If mainstream media truly wishes to repair its image with the general public, these outlets must recognize they do not merely suffer from a “bubble” reinforced by overwhelmingly liberal staffing, or from supposedly insufficient outreach to working class communities.
The mainstream’s issues are apparent in their content choices, suggesting an intractable problem. Following decades of allowing the Democratic Party to select the day’s narrative, they possess no measure of professional competence for objectively judging the importance of information.
The media’s remarkably different responses to the following two stories offer a definitive example:
1. Retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, President Trump’s national security adviser, made a series of phone calls and texts to Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak on December 29, 2016. On that day, then-President Barack Obama had revealed that he was issuing sanctions against Russia for its supposed hacking of the Democratic National Committee.
2. Per the Washington Free Beacon: “Two high-level Iranian government backers, including a former Islamic Republic official and another accused of lobbying on Tehran’s behalf, were hosted at the Obama White House for more than 30 meetings with top officials at key junctures in the former administration’s contested diplomacy with Iran …
“Sources familiar with the nature of the meetings told the Washington Free Beacon that both Parsi and Mousavian helped the White House craft its pro-Iran messaging and talking points that helped lead to the nuclear agreement with Iran. These efforts were part of a larger pro-Iran deal ‘echo chamber’ led by senior Obama administration officials who were tasked with misleading Congress about the nature of the deal …”
Just about every mainstream outlet has covered the Michael Flynn story with multiple articles: Newsweek, CNN, Daily Beast, CBS News, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and others — a thorough search returns dozens of high-profile sources that published highly trafficked pieces.
Several pundits demanded answers, pointing to the calls as further evidence of Donald Trump having aligned himself with Vladimir Putin’s dictatorial regime, and having allowed Putin to direct elements of his campaign and his coming presidency. Later, these same outlets announced that an “FBI investigation” into Flynn’s calls and texts had commenced.
But this week, we learn the hysteria about Flynn and the FBI appears to have been unwarranted. The outlets which had previously inflated the story have since backed down.
As you read their follow-up stories below, note the cause of their initial hysteria: you know of the Mike Flynn story simply due to journalistic ineptitude — specifically, the journalists’ ignorance of diplomatic practices — combined with their predetermined acceptance of the Trump/Russia narrative.
Yesterday, per NBC News:
The FBI eavesdropped on telephone calls between President Donald Trump’s national security adviser and the Russian ambassador but found nothing improper, a U.S. intelligence official said.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said late Monday that there was never a formal “investigation” of the calls in December between retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn and Sergei Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador in Washington.
According to the source, who was confirming a Washington Post report earlier Monday, intelligence officials merely listened in as part of routine eavesdropping on Kislyak.
The former official, who requested anonymity to speak about sensitive information, said it was not uncommon for diplomats or other U.S. officials to garner such attention to if they are recorded talking to foreign counterparts. Rarely anything comes of this, however, because U.S. officials have wide latitude in how they communicate as part of their jobs.
And this is how the Washington Post article referenced above described the calls:
The FBI’s counterintelligence agents listen to calls all the time that do not pertain to any open investigation, current and former law enforcement officials said. Often, said one former official, “they’re just monitoring the other [foreign official] side of the call.”
Both Flynn, a former head of the Pentagon’s intelligence agency, and Kislyak, a seasoned diplomat, are probably aware that Kislyak’s phone calls and texts are being monitored, current and former officials said. That would make it highly unlikely, the individuals said, that the men would allow their calls to be conduits of illegal coordination.
Has the damage been done, however? When you hear “Mike Flynn,” do you immediately consider him through the lens of this story?
Objectively, you should not, and further, you should not trust anything you have heard regarding Mike Flynn that traces to those outlets. They have shown both incompetence on the subject and vulnerability to a cynical Democratic Party narrative intended to damage Donald Trump’s presidency.
Re-watch the Clinton-Trump debates: Clinton pulls focus towards Russia to minimize coverage of the scandalous content of John Podesta’s emails. Further, following Trump’s victory, President Obama announced the aforementioned sanctions against Russia, knowing such sanctions brought no tangible punishment to Putin — then-President Elect Trump could rescind them within a month’s time. Obama’s motivations bear no rational explanation beyond continuing the narrative of Trump as an illegitimate president and pawn of Vladimir Putin.
Obama was successful — these outlets proved to have been primed to run with later information, such as the Mike Flynn story, to further the Trump/Russia narrative.
Seyed Mousavian, a former Iranian diplomat and head of its national security council, was hosted at the White House at least three times, while Trita Parsi, a pro-Iran advocate long accused of hiding his ties to the Iranian government, met with Obama administration officials some 33 times, according to recently updated visitor logs.
The implications of this story, considering Obama adviser Ben Rhodes later opened up about the extent of the Obama administration’s duplicity with the public on the Iranian nuclear deal, are objectively relevant to anything else an America voter may read or believe regarding our national security. The Obama administration was surreptitiously welcoming counsel from two enemies of the state while crafting a treaty supposedly intended to prevent that enemy — a genocidal regime with a messianic bent — from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Here’s how that Ben Rhodes article described how Obama misled America (link is to David Reaboi of The Federalist):
In the spring of last year, legions of arms-control experts began popping up at think tanks and on social media, and then became key sources for hundreds of often-clueless reporters. ‘We created an echo chamber,’ [Rhodes] admitted, when I asked him to explain the onslaught of freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal. ‘They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.’
Rhodes has become adept at ventriloquizing many people at once. Ned Price, Rhodes’s assistant, gave me a primer on how it’s done. The easiest way for the White House to shape the news, he explained, is from the briefing podiums … “But then there are sort of these force multipliers,” he said, adding, “We have our compadres, I will reach out to a couple people, and you know I wouldn’t want to name them—”
“I can name them,” I said, ticking off a few names of prominent Washington reporters and columnists who often tweet in sync with White House messaging.
Price laughed. ‘I’ll say, “Hey, look, some people are spinning this narrative that this is a sign of American weakness,”’ he continued, “but—”
“In fact it’s a sign of strength!” I said, chuckling.
These same “often-clueless” reporters the Obama administration was “ventriloquizing” were just utilized as gleeful political pawns yet again. Mike Flynn’s brief calls and texts with the Russian ambassador should have immediately been dismissed as common diplomatic activity; they weren’t, in service of a cynical political end sought by not just the Democratic Party, but by the media outlets themselves.
However, the Obama White House meetings with Mousavian and Parsi — dozens of meetings — can not rationally be attributed as common diplomatic contact. Even after Ben Rhodes spilled his secrets — and not due to the weight of guilt, but due to pride in his work — we still do not know the extent of the Obama administration’s deceitful behavior during the passage of a bill that holds ramifications for global stability.
To summarize, the information uncovered by Adam Kredo is real news.
The Flynn story has been exposed as nothing notable beyond its potential as a political club; it was fake news.
As of this moment, not a single mainstream outlet has picked up the Adam Kredo story.
PJ Media and other “new media” outlets have, though.
As the mainstream continues to humiliate itself in an attempt to maintain a monopoly on information exiting Washington, D.C., the general public — and certainly, the voters — has developed an awareness that the mainstream’s status as gatekeeper has always been artificial. It certainly never had anything to do with competence.
Have you noticed every other outlet has offered excellent questions? US is learning MSM isn't uniquely qualified.
— David Steinberg (@realDSteinberg) January 23, 2017