The media conspiracy against Trump became a lot more serious on Monday when the Washington Post retracted its January story claiming that President Donald Trump had pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find the fraud” in the 2020 election and said that he’d be a “national hero” if he did.
A recording of the call definitively proved that the quotes cited by the Washington Post, and then parroted by other outlets, were never actually said by the president at all.
But, as Becket Adams explains at the Washington Examiner, “the Washington Post’s dud of a ‘bombshell’ isn’t even the most scandalous thing about this episode in media malfeasance.”
The most scandalous thing, Adams, argues, is that several different newsrooms “claimed they independently ‘confirmed’ the original ‘scoop’ with anonymous sources of their own.”
NBC News reported it “confirmed The Post’s characterization of the Dec. 23 call through a source familiar with the conversation.”
USA Today claimed a “Georgia official speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters confirmed the details of the call.”
ABC News reported: “President Donald Trump phoned a chief investigator in Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office asking the official to ‘find the fraud’ and telling this person they would be a ‘national hero’ for it, an individual familiar with the matter confirmed to ABC News.”
The Washington Post claimed its quotes were confirmed by an anonymous source, and at least five major news outlets claimed to independently confirm that Trump said things he never said. “The most likely scenario is ABC, the Washington Post, and others talked to the same person or group,” theorizes Adams. “It’s either that or a bunch of people managed somehow to be wrong about a very specific claim, which is highly unlikely.”
Unless, of course, none of these five outlets actually confirmed anything, but merely claimed so. This is possible, but considering the fact that the recording of the call was found in the trash folder of a Georgia state official’s computer seems to suggest that one or more Georgia state officials conspired to come up with a damaging version of the phone call, leak the phony details to the media, and then cover up evidence of the actual call.
Regardless which scenario took place, the implications are bad.
“The uncomfortable questions we are left with now are: Whom were they all speaking to? How did this person or these persons get the details of Trump’s private phone call wrong? Are there additional examples of the media reporting bad information provided by anonymous sources we don’t know about, merely because there’s no contradictory audio or video?” writes Adams. “Just how many anonymously sourced stories are fraudulent? If it can happen this easily, who is to say it doesn’t happen often? Further, how many of these bogus stories have enjoyed the backing of supposed independent corroboration when, in fact, newsrooms most likely talked to the same person or people?”