The Atlantic hit piece on President Donald Trump last week used four anonymous sources to allege that he had disparaged dead World War I soldiers two years ago. Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin then claimed to have “confirmed” parts of the story — though not its main allegation — based on two anonymous sources.
The entire story failed to meet basic journalistic standards. But it is a sign of things to come — particularly if Democrats win in November, which is the Atlantic‘s goal.
Two, or even four, anonymous sources can be used to claim absolutely anything. The Atlantic described them as “four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day.”
Notably, we are not told that they personally heard Trump say what the Atlantic alleges he said — they just have “knowledge of the discussion.” Someone who has “knowledge” of a discussion is a second-hand source, or worse. The point is there is no way to know if the sources are credible, or if the story is just made up.
It turns out that we do actually have some very good historical sources that dispute the Atlantic story. These include the 11 eyewitnesses who have gone on the record to deny the president said what the Atlantic alleged, but they also include other sources.
The Atlantic‘s claim, for example, that the president avoided a trip to a military cemetery because he did not want his hair to get wet is refuted by government documents and even by the unfriendly memoir of former aide John Bolton.
And yet much of the media ran with the story anyway — unchastened by the recent history of other “confirmed” stories, like the Russia “dossier.”
In 2018, NBC falsely reported that President Donald Trump had become the first president since 2002 not to visit the troops at Christmas. It then turned out Trump was in Iraq with the troops.
In that spirit, NBC’s White House correspondent, Peter Alexander, asked the president on Friday — in the Oval Office — to “apologize” to soldiers and veterans.
Alexander reported on MSNBC shortly thereafter that whether the story is true or not, it “resonates.” Former Vice President Joe Biden said much the same in his press conference that day, citing Trump’s joke at John McCain’s expense in 2015. (Few bothered to remember that McCain attacked Trump first — and Trump supporters — saying that Trump had “fired up the crazies” in the Republican Party.) There was no actual proof — just partisan prejudice, clearly based on political bias.
A report in the Wall Street Journal showed how it is simply impossible to report the Atlantic story without repeating the lie, thereby ingraining it further into the public imagination. “Trump Denies Report He Disparaged Military,” the headline read. The lede paragraph, reporting Trump’s denial, had to repeat the allegations.
The media “fact-checkers,” who meticulously document every inaccurate Trump statement (or politically incorrect opinion), were somehow absent when a real lie arrived.
In 1942, George Orwell wrote:
Early in life I have noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. I saw great battles reported where there had been no fighting, and complete silence where hundreds of men had been killed. I saw troops who had fought bravely denounced as cowards and traitors, and others who had never seen a shot fired hailed as the heroes of imaginary victories; and I saw newspapers in London retailing these lies and eager intellectuals building emotional superstructures over events that had never happened. I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what happened but of what ought to have happened according to various ‘party lines’.
Orwell would later develop this insight in his novel 1984, where the ruling party rewrote history as needed for its interests. “Who controls the past controls the future,” he wrote.
Orwell’s warning is particularly relevant as America confronts a wave of fake news, and an assault on history — not just statues and symbols, but on the teaching of history itself.
The New York Times, supposedly the “paper of record,” won the Pulitzer Prize for journalism this year for the lead essay in the “1619 Project,” even though it had to be corrected after historians said its central contention — that slavery motivated the American Revolution — was wrong.
in a little town in Idaho, a few car loads of antif**k-ups showed up to protest. They were met by about 145 civilians armed with full auto’s and much more. the protest lasted 30 seconds, with only 2 of the assholes getting out of the car. Welcome to rural America.
This is what passes for modern “journalism”. Believe me, the discussions I’ve been involved in over it reveals that leftists don’t even read the article, just the title and swear it is fact.
Elements of the story were confirmed by Fox News
@John: No, nothing has been “confirmed”. It’s all rumor unless someone can verify it and anonymous sources don’t verify anything but the fact that it is a fabricated lie.
Meanwhile 11 people with direct knowledge have come forth and confirmed Trump never said any of that crap.
They’ve been confirmed by numerous credible news outlets and journalists, people and agencies that vet such allegations with scrutiny before they sign off on them. They do this because their reputation and credibility is on the line.
Consider Dan Rather, once a highly respected mews anchor and journalist who ultimately was fired from NBC when he reported that GWB went AWOL during his time in the Texas Air National Guard (something he still stands by today). GWB is long gone (and even though I criticized him severely in his day, would welcome him back with open arms over Trump) but Rather and NBC took a big hit to their credibility. Looking back at Watergate, all allegations ended up being true even though it took years to learn the unnamed sources, some still unknown.
These news agencies are businesses and the “fake news” ,mantra is coming from none other than the Trump Reich which is indeed the source of fake news. It’s ridiculous to say they’d jeopardize their business over a man who will be in office for no more than another 4 years.
Additionally, it doesn’t matter if 38 tapes are found where Trump made such statements or if he even states that our fallen soldiers are losers and suckers at his next Klan Rally. These folks will still be here spewing the same irrational nonsense and relying on unhinged and far-right radical hate sites such as Breitbart and the Federalist to back them up.
@Ronald J. Ward:
How do they confirm and vet an anonymous source, is this a new comedy bit?
BTW The Hitler bit is sooooo 5 minutes ago and fully anti-semetic to boot. Just keep denying/ down playing what true horrors the Jewish people suffered at the hands of Democrat Socialists.
The MSM called Levin a conspiracy guy for saying there had to be a FISA Warrant using their reporting only, they lied.
They said the dossier was fully confirmed, they lied. As per sworn testimony and FBI documents, you know Steel the reliable source lied, was paid to lie by Democrat Socialist Party, the DNC. Oh BTW there is no Russian embassy in Miami, As the super foreign spy tried to push his lies to our State Dept, the FBI was warned he was just making shit up. But your reliable media reported it non stop. THEY LIED, and you mindlessly suck it up, your comedy bit is old.
I’ll admit that I once thought you were all sockpuppets taking on different names however you do have your own unique personality of stupid. There’s nothing new about the value of anonymous sources but perhaps the context of my comment flew over your head (or you’re simply being willfully ignorant or in denial).
As mentioned above, when an outlet makes a questionable or unconfirmed accusation such as with Dan Rather, other’s aren’t going to sign off on it unless the sources and informants they use are reliable and the story checks out. Watergate was all unnamed sources yet every credible news source confirm it. You see they tend to share their unnamed informers and then verify the report. In this case, even Fox News along with CNN, WaPo, NYT and other credible sources.
Now I get it that you scoff at CNN, WashingtonPost, NYT ect but this is because you’ve been brainwashed by the leader of our government who’s instructed you to regard any news outlet with investigative skills and access to qualified informants that would dare expose any questionable actions of the leader of our government.
But in the real world, these are the big players of investigative reporting. The idea that they’d trash their reputation (and to be clear, the only trashing of their reputation has come from the Trump WH and like much that come from there, is unconfirmed and without evidence) over a guy that’s has at best 4 years left is, as you say, a new comedy bit.
@Ronald J. Ward: You are really not hilarious but rather funny and pathetic. They all read from the same script, using the same catch phrase, bomb shell, the walls closing in, Mostly peaceful protestors and others. If thats your journalism you have at it Mockingbird boy. They invite any antiTrump personality of the minute on their opinion puke shows that are not news they are all opinion all the time. No they dont share sources cause they want to be the first to break the big “we got Trump now” bombshell of the 24 hour news cycle. They bribed FBI agents as documented in the IG report.
You are a clown living in a clown bubble world where reality never penetrates.
As of today, 15 named persons who were there and eyewitnesses, have come forward ON THE RECORD to say the story in the Atlantic is a lie.
Can you imagine having to shut down Paris TWICE (two plus hours apart) during the middle of the day just so a Presidential motorcade could pass thru to get to and from that one graveyard?
Never would be allowed, even if it were feasible.
It was all a lie.
If you’re referring to CNN interviews such as Cuomo, Cooper, Lemon, and such, or or MSNBC’s Maddow, Lawernce, etc, I partially agree These shows are more inclined to opinions rather than what I was arguing- investigative reporting. There’s a huge (or, yuge if you like) difference. And this “opinion” also applies to Fox News Hannity, Tucker, and their line of Trump protectors. I say “partially agree” because CNN will openly invite right wing figures to openly debate or at least try to have a guest with an opposing view. Hannity and Carson won’t do that.
Again I’ll partially agree because breaking bombshells is what they’re after. And it should be what they’re after, holding out elected officials accountable and reporting any malfeasance, corruption, or scandals- FROM EITHER PARTY. So the 1st 1 out the gait is an obvious feather in their hat. But that doesn’t mean CNN isn’t aware of NBC’s confidential informants or that Fox News aren’t familiar with NYT’s sources.
Perhaps you might want to look up Source protection, sometimes also referred to as Source Confidentiality or Journalists’ Privilege. Or maybe you can pound sand until I look it up for you and try to explain (which would likely be akin to trying to teach advanced calculus to a tree frog) or maybe you’d just rather continue to be ignorant in you argument.
It’s hard to know precisely what you’re talking about when you say so many spectacularly stupid things. Maybe you’re talking about Pam Bondi who was acquitted? Maybe you’re pointing to some isolated case kinda like the Trump crowd grasping at straws while they themselves are the ones corrupting out electoral process. Ironically, Trump is the one bribing or intimidating our our Attorney Generals.
@Ronald J. Ward:
And you know that how? What publication do you work for as a journalist? You are saying that once one journalist reports a story using anonymous sources, other journalists are told the names of those sources so that it can be check out personally?
Perhaps you have never heard of the JournoList, or the newest creation after the JournoList was exposed, the Cabalist? Left wing journalists, all and all with hatred for any one or thing conservative. These are beast/left coasters who have no clue how the majority of America thinks. The “inside the beltway” kind who live in their own world. I know, I worked with them years ago and it has only gotten worse.
Dan Rather was not exception to the rule, he was the norm. Just like Walter Duranty, Walter Lippmann and Walter Cronkite.
democrats have lost the election to President Trump.
@Ronald J. Ward:
No, there’s nothing new about the value of anonymous sources; they are still worthless when NAMED sources (at least 13 at this time) refute the anonymous “sources”. And, to be accurate, NO ONE has verified anything because NO ONE has an actual sources, except for those confirming Trump never said any such thing.
Oh. Really. Well, the example of the “bombshell” of Trump, Jr. getting the Wikileaks information before it was publicly released (Sept. 4) when in reality the date on the email was Sept. 14, either an accident or intentional error to fit the narrative. In that case other outlets confirmed the story from “independent” sources… all, apparently simultaneously making the same stupid error. No, in point of fact, the left and the left wing media will cheerfully make up a lie and spread it voraciously to serve the DNC and its candidates. And you know this to be absolutely true.
Yeah, just look at the great job they did with Russian collusion, Biden extorting Ukraine, the collapsed case against Gen. Flynn or the ongoing left wing terrorism. Oh, they are doing a FINE job.
Proof you lie or don’t know what you are talking about… or are trying to be funny.
@kitt: Again, I think AJ may be running his own satirical humor site, along the lines of the Babylon Bee. There is no other explanation.
You guys make such profoundly ignorant conclusions. I can’t verify the statistics but I highly doubt that those with writing skills and inclinations were politically driven in their career callings. I sometimes seriously wonder if Sean Hannity or Rachael Maddow are actually that partisan or could it be their presentations sell well and they’re following the money. I know there are a lot of conservative writers out there that have turned on Trump. But these are, as mentioned, your nightly opinion folks rather than actual news anchors. I could go into my broken record spill again of the crimes of the Trump Reich so I’d say it would be hard for even the most partisan minded reporter to not give ab eye rolling WTF when reporting Trump’s daily blatant lies right in front of our faces. An example that comes to mind was while he was illegally using the White House as a political stage as a Republican convention, he actually said that he was trying to save the USPS and that the Dems were trying to destroy it. How can a news professional that evaluates daily news for a living not spew their drinking water in the camera when they hear such things?
@Ronald J. Ward:
He didn’t use the White House. That would have been illegal. He used the Rose Garden, an outside area that does NOT violate the Hatch Act.
Or was that more of your political satire?
@Ronald J. Ward:
“You guys?” Sorry there, Bubba, but I am my own person with the intellect to make my own decisions and form my own opinions. So don’t lump me in with the “you guys” that you hate just because they don’t agree with you.
That shows your own personal ignorance about the news profession. For the last 60 years journalism schools, like Missou, one of the top journalism schools in the U.S., have been pumping out left wing “journalists.”
They are actually as partisan as you suspect. But neither one is a “journalist” and Hannity doesn’t claim to be. Maddow, on the other hand, wears the mantilla of a journalist but she is nothing more than a left wing talking head, who has been wrong more times than she has been right.
And who are these “conservative writers” that have turned on Trump. Name them.
Oh, yes, that was the scandal du jour with the left wing press. At least until it was revealed that FDR and Obama both used the White House to campaign from. Then it died a quiet death only to be replaced by the next scandal du jour.
Funny how that scandal went away, or at least died down only to be replaced by Cemetarygate. Guess the revelation that under Obama over 14,000 mail boxes were removed, and lost BILLIONS of $$, the faux press had to find something else to fill their paragraphs and talking points..
Your faith in the “news professionals” on the left is nothing more than the blind loyalty you accuse Trump supporters of. But………………..an honest journalist doesn’t report use anonymous sources, researches before writing/blathering on T.V. and gets actual documents to back up their news story. And if you want to use Burnstein and Woodward, I rest my case. Flaming leftists, both of them.
There are few reporters that I trust. Sheryl Attkisson, Andy Ngo, Lara Logan are on my list. I venture that the first two are traditional liberals.
@Ronald J. Ward: #10 please
Again showing total ignorance and lack of command of the english language
Gait= walk, trot, canter, gallop , flying pace and four-beat lateral or rack.
Gate= a point of entry in an enclosed or fenced area.
Where the hell are you from anyway?
Please do not explain anything to me clown boy. If you look up anything, look up “operation mockingbird”.
Well I suppose a typo or missed auto-correct certainly changes the argument considerably.
The hit piece is completely false. Why are the only on the record individuals the ones who are claiming the hit piece is false? Where are the anonymous pro hit piece dirtbags going on the record?
The democrats are desperate because they know their ticket may win up to but not more than three states in the electoral college.
Moron democrats like ronny aj ward are too willing and able to believe the lie.
@Ronald J. Ward: Typo? why lie about it. and its a repeated homonyms error of the devise that is typing or translating for you.
Really where are you from?
Look up operation mockingbird, the program never ended, CNN even hires ex commie spooks openly. MSNBC talking heads believe its their job to tell you what to think.
I dont have cable TV, I find reading my news I can sort out the chaff from the wheat, first anon source is a non starter without documentation to back it up. The Talking heads using other MSM as sources another earmark of fake news or propaganda. If you paid attention thats how Russian propaganda gathered by a foreign ex spook got a FISA warrant to spy on the POTUS they cited Yahoo news whose source was the ex spook himself. A repeated lie is still a lie no matter how widely the lie is spread, or how reputable you think the source is.
It is why they fear and demonize certain sources, they have the meat of the story…proof.
This Atlantic story has zero proof, many people on the ground at the time that fully deny it.
Bidens supporters say what he said on film was fake Quid Pro Joe in Ukraine covering for his kid who was being paid big bucks by a corrupt company. Well Son of a B, we have it on tape. Another thing, Joe was a million in debt the year before he left office go look up his net worth now. He is a crooked dirty politician that feathered his own nest at Americas expense, a serial, not cereal, liar like his VP pick. He says we will get affordable health insurance…sorry we fell for that whopper once already.
I will vote for the guy that takes 1 dollar a year donating his salary to good causes. I dont know if you can legally vote, but if you can the serial liar and kiddie groper Joe Biden best represents you.
@July 4th American:
“The democrats are desperate because they know their ticket may win up to but not more than three states in the electoral college.”
Again, you guys say the silliest things. Your deciding states will be:
Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Consistent polling shows GA up slightly and N.C. about even with the rest with significant leads for Biden..
Yeah, I know that polls only count when they favor your guy but there are other varibles such as Biden’s huge money coming in while not only have big donors turned away from Trump but it appears he’s blown through what money he had.
And from all appearances, his strongman fearmongering is fizzling while more in his orbit such as Bannon and DeJoy are heading for jail.
But yeah, I know Trump is immune to such things as everyone he associates with are criminals but there’s also the reality of his gross incompetence on COVID and the economy is tanking.
And yeah, I know that people are quite use to everything he touches turning to shit but there seems to be evidence that he’s clueless of what he’s doing. There are also questions about how the mail in will work out considering many of his voters are against it. And then there’s that list of GOP folks that have openly admitted to jumping the Trump ship and will vote for Biden.
I don’t know for fact who will win in Nov and I admit Trump has advantages as well. But you “feel good” conclusion is baseless.
@Ronald J. Ward:
biden is a dirtbag. His entire political career has been a failure. Why would it possibly change now?
@July 4th American
Your opinion is obviously bias as well as lacking in substance.
I’m not sure how much more of a dirtbag one can be than Trump but I don’t let that overrule logic and how the electorial dynamics are playing out.
Biden has been consistently reelected to the U.S. Senate and then 2 terms as Vice-President of the United States. To say his career has been a political failure in itself renders your argument unhinged and void of reality.
Being elected to office does not confer political success in and of itself.
What is the body of his work?
What specifically did he accomplish as a senator?
@Ronald J. Ward:
And yours does’t? ROTFLMAO
Have you forgotten Bubba Clinton? Or his wife?
I told you why Hiden’ Biden was picked at VP. For the same reason JFK picked Johnson. Biden has always portrayed himself as the “every man” on the Senate. Knowing the actions of his family, and the massive wealth he amassed while drawing a Senator’s salary, should at least peak your interest, but it seems it doesn’t.
Great. Now show us what he has REALLY accomplished as a career politician. You know, all those bills he wrote and got passed.
We know you hold nothing but hate for Trump but you seem reluctant to show us why anyone should ever vote for Joe Biden.
@Ronald J. Ward:
Why does biden want to ban fracking?
Atlantic begins to walk back their false story
Biden has a long list of accomplishments which you could easily Google but a major one would be The Violence Against Women Act. But I understand that may be an anti-conservative thing these days.
@July 4th American:
Biden’ position on fracking has been made clear by most every reputable fact checker. He doesn’t oppose it nor has he. You parroting this only further exposes that facts and reality has no place in your world.
Joe Biden Caught Flip-Flopping on
@Ronald J. Ward:
Did the vawa pass before joe biden put his fingers in Tara reade’s pussy?
@Ronald J. Ward: Biden’ position on fracking has been made clear by most every reputable fact checker. So click on the link in comment 29, again your so called fact checkers SUCK. . We have him repeatedly and proudly saying it multiple times, on multiple occasions. Not just fracking ALL fossil fuels. Have you ever seen a solar tractor or 18 wheeler? How the hell will we feed our population with back yard chickens? Good luck in that plane driven by wind up rubberbands pal.
You are funny in a pathetic way.
@Ronald J. Ward: You defend the guy that said desegregation would turn our schools into “racial jungles”? You defend the guy who loved to cooperate with ardent racist segregationists? You defend the guy that thinks all blacks think alike? You defend the guy that told blacks unless they support Democrats and him, they aren’t really black? Gee…. you must be a racist, too. You would defend Biden even if he protected his worthless son’s position with a money laundering outfit by extorting a foreign government by threatening to withhold foreign aid… because he did and you do.