On January 13, Kevin Freking at the Associated Press reported that Congressman John Lewis (D-Ga.) would be "joining several other Democrats who have decided to boycott" the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump. It further reported that Lewis "said it will be the first inauguration he has missed in three decades as Democrats and Republicans took the oath of office." The fact is that John Lewis boycotted the inauguration of George W. Bush in 2001 in very outspoken fashion. The AP has yet to correct the record — and the fact that it did not directly quote Lewis does not absolve them of that obligation. Additionally, the AP also reported Tuesday morning that no other congressman failed to attend Bush 43's inauguration. Contemporaneous post-inauguration news reports indicate that others besides Lewis were also absent.
Here we go again. A month ago, Robert Baer, a leading coddler of Iran who is an "Intelligence and Security Analyst" while pontificating at CNN, contended that alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election meant that the nation needs "to vote again." Now The Hill has given space to Chris Edelson, an assistant professor of government in American University's School of Public Affairs, to advocate the same thing ("Remedy for Russian meddling should be new election").
Appearing as a panel member on Tuesday's CNN Tonight to discuss President-elect Donald Trump's press conference in which he accused CNN and BuzzFeed of peddling "fake news," CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter whined about the term "fake news" being "misused" and "exploited" by "partisans on the left and right" as he declared that he agrees with the Washington Post's Margaret Sullivan that "it's time to retire the term."
Monday evening, just three days after causing an uproar by reporting that "Russian hackers penetrated (the) U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont," the Washington Post is now saying that "Russian government hackers do not appear to have targeted Vermont utility, say people close to investigation." In other words (cue the late Glida Radner's famous Saturday Night Live character Emily Litella): "We told you we had a story, but we really never did. So ... Never mind."
UPDATE, January 3: "WashPost on Russian Connection to Vermont Utility Hack: Never Mind"
A not very funny thing happened to the Washington Post after its Juliet Eilperin and Adam Entous posted a story on Friday (now time-stamped as if it was Saturday) claiming in its headline that "Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont." The claim, according to the utility involved, is false. As a result, the paper, in an "Editor's Note," told readers that "The computer at Burlington Electric that was hacked was not attached to the grid."
On Christmas evening, appearing in print on Sunday, December 26, Jeremy Peters at the New York Times pretended that the term "fake news" has only gained common currency very recently during the social media era. He also effectively contended that the establishment press holds ownership rights over the term, claiming that "conservative cable and radio personalities, top Republicans and even Mr. (Donald) Trump himself ... have appropriated" it.
Peters, who graduated from the University of Michigan in 2002 and arguably knows better, could not be more wrong. Center-right media critics, pundits and personalities have used the term "fake news" to describe establishment press reporting for at least a decade, usually with total justification. It's the press which is "appropriating" the "fake news" term in the name of marginalizing and silencing non-"mainstream" news sources.
The purveyors of what the establishment press likes to describe as "fake news" have nothing on the fake news the establishment press itself generates at the Obama administration's behest.
For example, the Associated Press, in a very late paragraph in just one of its three reports on the topic Thursday, admitted that "Though the FBI and Homeland Security Department issued a joint report on 'Russian malicious cyber activity' - replete with examples of malware code used by the Russians - it still has not released a broader report Obama has promised detailing Russia's efforts to interfere with U.S. elections." In other words, there is no — zero, zilch, nada — published evidence, let alone proof, other than the statements of anonymous Obama apparatchiks on a conference call, that Russia successfully "interfere(d) with U.S. elections." But that hasn't stopped AP or others from taking it as gospel that Russia "hacked the elections."
On Sunday's AM Joy on MSNBC, during a discussion of "fake news" and Facebook's plans to screen news with fact checkers, host Joy Reid not only wrongly claimed that MRC founder Brent Bozell was "conceding" that "a lot of the things that are put out on the right aren't real" by pressing Facebook over how they would factcheck fairly, but panel member and former CNN president Jon Klein declared that it was "frightening" that over the past 30 years, right-wing media have caused people to distrust "mainstream news organizations."
The day after Election Day, Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner met with President Barack Obama. The primary takeaway from that interview, published in late November, was, as Tim Graham at NewsBusters noted, how Obama partly blamed Hillary Clinton's election loss to Donald Trump on “Fox News in every bar and restaurant in big chunks of the country.” Additionally, Wenner, in what seemed at the time to be a crybaby throwaway line, suggested that "the news business and the newspaper industry, which is being destroyed by Facebook, needs a subsidy so we can maintain a free press." Unfortunately, New York Times President and CEO Mark Thompson shares both Wenner's lament and his suggested remedy. Thursday, establishment press pressure on Facebook brought about potentially ugly results.
On Sunday's Reliable Sources on CNN, during a discussion of the possibility that the Russian government actively tried to thwart Hillary Clinton from getting elected, host Brian Stelter at one point wondered if there was a "national emergency" in Donald Trump's election: "We're talking about a candidate who's lost in a historic way in terms of the popular vote but clearly won in the Electoral College. Is this something of a national emergency? And are journalists afraid to say so because they're going to sound partisan?"
We’re just a few steps away from Putin-style reign in America under the Trump regime, New York Times media reporter Jim Rutenberg implied in his “Mediator” column on the front of Monday’s Business Day: “From Russia Comes a Warning for Americans.” Rutenberg used Tolokonnikova, who has also attacked Trump, to make dubious parallels between the Russian media situation and America’s: “...as an emissary from a dystopian political-media environment that seemed to be heading our way, with governmental threats against dissent, disinformation from the presidential level and increasingly assertive propagandists who stoke the perception that there can be no honest arbiter of truth.”
On Monday's CNN Newsroom, The Daily Beast's Dean Obeidallah bewailed the apparent power of "fake news," particularly after the Sunday shooting at a Washington, D.C. restaurant at the center of the "Pizzagate" issue. Obeidallah proposed a hypothetical scenario: "I wonder if a Muslim guy went to a pizza place with a gun...how that would have went down — I think much worse." The liberal pundit later claimed that "Donald Trump...is the great purveyor of fake news," and that "good people [are] misinformed; and in this case, this man was radicalized online. This is no different than ISIS radicalizing someone."