Based on the recent discussions in the Castle (listen here to our most recent podcast for a taste) and a recent Twitter post by ‘Puter who pointed out the problems with this NY Times article. Keep in mind this article is in the Politics news section of the NY Times, not the Opinion section.
First, let’s trace back the history on this. In the final Presidential debate in October 2017, Hillary Clinton stated:
We have 17, 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyber attacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin. And they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing
Politifact – a supposed “fact-checking” website – confirmed this as 100% true. They recently claimed that DNI Clapper’s testimony refers to a “newer” assessment and the facts surrounding Clinton’s claim remain true.
This story of “17 agencies” has persisted in the media for months. And in the referenced article at the beginning of this post, we get the following opening statement:
President Trump said on Thursday that only “three or four” of the United States’ 17 intelligence agencies had concluded that Russia interfered in the presidential election — a statement that while technically accurate, is misleading and suggests widespread dissent among American intelligence agencies when none has emerged
Wrong. It is technically accurate period. It’s not misleading and does not suggest widespread dissent. Most Americans hardly know that there are 17 Intelligence Community agencies to include the Department of Energy, The Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Department of State. I would wager that the majority of Americans that you poll, unless they work in or around the Intelligence Community, couldn’t name more than four or five. This statement is NOT FACTUAL. This is an opinion of the author, Matthew Rosenberg, and his editors at the NY Times. Rosenberg goes on to explain why only the four agencies are involved:
The reason the views of only those four intelligence agencies, not all 17, were included in the assessment is simple: They were the ones tracking and analyzing the Russian campaign. The rest were doing other work.
Not only “doing other work” but the four agencies are the ones who have purview over the matter.
The headline is what is misleading:
Trump Misleads on Russian Meddling: Why 17 Intelligence Agencies Don’t Need to Agree
Imagine a more accurate and less politicized headline:
Trump Corrects Prior Reports on Russian Involvement regarding the 17 Intelligence Agencies
The left cannot understand why people are so disgusted with the media but this is a plain example. This incorrect statement made by Hillary Clinton was left unchallenged by the media for months. And now, the storyline is that Trump is using the accurate update as a means of misleading people?
And the NY Times recent correction was buried at the end of another Politics piece reading:
A White House Memo article on Monday about President Trump’s deflections and denials about Russia referred incorrectly to the source of an intelligence assessment that said Russia orchestrated hacking attacks during last year’s presidential election. The assessment was made by four intelligence agencies — the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. The assessment was not approved by all 17 organizations in the American intelligence community.
This isn’t isolated to the NY Times, however, USA Today and other papers reported similar news. And, just recently, CNN reported Jim Acosta claimed that the “three of four agencies” statement by Trump was “fake news”.
When are we going to get that press that has the skeptical view of government officials across BOTH parties and not one that is so slanted that it becomes essentially an opinion arm for one side?