In today’s media environment, if you belong to the mainstream media, you have got to be on your best game, every day, all day. Because even though Donald Trump lies like a motherfucker, the White House and the Republicans spread wild untruths, and Fox News, Drudge, and Breitbart publish bullshit on the regular, those people will still pounce on anything that resembles bullshit from the MSM. If you’re CNN, or the NYTimes or the Washington Post, there’s zero room for mistakes, because the right will take every fuck-up and blow it up (and they have Russian bots in their corner).
Yesterday, CNN fired three employees because of a shoddy investigative report they wrote citing one anonymous source saying that the Senate Intelligence Committee was investigating a Russian investment fund linked to folks close to President Trump. Breitbart called CNN out on the story, Sean Hannity started screaming FAKE NEWS, Buzzfeed got involved after CNN deleted the story and got a quote from someone close to CNN saying that the story was a “massive, massive fuck up,” and the right-wing media had a goddamn field day. Or weekend.
Three reporters were fired, but the terminations only confirmed for Trump that the story was inaccurate.
Because that’s the thing: Donald Trump and the right-wing media can take one shoddily reported story and tarnish the credibility of not only the organization in question, but all of the mainstream media.
It doesn’t matter if the other 99 percent of their stories are accurate. Trump doesn’t care about accuracy (obviously); he cares about winning, and this gives him a huge win, and now every goddamn Trump supporter in the country will call into question everything that CNN reports.
And then things got worse. So much worse. That motherfucker James O’Keefe caught a CNN producer ON CAMERA saying that the Russia investigation was bullshit, and that CNN only covered it for the ratings. “I think the President is probably right to say that this is a witch hunt.”
That video is the top story on TMZ right now, folks. Fuck.
Well, here’s the deal, as Sopan Deb from the NYTimes points out:
CNN has probably 1,000 producers, not including APs, PAs, etc. But sure, let's use 1 guy's private comments to represent the whole network.— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) June 27, 2017
One guy's private comments, by the way, judging from the source, that there is a better than 90% chance they were edited deceptively.— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) June 27, 2017
By the way, you know who has a lot of insight into CNN's Russia coverage & is representative of it? A Sr. producer for CNN's Medical Unit.— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) June 27, 2017
Deb is probably right, but you know what? It does not matter. Trump and the right do not care about facts. They care about trashing the credibility of fact-gathering organizations. And in this case, they have plenty of ammunition.
CNN has got to be better than this. In the meantime, maybe the mainstream media should call out organizations like Breitbart and Fox News a little more often for their inaccurate reporting, because the right sure as hell ain’t going to hold them accountable.
This is why the reputation of the media is for shit right now. The Fourth Estate has to do better, be better, because it’s the only defense we have right now.