Welcome to the first ever edition of Fake New Watch, where we highlight some of the biggest journalistic bombs of the week. And the first ever Fake News Watch Weekly Winner is The Washington Post
Several “bombshell” Washington Post stories meant to damage President Donald J. Trump have either been completely debunked or found not to be credible. The Post, which Drudge called out for “openly” applauding Barack Obama when he visited in 2009, was also “openly applauding” one of these fake news hit pieces meant to damage the president.
WikiLeaks revealed The Post employs journalists who colluded with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) during the 2016 presidential election. Now, their hatred toward President Trump has further and severely impacted the quality, accuracy and trustworthiness of their reporting.
(Editor’s Note: We do not want to encourage clicks on fake news. Thus, we won’t be linking back to these stories, or any other Fake News Weekly Winners in the future.)
Fake News Story 1
The Washington Post reported last week that former FBI director James Comey had requested additional prosecutorial tools from the Department of Justice (DOJ) one day before he was fired by President Trump. This “report” was cited by Democrats and their friends in the media as proof President Trump only fired Mr. Comey because he was getting too close in the Russia investigation.
This story is ridiculous on so many levels, the most ridiculous being the predicate that firing Comey would have done anything to hinder an investigation at the Bureau. So much of The Post’s reporting, as well as the reporting by other outlets, play on what they hope is the ignorance of Americans to how government works.
First, the director doesn’t actually investigate potential crimes, the special agents do. Second, Comey wasn’t actually in charge of the investigation, now-Acting Director Andrew McCabe was. Mr. McCabe, who is himself under investigation by the DOJ inspector general for his role in the Clinton email case, testified before Congress that the Comey firing would do nothing to obstruct a FBI investigation.
Comey, shortly before being fired, told Congress that no one had ever attempted to interfere with the investigation and that it would not have got unanswered if they did.
Nevertheless, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein completely debunked this fake news story during briefings with Capitol Hill lawmakers on Friday. In his opening statement, he gutted the entire piece.
“I want to address media claims that the FBI asked for additional resources for the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election,” Deputy AG Rosenstein told lawmakers in his opening statement in a closed door briefing. “I am not aware of any such request. Moreover, I consulted my staff and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and none of them recalls such a request.”
Fake News Story 2
The Washington Post also reported that Deputy AG Rosenstein was weighing whether to resign from his role at the Justice Department. When asked about the report on radio, he was stunned and vehemently denied it. Now, we can take the word of the anonymous sources at The Washington Post, which employs a team of more than 20 reporters dedicated solely to destroying the President, or the guy who everyone in D.C. respects and of whom all speak highly.
On Friday, after what was his second briefing with lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week, not only was Mr. Rosenstein very much in the game but he doubled-down on his assessment of Comey. In a letter to the President, he said the former director’s actions during the Clinton email investigation could not be justified and that he was a case study on what not to do.
“I wrote it. I believe it. I stand by it.”
Fake News Story 3
The final Washington Post “bombshell” story, which provoked the paper to erupt in celebration, surrounded his sharing of “highly sensitive classified information” with the Russians, endangering sources, methods and angering the source nation that gathered the intelligence.
Well, that nation turned out to be Israel and The Washington Post turned out to be the one who exposed that information. Several officials told PPD–and other outlets have confirmed–that President Trump wasn’t even aware of the source nation at the time.
But again, the predicate of the entire story was false and meant to gin up outrage for something that is common practice. Further, Israel has an intelligence-sharing relationship with Russia, which was sadly cultivated during the Obama years when our closest ally in the Middle East felt abandoned.
National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, Deputy National Security Advisor Dina Powell and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson–the only three U.S. officials in the room–all said the premise of the story as it was written was completely false.
Worth noting, The Washington Post cited anonymous past and current intelligence officials as sources of the reporting, which translates into former Obama administration officials. People’s Pundit Daily has confirmed that the Post did not reach out to anyone who was actually in the room before deciding to run the story.
“The story that came out tonight as reported, is false,” Mr. McMaster said in response. “At no time were intelligence sources or methods disclosed. The on-the-record accounts of those in the room should outweigh anonymous sources. And I was in the room. It didn’t happen.”
“This story is false,” Powell added. “The President only discussed common threats that the countries face.”
If it had happened as The Washington Post claimed, the intelligence community would be required by law to notify members of the House and Senate intelligence committees. If and when a leak of serious nature is revealed, they are legally bound to do so. PPD also confirmed that those committees were not notified, though reports indicate someone on Team McMaster told the intelligence community about the conversation.
Still, 1) that doesn’t prove anything other than what President Trump has been saying all along about illegal leakers being out-of-control and 2) these kinds of disclosures happen all the time. The fact they didn’t end up at the intelligence committees in Congress suggests the IC consensus did not believe any breach had occurred.
No doubt President Trump had a rocky two weeks. The People’s Pundit Daily (PPD Poll) Big Data Poll confirmed that to be true. But The Washington Post was prematurely celebrating his demise. Their week, as it relates to journalistic integrity and accuracy, was abysmal.