Smollett just one in a string of false accusations by Trump opponents

The sad case of actor Jussie Smollett and his now-proven-false claims that he was viciously attacked by racist Trump supporters is not an isolated case.

But the media holds a great deal of blame for reporting initial instances and claims without using normal journalistic practices and standards that would have protected against misreporting.

Lessons should have been taken from numerous cases of high-profile wrongly-accused, whether it’s Richard Jewell falsely blamed (and later cleared) in the Atlanta Olympic bombings, Officer Darren Wilson falsely blamed (and later cleared by the Obama Justice Dept.) in the shooting of Michael Brown (the Justice Dept. concluded the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” claims were fabricated), Wen Ho Lee accused (but never charged and then prevailing in libel lawsuits against media) in the Chinese theft of our most sensitive nuclear secrets, Kyle Rittenhouse accused (but later cleared) of wrongful shootings of his attackers during a riot, the Covington Catholic kids falsely portrayed as being aggressive against a Native American protester, the University of Virginia frat brothers falsely accused of sexual abuse in a Rolling Stone article, Steven Hatfill falsely accused by the FBI in anthrax attacks, Trump and campaign associate Carter Page as supposed Russian spies, well– the list goes on. You can think of others.

If only the media were to follow normal standards and practices when these cases arise (reporting fairly, attributing claims, reporting both sides of a story), then we wouldn’t ultimately shoulder so much of the blame for the out-of-control false narratives that derive from the news reports.

When it. are to Smollett’s accusations, some media outlets responsibly reported and properly attributed allegations. But others did not. Some unskeptically furthered the narrative that Smollett, who is black, was attacked by Trump-supporting racists who put a noose around Smollett’s neck, shouted racial slurs, told him it’s “MAGA” (Make America Great Again) country, and poured bleach on him. The New York Times deserves special mention here for adding a biased non sequitur in its early reporting that treated skepticism of Smollett’s story as if it were unfounded, and fit in a dig at President Trump’s son.


But the lack of progress in the investigation has fueled speculation about whether the report was exaggerated. The president?s son Donald Trump Jr., who is known to disseminate conspiracy theories on his Twitter feed, retweeted an article this week about Smollett declining to turn over his cellphone to the police.

New York Times reporting on the Smollett claims

Here are but a few of the other cases whereby Trump opponents staged fake attacks or made false claims. The initial accusations were widely reported; the follow ups were not so widely reported.

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DC bar restores status of convicted ex-FBI lawyer who deceived the FISA court during Russia probe

Kevin Clinesmith, the former senior FBI lawyer who was placed on probation as a convicted felon for falsifying a surveillance document during the Trump-Russia investigation, has been returned to “good standing” as a member of the D.C. Bar Association. 

In August of 2020, Clinesmith pleaded guilty to doctoring an email that was then used to justify a surveillance warrant that targeted former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. As a result, Clinesmith was sentenced in January to 12 months probation, though the D.C. bar did not seek his disbarment. 

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MSNBC’s Heilemann Claims ’30 Million People Right Now’ Ready to Take Up Arms for Trump

MSNBC network national affairs analyst John Heilemann said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that there were “30 million people right now who are ready to take up arms” for former President Donald Trump.

Anchor Chuck Todd said, “I want to read what Bart Gellman wrote in the cover story for The Atlantic. Some might say it is hyperbolic, but John Heilemann, I’m curious if you think it is? The headline is Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun. ‘Trump and his party convinced a dauntingly large number of Americans, that the essential workings of democracy are corrupt, that the made-up claims of fraud are true, that only cheating can thwart their victory at their polls, that tyranny usurped their government and that violence is a legitimate response.’ Hyperbolic or fact?”

Heilemann said, “Fact, I think. The strength of that Gellman piece is it lays out this extraordinary reality that there is this research that shows something like 8% and maybe as many as 12% that say Joe Biden was illegitimate and violence is an appropriate tool to removing him and restoring Donald Trump. That’s between 20 and 30 million people. That’s a mass movement in America in favor of political violence, which is a new thing. We’ve been political violence before, lynching many things over the course of time that African-Americans have suffered, but this is 30 million people right now who are ready to take up arms.”

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Top 10 Democrats Who Fell For Convicted Felon Jussie Smollett’s Hate Crime Hoax

Disgraced actor Jussie Smollett became a convicted felon on Thursday evening after a jury found him guilty on 5 out of 6 felony disorderly conduct charges stemming from a hate crime hoax that he staged on himself in 2019.

“He was found guilty of telling a police officer he was a hate crime victim, telling an officer he was a battery victim, telling a detective he was a hate crime victim, telling a detective he was a battery victim and then telling a detective again he was battery victim,” Fox News reported. “He was not found guilty on a sixth charge of telling a second detective he was an aggravated battery victim.”

Numerous top Democrats rushed to pounce on Smollett’s initial claims that he had been attacked by purported Trump supporters.

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CNN Uses Pearl Harbor Anniversary To Warn of Second Civil War

CNN’s John Avlon joined CNN Tonight host Michael Smerconish on Tuesday for another of of his pretentious “reality check” segments. This particular instance involved using the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor to hype the possibility of a second civil war.

Coming out of a commercial, Smerconish suggested that 2021 is not that different than 1941, “Today marks 80 years since the infamous surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, a day that would change the course of our nation’s history. Just as the strength of our democracy was tested then, we find ourselves yet again in a different but just as dangerous war on truth and democracy and science.”

He then tossed things over to Avlon, who continued with this theme, and without any self-awareness declared:

Over the past six years, America has endured sustained assaults on truth, democracy, and science. Leading to reduced trust in our institutions and each other. Those breaches don’t heal overnight. It has a downstream effect, tainting a rising generation with a sense of pessimism. And perhaps the most stark snapshot of that came from a new poll of young people age 18 to 29 conducted by the Harvard Institute of Politics. It shows that a majority believe that our democracy is at risk. And who could blame them, after seeing a president lie about election results, incite an insurrection, and then see one party follow him into la la land. 

Getting further and further away from any credible Pearl Harbor analogy, Avlon reported: “…when it comes to the science of confronting climate crisis, Republicans are clearly on the back foot when it comes to young Americans. A solid 55% say that the federal government is not doing enough to combat climate change, which includes 68% of folks with a college degree and 50% without. A small slice, just 14%, think the feds are doing too much. Which lines up with the do-nothing climate change denial of Donald Trump.”

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The Corrupt Media Did Not Fall For The Russia Collusion Hoax. They Were Part Of It

Soon after Special Counsel John Durham indicted Igor Danchenko, the “Primary Sub-Source” of the Steele dossier, on five counts of lying to the FBI, the press paused to feign a moment of public introspection. The corrupt media’s attempt to frame their failings as mere confirmation bias, however, holds no truer than the Russia-collusion hoax they peddled for five years.

The proof of this reality is seen in the prostitute sex tapes: the non-existent “golden showers” one and the verifiable, but ignored, Hunter Biden videos.

The first step of what appeared, at least momentarily, to be the kick-off of a mea culpa parade came earlier this month when the Washington Post amended large segments of two articles covering the Russia-collusion storyline, one from March 2017 and the second from February 2019.

Both articles had named Sergei Millian, a Belarusian-American businessman, as the individual identified as “Source D” in the Steele dossier. While Millian had long denied speaking with Danchenko or having any role in the dossier, it was only after Durham charged the Russian-born Danchenko and former Brookings Institute employee with lying about receiving a telephone call from Millian that the Post and other media outlets removed the claims.

Then, last week, The New York Times ran a “guest essay” by professor of journalism and former Columbia Journalism School dean Bill Grueskin, headlined, “How Did So Much of the Media Get the Steele Dossier So Wrong?”

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Glenn Greenwald torches ‘amoral sociopath’ Adam Schiff for remaining defiant after hyping Steele dossier

Greenwald, who has long been skeptical of the Russian collusion narrative and outspoken of the media’s uncritical coverage, torched the top Democratic lawmaker for his defiant stance. 

“Look at what an amoral sociopath Adam Schiff is,” Greenwald reacted. “He spent years promoting the Steele Dossier. He read it into the Congressional Record. He lied about the ‘smoking gun’ evidence he saw (that Mueller never found). Watch how he worms his way around to avoid even an iota of mea culpa.”

He added, “Notable that Adam Schiff — who appears on every CNN, MSNBC and Sunday morning network news program as often as possible — just had his first truly adversarial questioning about his pathological Russiagate lies not on any of those networks but from Morgan Ortagus on the View.”

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Anatomy of a media hit job — how press pushed Clinton’s lies against Trump

Russiagate has fallen apart, with special counsel John Durham exposing the notorious Steele Dossier as a collection of lies and made-up stories. But you wouldn’t know it by reading most of the media, which have mostly ignored the story.

More importantly, they haven’t faced up to their own part in pushing this witch hunt. Relying on one anonymous source — ex-British spy Christopher Steele — they spun a supposed conspiracy between Donald Trump and Russia. But they never revealed the fact that Steele was being paid by Hillary Clinton’s campaign for opposition research, and they never examined Steele’s sources, who were unreliable or nonexistent.

Here’s how the media amplified Steele’s baseless claims to create hysteria. None of these stories have been updated, no corrections have been made.

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‘They deliberately lied’: Glenn Greenwald torches top liberal media outlets over ‘Russiagate’ and ‘collusion’

Investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald is an old-fashioned liberal…in other words, he leans left but he’s not a lunatic like the current breed. This weekend, Greenwald eviscerated the so-called “mainstream” media for continuing to push the narrative that former president Donald Trump colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election, BizPacReview reports.

Sunday morning, Greenwald made three primary points in a Twitter thread.

“The vast majority of disinformation, propaganda, and lies that flooded the country over the last 5 years did not come from MAGA boomers on Facebook or 4Chan teenagers but the largest and most influential liberal corporate media outlets,” Greenwald wrote.

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John Durham’s Latest Indictment Reveals Part of Story Behind ‘Pee Tape’

Special Counsel John Durham revealed part of the story behind the infamous “pee tape” allegation on Thursday, deep in his indictment against Russian-born, U.S.-based researched Igor Danchenko, a primary source for Christopher Steele’s “dossier.”

The “dossier” was used as the basis for claims that then-candidate Donald Trump had engaged in “Russia collusion.” And its most salacious accusation — which many Democrats believed — was that Trump had hired prostitutes on a visit to Moscow to urinate on a bed in the presidential suite of a hotel where he had been told that President Barack Obama had once slept.

The search for the “pee tape” consumed the media; impeachment investigator Daniel S. Goldman once claimed, falsely, it existed.

But Durham’s investigation turned up the back story.

The indictment relates that in June 2016, a person referred to as “PR Executive-1” — now confirmed to be communications executive and Clinton associate Charles Dolan Jr. — and “Organizer-1” visited Russia to plan an October 2016 conference, where they would meet with senior Russian officials and even visit the Kremlin itself. Dolan stayed at the Moscow hotel in question; Danchenko was in Moscow but did not stay at the same hotel.

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