The Atlantic hit piece on President Donald Trump last week used four anonymous sources to allege that he had disparaged dead World War I soldiers two years ago. Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin then claimed to have “confirmed” parts of the story — though not its main allegation — based on two anonymous sources.
The entire story failed to meet basic journalistic standards. But it is a sign of things to come — particularly if Democrats win in November, which is the Atlantic‘s goal.
Two, or even four, anonymous sources can be used to claim absolutely anything. The Atlantic described them as “four people with firsthand knowledge of the discussion that day.”
Notably, we are not told that they personally heard Trump say what the Atlantic alleges he said — they just have “knowledge of the discussion.” Someone who has “knowledge” of a discussion is a second-hand source, or worse. The point is there is no way to know if the sources are credible, or if the story is just made up.
It turns out that we do actually have some very good historical sources that dispute the Atlantic story. These include the 11 eyewitnesses who have gone on the record to deny the president said what the Atlantic alleged, but they also include other sources.
The Atlantic‘s claim, for example, that the president avoided a trip to a military cemetery because he did not want his hair to get wet is refuted by government documents and even by the unfriendly memoir of former aide John Bolton.
And yet much of the media ran with the story anyway — unchastened by the recent history of other “confirmed” stories, like the Russia “dossier.”
In 2018, NBC falsely reported that President Donald Trump had become the first president since 2002 not to visit the troops at Christmas. It then turned out Trump was in Iraq with the troops.
In that spirit, NBC’s White House correspondent, Peter Alexander, asked the president on Friday — in the Oval Office — to “apologize” to soldiers and veterans.
Alexander reported on MSNBC shortly thereafter that whether the story is true or not, it “resonates.” Former Vice President Joe Biden said much the same in his press conference that day, citing Trump’s joke at John McCain’s expense in 2015. (Few bothered to remember that McCain attacked Trump first — and Trump supporters — saying that Trump had “fired up the crazies” in the Republican Party.) There was no actual proof — just partisan prejudice, clearly based on political bias … Continue reading >>>