Accuracy in Media

President Donald Trump set off media outrage with his comments to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos yesterday that he would consider accepting dirt on a political opponent, even if offered by another country.

“Trump just invited another Russian attack. Mitch McConnell is making one more likely,” read the headline on Greg Sargent’s Plum Line piece in the Washington Post.

“Trump just put a ‘for sale’ sign on his forehead,” read the headline on CNN’s story, which began, “By putting a ‘for sale’ sign on his forehead – and indicating that he’s open for business when it comes to receiving dirt on his political rivals – President Donald Trump is encouraging foreign governments to attack his political opponents.”

“Trump Goes on TV to Solicit 2020 Foreign Collusion,” read the headline on the New Yorker Intelligencer page.

“President Trump today claimed, falsely, that the Mueller report found not only no collusion with Russia but that his campaign ‘rebuffed’ offers of help from Moscow,” wrote Jonathan Chait in the lead. “But apparently Trump regrets his imaginary decision to refuse help from Russia, since he tells George Stephanopoulos in a new interview that, yes, if another foreign power offers him dirt on his next opponent, he’ll gladly take it.”

The Mueller report stated clearly that not only did Trump and his campaign not collude with Russia, but that numerous offers of such collusion did exist.

Trump’s “admission” means that “Every Member of Team Trump is Now Enabling Treason,” according to the headline on the Daily Beast. “On Wednesday, Trump confirmed he treats his oath to serve the United States faithfully with the same contempt he’s given to his wedding vows and business contracts,” read the subhead.

“Trump tells ABC: Sure, I’d Collude Again,” read the headline at Talking Points Memo, which seemed not to acknowledge Trump was cleared of collusion with Russia in the Mueller report.

“Trump Says in Oval Office Interview if Russia Offered Dirt on His 2020 Opponent He’d Do Exactly What He did Before – Take It,” read the headline in Slate, which also seemed to ignore the Mueller findings.

“It shouldn’t be shocking at this point,” began Elliot Hannon’s story on Slate. “But somehow it remains jarring to hear a president of the United States so consumed by self-interest that he can admit to learning nothing and cares not at all about any principle other than his own survival and success.”

He concludes by saying “The interview is a preview of what’s to come: a toxic explosion of a campaign over the next 18 months …” and “a reminder that Donald Trump is a threat to American national security.”

CNN charged that the president’s comments “are just the latest in a long line of counterintelligence red flags” and said, “It is unclear whether the FBI has an ongoing counterintelligence investigation into President Trump. But if they don’t, they may want to revisit why not.”

But as Mollie Hemingway of the Federalist points out, Trump would have a way to go to catch up to Democrats when it comes to accepting dirt on opponents from foreigners.

Hemingway tweeted out audio of Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, welcoming an offer from Russians of compromising photos of President Trump. In another tweet, she pointed out that, “Apart from this 2017 report, nearly no media coverage of Ukraine’s meddling to help [Hillary] Clinton, including oppo provided to Clinton campaign affiliates.”

Still another tweet pointed out “The completely absurd Russian-sourced ‘dossier’ collusion hoax was fed to compliant media figures & gov’t officials” and that its “secret funding was only learned much later via a leak to friendly reporters under pressure from Rep. Nunes’ HPBSI [House Intelligence Committee] investigation.”

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