On Friday, the Washington Post published a massive correction to its coverage of the Steele Dossier — that anti-Trump document fabricated by Christopher Steele and funded by the Clinton campaign. They made several corrections to many stories regarding the involvement of Belarusian-American businessman Sergei Millian in their reporting. Millian was recently arrested by the FBI for lying, and another dossier source, Igor Danchenko, was also indicted for lying to the bureau.
The Post had published Millian’s allegations as fact and also said he was a major source for Steele — a fact known to be false for two years since the FBI inspector general’s report on the bureau’s use of the dossier to get FISA warrants on Trump associates came to light.
You would think this media nuclear explosion would have generated an immediate self-examination of the methods and sources used in many outlets’ reporting on the dossier. Instead, only the chirping of crickets can be heard.
Outsized coverage of the unvetted document drove a media frenzy at the start of Donald Trump’s presidency that helped drive a narrative of collusion between former President Trump and Russia.
It also helped drive an even bigger wedge between former President Trump and the press at the very beginning of his presidency.
Not that the media and Donald Trump would ever be buddy-buddy during Trump’s time in the White House, but Trump’s hatred of the media was always reactive — that is, the more the media piled on, the more vicious Trump was in his defense. As someone in the real estate business in rough and tumble New York City, Trump had learned a good defense was always a good offense.
Related: ‘Washington Post’ Issues Corrections and Removes Parts of Two Stories on the Steele Dossier
The epic fail of the media in reporting on the Steele Dossier had incalculable consequences to Carter Page and other Trump aides whose lives were turned upside down by the FBI. Their communications were spied upon because the secret FISA warrant that the bureau used to justify their intrusions was based on a highly partisan, mostly fabricated document that the FBI knew was a load of crap but swore to a federal judge that, to their knowledge, was true.
No one in the FBI has ever been arrested for lying to a federal judge or on an application for a FISA warrant. And no one ever will.
The Steele Dossier first appeared in Buzzfeed in 2017. It made the career of editor Ben Smith who is now a columnist for the New York Times.
BuzzFeed News, which made waves in 2017 by publishing the entire dossier, says it has no plans to take the document down. It’s still online, accompanied by a note that says “The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors.”
Ben Smith, who was BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief at the time and is now a media columnist at The New York Times, told Axios, “My view on the logic of publishing hasn’t changed.”
BuzzFeed defended the decision in a 2018 lawsuit by arguing that because the FBI opened an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, the dossier itself was newsworthy, whatever the merits of its contents turned out to be. It won that case.
Not surprisingly, CNN and MSNBC — the two news outlets who probably devoted more time reporting on the salacious “news” in the dossier than any other site — are refusing comment on the WaPo admission of error.
Then there’s former Republican David Corn of Mother Jones who claims his publication was concentrating on “the much larger topic of Russia’s undisputed attack and Trump’s undisputed collaboration with Moscow’s cover-up.” He refused to talk to Axios about the dossier.
Suffice it to say, there won’t be any heartfelt mea culpas from most media sources who did their level best to advance a pernicious and false narrative on Donald Trump. So even when most of the truth finally comes out, the media has far more important things to write about — such as that new Trump impersonator on Saturday Night Live.
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Source: PJ Media