Axios says there’s a “reckoning” in the media over coverage of the Steele dossier after the partisan oppo document’s primary source was charged with lying to the FBI.
“It’s one of the most egregious journalistic errors in modern history,” writes Sara Fischer, “and the media’s response to its own mistakes has so far been tepid.”
Tepid is a nice word to describe it.
While The Washington Post “corrected” some of its discredited reporting on the dossier, removing portions of reporting connecting former President Donald Trump to Russia, there has been virtually no other accountability. And, really, it’s become modus operandi for the news organizations to “correct” stories in which the entire premise is false.
Any sort of “reckoning” would mean a retraction, followed by investigative deep dives, not only reporting the problems with the story themselves, but also outing the fraudulent sources who participated in the deception.
Perhaps that’s going on as we speak, but it’s highly doubtful.
Those who perpetuated the Russia collusion deception—and this means editors and pundits, not only reporters—still hold premier jobs in political media. Many of these people have been rewarded with better jobs.
Is anyone at The Washington Post and The New York Times going return a Pulitzer Is anyone going on record explaining how multiple alleged independent sources backed the central fabulistic claim made in the dossier’s dossier?
Journalism is ostensibly about transparency and truth, yet not one of these sentinels of democracy has explained how they were supposedly fooled for years, exhibiting not a modicum of skepticism—one of the most vital components of good journalism.
When asked by Axios about the Steele dossier, the two outlets that churned out some of the most sensationalistic and conspiratorial content of the Trump era, CNN and MSNBC, wouldn’t even comment.
The most charitable explanation is that reporters were so enslaved by Democrats that they believed the most unbelievable stories possible. Given the lack of accountability and self-reflection, the more plausible explanation is that they were involved.
There’s the argument out there that contends that Trump and his associates did and said things that made the dossier’s claims plausible. Well, Trump’s words could have been a big enough story on their own. Trump made no secret of his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin prior to the election. The idea that Russia is an asset (since 1987!) would need to go on TV and ask the Russians to ferret out Hillary Clinton’s lost emails seems a stretch.
To excuse what came next from the media would be tantamount to excusing widespread coverage of birtherism simply because so many of former President Barack Obama’s abuses of executive power or inability to say America was exceptional was antithetical to the Constitution he swore to protect.
The purpose of the press is to prevent the spread of false information and conspiracies, but not to perpetuate them due to their partisan assumptions. Would Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith, now media reporter for The New York Times, have published an uncorroborated “dossier” on birtherism or, for that matter, President Joe Biden’s dealing with his corrupt son, giving it undue attention and credibility?
The media and tech companies wouldn’t even allow a properly sourced New York Post story about Hunter Biden be shared in the run-up to the election. This is yet another example of malfeasance and not sloppiness. The chance of each alleged mistake being in the same direction is infinitely small.
What difference does it make at this stage? One thing is certain, the truth isn’t completely clear, and the historical record still needs to be corrected. It still says that “Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops,” a story that spawned from the environment created by the Steele dossier, on The New York Times website.
This piece, as many others, is incorrect. The “intelligence officials” who spread that story were running what amounted to a shadow government using a partisan concoction, illegal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requests and a pliant media to sink the foreign policy of the elected president.
It’s one of the least democratic things I can think of. It’s worth knowing how it happened—yet the public gets no explanation.
COPYRIGHT 2021. CREATORS.COM
The Daily Signal offers a variety perspectives. This article is not meant to represent the views of The Heritage Foundation.
Do you have a comment about this article? Send an email to let us know your opinion. [email protected] and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Be sure to include the article’s URL, headline, and your name.