Yesterday, a major correction was put out by The Washington Post that acknowledged they had published false Donald Trump quotes attributed to an early January phone call with a Georgia elections investigator. While Trump was accused of demanding the investigator “find the fraud” so she could become a “national hero,” a statement later cited by Democrats in their articles of impeachment, recovered audio showed that was false.
But as big of a scandal as the Post’s actions are in a vacuum, they didn’t actually happen in a vacuum. Is there a bigger scandal behind the scandal? I think so, and I’ll try to articulate that in the next few hundred words.
Becket Adams wrote a piece that illustrates a part of what I’m talking about. He noted how so many newsrooms claimed to have “verified” the fake Trump quotes while they ran to repeat them.
ABC News reported “an individual familiar with the matter confirmed” Trump urged the chief investigator to “find the fraud,” telling this person they would be a “national hero” for it.
— tsar becket adams (@BecketAdams) March 15, 2021
The natural question is how you can verify something that is objectively false. The obvious answer is that you can’t. That means that NBC News, ABC News, CNN, and others who hid behind fake verification claims so they could repeat this false report did so knowing that they had no proof for what they were actually putting out there. They simply made it up, or they all got duped by the same source.
On that note, let me say this. If the Post and all these other outlets aren’t going to reveal who the lying source was, then I have no choice but to assume their “source” simply doesn’t exist and that they all made it up as a partisan political attack. There is no ethical reason to protect a source that provides false information. In fact, it’s unethical to print a false story and then refuse to even reveal how you came into the position of that false story. I say that to mean when media flacks try to claim that the Post was lied to but that they didn’t lie by repeating it, you owe them zero benefits of the doubt. If they were lied to, then they should tell us who lied. If they won’t, then it’s logical to conclude that source doesn’t actually exist.
Regardless, ask yourself this. How many times has this been done in the past? Yes, the Post got caught this time just like CNN got caught when they printed false claims about James Comey’s then-future. The Atlantic’s “suckers and losers” story also comes to mind. But for every time these outlets get caught, you have to assume they’ve gotten away with it hundreds of times. After all, how exactly can you disprove an anonymous source who doesn’t actually provide evidence of anything? You typically can’t. This latest case was an exception because audio happened to exist to directly contradict the account.
In my view, that’s the real scandal behind the scandal here. What the Post did was terrible, but it was just the tip of the iceberg. The media do this all the time, and they do it in coordination so that they gain maximum impact from their garbage reporting. One outlet will print something false attributing it to an anonymous source and then every other liberal outlet will repeat it, claiming to have verified it with their own anonymous sources. That’s media corruption at its worst, in no way should it be considered journalism. Heck, the tabloids have higher standards.