Mollie Hemingway Hammers Media for False Kelly Quitting Stories

In a surprise appearance at the White House Briefing Room on Thursday, Chief of Staff John Kelly address the press to dispel all their rumors (aka news reports) that claimed he was unhappy in his position and was thinking about leaving. And in a panel discussion on Fox News Channel’s Special Report, Federalist journalist Mollie Hemingway went to town on the media for over-relying on “unreliable anonymous sources.

In opening up the discussion on the topic, Anchor Bret Baier noted just how many reports he saw that insisted Kelly was on his way out of the White House. “It was very frustrating for me when he said that he wasn't quitting today and the room erupted in laughter as if it were really funny,” Hemingway lamented. “They go when they write all these stories every few days about how he's quitting and they have the best sources that he’s quitting and when he denies that they act like it's funny.

It's not funny to have so many stories based on unreliable anonymous sources. And the public can't check the sources,” she exclaimed.

After noting the irony that there were liberal media outlets that had to actively tell people that they were trustworthy, she called out their terrible reporting for being a real threat to the freedom of the press:

 

 

And I think it's a huge threat, in addition to external threats to freedom of the press, there are internal threats and how the media are handling their job and how they’re losing their standards and how they’re breaking the social contract. They get perks and privileges as part of this First Amendment agreement and they are not living up to those standards.

The standard isn't that a lot of the stories are true or a lot of them check out. The standard when you’re in the truth-telling business is that all of your stories need to check out,” she added. “And it becomes very difficult, how does a general reader or viewer know who to trust and who not to trust when so many of the stories turn out not to be true.

Hemingway did admit that the President might be overplaying his hand when talked about looking into the licensing of networks:

There are all sorts of ways to demand accountability from the press that do not involve calls for government action. When Trump is talking about the proliferation of fake news, the over-reliance on anonymous sources he's on strong ground. When he starts calling for government action, he's on less strong ground.

She also observed how that had led to many in the liberal media to hyperventilate about Trump being an adversary to the First Amendment.

And in a rhetorical question to the panel, Baier questioned how “after today, how many of these stories that have been written or done will go back and say: “Well, we were dead wrong when we said that he was frustrated or he's leaving or that XYZ.” How many do you think will change?” The obvious answer is not many if any at all.

Transcript below:

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Fox News Channel
Special Report
October 12, 2017
6:41:35 PM Eastern

BRET BAIER: Mollie, I don't know how many stories I read or seen that had anonymous sources describing Kelly on his way out the door.

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: Right. It was very frustrating for me when he said that he wasn't quitting today and the room erupted in laughter as if it were really funny. They go when they write all these stories every few days about how he's quitting and they have the best sources that he’s quitting and when he denies that they act like it's funny. It's not funny to have so many stories based on unreliable anonymous sources. And the public can't check the sources.

I mean, I saw that earlier in the show you had someone from a different outlet saying ‘no really trust us, our sources are good.’ Well, there’s no way to trust when they contradict information that’s on the record. And there’s no way to check and hold them accountable.

And I think it's a huge threat, in addition to external threats to freedom of the press, there are internal threats and how the media are handling their job and how they’re losing their standards and how they’re breaking the social contract. They get perks and privileges as part of this first amendment agreement and they are not living up to those standards.

(…)

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HEMINGWAY: The standard isn't that a lot of the stories are true or a lot of them check out. The standard when you’re in the truth-telling business is that all of your stories need to check out. And there have been so many stories about people who are leaving who don’t leave. And it becomes very difficult, how does a general reader or viewer know who to trust and who not to trust when so many of the stories turn out not to be true.

BAIER: But here’s the question: After today, how many of these stories that have been written or done will go back and say: “Well, we were dead wrong when we said that he was frustrated or he's leaving or that xyz.” How many do you think will change?

(…)

BAIER: The flip-side Mollie, the President is tweeting and he has continued to do this saying: “Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake, that licenses must be challenged and if appropriate revoked. Not fair to public. The fake news is going all out in order to demean and denigrate. Such hatred." What about that.

HEMINGWAY: Right, and I mean, this is the flip-side to what we’re talking about. There are all sorts of ways to demand accountability from the press that do not involve calls for government action. When Trump is talking about the proliferation of fake news, the over-reliance on anonymous sources he's on strong ground. When he starts calling for government action, he's on less strong ground. Of course, people also overreact as if there’s some constitutional right to bandwidth or spectrum, which is a little bit of an overreaction to that. But he has a strong case to be made that the media have not been handling their vocations very well. He oversteps when he calls for government action.


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CyberAlerts Media Bias Debate Fox News Channel Special Report Video Mollie Hemingway Donald Trump John Kelly