02/24/17

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Receives Some Unwelcome Answers

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

It is becoming increasingly clear that the often oppositional mainstream media will only promote stories which contain an angle designed to make President Donald Trump look bad. That this is the opposite of how President Barack Obama was treated by the media only exposes reporters’ ongoing double standard.

One press narrative is that Trump intends to weaken NATO and will, therefore, place American security and interests—as well as those of our allies—in jeopardy by undermining our international alliances. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, in his February 20 show “Wolf,” repeatedly attempted to bait the secretary general of NATO into criticizing Trump for his promise to insist that NATO allies must pay their fair share of the “common defense.”

“You were with the vice president when he said that the U.S. commitment to NATO is firm,” said Blitzer, referring to Vice President Mike Pence’s speech in Munich last weekend. “Were you reassured by those words?” Refusing to follow Blitzer’s narrative, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that he was reassured.

“Absolutely, because it is a very consistent message,” Stoltenberg said.

In other words, the secretary general was saying that there is no contradiction between Trump’s campaign promises and his actions now. The Trump administration seeks to strengthen NATO, not undermine it.

Stoltenberg continued, “I have heard from President Trump in two phone calls, from the vice president today in Brussels, but also in Munich on Saturday and in meetings with Secretary Mattis, Secretary Kelly, and phone calls with Secretary Tillerson. And the message from all of them is that the United States is strongly committed to the trans-Atlantic alliance, to NATO, and will continue to support us not only in words but also in deeds. Because we see that the United States is now increasing their military presence in Europe in new forces and more equipment.”

Wedded to his media narrative, Blitzer then aired a segment featuring Trump saying, “The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defense. And if not, the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves.”

“As a candidate for office, President Trump actually called attention repeatedly to the fact that for too long, many of our NATO allies have not been sharing the financial burden,” said White House press secretary Sean Spicer at a February 21 press briefing. “The President looks forward to working closely with NATO to advance our shared objectives. A strong NATO means a safer world.”

In other words, the Trump administration understands the value of NATO, but wants the countries involved to pay their fair share.

But journalists like Blitzer prefer to fearmonger about this administration, and air segments that emphasize the risks of Trump’s actions, rather than the potential rewards of holding other countries accountable. In a related story, The New York Times wrote that “It is a time of great anxiety in Europe, in no small part because of the rise of Mr. Trump, who has brushed aside long-held tenets of American foreign policy.”

It is ironic that the media continually air Trump’s past statements in order to pressure him to either break those promises or recommit to them. Yet Obama was allowed to break his Obamacare promises, most notably his lie that Americans could keep their doctor if they wanted to, and that their costs would decrease for an average family by $2,500 per year.

“But what happens—what happens if they don’t [increase expenditures]?” Blitzer asked Stoltenberg. “You heard the vice president, Mike Pence, say the patience of the American people will not endure forever. What happens, for example, if rich countries, like France, Germany, Italy, Canada, if those countries don’t step up and meet that two percent threshold?”

Stoltenberg replied that his focus “is on ‘what can we do to make sure that we succeed,’” not prepare for the worst. “And we are—it is quite encouraging to see that defense spending has started to increase,” he said. “The picture is still mixed but it’s much better than it was just a year ago.”

After Stoltenberg’s strong performance, Blitzer admitted that NATO countries committing less than two percent of their gross domestic product is “a problem.”

Blitzer appeared stunned and forlorn at these answers. They were clearly not the answers he was expecting to hear. What Blitzer didn’t mention—but Stoltenberg did—is that the 28 member states of NATO committed to spend two percent of their GDP on this alliance back in 2014. So Trump’s policy is to merely hold these countries to the promises that they have already made.

Stoltenberg told CNBC that there had been a four percent increase in European and Canadian spending in 2016. “Meeting the target will take longer for some countries than others, he admitted,” reports CNBC, “and said he was confident all allies will meet the benchmark within a decade, as promised.”

The Cato Institute’s Christopher Preble argues that Trump’s campaign statements may have rattled the NATO members and caused them to “hedge their bets.” In other words, Trump’s tough stance may actually motivate allies to allocate more of their defense budgets to funding NATO—an improvement that would ultimately enhance world security.

Blitzer’s interview with Secretary General Stoltenberg was just another attempt to elicit a soundbite which could be used to embarrass the administration. Members of the media, as they attempt to tarnish Trump’s reputation, fail to consider the ramifications of their bias, and how it might—just as much as Trump’s own potential missteps—harm America’s standing in the world.


Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at roger.aron[email protected]. View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.

02/23/17

HUNT THE MEDIA: James O’Keefe Exposes CNN With Insider Audio [Video]

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | Right Wing News

James O’Keefe is going the WikiLeaks route. He has gotten a hold of 119 hours of audio from CNN from 2009. Now, he’s asking Americans to help him out by going through the raw audio and transcribing it. That will help him and his team ferret out the hijinks going on behind the scenes at the media giant that President Trump has labeled, ‘very fake news’. I have no idea if there is anything damning in the audio at O’Keefe’s site… Project Veritas. But there will be a lot of people eager to find out and break a story. I’d say the hunt is on.

Between those such as James O’Keefe and Trevor Loudon, I imagine a lot of people and their dirty laundry are going to be uncovered this year and it should be. Turn about is fair play. CNN has been manipulating our news for years and playing us for fools. Now, maybe we’ll get to see what they really think (not that we don’t already know). After going after ACORN, the Democratic Party, voter fraud and other issues… O’Keefe is now focusing on the media and it should be very interesting to say the least.

From the Washington Examiner:

Conservative sting activist James O’Keefe on Thursday released 100 hours of audio of CNN employees that surreptitiously recorded in 2009 and provided to his organization from an anonymous source.

O’Keefe said he has not edited the audio and is calling on the public to sift through it to find controversial pieces within it. It’s posted at his Project Veritas website.

In one of the clips O’Keefe featured in a tease for all the audio, Richard Griffiths, who is now CNN’s vice president and senior editorial director, is heard describing his philosophy on journalism.

“Aid the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. To a degree, right?” Griffiths says, citing a common journalism trope. “Is that not part of the traditional role of a journalist? It’s actually one of the things I can be most proud of as a journalist.”

In another clip, Joe Sterling, who at the time worked as an online editor for CNN, is heard saying “there is no debate” over the science on climate change and he likens it to “born-agains” who say there remains a debate over creationism.

The media wouldn’t be viewed or treated like the enemy if they didn’t play the part so well. Well, now the hunter is the hunted and they’ll get a taste of their own medicine. And there is more on the way to be released. Evidently, there is an anonymous source at CNN and they are feeling like they want some ‘transparency’ in media. They are claiming that so far on the tapes, a displayed hatred for Fox News and the manipulation of polling data to influence the public has been uncovered. The source is a CNN insider who apparently grew frustrated with the perpetually biased reporting of the “fake news” media outlet. Wanna bet they are a Trump supporter?

CNN’s bias for Obama and abject hatred of President Trump is blatantly obvious. There is an open war between them and the White House these days. And with the American people for that matter. The full 119 hours of audio footage will eventually be available here. You may have some issues as traffic is exceedingly high on the site. Keep trying. Meanwhile, noting that this is just the “beginning of the end for the MSM,” O’Keefe also announced that he will pay a $10,000 award to anyone who comes forward with legally obtained audio or video footage exposing media malfeasance. Let the games begin and good hunting!


02/20/17

How CNN Recycled Last Year’s Fake News

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

If you have any doubts about the basic dishonesty of CNN, consider how the channel not only broadcasts fake news but recycles it.

Remember that CNN “broke” the story about the “Russian Trump dossier” compiled by an ex-British intelligence agent for Hillary Clinton supporters. The document was opposition research against then-candidate Donald Trump, now President.

Despite the lack of any corroboration from any source, including hostile anti-Trump media or the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), after several months of secret efforts, CNN is now claiming in a February 10 story that its U.S. intelligence and investigative sources say that “some aspects” of the 35-page dossier “for the first time” have been “corroborated.”

Let’s examine this startling claim.

CNN is adamant as to how this is the very first shred of any purported confirmation of the “Trump dossier” ever to be found by U.S. official agencies:

Until now, US intelligence and law enforcement officials have said they could not verify any parts of the dossier.”

“The corroboration, based on intercepted communications, has given US intelligence and law enforcement ‘greater confidence’ in the credibility of some aspects of the dossier as they continue to actively investigate its contents, these sources say.” [emphasis added, here and elsewhere]

Yet these very same “aspects” were reported in the press in September 2016 as then under active investigation by “U.S. intelligence and law enforcement.” The latter are typical buzzwords for the CIA and FBI, which are indeed two of the main agencies CNN asked for official comment five months later in February 2017.

Did U.S. intelligence “forget” about their own investigations? Or did the CIA in particular simply wait several months and pretend ignorance of the September investigations in order to make an “aha” discovery that would be reported in a leak as sensational “breaking news” in February?

According to CNN, the intercepted data allegedly confirm that “some…conversations described in the dossier” actually “took place” and were between named Russians and/or foreigners. These allegedly involve confirming the existence of conversations between the “same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier” but do not confirm any of the “salacious allegations” about Trump (the purported lurid “sex perversions”).

But the “Trump dossier” is missing critical factual details such as many essential names, dates and places. So what is CNN talking about on the “dossier” detailing “same days” and “same locations?” The “Trump dossier” is almost devoid of any dates and locations of meetings of key figures, making its allegations suspiciously difficult to verify.

There are only two meetings in the entire 35-page “Trump dossier” with dates and locations of such alleged top-level meetings or conversations:

  1. Russian oil company head Igor Sechin supposedly meeting with sometime alleged Trump adviser Carter Page in Moscow about July 7-8, 2016; and
  2. Putin’s alleged meeting with ally and ex-ruler of Ukraine, Yanukovych, near Volgograd on Aug. 15, 2016.

A New York Times report similar to CNN’s indeed confirms that Page and Yanukovych are the targets of investigation using intercepted phone conversations, and that the “Trump dossier” is a major subject of review.

But the fact of Carter Page’s visit to Moscow was public news in a Reuters dispatch on July 7, 2016, and needed no six months of exhaustive review of “intercepted communications” to verify it. All one had to do was just Google it.

By September 23, 2016, Yahoo News was reporting that, based in part on U.S. intelligence sources who had “actively monitored” (or intercepted) Russian communications, the specific alleged Sechin-Page meeting was under investigation by U.S. intelligence sources. This, again, was easily discovered by Googling it. If the CIA “forgot” that it “knew” about this “monitoring,” officials could just Google the Yahoo story to help them “remember” its own investigation.

The same major media that fell all over themselves claiming they were so scrupulous in not publishing any of the “Trump dossier”—because they could not confirm any of it—in fact were leaking material from the “dossier” in veiled and not-so-veiled references as far back as The New York Times on July 29, 2016.

A Yahoo News report on September 23, 2016, reads like a long disguised excerpt from the July 19 report in the “Trump dossier” on the Page trip to Moscow, combined with the Reuters dispatch. Yahoo wrote that U.S. officials had received intelligence reports that during his trip to Moscow in July, Page met with Igor Sechin, a close Putin associate and head of Rosneft, Russian’s leading oil company, “a well-placed Western intelligence source tells Yahoo News.” Sechin supposedly discussed the issue of lifting U.S. sanctions against Russia, “the Western intelligence source said.” The same source said that Page met with another top Putin aide while in Moscow, named Igor Diveykin.

The “Trump dossier” says exactly the same things that appeared two months later in Yahoo News:

TRUMP DOSSIER, July 19, 2016, Report:

“Trump advisor Carter Page holds secret meetings in Moscow with Sechin and senior Kremlin Internal Affairs official, Divyekin [sic]…Sechin raises issue [of] lifting of western sanctions against Russia….Speaking in July 2016, a Russian source close to Rosneft President, Putin close associate and US-sanctioned individual, Igor Sechin, confided the details of a recent secret meeting between him and…Carter Page.”

(Steele report, dated July 19, 2016, all-caps emphasis removed)

Yahoo’s “well-placed Western intelligence source” very likely may be Christopher Steele, the ex-British MI6 intelligence agent, who was hired by Clinton financial backers to produce the “Trump dossier.”

Yahoo News went on to say that investigations of Carter Page and his Russian contacts were under way, including the “talks” that were being “actively monitored and investigated,” which sounds like the “monitoring” of intercepted communications.  Again, remember this is September 2016, not a sudden “first time” discovery in February 2017:

Yahoo News, September 23, 2016:

“The activities of Trump adviser [sic] Carter Page, who has extensive business interests in Russia, have been discussed with senior members of Congress during recent briefings about suspected efforts by Moscow to influence the presidential election, the sources said. After one of those briefings, Senate minority leader Harry Reid wrote FBI Director James Comey, citing reports of meetings between a Trump adviser (a reference to Page) and ‘high ranking sanctioned individuals’ in Moscow over the summer as evidence of ‘significant and disturbing ties’ between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin that needed to be investigated by the bureau.

“… a congressional source familiar with the briefings…added that U.S. officials in the briefings indicated that intelligence reports about the adviser’s [Carter Page’s] talks with senior Russian officials close to President Vladimir Putin were being ‘actively monitored and investigated.’ [Emphasis added.]

“A senior U.S. law enforcement official did not dispute that characterization when asked for comment by Yahoo News.”

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer commented on this latest report on February 10, stating that “We continue to be disgusted by CNN’s fake news reporting.”

The CNN report is indeed fake news, old recycled fake news, dished up as brand new.

Why has there been no apparent progress in the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement investigation since September 23, 2016, given that this latest leak tells us nothing more than what was reported in September? Could it be that when something is fake one cannot find out anything more because there is nothing more to find? The tiny grain of truth around which the fake has been built (such as Page’s actual Moscow visit) was easily found in the original Reuters news dispatch.

Finally, something must be said about the hypocritical reversal of the media on what they were calling the rise of the “surveillance state” and the assault on our civil rights with the revelations of former NSA analyst Edward Snowden.

Now, suddenly, all that concern for civil rights is silenced when it comes to the much more intrusive actual intercepted conversations of U.S. citizens who happen to be connected to now-President Trump. Trump’s people apparently have no civil rights as far as the media and the “surveillance state” itself are concerned.

01/18/17

AIM Editor on Cavuto about Trump and the Media

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media Editor Roger Aronoff was a guest on “Cavuto Coast to Coast” on January 13 on the Fox Business Network. The topic was how the mainstream media came to the defense of CNN after their confrontation with President-elect Donald Trump during his press conference last week, yet said little when President Barack Obama repeatedly attacked Fox News.

“When you saw the situation with [CNN’s] Jim Acosta the other day, it reminded me of when George Bush had a shoe thrown at him,” said Aronoff. “We haven’t seen it in these last eight years. And generally, there’s been very little support for Fox as this administration has attacked Fox. But there was immediately support for CNN.”

President Obama has blamed Fox News for poor polling numbers and Democrat losses during the election. “…[A]fter the election he referred to Fox in ‘every restaurant and bar and big chunks of the country,’” said Aronoff. “That’s why the Democrats lost, he thinks.”

Reporters are using unverified claims to tar Trump’s presidency before it begins, even if the charges may be baseless. “They’re throwing out through innuendo this scurrilous report which was nothing but opposition research,” said Aronoff. “A number of facts that we know to be wrong. And then this got leaked by the intelligence community.”

“I was struck by something Carl Bernstein said on the panel that night,” said Aronoff. “He said, ‘Look, do we know if this is true, do we know if any of it’s true? No we don’t. But here we are talking about it anyway.’”

Aronoff argued that Trump wasn’t in conflict with the intelligence community as a whole, just with the political appointees. “This is so political, coming from the top,” he said. “And I think we have to realize that, if Hillary [Clinton] had won this election, there would be no 35 Russians expelled, there would be no investigation into the FBI and [Director James] Comey, there would be no investigation into the Russian hacking.”

It is also suspicious that Obama has done little about this recent leak. “Why isn’t Obama saying we’re going to investigate who’s leaking this information?” asked Aronoff. As AIM has pointed out, Obama has a track record of going after journalists who print leaked information, as well as their sources. But this time the President has not signaled that he will go after the culprits.

You can watch the segment here:

01/12/17

Who Was Behind CNN’s “Fake News” on Trump?

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s January 3 show, “Let me tell you, you take on the Intelligence Community, they have six ways from Sunday to get back at you. So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he is being really dumb to do this.” He was referring to President-elect Donald J. Trump’s criticism of the Intelligence Community. Asked what the Intelligence Community could or would do to Trump, Schumer said, “I don’t know.  From what I am told, they are very upset with how he has treated them and talked about them.”

On Tuesday, January 10, we saw the response. It was obvious, based on what this top Senate Democrat had said, that the CIA used CNN to air unsubstantiated charges against Trump. CNN didn’t delineate the bizarre sexual nature of those charges; that was left to a left-wing “news” organization by the name of BuzzFeed, which posted 35 pages of scurrilous lies and defamation.

Demonstrating the sad state of ethical standards at CNN, Wolf Blitzer hyped the story into “breaking news,” when the allegations had been circulating for months, and Jake Tapper was brought on the air, “joining me with a major story we’re following right now.” Blitzer emphasized, “We’re breaking this story.” It was the beginning of CNN regurgitating what President-elect Trump called “fake news.”

What followed was a low point in Tapper’s career, as he willingly participated in a ginned-up controversy using anonymous sources to report on “information” about Trump that started falling apart shortly after CNN aired its “breaking news.”

“That’s right, Wolf, a CNN exclusive,” said Tapper, apparently unaware that he was recycling a document that had been passed around for months. It was CNN, which uses former CIA official Michael Morell as an on-air contributor, that ran with it. Morell has worked for Beacon Global Strategies, a firm founded by former Hillary Clinton aide Philippe Reines, since November 2013.

Trying to distance himself from the controversy, Morell went on CNN to refer to some of the information as “unverified” in the “private document.”

But the damage had already been done, and Morell knew it. CNN had manufactured a controversy over Trump yet again, demonstrating the truth of Schumer’s statement that the intelligence community would get back at Trump.

Ironically, CNN is a “partner” in an effort known as the First Draft Coalition that is dedicated “to improving practices in the ethical sourcing, verification and reporting of stories that emerge online.”

“CNN has learned that the nation’s top intelligence officials gave information to President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama last week about claims of Russian efforts to compromise President-elect Trump,” said Tapper. “The information was provided as part of last week’s classified intelligence briefings regarding Russian efforts to undermine the 2016 U.S. elections.”

Trying to pump up the “claims,” Jim Sciutto, Chief National Security Correspondent for CNN, said, “To be clear, this has been an enormous team effort by my colleagues here and others at CNN.” A team effort to verify what? It looks like they were handed a 35-page document from the CIA and decided to publicize it. They failed to reveal the details precisely because they could not verify the document.

Sciutto said, “Multiple U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN that classified documents on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election presented last week to President Obama and to President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claimed to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.”

Tapper brought in “the legendary Carl Bernstein”—a former reporter for The Washington Post who covered the Watergate scandal—who referred to:

  • A former British MI6 intelligence agent (anonymous).
  • A Washington political opposition research firm (anonymous) that was hired by clients (anonymous) who were opposed to Donald Trump’s candidacy in both the Republican and Democratic parties.
  • Washington researchers (anonymous) who had come across business ties of Trump in Russia with Russians (anonymous) that looked questionable to them. They (anonymous) wanted to develop the information further. They (anonymous) hired the former MI6 agent (anonymous) who they knew and had done previous business with.
  • “He [anonymous] began talking to Russian sources [anonymous] from his days in Russia and uncovered this information that’s now being considered by the American intelligence community.” (emphasis added).

So one of the Watergate reporters from The Washington Post had put his stamp of approval on the document by saying it was information that had been “uncovered,” rather than being made up. How did he know one way or the other? The answer is he didn’t.

Later, Tapper said the charges were “uncorroborated as of now,” indicating that they might be confirmed by somebody at some time in the future. There was “no proof” of the claims but “confidence by intelligence officials that the Russians are claiming this.” Again, no names were provided.

However, Bernstein came back to say that “this former MI6 intelligence agent with great experience in Russia and the former Soviet Union [anonymous], is known to have terrific sources of information [anonymous], has a track record with the United States in coordinating with United States intelligence agencies.”

He has “a track record with the United States in coordinating with United States intelligence agencies.” What exactly does this mean?

CNN was reporting “news,” since a two-page CIA summary of this dirt was attached to a classified CIA report on Russian hacking and election influence that was given to Trump last Friday, January 6. But it was “fake” in the sense that CNN had no way of knowing if the charges had been completely made up.

On this basis, the story could and should have turned against the Intelligence Community, with reporters asking why unverified information had been used against Trump and whether this was retaliation for his criticism. But this course of action by CNN would make it impossible for CNN reporters to go back to these same sources for scurrilous information and false charges in the future. This fact makes it abundantly clear that the news organization was being used by anonymous sources in the Intelligence Community, most likely the CIA.

Since CNN likes anonymous sources, I will use one of my own. “This is a classic CIA blackmail operation where the CIA under Director John Brennan uses someone else’s dirt for the blackmail, and postures themselves as ‘innocent’ in presenting it to Trump,” one observer of the Intelligence Community told me. This is certainly the real story—that an intelligence agency run by Obama’s CIA director would use an American television network to attack the President-elect with scurrilous and unsubstantiated charges.

This is how the Intelligence Community, in Schumer’s words, got back at Trump.

Is America a constitutional republic ruled by the people through their elected representatives? Or do the intelligence agencies rule America and try to blackmail our leaders?

The President-elect said it would be “a tremendous blot” on the record of the Intelligence Community if they did in fact release the document to the media. At another point, he said, “I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false” get released in that fashion to CNN and BuzzFeed.

CNN is “fake news,” Trump said, and BuzzFeed “is a failing pile of garbage.”

BuzzFeed is being kept alive by the giant media company Comcast, which recently invested $200 million in the “left-wing blog,” as incoming White House press secretary and Trump communications director Sean Spicer called it.

It was Comcast that figured in Trump adviser Peter Navarro’s campaign statement about the need to break up “the new media conglomerate oligopolies.”

Navarro declared that media conglomerates were “destroying an American democracy that depends on a free flow of information and freedom of thought,” adding, “Donald Trump will drain the swamp of corruption and collusion, standing against this trend and standing for the American people.”


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

11/16/16

MSNBC’s Election Day “Crystal Ball” is Broken

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

cnn

Instead of underwriting media stars who fail to predict the future, perhaps the University of Virginia (UVA) ought to get back to teaching students marketable skills so they can obtain good jobs.

One of the big losers on November 8 was UVA media star and Professor Larry Sabato, who said on MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell show that “Our prediction is that Hillary Clinton will get 322 electoral votes, and Donald Trump will get 216.”

Trump/Pence are projected to get 306 electoral votes to Clinton/Kaine’s 232.

Perhaps he should take up astrology.

His Crystal Ball newsletter “has been a leader in accurately predicting elections since its inception,” says Sabato’s website. Described as “authoritative,” the newsletter is part of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

His total compensation in 2014 was $380,000.

On the November 7 O’Donnell show, Sabato predicted Clinton would win North Carolina (Trump won it) and that Clinton had a real shot of winning Ohio (Trump won it by nine points).

Sabato said, “One of my great people at the Crystal Ball, Kyle Condik, wrote a book called Bellwether about Ohio…so his contacts are the best and they keep telling us that it’s much, much closer than people realize and that Clinton might, might be able to pull out a victory there…”

Kondik is managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball newsletter.

Sabato also predicted a net gain of four for Democrats in the Senate, resulting in a 50-50 tie in Congress’ upper chamber. “If we’re right about the presidential contest, that means Vice President Tim Kaine (D) will be breaking ties after Inauguration,” Sabato claimed.

Sabato thought there was a chance of Democrats taking the Senate. “If we’re off on the total number of seat changes [in the Senate],” he said, “we think it’s slightly likelier that Democrats get to 51 or 52 than Republicans. That could mean the Democrats pulling out a win in Indiana, Missouri, or North Carolina. If Republicans hold on to the majority, it probably would be because Ayotte survives in New Hampshire.”

In fact, Ayotte lost in New Hampshire and Republicans won in Indiana, Missouri, and North Carolina.

Ayotte alienated Republicans by abandoning Trump. Her campaign alienated conservatives by passing out free condoms to get votes at the University of New Hampshire.

Rather than being losses, the GOP victories were:

  • In Indiana, the Republican Todd Young beat Democrat Evan Bayh by 52.1 to 42.4.
  • In Missouri, the Republican Roy Blunt beat the Democrat Jason Kander by 49.4 to 46.2.
  • In North Carolina, the Republican Richard Burr beat the Democrat Deborah Ross by 51.1 to 45.3.

After the Trump victory, Sabato’s UVA website declared, “We heard for months from many of you, saying that we were underestimating the size of a potential hidden Trump vote and his ability to win. We didn’t believe it, and we were wrong. The Crystal Ball is shattered. We’ll pick up the pieces starting next week as we try to unpack what happened in this election, where there was so much dramatic change from just four years ago.”

He added, “We have a lot to learn, and we must make sure the Crystal Ball never has another year like this. This team expects more of itself, and we apologize to our readers for our errors.”

Perhaps Sabato ought to spend more time teaching classes and less time on MSNBC, CNN and other channels.

To make matters worse, O’Donnell brought on Ana Marie Cox, a rabid feminist now with MTV, who breathed a sigh of relief at Sabato’s prediction that Trump wouldn’t win. But she said America still had a lot to fear because Trump’s success in the primaries had revealed some “real ugly things” about the U.S.

She added, “I am hopeful this is going to be a fairly resounding victory and that is going to put some shame back in people about the kinds of things that have come up during this election.”

Former Jeb Bush communications director Tim Miller was then brought on to say that he was hopeful that Hispanic immigrants would be “the ones to put the nail in Donald Trump`s coffin” in states like Colorado, Nevada and Florida.

Trump lost in Nevada by only 2 points and Colorado by only about 3 points. Trump beat Clinton in Florida.

Sabato told O’Donnell that a firm called Latino Decisions had estimated that Clinton would get a higher percentage of Latino votes than Barack Obama, and that Trump was at only 16 percent.

The results were much different. In fact, the Pew Research Center says Clinton had a lower percentage of Latinos than Obama, and Trump got 29 percent, two more points that Mitt Romney in 2012.

My crystal ball says Sabato will not change the name of his newsletter and that he will be back in four years making another round of predictions.

O’Donnell himself bought into the hype, declaring that the fear is that “the presidency will be handed over to ignorance, incompetence and bigotry,” but that “the latest polls indicate that…America should have nothing to fear.”

He added, “Donald Trump has taken this country to the brink, and tomorrow voters are likely to take it back.”

This episode of the O’Donnell show demonstrates how the media talk among themselves, using sources that reaffirm their biases, while ignoring objective reality.

We have come to expect this from MSNBC, but to have a prestigious university like UVA participate in such a charade is an absolute disgrace.

“The glass ceiling did not break Tuesday night, but the Crystal Ball shattered,” wrote Andrew Cain of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, in a story about Sabato’s humiliation.

But don’t think that Sabato will slink away in disgrace. He was back on CNN on Monday giving his opinion on the Electoral College.


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

05/10/16

Who The Heck Do These People Think They Are?

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Dana

As Dana Loesch succinctly put it, “Who the hell is this chick?” I’ve listened to a lot of bull crap over the last few days, but this one takes the cake. Kayleigh McEnany, some wannabe Trump sycophant on CNN, bluntly stated that you aren’t a conservative if you don’t support Donald Trump. What a freaking lie. There’s certainly an argument to be made that if you ARE a Trump supporter, you are not a true conservative, but that’s neither here nor there. Where the hell does she get off claiming that? Who does she think she is?

This airhead gets up on CNN mouthing lies and expects to be applauded for it. Matt Lewis and Ben Howe are both conservatives. They just can’t stand a liberal Progressive on the right like Donald Trump and are being slammed for it. Lately, I’ve been called a traitor, a liberal and a Clinton supporter. Anyone who knows me at all, knows that is nothing but lies. I’ve literally been chased out of groups because I would not fall in line behind Donald Trump. I used to think that thuggery was the purview of the left, but I gotta tell you… the right is giving them a run for their money. The brown shirt mentality around Donald Trump is frightening… it doesn’t matter what he says or does, he can do no wrong. He stands for everything conservatives have fought against and yet we are told we must make him king. No thanks.

Listen to Dana nail her:

Dana went on a fiery tirade yesterday on her show and it was epic. She had never heard of McEnany before and neither have I. Suddenly, she’s some blonde mouthpiece for Trump. This started when Caleb Howe said he would vote for Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in order to block Trump from winning the presidency. Personally, I won’t vote for either of them, because when given the choice between a Marxist and a Fascist, I choose neither. Trump is Clinton in drag – they are pretty much the same. But I can understand where Caleb is coming from and he has a right to his opinion. Until one of these candidates gets in and suspends the Constitution at least. Caleb Howe is a smart guy and a conservative… if he is doing this, he doesn’t do it lightly.

Continue reading

02/8/16

To maintain credibility, CNN must apologize publicly to Ted Cruz

By: Renee Nal | New Zeal

Carson press release on caucus night

Carson press release on caucus night

In case you have not yet figured it out yet, CNN gave the distinct impression that Dr. Ben Carson was suspending his campaign on the night of the Iowa caucus. This information was used by the Ted Cruz campaign, who deciminated the information to precinct captains.

This information was also used by anyone who happened to check the news with their mobile phone during the Iowa Caucus.

It is absurd to consider that media types like Michael Smerconish, Business Insider, Buzzfeed and others were fooled by overly ambitious Ted Cruz precinct captains who were cherry picking information from a CNN report, as alleged by CNN correspondent Chris Moody.

This is how it started:

Which led to this:

Which ultimately led to this:

The Cruz apology was not that the CNN report was used, it was that staff did not follow up with updated reports.

Dr. Ben Carson’s staff absolutely must take accountability for putting fuzzy information in the hands of CNN (namely, Chris “tick tock” Moody) in the first place, and also for not providing clarity during the caucus. If Ted Cruz supporters were able to convey media reports (as did Trump, Rubio and Paul supporters) Carson staff certainly should have been able to dispute those reports.

Oddly, this is not the first time that it had to clarified that Dr. Ben Carson was actually staying in the race.

The most shocking thing about this entire mess is how so many have seized upon it to attack Ted Cruz, who is the only one to accept any responsibility.

Why doesn’t Ben Carson demand an apology from CNN?

Alleged Carson Mailer

02/8/16

WATCH: CNN correspondents lose it over Ted Cruz: ‘Liar!’ ‘BS!’ (video)

By: Renee Nal | New Zeal

thou doth protest too much CNN

CNN Correspondent Tom Foreman, who has bizarrely written 1,460 letters to President Obama, said that Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz “flat out lied” during the GOP debate on Saturday night.

The online article strongly condemns:

“Sen. Ted Cruz knowingly misstated CNN’s reporting during Saturday’s Republican primary debate, despite the fact that CNN’s reporting was correct all along.”

In addition, TheHill reported that CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin “said Ted Cruz’s blaming of a CNN report for the rumor that primary rival Ben Carson was dropping out of the race was ‘BS.'”

Watch:

On Sunday, Chris Moody, who started this mess, vastly downplayed (some would say “flat out lied”) his role in the “rumor” that Dr. Ben Carson was suspending his campaign.

Thou doth protest too much, CNN.

  • This is CNN’s article making the case that they are innocent of misleading people about the status of Ben Carson’s campaign.
  • This is the article posted at TrevorLoudon.com that clearly illustrates that the reporting was at best, fuzzy and importantly, that many others had the same impression that Carson was suspending his campaign.

Anyone with a hint of intellectual honesty can, at the very least, concede:

  • CNN’s reporting gave a distinct impression that Ben Carson’s campaign was in trouble.
  • Others, including CNN’s own Michael Smerconish, Buzzfeed and Business Insider also had the impression that Carson was suspending his campaign.
  • Based on various sources, people affiliated with the campaigns of Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Donald Trump also sought to use the information to their advantage. None of those candidates apologized.

CNN’s reporting, at the very least, gave a distinct impression that Ben Carson’s campaign was in trouble

The following “BREAKING” tweet delivered on caucus night does not say: “Ben Carson is briefly going to Florida before going back on the campaign trail.”

Why is a simple stop home “BREAKING” news?

See more on CNN’s fuzzy reporting here.

See entire transcript of initial news report below.

Others, including (but not limited to) CNN’s own Michael Smerconish, Buzzfeed and Business Insider also had the clear impression that Carson was suspending his campaign.

  • During the Iowa caucus, Michael Smerconish of CNN tweeted:

  • In an article posted at Buzzfeed on Caucus night titled “Ben Carson Isn’t Quitting His Campaign — He’s Just Going To Florida To Do Laundry,” Carson Adviser Armstrong Williams claimed “that the rumors of Carson’s campaign demise are being fueled by Cruz and Paul supporters.” The article notes that there have been “conflicting reports over past hours about why Carson — whose stock has plummeted in recent months as a candidate, and whose campaign has burned through millions of dollars as top officials have quit — was leaving Iowa.”
  • Business Insider also picked up on the weirdness. The permalink reflects that the article originally stated that Carson’s campaign was suspended.
Ben Carson suspension 'rumor' started in the media

Ben Carson suspension ‘rumor’ started in the media

Based on various sources, people affiliated with the campaigns of Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Donald Trump also sought to use the information to their advantage.

None of those candidates apologized.

Conrad Close Tweet 1

“And NEWSFLASH, the Cruz campaigners weren’t the only ones using this information. Trump supporters were using it as well as Rubio supporters. The difference? Apparently the Cruz campaign is better organized and was able to also disseminate the information via app and email notification directly to volunteers on the ground.”

Media Bias Much?

In contrast, CNN correspondent Chris Cuomo, son of former New York governor Mario Cuomo and brother of incumbent New York governor Andrew Cuomo, actually kissed Hillary Clinton before a Democratic Town Hall in January.

In an article titled ‘CNN Stages Town Hall to Boost Clinton Candidacy,’ Roger Aronoff of Accuracy in Media referred to the “town hall” this way:

“So CNN arranged easy questions for Hillary Clinton? What type, exactly, of town hall was this? This was, in reality, a stage-managed and produced love-in for Mrs. Clinton.”

Hillary Clinton kissed by CNN coorespondant Chris Cuomo before January Town Hall

Could anyone imagine Ted Cruz getting the same treatment by CNN?

The Carson campaign suspension “rumor” came at the worst possible time – right before the Iowa caucus – when campaigns were at the peak of frenzied activity.

This author suspects that a news correspondent referring to a presidential candidate as a liar may be unprecedented.

An additional question nobody seems to be asking:

  1. Where were Carson’s people to immediately put a stop to this rumor during the caucus?

Here is the transcript of the original news report:

Tapper: Thanks, Wolf. Well, CNN has learned some news about the man who, at least according to polls, is in fourth place here in Iowa. Now, Dana, a week from tomorrow, we’re all going to be doing this again for the New Hampshire primary. So almost every single candidate is going to be going directly from here to New Hampshire to campaign–except for the man in fourth place, who a few months ago was in first place here, Dr. Ben Carson. What have we learned?

Bash: That’s right. We should say that our Chris Moody is breaking this news, that Ben Carson is going to go back to Florida, to his home, regardless of how he does tonight here in Iowa. He’s going to go there for several days. And then afterwards, he’s not going to go to South Carolina. He’s not going to go to New Hampshire. He’s going to come to Washington, D.C., and he’s going to do that because the National Prayer Breakfast is on Thursday. And people who have been following Ben Carson’s career know that that’s really where he got himself on the political map, attending that prayer breakfast, and really giving it to President Obama at the time. And he became kind of a hero among conservatives, among evangelicals especially.

Tapper: But it’s very unusual–

Bash: Very unusual.

Tapper: –to be announcing that you’re going to go home to rest for a few days, not going on to the next site. Plus, he’s already announced that he’s going to be coming out and speaking at 9:15 local and 10:15 Eastern, no matter whether or not we know the results, because he wants to get home and get ahead of the storm.

Bash: Look, if you want to be President of the United States, you don’t go home to Florida. I mean, that’s bottom line. That’s the end of the story. If you want to signal to your supporters that you want it, that you’re hungry for it, that you want them to get out and and campaign, you’ve got to be out there doing it too. And he’s not doing it. it’s very unusual.

Tapper: Very unusual news that CNN has just learned. CNN’s Chris Moody breaking the story. Wolf, back to you in Washington.

Blitzer: Very significant news indeed, guys, thanks very much.

02/8/16

WATCH: CNN’s Chris Moody flat out lies about initial Ben Carson report (video)

By: Renee Nal | New Zeal

Chris Moody (top center) on CNN

Chris Moody (top center) on CNN

A condescending and defiant Chris Moody appeared on CNN’s Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter Sunday to finally address the origins of the “BREAKING” news story that Ben Carson was heading to Florida instead of New Hampshire.

During the segment, Moody completely downplayed CNN’s clear role in the confusion, and in fact, strongly implied that the initial reporting included information that Ben Carson was going to New Hampshire, which was not the case.

Additionally, Moody said that according to “two sources, on the record” from Carson’s campaign, Carson was going to Florida “to take just a short, brief, rest” before heading to D.C. During his initial report, Jake Tapper specifically stated that Carson was “going to go home to rest for a few days” which, during a fast-paced presidential campaign, is much more than “just a short, brief, rest.” Dana Bash said Carson was going home for “for several days” and undoubtedly fueled speculation when she added,

“Look, if you want to be President of the United States, you don’t go home to Florida. I mean, that’s bottom line. That’s the end of the story. If you want to signal to your supporters that you want it, that you’re hungry for it, that you want them to get out and and campaign, you’ve got to be out there doing it too. And he’s not doing it. it’s very unusual.”

As an aside, why have the two sources from Carson’s camp not been identified if they were “on the record?”

Chris Moody further accused Ted Cruz’s campaign of cherry picking the information from the news reports and lamented:

“…either Ted Cruz’s campaign stopped reading or as others have said, it was intentionally misleading.”

Breaking it down:

The “BREAKING” news story by CNN’s Chris Moody gave many people the impression that Dr. Ben Carson was calling it quits from his presidential campaign.  Moody initially indicated that Carson was going to Florida, and then to D.C. He did not say a peep about New Hampshire, aside from saying “Carson won’t go to NH/SC.”

See tweet:

In the wake of his “BREAKING” story, Dana Bash said (entire transcript below):

“…Ben Carson is going to go back to Florida, to his home, regardless of how he does tonight here in Iowa. He’s going to go there for several days. And then afterwards, he’s not going to go to South Carolina. He’s not going to go to New Hampshire. He’s going to come to Washington, D.C., and he’s going to do that because the National Prayer Breakfast is on Thursday.”

Further, Jake Tapper tweeted:

Moody did not indicate that Carson would be going back to New Hampshire or South Carolina, nor did CNN Correspondents Dana Bash or Jake Tapper (see below for entire transcript).

Moody came back to clarify that Carson “plans to stay in the race beyond Iowa…” but this was not mentioned during the CNN broadcast.

With this in mind, consider the latest testimony by Chris Moody. 

Here is the transcript of Moody’s comments:

“Yeah Brian [Stelter]. Let me give you a tick tock about what happened that night. I was assigned to cover Carson’s victory party in West Des Moines, in Iowa. His campaign – two sources, on the record – told me that instead of going straight to New Hampshire or straight to South Carolina as most candidates do, he’s going to take just a short, brief, rest. They described it as ‘deep breath’ by going home to Florida, getting his affairs in order and then, head to Washington, D.C. for the National Prayer Breakfast and then, after that, head to New Hampshire for the debate.

And so, I reported that all of those things, in order: He’s going to Florida, He’s – and then I said ‘[H]e’s not dropping out.’ Ted Cruz’s campaign cherry picked part of that information – not only sent that information to precinct captain [sic] on email, but also called and said he’s [Carson] suspending campaigning which is something I or no one else at CNN ever said. We also had a story at CNNPolitics.com with all of that information so either Ted Cruz’s campaign stopped reading or as others have said, it was intentionally misleading.”

Here is the transcript of the original news report, as provided by Breitbart:

Tapper: Thanks, Wolf. Well, CNN has learned some news about the man who, at least according to polls, is in fourth place here in Iowa. Now, Dana, a week from tomorrow, we’re all going to be doing this again for the New Hampshire primary. So almost every single candidate is going to be going directly from here to New Hampshire to campaign–except for the man in fourth place, who a few months ago was in first place here, Dr. Ben Carson. What have we learned?

Bash: That’s right. We should say that our Chris Moody is breaking this news, that Ben Carson is going to go back to Florida, to his home, regardless of how he does tonight here in Iowa. He’s going to go there for several days. And then afterwards, he’s not going to go to South Carolina. He’s not going to go to New Hampshire. He’s going to come to Washington, D.C., and he’s going to do that because the National Prayer Breakfast is on Thursday. And people who have been following Ben Carson’s career know that that’s really where he got himself on the political map, attending that prayer breakfast, and really giving it to President Obama at the time. And he became kind of a hero among conservatives, among evangelicals especially.

Tapper: But it’s very unusual–

Bash: Very unusual.

Tapper: –to be announcing that you’re going to go home to rest for a few days, not going on to the next site. Plus, he’s already announced that he’s going to be coming out and speaking at 9:15 local and 10:15 Eastern, no matter whether or not we know the results, because he wants to get home and get ahead of the storm.

Bash: Look, if you want to be President of the United States, you don’t go home to Florida. I mean, that’s bottom line. That’s the end of the story. If you want to signal to your supporters that you want it, that you’re hungry for it, that you want them to get out and and campaign, you’ve got to be out there doing it too. And he’s not doing it. it’s very unusual.

Tapper: Very unusual news that CNN has just learned. CNN’s Chris Moody breaking the story. Wolf, back to you in Washington.

Blitzer: Very significant news indeed, guys, thanks very much.

Ted Cruz apologized, publicly, twice.

But while Carson and CNN have repeatedly bashed Ted Cruz, nobody mentions that this all happened during a frenzied Iowa caucus. Where were Ben Carson’s people on the ground to clarify CNN’s misleading report?

It seems to this author that CNN and Ben Carson’s staff are largely to blame for this massive gaffe.