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McClatchy reporter on publishing flimsy Cohen cell phone ping story: “It is a competitive business”

McClatchy reporter on publishing flimsy Cohen cell phone ping story: “It is a competitive business”

The rush to out-scoop each other to get Trump is a virus destroying journalism

Since the 2016 primaries, the mainstream media has been in a “scoop fever” to be the first to break news damaging to Donald Trump.

That obsession with scoops is evident on Twitter, where Journalist Twitter makes sure to let other Journalists know when they have a SCOOP.

This scoop-obsession has led to a lot of embarrassing missteps and faulty reporting, and it appears to be what drove McClatchy to run with a story recently that is being met with great skepticism even from other journalists.

I wrote about the McClatchy story in More “Russia Collusion” Media PSYOPs – McClatchy cell-phone ping report on Michael Cohen in Prague. The reporting claimed that Michael Cohen’s cell phone pinged a tower near Prague in the summer of 2016. If true, that might lend some support to the claim in the infamous Steele Dossier that Cohen attended a meeting in Prague at which collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians was discussed.

But the McClatchy story was not based on the personal knowledge of McClatchy’s unnamed sources. I wrote:

I don’t know if Cohen was in Prague, and neither does the media or anyone on social media. Some day the truth or falsity of the accusation will be proven or disproven based on actual first-hand reliable evidence. But that evidence has not been made public, and may not exist.

Yet that has not stopped repeated leaks, primarily through McClatchy, asserting based on unnamed sources that there is evidence that Cohen was in Prague in the summer of 2016.

Let’s focus on that lead-in: “four people with knowledge of the matter say.” As you read down through the article, it’s clear that is at best a misleading statement. The four people in question have no personal knowledge (emphasis added):

Four people spoke with McClatchy on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of information shared by their foreign intelligence connections. Each obtained their information independently from foreign intelligence connections.

Understand what this means. None of the four have personal knowledge. They had communications with foreign intelligence connections. Those connections may not even have personal knowledge.

Cohen repeatedly has denied that he ever was in Prague. In a series of tweets, Cohen not only denied he ever was in Prague, but also that he never was near Prague or anywhere in the Czech Republic:

Others have picked up on this problem as well. Chuck Ross at The Daily Caller writes about an interview that one of the McClatchy reporters, Greg Gordon, on the Maddow Show, with Joy Reid guest hosting.

Ross wrote, Michael Cohen Report Is Based On Third-Hand Information, Reporter Reveals:

The reporters who broke a potentially bombshell story claiming evidence that Michael Cohen visited Prague during the 2016 presidential campaign did not see for themselves some of the underlying intelligence cited in their report, one of the journalists who wrote the story revealed Thursday.

In an interview on MSNBC, Greg Gordon said that he and his McClatchy colleague, Peter Stone, did not physically see cell tower records and intelligence intercepts that they claim placed Cohen in Prague in summer 2016.

Gordon also suggested that the four anonymous sources he and Stone cite in their article also did not see the intelligence for themselves, meaning that the report is based on third-hand information.

“Is there anything that you were able to physically see for yourselves?” MSNBC host Joy Reid asked Gordon.

“I wish we had. We held out for a while for that, and it came a time when we thought we had a critical mass. It is a competitive business,” Gordon said.

“Some of the sources have government sources, and some of the sources are people who have told us that they have trusted intelligence-type sources that they get information from. We don’t know the specifics, but we have used these sources on many subjects, and they have been very accurate,” Gordon added.

When asked if he has seen the intercepts, Gordon responded, “No.”

He said that his sources were told that the intercepts exist.

Here is the clip posted by Ross. I encourage you to watch the whole segment at the MSNBC website. Reid did an excellent job even before this part throwing cold water on the McClatchy reporting:

What jumped out at me from the interview was at the very end (emphasis mine):

Reid: “Is there anything that you were able to physically see for yourselves?”

Gordon: “I wish we had. We held out for a while for that, and it came a time when we thought we had a critical mass. It is a competitive business.

Reid: “It is indeed.”

This is what happens when scoop fever pressures reporters and editors to rush out stories because it’s “a competitive business.” Competitive for what? Clicks and links?

Why isn’t there more pressure to have documentable, verifiable information?

It may turn out that McClatchy’s unnamed sources’ unnamed sources are eventually shown to be right. But if that’s the case, then McClatchy will not have vindicated scoop journalism and will be like the proverbial broken clock that is right twice a day.


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Hm, does the timing work out for the cell phone ping (supposed) trace to have been done when the DNC staffers were illegally using NSA resources to track the Trump campaign before Admiral Rogers pulled their plug?

“Guess what!?! I got a fever and the only prescription is more Trump.”

No wonder the press is angry, no matter how hard they try, it’s always Trump that gets two scoops while they come up dry.

“This is what happens when scoop fever pressures reporters”

BUT “scoop fever” only works one way. It’s only a scoop if it makes Trump look bad. If it makes (just to pick a name at random) Hillary look bad, it’s not a scoop and the bar for corroboration mysteriously becomes much higher.

That has nothing to do with it being a “competitive business.” They’re not competing for each other’s audiences. They’re competing to impress each other. Ratings or even the truth are side issues, at best.

We should look at these things from the point of view of the newsmen and women of our sadly dying press.
Most are quite young, and feel a need to compete hard to keep their jobs. They and their bosses live in the left wing New York, Boston Washington milieu and want to be seen as comers in this arena.
The previous administration flattered them and gave them access to government officials who were quite partisan and who fed them information which was very helpful to their careers.
Then Trump came along. They had no contact with anyone of any influence on Trump, and found themselves shut out from useful sources among Republicans. Even worse they feared ostracism by their colleagues and bosses if they showed signs of even treating the Trump adminstration fairly.
So through necessity, (the absence of sources), fear (of being disowned by all their associates) and the cajoling by their (dishonest) old sources they continue to disgrace their profession by trying to use it to attack Trump in every possible way.
And so they hate Trump. They hate him because they know they have become parodies of an honest press. They have come to hate themselves, and they blame Trump for pushing them into dishonesty and disgrace. Even worse Trump is an expert and public relations and usually manages to use their maniacal behavior to make them look foolish.
Strangely enough Trump’s tweets, which they distort crazily and then they look foolish when T explains what he meant, are what keeps them baying at his heels like a pack of dogs.
The same sort of thing went on in the Nineteen Thirties, though without a Trump figure, and it only broke up partially when Stalin decided to join with Hitler and attack Poland, thereby starting WW2. Perhaps half of the lefties gave up and rejoined the human race at that time.
The weird alliance between leftists who promote multisexism and anti-American muslims, who in power would hang all such people, may ultimately have a similar effect in our future.

    iconotastic in reply to daniel. | December 29, 2018 at 11:21 pm

    Interesting point, but the alliance between the National Socialists and the Communists was as much one of shared ideology as shared enemies. Both Stalin and Hitler were totalitarian socialists. Hitler, like our current-day progressives, didn’t mind private industry as long as it was under total state control. Hitler, also like our current day progressives, was a deeply committed racist and bigot.

    The attraction between our modern nazis and the Islamists is one of convenience–the enemy of my enemy and all of that. However most of the modern nazis are more likely to end up as human shields prior to being enslaved than winning in the aftermath.

    RobinLiberty in reply to daniel. | December 30, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    What you stated accurately describes the situation with the current mainstream media. I think that one of them (MSNBC?) should report the actual real news. Clearing up all the falsehoods reported about the Trump administration; and deeply reporting all the corruption in the DOJ, FBI, Clinton Foundation, Mueller Investigation, and all the ways since Trump announced his bid for President that the DNC et’al began their plan to destroy him by any means possible. This would set that network apart from all the others, allowing them to report the BIG SCOOP that the other networks don’t have. Fox News tries to do this; but their audience is primarily conservatives who already know about the Deep State. Exposing the Deep State on a major mainstream network would be the ‘SCOOP’ to rise them far above all other networks. It would be the perfect way to start the New Year!!! If only…

Having the intercepts would be evidence
Having a trusted source who is ranked in the government and is willing to allow the use of their name, who is willing to say on camera that they have seen the intercepts would be plausible evidence.
Having an unnamed source who relies on another unnamed source who knows a guy who might have seen an intercept that may be within a month or two of what you’re looking for…

Is just sad.

The Enquirer won’t even run that next to pictures of Bigfoot.

When these losers think competition is rewarded with a participation trophy they don’t think there can be anything wrong with getting to the finish line any way possible !
Who cares if it is fact or fiction !
They wrote the “story” so they WON !

Pretty much, Joe Biden ushered in the draft dodger age of plagiarism, and even though denied the Presidency, and rightfully so, he was able to use his bent morality well in the Senate and the Vice Presidency.

The legitimacy of Fake News and the mentality and lack of morality behind it can be placed in the setting of Joe Biden’s Father of Political Plagiarism Ethic which has so pervaded our news media.

Prof. J and Legal Insurrection staff deserves a huge “Shout Out”.
After reading this in depth report which highlights what goes for media reporting and journalism in today’s cycle of news, it is news worthy to post that PJ Media reviewing the most referenced, trusted and popular conservative websites which counter this type of journalism credits and places Legal Insurrection in their Top 50 for 2018.

The McClatchy story was NOT journalism. It was gossip. It has all of the journalistic integrity of am National Enquirer story from the 1980s. None. Personally, I would make NO attempt to excuse the actions of the reporters or the publication, in regard to this “story”.

As to the publication of this story being due to the “competitive nature of the news business”, this is BS. This was simply McClatchy trying to cash in on the current anti-Trump holiday hysteria among the media and take a wholly unwarranted swipe at Trump, using unsubstantiated gossip.

Just more fake news from a fake news agency.

Yes, it’s a ‘competitive business’ for parasites like this guy to lick the feet of their leftist handlers to get the kind of attention he’s getting now.

Fake news, democrat propaganda – call it what you want, but call it.

They have nowhere near that much self awareness. They are heroes in their own minds, zeros if ever forced outside their little bubble.

Everybody who has read any of the testimony to Congress already knows McClatchy is a left wing leak/propaganda site that creates anti-Trump/GOP/Judeo-Christian stories fed to it by GPS Fusion. This is but another example.

Ohio Historian | January 1, 2019 at 2:50 pm

“It is a competitive business” is the same excuse as “We don’t have to bother to check our stories because it slows us down”.