CNSNews.com's Susan Jones trumpet the right-wing pro-Trump media's latest narrative in a Sept. 11 article:
“For months, we’ve seen evidence suggesting FBI/DOJ leaked to the media for their own purposes. TODAY, we have a new text,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) tweeted Monday night.
Meadows said the newly released texts from former FBI Agent Peter Strzok to former FBI attorney Lisa Page suggest a “coordinated effort” by FBI and Justice Department officials to leak information potentially harmful to President Donald Trump’s administration.
In a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Monday, Meadows released the following April 2017 text exchanges, saying they would lead a “reasonable person” to question whether the FBI’s goal was to investigate wrongdoing – or to place derogatory information in the media to justify the ongoing Trump-Russia probe.
The accusation centers on a text from Strzok to Page referencing a "media leak strategy." But Meadows' interpretation, which Jones presents at length and effectively without challenge, is a bit on the bogus side.
As a real news outlet, the Washington Post, reported, Strzok's attorney pointed out that the "media leak strategy" reference was to an internal Department of Justice attempt to stop media leaks. the Post continued:
By itself, the text is difficult to interpret. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-FBI Director James B. Comey had vowed to crack down on leaks, and investigating such disclosures if they contained classified information would have been a part of Strzok’s job as a counterintelligence agent. Aitan Goelman, Strzok’s attorney, says that is what Strzok was referring to.
“The term ‘media leak strategy’ in Mr. Strzok’s text refers to a Department-wide initiative to detect and stop leaks to the media,” Goelman said in a statement. “The President and his enablers are once again peddling unfounded conspiracy theories to mislead the American People.”
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, released other text messages from the same day, which seem to show Page and Strzok having a broad discussion about the Justice Department’s regulations on media leaks. The lawmakers accused Republicans in Congress of selectively publicizing messages “to fabricate conspiracy theories to protect President Trump.”
Because Jones' assigned job is to protect Trump and attack his perceived enemies, she gave that defense the shortest of shrifts: "Strzok's lawyer said Strzok and Page were discussing a strategy to stop media leaks, a response that drew scoffs from Trump defenders." Jones elaborated no further about what Strzok's lawyer (whom she couldn't even be bothered to name) said, nor did she detaial any of the "scoffs" she claimed took place.
The next day, CNS published a column by the Heritage Foundation Hans von Spakovsky reinforcing Meadows' conspiratorial narrative, with no mention at all of the context those memos appeared in or the rebuttal offered by Strzok's lawyer.
CNS has recently been sending out links on Twitter to its "news" articles with the statement, "Stay informed and on top of the news. Read the latest from CNS News." But if CNS is more interested in pushing right-wing conspiracy theories, it's not keeping its readers "informed."