Part of being a pro-Trump stenographer at CNSNews.com is having to clean up after President Trump or a surrogate when they screw up. We've caught them doing that already as the impeachment inquiry has progressed, and now they've done it again.
The big news from last week's press conference by acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is that he effectively admitted that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine because Trump wanted the country to investigate conspiracy theories that involved the 2016 election and Joe Biden's son -- then tried to walk back the claim shortly thereafter. But, of course, that's not the way CNS framed it.
Susan Jones' first article started by framing Mulvaney's remarks the way he wanted them framed -- by uncritically quotinghim saying there was no issue with Trump holding up aid to Ukraine because "President Trump is not a big fan of foreign aid, never has been, still isn't." The quid pro quo admission is buried far down and not highlighted. Sometime after the article was published, a note was added to the top of the article stating that "Mulvaney issued a statement pushing back on reports that he admitted to a quid pro quo involving Ukraine, i.e., U.S. military aid in exchange for Ukraine's cooperation with the ongoing 2016 election-corruption investigation"; it's not explained that those reports he's "pushing back" on are accurate and that he's now saying something different than his original claim.
Jones' next article tried to reframe things by criticizing the way Mulvaney was asked questions and parsing his answers to leave out the whole quid pro quo stuff:
Listen to these two questions asked of Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Thursday:
(1) "Can you describe the role that you played in pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens?" and (2) "Can you walk us through the meeting that President Trump was dangling over Vladimir Zelensky to have him right here at the White House? What were the preconditions of that meeting and was investigating Burisma one of them?"
Both questions assume guilt on the part of the Trump administration, but Mulvaney answered them.
The answer to the first question is "none," Mulvaney said. "I didn't have any--any--what was your question? What did I do to Ukraine or something? Nothing."
The reporter repeated: "The second question is about the meeting that was supposed to happen here at the White House between the two presidents. Could you walk us through the discussions for that meeting? What was on the table for a precondition, and was the investigation of Burisma ever brought up as a condition to meet with President Trump?"
"No," Mulvaney said. "Not to me and not to anybody I know of. I was never in a conversation that--that had the word Burisma in it...or the Bidens. That never happened with me in there.
Jones was pretty much the only person trying to make that argument -- even among her fellow right-wingers.
Melanie Arter gave it another shot in an Oct. 21 article, uncritically recounting Muvaney's "Fox News Sunday" appearance in which he continued to reverse himself on the quid pro-quo admission. It's straight, boring, badly formatted stenography that again buries the fact that Mulvaney is contradicting himself.
CNS is doing its readers a disservice by refusing to accurately and honestly report the news, instead serving as an extension of the White House press office. It hardly inspires trust in CNS' work.