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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Dear reporter: First, wipe the egg and the smirk off your face

Aaron Blake is the senior political reporter who writes for The Fix at the Washington Post.

He fell for the BuzzFeed story -- leaked to change the subject from the shutdown -- which Bungling Bob Mueller disavowed late Friday.

Blake took to Twitter this morning to virtue signal about journalism.

As someone who wrote about the Cohen-BuzzFeed story and its potentially very serious implications on Friday, I have some reflections/introspections after losing some sleep last night.
First off, we don’t know exactly what Mueller team disputes, but the unprecedented nature of that denial suggests it sees a fundamental problem with the story. That statement doesn’t go out over a quibble or two.

Surber note: Mueller disavowed the whole story.

It’s trite to say, but we need to figure out how to handle this kind of story. It’s unconfirmed, but it’s out there. Lawmakers are talking about it! Democrats are talking impeachment! Can you ignore that very real debate? Do you just let partisan outlets own the analysis?
I’m reminded of what happened when the hacked Clinton emails came out. We all (okay, most of us) jumped on them. It was a hell of a story. We got an inside look into an actual presidential campaign! We were also unwittingly assisting a Russian propaganda effort.

Surber note: They were leaked, not hacked. The press did not divulge the revelations that incriminated reporters as partisans for Hillary.

BuzzFeed story is not a direct parallel, but it raises similar issues. Those Clinton emails were in the public domain, and SOMEONE was going to find the big ones. Similarly, plenty of people would have learned about Trump allegedly telling Cohen to lie. Social media, etc.
All of that said, each piece that’s written about something that may turn out to be untrue is counter-productive, at best. Even with extensive caveating (which I included), it furthers a story the erodes trust in the media.
Media consumers aren’t as savvy as we’d like them to be, and just because something is technically accurate and qualified doesn’t make it good. People skip right over those caveats, and if they want to believe these reports, they treat them like gospel.

Surber note: The story was not accurate technically or otherwise.

I honestly don’t know what the answer is here, besides perhaps more patience and reflection in real time, and less emphasis on an unconfirmed report until others start confirming it. But then -- again -- less circumspect analysis might carry the day.
Mueller’s team would seem to have an extremely compelling interest in not just being technically accurate in its denial, but avoiding false perceptions that it denied more than it did. But you never know until you know.

And just like the Mueller investigation needs to mind perceptions of it, regardless of technical accuracy and careful wording, so do the media, and so do I.

OK, now my reply.

The BuzzFeed story was false.

BuzzFeed stories throughout the Trump presidency have been false.

No real journalist would have gone with the story. "According to BuzzFeed" does not let reporters off the hook because they vouched for BuzzFeed by basing stories on its reporting.

Blake needs to apologize. Blake needs to decide if he is a reporter or a pundit. If the former, he needs to keep his opinions to himself, get all sides of the story, and treat them with equal respect.

If he chooses to be a pundit, he needs to use the 24 Hour Rule in commenting on news that makes President Trump look bad because those cigars keep exploding on Blake and all of Trump's enemies in the press.

UPDATE: Just so we are clear, Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller’s office, said, "BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate."

That is a rebuke of the BuzzFeed's story. Period.


  1. BF along with the entire rest of the media live on 100% unverifiable leaks. That's not how it should be, but that's how it is.

    Here's my thought (for what little it's worth).

    Michael Cohen is a liar. Would it surprise you to find out he was willing to lie about Trump? It wouldn't me.

    BF told the truth. Cohen is willing to lie about Trump, but Mueller wants to hold it for the final report, to give it some zip.

    Since Mueller wants to save Cohen's lie for the final report, he puts out this elliptical "the BF Report is inaccurate" statement. Inaccurate how? Mueller doesn't say.

    We'll know when Mueller issues his final report (if he ever does).

  2. It may have been BuzzFood, but I saw one story where Cohen supposedly "revealed" The Donald assigned him to stuff the results of online polls in his favor.

    As they once said in the Queen's Irregular Scinde Horse, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

    Who DOESN'T try to jack up those polls?

  3. We the fools of media are
    Smoking on a Muh-ler cigar
    It was loaded
    It exploded
    Silent night...

    1. LOL, haven't thought of that play on "We Three Kings" in ages. Your version is hilarious and perfect.

    2. Nice twist. Haven't heard that one in 40 years.

  4. Blake keeps tripping over himself in his tweet storm. The most accurate line was "I honestly don't know what the answer is here". Funny.

    The rest of the country seems to know. STFU.

    There's an answer that will help you.

  5. AB...Summa Cum Laude U of MN...such a smart guy...

    “Media consumers aren’t as savvy as we’d like them to be, and just because something is technically accurate and qualified doesn’t make it good. ‘

    Certainly a big pile suuma’ o Sumpin’ you showed there Poindexter...

    1. To paraphrase the pompous Mr. Blake - media suppliers aren’t as savvy as we’d like them to be.
      Except for Don and a few of his cohorts.

  6. The odd thing is Buzzfeed and others will sit on any story that is positive for the President. Conversely they will jump immediately on any story that is negative to the President. It was stated recently that over 90% of the MSM news coverage of the President was negative. Maybe that's where the news people need to start. Lucy keeps pulling the football back but they continue to try and kick it every time. It's actually getting pretty old and lame....

  7. Don, Bill Mitchell's tweet echos you:
    'In the past 4 years, the #Media has declared Trump "Finished!" countless scores of time only to have him arise stronger than ever before.'

  8. Blake is mad that the latest attempt to ding President Trump failed and that it makes the media look like the hacks they are. I don’t see he’s that bothered that they missed the truth (again) just that they failed to hurt Trump.

  9. He's a liar and he's not really sorry for lying.
    If he had any honor, he would resign. But he won't, and he won't be fired, either.

    When a "story is out there", it's OK to say: "this is the latest gossip. No source willing to be named, so it's unconfirmed."

    It's not news, it's anti-Trump fantasy. Even if every single elected Dem is talking about it, and wishing it would be true, it remains merely fantasy.

    With the National Enquirer angle of the truth that top Dems are speculating on this fantasy now.
    That's the "true news". If that news is not worth running, ok, it's not worth running.
    How many murders last week in Chicago? (I don't know -- it's not quite news worth running...)

  10. B.J. Clinton lied to a federal grand jury. Democrats dismissed it as lying about sex. Now PDT was alleged to have asked his lawyer to lie to Congress. Now ask the Senate Minority leader, Chuck Schumer, why he thought Clinton deeds were neither a crime, nor convictable. Schumer voted against impeaching Clinton both as a member of the House and the Senate.

  11. Meanwhile read the NY Times version of this rebuke. They are trying to spin it and cast dispersion's on Muller's office as if their statement needs to be confirmed as true.

    1. If Muller doesn't have something substantial on Trump ultimately fails to wound him deeply, he will be denounced as a running dog by the NYT and the NY media. Muller is actually not dumb, as Don always makes him out to be. He did this to make whatever he does have look undeniable. No collusion, but some leaking innuendo that smears the president as "probably" criminal. Muller's report goes to Barr, not the NYT, but the media will look to report some purloined allegation as fact, and Muller will not deny what he wrote to Barr, even if out of context. Also he cannot prosecute. But Barr can and if he rightly doesn't, he too will be denounced as Trump's Consiglieri and have mobs show up at his house. In addtion,the media will turn to the NY State AG and others to enhance their dirty work. There is no end because it is all political,not a search for justice manifest,and politics is all persuasion by perception. That Trump has weathered these attempts to destroy him is the truest testimony to the power of substantive reality in modern political history.
      The Court and 20 are all that counts to the new American Communist Party and its oligarchs, still angry over their really bad investment. They were supposed to be the smartest guys in the room.

  12. Oh dear, now the so called press is confused and hurt because their lies and fantasy have been exposed to the world. It is long past due.

  13. Gee, Don, I don't think that is egg on his face. It's the dried remnants of a different sticky protein. Bob Mueller put it there.

  14. If a little cheating/lying never hurt anybody, and, if a lot of cheating/lying hurts mostly somebodies you don't give a fuck about, then a whole lot of cheating/lying must be okay.

    Harry Reid said so.

    Obama did so.

    The Bloated Clinton did so, and meant to do more so.

    And then came MAGA........

  15. I thought Bob Mueller leaked the story? So much for that theory. Give it a minute, you'll be smearing him shortly. LOL!

  16. This is SOP for the dems...Here's Palsey 'splain how its done:

  17. Blake writes, "Media consumers aren’t as savvy as we’d like them to be."

    That's an insulting thing for him to say about his 95% Democrat readership over there at Politico, but hey, at least he's being honest about the liberal dolts who follow him.

  18. The dumbest people in every high school class get into journalism school. They graduate believing they are the smartest people in the universe. Alas, they remain as dumb as they were, but now they are the most dishonest people in the universe.

  19. Buzzfeed is not a news site! It's a radical hit job run by anti Trumpers. I would never expect to see anything believable there.

  20. Nothing can shut Blake up due to the gross derangement of his delusions of godhood typical for Dem-media incestuousness, having rejected the true God of America's Founders for the gigantic arrogance of his own mindless depravity endlessly spewing lies & frauds.


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