Over the weekend, several major American newspapers printed a variation of the same article pointing out instances, in their view, when Donald Trump has lied to the American people during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The New York Times started the chain reaction on Saturday: “A Week of Whoppers

Then, the LA Times, Washington Post and Politico followed suit.

As CNN media analyst Brian Stelter points out, the publications claim the timing was a coincidence:

Several of the editors who were involved said the timing was a coincidence. But there was clearly a desire to publish stories before Monday’s debate, when Trump and Clinton’s truthfulness will surely be at issue.

“Never in modern presidential politics has a major candidate made false statements as routinely as Trump has,” the L.A. Times declared on page one of Sunday’s paper.

Politico Magazine’s team analyzed every statement made by both Trump and Clinton for five days and said “the conclusion is inescapable: Trump’s mishandling of facts and propensity for exaggeration so greatly exceed Clinton’s as to make the comparison almost ludicrous.”

Stelter’s sources also claimed there was no coordination with the Clinton campaign:

The four stories were welcomed by the Clinton campaign; aides cited the statistics in television interviews on Sunday.  However, there is no indication that the Clinton campaign was involved.

Marty Baron, the executive editor of The Washington Post, said the timing of the stories was a coincidence.  “We don’t coordinate coverage with anyone else,” Baron said.

So the weekend before the first presidential debate, four major news publications all print the same story, the content and tone of which (calling out one candidate over the other as a serial liar) Stelter concedes is “extraordinary,” and it’s all just a “coincidence” with no coordination between the publications and certainly none with the campaign?  Uh huh.

Hey wait… what’s this over here on the Hillary Clinton campaign website published on Friday, the day before all the articles published at the NY Times, LA Times, Washington Post and Politico:

In a prebuttal to the first presidential debate, Hillary for America officials today released a damning list of Donald Trump’s most discredited lies from the campaign so far, and said that repeating these false claims would make it impossible for him to get a passing grade in Monday’s critical test before the voters. According to PolitiFact, a whopping 70% of Trump’s claims are untrue.

“Debates are about each candidate laying out their vision for America, not making things up. Donald Trump has shown a clear pattern of repeating provably false lies and hoping no one corrects him. Voters and viewers should keep track: any candidate who tells this many lies clearly can’t win the debate on the merits,” said HFA Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri.

The post, titled “Clinton Campaign: Trump Cannot Pass Debate Test If He Repeats These Debunked Lies,” goes on to document pages and pages of statements (19 pages in all) that have been deemed to be “lies” by biased outlets like PolitiFact and FactCheck.org.

It is clearly a road map for anyone looking to perpetuate the narrative that “Trump lies” and it’s a major issue that requires discussion and media attention right before Monday’s critical debate showdown.

As if the message wasn’t clear enough in the post, the Clinton campaign was sure to hammer the story assignments home by conducting a special conference call on the topic for members of the media.

According to Jason Easly at PoliticsUSA, the conference call included more pressure on debate moderator Lester Holt:

The Hillary Clinton campaign held a special press call to call on the debate moderator, media, and voters to fact check Donald Trump. In order to help the press, debate moderators, and voters fact check Trump, the Clinton campaign has released 19 pages of Trump lies.

Hillary posts pages of documented Trump lies” and holds a conference call with members of the media detailing the same theme and within 48 hours major publications print articles following along with Hillary’s prescribed narrative.

Yup, total coincidence.

 

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