A hard-to-miss example of what media can do to spin political news. This time CNN in the USA.
The previous post noted how the New York Times started the latest Russia 2.0 off with its article of 20 February, with Russia unsurprisingly meddling in the 2020 election but allegedly on behalf of Donald Trump. It was immediately attacked as untrue and it became clear that there was no specific – printable – intelligence to that effect, with the National Security Adviser Robert O/Brien actually saying so.
However, with a highly-politicised media these days, nuanced responses to the pushback was not expected – or actually received.
The New York Times effort to sort-of walk these stories back was picked up quickly enough and clearly noted by a well-known Twitter investigator/analyst known as Shem Horne
CNN has an example too and this is what we will highlight. Whilst NYT or CNN now, it could be any of the mainstream political media later. They have to be covered on a case by case basis but, importantly, always note risk when reading their “facts” in such a highly-politicised media age.
In the article dated 23 February, 20, CNN stated fairly clearly and unambiguously in its headline this following walk back of the previous Times and CNN stories about intelligence of Russia aiming to assist Trump in the 2020 election:-
US intelligence briefer appears to have overstated assessment of 2020 Russian interference
By Jeremy Diamond, Jake Tapper and Zachary Cohen, CNN.
The US “intelligence top election security official” Shelby Pierson had been assessed to be “omitting important nuance during a briefing with lawmakers earlier this month…” when saying that that “Russia is interfering in the 2020 election with the goal of helping President Donald Trump get reelected”. It followed this up by concluding, “But the US does not have evidence that Russia’s interference this cycle is aimed at reelecting Trump, the officials said”.
So much for the “correction” supposedly. But there was more and it is worth looking at how the rest of the article was presented.
Material to attack Trump on Russia anyway
The 3-year claims of Russia/Trump collusion finally seemed to be put to rest after the Mueller Report finished 2 plus years into the Trump administration. Not that this stopped it being revived – “without evidence”, as left media like to say – and so it was with this article which piled on with heavy Trump /Russia collusion anyway:-
Russia interfered in the 2016 election with the aim of helping Trump get elected and damaging then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the intelligence community concluded
Not mentioning that this conclusion was not of the full 17 agencies of intelligence community, but merely the opinion of three agencies only, two of which were led by John Brennan and James Clapper and the opinions were written by their hand-picked choices, some of those choices being dismissed from the intelligence community since then.
In a clear case of smear (again “without evidence”) is this:-
And while it is not inconceivable that Russia is once again looking to boost Trump’s candidacy, three national security officials said the US intelligence community does not yet have the evidence to make that assessment.
Note again the “once again”, presumptuously claiming previous “boosting of Trump” (highly contested) and the “not yet” as if it was there, just not found yet (it has got that intelligence assessment, “MWD are in Iraq” feel about it).
For one-sided, no- balance treatment comes this long quote from Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut:-
Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, argued Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Russia would like to see Trump reelected “because he has been a gift to Russia.”
“He has essentially ceded the Middle East to Russian interests. He has accomplished more in the undermining of NATO than Russia has in the last 20 years,” Murphy said. “And he continues to effectively deny that they have an ongoing political operation here in the United States that, by and large, is intended to support Donald Trump and his allies.”
Again, it must be noted that there was no pushback in this supposed “news” article to counter alternative views to Murphy’s claims. For example, that far from being any real help to Russia, Trump has been its strongest opponent in years. Certainly since the start of the Obama administration, competing with it in Ukraine (lethal weaponry rather than the blankets given by Obama), sanctions increased, fighting it on oil pipelines etc. While the exact nature of “support” in the middle east is always questionable and maybe even changeable, far from “ceding” the middle east to Russia he has done the exact opposite, changing the dynamics of the ME from increasingly Iran-centred (Russia’s great ally) to reviving the old allies of the past (including Israel) to hold Iran at Bay (while better hindering Iran from its nuclear program). For the massive change from the Obama policy in the middle east just look to numerous in-depth studies.
Trumps hounding of NATO to fund itself properly is well known and “undermining” is just a nonsense word to describe the Trump policy. Finally, the alleged “ intended to support Donald Trump and his allies.” Starts the circle going back to the beginning as if no change to the reporting was made at all.
This is just a simple look at one published piece from a major cable channel in the USA. Such political work in media reports said to be “news” are increasingly common and I am not going to single out CNN as the only offender, it is not only in left media. It is just more information to put with the rest which should show to observers that any inherent “trust” of what used to be “All the News that’s Fit to Print” should be backed up with a mental qualification of “Verify too”.Follow