Back in July 2018 CNN reported "Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of 2016 Trump Tower meeting," (Archive.is link here) in regards to a June 2016 meeting that Donald Trump Jr. attended, along with Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and four Russian sources, that he believed would reveal damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
The meeting was dud, no follow up was arranged. Donald Trump Jr. and President Trump maintained that the then-candidate Trump was unaware of the meeting until after it had occurred.
HOW CNN MAKES FAKE NEWS GO VIRAL
Here is how CNN began it's "bombshell" report:
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, claims that then-candidate Trump knew in advance about the June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower in which Russians were expected to offer his campaign dirt on Hillary Clinton, sources with knowledge tell CNN. Cohen is willing to make that assertion to special counsel Robert Mueller, the sources said.
Note that despite their headline saying "Cohen claims," they immediately acknowledge it was not Cohen claiming this, but unnamed sources claimed that Cohen claimed that President Trump was aware of the meeting beforehand and that Cohen was willing to tell that to the special counsel.
From July 26 to July 28, CNN's article was cited by The Hill, CBS News, Huffington Post, NBC News, Axios, NPR, Reuters, Washington Post, BBC, CNBC, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Mother Jones, Vox, New York Post, and those are just listed on the first few pages of a Google search using the time range function.
Despite no sources being named and Cohen, nor his attorney Lanny Davis, confirming the breaking viral story, it became the media's de-facto truth....... until nearly a month later.
After news broke that Michael Cohen had been convinced to plead guilty to a range of charges, including setting up payments to two women on behalf of the then-candidate Trump before the 2016 presidential election, the media hysteria reached a fevered pitch, but one major story got lost in the chaos.
The original CNN story about the Trump Tower meeting and the claim by CNN, or their so-called "sources" was completely false.
On August 21, 2018, the day the Manafort trial verdict and the Michael Cohen plea story came out, the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) issued an immediate statement, which included the following:
“We have obviously followed today’s reporting about Michael Cohen with great interest. He appears to be pleading guilty to very serious charges, however, we have no insight into any agreements he and his legal team have allegedly reached with prosecutors in New York.
“What we can say is that we recently re-engaged with Mr. Cohen and his team following press reports that suggested he had advance knowledge of the June 2016 meeting between campaign officials and Russian lawyers at Trump Tower. Mr. Cohen had testified before the Committee that he was not aware of the meeting prior to its disclosure in the press last summer. As such, the Committee inquired of Mr. Cohen’s legal team as to whether Mr. Cohen stood by his testimony. They responded that he did stand by his testimony.
According to Axios, Cohen had offered that same testimony to the House & Senate intelligence committees, telling them both he "had no foreknowledge of the meeting but that he had no idea whether Trump did either."
Now Lanny Davis, Cohen's attorney, claims that CNN's bombshell report, was bogus and that his client does not have any information that President Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting beforehand.
“Well, I think the reporting of the story got mixed up in the course of a criminal investigation. We were not the source of the story. And the question of a criminal investigation, the advice we were given, those of us dealing with the media is that we could not do anything other than stay silent..."
So that viral story, which all news outlets picked up, citing CNN's original blockbuster, ended up pushing fake news, all at once, and all trusting CNN's supposed "sources," which of course remain unnamed.
As a side note we found that the CBS News report, which points out that CNN first reported the claim that Cohen "is willing to tell special counsel Robert Mueller that the president knew in advance of a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting involving Mr. Trump's son," also claimed that their own reporter had "confirmed" CNN's report.
Not only did CBS News claim they confirmed the information, NBC News took it a step further back in July, stating that "a knowledgeable source told NBC News," the same thing that CNN's "sources" told them.
Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney, asserts that Trump knew in advance about a meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016 between his son Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer, in contradiction to Trump Jr.'s congressional testimony in May 2017, a knowledgeable source told NBC News on Thursday night.
The source told NBC News that Cohen is willing to inform Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, that Trump Jr. told his father about the meeting. Cohen's assertion was first reported by CNN.
So, multiple outlets confirmed with their own sources, after CNN broke the fake news story, and all their sources gave them the same false information.
THE PATTERN OF MEDIA BEHAVIOR IN CREATING VIRAL FAKE NEWS STORIES
The reason I offered that side note is because this is the exact same thing that happened when CNN falsely reported that Donald Trump Jr. had been notified, via email, about a Wikileaks release, publishing the wrong date from the email that their "source" had read to them, which was supposedly offered to Trump Jr. before Wikileaks had published the information publicly. CNN, and others heavily implied that it proved Don Jr. was working with Wikileaks, therefore proved Russian collusion.
When the email in question was finally published, after the story went viral on multiple outlets, it was revealed that the email sent to Don Jr. was sent after Wikileaks publicly had released the information. CNN and many others had published a false date.
That debacle was declared "one of the most embarrassing days for the U.S. media in quite a long time," by The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald, who dubbed it a "humiliation orgy."
FRIDAY WAS ONE of the most embarrassing days for the U.S. media in quite a long time. The humiliation orgy was kicked off by CNN, with MSNBC and CBS close behind, and countless pundits, commentators, and operatives joining the party throughout the day. By the end of the day, it was clear that several of the nation’s largest and most influential news outlets had spread an explosive but completely false news story to millions of people, while refusing to provide any explanation of how it happened.
U.S. media outlets are very good at demanding respect. They love to imply, if not outright state, that being patriotic and a good American means that one must reject efforts to discredit them and their reporting because that’s how one defends press freedom.
But journalists also have the responsibility not just to demand respect and credibility but to earn it. That means that there shouldn’t be such a long list of abject humiliations, in which completely false stories are published to plaudits, traffic, and other rewards, only to fall apart upon minimal scrutiny. It certainly means that all of these “errors” shouldn’t be pointing in the same direction, pushing the same political outcome or journalistic conclusion.
In that article Greenwald highlights, with links, to a pattern of fake news stories, going viral, being disseminated to hundreds of thousands of people, even millions, while the corrections, retractions and deletions because they were false, are seen by a minimal amount of people.
MEDIA COLLUDES YET AGAIN................... KEYWORD 'DOG WHISTLE'
While this example isn't of "fake news," per se, once again we see the media colluding and converging on a specific term in order to pound it into their audiences minds.
On August 22, 2018, President Trump addressed the situation in South Africa where the government is seizing the land from white farmers. The President tweeted "I have asked Secretary of State @SecPompeo to closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers. “South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers.” @TuckerCarlson @FoxNews."
Within minutes former writer at NYMag, Jesse Singal kicked off the narrative with two tweets within minutes of each other. "LOOOOL he deleted it because he tagged a fake Mike Pompeo handle not because it's a creepy white-nationalist dog whistle this is a Very Trump Thing. The next tweet said "Don't worry guys the dog-whistle tweet is back."
Then came Foreign Policy Columnist Lauren Wolfe stating "That Trump’s foremost stated concern about Africa (the country) is about white South Africans and land restitution—this is a pathetic, patently screaming dog whistle. Republicans, Republicans, yr poor doomed souls."
Contributing editor to TheStatesman, Mehdi Hasan continued the narrative with "The former KKK boss is among those delighted by the President's latest dog-whistle (bullhorn?) to the white nationalists..."
Of course a media-colluded narrative is nothing without the help of Washington Post as Vincent Bevins, who writes for them states "You could watch it in real time. A white nationalist narrative makes its way onto Fox News, and the President issues an order directly from the TV to the State Department. This isn't even a dog whistle, it's a command to use the resources of the most powerful state in history."
Then someone who just has journalist in his bio, Quenton Mtyala, says "This is the same thing former Australian Foreign Minister Peter Dutton did with his visa stunt a few months ago. This had nothing to do with aiding white farmers in SA but simply a dog whistle to white Australians."
If anyone reading these examples listed above believes each of these people independently decided to use the same exact terminology all within a 24 hour period.... please contact me, I have some swamp land in Florida to sell, and as a bonus I will throw in a bridge in Brooklyn.
The liberal media bitterly complains that the President and his supporters call the Fake News media "the enemy of the people," yet time after time they rush to "report" information that often is proven completely untrue, almost always after the original "fake news" articles have gone viral.
Journalists are human, mistakes can and will get made, but when it becomes a pattern, one that is increasing in frequency, they can no longer hide behind the excuse that it was a "mistake," or a "mix up," or that their sources were simply wrong, because when a source misleads a reporter, that source should never be trusted again.
If CNN or others that have been busted over the last two years pushing fake news, false narratives, or misleading articles, continue to use those same sources, then yes, those media outlets are directly responsible for deliberately pushing fake news themselves.
That does make the "Fake News" Media the "enemy of the people."
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