Accuracy in Media

BuzzFeed News reported on the recent developments in the Department of Justice’s case against former Trump advisor Michael Flynn, but left out evidence that he may have been set up by the FBI to be the “fall guy.”

The website headlined the Department of Justice’s decision to drop the criminal case against Flynn, “Michael Flynn Admitted Lying To The FBI. The Justice Department Now Says That Doesn’t Matter.” The article pointed out that Flynn lied to FBI investigators about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States. But the article left out several pieces of evidence that undermined the department’s case against Flynn.

For example, BuzzFeed News did not include the specifics in the text messages from former FBI agent Peter Strzok, which urged the FBI to keep the case open. Strzok’s intervention came after FBI investigators determined that their review “did not yield any information” about Flynn’s alleged collusion with the Russian government during the 2016 election. As a result of his text messages, Strzok kept the case alive though investigators were not keen on the evidence backing up the department’s claims. BuzzFeed News only referred to them as “text messages” without citing their specific messages or content.

Also, BuzzFeed News glanced over another FBI official’s comments, which asked whether the goal of the FBI was to get Flynn to lie or get him fired. It did not point out that this would prove that the FBI engaged in unusual behavior to try to set up Flynn as the “fall guy” in the investigation. The website said that the comments were released by Flynn’s legal team, but did not elaborate on the implications of the official’s comments.

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