Fox News propagandists did Rudy Giuliani a solid by seizing on a small correction in the very large story about the heap of legal trouble he’s in – in an obvious effort to distract from and discredit the serious charges he may face.
The retractions were insignificant to the overall Giuliani story
Rachel Maddow put together a terrific explainer of the Giuliani matter, as we knew it on Friday night. To summarize: federal investigators raided Giuliani’s home last week, reportedly looking for information as to whether he was illegally paid, either in cash or favors, such as dirt on Joe Biden, by Russian agents, in exchange for getting corruption-fighting Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch fired and/or to keep indicted oligarch Dmytro Firtash from being extradited to the U.S.
A part of that story was a report that Giuliani had been warned by the FBI, in 2019, that his cronies were Russian agents. That’s the part that was completely retracted on Saturday by The New York Times and NBC News and a bit less definitively by The Washington Post which seemed to base its walk back on Giuliani disputing it.
Whether Giuliani was warned or not does not bear on the essence of the potential crime here. And let’s face it, a guy like Giuliani, gallivanting in Ukraine, boasting about his insider status with Trump, should have thought of it all on his own.
Surely, the five cohosts of Fox’s Outnumbered show knew all that when they spent five minutes whining about the retractions and not a second on Giuliani’s behavior, which looks pretty darned corrupt.
Fox hosts overlook the many false slurs on its own network as they point fingers at others
Lead cohost Harris Faulkner set the agenda in her introduction.
FAULKNER: Some big names in the mainstream media forced to retract an explosive story on Rudy Giuliani after reporting that the FBI had warned Giuliani he was the target of a Russia disinformation campaign. However, many other news outlets didn’t even cover the retraction.
She then quoted a tweet from Giuliani demanding that The Washington Post and The New York Times reveal their sources.
The idea that an American, close to Trump, may have deliberately worked with Russian agents to smear an American presidential candidate didn’t seem to bother this crowd. No, the enemy here was the media that made a mistake - and then didn't make a big enough deal over it.
Guest and cohost Karl Rove credited the outlets for the correction. But he then acted as if that tidbit, alone, was all that mattered. “Once you’ve smeared somebody’s reputation, once you’ve laid a piece of misinformation out there, it’s awfully hard to remove it from the public sighting,” he said.
Oh, you mean like the bogus “Biden burger ban” that Fox relentlessly spread, then only briefly corrected? Or the false aspersions the network cast on Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic in its effort to falsely delegitimize the 2020 presidential election – which could cost the network billions? Or how about the New York Times journalists Tucker Carlson deliberately endangered with a lie? And, by the way, did Sean Hannity ever apologize to Seth Rich's family for trying to frame the young murder victim for leaking DNC emails to Wikileaks? Who was the source for that smear, which we now know for sure was a lie?
Faulkner, supposedly a real news person, jumped on the bandwagon of journalism hypocrisy. “No doubt!” she exclaimed self-righteously. “Reputational harm – very, very hard to fix.”
Lisa “Kennedy” Montgomery ridiculously suggested that the sources for the "warning" report could have been either Michael Cohen or Michael Avenatti “because they certainly have axes to grind with the former mayor of New York City as well as former President Trump.” Or it could have been my Aunt Sadie, which was just as likely. Kennedy gave the slightest nod to the seriousness of the matter by acknowledging that Giuliani may be in "deep yogurt."
McEnany pretends to care about truth and accuracy
Faulkner now acknowledged that the retractions were not such a big deal, after all. But she she tossed a new gripe to McEnany.
FAULKNER: You know, Kayleigh McEnany, having had to make a few clarifications in my nearly 30-year journalism career, it’s not always easy to have to do that. It really helps to work in the words “apologize for the … error.” It doesn’t hurt you to admit that you’re human. What does hurt is, it is so legalized that the retraction doesn’t even get coverage … it’s just boiler plate, you know, “Oh, I dropped my shoe on the floor.”
The claim that the retraction was not covered is false and deserves its own retraction. The Giuliani retraction was covered by CNN, Axios, Insider, The Hill and elsewhere – as well, of course, by Murdoch outlets Fox News and the New York Post. I guarantee you it will be a big topic on Fox prime time.
Not surprisingly, #LyingKayleighMcEnany regurgitated the "coverage" falsehood.
MCENANY: Look, there’s an epidemic in American journalism and it is anonymous sourcing, oftentimes a single anonymous source that ends up being wrong. And you see the corrections and you’re right, the corrections barely get any coverage, there’s reputational damage for Rudy Giuliani and others with that nuance there.
But what is so important to me is, the American people are seeing this, and as Joe Concha, who you had on last hour, mentioned this Axios poll that came out that said 92% of Republicans believe that the media intentionally reports false stories and 79% of independents! That is an extraordinary number. And Edelman Research is the trust barometer and this year they found that journalism is at its lowest point of trust. So there are real consequences when you have explosive stories like this, causing damage to someone’s reputation. The American public recognizes it and it leads to mistrust, which is really unfortunate for an important profession.
This, from the woman who shilled for the Big Birther.
You can watch the distraction effort below, from the May 3, 2021 Outnumbered.
Dear-in-the-headlights Kayleih really gets my goat so I shall refrain from saying anything about her.