The Russia-collusion media malfeasance and malpractice is repeating itself. The false news gets widely shared, the correction makes barely a blip. Mission accomplished.
It’s amazing how much mainstream media political coverage of the Wuhan caronavirus pandemic resembles Russia-collusion reporting.
With Russia-collusion reporting, there were serial media bombshells of collusion based on anonymous sources how were “familiar” with a document or heard something from someone.
Those reports that rarely survived more than 72 hours, and often were debunked within a day. Yet the bombshells served their purpose of creating a permanent crisis media news cycle. By the time a report was debunked, another had taken its place. That went on for over two years.
The same pattern is beginning to emerge with regard to the coronavirus pandemic.
The media is determined to roll back in time the warnings about the pandemic for the purpose of blaming Trump and portraying a slow response. But as with Russia-collusion narratives, we need to wait 24-72 hours before considering a report even remotely credible.
A perfect example was a bombshell ABC News last night, Intelligence report warned of coronavirus crisis as early as November: Sources:
As far back as late November, U.S. intelligence officials were warning that a contagion was sweeping through China’s Wuhan region, changing the patterns of life and business and posing a threat to the population, according to four sources briefed on the secret reporting.
Concerns about what is now known to be the novel coronavirus pandemic were detailed in a November intelligence report by the military’s National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI), according to two officials familiar with the document’s contents.
The report was the result of analysis of wire and computer intercepts, coupled with satellite images. It raised alarms because an out-of-control disease would pose a serious threat to U.S. forces in Asia — forces that depend on the NCMI’s work. And it paints a picture of an American government that could have ramped up mitigation and containment efforts far earlier to prepare for a crisis poised to come home.
“Analysts concluded it could be a cataclysmic event,” one of the sources said of the NCMI’s report. “It was then briefed multiple times to” the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff and the White House.
From that warning in November, the sources described repeated briefings through December for policy-makers and decision-makers across the federal government as well as the National Security Council at the White House. All of that culminated with a detailed explanation of the problem that appeared in the President’s Daily Brief of intelligence matters in early January, the sources said. For something to have appeared in the PDB, it would have had to go through weeks of vetting and analysis, according to people who have worked on presidential briefings in both Republican and Democratic administrations.
“The timeline of the intel side of this may be further back than we’re discussing,” the source said of preliminary reports from Wuhan. “But this was definitely being briefed beginning at the end of November as something the military needed to take a posture on.”
It appears that George Stephanapolous was a key part of the rollout. On Sunday April 5, before the supposed existence of the report was made by ABC News, Stephanapolous asked Defense Secretary Mark Esper about it, as related in the subsequent ABC News story:
Asked about the November warning last Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper told Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, “I can’t recall, George. But we have many people who watch this closely. We have the premier infectious disease research institute in America, within the United States Army. So, our people who work these issues directly watch this all the time.”
Pressing the secretary, Stephanopoulos asked, “So, you would have known if there was briefed to the National Security Council in December, wouldn’t you?”
Esper said, “Yes. I’m not aware of that.”
.@Gstephanopoulos: “Did the Pentagon receive an intelligence assessment on COVID in China last November from the National Center for Medical Intelligence?”
— ABC News (@ABC) April 5, 2020
Stephanapolous also heavily promoted the news story — he did everything but scream “we’ve got him now!”:
But the joy in Mudville didn’t last long. The Pentagon felt compelled to issue an on-the-record denial. Col. R. Shane Day, a medical doctor and director of the DIA’s National Center for Medical Intelligence, issued a statement:
“As a matter of practice, the National Center for Medical Intelligence does not comment publicly on specific intelligence matters,” Day said. “However, in the interest of transparency during this current public health crisis, we can confirm that media reporting about the existence/release of a National Center for Medical Intelligence Coronavirus-related product/assessment in November of 2019 is not correct. No such NCMI product exists.”
ABC News now has added a paragraph to the current version of its news story, but the headline remains the same:
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect comment from the Pentagon.
* * *
The Pentagon did not comment Tuesday, but on Wednesday evening following the publication of this report, the Defense Department provided a statement from Col. R. Shane Day, Director of the NCMI.
“As a matter of practice the National Center for Medical Intelligence does not comment publicly on specific intelligence matters. However, in the interest of transparency during this current public health crisis, we can confirm that media reporting about the existence/release of a National Center for Medical Intelligence Coronavirus-related product/assessment in November of 2019 is not correct. No such NCMI product exists,” the statement said.
The White House National Security Council and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.
That was quick.
But in that short time period, the fake news was widely shared, including by Joe Scarborough, who updated his tweet almost 10 hours later with the Pentagon denial — but note over 8 thousand shares of the false news, and just a hundred shares of the correction.
The Russia-collusion media malfeasance and malpractice is repeating itself. The false news gets widely shared, the correction makes barely a blip.
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