Accuracy in Media

Josh Campbell, a special agent with the FBI, resigned on Friday, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times that appeared over the weekend, and, on Monday, agreed to become a contributor on law enforcement and other issues at CNN.

“FIGURES,” Gateway Pundit shouted in a headline.

Campbell appeared on CNN on Friday and said he was leaving the FBI, but he failed to mention he soon would be an employee of the network,” Fox News reported. The Daily Caller reported the flyer for Campbell’s goodbye party said attendees should gather to “celebrate Josh’s new endeavor defending the Bureau as a CNN law enforcement analyst.”

Campbell was a top assistant to James Comey when Comey served as FBI director. “Special Agent Josh Campbell will be missed at the FBI, but his voice is an important addition to the national conversation,” Comey tweeted.

Campbell said he was leaving because of dwindling public support and partisan attacks against the agency by President Trump and his allies, who have charged the agency functioned as an arm of the Hillary Clinton campaign before, during and even after the 2016 election.

“To be effective, the FBI must be believed and must maintain the support of the public it serves,” Campbell wrote in his New York Times piece. “These political attacks on the bureau must stop. If those critics of the agency persuade the public that the FBI cannot be trusted, they will have succeeded in making our nation less safe.”

Axios suggested conservatives’ refusal to accept the FBI’s version of events with regard to the Russia investigation, the Steele dossier, FISA warrants and other issues are political in nature.

“From the anti-Trump texts between two agents to a hyped-up memo, the FBI is losing support from the conservative public. Campbell writes in the NYT that ‘scored-earth attacks from politicians with partisan goals’ threaten the FBI’s ability to do its job, and staying silent risks letting the agency be ‘defined by those with partisan agendas.’”

It presented a poll that suggested Trump’s attacks on the agency have begun to have some impact. The poll found only 49 percent of all Americans had a favorable impression of the nation’s top domestic law-enforcement agency, and 28 percent unfavorable.

Among Republicans, just 38 percent had a favorable impression of the agency, compared to 47 percent who do not. Among Democrats, 64 percent had a favorable impression, compared to 14 percent who didn’t.

“The stark new Republican skepticism of the FBI means that Trump has succeeded in preemptively undermining the findings of special counsel Bob Mueller,” Axios wrote.

“Many Republicans will now see Mueller’s report or recommendations as a political document, and the conservative media will portray it that way. It’s the great muddying we have been telling you about since December. This is a massive swing from the initial bipartisan accolades for Mueller.”

Campbell acknowledged the FBI has lost credibility with Americans through its reported bias in the investigation of the president and its seeming willingness to be used for political aims. He admitted the texts between two agents involved in both the investigation and an extramarital affair were “cringe-worthy,” but said that “while it would be disingenuous to claim that those two are not at least guilty of exercising incredibly poor judgment, it would be equally disingenuous for anyone who really knows the modern-day bureau to insinuate that the organization is plotting from within.”

“When the FBI knocks on someone’s door or appeals to the public for assistance in solving crime, the willingness of people to help is directly correlated to their opinion of the agency,” he wrote. “To be effective, the FBI must be believed and must maintain the support of the public it serves.”

He does not address that an FBI agent departing, writing a critical piece of the administration in the New York Times, then going to work for network television, does not engender trust in the agency or the media outlet he joined.

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