Accuracy in Media

BuzzFeed, described by Wikipedia as “a liberal American internet media company based in New York City,” is in the “donor spotlight” at the national news museum in Washington, D.C., known as the Newseum. The “honor” demonstrates how the media have changed and how low they have sunk.

A virtual property of Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, BuzzFeed has been a cog in the anti-Trump media machine.

The “donor spotlight” designation is strangely appropriate, since BuzzFeed disclosed the so-called “Trump Dossier” used by the intelligence community to smear President Trump. “The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors,” the social media site acknowledged while spreading the dubious claims.

By contrast, the John Peter Zenger exhibit located in the Newseum highlights a printer whose publication used the weapon of truth. The Newseum tells us, “German immigrant John Peter Zenger became a free-press hero before there was a First Amendment. On Nov. 17, 1734, the newspaper publisher was jailed for printing truthful articles in his New-York Weekly Journal accusing British Colonial governor William Cosby of being corrupt.”

The “Trump Dossier” released by BuzzFeed was concocted by a former British intelligence agent, and turned over to James Comey’s FBI. Around that time, in July of 2016, notes columnist Lawrence Sellin, the FBI launched its investigation of the unproven connections between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Comey told Congress that the Bureau has been actively investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin since “late July” of 2016.

“What a coincidence,” writes Sellin, a retired colonel with 29 years of service in the U.S. Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. This means that “the FBI investigation was based on highly questionable evidence” for which former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele reportedly “paid intermediaries who in turn paid sources for the information he used in the report.” In other words, he says, they were third-hand rumors from unidentified individuals. Sellin adds, “Remarkably, along with Trump’s political opponents, the Obama-Comey FBI planned to pay Steele to continue his work.”

The British link is significant. While Fox News commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano has been suspended for suggesting that the British NSA, known as GCHQ, had access to the surveillance information used against Trump, the two organizations do in fact have a history of working closely together.

This is shaping up as an example of how the Deep State operates, writes Sellin. In this case, intelligence arrangements are made “that open the possibility for government officials to skirt inconvenient national laws in order to surveil citizens and then use the products of that surveillance for political purposes.”

For raising necessary questions about this arrangement, Napolitano was reportedly banned from Fox News. He is the modern-day John Peter Zenger. However, his March 16 column, “Did Obama Spy on Trump?” is still on his website and looks increasingly relevant every day that passes.

This has been a major black mark for Fox News. Still, Fox News personalities like Sean Hannity are trying to cover the deepening scandal involving Obama administration surveillance of Trump and his associates.

The role that has been played by Comcast and its properties in the anti-Trump campaign is a teachable moment that allows us to reflect on the meaning of the First Amendment and how modern media have left behind the legacy of John Peter Zenger.

In contrast to Zenger, who used the weapon of truth against public officials, BuzzFeed used lies that were apparently devised for partisan political purposes by a foreign operative.

Referring to Comcast and others, Trump adviser Peter Navarro said during the campaign, “Donald Trump will break up the new media conglomerate oligopolies that have gained enormous control over our information, intrude into our personal lives, and in this election, are attempting to unduly influence America’s political process.”

BuzzFeed has been forced to apologize to one of those named in the Trump Dossier, in preparation for a suit filed against them.

By contrast, Zenger was found not guilty of seditious libel after his attorney, Alexander Hamilton, said, “It is not the cause of one poor printer, but the cause of liberty.”

Rather than being given a distinction as a valued donor, perhaps an exhibit in the Newseum should highlight BuzzFeed as an example of the politically-correct corporate media that today makes a mockery of First Amendment values.

At the same time, the Newseum should consider embracing the cause of freeing Judge Napolitano.

There’s no money in doing so. It would just be the right thing to do. It would be a reaffirmation of First Amendment values.

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  • Adam Zyzz

    There are so many idiotic things about this that I can’t count them all! I’ll try to address a few, though. First, who do you want to free the former judge nap-all-the-time-o from? He is not in jail and not being held against his will. So what does it mean to ‘free him’? Your whole website makes no sense! He is as free as you and me right now. Second, the irony and hypocrisy are overwhelming when you claim that the former judge was harmed by “highly questionable evidence”, because that’s exactly why he was taken off the air. He made unsubstantiated claims with NO evidence, and claimed that he had sources to back up his claims. Then the source turns out to be a well know creator of fake conspiracies, especially ones that help Russia. So, the FORMER judge, decides to go on national TV and make extremely inflammatory accusations about 2 different countries, without ANY evidence, and using a known scumbag as his source. He is lucky that he was only suspended! He should be permanently gone and he should be radioactive from here on out when it comes to his ‘career’ as a has-been judge who whored himself out for the attention he craves as a low-grade TV personality.

  • Mike S.

    FNC’s handling of Judge Napolitano shows that Marxist infiltration at FNC is well under way. That’s why socialist shill Shepard Smith most often delivers breaking news — no matter the hour. Smith is so politically correct there’s little chance he’s actually report the news but will instead just repeat a party loyalist line. Even at minor-league levels of journalism, Marxists never sleep: they ruin careers and personal reputations of anyone they see as a potential threat to Groupthink. This is so very dangerous because Marxism is an ideology of mass death and mass destruction followed by brutal autocratic elitist rule.

  • Foxnews is not American and is anti-Christ – even so its better than ANY other TV channel. Fox needs to dump Juan Williams, Bob B, Shepsmith, chris wall-ass and some others. I’d dump Bill OReilly and give Judges Nap and Jenine his hour – if they’d accept it.

  • jaimelmanzano

    fact that “leakers” are running amok in the country is, to a large
    extent, a reflection of the amoral use of the first amendment, by the
    press. To many journalists, their professional ethics and obligation to
    the country is their right, indeed their obligation, to not identify
    sources. To many in the public, however, this stance is defective.
    While journalist may choose to “take the fifth” and not say who told
    them what, it follows that they, in effect, may be disguising their
    complicity in aiding and abetting a crime. A clear example is the
    present investigation of the “Russian” intervention in the past
    election. Journalist know who gave them the leaked information. They –
    the Washington Post, the New York Times, and media reporters – know who
    violated the privacy and/or security laws. Their refusal to reveal
    their sources – their silence knowing that they are giving cover to a
    criminal, or even a foreign agency or spy – is hard to square with their
    personal, and institutional, responsibility, to serve the interests of
    the country. They are unelected. They hide “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
    truth.” And for what? To many, it is to disguise their amoral guilt in
    pandering to their own exercise of unfettered power.

    Jaime L Manzano
    7904 Park Overlook Drive
    Bethesda, MD 20817

    301 365 4781

  • bobs33hotrod

    Please put Judge Napolitano back on Fox News Network. I and many Millions of your Watchers Love this man.
    BOBBY ~!~

  • klesb

    So, if FNC is unreliably straight, where do we go? The problem with all news sources seems to be the ownership. Get control of that and the news starts to slant.

  • ItsJo

    Foxy News, with the two Rupert, Liberal Sons running things, is SLANTING things to THEIR ideology, and that is NOT good. What They have done, is “try to SILENCE a True American, who IS HONEST-(something they are NOT, in their Marxist Ideology) Judge Napolitano, who in his EXPERIENCE, could run Rings around ALL OF FOXY NEWS, and they are going Against
    #1 in our Constitution, ‘Freedom of Speech’



  • biilyjoe

    FNC needs to bring the great Judge Napolitano back ASAP. Soros/obongo supporters must be infiltrating fnc.

  • biilyjoe

    They’ve given Hillary Shill, Chris Wallace, a free reign. That’s a bad sign.

  • Nancy

    I want the Judge back on FOX. He’s the smart one and he was truthful in what he said. BRING HIM BACK.

  • morriscat

    I don’t know but I saw the Judge on Fox this past Friday .

  • John Casey

    Wiretap = any form of surveillance. Nunes walking around with and briefing White House with “Transcripts” of phone calls from Trump tower.(.after election ).TRUMP WAS WIRETAPPED ! ………….END OF THIS QUESTION, IT IS DONE.

  • gypsy314

    bring the judge back

  • Allrise3

    This man is brilliant and people love him! Put him back on the Fox Network! What’s wrong with you people anyway?

  • Tannim

    I think this needs to be rewritten to be less disjointed and rambling. It goes all over the place.

  • ric moriarity

    He’s back on FOX so we can remove this little bit of a NON-story, ok people?

  • pineapple

    And remove Shepard Smith!