Opinion

How The Media Discredited Itself With One Weird Trick

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Scott Greer Contributor

Russia apparently has the next president of the United States under its thumb, thanks to a treasure trove of compromising material the nation has on our future commander in chief.

That was the narrative dominating the discourse on journalist Twitter Tuesday night after an explosive CNN report dropped on how both Preisdent Barack Obama and Donald Trump were briefed by intelligence officials on accusations Russia has compromised the president-elect.

The reactions were predictable as liberal journalists and commentators descended into “Russia has taken over our country!” hysteria for the umpteenth time. The general reaction was best summed up by New York Times columnist Charles Blow, who wondered “How are we going to have an inauguration next week?” in light of the CNN report.

Shortly after CNN published the report, BuzzFeed posted the unverified memos on Russia’s alleged compromising material on Trump, which the intelligence officials were referencing in their briefing reportedly given to Obama and Trump. The “dossier” — compiled by a former British intelligence operative hired by anti-Trump Republicans and Democrats — contained accusations that would make the National Enquirer blush, and all of which of were unverifiable.

On Wednesday, this whole narrative came down in a burning heap of rubble. First, NBC News undermined a key part of CNN’s bombshell report in its own coverage: Trump was not briefed on the allegations Russia had compromising material on him. Furthermore, the American intelligence community considers the wild report on Trump’s links to Russia “unvetted disinformation.”

Then came the thorough discrediting of damning portions of the dossier that tied Trump to Russia. One such claim included the report that Trump adviser Michael Cohen had met with Russian officials in Prague last August. It turned out Cohen was in the U.S. that whole time and it was a different Michael Cohen who visited the Czech Republic. (RELATED: Gov’t Source Confirms Man Who Was In Prague Was NOT Trump’s Lawyer)

Trump himself delivered the devastating blow to the outlets involved in this escapade when he told CNN reporter Jim Acosta at his Wednesday press conference, “You are fake news!

Journalists, naturally, were appalled by Trump’s comments. Fox News’ Shepherd Smith, for instance, lectured America on air that no “journalists should be subjected to belittling or delegitimizing by the President-elect of the United States.”

However, the real culprit behind the prestige media’s delegitimizing is its own bad self.

Powerful outlets like The Washington Post, CNN and BuzzFeed are convinced there’s a hidden Kremlin hand behind Trump’s win and is now slowly taking over the United States. Thus, they are desperate to print any stories that confirm this bias.

Before this week’s dumpster fire, The Washington Post has been the worst offender of publishing fake news trying to prove Russia has invaded America. Last November, the Post published an article claiming several media operations — both from the Right and Left — were spreading Russian propaganda and insinuating there was a link between the Kremlin and these publications.

It turns out the list of “Russian propaganda peddlers” was compiled by some random anonymous group and the Post didn’t provide evidence for why these sites were on the blacklist — much less whether there was any Russian connection to them. WaPo later admitted the story was faulty and has since attached a lengthy editor’s note essentially undermining its own piece. (RELATED: WaPo Admits A Key Part Of Its ‘Fake News’ Expose Might Be Fake)

A month later, the Post published a frightening piece on how Russian intelligence had hacked into Vermont’s power grid — without first checking with Vermont’s utility companies if that was the case. The companies behind the power grid later clarified the system was not hacked and only a computer unconnected to the system had received some malware. After trying to save the story through corrections, the Post ended up retracting the whole article. (RELATED: The Washington Post’s Incredibly Botched Story On ‘Russian’ Hacking)

While there’s been no retraction or clarification over the Trump dossier so far, the whole affair should serve as another black mark for our media. Publishing salacious, unconfirmed details against the next president — a practice that was never done against President Obama — only further justifies Trump lashing out at the press.

With historically-low approval ratings, the media seems remarkably unconcerned with figuring out how to correct that. Instead, journalists prefer playing the victim and whining on Twitter about how the press is the most important institution that exists in America. Criticizing the press is the equivalent of attacking the American people, according to our noble guardians of truth.

That’s of course a laughable point of view. The elite media represents its own class — that of the educated, urban elite — and fights for its own interests. That class hates Trump and is inclined to believe Vladimir Putin is the president-elect’s puppet master. We’re inundated with hysteric hoax stories attempting to prove Russia’s intervention in America because it supports the media’s group interest. They want their biases confirmed and the man who threatens their power brought low.

Unfortunately, the latest story didn’t help the media’s cause to win back the esteem of the public and further cemented the impression of Trump and his supporters that journalists constitute a hostile faction loyal only to itself.

It was only a short while ago when journalists wanted to take out “fake news,” before being upset when the Right began lobbing that accusation right back at prestige outlets. But in order to win back the trust of the public, the media should try to curtail its obsession with publishing fishy stories in order to confirm their biases over Russian influence.

For that’s a much bigger problem than LibertyEagleOutfitter.us publishing a fake story for its tiny Facebook audience. Bad stories printed to confirm journalistic bias reinforces the perception of Trump supporters that the media is willfully dishonest about the president-elect and cares only about furthering its own agenda.

Needless to say, the media should stop fretting over Trump’s attacks when it only has itself to blame for its poor standing in the public eye.

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