Pro-Trump media denies confirmed reports President Trump leaked classified info to Russia


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/05/15/denial-is-a-river-in-benghazi.html


#2

It still amazes me how the people running these outlets can function at all. They either have no regard for ethics, or are blindly loyal to the point of pathology, maybe both.

I know people tend to resist evidence that goes against their beliefs, but at some point you have to accept the fact that someone on your “side” is WRONG! Christ, don’t they see that they’d be better off purging the fucking lunatics and maybe crafting a party that could find SOME common ground with people outside it?

Gah, it all just boggles the mind.


#3

You’re trying to hold them some sort of journalistic standard, which is silly because they are the propaganda arm on the Republican Party. Different goals, different rules.


#4

I don’t think Breitbart counts as media. They are more like the right wing version of Alternet.

But the standards being used to confirm the story are a little shady. On one hand, WaPo has unnamed persons make the claims. But they are confirmed reports. Each outlet had one of the other outlets “coinfirm” the story somehow.
One person who was there, and gave an account of the meeting was general McMaster.:
“There is nothing the president takes more seriously than the security of the American people. The story that came out tonight as reported is false,” McMaster told reporters outside the White House. “The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time, were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.”…“Two other senior officials who were present, including the Secretary of State, remember the meeting the same way and have said so. Their on-the-record accounts should outweigh anonymous sources. And I was in the room, it didn’t happen.”


#5

Logic fail.

WaPo: President gave information to Russians during meeting that compromised intelligence sources, narrowing down the source to the city from which derived.

McMaster: "At no time, at no time, were intelligence sources or methods discussed"
McMaster: "the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.”

The logic fail is that McMaster did not refute the very specific allegations of the unnamed source. The Post neither said that the sources or methods were discussed, only that the info the source provided was discussed. Nor did the WaPo claim that military operations were discussed. McMaster at no time denied (in his VERY CAREFULLY WORDED statement) that the president shared information that could “out” a source and did not dispute that information was shared that shouldn’t have been.

Further, unnamed sources have a long and rich tradition of providing sunlight, which is a fantastic disinfectant. To assume or declare uniformly that they can’t be used both reputably (as the Post did with Nixon and now Trump) and accurately (as they did with Nixon) is obfuscation and logical fallacy in and of itself.


http://niemanreports.org/articles/anonymous-sources-their-use-in-a-time-of-prosecutorial-interest/


#6

Look, I don’t know why this is such a big deal - it’s not like the president even knew it was classified information!

Except that he (and other statements from the White House) specifically made a point of only refuting accusations that were never made in any of the articles. As non-denial denials go, that by itself is damning. He says they didn’t discuss sources - strictly true, but one problem was that enough information was reportedly given that the Russians could figure it out. No one in the White House has actually denied the specific accusations of the articles.
There’s also the whole issue that the White House immediately afterwards called the CIA and the National Security Agency to let them know they had inadvertently let slip this information. Damning bits of the discussion were removed from internal memos, and the full transcript was limited to a small number of people. They wouldn’t have needed to do any of that if the story wasn’t true and the White House isn’t even trying to deny any of that (though they can’t explain why they did it, either).
So yeah, it’s all pretty damning.


#7

So the allegations in the WaPo are completely fabricated, and also classified information. OK.
When the target audience are rubes who already believe, and want to go on believing, and only want an argument-shaped hairball of words as an excuse, there is no point wasting effort to construct a convincing argument.


#8

Do you mean us? Or them? So confused…


#9

Why would the President even be giving a briefing? In any mature government I would expect there to have been a lot of work going on behind the scenes, leading up to the President attending a little ceremony to sign an agreement (provided no one scares him off by asking any questions), and then the actual details would be finalised by professionals.


#10

:slight_smile:


#11

Yeah, this is the bit that stood out to me as suggesting that something had actually happened. It would surely be easy enough to refute this sort of claim; the fact that nobody did increases the odds that it’s true. Also, it’s not really quite big enough a story for WaPo to put their whole reputation on the line over. On the other hand, there is definitely a risk that they are being set-up for a bigger fall now that they think they have some trusted sources.


#12

That’s what you do when you have to defend the indefensible: parse your words very carefully, and try to imply you’ve refuted the accusations, when you actually have been talking around them.


#13

Do they want a licensing body gatekeeping the professional use of the term “journalist” because this is how you get a licensing body gatekeeping the professional use of the term “journalist”


#14

And, contrary to his own spokespeople and toadies, this morning Trump himself confirmed the leaks on Twitter.


#15


#16

I am going to make an analogy…

I have every right to sit down with my neighbor’s wife and have a cup of coffee on one of our decks. Discuss news, the weather, our kids. Perfectly innocent like. We are mature adults (despite Pence’s viewpoints) and we can in fact just be talking to one another and having coffee and nothing else is going on.

HOWEVER…

If both her husband and my wife have multiple times suspected that she and I were having an affair and accused us of such things, found albeit circumstantial evidence, but no smoking gun as it were…then maybe…JUST MAYBE…while I have the right to do so, it doesn’t look good. It would only fuel the fire of suspicion that something else was going on.

Even if 45 has the power/right to share information with Russia, it shows a disturbing lack of awareness surrounding everything else. As Bill Maher so aptly puts it…45 is in his bubble. At some point that bubble has to pop.


#17

The denial/non-denial offered by McMaster also did not mention that the classified information that Trump offered to the Russians had not been cleared by the source to be repeated. So Trump also jeopardized the future flow of information. The source will not take a chance of giving sensitive info to the President again. He can’t keep his fucking mouth shut, and can’t seem to comprehend that the Russians are not our friends, or that he is digging a deeper hole for himself.

Also important is that this meeting was held WITH Russian media in the room, but without US media in the room. There is no way to spin this meeting as anything but a total disaster.


#18

I can’t decide how much to rate the issue of “no US press in the room but Russian press in the room.” On the one hand the two photographers were “official” photographers of the respective countries, yet in Russia (because they have a state run media outlet) the photographer can be both the official government photographer and also considered a part of the press. It’s weird because some of the feeling of what’s happened (IMO) says directly that the Russian press was there or that photos were released to the Russian press, but in actuality the photos never had to change hands to be published because again, the media/that media outlet IS part of their government. The state run media outlet thing is just so alien to me.


#19

Exactly, technically their photographer was there in his capacity as the official photographer for the guys in the meeting, not as a freelancer for TASS, but since the lines are blurry or nonexistent between ‘news photographer’ and ‘government-employed photographer’ it was very awkward. And it wouldn’t have been as much of an issue if US media photographers were allowed in, too. But as it was, it framed itself as “US media shut out of closed-door meeting with known Russian spy with Russian-government photographer taking pictures of the Oval Office”.


#20

Exactly right. No matter how you spin it, we all know that if Hillary Clinton had done the same thing, heads would be exploding all over Congress and the right wing media, and investigations would be underway right now.