On Sunday, NBC News “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd got caught trying to smear U.S. Attorney General William Barr by using a deceptively edited video clip to assert that Barr admitted to CBS News’s Catherine Herridge that the reason he dropped the case against Gen. Michael Flynn boiled down to politics.
For those who missed it, Daily Caller’s Greg Price put together a video of what Todd claimed Barr said versus what Barr actually said in his Thursday interivew:
Today on Meet The Press, @chucktodd wildly took context out of an answer AG Bill Barr gave about his decision to drop the case into Gen. Michael Flynn.
I cut Todd's segment along with Barr's full answer together. Look at how blatantly dishonest this is. pic.twitter.com/tODOEwL48V
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) May 10, 2020
Todd seemed very proud of himself during the segment, acting like he was the winner of the “gotcha” sweepstakes for making a supposed bombshell claim that few others in the mainstream press had made about the Barr interview in the three days since it aired.
I mean, if Barr had truly admitted it was all about politics, it would have been something shouted from the rooftops of every major national news outlet, and led all broadcasts for days on end.
But it didn’t, not even from media outlets who are normally prone to running with that type of fake news “reporting.”
Sunday night, the Meet the Press Twitter account tweeted out a lame “we regret the error” message to a DOJ spokeswoman who did a side by side comparison of Todd’s comments vs. Barr’s, but Todd himself so far has not commented on the matter.
So because Todd isn’t saying anything one way or the other, we can only speculate as to how he and his staff came to the conclusion that the sum total of Barr’s comments was to suggest the dropping of the Flynn case was about nothing more than partisan politics rather than the rule of law.
Did Todd or a member of his MTP staff deliberately and knowingly shorten the quote? That is certainly possible, considering what we know of MSNBC and NBC News and their history of running deceptive and/or false reports.
But my suspicions revolve around a few high-profile liberal Twitter accounts that shared the video clip after the Thursday Barr interview but that also cut off Barr’s quote in their text write-ups of what he said. Here are two of them:
AG Bill Barr speaks to CBS about Flynn.
CBS: When history looks back on this decision, how do you think it will be written?
Barr: Well, history is written by the winners, so it largely depends on who's writing the history. pic.twitter.com/aJomw4Da7A
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) May 7, 2020
REPORTER: How will history look back on your decision to drop charges against Flynn?
BILL BARR: “Well, history is written by the winners. So it largely depends on who’s writing the history.” pic.twitter.com/GVr2bIaavc
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 7, 2020
Vox “journalist” Rupar in particular is notorious for doing that. He’ll post a video clip, add either a partial quote to it or his spin on it, and it often goes viral without anyone watching the actual video. They just see his take on the clip and run with it as though it’s the gospel truth.
As I’ve previously documented, a number of supposedly objective mainstream media journalists frequently share Rupar’s videos and the videos of other left wing writers (including Media Matters hypocrites) without questioning them.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone to find out that not only did Rupar run with the deceptively edited quote from Barr in his tweet, but Vox.com also ran a full-length piece on Barr’s quote and also cut the quote off not noting his additional remarks about the rule of law.
A number of liberal Twitter accounts of commentators from various big-name news outlets ran with the edited quote in the immediate aftermath of the Barr/Herridge interview. Rupar’s video and TPM’s video got a lot of RTs and shares.
I don’t know for sure if Chuck Todd and his crew based their story on the deceptive takes of Rupar, TPM and others (which is why I put “may have” in the headline) but I would be willing to bet money they did, because this happens a lot more than people realize.
This is a serious problem, and it’s a key reason why fake news spreads. The takes from Rupar and MMFA types are turned into actual news stories from supposedly objective reporters, and outlets like CNN, MSNBC, WaPo and others run with them without checking the information.
Often, as it was in the case of Chuck Todd, it takes a conservative website to figure out the media got their stories wrong. But by the time any of those media outlets issue corrections (which isn’t often), it’s too late. The damage is done.
It’s sloppy journalism, and is not just a bad look, it’s also a dereliction of duty on their parts to not verify information before going live with it.