Posted tagged ‘Faked news’

The Washington Post Swings and Misses at Jeff Sessions

July 22, 2017

The Washington Post Swings and Misses at Jeff Sessions, Power LinePaul Mirengoff, July 21, 2017

The Post’s sources clearly are out to get Sessions. It’s anyone’s guess whether they are accurately characterizing what the ambassador told his government and the reliability of what he told it.

In any event, the Post and its sources have failed to identify any contradiction between Sessions’s statements about his interaction with the ambassador and what the ambassador supposedly told the Russians about the interaction.

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The Washington Post claims that Attorney General Sessions’ statements about what he discussed with the Russian ambassador are at odds with reports by the ambassador to his government about what he and Sessions discussed. The Post relies on, you guessed it, “current and former U.S. officials.”

But the Post fails to describe a contradiction between what Sessions has said and what the Russian ambassador supposedly reported. Here are the only statements by Sessions cited by the Post and its sources as problematic:

I never had meetings with Russian operatives or Russian intermediaries about the Trump campaign.

I don’t recall any discussion of the campaign in any significant way.

I never met with or had any conversation with any Russians or foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States.

Here is the Post’s description of what the Russian ambassador told the government:

A former official said that the intelligence indicates that Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive” discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration.

Maybe. But even someone with average skill in reading and logic would understand that this description is not inconsistent with Sessions’ denial that he did not discuss the campaign with the ambassador.

It stands to reason that Sessions might discuss Russia-related issues with the Russian ambassador. And Russia-related issues are also campaign-related issues in the sense that Russia was an issue in the campaign.

But what Sessions denied was that he discussed the campaign and any interference by Russia with it. The denial was important because, at the time Sessions made it, the issue Washington fixated on was whether Team Trump sought or knew about Russian help for the candidate, or coordinated with Russia regarding the campaign.

The Post’s piece, by Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima, and Greg Miller, is dishonest. It finds a contradiction where none exists by glossing over the distinction between discussing a “campaign-related issue” — which is any substantive issue raised by any candidate during the campaign season — and discussing the campaign.

Discussing hacking or “opposition research” research with the Russian ambassador would constitute discussing the campaign. Telling the ambassador how the campaign is going or what its strategy is would constituted discussing the campaign. Telling the ambassador — as President Obama told the Russian president — that the candidate would be more flexible with Russia after the campaign would probably be a borderline case.

Simply discussing Russia policy — past, present, or future — is not discussing the campaign.

There is also the question of whether the Russian ambassador was telling his government the truth. The Post admits that “the Russian ambassador could have mischaracterized or exaggerated the nature of his interactions” with Sessions. It notes: “Russian and other foreign diplomats in Washington and elsewhere have been known, at times, to report false or misleading information to bolster their standing with their superiors or to confuse U.S. intelligence agencies.”

The Post adds, however, that the Russian ambassador “has a reputation for accurately relaying details about his interactions with officials in Washington.” Maybe. But I’m not inclined to take the word of the “deep state” on this. I suspect there are “current and former officials” who would grant the Russian ambassador sainthood if it meant embarrassing the Trump administration.

The Post’s sources clearly are out to get Sessions. It’s anyone’s guess whether they are accurately characterizing what the ambassador told his government and the reliability of what he told it.

In any event, the Post and its sources have failed to identify any contradiction between Sessions’s statements about his interaction with the ambassador and what the ambassador supposedly told the Russians about the interaction.

The Truth Versus CNN

July 18, 2017

The Truth Versus CNN, Bill Whittle.com via YouTube, July 17, 2017

 

According to the blurb beneath the video,

For decades, conservatives have been complaining about bias in the media, but that wasn’t quantified until now. CNN’s fake news does more than get them ratings — its libel undermines the very nature of our democratic republic. In this Firewall, Bill Whittle lambasts the mainstream media for its toxic politicizing of the news and exposes the influence of media bias on elections.

The Russian Collusion Story: The Acme of Fake News

July 16, 2017

The Russian Collusion Story: The Acme of Fake News, American ThinkerClarice Feldman, July 16, 2017

Richard Fernandez is one of the most brilliant authors on the Internet. This week he wrote:

Conventional wisdom posits the chief challenges facing the post-Cold War World are Global Warming and the decline of international institutions. But maybe that assurance is a species of Fake News. Suppose the most pressing problems in the next decade is finding new energy supplies to 1) keep the price of oil low enough to contain Russia (and Islamism); and 2) adapting to a disruptive information revolution no one can seem to control. Who will hand you that unconventional wisdom unless you come to it yourself.

He’s right, as I explain, but the significance of his observation is this: which of the two candidates — Hillary or Trump — was more likely to tap into America’s huge energy resources to contain both Russia and the Islamists? And when you answer that as you must — Trump — you can dismiss all the folderol about Donald J. Trump Jr’s, 15 minute meeting in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer as evidence of “collusion” with Russia.  As I further explain, the non-stop media promotion of some nefarious scheme between Russia and Trump does not pass even the most cursory forensic examination, proving once again in the age of fake news, you cannot remain a passive consumer of news. You have to bring to each story the good sense and diligence with which you handle your most important personal affairs.

A. Russia and Environmental Groups

As Fernandez explained:

The oil crash collapsed the ruble and forced a 27% reduction in the Kremlin’s military budget in 2016.  With oil prices set to stay flat the Russians have to keep drilling and investing simply to stay level as the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies notes.  The Kremlin doesn’t make any real spending money until world oil price gets above levels before the great oil crash of 2014, which may not happen any time soon.[snip] You would think this a Eureka moment: to contain oil prices is to contain Russia (and Islamism). But cheap fossil fuels are not everyone’s cup of tea.  “Drill, baby, drill” is not popular on the left.  Even though liberals understand the power of cheap energy — one of Hillary’s supposedly hacked emails even alleged anti-fracking and environmental causes were a Russian plot to depress oil production — to advocate it is bad progressive politics. This probably led the Saudis to Hillary’s camp in 2016. “According to Bob McNally, president of consulting firm Rapidan Group, countries in the oil-producing Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, are hoping for Hillary Clinton to become president.”

If you’re looking for collusion with Russia, it is not to be found in the Trump Tower meeting.  Paul Mirengoff of Powerline details the Russian efforts through environmental groups — at best Stalin’s “useful idiots” — to tamp down US energy production.

 Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Science Committee, tells James Freeman of the Wall Street Journal:

If you connect the dots, it is clear that Russia is funding U.S. environmental groups in an effort to suppress our domestic oil and gas industry, specifically hydraulic fracking. They have established an elaborate scheme that funnels money through shell companies in Bermuda. This scheme may violate federal law and certainly distorts the U.S. energy market. The American people deserve to know the truth and I am confident Secretary Mnuchin will investigate the allegations.

To help Sec. Mnuchin conduct such an investigation, Rep. Smith, along with Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber, sent him a letter. They noted:

According to the former Secretary General of NATO, “Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called nongovernmental organizations – environmental organizations working against shale gas – to maintain dependence on imported Russian gas.” Other officials have indicated the same scheme is unfolding in the U.S.

Reps. Smith and Weber add that, according to public sources including a 2014 report from Republican staff on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, “entities connected to the Russian government are using a shell company registered in Bermuda, Klein Ltd. (Klein), to funnel tens of millions of dollars to a U.S.-based 501(c)(3) private foundation,” which supports various environmental groups. Klein denies this allegation.

Regardless of the conduit for the money, the allegation of funneling appears to be substantial. Indeed, says Freeman, it appears to have been noted by none other than Hillary Clinton:

If a document posted last year on WikiLeaks is to be believed, Clinton campaign staff summarized in an email attachment Hillary Clinton’s remarks on the subject during a private speech:

Clinton Talked About “Phony Environmental Groups” Funded By The Russians To Stand Against Pipelines And Fracking. “We were up against Russia pushing oligarchs and others to buy media. We were even up against phony environmental groups, and I’m a big environmentalist, but these were funded by the Russians to stand against any effort, oh that pipeline, that fracking, that whatever will be a problem for you, and a lot of the money supporting that message was coming from Russia.” [Remarks at tinePublic, 6/18/14]

Freeman suggests that Mnuchin commence his investigation by speaking with Mrs. Clinton, who “obviously knows the terrain.” He also thinks John Podesta would be a useful source.

Podesta is invested in and acts for a “green energy company backed by the Russian government.”

B. The Media Has lost all Credibility, Serving as the semi-official newsroom for the Democratic Party

Just as Fernandez detailed the rise of Samizdat in Russia as the official press was uniformly distrusted, the growth on alternate media in the U.S. is disrupting the old news models .

Our trust hierarchies have collapsed. As with Soviet Russia, the “official” media sources are now distrusted as purveyors “fake news”.  To fill the gap a peer-to-peer grapevine, similar to the “friends and family”, a samizdat is emerging to pick up the slack. Sonya Mann at Inc uses a startup to illustrate the growing division of society into trust groups. “Pax Dickinson wants to fund the revolution. Not a blood-in-the-streets revolution, but one where hardcore right-wingers can economically secede from the parts of society they vehemently dislike. “We need parallel everything. I do not want to ever have to spend a single dollar at a non-movement business.

Nothing so illustrates why the media has  deservedly lost all credibility than it’s unending, overdone effort to fit any action on the part of the President or those around him into a narrative of Russia somehow colluding with him to defeat Hillary. This week’s take was the short meeting his son held with a Russian lawyer in Trump Tower last summer.

The clearest summary of the facts surrounding the meeting with Trump’s son last summer is to be found in The American Spectator.  Scott McKay writes:

[Natalia] Veselnitskaya’s  [The Russian lawyer’s] presence in the United States alone ought to be the source of suspicion that not only is the Trump-Russian collusion narrative suspect in this case but that the real inquiry ought to be into whether the encounter was a small part of a larger attempt to trap the Trump campaign.

The Russian lawyer wasn’t even supposed to be here. She had been denied a visa for entry into the United States in late 2015, but given a rather extraordinary “parole” by the federal government to assist preparation for a client subject to asset forfeiture by the Justice Department. That was in January. The client was Prevezon Holdings, a Russian company suspected of having been paid some portion of $230 million stolen by Russian mobsters. When Sergey Magnitsky a Russian lawyer representing a company that had been the victim of the theft, reported it to authorities in Moscow he was promptly jailed and beaten to death. The American response to this atrocity was the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which sanctioned several individuals connected to human rights abuses. The Russian government retaliated by preventing American adoptions of Russian children.

But in June, she was permitted to fly back to the U.S., have the meeting with Trump Junior  —  at Trump Tower, no less  —  and then end up in the front row for a congressional hearing involving testimony from a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, then turning up at a D.C. showing of a documentary film on the negative effects of the Magnitsky Act, and later appearing at a dinner involving Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and former Rep. Ron Dellums (D-CA) who is now a lobbyist for the Russians. The repeal of that legislation is a priority item for the Russians and a personal project of Veselnitskaya’s; it, rather than any Clinton dirt, was reportedly the primary subject brought forth at the meeting with Donald Trump Jr.

All of this without a visa! Not to mention Veselnitskaya didn’t file a FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act) document before acting as a lobbyist for a foreign entity, as required by law. Neither, apparently, did Dellums. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote a fascinating letterTuesday to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asking them to please find out what in the hell Veselnitskaya was doing in this country last June.

And further, it turns out Veselnitskaya was connected to Fusion GPS, the Democrat opposition research firm which employed a former British spy who used Russian contacts to produce the infamous and debunked Pee Pee Dossier smearing Trump. Veselnitskaya hired Fusion GPS head Glenn Simpson to work on behalf of Prevezon, the company she was allowed into the country to represent, in its efforts to repeal the Magnitsky Act. Fusion then hired Christopher Steele, the British spy who drew on Russian sources to produce that dossier, and made him available for private briefings on the dossier with left-leaning media sources such as Mother Jones, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Yahoo! News, the New Yorkerand CNN in September.

Naturally, John McCain is involved  —  if that fact should produce his resignation, all of this will have been worth it.

By the way, there is Veselnitskaya’s social media account, which is decidedly more aligned with the Fusion GPS side of this equation than the Trump side.

And the meeting came about largely due to hyped-up promises made by a publicist for a Russian pop star who was connected to the Trump family from the Miss Universe pageant having been held in Moscow in 2013  —  promises which don’t appear to have been fulfilled. If this whole thing doesn’t look like an old-fashioned dangle to you, then you haven’t watched enough spy movies.

If timelines are interesting to you, there is this  —  reportedly, the Obama administration sought permission to electronically monitor Trump Tower in early June, and the FISA court would not grant it. But in October, that warrant was given. [snip]

And once that meeting  —  which on its surface was a waste of everyone’s time  —  was had, the Obama administration now had something to sell to the FISA court to get that warrant  —  from which they snagged Mike Flynn and gave the Democrat party and the media a mechanism to shroud the Trump administration in what can best be described as a rather dubious scandal. Remember how Hillary Clinton was accusing Trump of being a Putin’s puppet at the October 19 debate?

C. Donald J Trump’s son had every reason to believe that there was evidence of Hillary’s collusion with Russia

If this seems farfetched, consider this Veselnitskaya  was barred from entry to the US until Loretta Lynch granted her an excedptional “immigration parole” to appear in a judicial proceeding; a federal judge considered — but we can find no ruling — her motion  on January 6, 2016,to extend her stay by a week, and then  with no explanation of how this occurred, she was back in the US on June of that year  where she met with Donald J Trump Jr and attended as a front row guest a Congressional hearing on the Magnitsky act which imposed sanctions on Russia.

To add a dash of extra color to the story the media reported that with the lawyer was a “former Russian counter intelligence officer”, Rinat Akhmetshin.  He denies this.

“I am an American citizen since 2009 who pays taxes, earned his citizenship after living here since 1994, and swore an oath of loyalty to the United States of America,”

Kayleigh McEnany in The Hill characterized this as a “conspiracy theory desperately in earch of evidence”.

Bill Clinton had given a $500,000 speech in Russia.  Clinton had given her approval in handing one-fifth of U.S. uranium to Russia, after which her foundation received $2.35 million from the Russian-controlled company.  Suspiciously, Clinton did not disclose the transaction.

Likewise, Clinton campaign chief John Podesta sat on the board of a company that received $35 million from the Russian government alongside fellow board members Anatoly Chubais, a senior Russian official, and Ruben Vardanyan, an oligarch.

Given this context, why wouldn’t Trump Jr. be open to taking a meeting that offered evidence of incriminating Clinton dealings with Russia, particularly when most of the media refused to look into Clinton’s question-raising actions?[snip] We likewise know that several foreign countries known for their human rights violations  —  like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Brunei, and Algeria  —  donated millions to the Clinton foundation, and yet few publications construed their “support” in a negative way.

Taken together, the micro story of Donald Trump Jr. seeking opposition research  —  much like Clinton allies did in their dealings with the Ukrainian government  —  does nothing in the way of proving the macro allegation that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia in hacking the DNC and releasing Clinton’s illegally obtained emails.

The American people see through this leftist-purveyed Russia conspiracy theory.  That’s why a full 56 percent want Congress and the media to focus on real issues, not Russia.  If the left continues to concoct Russian collusion evidence, they can fully expect for the 2018 congressional elections to look a lot like the special elections in Kansas, Montana, South Carolina, and Georgia  —  Republican victory.  Voters dismiss the salacious in favor of solutions, and as of now, the left have nothing besides an evidence-free smear campaign.

In any event, isn’t it curious that those who claim to consider a meeting to listen to opposition research, bought hook line and sinker the ridiculous-on-its-face Dossier concted by GPS against Trump, a far more likely piece of Russian intel disinformation? Or why they ignore DNC officials meeting with Ukrainian government officials for dirt on then Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Politico detailed the many ways the Ukrainians worked to help Hillary beat Trump.  As you might guess, they indicated these efforts were “far less concerted or centrally directed than Russia’s alleged hacking and dissemination of Democratic emails.” Covering with the word “alleged” a smear without any evidence but for the mutterings of Crowdstrike, a private outfit which was the only investigation the DNC allowed , a misstep by the Comey FBI which let this pass.

In any event, Legal commentators on both sides of the aisle have confirmed there was nothing illegal about the meeting.   I suppose we can’t expect much more of a press corps so stupid it mistakes the Star Spangled Banner for France’s La Marseillaise, and Bastille Day for the 100th Anniversary of the U.S. entry in WW I.

You’ll just have to work harder in the face of such ignorance and bias to find out what you need to know.

Fake News From the Washington Post

July 10, 2017

Fake News From the Washington Post, Power Line,  Paul Mirengoff, July 10, 2017

Note the slippery way in which Rucker claims that Trump calls the election interference a hoax. He takes two separate issues — collusion and interference — lumps them together, and then tries to make it seem as if what is true of Trump’s stance on one of the issues — collusion — is true of his stance on the other — interference.

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In the Washington Post’s lead story today, another screed about how Trump allegedly is selling out to the Russians, Philip Rucker writes:

After Putin denied in his meeting with Trump any such election interference, the U.S. president tried to turn the page altogether on the issue of Russian hacking. As special counsel Robert S. Mueller III investigates Russian interference and possible collusion with Trump campaign officials, Trump has repeatedly labeled the issue a hoax and has portrayed it as a dark cloud unfairly hanging over his first six months as president.

(Emphasis added)

This is low, dishonest journalism.

President Trump has labelled the issue of Russian collusion a hoax which, so far, it seems to be. However, he has not said that this issue of Russian interference is a hoax. To the contrary, he has said a number of times that the Russians probably did interfere.

The Post and many others would like him to go further and say, without qualification, that the Russians did interfere. If the evidence he’s been presented with supports such certainty, then Trump should say so.

But it’s simply not true that Trump has labelled the Russian interference issue a hoax. Indeed, Rucker grudgingly acknowledges later in his article that Trump has said Russia probably interfered, but muddies the waters by also saying that Trump has expressed doubt as to whether such interference occurred. Since reviewing the evidence presented to him on the question, Trump has consistently said that Russia probably interfered.

In any event, Rucker’s acknowledgement comes late in the article. Someone who read only the portion of the article that appears on the front page would not see it. (Nor would he see it in the headline that appears in the paper edition.)

Note the slippery way in which Rucker claims that Trump calls the election interference a hoax. He takes two separate issues — collusion and interference — lumps them together, and then tries to make it seem as if what is true of Trump’s stance on one of the issues — collusion — is true of his stance on the other — interference.

A reporter for a decent high school newspaper couldn’t get away with this sleight of hand. A lawyer who tried it in a brief would likely incur the wrath of a judge.

Why, then, does it fly at the Washington Post? I think it’s because this is the kind of journalism the Post, an organ of the Resistance, desires.

Today in Collusion

July 1, 2017

Today in Collusion, Power LineScott Johnson, July 1, 2017

(Huh? “If you’re confused, I’d ordinarily suggest that you go back and read the report a time or two. But life is short and rereading would not much clarify this spaghetti bowl hurled against the wall, in the hope that some of the Flynn sauce might stick.” — DM)

Lee Smith notes in his Tablet column “The strange tale of Jay Solomon” that the news side of the Wall Street Journal is straining to join the opposition to the Trump administration led by the Washington Post and the New York Times. “As one senior D.C. reporter told me recently,” Lee writes, “‘lots of Journal reporters want to join the anti-Trump resistance but they can’t do that because the editorial board thinks the Trump Russia narrative is absurd, as does the readership.’”

In yesterday’s paper, the Journal made a downpayment on membership dues in the Resistance with Shane Harris’s story “GOP operative sought Clinton emails from hackers, implied a connection to Flynn.” Harris’s story is behind the Journal’s subscription paywall, but the New York Post has an accessible summary by Todd Venezia here.

Andy McCarthy breaks down Harris’s story in his weekly NRO column here. Here is his summary and first pass at it:

About ten days before he died in mid-May, an 81-year-old man who did not work for the Trump campaign told the Journal he had speculated that, but did not know whether, 33,000 of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails had been hacked from her homebrew server. The now-deceased man, “a longtime Republican opposition researcher” named Peter W. Smith, had theorized that the e-mails must have been stolen, “likely by Russian hackers.” But he had no idea if this was actually so, and he himself certainly had nothing to do with stealing them.

Smith’s desire to obtain the hacked emails, if there were any, peaked around Labor Day 2016 — i.e., during the last weeks of the campaign. This was many months after the FBI had taken physical custody of Clinton’s homebrew server and other devices containing her e-mails. It was also two months after the Bureau’s then-director, James Comey, had told the country that the FBI had found no evidence that Clinton had been hacked . . . but that her carelessness about communications security, coupled with the proficiency of hackers in avoiding detection, meant her e-mails could well have been compromised throughout her years as secretary of state.

In other words, Peter W. Smith was one of about 320 million people in the United States who figured that Clinton’s e-mails had been hacked — by Russia, China, Iran, ISIS, the NSA, the latest iteration of “Guccifer,” and maybe even that nerdy kid down at Starbucks with “Feel the Bern” stickers on his laptop.

Besides having no relationship with Trump, Smith also had no relationship with the Russian regime. Besides not knowing whether the Clinton e-mails were actually hacked, he also had no idea whether the Kremlin or anyone close to Vladimir Putin had obtained the e-mails. In short, he wouldn’t have been able to tell you whether Trump and Putin were colluding with each other because he wasn’t colluding with either one of them.

But — here comes the blockbuster info — Smith was colluding with Michael Flynn. Or at least he kinda, sorta was . . . except for, you know, the Journal’s grudging acknowledgement that, well, okay, Smith never actually told the paper that Flynn was involved in what the report calls “Smith’s operation.”

It’s a long column. As ancient history is involved, Andy helpfully fills in the backstory to Harris’s article:

The Journal does not see fit to remind readers that the 33,000 e-mails Smith was trying to dig up were the ones Clinton had tried to destroy, even though they contained records of government business (which it is a felony to destroy), contained at least some classified information (which it is a felony to mishandle), and had been requested by congressional committees (whose proceedings it is a felony to obstruct by destroying evidence).

These penal inconveniences aside, there were also explosive political implications. Clinton had insisted that the e-mails in question were strictly of a personal nature, involving yoga routines, daughter Chelsea’s wedding, and the like. She maintained that she had turned over any and all government-related e-mails to the State Department. She had also laughably claimed that her homebrew server system was adequately secure. And there is every reason to believe many of these destroyed e-mails related to Clinton Foundation business — the Bill and Hill scheme to monetize their “public service” — which was liberally commingled with government business during Mrs. Clinton’s State Department tenure. Public disclosure of these e-mails, then, would have been very damaging, concretely demonstrating her dishonesty and unfitness.

There is every reason to believe the destroyed e-mails related to Clinton Foundation business — the Bill and Hill scheme to monetize their ‘public service’ — which was liberally commingled with government business during Mrs. Clinton’s State Department tenure. Understand: None of that is Russia’s fault, or Trump’s, or Flynn’s, or Flynn Jr.’s, or Smith’s. It was solely the fault of Hillary Clinton. She was a five-alarm disaster of a candidate. That’s why she lost.

Harris has the goods on crimes committed in connection with his story, but Harris won’t be revealing the perpetrators:

All this sound and fury turns out to be throat-clearing. The juicy news in the Journal’s report is not about Smith; it stems from yet another leak of classified information. According to “U.S. investigators” involved in the Russia probe (i.e., the Mueller investigation), there are intelligence reports that “describe Russian hackers discussing how to obtain e-mails from Mrs. Clinton’s server and then transmit them to Mr. Flynn via an intermediary.”

Who are these investigators? The Journal doesn’t tell us — the actual crime of leaking classified intelligence being of less interest than the non-crime of “collusion.” The purported Russian hackers are not identified either. Nor is Flynn’s “intermediary” — the Journal cannot say whether the leak is accurate, whether there really was an intermediary, or whether Smith could have been the intermediary. There is, moreover, no indication that any supposed Russian hacker actually made any effort to obtain the Clinton e-mails, much less that Flynn — let alone Trump — had any knowledge of or involvement in such an effort.

Quick: somebody start writing up the articles of impeachment!

Well, Harris is still on the case. The Journal has his follow-up story today (with Michael Bender and Peter Nicholas).

At the same time, Lawfare has posted the first-person account of Matt Tait, Harris’s source. “I was involved in the events that reporter Shane Harris described, and I was an unnamed source for the initial story,” Tait writes. “What’s more, I was named in, and provided the documents to Harris that formed the basis of, th[e] follow-up story…” Tait’s account is full of smoke, including the assumption that Smith had obtained the deleted Clinton emails from an unnamed person representing the “dark web.”

Tait puts it this way: “[Smith] said that his team had been contacted by someone on the ‘dark web’; that this person had the emails from Hillary Clinton’s private email server (which she had subsequently deleted), and that Smith wanted to establish if the emails were genuine.” Tait thereafter assumes that Smith had obtained the deleted emails.

“In the end,” Tait concedes, “I never saw the actual materials they’d been given, and to this day, I don’t know whether there were genuine emails, or whether Smith and his associates were deluding themselves.” Tait to the contrary notwithstanding, I can find nothing in Tait’s column to suggest he knows whether Smith had in fact obtained the deleted Clinton emails. Tait adds that it’s possible, after all, that “Smith” only “talked a very good game.”

The Brookings Institute is promoting Tait’s first-hand mystifications as some kind of a contribution this morning. That’s how I was alerted to it. Andy McCarthy hasn’t gotten to Harris’s follow-up story or to Tait’s account yet, but I think his comment in the NRO column applies generally to Harris’s follow-up Journal article and Tait’s account: “If you’re confused, I’d ordinarily suggest that you go back and read the report a time or two. But life is short and rereading would not much clarify this spaghetti bowl hurled against the wall, in the hope that some of the Flynn sauce might stick.”

Humor | CNN Tries To Move Forward After Its Latest Humiliation

June 29, 2017

CNN Tries To Move Forward After Its Latest Humiliation, TownhallKurt Schlichter, June 29, 2017

(Please see also, Van Jones Exposed! Tucker Carlson Reacts to Project Veritas Exposing CNN. — DM

“People, listen up! Trump just tweeted ‘This Russia fake news is fake. Failing CNN is failing. Sad!’ Clearly, he’s hiding something, and I’m guessing its collusion. Put up the ‘TREASON WATCH’ chyron and someone get Louise Mensch on the phone! This is not a drill – we’re flooding the zone! CNN is back!”

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“Ladies, gentlemen, and non-binary beings who refuse to be forced into one or more specific genders,” began CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker, employing the network’s prescribed group salutation. “I have gathered you all today here in the CNN newsroom to discuss this Anthony Scaramucci Russia story we retracted and how it has had a negative impact on our network’s sterling reputation for journalistic integrity and objectivity. Hey, pay attention! Stop laughing!”

The room quieted down. Even Don Lemon looked up from the bar, where he was mixing a cosmopolitan.

“Listen, people….,” Zucker began.

“I identify as an otherkin and that’s humanocentric!” shouted a producer dressed in a bright blue fox costume. The network was rightfully proud of its “a-furry-mative action” outreach to the marginalized furry and brony communities.

Zucker sighed. “Before I go on, I just want to make sure that O’Keefe guy isn’t secretly taping us again. You’re the sharpest, keenest investigative journalists in the business – any sign of him?”

“Nope, he’s totally not here,” replied a voice from the audience, a young white man dressed like Superfly.

“Great. Now this Scaramucci story was a big problem, and not just because we got caught. As you know, Russia is ratings gold, but if we keep coming up empty we’ll leave our audience as unsatisfied as a woman married to a liberal man,” Zucker explained, using an analogy his audience could relate to. “We just can’t keep reporting shaky Russia stories about billionaires based on single, anonymous sources that turn out to be fake news.”

“So … avoid slandering billionaires? Maybe focus on rodeo clowns and so forth?” suggested Jim Acosta.

“Exactly,” replied Zucker. “Don’t do this kind of thing to people who buy their lawyers in bulk! I’m not saying pick on people who can’t fight back against a giant media company but, you know, try and pick on people who can’t fight back against a giant media company.”

A cheerful voice from someone in the front row cried out: “I got a new puppy! His name is Woofy!”

“Yes, Chris, you’ve already told us all about Woofy several times,” sighed Zucker.

“Woofy likes to bark at squirrels, and my brother is governor!”

“That’s terrific, Chris. Someone, get him his fidget spinner. Anyway, starting now, we’re instituting new policies for handling Russia stories. Stop groaning! This important! From now on, we’re going to need your Russia stories to all have an element of truth.”

The room erupted into chaos.

“What the hell?” screeched Wolf Blitzer. “Preposterous!”

“Wolf, your name is sort of like my puppy Woofy’s!” said Chris Cuomo. “Sort of.”

“Never!” snorted Christiane Amanpour, who had been annoying Jake Tapper because her enormous pink gyno hat was blocking his view.

“Look at it spin!” piped up Chris Cuomo between delighted giggles.

Jim Acosta stood up and adjusted his tie. “I want to register my outrage and disapproval of this hateful attack on the free press in the strongest possible terms!”

“Oh, knock it off, Jimmy. There’s no camera here,” Zucker said. “From now on, your anonymous sources have to actually exist. That’s final. I’m sorry people – calm down! – but you can’t quote sources who don’t exist.”

From the back, Don Lemon finished his drink and howled, “The voices tell me MANY THINGS!”

“Look,” said Jim Sciutto. “Like my friend Don, I deeply believe that invisible voices in our heads can be legitimate news sources. Especially if a different voice in our head confirms what the first voice told us.”

“But don’t you understand,” stuttered an indignant Brian Stelter. “Don’t you know that democracy will die in darkness if you impose arbitrary rules on us that limit our ability to report things that never happened?”

“Look, I know this represents a sea change in how CNN operates, but there’s a lot of heat on us right now,” said Zucker. “Personally, I’m still heartbroken that we were unable to go forward with our plans for CNN Kidz Newz Nite With Kathy Griffin.”

“Kathy is a saint and she was robbed!” yelled Don Lemon, who staggered up the aisle, pausing to “accidentally” spill his fresh cosmo on Jake Tapper.

“Hey!” shouted Tapper. “That suit cost more than your pec implants!”

“Get out of my head!” screamed Lemon, who began sobbing. He’d been an emotional train wreck since the defeat of his friend Hillary, who he had steadfastly defended against all sorts of awful people who insisted on telling the truth about her.

“Settle!” howled Zucker. “We are journalists! We are all about our sacred duty as reporters to tell the truth to our viewers in an objective and professional manner! And also ratings. Sweet, sweet, life-giving ratings.”

“Sometimes daddy used to come home late at night with his special friends and they were all dirty and had shovels. They always took the cannoli,” Chris Cuomo said to John Berman, who got up and moved down three chairs.

“All right, all right, let’s move on to solutions. Cooper, your eyebrows are fine, so put down that mirror and pay attention! Now, we’ve had some troubles, but we’re going to come back stronger. The consensus is that the best way to do that is by leveraging exciting, diverse talents and marginalized minority voices, like Shaun King…”

“You want to tell him?” Jake Tapper whispered to Brooke Baldwin.

“Nope.”

“And Sally Kohn,” said Zucker. “Their smart, common sense takes on current issues will help reach out to red America on whatever issues those hicks care about.”

Just then a young production assistant with “#Resist” tattooed across xis forehead rushed over to the network president and handed him a note. He read it and furrowed his brow.

“People, listen up! Trump just tweeted ‘This Russia fake news is fake. Failing CNN is failing. Sad!’ Clearly, he’s hiding something, and I’m guessing its collusion. Put up the ‘TREASON WATCH’ chyron and someone get Louise Mensch on the phone! This is not a drill – we’re flooding the zone! CNN is back!”

The crowd broke up as people rushed to their places. And while a producer led Chris Cuomo by his soft hand to the anchor chair, he was heard to say, “I got a new puppy! His name is Woofy!”

Why James O’Keefe Is a More Honest Journalist than the MSM

June 29, 2017

Why James O’Keefe Is a More Honest Journalist than the MSM, PJ MediaRoger L. Simon, June 28, 2017

The rap on James O’Keefe — whose latest bombshell caught CNN’s quasi-Marxist star pundit Van Jones with his well-tailored pants down — is that his Project Veritas videos are “unfairly edited.”

I have news for O’Keefe’s critics. All videos (and films) are basically unfairly edited, as Sergei Eisenstein and the early Soviet directors demonstrated a hundred years ago. It’s the nature of the medium. Some things get left out and others put in.

Nevertheless, the video or movie camera is a recording device. On close examination, looked at specifically, the actual photographs and recordings finally don’t lie, juxtapose them how you will. Van Jones did say “Russia is a nothingburger!” The network’s John Bonifield did call CNN’s Russia narrative “bullsh$t” concocted for the money. The repellent lady from Planned Parenthood did offer to sell fetal parts. The equally repellent Democratic Party operatives did instigate violent demonstrations at Trump rallies to make the candidate’s supporters look like thugs. O’Keefe himself did walk back and forth undeterred across the Rio Grande from Mexico to the USA dressed as Osama bin Laden to show the pathetic level of our border security.

I could go on. There are many more, including examples unmasking the shibboleths of voter registration, but the point is obvious. Despite some selective editing (but not any that materially alters the facts) and sometimes overly portentous music (why bother when you have the goods?), what James O’Keefe reports is true. It happened.

Because they so often rely on leaks — no photographs, videos or anything like them, often nothing concrete at all — what the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and so many others (even the front pages of the Wall Street Journal, alas) report is very often, one is tempted to say most often, either a distortion or an outright lie. This is particularly true when what they are reporting has political relevance — and so much does.

If not the root cause — that’s uncontrolled and unacknowledged bias — this excessive reliance on leaks has seriously exacerbated the precipitous decline of the mainstream media. For much of our media, leaks are an opium-like drug that clouds their thinking and to which they are literally addicted. They are waiting for the phone to ring like the junkie is waiting for his next fix. That the leakers all have motivations of their own, known and/or unknown, yet are able to remain anonymous to the public, makes what they leak almost de facto dubious and unreliable, in fact dangerous (as well as illegal, obviously).

Yet the MSM reporters gobble them up, eager to scoop their competitors and at the same time — much like overweight, self-satisfied picadors — weaken Trump and his administration for the final kill, doing, in their own eyes anyway, good works while advancing their careers.

O’Keefe has revealed them to be fools, remarkably unsophisticated in their response to his revelations. (Jeff Zucker, et al., looked like dimwits walking into the most obvious trap by dismissing Bonifield as a mere “medical” producer with the famous Van Jones already queued up for humiliation.)  At this point, only the most naive believe what the MSM says. CNN is already a joke, but the NYT, WaPo, etc. are not far behind. We are all reading Pravda now.

Ironically, Woodward and Bernstein are responsible for a lot of this. They made a giant success off leaks, turning journalists into culture heroes (really false gods) to be portrayed by Redford and Hoffman in the movies. Generations of aspiring journalists sought to follow in their footsteps — to be these false gods. Only there was no there there. No Nixon to upend. So they turned Trump into the New Nixon and manufactured a crime to go along with it.

W & B also inadvertently encouraged a new kind of leaker that is endemic today. Call him or her the “score settler,” a loathsome character lurking in the bowels of the Deep State or intelligence agencies, a remnant of the previous administration, who thinks his or her reasons for telling a partial, misleading truth are justified, are for the public good, when they are almost invariably only for their own good or some supposed ideological good they wish to impose regardless of the wishes of the voters in a democracy. (These are both often enmeshed.)

This created an extreme, almost pathological, will-to-believe the leakers on the part of the MSM as illustrated by the recent firings (sorry, “resignations”) of three CNN employees in the face of a $100M lawsuit. One of these credulous employees, Eric Lichtblau, was once a Pulitzer Prize winner at the New York Times.

Woodward, to his credit, seems to have recognized how extreme the situation has become. He chided the NYT today, saying, “Fair-mindedness is essential.” His own paper, under Bezos, has become even worse. But never mind. Give him credit for a half-truth. (By the way, CNN’s Jeff Zucker is a working stiff compared to Jeff Bezos. What’s Bezos’ excuse?)

But more importantly — it’s over. Well, if not over, a new, positive rung has been reached. The MSM, as we knew it, is, if not destroyed, seriously wounded.  They are — channeling a phrase from the Vietnam Era — a “pitiful, helpless giant.”  The work begun in 2004 when many of us spoke out against Dan Rather’s deceitful promulgation of the forged Bush National Guard papers on “Sixty Minutes” has, thanks to O’Keefe and others, not to mention the irrationality of the MSM itself, finally reached a critical mass. If only Andrew Breitbart were here to see it.

Celebrate for ten seconds. But as another of the original group, Glenn Reynolds, keeps reminding us — don’t get cocky.