The New York Times went on an embarrassing typeface tirade last week regarding President Trump. In a June 25 piece, Maggie Haberman leaned heavily on Trump for the variety of ways he deflected and distracted regarding the Russian hacking efforts during the election.
In the hectoring piece, Haberman listed various explanations Trump has offered up to explain away, or level blame, for the cyber attacks.
Government officials, members of Congress from both parties and even some Trump supporters had hoped that, with the campaign behind him, Mr. Trump would finally speak declaratively about the email hacking and recognize the threat Russian cyberattacks present, without asterisks, wisecracks, caveats or obfuscation.
The most revealing aspect of this lengthy lecture on the correct interpretation of the hacking is that The Times quietly issued a correction. Haberman in her piece repeated the oft offered canard that “17 intelligence organizations” were the source of confirmation on Russia’s hacking attempts. The actual number is 3 — the FBI, CIA, and NSA — as well as the report then coming from the overriding Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
For a news outlet to castigate the President over the veracity of the hacking story while getting a core component incorrect is more than just ironic. The lack of urgency to reveal the whole story on this particular report speaks volumes, especially once the origin of that particular figure comes to light.
In the Washington Post, Erik Wemple notes that the “17 agency” talking point springs from a debate comment made by — Hillary Clinton. In Las Vegas, for the debate held in October, Clinton first offered up this incorrect factoid:
We have 17 — 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin and they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing.
Of particular importance then is that this means it cannot be in reference to hacking of the election, and therefore references the email hacking of the DNC. And it needs to be repeated that, as Donald Trump is constantly accused of unproven collusion with Russia, the Democrats stymied the investigation into the hacking by refusing FBI requests to analyze their servers.
It has been months that news outlets have been levelling criticism at the President for not accurately addressing the hacking issue. All the while they enthusiastically, albeit inaccurately, have been repeating as fact what was nothing more than a Clinton debate talking-point.