right.

            2. Basically you’re saying it’s fine as long as they don’t have a secret handshake. See the difference?

              1. I’m not saying “it’s fine”. Where did I say that “it’s fine” that the media is biased? I’m saying that the Right frequently goes unhinged when diagnosing the problems in the media. It’s not a conspiracy to destroy Republicans, it is just general groupthink among like-minded people.

                1. I believe the correct talking point these days is “false equivalence.”

        3. The released Podesta emails suggest otherwise.

  12. Sloppy work? Err… or deliberately sloppy to advance a narrative.

    Or part of the ‘deep state’s’ efforts.

    http://original.antiwar.com/ju…..-within-2/

    Or as some imagine, a deliberate leak to catch leakers.

    These are the same journos who said US arming of ISIS was ‘conspiracy theory’ – no matter the fact ISIS seemed to be doing what neocons long dreamed of while never attacking Israel – is that right?

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/…..dy-reveals

  13. “Reuters, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and others reported that special counsel Robert Mueller’s office had subpoenaed President Donald Trump’s records from Deutsche Bank. Trump’s attorney says it hadn’t.”

    None of the organizations you mention have withdrawn their claim. How do you know that Trump’s attorney’s statement is accurate?

  14. Needz moat media literacy.


  15. Yes, Trump is a fabulist. His tweets can be destructive.

    See! Speech is assault! Free speech is dangerous and literally destroys things!

    /sarc

  16. Gosh… and there I was, expecting the unvarnished, objective Truth from the Nixon-subsidized looter press!

  17. It’s not the sloppy stakes, it’s the relentless propaganda.

  18. All these fabulist stories are doing is inoculating Trump if there is ever any significant dirt is discovered. I suspect that out of frustration and sheer rage some of these lying stories won’t be retracted even if evidence shows otherwise. The media is so obsessed with destroying Trump they don’t care if they destroy themselves in the process.

    1. “I suspect that out of frustration and sheer rage some of these lying stories won’t be retracted even if evidence shows otherwise”

      Bernie was reporting as fact that Trump admitted to ‘grabbing pussy’ when in fact he claimed ‘you could do so (if you were rich)’. Not only are the stories not being retracted, they are being spread by the same sources who claim to oppose ‘fake news’.
      I’m an old fart; I have no idea if the news, paper or broadcast when I was younger, was as dishonest as it is now. I do know that in the ’50s, I read a story about how there was no more than a 20-year supply of petroleum and reported such to dear ol’ Dad. He mentioned reading the same predictions in the ’30s, and you’ll find that the German development of synfuels was driven by the same predictions. As was prospecting in west Texas, leading to the greatest drop in petroleum costs ever recorded.

      1. BTW, those predictions of the end of gas were delivered by scientists; see “Peak Oil”, so while I’m certainly not a denialist of CC, I’m very skeptical of the catastrophists’ predictions. That con man Ehrlich has made a living from lying, and he’s not alone.
        It’s true that Nixon was such a dislikeable human that the news organizations were able to recover a but of cred, but they had failed to do so during the JFK and LBJ admins, so they got lucky and rode that rep for far longer than they had any reason to do so.
        So forgive me if I read or hear some ‘journalist’ reporting a ‘you won’t believe this’ story’ and don’t believe it.

  19. “Why hasn’t there been a single major honest mistake that diminishes the Trump-Russia collusion story?”

    Trying to figure out how this would work. What if you have rumors but do not run them? Maybe the Times and Post should apologize for all the days that went by until they reported on the June 2016 meeting with Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer? Then they can apologize for the days until they learned about all the people who were there at the meeting? Can it be said that those failures diminished the collusion story?

  20. “They will have themselves to blame.” Richard Nixon, actually, and Congress and the IRS are the pushers and pimps in the story. In the 24-hour span in which the Libertarian Party formed, Nixon bet correctly that government subsidies to pay for DemoGOP kleptocracy ads would not only turn the media into whores, but would attract lampreys to fasten onto the LP and try to coax the non-looter party into taking the danegeld instead of urging its repeal. The media promptly became cheaper whores. But the power of Libertarian spoiler votes comes from their integrity. That is what Nixon sought to undermine–unsuccessfully so far.

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