CNN, which has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, chose to ignore a recent poll that asked likely voters about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s mental capacities.
The Zogby poll, which was released this week, found that a majority of voters believed that Biden is in the early stages of dementia. Fifty-five percent of likely voters said it was more likely that Biden is in the early stages of dementia, with 45% of likely voters believed it was less likely to be true. The majority of Republican voters believed Biden has dementia with 77% expressing that opinion, while 32% of Democratic voters believed it. However, 56% of independent voters believed Biden has early dementia.
Only right-leaning media outlets such as the Daily Wire and NewsMax reported on the Zogby poll. CNN and the mainstream media were nowhere to be found when it came to this poll’s findings and potential implications for the 2020 presidential election.
Biden’s stuttering and losing his train of thought have been well-documented during this election cycle, but the likes of CNN and the mainstream media dismissed the possibility that Biden may lack the mental capacity to serve as president at his age.
AIM Chief Fails In Attacking Newspapers As 'Hard Left,' Unworthy of Bailout Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media is attempting to regain what little relevance it had and maybe create some buzz by railing against the idea of treating the media like every other business in America that is eligible for coronavirus relief money. Of course, AIM simply wants the non-conservative media to die any way it can. The latest step in this is a May 22 op-ed by AIM president Adam Guillette pubished by the Washington Examiner.
Since Guillette, like most right-wing media critics, has never worked a day in the media he attacks -- he came to AIM from the discredited right-wing provocateurs at Project Veritas -- he doesn't understand how the media busienss works; he's too caught up in his biases. He began by ranting:
If Lenin said that capitalists “will sell us the rope we use to hang them,” newspapers are saying that conservatives will fund the ink they use to smear them.
Bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress have now signed on for a proposed media bailout. This isn’t a bailout for smaller newspapers and television stations. Those businesses were already eligible for the Payroll Protection Program, and many of them took advantage of it — in a big way.
The Seattle Times took $9.9 million tax dollars, and the Tampa Bay Timesbagged $8.5 million. Two of the most hard-left newspapers in America didn’t even hesitate before grabbing their Trump Bucks.
Needless to say, Guillette offers no evidence that either of those newspapers is "hard left" -- he simply assumes so because they don't have a right-wing bias.
Guillette then attacked the newspaper chain McClatchy for filing for bankruptcy. He continued to whine:
For years, conservatives bemoaned how far left their local newspapers shifted. Little by little, the editorial boards of nearly every local newspaper were taken over by progressives. Then the editorializing started spreading to each article. In response to their complaints, conservatives were always told, “It’s a private company, they can do what they want!”
But now we’ve learned that alienating a large portion of your marketplace isn’t a winning business strategy. Why, then, should customers be forced to pay for a product they’ve already rejected?
Of course, the newspapers claim their bias isn’t the problem. They blame the internet. Countless business models have been upended by the internet; should we bail out each of them? Should we have bailed out stone tablet makers after the invention of the printing press?
If Guillette is going to complain that newspapers' purported liberal bias are not a "winning business strategy" then he must also admit that explicitly conservative newspapers were never a "winning business strategy." As we've documented, newspapers like the Washington Times, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and New York Post have always been failures in the market and kept alive only because they were owned by deep-pocketed right-wing owners -- even in the pre-internet years when mainstream newspaper reliably turned profits. Even the publication where Guillette's op-ed appears, the Washington Examiner, is the remnant of a daily newspaper that failed after a new owner, Philip Anschutz, infused it with right-wing bias.
In order to be an effective critic, one must understand what he is criticizing. Guillette clearly doesn't.
When dishonest journalists spread smears and lies, they should be exposed. But when honest journalists speak out against these things, they should be praised. Please use this action alert to thank Lara Logan for taking a stand against dishonest journalists who focus on advancing their agenda rather than educating the public.
It's not clear from this link what AIM is referring to, but it might be a recent rant at the New York Times criticizing the Trump administration over its response to the coronavirus pandemic, where she said that "This is a moment for all of us reporters to stand up for journalism and stand up for our profession and just admit that on every single page of The New York Times, opinion is infused with facts."
The funny thing, of course, is that Logan is not the "honest journalist" AIM would have you believe she is. She effectively lost her job at CBS' "60 Minutes" for promoting the claims of an alleged witness to the Benghazi attack whose story turned out to be a lie and not disclosing that said bogus witness' book was published by a division of CBS -- a story which, by the way, AIM promoted at the time but has since scrubbed from its website (fortunately, the internet never forgets).
Since her re-emergence last year, Logan has shown herself to be dishonest in another way, by pretending she's not a conservative. After declaring that "I'm not going to pretend to be conservative so I can be the darling of the conservative media," she did exactly that, first joining the conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group and then, earlier this year, starting a Fox News show laughably titled "Lara Logan Has No Agenda" despite the fact that Fox Nation is known for nothing but having a decidedly conservative agenda (that and the sexual harassment), and that Logan had a very specific agenda in attacking the New York Times.
So we're going to pass on signing this little petition.
AIM Can't Figure Out Conservative Media Is Biased On Tara Reade Topic: Accuracy in Media
Spencer Irvine wrote in a May 5 Accuracy in Media post:
Data journalism site FiveThirtyEight discovered that the mainstream media covered Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden less than conservative media.
The website’s findings confirmed Accuracy in Media’s reporting that the mainstream media ignored Reade’s allegations longer than it should have.
Fox News “has devoted the most attention to Reade so far” and intensified its Reade-related coverage. It has mentioned Reade 371 times, compared to CNN’s 35 clips that mentioned Reade. FiveThirtyEight said that MSNBC “barely mentioned her” until last week. But FiveThirtyEight pointed out that conservative online outlets “accounted for most early coverage” of Reade’s allegations from websites such as The Blaze, Daily Caller, and Breitbart.
FiveThirtyEight’s media analysis on Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden confirmed that media bias played a significant role in dictating media coverage. The mainstream media was slow to respond to the allegations and ignored them longer than it should have, while the conservative media covered the story early and often.
Note how Irvine assumes that the conservative media's coverage of the Reade story is his default, cheering how they covered it "early and often" and criticizing the "mainstream media" for waiting "longer than it should have." But he's ignoring the fact that the conservative media have a motivation for covering Reade "early and often": it's biased.
Irvine seems not to have considered that the conservative media pushed the Reade story "early and often" because they believe the story will hurt Biden and help President Trump. If Irvine thinks the "mainstream media" held off "longer than it should have" because it's purported biased for Biden, then the opposite must be true.
There's simply no reason for Irvine to assume that the conservative media is the standard of political coverage when it actually is as biased as he likes to think the "mainstream media" is.
AIM President Goes On Anti-City Tirade Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media president Adam Guillette hadn't really shown the kind of next-level craziness demonstrated by his AIM forbears like Cliff Kincaid (though, frankly, that make AIM pretty boring), even though he came to AIM from the disreputable Project Veritas. Guillette finally popped his crazy cherry, as it were, in an April 29 column in which he ranted that coronavirus proves that cities suck:
Progressive ideas and global pandemics go together like a strain of COVID-19 and a mucous membrane.
The media tries to look the other way, but one progressive policy after another has been found to be a major cause of the spread of the coronavirus.
For decades, left-wing city planning experts have told us that sprawl is a bad thing. It’d be better for society, they insisted, if we all lived in high-density cities. Then the virus hit. Which area suffered more? Manhattan, New York, or Manhattan, Kansas?
One of the main reasons dense cities have suffered so much is their reliance on public transportation.
Another progressive idea that has fallen apart amid the pandemic is the obsession with banning single-use plastic bags and embracing reusable bags at the grocery store. Reusable bags are the hipsters of COVID-19; they were carrying disease before it was cool. Study after study shows that E. coli, salmonella, and coliform bacteria are frequently spread by these virtue-signaling totes.
Now some cities that previously banned safe, single-use bags have actually reversed course and banned the reusable bags. Many stores that once encouraged reuse now forbid it.
The notion that central planning experts know how to run cities is a symptom of the most dangerous disease spread by urban liberals — narcissism. Their so-called “progressive” proposals actually embrace century-old technology — densely-packed cities, trains, burlap sacks, and trolleys. This is a large part of what got New York City into this mess.
Conservatives and libertarians are mocked for glamorizing 1776, but is it any better to glamorize life in 1876?
Congratulations, Adam. You might just be fringe enough to have a career at AIM after all.
AIM Roots for The Media To Die To ... Save It? Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media has pretty much fallen off the radar of the ConWeb, mostly by making itself irrelevant. AIM got rid of the main reason it became irrelevant -- Cliff Kincaid -- a few years back (though it has never publicly explained why its biggest-profile employee behind founder Reed Irvine departed the organization), but since then it's been adrift, with Reed's grandson Spencer Irvine getting drafted into pumping out (decidedlylame) content and hiring a guy from the malicioius and credibility-challenged Project Veritas to try and create some buzz.
Right now, AIM is trying out that old, sad staple, the online petition. A couple weeks ago, it posted an item asking readers to "Take a stand against the media bailout!" The tepid argument:
Last week, a coalition of media companies wrote to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader McConnell asking for a bailout.
These industry groups are so upset that we’re not supporting the mainstream media that they’d like to use the power of government to take our cash by force.
Saving the media would destroy the media.
Americans could never trust journalists to accurately cover the elected officials who voted against their funding.
Journalism is essential in a free society, but many of today’s journalists do a poor job of educating the public. They focus on lies and smears rather than facts and details.
Unpopular news outlets should be allowed to fail so that they might be replaced by better news outlets. There’s no reason to prop up media companies that Americans do not support.
I oppose any media bailout.
"Saving the media would destroy the media"? That's some twisted logic right there.It reeks of the "we had to destroy the village to save it" attitude that became notorious during the Vietnam War.
Meanwhile, the concept that "Unpopular news outlets should be allowed to fail so that they might be replaced by better news outlets" has never been followed by the conservative media, which has used deep-pocketed conservative financiers (Sun Myung Moon, Richard Mellon Scaife, Rupert Murdoch, et al) to prop up conservative newspapers that would have never survived had the owners let the market decide, even when the newspaper industry was doing well. We doubt that AIM was arguing for market forces to work their magic then.
Like any good right-wing, pro-Trump group, AIM simply wants to destroy the media it doesn't like and doesn't actually care about the consequences. Railing against a media bailout with a meaningless online petition is more about appealing to what little right-wing base it has rather than any reasoned considerations.
AIM President Puts Fake News In Rant Against Fake News Topic: Accuracy in Media
It's never a good look when your rant against "fake news" contains fake news. But Accuracy in Media (ironic!) president Adam Guillette pulled off that feat in his March 17 column:
The mainstream media is desperate to turn the coronavirus scare into President Donald Trump’s Hurricane Katrina. What does that mean? It means they’re motivated to overhype this story simply so they can pile as much pressure as possible onto the president.
As just one example, CNN is calling the outbreak a “pandemic”. Neither the World Health Organization nor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have defined COVID-19 as a pandemic, but why should facts stand in the way of a media narrative?
In fact, WHO declared coronavirus a pandemic on March 11 -- six days before Guillette's column was posted. It's not clear that the CDC even issues such a declaration.
Guillette went on to defend President Trump against criticism of his reaction to the coronavirus outbreak, declaring that "Trump is the head bureaucrat, not the head of medicine. Would you expect him to be toiling away in the West Wing in desperate search of a cure?"
For all of his ranting over "fake news," Guillette didn't actually cite any examples; even if he had, it's a certainty that Fox News' downplaying of the threat wouldn't have been mentioned. Still, he was eager to try and politicize the situation: "If we’re lucky, fake news will kill demand for nationalized health care. These bureaucratic bozos can’t get testing kits into the hands of doctors; they can’t manage a supply chain of face masks and Lysol. Would you really trust them if your loved one had cancer?"
AIM Pretends PragerU Is Merely An 'Education Non-Profit' Topic: Accuracy in Media
Like the Media Research Center, Accuracy in Media tried to apply spin to the federal appeals court that upheld YouTube's right to monitor its private property against the "censorship" charges from right-wing content mill PragerU. Being the current iteration of AIM, though, it came with a focus on its new obsession, the obsucre online-only media outlet NowThis News.
In a Feb. 28 post, Spencer Irvine complained that NowThis accurately identified PragerU -- which he benignly described as "creat[ing] videos on topics across politics, philosophy, and economics and hav[ing] various guest speakers narrate the videos from a right-leaning political or cultural perspectiv" -- eas a right-wing content mill:
NowThis News claimed that YouTube “has been fertile ground for PragerU’s founders and funders to reach young people without traditional gatekeepers like parents and schools.” The website’s word choice insinuated that PragerU was circumventing young people’s parents and school staff, which was an odd choice of words. There should not be problems with companies directly communicating their messages to their consumers or clients, which is what PragerU is doing.
Also, NowThis News called PragerU a “right-wing media machine” instead of using the organization’s official definition as an education non-profit. The phrase that NowThis News used was misleading because it presented an opinionated phrase as factual and correct.
In fact, as we noted, PragerU admitted that it does target students around school and parental authority. Also, conservatives have plenty of problems with "companies directly communicating their messages to their consumers or clients" when those consumers are students and the message is considered "liberal."
Further, Irvine accepted PragerU's claims of YouTube "censorship" at face value when there is in fact no actual censorship going on. YouTube merely assigned some videos as restricted, which are in fact only restricted when the user has turned on restricted mode.
Finally, PragerU may be the "education non-profit" Irvine claims it is, but it doesn't meant that it is also a right-wing media machine -- you know, not unlike AIM itself.
AIM Lamely Defends Limbaugh After Receiving Presidential Medal Topic: Accuracy in Media
It appears that both Brian McNicoll and Carrie Sheffield have departed Accuracy in Media, which at this point leaves just Spencer Irvine to crank out the bulk of AIM's content, and his main qualification for the job is that he's the son of publisher Don Irvine and grandson of AIM founder Reed Irvine.
So we get lame pieces like Spencer's Feb. 6 item attempting to bash ABC for its coverage of Rush Limbaugh's receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Trump. Irvine complained that ABC "exclusively focused on Limbaugh’s critics" and "failed to find and quote a single source in defense of Limbaugh’s past comments and political views."Of course, given that Irvine himself failed to offer a defense of Limbaugh, it may very well be that there is no good defense of him. Irvine further complained:
The news outlet cited multiple critics on social media without sourcing these critics or their arguments, which alleged that “Limbaugh has made numerous derogatory comments about minority groups as well as offensive comments about AIDS and the LGBTQ community, suicide and many other sensitive topics and marginalized communities.”
It also listed multiple reasons to discredit Limbaugh and his award, such as Limbaugh’s comments that abortion activist Sandra Fluke was a “slut” for her abortion views. ABC News acknowledged Limbaugh apologized for insulting Fluke.
ABC News’s article highlighting Limbaugh’s critics lacked fair treatment and neutrality and neglected to present the opinions and views of his radio show listeners.
Irvine didn't mention the fact that Limbaugh's so-called apology to Fluke was half-hearted at best, apologizing only for "word choices" and defending himself by insisting that he was merely "illustrat[ing] the absurd with absurdity."
The next day, Irvine bashed NowThis News, AIM's odd new target, for doing much the same thing, grumbling that "NowThis News said Limbaugh is 'a right-wing radio host known for having sexist and racist views'and said that Limbaugh is 'unapologetic for his racist and sexist views.' It listed several examples, such as calling abortion advocate Sandra Fluke a 'slut.' The website failed to tell its readers that Limbaugh has since apologized for insulting Fluke. Again, He complained that NowThis "did not offer any other defense or counter-argument to its claims that Limbaugh was a racist and a sexist" but, again, Irvine failed to offer one himself.
Irvine concluded by huffing: "Journalists should back up their claims with evidence or quotes from both sides of the political aisle or issue, but in this case, NowThis News failed to offer a fair defense of Limbaugh’s words or his legacy. Instead, its audience read a biased article that portrayed Limbaugh in a negative light." Irvine seems to have forgotten he works for AIM, which has a legacy of unfair, biased, and outright false attacks against those it deemed its political enemies, particularly Barack Obama and the LGBT community.
AIM Joins The ConWeb's Dershowitz Defense Game Topic: Accuracy in Media
The Media Research Center and Newsmax weren't the only ConWeb outlets playing defense for Trump-loving lawyer Alan Dershowitz. Accuracy in Media made its own attempt in the genre with a Jan. 20 post by Spencer Irvine that continues AIM's newfound obsession with obscure media outlet NowThis News:
Alan Dershowitz, who taught law classes at Harvard University, has defended O.J. Simpson, Jeffery Epstein and Harvey Weinstein. NowThis News’s coverage pointed out that Dershowitz represented terrible people, such as Weinstein and Epstein. The website also said that Weinstein is currently facing charges of sexual misconduct and other sex crimes, while Epstein was a convicted sex offender.
NowThis News also wrote that Starr, who was the independent counsel during the Clinton impeachment investigation, also represented Epstein in legal proceedings. But the website failed to acknowledge that lawyers defend the innocent and guilty alike, as the criminal justice system operates on the premise that a person is innocent until proven guilty. It was not a crime for Dershowitz or Starr to defend people that lacked character and morals.
The website also accused Bondi, the former Florida Attorney General, of giving Trump a pass. It said that she was the attorney general “who dropped an investigation into Trump’s fraudulent university scam after receiving campaign contributions (a $25,000 donation) from the Trump Foundation.” NowThis News did not provide a source for that allegation, which is ironic because this was an article about legal proceedings and lawyers.
Irvine is playing dumb here: The story about the Trump Foundation's donation to a group supporting Bondi's campaign appeared innumerousplaces, including the New York Times. It's a well enough known story that NowThis didn't really need to source it. And Irvine certainly isn't going to mention that the Trump Foundation paid a fine to the IRS over the donation, since the foundation's tax status forbade it from making political donations. Nor will he tell you that the appearance of a quid pro quo is unmistakable.
Suggesting that an accurate story isn't accurate would seem to run counter to AIM's name and mission.
AIM Still Pretending Trump Isn't A Liar Topic: Accuracy in Media
Trump defender Brian McNicoll complained in a Dec. 11 Accuracy in Media post:
Even as polls show Americans have not bought into Democrats’ attempts to impeach President Donald Trump and the Department of Justice’s Inspector General’s report confirms most, if not all, of Republicans’ worst suspicions about the conduct of the FBI, CNN pushed forward Wednesday with a story that asserted Trump is escaping punishment for his misdeeds through compulsive lying.
“Donald Trump is looking to survive impeachment the same way he built his powerful presidency – by assaulting facts and seeking to expand the limitations of the office he is accused of abusing,” Stephen Collinson wrote in a story headlined, “Trump assaults facts to survive impeachment.”
Collinson then quoted Garry Kasparov, the Russian former world chess champion and Trump critic, comparing Trump to Putin. “’I always call Putin merchant of doubt,’” Collinson quoted Kasparov saying. “’But now seeing what’s happening in America. It’s when just Republicans managed to turn the whole political process in this alternative reality. It’s like a post-truth world.’”
Trump started lying from the moment he took office, Collinson said, referring to the controversy over the size of his inaugural crowd and citing the Washington Post’s largely debunked data base of “false and misleading claims” by the president, which now totals more than 13,400.
“Trump’s incessant torrent of attacks – on Twitter and on camera, amplified by conservative media outlets – has helped to insulate him against the consequences of his actions,” Collinson wrote, not noting that it was not conservative outlets who cleared him of collusion and obstruction of justice in the Mueller probe, but Hillary Clinton-donor lawyers who spent $40 million, interviewed 500 witnesses and came away with nothing.
McNicoll's post is based on a false premise. At no point did Collinson accuse Trump of "compulsive lying" -- the words "lie" or "lying" appear nowhere in his CNN piece. One can assume Trump is deliberately spreading false and misleading claims, but intent is very hard to prove, so it can only be accurately stated that Trump is making false and misleading claims.
Further, McNicoll's claim that the Post's list of false or misleading Trump claims is "largely debunked" links to a piece he wrote in June -- which, as we pointed out at the time, features lame defenses of Trump's bogus claims (such as insisting that whole or current dollars is a "credible metric" when comparing spending from two disparate time periods) and engaging in Trump-style cherry-picking.
And Mueller hardly "came away with nothing" as a result of his investigation; there was plenty of evidence that Trump obstructed justice and some evidence regarding a conspiracy to collaborate with Russians, though Department of Justice policy taht presidents cannot be charged with a crime while in office kept Mueller from determining whether a crime was committed.
It seems McNicoll is still in denial that Trump is a "compulsive liar."
AIM Obsesses Over Alleged Bias At Obscure Media Outlet Topic: Accuracy in Media
For some reason, Accuracy in Media has been targeting NowThis News, an obscure media outlet, doing several posts on its alleged bias over the past couple months alone. And, as ever, it has trouble with the whole media-watchdogging thing.
In a Nov. 21 post, Spencer Irvine -- grandson of AIM founder Reed Irvine and son of current AIM publisher Don Irvine -- asserted that calling abortions "safe and legal," which NowThis did in an article, "can be interpreted as a partisan stance," never mind that it can also be interpreted as an objectively true statement. He then lectured: "News media should not endorse, implicitly or explicitly, political views, stances, or opinions. NowThis News took a blatant political stance and yet portrayed itself as a neutral and trustworthy news source." Never mind that NowThis hasn't exactly hidden the fact that it's a progressive-leaning outlet.
We don't recall AIM complaining that any conservative media outlet "took a blatant political stance" on an issue, or that Fox News falsely "portrayed itself as a neutral and trustworthy news source" with its "fair and balanced" slogan.
Irvine attacked NowThis again in a Dec. 2 post attacking the outlet for calling out President Trump's falsehood that 14 million jobs have been created during his presidency. Irvine not only tried to spin the numbers but also the fact that Trump lies a lot:
It is common knowledge that Trump tends to embellish the facts in public speeches, but NowThis News criticized Trump for the embellishment. It also included a tweet from a Vox journalist who called Trump’s remarks “absurd,” despite that Vox Media is far from a neutral source of news and analysis.
NowThis compared Trump’s job creation numbers to Obama’s and claimed that the Trump-led economy “created fewer than 6 million jobs since Trump has taken office.” The article claimed that this was “less than what Obama created when he was in office,” and cited a Forbes article to support that claim. However, the link that NowThis News used was a broken link and the information in the Forbes article cannot be verified.
Upon further investigation, a different Forbes article pointed out that Obama created one million more jobs than Trump has at this point in the presidency, which is a significant difference. However, both Forbes and NowThis News did not take into account consumer confidence and how the U.S. economy got back on track after Trump’s election.
Irvine complained once more in a Dec. 5 post about an allegedly biased NowThis article on the impeachment hearings: "The lack of ideological balance, in addition to the partisanship and favoritism toward Democratic lawmakers and their witnesses in this recap article, illustrated NowThis News’s political bias and how it should tell its readers that it is a partisan news source, not an unbiased one." Again, Irvine did not hold conservative media outlets similarly accountable for their lack of balance.
Carrie Sheffield did the NowThis-bashing -- and Trump-defending -- honors in a Dec. 11 post:
NowThis News’ impeachment coverage omitted key facts about diplomats’ testimony on Capitol Hill, leaving false anti-Trump impressions for its readers.
“Trump and many in the GOP have called the inquiry a ‘sham’ despite the testimony of multiple career diplomats that Trump offered a quid pro quo to the president of Ukraine to investigate unfounded claims against Biden,” wrote NowThis’ Christina Cocca.
Cocca failed to mention that House Democrats based their calls for impeachment on assumptions, presumptions, and speculation from witnesses who had no interaction with the President. None of the diplomatic witnesses during the impeachment hearings had any firsthand knowledge or evidence of wrongdoing by the President.
Most of their witnesses never spoke with Trump or weren’t even involved in the events at hand. Only two people actually asked the president about this – Ambassador Gordon Sondland and Sen. Ron Johnson, and the President told both of them he was not seeking any quid pro quo.
If only AIM cared this much about the accuracy of conservative media.
AIM Misleadingly Attacks Wash. Post Article Topic: Accuracy in Media
Brian McNicoll wrote in a Nov. 15 Accuracy in Media post:
With the release of the report from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz on the origins of the 2016 election now “imminent,” in the words of Attorney General William Barr, mainstream media has stepped forth to discredit it in advance of what are expected to be devastating findings and possibly even criminal referrals of Democrats.
The Washington Post claimed the Justice Department was not allowing witnesses to submit written feedback to the report, only to backtrack hours later and blame the confusion on Justice Department spokespeople.
The Post’s claim was refuted within hours by the Justice Department, and a later story revealed the Post had relied on anonymous sources for its claim that witnesses would not be allowed to submit written responses but could respond verbally.
McNicoll is trying to frame the Post's story as relying on allegedly unreliable anonymous sources whom the Justice Department had to "refute." Actually, the Post article detailed that the Justice Department reversed its earlier instructions to witnesses and allowed written feedback per department policy after intially declining to comment when the story first appeared:
The Post had reported hours earlier that — as is the case in most inspector general probes — witnesses were being invited to review draft sections of the report and offer comments and corrections. But — unlike most cases — they were told those comments must be conveyed only verbally, people familiar with the matter said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the political and legal sensitivity of the matter.
It remains unclear why witnesses were given that instruction initially.
Witnesses, the people said, were being asked to review their sections in a secure area, after signing nondisclosure agreements, according to people familiar with the matter. The witnesses have also been told they will not be allowed to remove any notes they make about the document, the people said.
The initial directives left some witnesses concerned that their objections might not be recorded precisely and incorporated into the inspector general’s findings, the people said. The witnesses, they said, were also concerned that the process gave the inspector general complete control in characterizing any comments witnesses make — and left witnesses with limited ability to create a paper trail that might help them show their words were captured inaccurately.
At no point did the Justice Department ever deny that witnesses were told they couldn't leave written feedback. Thedepartment was also given a chance to comment before the article first appeared but it refused. Those are important details that McNicoll didn't tell his readers.
Instead, McNicoll complained that "the media" was trying to "dirty up" the report and hype its alleged contents, gushing that "Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), said the findings would be 'stunning' and 'damning' and indicative of a “system being off the rails,” and most suspect he is on the mark." "Most suspect"? Wasn't McNicoll just ranting about anonymous sources making dubious claims?
In reality, it appears the opposite is true: The report has apparently found that investigations into the 2016 presidential election had a proper legal and factual basis, and the only apparent serious offense involved a low-level FBI lawyer caught altering a document and fired afterwards.
AIM Tries To Keep Crowdstrike Conspiracy Alive Topic: Accuracy in Media
We've documented how WorldNetDaily and the Media Research Center have completely bought into the Trtump-promoted conspiracy theory that a company called CrowdStrike is somehow involved in the Ukraine scandal because because of the 2016 hacking of Democratic emails. Now Accuracy in Media wants in on that sweet conspiracy action.
Brian McNicoll spent an Oct. 29 AIM post attacking a Washington Post fact-check by reporter Salvador Rizzo debunking Trump's claim about Crowdstrike and the Democratic server. McNicoll huffs, while also endorsing Seth Rich conspiracy theories as well:
Rizzo is wrong on virtually every count. Trump is not “fixated on the idea that Ukrainians might have hacked” the DNC. Trump is among many who suggest the murder of Seth Rich, a former Democratic National Committee aide who was killed on a Washington street on July 10, 2016, is related to the hack. DC police have called Rich’s murder a botched robbery, even though he was found with his wallet and jewelry.
The Mueller report backs the Russia theory, but its finding is based on CrowdStrike’s report, and its investigators also never examined the servers. Nor have U.S. intelligence services, which means their conclusions also are based on CrowdStrike’s report. The theory is not debunked in any way, and Trump’s advisers have not told him this.
Moreover, Rizzo goes on to contend, citing the Mueller report, that the Russians ‘stole thousands of documents from the DCCC and DNC networks …” as well as “internal strategy documents, fundraising data … opposition research into candidate Trump and … thousands of emails and attachments, which were later released by WikiLeaks in July 2016.”
The Russians and Wikileaks head Julian Assange both vehemently denied that Russia gave the information to Wikileaks, and Mueller’s team refused to interview Assange.
McNicoll doesn't mention the fact that because CrowdStrike turned over complete forensic copies of the DNC servers to the FBI, there is no need for the FBI or any other agency to examine the physical servers -- which, in fact, are not physical dedicated servers sitting in DNC headquarters but cloud-based machines located in numerous locations (and, if Trump is to be believed, Ukraine).
McNicoll refuses to admit the possibility that "Russians and Wikileaks head Julian Assange both vehemently denied that Russia gave the information to Wikileaks" because they're lying and spread conspiracies about Rich to cover for the fact that Assange was working with the Russians. The Mueller report did, in fact, find that the Russians -- not Seth Rich -- leaked the DNC emails to WiklLeaks, and Russians and hackers were visiting Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy and passing suspicious materials to him in the days before the hack was made public in July 2016.
It looks like McNicoll is trying to take AIM back to the conspiracy-mongering days it was mostly known for up until a few years ago when Cliff Kincaid departed the company.
AIM Joins MRC In Embracing Tulsi Gabbard to Bash Hillary Topic: Accuracy in Media
We've highlighted how the Media Research Center embraced liberal Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard as an excuse to engage in Clinton Derangement Syndrome yet again by bashing Hillary Clinton for criticizing her. Accuracy in Media got in on that action as well in an Oct. 21 post by Spencer Irvine:
Hillary Clinton recently floated a conspiracy theory on a podcast, insinuating that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is a “Russian asset.” Gabbard is currently running for president on the Democratic Party ticket, although a long shot, and has been an outspoken voice against U.S. interventionist policies in places such as Syria in the Middle East.
Gabbard is an Iraq war veteran and currently a major in the Hawaiian Army National Guard, and has served in Congress since 2013. Yet, she has fought back against claims that she is a Russian asset, primarily against the New York Times in the recent primary debate. Clinton’s insinuation agreed with the New York Times’s comment, when the newspaper wrote, “She is injecting a bit of chaos into her own party’s primary race, threatening to boycott that debate to protest what she sees as a ‘rigging’ of the 2020 election. That’s left some Democrats wondering what, exactly, she is up to in the race, while others worry about supportive signs from online bot activity and the Russian news media.”
As much as Never Trump and Democratic Party lawmakers criticized President Donald Trump for conspiracy theories, there is little outcry over Hillary Clinton joining in on the conspiracy theory bandwagon. It is hypocritical that Trump is blasted for conspiracy theories, but Clinton is left unscathed. Yet the mainstream media will focus on Gabbard, instead of the broader picture that Clinton engaged in a conspiracy theory about a current presidential candidate, even though that candidate is a longshot to become the party nominee.
Irvine never actually tries to disprove Clinton wrong, beyond citing Gabbard's military experience. Even the MRC conceded Clinton has a point (albeit before Clinton made her comment, after which it too went on a Clinton-bashing spree).
Of course, AIM is no stranger to promoting conspiracy theories -- we haven't forgotten the CliffKincaidyears, even if AIM currently wants to.