Plot thickens the day after Mollie Hemingway outed so-called whistleblower on Fox News
A media tempest in a teapot followed Federalist senior editor, author, and Fox News contributor Mollie Hemingway's naming of the so-called whistleblower during FNC's live show Media Buzz on Sunday morning.
Conservative media complimented her for finally breaking through the MSM wall of silence on naming the accuser who got the ball rolling on the effort to impeach President Trump for his July 25 Ukraine phone call. Predictably, the MSM and NeverTrumps were mostly critical of Hemingway's comments.
In an unusual if not unprecedented move, the scheduled replay of Media Buzz, which always takes place at 3 A.M. E.T. Monday, 13 hours after the program first airs live from Washington, D.C., was apparently spiked. This weekend, another pre-recorded show on veterans was substituted in its place. Last week, a number of media reported that Fox News management had recently informed its producers and on-air talent not to name the so-called whistleblower.
On Monday, the plot thickened, so to speak, as more information about these goings-on came to light. First, close watchers of Fox News revealed that Hemingway was not the first person on Fox News to out the whistleblower. Last Thursday, during the 1 P.M. E.T. daily program Outnumbered Overtime, guest Lars Larsen uttered the so-called whisteblower's moniker, Eric Ciaramella, which had already been published by a number of print and online outlets.
Also on Monday, during Dana Perino's daily 2 P.M. E.T. program Fox News Daily Briefing, Media Buzz host Howie Kurtz commented (video at Fox News dot com here) on what went on during his program's live feed 27 hours earlier (emphasis added).
I don't think it's the role of the media to disclose the identity of the whistleblower. As you know, a name came up on my program yesterday. I don't think that should have happened. Mollie Hemingway says that she was simply repeating a name that had been bandied about by certain sites and that no one had told her that Fox and other news organizations are not using the name. ...
First of all, we have no independent reporting that says "this is the guy" despite what some partisan sites are saying. And even if we did have independent reporting, I don't see why the media should be baited into naming somebody because I think it violates the spirit of the Whistleblower Protection Act. I've dealt with a lot of whistleblowers in my career. This is not a pro-Trump stance; it's not an anti-Trump stance. I just think that we shouldn't be pushed into this because certain politicians don't want to take the heat for identifying this person himself.
Howie Kurtz and Dana Perino on The Daily Briefing, Fox News Channel, Nov. 11, 2019.
Fact-checking Howie Kurtz
Sorry, Howie. The so-called whistleblower's name has been more than "bandied about" by "some partisan sites." For example, Real Clear Investigations (RCI) is a reputable, non-partisan news and aggregation site that is part of the RealClearFoundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit. On October 30, RCI published a detailed article by Paul Sperry that named career CIA analyst Eric Ciaramella, 33, as "the anonymous 'whistleblower.'" Subsequent media reports, including this one published November 6 in the Washington Examiner, have fleshed out Ciaramella's background as a deeply embedded partisan Democrat.
On November 11, an article by Ben Weingarten at The Federalist confirmed Ciaramella's political bent:
Based on the RealClearInvestigations report on Ciaramella, given his laundry list of anti-Trump bona fides and apparent connections to leaders in the national security and foreign policy apparatus, he would appear to be a proverbial "made man" of the deep state.
Ciaramella's attorney, Mark S. Zaid, tweeted in 2017 that a "coup has started" that would take down President Trump. As Fox News reported on November 6:
Mark Zaid, one of the attorneys representing the intelligence community whistleblower at the center of the Democrats' ongoing impeachment inquiry, tweeted conspicuously in January 2017 that a "coup has started" and that "impeachment will follow ultimately."
Zaid also predicted that CNN would play a significant role in President Trump's ouster. He had a front-row seat to witness that prediction come true. As Brian Flood reported at Fox News dot com on November 7:
Mark Zaid, the attorney representing the whistleblower at the center of the Democrats' ongoing impeachment inquiry, has said CNN "will play a key role" in removing President Trump from office, and the liberal network has repeatedly given him a platform by booking him as a guest.
"I predict @CNN will play a key role in @realDonaldTrump not finishing out his full term as president," Zaid tweeted in July 2017, one month after he made an appearance on the network.
Zaid has appeared as a guest on CNN at least 11 times since the start of 2017, when he predicted a "coup" just months after Trump was sworn in.
Fox News searched the records of the five CNN programs for which transcripts are publicly available, "CNN Newsroom," "Erin Burnett OutFront," "AC 360," "Early Start" and "Cuomo Prime Time," and found 11 instances where Zaid appeared.
Deconstructing Kurtz's comments on Perino's program about the Whistleblower Protection Act in an article at American Greatness later on Monday afternoon, Debra Heine wrote:
The Whistleblower Protection Act bars agency authorities from taking or threatening to take retaliatory action "against any employee or applicant because of disclosure of information by that employee or applicant." It does not bar the media from naming a "whistleblower" who makes allegations against a sitting president as Democrats ramp up impeachment efforts.
For her part, Mollie Hemingway, the woman at the center of this story, continued to tweet prolifically as usual on Monday to her 370,000 followers with no indication that she had suffered any adverse consequences for her comments on Media Buzz on Sunday. To date, she has not commented directly about what she said on Kurtz's program. Among her tweets Monday was one that pointed to her colleague Weingarten's excellent article, "The Media Holds a Massive Double Standard about Naming Whistleblowers."
Meanwhile, on Sunday, six hours after the Media Buzz show ended, Hemingway tweeted a link to a November 10 article at The Federalist confirming "Schiff's Committee Published Name of Alleged Whistleblower Last Week."
Stay tuned for any further developments of note.
Peter Barry Chowka writes about politics, media, popular culture, and health care for American Thinker and other publications. Peter's website is http://peter.media. Follow him on Twitter at @pchowka.