This past Sunday’s edition of 60 Minutes featured a piece by CBS’s Scott Pelley examining the idea of fake news, but it was far from perfect with a glaring omission, a shocked host and guest that liberals fall for fake news, and downright hypocrisy from the network that promulgated Dan Rather’s fake news.
Going first to who falls for fake news, Pelley’s examples were heavily skewed to so-called right-of-center falsehoods like Pizzagate or Hillary Clinton having Parkinson’s Disease.
Pelley repeatedly told viewers that fake news was an issue on both sides, but never provided any proof until the nine-minute-mark of the 13-minute exposé with two ludicrous headlines about President Trump using drugs and having cancer.
It was soon after this that guest and “internet advertising firm” CEO Jeff Green dropped this admission that both he and Pelley seemed befuddled by:
JEFF GREEN: So the first thing that we found out is that it is definitely a phenomenon that affects both sides.
PELLEY: Liberals and conservatives?
GREEN: Yes. There is no question they’re both affected.
There was yet another surprise in store for these hardcore liberals. After citing a case of left-wing fake news about Congress “plotting to overthrow President Trump,” Green revealed that “fake news readers on the left were more likely to be affluent and college educated.” At the other end, “right-leaning fake news overwhelmingly attracted readers in their 40s and 50s.”
Green admitted that this “shocked me,” and Pelley had a similarly flabbergasted look. Green added that he “thought the same way that many Americans perhaps think is that fake news was a phenomenon that only tricked the uneducated,” but, alas, “not true — just not — the data shows it’s just not true.”
The glaring omission appeared a few minutes earlier while Pelley spoke to Jestin Coler, who “made real money on fake news” but overseeing two of them that fooled people (National Report and the Denver Guardian).
Touting the fact that “he pushed people’s buttons on issues such as abortion and ObamaCare” and reading headlines from some other Coler stories, Pelley shamefully left out the fact that Coler was not a Republican but a registered Democrat.
Hilariously, the pathetic National Public Radio (NPR) found the time to include this tidbit when they profiled Coler on November 23’s All Things Considered:
Coler, a registered Democrat, says he has no regrets about his fake news empire. He doesn’t think fake news swayed the election.
“There are many factors as to why Trump won that don’t involve fake news,” he says. “As much as I like Hillary, she was a poor candidate. She brought in a lot of baggage.”
Also worth noting was Pelley’s lengthy time spent promoting fake news promulgator and far-right commentator Mike Cernovich, who told Mediaite after it aired that he found it to be “fair” and “good journalism.”
When it comes to pushing fake news, 60 Minutes has little room to talk. They most notably peddled the fake 2004 Rather story about then-President George W. Bush, but they had some other hits as well.
In February 2008, Pelley engaged in conspiracy theories by giving a full story to allegations that the Bush administration ran “a covert campaign to ruin” former Democratic Alabama Governor Don Siegelman (who ended up behind bars in 2006 for bribery). Pelley proudly touted supposedly Republican interviewees but, as my colleague Kyle Drennen explained at the time, they were anything but GOPers.
Here’s some other doozies the leftist newsmagazine has fed viewers over the years:
– March 2015: Profiled liberal scientist and fake-quote-master Neil deGrasse Tyson
– May 2011: Lesley Stahl told viewers how “stately” Al Sharpton is
– Any number of the show’s early unflinching love affair with Barack Obama as compiled in our September 2010 Special Report Syurpy Minutes
– November 2009: 60 Minutes commissioned a poll to see if Barack Obama should be put on Mount Rushmore
– January 2009: The late correspondent Bob Simon smeared Israel as an apartheid state
– May 2008: Pelley fretted that illegal immigrants “don’t survive detention” in the U.S.
– September 2007: Pelley swooned over then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as being “friendly,” “incorruptible,” and “modest”
– February 2007: Exaggerated levels of military dissension during the Iraq War
– October 2005: Stahl predicted Valerie Plame case “could possibly take off the way Watergate did”
Fake News Site Lets Liberals Live In Alternate Reality Where Hillary Is President
Liberals seeking refuge from reality now have a fake news website where they can pretend to live in a world where Hillary Clinton is president.
“Approval ratings for President Clinton hit 89 percent,” “Confused by fake news, Redditers think Trump is president” and “DOJ considers charging Trump with treason” are just a few headlines featured on HillaryBeatTrump.org, a satirical news site devoted to covering stories from an alternate universe where Hillary won last November’s election.
“In the midst of a Constitutional crisis, this is our response,” the site’s description reads. “Long live the true president, Hillary Rodham Clinton.”
The site’s proprietors do not identify themselves online, and did not return TheDC’s request for comment, but their articles suggest they have liberal leanings.
The site’s articles single out prominent Republicans like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and White House press secretary Sean Spicer for mockery.
“On Monday, Senator Ted Cruz went on Ellen to confess that he, of course, killed Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster in 1993,” reads one recent article, which refers to Cruz as “the Republican front-runner to take on President Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2020.”
Democrats’ Senate leader hints at intelligence revenge plot on Trump as he says ‘they have six ways from Sunday to get back at you’
- Top Senate Democrat said last week that Trump was ‘dumb’ to take on spy agencies that have the ability to hurt him
- ‘Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday to get back at you,’ he told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow
- Trump got burned today by a leak of that caliber; he says all the information in a dossier or dirt allegedly held by Russia is untrue
- Furious Trump called it ‘fake news’ and slammed intelligence agencies for allowing it to ‘leak’ into public’
- Reports of the document’s existence surfaced on CNN on evening before Trump held major press conference
- Buzzfeed admitted the documents were unverified and contained clear errors – but published it anyway
Senator Chuck Schumer warned Donald Trump a week ago that the intelligence community could retaliate against him for rejecting their assessment that Russia engineered election hacks on Democrats.
The top Senate Democrat said Trump was ‘dumb’ to take on spy agencies that have the ability to access and leak damaging personal information.
‘Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday to get back at you,’ he told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. ‘So, even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he is being really dumb to do this.’
Schumer said he didn’t know what agents would or could do to Trump. ‘But from what I am told, they are very upset with how he has treated them and talked about them,’ he said.
Trump got burned today by a leak of that caliber. Buzzfeed News and CNN reported on a dossier of dirt, allegedly held by the Russian government, that claimed, among other things, that Trump was secretly taped watching degrading sex acts by prostitutes in Moscow.
Trump issued a categorical denial on Twitter and at a news conference this morning.
He, the Kremlin, and key figures named in an unverified document purporting to reveal salacious details about compromising information the Russians hold are slamming the document’s release as a smear and a ‘fabrication.’
‘Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA – NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!’ Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.
‘Russia just said the unverified report paid for by political opponents is ‘A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FABRICATION, UTTER NONSENSE.’ Very unfair!’ he tweeted shortly thereafter.
He also attacked intelligence agencies for ‘allowing it to “leak”‘ saying: ‘Are we living in Nazi Germany.’
‘Does anyone believe that story? I’m also very much of a germophobe by the way,’ he said at a press conference later in the day.
Trump said, ‘It’s all fake news. It’s phony stuff. It didn’t happen. And it was gotten by opponents of ours.’
The incident sets him up for an ugly confrontation with agencies that were passed the file by Republican Senator John McCain.
It was ‘released by maybe the intelligence agencies,’ Trump assessed at his New York presser today. ‘Who knows, it may be the intelligence agencies – which would be a tremendous blot of their record if they did that.’
‘A thing like that should have never been written … and it certainly should never have been released,’ Trump continued.
The documents were published by Buzzfeed, which in its own report said they contained errors and could not be verified. The New York Times and Washington Post both said they had been handed the dossier in the past and did not publish it because they were unable to verify its contents.
Trump’s incoming White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, slammed Buzzfeed as a ‘left-wing blog’ before the president-elect’s news conference, saying the report was ‘totally unsubstantiated.’
Spicer called it a ‘political witch hunt by the media’ and said ‘it’s shameful.’
The president-elect denied the report at the top of his remarks, telling news outlets he said he hasn’t always gotten along with that they went ‘up a notch’ for refusing to demean him.
Russia has already condemned the report. Dmitri S. Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, expressly denied Russia having compromising dirt on Trump, or on rival Hillary Clinton.
NEW YORK CITY, New York — At Trump Tower on Wednesday morning, President-elect Donald J. Trump lambasted the media—forcing a backfire of the industry’s planned efforts to trip him up just hours before his first press conference since last summer.
The press conference saw two new media organizations—Breitbart News and One America News Network—in the front row, both getting questions with the president-elect, and CNN and BuzzFeed being exposed as “fake news” operations. It was a stunning moment, an indictment of the media class on their own turf—the press conference—by a president-elect who has spent years on friendly terms with many in the news media before they turned on him during the course of the 2016 presidential election.
The moment was also a snapshot of what senior Trump aides tell Breitbart News is likely to be regular order in a Trump administration, where the president-elect is going to—when he takes office next week—shake up the normal course of business by stripping the dishonest characters in media of their power and rewarding hardworking new media outlets for telling the truth. A rocky road for some, the new direction Trump plans to take was on display as he called for reporters and those in the media profession to be “honest” when they report on his administration moving forward and to prove they have a “moral compass.”
Late Tuesday evening, before Trump’s scheduled Wednesday press conference, BuzzFeed published a fake news report on entirely unsubstantiated allegations from a supposed intelligence report that has since been largely discredited. CNN, the cable news network, ran with the story too without verifying it. The motive was to push the fake news controversy out into the narrative and force Trump to respond to it at the press conference—without ever actually checking to see if what they printed was accurate or verifying it at all.
It turns out, in the wake of BuzzFeed’s and CNN’s decisions to run with the fake news stories, the entire narrative has crumbled: An ex-BuzzFeed reporter, Rosie Gray, blew up a major part of her old employer’s narrative when she reported and confirmed with multiple sources that Trump attorney Michael Cohen never actually went to where the fake report alleged he went to—and was instead at the University of Southern California with his son during that timeframe, something USC confirmed—and more and more details have started crumbling apart.
So, naturally, Wednesday’s press conference here began with incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer shredding CNN and BuzzFeed for their inaccurate reporting of fake news. Spicer said:
Before we start, I want to bring your attention to a few points on the report that was published in BuzzFeed last night. It’s frankly outrageous and highly irresponsible for a left-wing blog that was openly hostile to the president-elect’s campaign to drop highly salacious and flat-out false information on the internet just days before he takes the oath of office. According to BuzzFeed’s own editor, there are some serious reasons to doubt the allegations in the report. The executive editor of The New York Times also dismissed the report by saying it was, quote, ‘Totally unsubstantiated, echoing the concerns that many other reporters expressed on the internet.’ The fact that BuzzFeed and CNN made the decision to run with this unsubstantiated claim is a sad and pathetic attempt to get clicks. The report is not an intelligence report, plain and simple.
Spicer then proceeded to factually debunk the entire so-called “report”:
One issue that the report talked about was the relationship of three individuals associated with the campaign. These three individuals: Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen and Carter Page. Carter Page is an individual who the president-elect does not know and was put on notice months ago by the campaign. Paul Manafort has adamantly denied any of this involvement and Michael Cohen, who is said to have visited Prague in August and September did not leave or enter the United States during this time. We asked him to produce his passport to confirm his whereabouts on the dates in question and there was no doubt that he was not in Prague. In fact, Mr. Cohen has never been in Prague. A new report actually suggests that Michael Cohen was at — at the University of Southern California with his son at a baseball game. One report now suggested apparently it’s another Michael Cohen. For all the talk lately about fake news, this political witch hunt by some in the media is based on some of the most flimsy reporting and is frankly shameful and disgraceful.
Spicer introduced Vice President-elect Mike Pence next, who also bashed the fake news from CNN and BuzzFeed. In his remarks, Pence said, “there’s been such a concerted effort by some in the mainstream media to delegitimize this election and to demean our incoming administration.”
You know, I have long been a supporter of a free and independent press and I always will be. But with freedom comes responsibility. And the irresponsible decision of a few news organizations to run with a false and unsubstantiated report, when most news organizations resisted the temptation to propagate this fake news, can only be attributed to media bias and attempt to demean the president-elect and our incoming administration and the American people are sick and tired of it.
When the man himself took the podium, he ripped the fake news media as well—saying that the mistakes by places like CNN and BuzzFeed, and their efforts to publish fake news without verifying it, leads to him doing less press conferences. But he also thanked the media outlets that have not gotten it wrong—the ones that worked to actually check before publishing—unlike CNN and BuzzFeed. Trump said:
It’s very familiar territory, news conferences, because we used to give them on an almost daily basis. I think we probably maybe won the nomination because of news conferences and it’s good to be with you. We stopped giving them because we were getting quite a bit of inaccurate news, but I do have to say that — and I must say that I want to thank a lot of the news organizations here today because they looked at that nonsense that was released by maybe the intelligence agencies? Who knows, but maybe the intelligence agencies which would be a tremendous blot on their record if they in fact did that. A tremendous blot, because a thing like that should have never been written, it should never have been had and it should certainly never been released. But I want to thank a lot of the news organizations for some of whom have not treated me very well over the years — a couple in particular — and they came out so strongly against that fake news and the fact that it was written about by primarily one group and one television station. So, I just want to compliment many of the people in the room. I have great respect for the news and great respect for freedom of the press and all of that. But I will tell you, there were some news organizations with all that was just said that were so professional — so incredibly professional, that I’ve just gone up a notch as to what I think of you. OK?
The first several questions of the press conference focused on the intelligence briefings from which the fake news outlets like CNN and BuzzFeed said this phony report emanated, with reporters zoning in on how badly the two legacy establishment media outlets screwed up.
Fox News’ John Roberts got the first question, and he asked:
First of all, did the heads of the intelligence agencies provide you with the two-page summary of these unsubstantiated allegations? And secondly to that, on the broader picture, do you accept their opinion that Vladimir Putin ordered the hack of the DNC and the attempted hack of the RNC? And if you do, how will that color your attempts to build a relationship with a leader who has been accused of committing an act of espionage against the United States?
OK, first of all, these readings as you know are confidential, classified. So, I’m not allowed to talk about what went on in a meeting. And — but we had many witnesses in that meeting, many of them with us. And I will say, again, I think it’s a disgrace that information would be let out. I saw the information; I read the information outside of that meeting. It’s all fake news. It’s phony stuff. It didn’t happen. And it was gotten by opponents of ours, as you know, because you reported it and so did many of the other people. It was a group of opponents that got together — sick people — and they put that crap together.
So, I will tell you that not within the meeting, but outside of the meeting, somebody released it. It should have never been — number one, shouldn’t have even entered paper. But it should have never have been released. But I read what was released and I think it’s a disgrace. I think it’s an absolute disgrace. As far as hacking, I think it was Russia. But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people. And I — I can say that you know when — when we lost 22 million names and everything else that was hacked recently, they didn’t make a big deal out of that. That was something that was extraordinary. That was probably China.
We had — we had much hacking going on. And one of the things we’re gonna do, we have some of the greatest computer minds anywhere in the world that we’ve assembled. You saw just a sample of it two weeks ago up here where we had the six top people in the world — they were never in the same room together as a group. And we’re gonna put those minds together and we’re going to form a defense. And I have to say this also, the Democratic National Committee was totally open to be hacked. They did a very poor job. They could’ve had hacking defense, which we had.
And I will give Reince Priebus credit, because when Reince saw what was happening in the world and with this country, he went out and went to various firms and ordered a very, very strong hacking defense. And they tried to hack the Republican National Committee and they were unable to break through. We have to do that for our country. It’s very important.
Roberts followed up by asking, “Just to the last part of that question (inaudible) how could all of this potentially color your attempts to build a better relationship with President Putin?”
Trump replied that Russian President Vladimir Putin has already noted this reporting from CNN and BuzzFeed is “fake news.” He went on:
Well, you know, President Putin and Russia put out a statement today that this fake news was indeed fake news. They said it totally never happened. Now, somebody would say, ‘Oh, of course he’s gonna say that.’ I respected the fact that he said that. And I — I’ll be honest, I think if he did have something, they would’ve released it; they would’ve been glad to release it. I think, frankly, had they broken into the Republican National Committee, I think they would’ve released it just like they did about Hillary and all of the horrible things that her people, like Mr. Podesta, said about her. I mean what he said about her was horrible. If somebody said about me, what Podesta said about Hillary, I was the boss, I would’ve fired him immediately or that person. Because what he said about her was horrible. But remember this: We talk about the hacking and hacking’s bad and it shouldn’t be done. But look at the things that were hacked, look at what was learned from that hacking. That Hillary Clinton got the questions to the debate and didn’t report it? That’s a horrible thing. That’s a horrible thing. Can you imagine that if Donald Trump got the questions to the debate — it would’ve been the biggest story in the history of stories. And they would’ve said immediately, ‘You have to get out of the race.’ Nobody even talked about it. It’s a very terrible thing.
After a few more questions back and forth about that, the president-elect turned the podium over to his attorney for ethics issues. He walked through how the former mogul’s businesses will be structured during his administration. Trump then started taking questions again, and when he got to CBS News’ Major Garrett, he was asked about his Wednesday morning tweet comparing the actions of CNN and BuzzFeed publishing fake news to Nazi Germany.
“The tweet that you had this morning about are we living in Nazi Germany, what were you driving at there? What are you trying to tell the American public?” Garrett asked the president-elect.
Trump first took a shot at the intelligence community.
“I think it was disgraceful — disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out to be so false and fake out,” he started in his answer. “I think it’s a disgrace, and I say that — and I say that, and that’s something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do. I think it’s a disgrace that information that was false and fake and never happened got released to the public.”
Then he turned his fire on CNN and BuzzFeed specifically:
As far as Buzzfeed, which is a failing pile of garbage, writing it, I think they’re going to suffer the consequence. They already are. And as far as CNN going out of their way to build it up — and by the way, we just found out I was coming down. Michael Cohen — I was being — Michael Cohen is a very talented lawyer. He’s a good lawyer in my firm. It was just reported that it wasn’t this Michael Cohen they we’re talking about. So all night long it’s Michael Cohen. I said, ‘I want to see your passport.’ He brings his passport to my office. I say, hey, wait a minute. He didn’t leave the country. He wasn’t out of the country. They had Michael Cohen of the Trump Organization was in Prague. It turned out to be a different Michael Cohen. It’s a disgrace what took place. It’s a disgrace and I think they ought to apologize to start with Michael Cohen.”
CNN’s Jim Acosta then tried to interrupt the president, still refusing to apologize for his organization’s fake news reporting, by saying: “Since you’re attacking us, can you give us a question?”
As Acosta said “Mr. Trump,” the president-elect turned to another media figure in the room to take a question from them.
“Go ahead,” Trump said to the reporter a few rows deep.
Acosta, defiant, wouldn’t let it go.
“Mr. President-elect, since you are attacking our news organization…” he said.
“Not you,” Trump put down Acosta.
“Can you give us a chance?” Acosta shouted back.
“Your organization is terrible,” Trump fired another shot back at Acosta.
“You are attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance to ask a question, sir? Sir, can you…” Acosta piped up yet again.
“Quiet,” Trump silenced Acosta once more.
As the other reporter proceeded with her question, Acosta wouldn’t relent.
“He’s asking a question, don’t be rude. Don’t be rude,” Trump scolded Acosta, asking the CNN representative to be civil.
“Can you give us a question since you’re attacking us? Can you give us a question?” Acosta shouted, refusing to be civil in the press conference.
“Don’t be rude. No, I’m not going to give you a question. I’m not going to give you a question,” Trump replied. “You are fake news.”
Trump proceeded to take his question from the journalist a few rows deep and went on with the press conference.
A couple questions later, Trump turned to Breitbart News to allow this reporter to ask a question.
“Given that CNN just published fake news and all the problems that we’ve seen throughout the media over the course of the election, what reforms do you recommend for this industry here?” I asked the president-elect. In response, he called for journalists to be honest and show that they have a “moral compass.”
“I don’t recommend reforms, I recommend people that have some moral compass,” Trump said in response to Breitbart News’ question. “You know, I’ve been hearing more and more about a thing called ‘Fake News.’ They’re talking about people that go and say all sorts of things. But I will tell you some of the media outlets I deal with are fake news, more so than anybody. I could name them but I won’t bother. You have a few sitting right in front of us [pointing to CNN’s Acosta and Sara Murray]. So, they’re very, very dishonest people. But, I think it’s something we’re just going to have to live with. I guess, the advantage I have is I can speak back. When it happens to somebody that doesn’t have this [points to microphone], doesn’t have that kind of a megaphone, it’s a very sad thing. I’ve seen people destroyed. I’ve seen people absolutely destroyed, and I think it’s very unfair. So all I can ask for is honest reporters.”