Nets Push Social Media Claim Trump Talked National Security in Public

As the old saying goes, ‘never let the facts stand in the way of a good story.’ The Big Three networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) did just that Monday night when they pounced on claims made on social media that President Donald Trump and his national security team discussed details of the North Korean missile test in public. They gleefully read the Facebook posts of a man who was in the dining room with Trump and who claimed they were discussing the launch, even though Jeff Pegues admitted on CBS Evening NewsIt's not known what they were discussing…

On World News Tonight, the highly superficial ABC was so eager to push the dubious claims that they didn’t seem to care that they got a key detail wrong in their report. “The North Korean missile launch happened while Trump was dining with the prime minister of Japan at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, on Saturday night,” reported Jon Karl.

But according to NBC, the dinner “started just after eight, soon after news broke about the North Korean missile launch.” CBS noted that the White House said Trump was briefed before he and the prime minister sat down to eat.

Karl excitedly read the Facebook posts of a member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort as if he were reporting breaking news coming in over the wires:

“The president receiving the news about the missile incident.” And this, “Holy moly! It was fascinating to watch the flurry of activity at dinner when the news came that North Korea had launched a missile in the direction of Japan. Wow,” he wrote, “the center of the action!” The club member even posed with the military aide he claimed carries the so-called “nuclear football,” writing, quote, “This is Rick. He carries the football. The nuclear football. A briefcase, the contents of which are said to be used by the president of the United States to authorize a nuclear attack. Rick is the man.”

Only at the very end of his report did Karl mention that the administration says Trump was briefed elsewhere. CBS and NBC also treated the White House’s defense as an afterthought, yet highlighted outrage from Democrats and dissenters.

On CBS, Pegues leaned on Adam Schiff, the head of the Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, to come down hard on the president. “They should have gone to a secure space, been able to talk freely about it, been able to strategize about what the U.S. response would be. None of that happened here,” Schiff argued.

Reporter Kristen Welker did mention, on NBC Nightly News, that the White House told them that the photos show staff planning “the logistics of an impromptu news conference they held later that night.” But quickly had one of the network’s national security analysts slam the administration for being inexperienced. “When they haven't had to field too many national security cries crises. They take shortcuts. And they do things that in some ways could potentially compromise national security,” Jeremy Bash chided.

Both ABC and NBC touted a tweet from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi scolding Trump, saying, “There's no excuse for letting an international crisis play out in front of a bunch of country club members like dinner theater.” 

Their reliance on boasting claims of a man that wasn’t at Trump’s table, but across the room, shows how desperate the liberal media are to find a scandal. This level of biased reporting is just plain embarrassing and ridiculous. Their on-screen headlines prove this, with ABC's reading "Mar-a-Lago Guests had front-row seats to crisis." While NBC's warned, "Trump's dinner strategizing raises concerns." 

Transcript below: 

<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

ABC
World News Tonight
February 13, 2017
6:36:48 PM Eastern

JON KARL: Flynn’s struggles come as President Trump faces his first national security crisis. North Korea's launch of an intermediate-range missile over the weekend.

DONALD TRUMP: Obviously, North Korea is a big, big problem, and we'll deal with that very strongly.

KARL: The North Korean missile launch happened while Trump was dining with the prime minister of Japan at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, on Saturday night. National security aides rushing in with the news as tourists snapped pictures.

One Mar-a-Lago member putting it all on Facebook. “The president receiving the news about the missile incident.” And this, “Holy moly! It was fascinating to watch the flurry of activity at dinner when the news came that North Korea had launched a missile in the direction of Japan. Wow,” he wrote, “the center of the action!” The club member even posed with the military aide he claimed carries the so-called “nuclear football,” writing, quote, “This is Rick. He carries the football. The nuclear football. A briefcase, the contents of which are said to be used by the president of the United States to authorize a nuclear attack. Rick is the man.”

The scene prompted this from House Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi: “There is no excuse for letting an international crisis play out in front of a bunch of country club members like dinner theater.”

[Cuts to live]

DAVID MUIR: And Jon Karl with us live from the White House. Those photos at Mar-a-Lago believed to be captured after North Korea launched that missile causing to stir because so many people witnessed the huddle there. But I do want to get back to General Flynn because Kellyanne Conway, Jon, said late today “he has the full confidence, of the president” the general does?

KARL: She did, but just a short while after that, the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the president is still evaluating the situation. And David, back to those photographs at Mar-a-Lago, Spicer also told us there was absolutely no classified information discussed over that dinner, that the conversations about what happened with the launch happened in a secure location at a different time.

...

NBC Nightly News
February 13, 2017
7:06:38 PM Eastern

LESTER HOLT: Meantime, the president hosted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House today. A meeting obviously with important U.S. ally, but it comes on a day that much of the focus still remained on Flynn. And another storm that started on social media over what happened at the president's private club in the hours after that international crisis involving a North Korean missile. We get it all from NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker.

[Cuts to video]

KRISTEN WELKER: President Trump aiming to fortify his relationship with key ally Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The two leaders meeting for the first time today. It comes as the president faces a major foreign policy test with a foe. After North Korea fired a ballistic missile over the weekend. Today the president responded in his strongest terms yet.

DONALD TRUMP: North Korea is a big, big problem. And we will deal with that very strongly.

WELKER: But over the weekend, questions surfaced after pictures appeared on social media showing the president dining with the prime minister of Japan at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago. A dinner that started just after eight, soon after news broke about the North Korean missile launch.

The dinner appeared to turn into an open-air strategy session, onlookers told CNN, top aides holding their flashlights, illuminating documents. Democrats wasted no time pouncing. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tweeting, “There's no excuse for letting an international crisis play out in front of a bunch of country club members like dinner theater.”

The White House telling NBC News President Trump was fully briefed before dinner a secure facility and their discussions at the meal focused on the logistics of an impromptu news conference they held later that night.

TRUMP: The United States of America stands behind Japan.

WELKER: Still, some national security experts say the episode raises concerns.

JEREMY BASH: This is what happens when the team is inexperienced. When they haven't had to field too many national security cries crises. They take shortcuts. And they do things that in some ways could potentially compromise national security.

Nicholas Fondacaro
Nicholas Fondacaro
Nicholas C. Fondacaro