During Monday’s edition of New Day, co-host John Berman found another reason to push CNN's favorite conspiracy theory, that the Russians stole the election from Hillary Clinton. Berman touted a new book: "Could Donald Trump have won the presidency without Russia’s meddling? A new book explores that question and has an answer. That’s an answer the President might not like.”
Or an answer CNN certainly does like.
The author was liberal professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson, who wrote a book alleging that President Trump would not have won without help from Russia. Jamieson also railed against the media: “when the hacked content is in media across the last month of the election, that there’s a change in perception that Hillary Clinton is qualified to be president that...and it’s a negative change...that’s difficult to explain except to say that the media agenda and the amount of anti-Clinton content had been influenced by that Russian stolen, leaked content.”
The professor blamed the liberal media for offering "uncritical attention" to Wikileaks. So then why is Jamieson's book carrying dust-cover blurbs from anchorwomen like Andrea Mitchell at MSNBC, and Judy Woodruff at PBS? They must also agree they were Trump-enablers? Mitchell oozes "Her masterful study provides a compelling answer to the question of whether Russia likely helped elect an American President."
Jamieson also claimed that there was “anti-Clinton framing” in the second and third Presidential debates. Jamieson apparently forgot about the fact that President Trump received bruising coverage and calls to quit over the Access Hollywood tape, which also dominated the media coverage in the last month leading up to the presidential election, and not the furor over Wikileaks.
Media Research Center President Brent Bozell offered a slightly different assessment of the second Presidential debate:
After last night, Raddatz and Cooper’s reputation as biased, partisan media operatives is clear for all to see. Both moderators repeatedly interrupted and challenged Trump, and caressed Hillary throughout the night. Trump called them both on their bias and it’s plain for the American people to see at this point, the media are all in 100% for Hillary. Raddatz’s performance was especially egregious. She oozed contempt and it was there on the national stage for everyone to see.
A 2016 Media Research Center study found that the morning and evening news programs on ABC, CBS, and NBC spent more than 150 minutes on the Access Hollywood tape in the first 60 hours after The Washington Post leaked the tape of President roughly 48 hours before the second Presidential debate.
Jamieson also suggested that the Russians actively worked to “shift votes that wouldn’t vote for Donald Trump, particularly among African-Americans and Sanders supporters, toward Jill Stein.” Jamieson went on to assert the standard left-wing talking point that Stein’s voters supported Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee would have won two of the three states crucial in securing President Trump’s victory. Maybe it didn’t occur to Jamieson that some Sanders supporters sympathized with Stein’s message dating back all the way to the 2016 Democratic National Convention, when the phrase “Jill Not Hill” became a rallying cry for supporters of Sanders who thought that Stein served as a more effective messenger for the far-left agenda
Berman concluded the interview by giving Jamieson’s book a ringing endorsement: “I commend people to go read it because it’s fascinating.” Nearly a month before the 2018 midterms, it remains quite clear that the left and the media still have not accepted the results of 2016. It will be interesting to see what kinds of conspiracy theories the left comes up if the "blue wave" doesn't materialize.
A transcript of the relevant portion of Monday’s edition of New Day is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CNN New Day
JOHN BERMAN: So, could Donald Trump have won the presidency without Russia’s meddling? A new book explores that question and has an answer. That’s an answer the President might not like. Joining us now is Kathleen Hall Jamieson. She is the Director the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of a new book that’s getting a lot of attention, Cyber-War: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President, What We Don’t, and Can’t, and Do Know. Professor, great to have you here…
KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: It’s good to be here.
BERMAN: …with us. Look, President Trump has said for 18 months…Senator Richard Burr…others involved with all the investigating have said for months, whatever the Russians did…if there was collusion…even if there was meddling, they didn’t change any votes. Well, that might not be the pertinent question here…whether they went and changed voter rolls. The question that you look into is whether they influenced enough votes to make a difference, and what did you find?
JAMIESON: I found that the trolls…that is the Russians that are marauding about in our social media…had a theory of the election that was sound. That is, they were using themes consistent with Donald Trump’s. They were appealing to constituencies that he needed to mobilize, demobilize, and shift. That their visual content was evocative, widely-shared, and as a result, we presume persuasive. And the only question is, did they reach the voters in the key states…the three decisive states that would have made a difference? We don’t know the answer to that last question but we know that the precept positions that would lead to the conclusion there was influence are all in place. With the hackers…that is, the people who stole Democratic content and released it into the electoral dialogue of the United States…we know they changed the agenda at critical times, they changed the way in which questions were framed in the second and third debate. And those things, potentially, were consequential enough to change the outcome.
BERMAN: We’re talking about Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
BERMAN: 80,000 votes. So the central question here is did Russian messaging change 80,000 votes? And you saw changes in polling because you’ve looked back and dug into these numbers in a big way. And if you read this book…actually, I have it right here…if you look at a copy of this book, I mean this is filled with tables, and charts, and numbers here. And the numbers tell you that you…there were changes.
JAMIESON: We saw changes as a result of exposure to the media. When you change what people think about and you change how they think about it, and then you create more messages that favor one side, you shape votes. You don’t change massive numbers but you change enough to swing a close outcome. And that’s what the Russians did by leaking material through Wikileaks into the American media, which was complicit in putting that on-air often, uncritically and in print.
BERMAN: And to be clear, you’re very critical of the media’s role here…
JAMIESON: I am.
BERMAN: …and you say that the media…which we’re sitting here as a part of right now…by broadcasting some of the things that came out of Wikileaks and transmitting and magnifying the President’s own message on that, it helped really land those points with voters.
JAMIESON: And we see across time when the hacked content is in media across the last month of the election that there’s a change in perception that Hillary Clinton is qualified to be President that…and it’s a negative change…that’s difficult to explain except to say that the media agenda and the amount of anti-Clinton content had been influenced by that Russian, stolen, leaked content.
BERMAN: And when you look at the timing of when that information was released, you actually match it up to the second and third debates and the polling that took place after those debates. And specific questions about Hillary Clinton’s credibility and fitness to be President, there were drops.
JAMIESON: And in those two debates, what you had was content attributed to Wikileaks that had been stolen from the Democrats that was taken somewhat out of context by the reporters who framed the question. And a result, created extended exchanges between Candidate Clinton and Candidate Trump that disadvantaged candidate Clinton. We saw a change between…a difference between the debate viewers and non-viewers in the likelihood that they would say that Hillary Clinton says one thing in public and another in private. In other words, drop in her forthrightness…perception of that… and that predicts a change in vote.
BERMAN: All right; talk to you about third-party candidates. It was Gary Johnson and Jill Stein. And you looked, again, at Jill Stein’s numbers in 2016 versus 2012 and where those boosted numbers might have come from.
JAMIESON: We know that the Russians tried to shift votes that wouldn’t vote for Donald Trump, particularly among African-Americans and Sanders supporters, toward Jill Stein. And we know that the difference between Jill Stein’s vote in two out of three of the key votes…key states that decided the Electoral College were enough of themselves to change the outcome in the Electoral College.
BERMAN: All right. Two points here that counter your argument and you’re familiar with like both of them. Number one, Brendan Nyhan, who is at the University of Michigan, says “How easy is it to change people’s votes in an election? The answer, a growing number of studies conclude, is that most forms of political persuasion seem to have little effect at all.” His point is that, you know, messaging, advertising, even social media…it doesn’t land like we thought it used to.
JAMIESON: Most advertising doesn’t have massive effects in elections because the other side is counter-advertising at equal levels. When you create imbalances in messages more on one side, that’s when you get shifts. The Russians managed to do that. Most advertising doesn’t make a difference because people’s party affiliation dictates largely how they are going to vote. Higher proportion of Independents in this election, less anchorage for the vote. Look, and advertising doesn’t largely matter in the last month of an election because most of the votes are decided. Almost one out of eight were undecided approaching the presidential election. And the peak of the hacked content and the trolled information coming through the channels to the electorate occurred during early voting. We had more of it this year than ever before. All of that changes Brendan Nyhan’s equation.
BERMAN: And again, we’re only talking about 80,000 votes here. And the other argument, again, you’ll hear from Trump supporters is well, Hillary didn’t go to Michigan, she didn’t go to Wisconsin. She was a bad candidate and a bad campaigner. That mattered more than this.
JAMIESON: You can build all of that in and then ask if you then increase the amount of anti-Clinton content and news, and the anti-Clinton framing in the debates, and the amount of social media content that was hostile to her. Would there be enough of it in this incredibly close Electoral College equation to make a difference? I think the answer is likely that it is yes.
BERMAN: All right. Professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson, thank you for being with us. It was a pleasure to meet you in person. The book is Cyber-War. There’s a lot in here on James Comey, too, which takes a lot more explanation. But I commend people to go read it because it’s fascinating.
JAMIESON: Thank you.
BERMAN: Thanks so much for being with us.
JAMIESON: Good to be with you.
ALISYN CAMEROTA: Really interesting, John. Thank you.