Over the last several days, a report from The Atlantic has been making the rounds. In it are accusations that the President doesn’t like John McCain (shocker), but more importantly, that he didn’t want to visit a cemetery in France because he thinks dead soldiers are “losers.”
As I laid out in my original debunking of this story, we already have documentary evidence from multiple sources, including some who hate Trump, that the reason for not going to the cemetery was purely about the weather. No one has gone on record saying Trump said any of the things alleged, though some have gone on record to say it didn’t happen. Gen. Kelly, who is named as having heard the comments, has remained quiet despite having no reason to do so.
All of this points to the story being nonsense, or at the very least, extremely misleading (i.e. perhaps some ancillary part is true, like bagging on McCain).
Unfortunately, Fox News has decided to lower its journalistic standards to those of CNN and help push this garbage.
As a voter looking for real news, it is insulting that any media outlet would report gossip that is as salacious as is this from former administration officials and then keep it off the record #FoxNews #Gossip pic.twitter.com/UkKvCB7PDc
— Heather Champion ™️ (@winningatmylife) September 4, 2020
The person on the right is Jennifer Griffin, who basically replaced Catherine Herridge as the go-to national security reporter for Fox News after the latter went to CBS. Griffin decides to feed the echo chamber here by claiming that two “sources,” both of whom are anonymous have “confirmed” the story to her. What’s that actually mean? We can’t know for sure, but these “sources” could just as easily be part of the original four “sources” that spoke to The Atlantic. I keep putting quotes around sources because it’s impossible to judge the veracity of their credibility if they won’t go on record.
Griffin has a bit of a history of doing stuff like this with it comes to Trump. When the President tried to pull troops out of Syria, she essentially accused him of starting a genocide — which, I’ll note, didn’t end up happening. As per our usual arrangement, the most hysterical “experts” were completely wrong in their foreign policy pronouncements.
Regardless, Fox News should be better than this. Five years ago, no story alleging this stuff would have ever made it to market without real, on-the-record sourcing. It would have been too political and salacious to report otherwise. While CNN, The Atlantic, and the rest of the mainstream media have dropped all pretense of journalistic integrity during the Trump era, Bret Baier and his station have thrived by claiming they are a step above. But in this instance, they aren’t at all. They’ve stooped to the same level as the rest of the garbage media to report pure gossip while not even bothering to mention the contradictory, on-the-record evidence that it’s bunk. There is no way that the producers should have green-lit this report from Griffin given the circumstances.
I don’t blame the entire network for this. This was obviously a decision made by the hard news division, perhaps not wanting to be left behind on a story everyone else was talking about. But if Fox News wants to lose its viewer base, this is a good way to do it.
(Please follow me on Twitter! @bonchieredstate)