So did Callum Borchers draw the short straw over at The Washington Post? One has to ask because he ended up with the rather unenviable task of performing spin control on the Uranium One scandal which broke wide open on October 17 with a big story written by John Solomon and Alison Spann in The Hill.
Borchers' spin technique was to grumble about those currently reporting on the scandal and then touch on the outline of what happened without getting too specific. Oh, and as a final touch, he compared the Uranium One scandal to foreign dignitaries staying at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Borchers kicked off the spin with some grumbling about those who have been covering this story in Making sense of Russia, uranium and Hillary Clinton (including this organization and our founder Brent Bozell):
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To hear Sean Hannity tell it, the media is ignoring “what is becoming the biggest scandal — or, at least, one of them — in American history.”
Hannity is jumping waaay ahead of the facts. So is Breitbart News, which has been running misleading headlines like this: “FBI uncovers confirmation of Hillary Clinton's corrupt uranium deal with Russia.”
Brent Bozell, founder of the conservative Media Research Center, claims that there is “another coverup in the making.”
And now some downplay spin:
New reporting this week by the Hill has, indeed, added a layer of intrigue to the sale of a uranium mining company to Russia's atomic energy agency, which was approved by the Clinton-led State Department and eight other U.S. government agencies. But the latest developments, as they relate to Clinton, are not as explosive as certain news outlets — eager to draw attention away from reporting on President Trump and Russia — would have you believe.
Really, Callum? Let us look at just a piece of that "layer of intrigue" revealed in The Hill report:
Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.
They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.
Those millions of dollars routed to the U.S. to benefit the Clinton Foundation was described by Borchers as merely being "donations" of an indeterminate amount:
The New York Times reported in 2015 that “as the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation.”
It is virtually impossible to view these donations as anything other than an attempt to curry favor with Clinton. Donations alone do not, however, prove that Clinton was actually influenced by money to vote in favor of the Uranium One sale — or to overlook the FBI investigation. Again, there is no evidence that she even knew about the investigation.
Thank you for that admission, Callum, that it was obviously an attempt to curry favor with the Clintons (although in the next sentence he denies that it proves that Hillary was influenced by money). Just as you are about to laugh at the notion of her sudden nobility on being influenced by cash, Borcher's compares the millions in Russian money to room charges paid by foreign dignitaries at Trump's Washington hotel:
Similarly, it is virtually impossible to view foreign dignitaries' habit of lodging at Trump's Washington hotel as anything other than an attempt to curry favor with the president. Reservations and room service alone do not, however, prove that Trump's foreign policy is actually influenced by money.
Right! Because a few hundred bucks in room charges can have as much influence on billionaire Trump as millions in Russian money paid to the Clintons. That notion caused some merriment from the readers who actually provided more detailed information than spin control Borchers. Some sample comments:
This could be your opportunity to take the red pill. Read this sloppy article and then go read the full reporting of this story everywhere else.
You will stat to notice a trend. The skinny articles that shape a the nothing-to-see-here narrative are going to be very much in line with your world-view. But you can actually find good reporting on this story and they are full of facts.
When foreign dignitaries stay at a trump hotel do they leave million dollar tips? no. Then you can't compare that with the Clintons receiving millions of dollars in donations and then Hillary approving the sale of the uranium rights.
I think Callum Borchers (Author) drew the short straw. And it took him a few days to figure out how to dress this up and still failed hard.
Notice how WaPo likens multiple million dollar "donations" to the cost of hotel stays? No of course you don't notice that because dollar amounts didn't make it into this article.
they also omitted the fact that Eric Holder was also involved in the approval. A man who HAD to know that the Russians' were under investigation. Sad day in journalism when the Wa Post has become irrelevant.
It will be interesting to compare this Washington Post spin article to the other spin control stories that will be coming from much of the rest of the mainstream media in the days and weeks to come.