Monday, January 21, 2019

Editorial: They buried Iraq again

Friday's Iraq snapshot spent over 30 paragraphs dealing with an important report -- long suppressed -- that the US military had just released the night before.  By contrast, MSNBC and CNN -- supposed 'news' networks -- deal with what?

A BUZZFEED 'report' that was surely going to get Donald Trump impeached!

Those of us who have repeatedly seen this film before knows how it ends.  But for newcomers, the BUZZFEED 'report' quickly collapsed as Robert Mueller denied all the points it supposedly made.

  1. My favorite part of this: less than two weeks ago the NYT completely botched a story about Manafort giving polling data to a Kremlin-connected oligarch, and it barely warrants a passing mention because there are just too many other catastrophic botches

Thread detailing the dozens and dozens of recent "Russia scandal" media failures. And this list isn't even comprehensive; needless to say, all the "errors" go in the same direction. Which is why the BuzzFeed story can't be looked at in a vacuum

  1. The rule that applies to BREAKING RUSSIA stories is one that should also generally apply to controversies involving snippets of inflammatory video circulated on social media: wait. Do not react rashly. Resist confirmation bias, seek greater context. I will try to follow this.
  2. The two representatives from BuzzFeed who appeared on Brian Stelter's show this morning were Ben Smith and Cormier. It's fair to ask why Leopold was missing, considering he made the (questionable) claim of having seen primary source evidence, and personally engaged with Mueller.

  1. Aside from a few isolated exceptions, no meaningful costs have been imposed on media outlets responsible for propagating falsehoods and distortions as it relates to the "Russia Scandal." So if you're wondering why this keeps happening: because the entire media ecosystem is broken

  1. Can’t get much more explicit than this. Mueller’s statement constituted a wholesale rejection of the BuzzFeed article’s central premise. So either Mueller is lying to the public, or BuzzFeed is toast

  1. Fundamental discrepancy that still hasn't been addressed by BuzzFeed: One reporter, Leopold, says they saw primary documentation. The other, Cormier, says they did not. That's a massive contradiction, and probably played a central role in however this debacle unraveled.
  2.   Retweeted
    The BuzzFeed story about Trump telling Cohen to lie was front page material in the print NYT yesterday. Mueller’s denial is on p. 11.
  3. BuzzFeed certainly had real sources; they didn't just fabricate. But some of the greatest debacles in journalistic history have involved reporters giving excessive credulity to sources who had incentive to deceptively characterize sensitive material. (See: Judith Miller, WMDs)
  4. Yes: it's easy to poke fun at, but BuzzFeed really has made some great strides over the years, and produced lots of important journalism and analysis. Nonetheless, this is a huge blemish and must be dealt with as transparently as possible.

  5. Trump/Russia has always been about elevating and venerating elements of the national security state to serve as a "check" on Trump, but in doing so, the media actually undermined their own capacity to serve as an effective check on Trump. The ironies just keep rolling in.
  6. This is not an exaggeration: every single time, since 2016, that I've expressed skepticism of Trump/Russia stories, I've been flooded with accusations of secretly supporting Trump. However, it's the Trump/Russia alarmists who've ended up empowering Trump. Kinda ironic.
  7. Aside from the "has receipts" formulation being so boring and cliched: there was no evidence of "receipts" provided in the initial article. There was only second-hand characterization, which warranted major skepticism even before Mueller's denial. So, multiple layers of fail here
  8. Laughing about all the people who solemnly declared last night "This one feels different" -- yeah, just like the ten thousand previous ones that "felt different." It's been the same crap since June 2015 and they never, ever learn
  9. There is MORE THAN ENOUGH to legitimately criticize Trump for: despicable Yemen policy, ridiculous corporate tax giveaways...the list goes on. That this nonstop, frequently-disproven Russia panic has become *the central* criticism of his presidency is both an irony and a tragedy.
  10. The epic, historic media failure that defined the 2016 election continues to this day. Nothing has changed. If anything, it's only gotten worse
  11. They've developed a kind of chemical dependency, similar to the sensation associated with inhaling crack, such that caution will never be exercised -- no matter how high the mountain of failures piles up

  12. Within what seemed like literal seconds, the BuzzFeed story exploded on Twitter and was immediately picked up by every TV network. The reporters were then celebrated as heroes. Can you see why the Trump/Russia saga provides journalists with such misaligned, distorted incentives?
  13. Weird to depict Mueller's statement as "vague" when it was a categorical rejection of the article's central claims, but I guess that's the line BuzzFeed is gonna have to go with
  14. On a serious note: a vibrant, thriving journalism industry is a vital check on power in this country. That they keep discrediting themselves in such spectacular fashion is horrible for democracy. There is something seriously, catastrophically wrong with media culture right now.
  15. Condolences to all the writers who just got done filing their IMPEACHMENT NOW! columns that were supposed to run on Sunday
  16. 😬😬😬 

  17. Geez, I just can't understand why people often distrust the news media, and some even assume it "fake." Such a mystery!!!!
  18. If you don't think the brain-rot caused by 2+ years of nonstop Russia alarmism has inflicted incalculable damage on the journalism industry, and on society as a whole, I honestly don't know what else to tell you at this point
  19. The great infallible Mueller descended from the heavens to rebuke a BuzzFeed story, like Moses from the mountaintop. LOL, sometimes you just have to marvel at the absurdity
  20. Don't worry, in another week or two there'll be yet another BOMBSHELL BOOM story that causes the entire media to spastically freak out and declare Trump's imminent downfall, only to be sorely deflated shortly afterwards. At this point, it's as easy to predict as the sun rising
  21. How many times does major "RUSSIA SCANDAL" news have to be substantially modified, corrected, retracted, or outright falsified until the media exercises even a modicum of skepticism? Instead they just scream BOOM! together like a bunch of toddlers. Incorrigible hacks
  22. I told you to give it 24 hours

There was real news to explore on Friday -- the findings the military made in 2016, findings that have been suppressed ever since.  They have finally been released: "The U.S. Army in the Iraq War – Volume 1: Invasion – Insurgency – Civil War, 2003-2006" and "The U.S. Army in the Iraq War — Volume 2: Surge and Withdrawal, 2007-2011."

But where is the coverage?

Instead, they rush to jabber away for hours about a BUZZFEED 'report' that ends up false.

What would the American people think if they knew the US government strategy in Iraq was repeatedly to appoint a puppet and hope he managed to become popular?

Or if they knew how quickly Bully Boy Bush turned on his puppet (Nour al-Maliki) and how soon he began speaking of removing Nouri from office?

So much to address.  But it was all too much reality.

So they instead focused again on "Trump's going to be impeached!" based on a 'report' that fell apart on them so quickly.

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