McCain Calls Out Media Hypocrisy: Obama Also Made Promises to Foreign Leaders

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It seems every week the media spends day after day obsessing over another anonymously-sourced report that makes claims no one can back up. Thursday, journalists were in a frenzy over a Washington Post report which alleged an anonymous “whistleblower” who formerly worked for an intelligence agency, claimed President Trump had promised something “troubling” to an unnamed foreign leader, earlier this Summer. Frenzy over the story also hit the ladies at the View table, who worried that the Department of Justice was “covering up” the alleged scandal to protect Trump. Only co-host Meghan McCain had the nerve to point out the media hypocrisy on this topic.

Post reporter Shane Harris, one of the co-authors of the whistleblower report, called in for a Skype interview with the View hosts. Unlike her co-hosts, McCain didn’t let Harris off the hook. After reading President Trump’s denial of the report, she pointed out that President Obama also made promises to foreign leaders before, which didn’t raise red flags in the media (so much so that journalists have wiped it from their memory.) McCain forced Harris to explain why there was a difference, now:

I know we have heard presidents promising things to foreign leaders before, like when President Obama was caught on a hot mic telling then the Russian President Medvedev, saying he would, quote, “have more flexibility after the election.” So can you tell viewers why there's a difference between that and this?

 

Harris downplayed that admission from Obama, calling it simply “deal making.” However, he wouldn’t give President Trump the same benefit of the doubt:

That's a great question. When we saw that conversation with Obama and Medvedev, you're kind of seeing the horse trading and the deal making. While we don't know what exactly what substance was or the details of the conversation with Trump and this leader, it was enough that this fairly experienced intelligence official we think looked at it and said, this isn't just normal negotiating.. 

However, McCain pressed again, pointing out the media’s lack of credibility and rush to demonize Trump:

Just last week CNN was slammed for erroneously reporting a thinly sourced story that the C.I.A. had to remove a spy from Russia because of Trump sharing intelligence that possibly could have endangered him. I think the question we all have this morning, is there a rush to report on Trump because people want to pin things on him, and just because he does so many things that as you said, are deeply unconventional for a U.S. President?

To that, Harris basically argued that any allegation involving the President needed to be printed. He called it a “huge story” that couldn’t wait because the complaint was “significant enough to report and let the American people know about.”

This isn’t the only example, and certainly won’t be the last, of the media ignoring something Obama said or did and going nuts when Trump says or does something similar. Last year, the networks hammered Trump for congratulating Vladimir Putin on his re-election; but Obama did the same thing.

You can read the transcript, below:

The View

9/19/19

11:08:32AM-11:10:37AM

MEGHAN MCCAIN: Hi. This is Meghan. President Trump is going a little crazy on Twitter about this. ‘Another fake news story. It never ends. Virtually any time I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand there may be many people listening from various U.S. Agencies, not to mention those from other countries itself.’ I know we have heard presidents promising things to foreign leaders before, like when President Obama was caught on a hot mic telling then the Russian President Medvedev, saying he would, quote, “have more flexibility after the election.” So can you tell viewers why there's a difference between that and this?

HARRIS: It’s a great question. I think when we saw that conversation with Obama and Medvedev, you're kind of seeing the horse trading and the deal making. While we don't know what exactly what substance was or the details of the conversation with Trump and this leader, it was enough that this fairly experienced intelligence official we think looked at it and said, this isn't just normal negotiating. This isn't kind of the give and take and the back and forth. There is something happening here that rises to the level of some kind of abuse, and the inspector general looked at it and found that at least under the law, that was a credible allegation.

MCCAIN: Just last week CNN was slammed for erroneously reporting a thinly sourced story that they had to remove a spy from Russia because of Trump sharing intelligence that possibly could have endangered him. I think the question we all have this morning, is there a rush to report on Trump because people want to pin things on him, and just because he does so many things that as you said, are deeply unconventional for a U.S. President?

HARRIS: Yeah. I think that's a fair question. Too often people have been asking me today, like, why didn't you wait and find out more about the information like what the substance of the call was? In this case, we know there was an allegation for some days and already it was a huge story, and extraordinary just because of the nature of it, and members of Congress including Adam Schiff have been kind of implying it was deduced the President was involved and we felt knowing the President himself was the subject of this complaint, and the nature of it, a communication with a foreign leader, that that was significant enough to report and let the American people know about.

 

NB Daily Foreign Policy The View Washington Post Barack Obama Donald Trump Meghan McCain
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