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Business Insider confuses facts in piece on Durham filing

Business Insider conflates ‘this must be legal because no one has been charged’ and ‘this must be legal because no one has been charged yetin a new account on the John Durham filing [1].

Durham is special counsel “who is investigating the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe, that former President Donald Trump and his allies said presented definitive proof that his political opponents illegally ‘spied’ on him,” according to Business Insider.

But the piece immediately starts on the offensive with its language choice: “Trumpworld is fuming over” and “The right-wing media sphere erupted.” Making a political stance is hardly a crime — but in this case, it leads to inaccuracy.

“No one involved in the investigation has been charged with illegally spying on the Trump campaign or White House, or with a capital crime,” according to the piece. This is true.

“But there is no evidence presented by Durham saying that someone illegally accessed the data, and Durham doesn’t accuse anyone of breaking the law by hacking or spying.

“That doesn’t mean Durham won’t bring more serious charges down the line…”

Just because no one has been indicted or charged “yet” does not mean no one will. Thus that no one has been charged or indicted yet does not mean – is not proof of at least – that the activity itself was legal.

We have no, public at least, view on any of the varied accusations on all sides of this. Our point is purely on the accuracy of the logic being used. It is not true to say that the absence of an indictment is proof of the absence of a crime having been committed. The word “yet” is important as while the law does, in that old phrase, grind small it also grinds slow.

Business Insider is now part of German publisher Axel Springer AG’s attempt to build a global media house. As such it joins Politico in the English language brands so owned. Insider is ranked No. 19 in the English language online media and gains some 100 million visits a month. It’s an important outlet.

We’re all going to have to wait and see whether there are actually criminal charges, or even indictments, over this monitoring of internet traffic. But to that, no such charges have been laid as yet isn’t proof none will be.