It’s only wrong when others are doing it…
The rise of Donald Trump has had a demonstrable effect on the news outlets in this country. On the defensive side they have become extremely sensitive to all manner of direct criticism, as we have seen in the recent Martha McSally/ Manu Raju dust up. But going on the offensive some outlets — particularly CNN — have been working loudly to combat the spread of fake news. They even ran a promotion at CNN with an apple and a banana to underscore how important this task was for them.
Whether it is working on exposing false social media postings or diligently policing the broadcasts on Fox News, the network, with the aid of its media attack-Corgi Brian Stelter, claims to be working diligently to deal with the facts and beating back the fakes. Just not so diligent it appears when one of their own is blatantly found to be pushing a false narrative.
Joe Lockhart is a former press secretary to President Bill Clinton, so there is little doubt as to where he resides on the political spectrum. He is also a CNN analyst. This means the network is a bit familiar with Joe. That is why it is rather revealing that when a member of The Apple/Banana Network is found pushing out a completely fabricated story about US senators there was no pushback or correction issued.
Lockhart on his Twitter feed offered up an anecdote where he declared that he had been privy to a conversation on The Hill where a pair of supposedly oblivious GOP senators were deeply concerned over Adam Schiff’s opening remarks. Claimed Lockhart — ‘’Overheard convo between two Republican Senators who only watch Fox News. “is this stuff real? I haven’t heard any of this before. I thought it was all about a server. If half the stuff Schiff is saying is true, we’re up S—’s creek. Hope the White House has exculpatory evidence.’’
It deepens the interest here that he mentions Rep. Schiff, as there are a number of parallels to the impeachment leader from that chamber. Recall the scene, during the inquiry, when Schiff made official remarks on the record where he said he was quoting Donald Trump directly with compromising quotes. Just like Schiff’s account, Lockhart’s is equally manufactured garbage. It never transpired. Also like Schiff, when he was called out for pushing this entirely false storyline he resorted to blaming others for not grasping the farcical meaning. While Schiff had weaseled out of responsibility be saying what he did was ‘’parody’’, Lockhart came out to say what he had done was ‘’satire’’.
There is one other way this falsehood was matching Schiff’s fiction — it was designed to get the lie out there knowing the correction would receive far less attention. Lockhart’s fiction received thousands of retweets, and his meek correction made later barely generated retweets into the hundreds. But more pernicious than that, Lockhart managed to get his message repeated, and not just by loyal anonymous users. Members of the press amplified his message to the masses.
Democrat operative Scott Dworkin repeated Lockhart’s story on his own feed. He eventually deleted the tweet, once he was notified of its false nature, but not before he racked up over ten thousand retweets of his own. The Washington Post’s posing conservative Jennifer Rubin also retweeted Lockhart’s fan-fiction — and this is what speaks to the hysterical hypocrisy of CNN.
The voiced concern of Stelter, Oliver Darcy, and the other fake-news hand-wringers at their network is that there is the need to be militant about fake news because the less savvy newsreaders in the general public will spread the disinformation. But here in Lockhart’s case you do not have the supposed unwashed and undereducated masses undertaking the pernicious practice — you have political operatives disseminating the lie, to a much greater base of news consumers.
The truth is that CNN is exposed by this response to the tweet — and its own lack of response. By not making any comment about one of their own committing what the network has deemed to be one of the bigger journalistic crimes going, they show the true lack of seriousness behind their grave accusations. Even Lockhart’s wan excuse that what he was doing is considered satire does not work.
CNN has been among others who have lashed out at The Babylon Bee for its features that satirize the news cycle. The comedy site is clearly satire, yet it has come under fire for stories that can be interpreted by others as truthful — again, those unsavvy readers. Lockhart’s satire tripped up trained professionals, so this should be regarded as an even worse infraction.
CNN’s silence on the matter means going forward any of its claims to outrage over fake news should be laughed at just as heartily as a Babylon Bee gag.