Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Unsubstantiated = Bullshit

I am a bona fide #NeverTrump guy. Wrote plenty of blog posts criticizing, even denouncing the guy. To this day, I remain skeptical of his ability to serve as President of the United States. Having said all that, his opponents are a lot worse. An amazing dispatch from the New York Times, via the local rag, demonstrates the absurdity of it all:
The chiefs of U.S. intelligence agencies last week presented President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump with a summary of unsubstantiated reports that Russia had collected compromising and salacious personal information about Trump, two officials with knowledge of the briefing said.

The summary is based on memos generated by political operatives seeking to derail Trump’s candidacy. Details of the reports began circulating in the fall and were widely known among journalists and politicians in Washington.

The two-page summary, first reported by CNN, was presented as an appendix to the intelligence agencies’ report on Russian hacking efforts during the election, the officials said. The material was not corroborated, and The New York Times has not been able to confirm the claims.
Unsubstantiated, and its kissing cousin not corroborated, means the Times is simply retailing whatever bullshit someone opposed to Trump wanted out there. My favorite bit of nonsense is this:
The memos describe sex videos involving prostitutes with Trump in a 2013 visit to a Moscow hotel. The videos were supposedly prepared as “kompromat,” or compromising material, with the possible goal of blackmailing Trump in the future.
That's a bit more delicate than retellings of the story you can find elsewhere -- the preposterous suggestion that Trump hired prostitutes to urinate on the bed in the presidential suite at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow, the same place where Obama had supposedly stayed when he had been there earlier. We are also told that the Russians have the entire hotel bugged, so that's how we know it's true.

Okay, so let's think about that -- if the Russians had the entire hotel bugged, what are the chances that Obama would have stayed there? Do you not think the Secret Service and the various operatives who travel with the president would have allowed that to happen? Seriously? Or did the Russians pull the bugs out and then put them back in?

Another story has already taken on water:
Michael Cohen, a lawyer and adviser to Trump, also went to Twitter to deny a specific claim in the opposition research involving him. One of the memos claims that Cohen went to Prague in August or September to meet with Kremlin representatives and to talk about Russian hacking of Democrats. 
Cohen tweeted Tuesday night: “I have never been to Prague in my life. #fakenews.”
It would be easy to substantiate whether Cohen had been to Prague. The Times didn't do it, nor has anyone else. The Atlantic did find out where Cohen actually was:
Cohen said that during the time the report places him in Prague, he was actually with his son visiting USC and meeting with the baseball coach. A USC baseball source confirmed Tuesday night that Cohen and his son had visited USC on August 29th. Cohen said that he was in Los Angeles from the 23rd through the 29th of August, and that the rest of the month he was in New York. He said that his only trip to an EU country over the summer had been a vacation to Italy in July.

Cohen also tweeted a photo of his passport: “I have never been to Prague in my life. #fakenews.” Trump retweeted Cohen’s tweet.
I suppose the USC baseball coach could be a Russian operative -- in a world where MSM publications retail any damn thing, it's possible. But we're in bizarro cloud cuckoo land here.

In the end, this is all good news for Le Grand Orange. Now that it's been established that the MSM will publish anything, you can safely assume that whatever credibility they had has now been urinated away. And that's a problem for all of us -- we need an honest watchdog to keep our government accountable. We haven't had one for a long time now.

Update (9:30 a.m.): Res ipsa loquitur:

Other than that, it's great reporting

When asked for further comment, Tapper said the following:

Forget it Jake — it's MSMtown


Brad Carlson said...

Fear not, as Meryl Streep made a recent plea for a "principled press" to call out Trump's outrageous behavior as POTUS. So that means it's gotta come to fruition, right?!?!?!

Mr. D said...

Ha! Only took a day for our "principled press" to blow that nonsense to the heavens. I wonder if anyone will ask La Streep about whether what got published yesterday was principled.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

Clearly the Left and the media are trying to undercut Trump before he has a chance to do anything at all. And perhaps that could happen. But it's dangerous for them to go all in like this. What if they don't topple him? What if a critical mass of Americans don't believe them no matter what? On the dark side, Republicans could get away with some nasty stuff (like Democrats or perhaps worse). On the light side, conservatives would be freed and emboldened to attack the Progressive Project and gut things like Planned Parenthood, public radio, public schools, unions, etc...

The Left had a great thing going with the uni-directional ratchet. Why risk it?

Bike Bubba said...

The press blowing smoke is an old, old phenomenon, and I remember vividly yelling at the radio when reporters uncritically accepted everything Mr. Clinton said back in the nineties, most of it nonsense. One would have hoped that an attack of conscience would rein them in, but apparently not.

Gino said...

I hope you saw his presser today. He took the wood to that CNN reporter.

Mr. D said...

I didn't see it, Gino, but I heard that he shut down the CNN reporter and took a question from Breitbart instead. It made all my lefty college friends completely enraged.