I’m no apologist for President Trump. But the New York Times has put itself, once again, in a horrible position in reporting an anonymously-sourced story about a meeting between Donald Trump, Jr. and a Kremlin-connected lawyer.
This isn’t the first time they Gray Lady has cried “Wolf!”
Just last week, the NYT and AP corrected their previous and widely-reported claim that all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies agreed that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election in an attempt to help Donald Trump’s candidacy.
In February, the NYT claimed that phone records and “intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.”
James Comey, under oath, directly refuted the NYT story. And the NYT reported on itself, without issuing a correction.
Answering a question about the Times article during an appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mr. Comey said that “in the main, it was not true.”
Instead of engaging in self-examination, the very reporters who gathered the anonymously-sourced stories pressed to know exactly what was wrong with their initial report. Comey did not, and could not without violating the FBI’s security and his own disclosure agreements, answer that.
But “in the main, it was not true” doesn’t mean, “it’s true with some problems.” It means it’s false, with some elements of truth.
The NYT continues to report in this manner: That it’s got the story mostly true. Yet time after time, their reports end up as “nothing-burgers” or embarrassing falsehoods promulgated by people with a political agenda.
It would seem to emerge (as we all know) that the NYT itself has a political agenda. They want to take down President Trump. The main stream media’s echo chamber of the NYT, Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC are hell-bent for leather to see Trump fall.
And the harder they try, the less credibility they have.
They keep crying “Wolf!” over and over when there’s no wolf there. In this latest report, what version of events should we believe? The hint may be in the small details. Today, the NYT, in a follow-up story to the original report, noted a correction.
Correction: July 9, 2017
An earlier version of this article misquoted a statement by Donald Trump Jr. about a meeting with a Russian lawyer. He said the meeting mostly focused on the topic of adoption, which “was not a campaign issue.” He did not say it was a campaign issue.
Trump, Jr. had a 20-minute meeting with a Russian lawyer, who, according to the person who set up the meeting and Trump, Jr. himself, offered to share “damaging information on Mrs. Clinton,” specifically information that Russians were helping to fund her campaign. Trump Jr. claims that was a pretext for the meeting to discuss issues dealing with adoption.
In fact, the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, is well-known for her work opposing the Magnitsky Act, which Congress passed in late 2015 to punish the Russians for the death of a Russian journalist. Trump, Jr.’s recounting of the meeting lines up with that fact. The NYT put words in his mouth, which they had to correct.
That’s really the entire point of all the “Wolf!” crying. The NYT and other media have presented, and continue to present counterfactual conditional claims of what was not said, or what was not assumed to be true. These types of “if she did discuss the Clinton campaign, it would be collusion” are nothing more than rank speculation, and the media builds upon these speculations in an ever-more-fragile logic tree of “if-thens.”
Any one of those “if-thens” tends to collapse their arguments, but instead of correcting course, they replace one tenuous argument for another. “If Comey lied, then…” when Comey became the media’s hero until he contradicted their story.
It’s fairly obvious to anyone that the NYT and its media comrades have a pre-determined narrative. They want us to believe that there was collusion. They want us to believe there is a wolf. The problem they’ve created is that if a wolf really does show up, nobody is going to believe them.