Posted by Curt on 23 January, 2017 at 8:28 pm. 3 comments already!


Sean Davis:

If you thought the results of the 2016 election would cause members of the news media to do a bit of soul-searching about the tenor of their coverage, you were wrong. If you thought they might want to understand why their hysterical attempts to take down Donald Trump were all for naught, you were mistaken. And if you thought they were interested in understanding why media trust numbers just hit record lows, you were delusional.

After spending weeks post-election complaining about the rise of so-called fake news and attributing Hillary Clinton’s loss to its proliferation, a large number of members of the esteemed fourth estate decided that what America needed wasn’t less fake news, but a different kind of fake news. The kind of fake news that confirms their own biases and calls into question the credibility of those they oppose.

Take, for example, this salacious detail Politico reported about Wall Street banker Steven Mnuchin, President Donald Trump’s nominee for Treasury secretary. According to the Politico report, which was quickly gobbled up and redistributed by every major media outlet on earth, Mnuchin foreclosed on the home of a 90-year-old widow over a 27-cent debt.

Here’s Politico reporter Lorraine Woellert’s description of what happened:

Donald Trump wasn’t the only person to see opportunity in the 2008 housing collapse. As the economy recovered from the rubble of failed banks, foreclosed homes and government bailouts, Steven Mnuchin emerged a winner.

That success is coming back to haunt the hedge fund manager and Hollywood producer who is Trump’s choice for Treasury secretary. OneWest, a bank Mnuchin and his partners established during the collapse, has taken steady fire from regulators and consumer advocates for myriad failures ever since.

In Florida, the company foreclosed on a 90-year-old woman after a 27-cent payment error

Pretty horrifying, right? It would be, if any of it were actually true. According to Ted Frank, a seasoned litigator who runs the Center for Class Action Fairness, the whole thing is bogus. Not only did Mnuchin’s company not have anything to do with the litigation against the woman, her home was never foreclosed on, either. The suit that was filed against her was based on faulty paperwork by the mortgage servicer and quickly dismissed, at which point the bank that was involved put an offer on the table to pay her for her troubles.

In short, the news was completely fake, but that didn’t stop CNN, MSNBC, CBS, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, Huffington Post, and many others from spreading the fake news as far as the eye could see. If you search Google for “mnuchin 27 cents,” the search giant currently returns over 95,000 results.

Former New York Times reporter Steven Greenhouse giddily spread the false Mnuchin report on Twitter, garnering over 4,700 retweets and 3,500 likes. When Frank, the practicing attorney, pointed out the myriad errors in the story and cited multiple court filings to prove his point, Greenhouse attacked him and called him a liar. That wasn’t the first time Frank had to correct misreporting from Greenhouse, nor was it the first time the New York Times reporter refused to admit error or issue a correction:

Then there’s the story of how Donald Trump, in one of his first acts as president, removed the bust of civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Oval Office. Time Magazine reporter Zeke Miller, who was designated as the pool reporter for the White House press corps on Friday, breathlessly reported that while Trump had replaced the famous bust of Winston Churchill in the Oval Office, he had also removed the MLK bust that had been placed in there by America’s first black president. The rest of the pool dutifully spread Miller’s report. It caught on like wildfire.

But it wasn’t true, either.

The basis for Miller’s report? He didn’t see the bust, so he assumed it must not have been there. After he was forced to correct his egregious error, Miller disclosed that he just hadn’t seen the bust because it was “obscured” by a person and a door. Well, then. Miller, a trained journalist, apparently did not see fit to actually ask a single human being who works in the White House whether the MLK bust had been removed, or to make sure that he had scanned 100 percent of the room to make sure he hadn’t missed anything. In his defense, though, it’s not like he was literally standing in a room full of White House staff who could’ve shown him the bust had he only asked them where it was while he was reporting that it was missing.

Don’t worry, though: there’s more.

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