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New York - Media Takes Heat Following Mueller Conclusions

Published on: March 25, 2019 09:31 PM
By: AP
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New York - Holding a copy of the New York Times to the camera on Monday, a giddy Steve Doocy of Fox News Channel said the headline about special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings in the Russia investigation “probably killed whoever had to type this.”

Motivated by the typical soul-searching that can accompany the climax of a major story, or simple revenge, the performance of news professionals quickly became an issue following Mueller’s conclusion that he could find no evidence of a conspiracy by President Donald Trump and his campaign team to work with the Russians to influence the 2016 election.

At issue: did some news organizations spend too much time or leap to premature conclusions about Trump’s potential involvement?

“It is the worst journalistic debacle of my lifetime and I’ve been in this business about 50 years,” said Fox analyst and former Washington bureau chief Brit Hume. “I’ve never seen anything quite this bad last this long.”

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The National Review criticized CNN and MSNBC for routinely taking stories about the investigation from the Times and Washington Post and blowing them up into major stories. The Review said it would be nice if some people involved in the coverage admitted they were wrong, but isn’t expecting it.

Trump retweeted a “Fox & Friends” segment on Monday titled “Spygate: The Attempted Sabotage of Donald J. Trump.”

Even some liberals, like journalist Glenn Greenwald, offered criticism. Money earned by MSNBC hosts “won’t erase the role they played in going on the air every day and manipulating people’s fears and disseminating a false conspiracy theory that rewarded them greatly.”

Reporter Matt Taibbi, who also suggested several reporters and commentators connected too many dots that didn’t add up, wrote that nothing Trump is accused of going forward will be believed by a large segment of the population.

“Imagine how tone-deaf you’d have to be not to realize it makes you look bad, when news does not match audience expectations,” he wrote.

Representatives for CNN and MSNBC declined comment Monday on their coverage.

Defenders cautioned against lumping a diverse media ecosystem all together. If there’s a multi-million dollar investigation into whether a president colluded with a foreign power to influence a national election, is that a story that journalists are supposed to ignore?

Americans would have been far worse off if reporters had not dug into connections between Russians and Trump’s associates, including his sons, wrote Margaret Sullivan, media columnist for the Washington Post. The reporting has not been invalidated by Mueller’s findings, she wrote.

Sullivan is worried that a backlash will cause some news organizations to take the edge off their coverage of the president. They shouldn’t back down, but at the same time should also spend more time on subjects like health care and the economy that Americans care about, she wrote.

It makes no sense to expect the media to not have been aggressive, said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, communications professor and director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

“They were covering a process, and the process was providing regular news, including indictments,” she said.

The issue was also clearly on the president’s mind, given how many times he tweeted “no collusion” and sent his lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, on media interviews to talk about.

Each reporter and news organization should take the time to examine coverage, said Tom Bettag, a longtime “Nightline” executive producer and now a professor of journalism at the University of Maryland. At the same time, he doesn’t think the press needs to apologize and any individual mistakes couldn’t compare to a system-wide failure in the run-up to the Iraq War.

For the most part, reporters did not know what Mueller was going to come up with and that was reflected in the coverage, Bettag said.

Jamieson, author of “Cyber Wars: How Russian Trolls and Hackers Helped Elect a President,” faults the media for failing to pay enough attention to what Russia actually did in 2016 and pushing politicians to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“I don’t know what the press is going to do when it is confronted with hacking again,” she said.



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Read Comments (4)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Mar 25, 2019 at 10:33 PM Educated Archy Says:

Thank god we the people are standing up to the elitist fake news liars. Let's not forget the same freedom of the press also gives we the people freedom to boo them and degrade them back. The press free speech is not more holly than trumps or us supporters

2

 Mar 26, 2019 at 01:23 AM lazy-boy Says:

The left is NEVER WRONG! just ask them.....

3

 Mar 26, 2019 at 10:01 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Educated Archy Says:

Thank god we the people are standing up to the elitist fake news liars. Let's not forget the same freedom of the press also gives we the people freedom to boo them and degrade them back. The press free speech is not more holly than trumps or us supporters

Nice spiel. "We the People" went to vote 4 months ago and rejected by 7 million votes the Republican agenda. Republican Voter fraud in NC. Russian interference as even the Republican Mueller, Barr admitted did not help them at all.

4

 Mar 26, 2019 at 12:12 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

Nice spiel. "We the People" went to vote 4 months ago and rejected by 7 million votes the Republican agenda. Republican Voter fraud in NC. Russian interference as even the Republican Mueller, Barr admitted did not help them at all.

There is always a push back in the mid terms. Plus trump is different than any other republcain. Trump's success lays within him not the general Republican party. I don't really account for what happened in the midterms and don't consider it reflective of the president.

Yes the russians interfered. But too bad. And guess what. In 2020 Trump will now know how to use the ruskies interference even more to his advantage. Watch out because the ruskies are coming to get you in 2020 and we now know how to utlize their help without colluding!!!! Go back to your bunker bec its gone be yuge in 2020!

Back to main point, the fake news is finally getting hit back on. Whether we the people is the majorty or 7 million less than the majorty, there are still tens of millions of people who are now standing up and saying enough

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