Nothing to See Here: Public Radio, TV Networks Ignore Adam Schiff's Fake Quotes From Trump Transcript
On Thursday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) fabricated quotes from the transcript of President Donald Trump's July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, the call at the center of Democrats' impeachment inquiry. His quotes misrepresented the transcript, making it seem more damaging for Trump. When called out on it, he hilariously claimed that his remarks were just a parody. It seems the big three broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) thought these fake quotes weren't a story, and when NPR and PBS interviewed Schiff, they didn't ask one question about it.
Schiff started his "parody" by saying "this is the essence of what the president communicates: We've been very good to your country, very good. No other country has done as much as we have. But you know what? I don't see much reciprocity here. I hear what you want, I have a favor I want from you, though. And I'm going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good."
"I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand, lots of it, on this and on that. I'm going to put you in touch with people, not just any people, I'm going to put you in touch the attorney general of the United States, my attorney general, Bill Barr," Schiff continued, supposedly not acting as if he were quoting the president. "And I'm going to put you in touch with Rudy, you’re going to love him, trust me. ... And by the way, don't call me again. I'll call you when you've done what I asked."
As PJ Media's Matt Margolis noted, the transcript of the July 25 call is available to anyone with an internet connection. This isn't exactly a secret. Yet Schiff presented an utterly fabricated and misleading version of the transcript in his remarks before the House Intelligence Committee.
Schiff evidently received a great deal of push-back, because he went on to explain himself, saying his remarks were "meant to be at least, in part, parody."
As NewsBusters' Nicholas Fondacaro reported, ABC, CBS, and NBC ignored the story, but Fox News' The Story with Martha MacCallum covered it. MacCallum began the segment by noting that Schiff had taken "creative liberty" with the transcript: "Rather than reading from the transcript as it exists, and we all now have in the open of the president's phone call with the Ukrainian President Zelensky, he parried it in a sort of free-verse improv."
MacCallum spoke with former House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.). "Well, if you don't have good facts, you got to make them up," Gowdy quipped. He noted that this was "the same Schiff that said he had evidence of collusion. He's not making that mistake this time, he's not claiming he's got something he doesn't have, he's just going to make it up and he made it up on national television."
Outside of Fox News, Schiff's fake quotes seemed to go unnoticed by the mainstream media. In fact, taxpayer-funded NPR and PBS interviewed the congressman on Thursday night, and neither interview included questions about the fake quotes.
Ari Shapiro, anchor of NPR's All Things Considered, interviewed Schiff for nearly seven minutes, but did not ask about the fabrication. Judy Woodruff, anchor of PBS NewsHour, also skimmed over the "parody" fake quotes. As NewsBusters' Tim Graham reported, she gave Schiff quick softball questions, and then proceeded to tear into Trump aide Kellyanne Conway.
Meanwhile, the Democrat narrative about the July 25 phone call keeps collapsing. While Trump did freeze military aid to Ukraine right before the call, Ukrainian officials did not know anything about that until a month after the call. The transcript revealed a friendly call with no quid pro quo. Democrats, however, did threaten to oppose Ukraine military funding if the country's prosecutor general did not continue a probe into Trump connected to the Mueller investigation.
A Democrat spins fake quotes on national television, trying to frame the July 25 call as a horrible impeachable offense, and so many media outlets couldn't bother to report it. Two taxpayer-funded outlets interview him, and neither ask him a single question about it — not even a softball. It seems NPR — and other mainstream media outlets — don't really consider "all things."
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.