April 25, 2019


How Fox News distorts the news: A Mueller case study (Erik Wemple, April 25, 2019, Washington Post)

 Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman of the New York Times presented a scoop on Jan. 25, 2018, under this headline: "Trump Ordered Mueller Fired, but Backed Off When White House Counsel Threatened to Quit." The story wasn't vague: "President Trump ordered the firing last June of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, according to four people told of the matter, but ultimately backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive," noted the lead of the piece, which stated that then-White House counsel Donald McGahn had fielded the order.

The reporting added sinew to chatter that had circulated in June 2017, when Trump friend and Newsmax Media chief executive Christopher Ruddy told PBS, "Well, I think he's considering perhaps terminating the special counsel."

Reacting to the Schmidt-Haberman story from the international big-wig confab in Davos, Switzerland, Trump said, "Fake news, folks. Fake news. A typical New York Times fake story."

On his program, Hannity posed as a debunking journalist -- initially. "Our sources -- and I've checked in with many of them -- they're not confirming" the reporting of the Times, said Hannity. Later in the proceedings, Hannity was forced to change course, thanks to the reporting of Fox News's Ed Henry: "All right, so, we have sources tonight just confirming to Ed Henry that, yeah, maybe Donald Trump wanted to fire the special counsel for conflict. Does he not have the right to raise those questions? You know, we'll deal with this tomorrow night," said Hannity, who then turned his viewers' attention to a video of a car crash.

Posted by at April 25, 2019 7:03 PM