Media Buzz

Woman Caught Pushing False Story About Roy Moore

“A woman who falsely claimed to The Washington Post that Roy Moore, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama, impregnated her as a teenager appears to work with an organization that uses deceptive tactics to secretly record conversations in an effort to embarrass its targets,” the Washington Post reports.

“In a series of interviews over two weeks, the woman shared a dramatic story about an alleged sexual relationship with Moore in 1992 that led to an abortion when she was 15. During the interviews, she repeatedly pressed Post reporters to give their opinions on the effects that her claims could have on Moore’s candidacy if she went public.”

The Post did not publish an article based on her unsubstantiated account. When Post reporters confronted her with inconsistencies in her story and an Internet posting that raised doubts about her motivations, she insisted that she was not working with any organization that targets journalists. But on Monday morning, Post reporters saw her walking into the New York offices of Project Veritas, an organization that targets the mainstream news media and left-leaning groups.”

Lies Have Long Been Trump’s Most Potent Weapon

Jonathan Swan points to this passage in Harry Hurt’s 1993 book, Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump, which explains how Trump reacted after a string of high-profile reports that suggested his real net worth was far below what he claimed:

Donald responds with a desperate disinformation campaign… He orders his public relations network to plant rumors in the tabloid press that he is sitting on a multibillion-dollar treasure trove of cash. New York Post columnist Cindy Adams is the first — but by no means the last — to take the bait.

“Everyone’s heard tales about how poor D.T. is leveraged out, how even his Taj is up for grabs because he needs money. Bullbleep,” Adams writes in her column of May 22, 1990. Alluding to a Forbes cover story without mentioning it by name, she declares that Donald is hardly down to his last half billion dollars. “How these august respectable financial journals overlooked certain hidden pockets in Donald’s wallet, I haven’t the foggiest… This guy is sitting on 4 billion. Cash. Billion with a ‘b.'”

Quote of the Day

“If this is who we are or who we are becoming, I have wasted 40 years of my life. Until now it was not possible for me to conceive of an American President capable of such an outrageous assault on truth, a free press or the first amendment.”

— Gen. Michael Hayden, on Twitter, in response to a tweet from President Trump.

Halperin’s Legacy Was Worse Than Sexual Harassment

Eve Fairbanks: “Three weeks ago, numerous women stepped forward to accuse him of extraordinary acts of assault… But I’m not here to talk about that. I want to talk about the deeper, subtler, more insidious effect Mark Halperin had on our politics — one which we’ll be paying for for years to come.”

The Note purported to reveal Washington’s secrets. In fact, its purpose was the exact opposite: to make the city, and US politics, appear impossible to understand. It replaced normal words with jargon. It coined the phrase ‘Gang of 500,’ the clubby network of lobbyists, aides, pols, and hangers-on who supposedly, like the Vatican’s cardinals, secretly ran DC. That wasn’t true — power is so diffuse. But Halperin claimed he knew so much more than we did, and we began to believe it.”

“Once you believe that, it’s not hard to be convinced that politics is only comprehensible, like nuclear science, to a select few. There were those chosen ones — the people who’d flattered Halperin to get a friendly mention in his newsletter, the ones he declared to be in the know — and the rest of us. Halperin wrote about Washington like it was an intriguing game, the kind that masked aristocrats played to entertain themselves at 19th-century parties: Everyone was both pawn and player, engaged in a set of arcane maneuvers to win an empty jackpot that ultimately meant nothing of true importance.”

It’s All About CNN

A USA Today editorial says the Trump administration’s decision to sue to block the proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner “smacks of politics” because of the president’s vendetta against CNN.

Ever since the Nixon administration secretly meddled in antitrust policy, both parties have tried to keep raw partisan politics out of it. Presidents appoint certain types of lawyers to head the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission antitrust units, then leave them alone to conduct independent reviews that follow the facts and the law. At least that was the practice until Trump became president… None of this makes any sense outside of political vendettas. Turner Broadcasting is fairly small potatoes in terms of market power…

If the AT&T-Time Warner case goes to court, the administration is highly likely to lose, but not before wasting a lot of taxpayer and shareholder money on legal fees in the process.

The Chicago Sun Times concurs: “Trump is behaving again like a tin-pot dictator, trying to punish a media company that has dared to cover him honestly, aggressively and accurately.”

21st Century Fox Settles Sexual Harassment Scandal

“Twenty-First Century Fox Inc has reached a $90 million settlement of shareholder claims arising from the sexual harassment scandal at its Fox News Channel, which cost the jobs of longtime news chief Roger Ailes and anchor Bill O‘Reilly,” Reuters reports.

“The settlement, which requires a judge’s approval, resolves what are known as ‘derivative’ claims against Fox officers and directors, including: Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan, who are Fox’s executive chairmen; James Murdoch, another son and its chief executive, and Ailes’ estate.”

Eight Women Say Charlie Rose Sexually Harassed Them

“Eight women have told the Washington Post that longtime television host Charlie Rose made unwanted sexual advances toward them, including lewd phone calls, walking around naked in their presence, or groping their breasts, buttocks or genital areas.”

“There are striking commonalities in the accounts of the women, each of whom described their interactions with Rose in multiple interviews with The Post. For all of the women, reporters interviewed friends, colleagues or family members who said the women had confided in them about aspects of the incidents. Three of the eight spoke on the record.”

Why Jake Tapper Is Angry

Jake Tapper explains why he’s often so agitated on his CNN show:

“I recognize that it’s probably a pain in the ass for a lot of people now,” he told The Atlantic. “But it is just who I am.”

“I’m just like, I don’t want any of this to be happening,” he added. “There are so many lies and so much indecency, and I’m not only talking about President Trump. There is just a world of it exploding—and we are, I fear, as a nation, becoming conditioned and accepting of it. And it’s horrific.”

Spicer’s Post-White House Career Fizzles

“At first, Sean Spicer’s exit from the White House followed the blueprint for famous administration officials,” BuzzFeed News reports.

“Step one: Hire mega lawyer/agent Bob Barnett, who has represented presidents and their operatives in lucrative deals, from Barack Obama and David Axelrod to George W. Bush and Karl Rove. Step two: Make the rounds at various TV networks, where a contributor job can yield reliable, high-profile income.”

“But step three — landing the plush TV deal — never happened.”

“Now Spicer and Barnett, who seeks to uphold a reputation as the preeminent talent broker in Washington, are both distancing themselves from one another, according to sources familiar with the matter.”

Anatomy of a Fake News Scandal

Rolling Stone: “The claim that Hillary Clinton was a pedophile started in a Facebook post, spread to Twitter and then went viral with the help of far-right platforms like Breitbart and Info-Wars. But it was unclear whether Pizzagate was mass hysteria or the work of politicos with real resources and agendas. It took the better part of a year (and two teams of researchers) to sift through the digital trail. We found ordinary people, online activists, bots, foreign agents and domestic political operatives. Many of them were associates of the Trump campaign. Others had ties with Russia. Working together – though often unwittingly – they flourished in a new ‘post-truth’ information ecosystem, a space where false claims are defended as absolute facts.”

Anchor Debunks His Network’s Favorite Clinton ‘Scandal’

“Fox News anchor Shepard Smith debunked what his own network has called the Hillary Clinton uranium “scandal,” infuriating Fox viewers, some of whom suggested that he ought to work for CNN or MSNBC,” the Washington Post reports.

“Smith’s critique, which called President Trump’s accusations against Clinton ‘inaccurate,’ was triggered by renewed calls from Republicans on Capitol Hill for a special counsel to investigate Clinton.”

U.S. Journalists Locked Out of Trump Appearance

“Nearly all U.S. journalists covering Presiden Trump’s appearance at a major economic summit in Vietnam were barred from attending key events Friday and Saturday, including photo-ops featuring interactions between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin,” Politico reports.

“A Fox News video crew and an official White House photographer were granted access to the meetings. Fox was the news organization that was tasked with providing pool video to other news outlets. But the rest of the pool reporters, including independent photographers from U.S. news organizations, were blocked from covering the event.”

InfoWars Republished Content from Russian Site

“Over the past three years, conspiracy site InfoWars has copied more than 1,000 articles produced by Russian state-sponsored broadcaster RT to its website — all without the permission of RT,” BuzzFeed News reports.

“InfoWars is headed by radio host Alex Jones who propagated the false Pizzagate conspiracy theory, fueled hate against migrants, and pushed the unfounded theory that former president Barack Obama is not an American citizen… Jones and his outlet have also faced accusations that their work often aligns with Kremlin-funded outlets such as RT, and that they have at times benefitted from amplification from Twitter bots and other Russian information operations.”