‘It Was a Mistake, and for That I’m Sorry’
Friday afternoonÂ Fox News Channel’s chief political anchor Bret Baier was forced to apologize for and retract a false report he had delivered nearly 48 hours earlier that had flooded conservative news and social media: Hillary Clinton was “likely” to be indicted after a lengthy FBI pay-to-play investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
As this report is being written, Donald Trump is in New Hampshire, a toss up state, currently referring toÂ the false Fox News story at a rally, as he has done since it aired on Fox News Channel’s “Special Report with Bret Baier” Wednesday at 6 PM EDT. The audience is right now repeatedly chanting “Lock her up!”
â€” CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 4, 2016
After Baier falsely reported the story, on Thursday he was forced to retract a portion of it, noting he had suggested the FBI would indict Clinton. The FBI does not hve the power to do so, only a federal prosecutor could, after reviewing evidence and determining if any laws were broken.
Baier Thursday called his characterization of his claim that the FBI was moving towards an indictment “inartful,” but insisted an indictment was still “likely.”
Donald Trump did not tell his supporters of the update.
Friday at noon, Baier again went on Fox News, to apologize and retract, saying, “we haveÂ also reported there is a splitÂ not only between the FBI and theÂ Department of Justice on this,Â but within the FBI.”
Baier’s sources are, as Media Matters noted, “anonymous” and “unvetted,” and Baier’s reporting is “uncritical.” He is using sources that are angry partisans who, according to multiple reports, appear to be feeding the Trump campaign information and trying to use the FBI as a wall to block Clinton’s election.
But back to Baier’s retraction. Here’s the video from today, and, via Media Matters, the transcript.
On Fox News today to discuss our reporting on the Hillary Clinton investigations and to clarify a few points made over the past few days.#SpecialReport
Posted by Bret Baier on Friday, November 4, 2016
“I was quoting from one sourceÂ about his certainty that theÂ server had been hacked by fiveÂ foreign intelligence agencies. AndÂ while others believe that isÂ probable because of theÂ confirmed hacking of emailÂ accounts Secretary ClintonÂ communicated with, as of todayÂ there are still no digitalÂ fingerprints of a breach no matter what the workingÂ assumption is within the bureau.Â All the time, but especially inÂ heated election on topic thisÂ explosive every word matters, noÂ matter how well-sourced,” he said.
“Which brings me to this.Â I explained a couple of timesÂ yesterday the phrasing of one ofÂ my answers to Brit Hume onÂ WednesdayÂ night, saying it wasÂ inartful, the way I answered theÂ last question about whether theÂ investigations would continueÂ after the election.Â And I answered that, yes, ourÂ sources said it would.Â They would continue to likely toÂ an indictment.”
“Well, that just wasn’t inartful, it was a mistake, and for thatÂ I’m sorry.Â I should have said, they willÂ continue to build their case.Â Indictment obviously is a veryÂ loaded word, Jon, especially inÂ this atmosphere and no one knowsÂ if there would or would not beÂ an indictment no matter howÂ strong investigators feel theirÂ evidence is.Â It is obviously a prosecutor who hasÂ to agree to take the case and make that case to aÂ grand jury.Â We stand by the sourcing, on theÂ ongoing active ClintonÂ Foundation investigation and areÂ working to get sources withÂ knowledge of the details on theÂ record, and on camera.”
As I wrote in an editorial Thursday evening, Baier’s “reporting” isÂ Fox News hackery at its finest.
Baier’s initial report sounded so damning, until you actually listen to how artfully he used key words that sound damning but then, you know, also just sound false.
So Fox News walks back its story, then retracts it, giving Donald Trump the tiny crumb of “credible journalism” he needs days before the election to literally paint Hillary Clinton as a criminal about to be indicted.
As I said: literally paint. Here’s the ad Trump released hours after the initial, false Fox News report:
That Fox News report, but not the walking back or the apology or the retraction have been flying around conservative media and on social media.Â
Thursday, ABC News (and other outlets) dismissed Bret Baier’s reporting as “inaccurate and without merit,” “false and ill-informed,” and showingÂ “no evidence of wrongdoing.”
But literally millionsÂ of conservatives, including undecided or even Clinton voters, have heard the lies from Fox News and Donald Trump, and will vote for him based on that one Fox News story that is a lie.
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Justice Clarence Thomas Believes Media Criticism of Decisions ‘Jeopardizes Any Faith’ in the Supreme Court
Justice Clarence Thomas complained about the harsh criticism the Supreme Court has received since allowing a controversial anti-abortion law to go into effect in Texas.
Thomas delivered the 2021 Tocqueville Lecture at the University of Notre Dame on Thursday, where he complained about media criticism, The Washington Post reported.
“I think the media makes it sound as though you are just always going right to your personal preference. So if they think you are anti-abortion or something personally, they think that’s the way you always will come out. They think you’re for this or for that. They think you become like a politician,” Thomas said.
“That’s a problem. You’re going to jeopardize any faith in the legal institutions,” he said.
A second Post report on the speech noted Thomas’ remarks on the ongoing mistrust of the court.
“The court was thought to be the least dangerous branch and we may have become the most dangerous,” Thomas said. “And I think that’s problematic.”
The newspaper noted the lecture was interrupted by protesters who yelled, “I still believe Anita Hill.”
‘Genius’ Madison Cawthorn Mocked for Claiming the Constitution Prohibits Airlines From Requiring Vaccinations
U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn is once again being mocked, this time for yet again not understanding the very basics of American democracy.
On Thursday the Republican from North Carolina claimed it is “illegal” and unconstitutional for airlines to require passengers to be vaccinated, because “you actually have a constitutionally protected right to free, unrestricted travel within the United States.”
That last part has a tiny shred of truth to it. Just not in the way Congressman Cawthorn thinks.
Constitutional scholar Madison Cawthorn says it would be illegal for airlines to require vaccines because, “you actually have a constitutionally protected right to free, unrestricted travel within the United States.” pic.twitter.com/CgzrUy7wU0
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) September 16, 2021
Anyone could take a minute to come up with arguments why his claim is false, including that anyone driving a car is required to have a driver’s license and insurance, and wear a seat belt.
The freshman Congressman was quickly mocked:
Ya think the Founding Fathers signed up for Frequent Flyer miles?
— Lori Kramer (@lorikramer58) September 16, 2021
And your body patted down.
— annned (@flowerpowernan) September 16, 2021
Little known fact: James Madison was the author of the Free Airline Travel Clause of the Constitution. Talk about foresight. https://t.co/7y3zthr00E
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) September 16, 2021
I do remember reading that the Founding Father’s said everyone should fly freely. I’m still unsure if they meant airlines should be free or we should all get high. Anyway, I’m sure a genius like Cawthorn will clear it up for me
— Becky-lou-lou 💉💉 (@ruatwitt) September 16, 2021
Next up from Cawthorn: why do airlines charge for seats because the Constitution guarantees free travel.
— REDACTED Human Scum/hand washer/mask wearer (@mrshellwinger) September 16, 2021
So airlines having been illegally charging “air fare” for decades? Thank God Cawthorn broke open this scandal!
— Nancy Rutman (@NRutman) September 16, 2021
Even if you have a constitutional right to fly on a privately owned & operated airline (you don’t), that right is subject to reasonable regulation by both the private owner & a regulating govt agency. As long as the reg has a reasonable basis, it is valid.
Cawthorn is an idiot.
— King Clip-on Tie (@RichardClip) September 16, 2021
29 Months Later Bill Barr’s Super Secret Russia Special Counsel Files His Second Indictment – for Alleged Lying
In April of 2019 then-Attorney General Bill Barr ordered the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut to open and lead an investigation into Russia – not into how Russia has been attacking the United States via cyber warfare, undermining Americans’ trust in American institutions, and using social media to do it, but into whether or not the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been warranted in opening an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, including its investigation of Donald Trump.
On Thursday, 29 months after Barr first appointed John Durham (photo, right) to lead that super-secret investigation, 11 months after Barr secretly turned Durham into a special counsel to ensure the investigation would continue past his and Trump’s tenure, and after spending untold millions of taxpayer dollars, the Dept. of Justice has announced Durham has obtained a second indictment.
“A prominent cybersecurity lawyer was indicted on a charge of lying to the F.B.I. five years ago during a meeting about Donald J. Trump and Russia, the Justice Department announced on Thursday,” The New York Times reports.
The lawyer, Michael Sussmann, “of the law firm Perkins Coie, which has deep ties to the Democratic Party — is accused of making a false statement about his client at the meeting.”
Mr. Sussmann’s defense lawyers have denied the accusation, saying that he did not make a false statement, that the evidence he did is weak and that who he was representing was not a material fact in any case. They have vowed to fight any charge in court.
At issue is who was Sussman working for when he “relayed concerns by cybersecurity researchers who believed that unusual internet data might be evidence of a covert communications channel between computer servers associated with the Trump Organization and with Alfa Bank, a Kremlin-linked Russian financial institution.”
Apparently not at issue is if the Trump Organization or campaign had a secret communications channel to a Kremlin-linked organization.
Frequent viewers of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow are likely familiar with her reporting on Alfa Bank, including this segment from October 2018:
Durham has not obtained any indictment against anyone in Russia, any Russian operatives, any Trump Organization or campaign official, or anyone who may have been involved in Russia’s attack on the United States.
The only other indictment Durham has obtained from his two-plus year investigation? The Times in 2019 reported on a “low-level” FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, who “altered an email that officials used to prepare to seek court approval to renew the wiretap,” on Carter Page, a Trump campaign advisor.
One expert calls the indictment “weak.”
I don't think Durham is politically motivated, but this seems weak and hardly justifies his long investigation. Also a good reminder about the peril of talking to the FBI.
WaPo: Indictment issued. https://t.co/AYAUSodiMs
— Ross Garber (@rossgarber) September 16, 2021
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