One of the big changes of the new Trump era is that when the mainstream media attempts to promote fake news, there will be consequences. And one of the consequences is that the purveyors of such fake news will be humiliated on national television as happened on both Saturday and Sunday over whether Russia hacked the Republican National Committee as was claimed in a Friday New York Times fake news story.
RNC Chairman and incoming White House Chief of Staff for President-elect Donald Trump, Reince Priebus, went way beyond merely schooling Chuck Todd on Sunday's Meet The Press. He flat out nailed him to the extent that a visibly shaken Chuck attempted to quickly change the subject. Unfortunately for him, Priebus would not play along which resulted in Chuck's extreme discomfort. The action begins at the 5:18 mark of the following video and you can see why Todd might have felt the urge to pop several Advils at the conclusion of the interview.
CHUCK TODD: Does Donald Trump have confidence in America's intelligence?
REINCE PRIEBUS: Of course he has confidence in America's intelligence but we don't have confidence in the New York Times releasing a report of unnamed sources of some kind of study that itself in the Washington Post said was inconclusive to claim that because the CIA had hacked emails of the DNC and the RNC and only used DNC emails that meant that Russia was trying to influence the election because the other piece of this, Chuck, is that the RNC was absolutely not hacked, number one. We had the FBI in the RNC. We've been working with the FBI. We had intelligence...
TODD: Let me ask you...
PRIEBUS: Hang on, Chuck! The RNC was not hacked.
TODD: Well, then why was the FBI involved?
PRIEBUS: It's really simple because when the DNC was hacked we called the FBI and they came in to help us and they came in to review what we were doing and went thru our systems and went thru every single thing we did. We went through this for a month. And we were not hacked. So wait a second, if we were not hacked and that is absolutely not true then where does that story lie?
NAILED! At this point the visibly shaken Chuck Todd pathetically attempted to expand the parameters of the RNC hacking that never happened:
TODD: Not a single person connected to the RNC was hacked? No Republican vendor who had interactions with the RNC network was hacked? You guys had a very specific denial that the RNC network wasn't hacked. That doesn't mean Republicans associated with the RNC weren't hacked, that doesn't rule that out. Do you definitely rule that out?
How about the cousins of Republicans being hacked? Or perhaps friends of Republican vendors being hacked? Or...or...anybody anywhere who had any type of interactions with the RNC network being hacked?
Priebus' reply to Todd was priceless:
PRIEBUS: I don't know why you are so hot about this. I mean the fact of the matter...
TODD: It's not about me!
PRIEBUS: You should be happy that the RNC was not hacked. The RNC was not hacked, Chuck. Number one, the RNC was not hacked. I don't know of any employee on any of their own gmail accounts that was hacked. So what I'm trying to tell you is the RNC was not hacked, number one. That was the specific allegation that was made in the actual New York Times article. The article didn't say affiliates of the RNC...
PRIEBUS: No, wait a second, Chuck. The article said the RNC was hacked so don't be defensive with me. ...I am refuting the specific fact that was made in the article that created this entire firestorm. And the specific fact as we have been told by the FBI repeatedly including two days ago and we checked back with them about this issue repeated the fact that the RNC was not hacked. So you tell me where this story is at? Why would the press run with something that wasn't true?
Nailed again! And this time poor Chuck attempted to change the subject to whether the Russians attempted to influence the election generally. Unfortunately for him, Priebus did not let him off the hook and returned to the fake New York Times story. As you can see, the rest of the interview was equally brutal for Chuck.
As to the New York Times article, here are the fake news excerpts about the RNC hacking that in reality never happened:
WASHINGTON — American intelligence agencies have concluded with “high confidence” that Russia acted covertly in the latter stages of the presidential campaign to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances and promote Donald J. Trump, according to senior administration officials.
They based that conclusion, in part, on another finding — which they say was also reached with high confidence — that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems in addition to their attacks on Democratic organizations, but did not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks.
In the months before the election, it was largely documents from Democratic Party systems that were leaked to the public. Intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russians gave the Democrats’ documents to WikiLeaks.
...“We now have high confidence that they hacked the D.N.C. and the R.N.C., and conspicuously released no documents” from the Republican organization, one senior administration official said, referring to the Russians.
It is unclear how many files were stolen from the Republican committee; in some cases, investigators never get a clear picture. It is also far from clear that Russia’s original intent was to support Mr. Trump, and many intelligence officials — and former officials in Mrs. Clinton’s campaign — believe that the primary motive of the Russians was to simply disrupt the campaign and undercut confidence in the integrity of the vote.
Notice the missing element here? An actual named source. Also missing was any reference to the FBI since, as Reince Priebus pointed out to the deeply saddened Chuck Todd, the FBI declared that the RNC had most definitely not been hacked.
So was the incorrect New York Times report about the hacking of the RNC merely the result of poor reporting or something more nefarious such as refusing to check facts that would contradict their conclusion? RNC spokesman Sean Spicer made it clear during a heated interview on CNN's Smerconish on Saturday that the Times flat out refused to check out information offered to them that proved no hacking of the RNC.
...Then let's look at what the New York Times reported. They based that conclusion, meaning the intelligence agency, in part on another finding that the Republicans hacked, the Republican National Committee's computer system, in addition to their attack. That's false. So the intelligence is wrong. It didn't happen. We offered the New York Times conclusive proof that it didn't happen. They refused to look at that. They ignored it because it didn't fit the narrative. The bottom line, Michael, is the intelligence is wrong. Because they're writing, that the conclusion that they came to, was based in part on the RNC was hacked. It wasn't hacked. We have intelligence agencies that we worked with that were willing to help sort this out. They refused to look at that because it didn't fit the narrative that the New York Times wanted to write. It is reprehensible what they have done...
Like Chuck Todd, host Michael Smerconish attempted to shift the discussion away from the New York Times publishing fake news.