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Monday, July 30, 2018
CNS Becomes Putin's Stenographer, Defends Trump After His Disastrous Putin Presser

We've already noted how uncritically regurgitated a falsehood from President Trump in reporting on his performance during his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But that's far from the only pro-Trump stenography service CNS performed in order to spin away Trump's disastrous performance.

CNS led up to the Trump-Putin meeting with an article by Melanie Arter quoting a Republican senator repating the Trump-GOP line that Russian meddling in the 2016 election did not change the outcome, while Susan Jones quoted Rand Paul saying international election medding is no big deal because everybody does it.

Arter also did some pro-Putin stenography, uncritically quoting the Russian leader claiming that he didn't know Trump was in Moscow in 2013, the time frame in which some of the incidents in Steele dossier are alleged to have taken place -- something that is likely not true given that Trump personally invited Putin to the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow, which Trump owned at the time, and that Putin planned to attend but canceled at the last minute. Arter also asserted that the Steele dossier is "discredited," which is also not true.

Arter served up even more pro-Putin stenography in another article uncritically quoting how Putin "offered to allow Special Counsel Robert Mueller and U.S. officials to travel to Russia to witness the questioning of the 12 Russian intelligence officers that were indicted by a U.S. grand jury last week of hacking the computers of the Democratic National Committee in an effort to interfere with the 2016 election." Arter also repeated Putin's attack on "Putin critic and CEO of London-based Hermitage Capital Management Bill Browder, saying Browder allegedly contributed $400 million to Hillary Clinton’s campaign." Arter didn't mention that Putin's claim about Browder is false.

As the bad reviews for Trump's performance rolled in, it was time for CNS to go into defense mode. An article by Patrick Goodenough complained that "Former Obama administration officials came out firing in response to President Trump’s press conference comments with Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him variously of treasonous behavior, siding with Russia against his own country, “bowing to Putin” and having become a threat to U.S. national interests." Goodenough waited until the 22nd paragraph of his 24-paragraph article to admit that "some leading Republicans did voice concern about the press conference statements." Jones also provided Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer criticizing Trump.

Another article from Goodenough went even more defensive: "President Trump’s press conference remarks in Helsinki are drawing fire from Democrats and Republicans at home, but one thing he did not do publicly was announce any concessions or tempering of administration policies that have arguably been tougher on Russia than those of his predecessors." Arter later reported that Trump "clarifed his comments on the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, saying that he agrees with their conclusion," then followed up with another White House clarification on Trump's remarks about whether he believed that Russia is still targeting the U.S.

Meanwhile, Michael W. Chapman called up Republican Rand Paul to accuse Trump's critics of having "Trump Derangement Syndrome," while Gavi Greenspan quoted Republican leader Paul Ryan denying that Trump committed treason in his obsequiousness to Putin and Max Augros quoted another Republican congressman similarly denying it -- both in response to former CIA director John Brennan making the accusation.

Capping all of this off was a column by CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey complaining that "Former CIA Director John Brennan never accused his old boss Barack Obama of 'treasonous' behavior" when Obama told then-leader Dmitry Medvedev that he would have "more flexibility" to negotiate with Russia after the 2012 election. Curiously, not only did Jeffrey never argue why such a statement might have been treasonous, Jeffrey never identifies Obama as the president anywhere in his column, though he does reference "President Donald Trump."

Jeffrey was also in cleanup mode as well: "Yes, Trump's statement suggesting he accepted Putin's denial of Russian interference in the 2016 election — despite the conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community — was wrong. But the next day, Trump admitted as much, saying he misspoke."

The fact that CNS has to do so much cleanup and deflection tells us just how insanely pro-Trump they have become.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:07 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 30, 2018 7:13 PM EDT

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