CNN's and NBC's creepy new payoff game
The press has always been huffy about not paying for interviews, as the tabloid press admits it does. But as the Russia collusion scandal carries on without results, and the initial Steele dossier that triggered the probe and the special counsel increasingly becomes obvious as just partisan politics, maybe only the currency has changed.
Lee Smith of Tablet magazine has investigated how many of the initial leakers to the press on these fake stories have wound up with paying jobs as commentators on big media stations, particularly NBC and CNN. He writes:
For example, the House Intelligence Committee report found that James Clapper "flatly denied 'discussing[ing] the dossier [compiled by Steele] or any other intelligence related to Russia hacking of the 2016 election with journalists.'" Yet while Clapper may now find himself in trouble for lying to Congress – which he has done before on extremely consequential subjects, like the extent of America's domestic spying programs, apparently without damaging his credibility as a "news source" – he has carved a new job out of a possible crime. In August 2017, CNN hired him as an analyst, creating the appearance, at least, that the network is now paying him for the information he leaked to them. At the same time, it provides him with a platform to run an offense shielding him from the legal consequences of his actions. Presumably, Clapper will continue to justify his actions as a public official on-air while denying any wrong-doing, and his "analysis" will be presented to viewers as impartial and truthful.
Lies, innuendo, wild conspiracy theorizing, and the insistent assumption of guilt have replaced old-fashioned rules of sourcing, objectivity, and basic plausibility.
Nor is Clapper the only source of misinformation to land a paying job with a news outlet he leaked to while ostensibly protecting America's secrets. Former CIA head John Brennan, another spy chief at the Trump briefing, won a TV deal with NBC in what, if you look at it from the wrong angle – or the right angle – might appear to be a payment in kind for leaking politically charged information and perhaps even classified intelligence. It's enough to make any real journalist nauseous – or would be, if there were any real journalists left in Washington, as opposed to people who give each other awards for printing stuff that's spoon-fed to them by oppo shops and spies with clear political agendas. How embarrassing.
Nice work if you can get it.
Now commentator spots seem to be the form of payment of news agencies to reward government leakers with, not seedy cash passed through envelopes.
What it amounts to is a corrupt game that incentivizes anti-Trump leakers and becomes its own means of undermining government. And it has consequences for innocent people, as Michael Caputo's impassioned statement before Congress shows us here. Disgustingly enough, now the press is giving itself rewards for this quid pro quo.
Is it any wonder that the public has such low regard for the press with this sleazy game going on? Read the whole thing.