New York Times fake news BUSTED
Two of my favorite pundits – Mollie Hemingway (of The Federalist) and John Hinderaker (of Powerline) – have absolutely nailed the New York Times for genuinely fake news it published. Naturally, the phony quote it made up is aimed at denigrating President Trump – in the current instance, his historic moves to solve the North Korea nuke problem that his predecessors failed to address effectively. The possibility that President Trump might succeed is frightening to those in the media and politics who have declared him a joke before he was elected and a disaster ever since. They desperately need for there to be no success for America and the world in eliminating the threat of a North Korean nuclear arsenal.
Stunningly, even after being busted for its made up story, the Gray Lady has doubled down.
Hemingway caught the journalistic malpractice first:
Mark Landler and David Sanger of The New York Times wrote an article arguing there were deep divisions between Trump and his advisors. To support the claim, the Times argued that Trump said a June 12 summit was still possible, while his top aides said it was "impossible":
As with so many issues involving this president, the views of his aides often have little effect on what he actually says. On Thursday, for example, a senior White House official told reporters that even if the meeting were reinstated, holding it on June 12 would be impossible, given the lack of time and the amount of planning needed.
President Trump called out the lie:
The Failing @nytimes quotes “a senior White House official,” who doesn’t exist, as saying “even if the meeting were reinstated, holding it on June 12 would be impossible, given the lack of time and the amount of planning needed.” WRONG AGAIN! Use real people, not phony sources.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2018
Trump was incorrect in saying the Times "quoted" a senior official, when in fact they merely "characterized" the statement, which provides a bit of wiggle room (but not enough).
Media types rushed to The New York Times' defense, claiming they heard a White House official say the "impossible" line in a background briefing they were privy to. Someone leaked audio of a background briefing that they said supported The New York Times' "impossible" characterization.
Yashar Ali, who writes for New York magazine and HuffPo, then outed the name of someone who briefed reporters on background and provided audio that he erroneously claimed supported The New York Times' characterization.
Ali apparently didn't listen closely enough. Here is the transcript of the audio recording of the backgrounder, given by deputy press secretary Raj Shah:
REPORTER: Can you clarify that…the President obviously announced in the letter and at the top of the bill signing that the summit is called off. But then, later, he said it's possible the existing summit could take place, or a summit at a later date. Is he saying that it's possible that June 12th could still happen?
WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL: That's…
REPORTER: Or has that ship sailed, right?
WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL: I think that the main point, I suppose, is that the ball is in North Korea's court right now. And there's really not a lot of time. We've lost quite a bit of time that we would need in order to, I mean, there's been an enormous amount of preparation that's gone on over the past few months at the White House, at State, and with other agencies and so forth. But there's a certain amount of actual dialogue that needs to take place at the working level with your counterparts to ensure that the agenda is clear in the minds of those two leaders when they sit down to actually meet and talk and negotiate, and hopefully make a deal. And June 12 is in 10 minutes, and it's going to be, you know. But the President has said that he has — someday, that he looks forward to meeting with Kim.
As Hemingway and Hinderaker both note, the key terms "impossible" and "ship has sailed" were not used by Shah. He does stipulate that preparations would be difficult owing to time constraints, but he nowhere says impossible. It is not a meaningless distinction, despite the Twitter argument thread that raged between Hemingway and Trump-hating journalists. Eric Blair (an Orwell reference pseudonym) nailed it with an example:
It's not a question of semantics. Take it from someone with an M.A. in English: "very or exceedingly difficult" /= "impossible". People climb Mt. Everest, don't you know? No one says it's "impossible".— Eric Blair (@MinistryOfSooth) May 27, 2018
Despite having been busted, the Trump-haters refuse to give up. As Hinderaker summed up:
If you think the liberal press was embarrassed at having attributed a statement to the Deputy Press Secretary that he didn't make, you are mistaken. Instead, the press doubled down by asserting the absurd proposition that President Trump denied that White House aides give briefings. You can't make this up. Once again, the failing New York Times led the way:
Imagine being the WH background briefer who led this briefing, who now has his boss - the president of the US - saying he/she doesn’t exist. https://t.co/6tYHxp3ZFK— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) May 26, 2018
As the POTUS might tweet: SAD!