Comey Flunks The New York Times

Posted on Wed 06/14/2017 by


By Brent Bozell and Tim Graham ~

Liberal media outlets like The New York Times have a political objective driving their coverage: ruin President Trump.

This is why the “news” producers treated former FBI director Jim Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee as a Watergate Moment, a first impeachment hearing to be broadcast live on every “news” channel on television. Liberals in Washington took the day off and went to bars to celebrate the Beginning of the End. The media celebrated the celebrations.

So when Comey admitted that he was a leaker, using a law-professor buddy to send his “Dear Diary” worries on President Trump to The New York Times, we at last had a poster boy for the Trump-haters who were anonymously directing the narrative that dominated the media.

Comey made it clear that he leaked to the Times in a successful effort to force a special counsel to investigate the unproven conspiracy theory of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to defeat Hillary Clinton. Comey’s leaks also led to the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions from the Russia probe.

The unity of this leaker-and-media collaboration came into question when Comey was asked by Sen. Jim Risch about a New York Times story dated February 15. On the front page, the Times reported Trump aides “had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.” Naturally, “All of the current and former officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the continuing investigation is classified.”

Comey told Risch it was fake news: “In the main, it was not true.” Longtime Washington Post reporter David Vise counseled, “The Times might consider a correction of their own given Comey’s testimony.” The Times is refusing to admit error.

Instead, the Times played cute with Comey’s verdict on the day after the hearing. On the front page, the blurb was “Article disputed: James B. Comey expressed doubts, without specifying, over the main elements of a New York Times article about direct contacts between Trump advisers and Russian officials.” Expressed doubts? Saying it’s “not true” wasn’t a “doubt,” any more than the Times was reporting “facts.”

Inside the Times on page A-21 came a one-column report vaguely headlined “Disputing Times Article About Inquiry.” What followed was a pile of excuse-making by the same three reporters who wrote the original fake news. They weakly claimed that any Russian might be called an “intelligence official” since the spy agencies use private citizens.

This might be an occasion to nudge the Public Editor (or reader’s representative) at the Times to investigate…but the Times just abolished their Public Editor, and Liz Spayd’s final column came the week before Comey testified.

The paper doubled down in a statement: “Neither the FBI, nor Mr. Comey would comment or elaborate on what Mr. Comey believes to be incorrect.” So the Times can take leaks from Comey and the FBI and grant them anonymity, but when their reports are challenged as untrue in front of millions of people, suddenly Comey’s judgment is too vague to matter.

In their war on Trump, as they launch anonymously-sourced missiles from the front pages, the Times and their liberal-media colleagues have sacrificed every notion of objectivity and every notion of transparency. Now they are shredding the notion that accuracy matters to them more than their political agenda.

L. Brent Bozell III is the Founder and President of the Media Research Center

Tim Graham is the Executive Editor at NewsBusters, and he is the Director of  Media Analysis at the Media Research Center.

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