Tuesday, June 27, 2017


By now, it's clear to any sentient human being that Donald Trump lies as a matter of course and tweets as a diversion.

Nonetheless, I'll take the bait and allow myself to be diverted.  Politico notes

CNN’s decision to retract a story published last week tying a member of President Donald Trump’s transition team to ongoing Russia investigations offered the president an opportunity Tuesday morning to attack perhaps his favorite media target, which he labeled “fake news” and questioned for publishing “phony stories.”

The story in question, published late last week, reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee was investigating the head of a Russian investment fund who met before the inauguration with Anthony Scaramucci, a financier and high-profile member of Trump’s transition team. CNN also reported that the Senate committee was looking into whether or not Scaramucci had suggested that sanctions against Russia might soon be lifted.

In addition to the story’s retraction, three CNN employees, including a Pulitzer Prize-winner, resigned from the company.

“Wow, CNN had to retract big story on "Russia," with 3 employees forced to resign. What about all the other phony stories they do? FAKE NEWS!” Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning. "Fake News CNN is looking at big management changes now that they got caught falsely pushing their phony Russian stories. Ratings way down!" he added in a subsequent post.

Uh, no. It's not "fake news" when the reporter does not believe the information is inaccurate, the editor(s) believes it is accurate, and when the publication itself finds a mistake, it retracts the article, apologizes, and fires (accepts the resignation of) the offenders.  In the non-Trump world, we call that a "mistake."

And it turns out the report might not even have been inaccurate and wasn't broadcasted. CNN itself explains 

Three CNN journalists, including the executive editor in charge of a new investigative unit, have resigned after the publication of a Russia-related article that was retracted.
Thomas Frank, who wrote the story in question; Eric Lichtblau, an editor in the unit; and Lex Haris, who oversaw the unit, have all left CNN.

"In the aftermath of the retraction of a story published on CNN.com, CNN has accepted the resignations of the employees involved in the story's publication," a spokesman said Monday evening.

An internal investigation by CNN management found that some standard editorial processes were not followed when the article was published, people briefed on the results of the investigation said.
The story, which reported that Congress was investigating a "Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials," cited a single anonymous source.

These types of stories are typically reviewed by several departments within CNN -- including fact-checkers, journalism standards experts and lawyers -- before publication.

This breakdown in editorial workflow disturbed the CNN executives who learned about it.
In a staff meeting Monday afternoon, investigative unit members were told that the retraction did not mean the facts of the story were necessarily wrong. Rather, it meant that "the story wasn't solid enough to publish as-is," one of the people briefed on the investigation said.

So there were only seven or eight reasons the report wasn't the "fake news" Psychological Projection President claimed it was.

Contrast that to President Trump's approximately 101 falsehoods told from January 20-June 21 listed by The New York Times utilizing a "conservative standard." Compare CNN's not-fake news with the 337 "false things" President Trump has said as President which this Canadian newspaper recently catalogued.

Or take the visual approach and view the video below of the seven "lies," as Mika Brzezinski termed them, asserted in just one speech by the President recently in Iowa.

In context, credit Anthony Scaramucci, a subject of the CNN article, with a classy response. And enormous credit is due to the mainstream press generally, which has begun to identify President Trump's falsehoods while- devoted to objectivity- they have avoided noting that this sort of behavior has no purpose if not to take the nation down a long and very dark road.

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