September 7, 2020

"But journalism is not supposed to be grounded in whether something is 'believable' or 'seems like it could be true.'"

"Its core purpose, the only thing that really makes it matter or have worth, is reporting what is true, or at least what evidence reveals. And that function is completely subverted when news outlets claim that they 'confirmed' a previous report when they did nothing more than just talked to the same people who anonymously whispered the same things to them as were whispered to the original outlet. Quite aside from this specific story about whether Trump loves The Troops, conflating the crucial journalistic concept of 'confirmation' with 'hearing the same idle gossip' or 'unproven assertions' is a huge disservice. It is an instrument of propaganda, not reporting. And its use has repeatedly deceived rather than informed the public. Anyone who doubts that should review how it is that MSNBC and CBS both claimed to have 'confirmed' a CNN report which turned out to be ludicrously and laughably false."

Writes Glenn Greenwald in "Journalism’s New Propaganda Tool: Using “Confirmed” to Mean its Opposite/Outlets claiming to have 'confirmed' Jeffrey Goldberg’s story about Trump’s troops comments are again abusing that vital term" (The Intercept). The  "ludicrously and laughably false" CNN report was that "during the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump, Jr. had received a September 4 email with a secret encryption key that gave him advanced access to WikiLeaks’ servers containing the DNC emails."

If Rumormonger tells a story to Newspaper1 and then Rumormonger tells the story to Newspaper2, Newspaper2 can't say that it is confirming the story! It can only confirm that Rumormonger is mongering that story. There's no more confirmation than if Newspaper1 and Newspaper2 were on a conference call with Rumormonger and heard the story simultaneously.

102 comments:

David Begley said...

The Dems know how to play the game and dupe the public. The Fake News is in on it.

Jen Griffin from Fox should be fired and I don’t say that lightly. She never should have used the word “confirmed.” She should have said that she talked to the same cowardly anonymous liars and they told her the same lies.

MayBee said...

Exactly! And....he said something bad about John McCain so he must have said something bad about WWI victims isn't confirming details of the story either. It's a different story.

donald said...

File under No Shit Sherlock.

Fernandinande said...

The consistent and obviously coordinated dishonesty of the MSM, especially in racial matters, is alarming.

Many MSM outfits falsely claim that the St. Floyd autopsy itself says he died by homicide, and they often refer to the same false statement in the nyt rather than to the autopsy itself (and purposely omit a link to the autopsy), when the autopsy plainly says: "No life-threatening injuries identified" and specifically mentions that there were no signs of having been strangled.

That's just part of the consistent MSM bullshit which got all the bogus rioting started.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Reminds me of my Parent's "inside" joke when I was a kid (many many moons ago).

Mom and Dad both worked in the printing industry for newspapers, when the art of printing was an occupation that required skills other than just typing. Linotype, printing presses, teletype reading, type setting, editing, page setting etc.

They also worked closely with, and knew the staff of the papers: journalists (called reporters back then), editors. (I got to met with Herb Caen in SF when I was a kid. Didn't' know who he was but my parents thought I should be impressed :-) They had high respect for him)

The joke......They can't print it in the paper if it isn't true.....then loud laughter! Har har har har.

Even then we knew that the newspaper was a joke. The whole industry knew it.

Now EVERYONE knows it.

iowan2 said...

People wont see this the analysis. Not in the Intercept.

abc, nbc, cnn, nyt, lat, etal, will not run a piece talking about this. It has been true for years. Media advancing the DNC narrative. Because the media, is the DNC. The media narrative is always to advance the goals of the DNC. Which is not terrible, except the DNC has no agenda. No programs to advance the will of the people. The DNC only seeks to expand power for the sake of control over others. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The media confirming its own rumors has always happened.

But no one raised an eyebrow when The FBI used the media to confirm their suspicions about Russia Collusion. The FBI leaked their source to the media, then used the media reporting to confirm their source...to get a warrant to spy on a political campaign. Not a peep from anybody. Not a soul is taking the media to task for not "confirming" the source leaked to them by the FBI. Along comes President Trump pulling back the curtain on Oz. (oh, and Republicans are silent about all of this, Republicans are in on this too)
But I'm supposed to give consideration to reporting about President Trump disrespecting our troops, that is source anonymously? Why would any person accept any part of that story?

Another dog bites man story.

Original Mike said...

"Journalism’s New Propaganda Tool: Using “Confirmed” to Mean its Opposite/Outlets claiming to have 'confirmed' Jeffrey Goldberg’s story about Trump’s troops comments are again abusing that vital term"

They do the same with "debunked".

rcocean said...

An excellent take by Greenwald. Its interesting that Conservative Inc. has nothing to say about this, given how "Concerned" they are about "Standards" and "tone".

tim in vermont said...

"the only thing that really makes it matter or have worth, is reporting what is true, or at least what evidence reveals."

"It is an instrument of propaganda, not reporting.”

So is Greenwald saying that propaganda is of no value? He should get out more. It’s of huge worth to the billionaires who seek to run every facet of our lives, and put their figurehead “in charge” of their weapons producing machine and the war mongers who increase demand.

Michael K said...

Greenwald, annoying as he is, might be the last honest reporter.

Leland said...

Sadly, the practice isn't even news. The FBI was planting news stories to confirm their evidence to investigate Trump. It's the same playbook from the last several election cycles. Still, people fall for it and vote Democrat.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Speaking of ludicrous and laughable, here’s Greenwald: “But whatever happened, neither AP nor Fox obtained anything resembling ‘confirmation.’ They just heard the same assertions that Goldberg heard, likely from the same circles if not the same people...” Journalistic confirmation in the All the President’s Men sense has always meant that Source1 tells you something and Source2 confirms it. But Greenwald wants to believe it’s not confirmation if Source1 and Source2 come from the same circles. And then Althouse turns Greenwald’s people into a single Rumormonger.

MikeR said...

In their defense, I would think that in normal times a report from four different top officials would carry a lot of weight. It might be reasonable to just do a check that those top officials indeed said that.
These are not normal times. We have all had our fill of "top officials" spouting totally irresponsible nonsense that later turned out to be completely wrong and completely partisan. We never doubted that "top officials" said it. We just don't trust top officials any more.

T J Sawyer said...

"Confirmation Journalism" overtakes "Confirmation Bias" as a reason to be skeptical of our media.

tim in vermont said...

“We call it the ‘wrap-up smear.’ You smear somebody, with falsehoods and all the rest, and then you merchandise it,” Pelosi said at a press conference last year.

“And then you write it, and then they’ll say ‘See? It’s reported in the press that this, this, this and this,’ so they have that validation that the press reported the smear, and then it’s called the ‘wrap-up smear.’ Now I’m going to merchandise the press’s report on the smear that we made.”
. - Nancy Pelosi

Jeff Brokaw said...

Good points, but the real problem here is the audience those journalists are serving. They do not care whether *anything* is true.

It’s confirmation bias every day, all day long. There is no fixing this until those people stop demanding that the news confirm their hallucinations.

We can complain about the fall of journalism as much as we like, but they are in the business of serving up eyeballs and clicks for advertising reveune, and nothing more.

Criticisms that only discuss ethics and other Useless in 2020 Bullshit are wide of the mark. Just does not matter, even though I completely agree with the ethics argument.

tim in vermont said...

Hey Left Bank, could you give me the words that were supposedly said in context? It seems like whenever somebody’s words are characterized rather than quoted, bullshit is going on. It’s a solid rule of reading today’s press. Probably was true reading Pravda too.

And when did you become such a big war monger? Why are you hanging off ever word from the neocons who brought us the Iraq war? Jeffery Goldberg wrote that Saddam was working with Al Qaeda and Cheney used his article to justify the war that Biden voted for and supported. Why have you crawled into bed with that sleazy bunch?

LilyBart said...


The media have outed themselves as manipulators and liars.

Jeff Brokaw said...

Related: the Deep State — CIA, DOJ/FBI, and State especially, with their proxies in Congress — has used the media to push their propaganda for decades.

Do the math on this, folks. How many thousands of “news” stories have you read in the last 40-50 years that were, in all likelihood, essentially false and planted for political gain?

I’m going with 90-95%.

tommyesq said...

Meh, it worked for the FISA court.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Somehow reminds me of Greg Packer: New York publications and media sources would look for a "man in the street" who was in line for some opening or event. Somewhat lazily, they would go to the head of the line, and approach someone who seemed eager. To an incredible extent, they kept talking to the same guy--out of all the millions in that city. Now it's "let an anonymous source dump a story in your lap, and don't check it." Of course the sources and their media friends all hate Trump, so the option of doing actual reporting isn't even considered.

Jeff Brokaw said...

It is vitally important to realize the depth of this MSM problem which goes far, FAR deeper than mere bias.

Even Watergate — the most famous “journalists as heroes uncovering corruption” story in our history — was really “spurned Deep State bureaucrat uses press to tell his story and get revenge, and together they bring down a sitting president for no good reason while portraying themselves as heroes”.

That was bullshit too. Even their best story was bullshit.

What line do I get into to get all those wasted hours of my life back? All that wasted energy believing the lies?

Sally327 said...

It is true and was confirmed that some publicly unidentified individuals stated that Trump did say certain things. Other publicly identified individuals state Trump didn't say those things. But that doesn't really matter. The left has what it was looking to achieve here, everyone talking about what Trump said (or didn't say) and even though it's in the context of what's confirmed or not confirmed, that's okay because it keeps the story alive, that Trump called the soldiers buried in a World War I cemetery in France "losers".

If Trump did say that it means he needs a history lesson because we won World War I. Unless he meant it the way Carl Sandburg did in his poem "Losers":

IF I should pass the tomb of Jonah
I would stop there and sit for awhile;
Because I was swallowed one time deep in the dark
And came out alive after all.

If I pass the burial spot of Nero
I shall say to the wind, 'Well, well!'-
I who have fiddled in a world on fire,
I who have done so many stunts not worth doing.

I am looking for the grave of Sinbad too.
I want to shake his ghost-hand and say,
'Neither of us died very early, did we?'

And the last sleeping-place of Nebuchadnezzar-
When I arrive there I shall tell the wind:
'You ate grass; I have eaten crow-
Who is better off now or next year?'

Jack Cade, John Brown, Jesse James,
There too I could sit down and stop for awhile.
I think I could tell their headstones:
'God, let me remember all good losers.'

I could ask people to throw ashes on their heads
In the name of that sergeant at Belleau Woods,
Walking into the drumfires, calling his men,
'Come on, you ... Do you want to live forever?'

Bob Smith said...

I understood newspapers and their tenuous relationship to the truth back in the 50’s when the local newspaper ran a nice warm human interest story about my Dad. The problem? The story was made up out of whole cloth.

tcrosse said...

'Believability' is no fit criterion, because according to Muggeridge's Law,

"There is nothing you can imagine, no matter how ludicrous, that will not promptly be enacted before your very eyes, probably by someone well known."

Temujin said...

The fun part is all the media-slick ads that were made, seemingly overnight, and the slots for angered vets arranged to be on national morning news shows, seemingly within hours, and Biden's orchestrated press conference questions- led off with a question from The Atlantic- all done within hours of a Huge Breaking Story. One would almost think the entire thing was thought out, planned, placed, and staged.

Nah. Democrats would never do such a thing. Let's ask a random Antifa 'peaceful protestor' in Portland for their opinion on such a thing.

minnesota farm guy said...

A great piece that all the "professors of Journalism" should read and memorize. Greenwald takes his obligatory swipe at Trump as usual, but everything else is right on the money. Grennell and Rhodes probably gave the best summation of todays "journalists": they don't know anything. I would add that they have no ethics and no scruples to go along with their ignorance.

Wince said...

For now I'm assuming the source(s) for the story wish to remain anonymous because they can't be placed in the room with Trump and therefore what is being related to reporters is in fact at minimum double hearsay.

Have Greenberg or Griffen even nailed down what level of hearsay they are reporting from their anonymous "sources"? Can they independently confirm that their "sources" were actually in the room?

The when and where of this anonymously-sourced story should be the first and most clear foundation to their reporting about what was allegedly said.

Even then, there's the matter of quoting only of particular words, the absence of full context, and the source's explanation of what Trump meant placed in quotes.

Michael said...

Once the Progressives taught an entire generation that there is no truth, only narrative, enormous damage was done. The great task before us is to reclaim the institutions (schools, media, even corporations) for the liberal idea. How bizarre that the effective instrument at hand is Donald Trump!

PB said...

It doesn't matter to democrats. I am constantly amazed at how quickly and completely some people receive, repeat, and believe with every fiber of their body that these things are true. Nothing will dissuade them from that view. If you present clear proof that what they accepted as true is actually wrong, not only will they not change their mind, but they'll actually get angry at you.

Big Mike said...

Believe it or not, I can actually picture Trump saying something disparaging -- however not about the WWI doughboys but about their leadership. Here's the most famous example, but I bet hardly any of you readers are aware of it.

Context. An armistice has been negotiated for November 11 at 11:00 AM, local time. You are the commanding general. On the early morning of November 11th do you ...

(1) Order your front line troops to remain vigilant in case of a treacherous last minute assault by the Germans, while making plans to provide those front line troops with clean clothes and hot food by noon that day (and additionally making plans for triumphant victory marches when you and your troops get back home), or

(2) At 10:30, just a half hour before the war was to cease, do you order those front line troops "over the top" to charge into entrenched German troops armed with machine guns, suffering 3500 needless casualties?

If you think highly of American generals you might suppose that the answer is #1, however, the correct answer is #2. On the other hand, if you're a Vietnam Era veteran you probably guessed correctly. And if Trump correctly referred to the generals and colonels who led those troops (safely from the rear) with disparaging remarks, well, once again he's right.

hombre said...

“It is vitally important to realize the depth of this MSM problem which goes far, FAR deeper than mere bias.“

The “problem” does not exist to the media. Trump’s election and personality has pulled out all the stops and given them “the right” to use fake news to select a POTUS by manipulating nincompoops who comprise a significant portion of the electorate. This latest BS from The Atlantic simply shows they haven’t hit bottom yet in terms of calumny.

The “problem” will arise for the mediaswine if Democrats gain enough power to turn them into the old Pravda eliminating any illusions they have left about being a free press. Obama saw the potential and acted on it with individual reporters, e.g. Sheryl Attkinson. The purchases of WaPo and Atlantic by Democrat fat cats is just a start.

Either way it is clear that the journalism of which Greenwald speaks is gone, never to return.

Bilwick said...

Relax. There is no truth but socialist truth, comrades.

Stephen said...

Professor Althouse, you have become right wing apologist.

The heart of this story is what Trump is alleged to have said to Kelly at his son's grave.
That story could only have come from Kelly, and Kelly himself has never denied it. It also is so strange and sadistic. I mean, who would say such a thing to a bereaved father, and a Marine, at his own son's gravesite? If it hadn't happened, who would have even imagined it could happen?

Then we have multiple sources confirming the heart of the story to both The Atlantic and Fox. These are well respected reporters operating independently. How likely is it that they are making up what they are being told. Now perhaps all the sources are lying...But there are a lot of them.

Moreover, there is the undeniable fact that Trump, alone among Western leaders, could not be bothered to take a car ride to the commemorative events in France. if Trump were such a fan of the military and of military valor, he would have gone to Belleau Wood. This is the beating heart of the Marine Corps story--more casualties in one battle that in the whole prior history of the Corps. Hallowed ground. A man who claims to venerate Fort Benning and Fort Hood, monuments to traitors and mediocrities, so much that he won't allow their names to be changed who couldn't be bothered to take a car ride to honor the allied dead in WW I? A crock.

Then we can ask: is this consistent with Trump's prior public comments? It is, from calling John McCain a loser in public to disrespect for Gold Star parents. You cite Bolton as saying he didn't hear this, but he also said it's consistent with what he knows of Trump.

Not to mention Trump's draft dodging.

Against that, what do we have: basically Trump's denial. But even on verifiable matters, like whether he called McCain a loser, the evidence shows he is lying. Plus, the man has a long history of lying through his teeth about matters he thinks are not verifiable--think Stormy Daniels, for example. So what reason do you have for thinking that Trump is telling the truth on this one, Professor Althouse?

Finally, there is the gauzy nonsense suggesting that if Trump actually said this stuff, he was talking about the human waste of war. I call BS. On every occasion where Trump has said this stuff, including when he said it to Kelly, a bereaved father, he did so to hurt and humiliate.

You should be ashamed to have abandoned your common sense. And whatever your treatment of the evidence is, it is not neutral.

tcrosse said...

"You cannot hope to bribe or twist, thank God! the British journalist. But, seeing what the man will do unbribed, there's no occasion to." - Humbert Wolfe

Original Mike said...

"We can complain about the fall of journalism as much as we like, but they are in the business of serving up eyeballs and clicks for advertising reveune, and nothing more."

Not anymore. Ad dollars are drying up. Now the money to be made is in political advocacy. Credibility no longer has value. Explains a lot.

The media has redefined journalism as advocating for left-wing policies and the advantage of this is that in the age of the internet, political activism has a better business model than journalism.

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

It only proves that the Atlantic's sources can repeat the same story to different outlets. There's no fifth, on-the-record source for the story. Just a bunch of Bernie Sanders, as Lars Larson would say.

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

It only proves that the Atlantic's sources can repeat the same story to different outlets. There's no fifth, on-the-record source for the story. Just a bunch of Bernie Sanders, as Lars Larson would say.

Unknown said...

So it's not 'journalism' it's 'propaganda'. Are they practicing 'journalism' at all?
Peddling surreptitious 'propaganda' dressed up as 'journalism' has always been their job. Why else would need to go to 'journalism' school? How to do this is what they learn.

The Godfather said...

And yet, the Press has such a fierce commitment to The Truth, that when they quote something Trump said, they add that he said it "without evidence" -- even if it's clearly a statement of opinion not fact, or even if it's a tweet, for which documentation is typically not provided.

Openidname said...

Related to "idea laundering" in academia:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/idea-laundering-in-academia-11574634492

Yancey Ward said...

"But Greenwald wants to believe it’s not confirmation if Source1 and Source2 come from the same circles."

I know logic is hard for you, Left Bank, but there is the issue of independent and dependent sources. If you will bother to actually read The Atlantic article, you will note that Goldberg, nowhere, claims the 4 sources are independent of each other, and nowhere does he describe their relationship to each other. Indeed, he deliberately obscures the relationship at every turn. For all we know, there is Source 1 who told the story to Sources 2, 3, and 4, and 2-4 "confirmed" the story for Goldberg and further for Griffin.

The main problem, though, is this- there are 4 anonymous sources vs numerous now named sources. In that event, you believe the people who put their names to their stories. What is illuminating about the Trump Jr. email story is that no one outed the source for the deliberate deception they practiced.

If this story about Trump is to have any legs at all, the anonymous sources will have to out themselves at some point, otherwise it won't garner Biden one extra vote since the media have basically cashiered their own credibility the last 4 years. In the event they do come forward, I predict every single one will be Democrats of long standing, and that only one of them, at most and maybe none, was even in a position to hear anything Trump might say- the other three will turn out to actually be people who are relating the event second-hand, not first hand, and from the mouth of the original source.

Joe Smith said...

It used to be that lawyers would be the first up against the wall in a revolution.

Congratulations, Althouse, it seems that journalists have taken your place.

Kevin said...

“Could be true” is the media’s stock in trade.

You expect them to fill 24 hours of TV every day with actual events and provable facts?

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Why is no one saying the story has been debunked.

Supposedly these high ranking officials said Trump cancelled the trip so as not to get his hair wet.

Records show the helicopter was grounded because weather.

Records show the secret service nixed driving to the graveyard.

And the next day Trump gave a speech in the rain.

To me that is definitive evidence the sources are not accurate.

I'm not even going to bother asking why the Atlantic didn't try to confirm their sources information.

John Althouse Cohen said...

The quote in the headline of this post seems unrelated to the rest of it. I don't know of anyone who's claiming that mere plausibility is confirmation. But talking to a source, verifying that s/he is really a senior administration official, and hearing that this person says s/he was accurately quoted in the original report and s/he stands by it — that would be confirmation. Is there any reason to think Fox News and CNN did anything less than that?

Pianoman said...

Fox News confirmed that, indeed, the four anonymous sources actually made those accusations.

Technically, it is "confirmation". But once again, the Left has obfuscated the clear meaning of a word for political purposes.

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.

Biff said...

While the current "confirmed" controversy pushes new limits, it's really nothing new.

It's not so different from the common journalistic practice of saying that something has been "debunked" because another article makes that assertion. If you actually follow a chain of "debunking" to what appears to be an original source, it often turns out that no debunking ever occurred, or if it did, it focused on a secondary or minor point that leaves the primary point of contention intact.

Likewise, I've come to interpret the use of the word "smear" by many journalists to mean "someone I dislike accurately described the statement or actions of someone I'm trying to protect."

Scott M said...

Isn't this exactly how Russiagate got its initial traction?

Big Mike said...

Greenwald, and Taibbi, and a handful of others, understand something that today’s J-school professors have forgotten — and thus today’s young journalists never learned. Back in the days of Walter Cronkite and Huntley and Brinkley, the axiom was that the only thing a journalist had to sell to the public was their credibility. Lose that and you’re like a grocery store with empty shelves or a gas station that forgot to refill its tanks. And after Sharyl Attkisson, Andy Ngo, Mollie Hemingway, and a few others, there doesn’t seem to be much interest in being credible.

Tomcc said...

Good God, this is tiresome. Something that sounds pretty awful and that could be tenuously, or tendentiously, ascribed to Mr. Trump becomes the meme of the day.
I don't personally know the facts of the matter, and also realize that I probably never will. The narrative supersedes the need for facts or context.

Drago said...

Stephen: "If it hadn't happened, who would have even imagined it could happen?"

You and your leftist pals

You're the same ones who dreamed up the anti-Reagan October Surprise lie, then came up with the W stole Florida(!) lie, then spent years claiming W Bush purposely let 9-11 happen while also claiming W Bush ran away like a coward in AF1 during the attack, then you lied and claimed W Bush was AWOL and a deserter from the National Guard.

You arseholes even lied about a plastic turkey against W!

And as for Trump and everyone around him, the list of your massive media hoax lies grows longer by second:

Hoax dossier
Russia collusion
Russian spies everywhere in Trumps campaign
Brett Kavanaugh was a rape gang leader
How about Covington Catholic?

Yeah Stephen, who could imagine such lies and then try to make them real?

You Stephen. That's who.

At this point only Losers and Suckers buy into any of the medias and deep state's disinformation campaigns.

Original Mike said...

"But talking to a source, verifying that s/he is really a senior administration official, and hearing that this person says s/he was accurately quoted in the original report and s/he stands by it — that would be confirmation."

All that confirms is that the original reporter wasn't lying or mistaken, which is something I guess, but I wouldn't call it a confirmation.

Original Mike said...

"That story could only have come from Kelly, and Kelly himself has never denied it."

I thought there were four sources?

Drago said...

Scott M: "Isn't this exactly how Russiagate got its initial traction?"

Yes.

Using precisely the same "Crossfire Hurricane" leaks of BS to multiple media outlets to create the illusion of "confirmation".

We had to endure 3 years of idiots like Stephen telling us the hoax dossier was "confirmed" every single day by ebery national security and FBI leaker around...right up to the moment we found out the entire thing was dreamed up by a russian who works at Brookings and his drinking buddies.

Tell you what Stephen, why dont you start by apologizing for all the lies you believed and pushed for the last 4 years here and then we'll discuss your latest lie.

Yancey Ward said...

J.A.C wrote:

"But talking to a source, verifying that s/he is really a senior administration official, and hearing that this person says s/he was accurately quoted in the original report and s/he stands by it — that would be confirmation."

Did you read Greenwald's entire essay? He pointed out the problem with calling this "confirmation" with a specific example where it was called "confirmation", but the actual story was completely untrue, and an actual fabrication by the source. Greenwald's entire point is that using the word "confirmation" this way is misleading because it implies the story itself is accurate.

Here is what Griffin should have written:

"I have talked to Goldberg's sources, and they told the same story to me, but I have not confirmed the accuracy of the sources' claims themselves." See the difference?

Jim at said...

during the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump, Jr. had received a September 4 email with a secret encryption key that gave him advanced access to WikiLeaks’ servers containing the DNC emails."

I remember a certain idiot on this board who screamed for days about this massive scoop.

Jim at said...

You should be ashamed to have abandoned your common sense

Here's a big, fat, fucking mirror, Stephen. Take a good, long look into it.

Yancey Ward said...

This sort of thing is what is at the root in the rot of journalism- an utter inability to understand basic fucking logic. Just because someone tells me the same story he told to someone else doesn't increase the validity of the story itself. In that case, you don't use a word like "confirmed" precisely because it will be misunderstood by uncareful readers- like Greenwald wrote, you only do that if you are actively trying to convince readers the story itself is true.

I am quite sure, having read Griffin for years, that she probably wasn't trying to propagandize Goldberg's story- she probably really does believe her work makes more credible the story told by Goldberg's sources. It doesn't- this is really basic logic here- the kind a normal twenty year old adult used to understand.

Richard Fagin said...

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, something needs to be done to neutralize New York Times Co. v Sullivan. That's when the dam broke and all the relatively risk free libel began. If these so called journalists had to fork out some serious damages for publishing out and out lies, this stuff would stop overnight. Trump hinted at it, and of course was pilloried by the press. He was about tearing down statues of Washington and Jefferson, too, wasn't he.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Stephen:

"Moreover, there is the undeniable fact that Trump, alone among Western leaders, could not be bothered to take a car ride to the commemorative events in France. if Trump were such a fan of the military and of military valor, he would have gone to Belleau Wood. This is the beating heart of the Marine Corps story--more casualties in one battle that in the whole prior history of the Corps. Hallowed ground. A man who claims to venerate Fort Benning and Fort Hood, monuments to traitors and mediocrities, so much that he won't allow their names to be changed who couldn't be bothered to take a car ride to honor the allied dead in WW I? A crock."
*****************

What a steaming load of bullshit.

The original plan was to take a helicopter, but bad weather would have kept one on the ground if it managed to land. Aside from your frothing hatred for Trump, can you offer a reason why it would have been a good idea to risk stranding the POTUS outside Paris? The Secret Service didn't think so, and THEIR logs show it was THEIR decision to nix the flight.

As for driving out to the cemetery, neither Trump's people or the French had made prior arrangements to block off traffic in Paris to allow a presidential motorcade to proceed unimpeded. Have you ever had to deal with Paris traffic on even a good day? Do you really think having Trump sit in traffic would have been a good idea, from a security standpoint?

Clown.

Yancey Ward said...

Analyzing "debunked" in this kind of context is actually useful because it highlights what the word "confirmed" actually means. For example, the claims that they would have visited the cemetary but for Trump worrying about the rain messing up his hair, a claim by source 1-4 in the Goldberg story (including the claims that the excuses given at the time were lies), has actually been debunked by written records that were contemporaneous for the event in question- additionally, Trump gave a speech in the rain the next day, also debunking the claim about his hair. John Bolton, in a book written last year, confirms the validity of the written records used to debunk that claim from Goldberg's article.

I will give an example from my history as a chemist, but in this story, I was just an observer of the work- it was one of my mentors that did the actual study debunking the original claims. There were claims that a palladium catalyzed coupling reaction, a Stille Coupling, could be conducted in just the presence of the copper co-catalyst, a much cheaper catalyst by itself than palladium. As it turned out, all the spectrographic data (1H NMR/13C NMR) presented conclusively showed cross-coupling occurring in the claims that the reaction was run without the addition of Pd(PPh3)4 to the reaction. The examination of the spectra wasn't confirmation, however- all the examination of the spectra demonstrated was the claims could be valid-i.e. we couldn't use them to debunk the claims or confirm them- but added no weight to the original claim itself.

As it turned out, the claims were debunked by conducting the reactions themselves, with and without palladium catalyst, in completely new glassware with completely new Teflon-coated magnetic stir bars. In the original lab, the researchers had been conducting lots of palladium catalyzed reactions and reusing glassware and stir bars. As it turned out, the stirbars were contaminated with minute particles of palladium metal which were actually catalyzing the reactions. Confirmed, no, debunked, yes. Goldberg's article is in the equivalent position of the original claim of copper catalyzed Stille Couplings, and Griffin did no experimental analysis at all- she examined the spectra.

Iman said...

The perfidy of the MSM - and its obvious collusion with the DNC - may be the final nail in the coffin.

The pathetic grifting of the Dispatch, the Bulwark, the Lincoln Project, etc., has been an eye-opener for this voter. Describing them as human scum doesn’t come close to capturing it.

doctrev said...

John Althouse Cohen said...
But talking to a source, verifying that s/he is really a senior administration official, and hearing that this person says s/he was accurately quoted in the original report and s/he stands by it — that would be confirmation.

9/7/20, 11:21 AM

"Oh, anonymous hearsay isn't evidence- but if obvious lies debunked by multiple witnesses can be traced to a source, THAT kind of hearsay is admissible!"

Did you get your law degree out of a crackerjack box, Mr. Cohen? Were you strictly a legacy admission owing to your mom's influence? Or was your JD a wedding gift of some sort? Because your grasp of law is sub-Biden, and he was in the bottom 25% of his class at Syracuse.

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

The Democrats love hearsay. They used hearsay "evidence" by Eric Ciaramella as provided by Lt. Col. Vindman to impeach DJT. That leak was a breach of the espionage laws, as Eric Ciaramella had no need to know about that Ukrainian telephone call even if he had a clearance. In fact, the ICIG changed the standards for a whistleblower complaint to allow hearsay after the complaint was filed.

Yancey Ward said...

And, here, we have this logical error:

"The heart of this story is what Trump is alleged to have said to Kelly at his son's grave.
That story could only have come from Kelly, and Kelly himself has never denied it. It also is so strange and sadistic."


Did you read the article, Stephen? Kelly isn't one of the sources Goldberg claims- Goldberg went out of his way to say Kelly refused to comment for the article. Did you note what the sources claimed about what John Kelly initially thought? If you did, then you are making a fool of yourself for castigating Althouse for having the exact same interpretation.

Let's grant for the sake of argument that Trump really did say, "I don't get it- what was in it for them?". Goldberg's own sources told him that Kelly initially interpreted this as Trump "making a ham-handed reference to the selflessness of America’s all-volunteer force". Only later did Kelly change his mind, according to the sources. If all Goldberg has here is that Kelly changed his mind, then he actually has nothing. The only really solid fact about Trump in the entire article are the comments about McCain, a vicious political opponent of Trump both before and after the 2016 election- and there you can't separate out Trump's dismissive comments about McCain's service and then try to imply that Trump feels that same away about all military personnel- that would actually devolve into mind-reading. Add in the fact that the sources were actually conclusively wrong about the Belleau Woods ceremony and the reasons for not attending, Goldberg's story all falls apart, leaving you solely with John Kelly changing his mind about about a comment that could be interpreted multiple ways- in other words, Golberg, his sources, John Kelly, and you are claiming to read Trump's mind.

Yancey Ward said...

In Goldberg's story, the only new thing that might still be true, is John Kelly changing his mind about his interpretation of something Trump said at the grave-site, and this is something that John Kelly himself didn't confirm for Goldberg. All of the rest of the claims have either been debunked by documentary evidence, or by stories from other veterans and their families that have had documented interaction with President Trump. Even a sworn enemy of Trump says that the claims of Trump's remarks during the European trip were unheard by himself, and he was proveably there for the events in question, actually traveling with the President each time.

And, let's grant that John Kelly eventually settled on the most damning interpretation- so what? John Kelly is no better at reading minds than any of us.

Original Mike said...

Blogger wholelottasplainin' said..."Clown."

You're too kind.

Drago said...

You know what's funny?

The debunked hoax dossier, which the author has admitted in a court of law in London was completely unverified and the source of the dossier info has admitted was made up in bar with drinking buddies in DC, STILL has more "confirmation" "sources" than this latest hoax!

And the best part?

Stephen no doubt STILL thinks the hoax dossier is true!

The only thing missing from Stephens latest pack of lies is a description of a group of MAGA hat wearing deplorables destroying Arlington National Cemetery while shouting "this is MAGA country"...

....but trust me. Stephen and his hack pals will get there soon enough.....

Yancey Ward said...

This increasingly looks like Memogate from 2004 to me, just more stupid and ham-handed.

minnesota farm guy said...

I believe that "confirmation' is usually provided by finding an independent/unused source (not the one the author claims to have used anonymously, John) who was witness to whatever the event is supposed to have been. Going to the same"anonymous" source to be told the same direct lie or hearsay is not confirmation.

I thought doctrev was a bit harsh with John, but rereading John's comment persuades me that doctrev was spot on.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Here's another nail in the coffin carrying the fake story about "loser soldiers"

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/09/07/exclusive-zach-fuentes-top-aide-to-john-kelly-denies-atlantic-story-about-trump/

Stephen, you'll need a spatula and a steam hose to clean out your tighty-whities.

Yancey Ward said...

And, apparently, Goldberg is now back-tracking his own story as the evidence grows against it:

“I’m sure all of those things are true,"

That was Goldberg responding to the documentary evidence that the trip to the cemetary was cancelled by the Marine commander in charge of the helicopter transport, and that a last second planned road trip to the cemetary wasn't practical for security reasons. This is Goldberg tossing his "sources" under the bus for one of the major new claims in his own story.

Additionally, John Kelly's own deputy chief of staff, Zach Fuentes, has denied the Goldberg story being true in some of its claims. Fuentes was the actual person who told Trump about the trip cancellation due to weather:

“You can put me on record denying that I spoke with The Atlantic,” Fuentes told Breitbart News on Monday. “I don’t know who the sources are. I did not hear POTUS call anyone losers when I told him about the weather. Honestly, do you think General Kelly would have stood by and let ANYONE call fallen Marines losers?”

He specifically also stated that he believes The Atlantic’s sources “are unlikely first hand accounts.”

“They are conflating those people from something the day after,” Fuentes said.

Fuentes also told Breitbart News he is upset that Trump has been speaking negatively about Kelly.
End quote.

Here is the heart of the problem with Goldberg's article- he could have called Fuentes up on the phone if John Kelly wouldn't talk to him. Goldberg could have filed FOIA requests for these records just like his detractors did, but Goldberg didn't even try. Goldberg was curiously incurious about evidence he could have gathered to support his own story. When someone behaves like that, it is a tell- it is telling you that Goldberg himself didn't really believe his own story, and was afraid that if investigated it properly, he wouldn't be able to publish without leaving a trail of his own fingerprints on buried evidence. In other words, Goldberg didn't want to disprove his own story before he published it.

Memogate all over again.

Jamie said...

In their defense, I would think that in normal times a report from four different top officials would carry a lot of weight.

It might if the four different officials each independently told the same first-hand story, but that claim isn't made, if I understand this story correctly - in fact, Fox's follow-up explicitly says that the Marine officer, who is implied (again, if I'm reading this all correctly) to be one of the sources, said he heard the story from someone else, and another implied source only confirmed that the trip took place.

Further, it might if even one of those sources would go on the record, rather than trembling in the corner over "angry tweets."

Further further, it might if the original reporter, who one might presume does know the identities of the sources, would have done one single thing to validate what they told him or her. This either didn't happen, or if it did, the reporter didn't learn what s/he expected to learn, and therefore is not reporting on it. Of course, there's also the possibility that these sources are so anonymous (a la Deep Throat, a case where the reporters got lucky and the source actually did hold a position that allowed him access to secrets - and naturally the one case that every reporter takes as The Rule now) that the reporter has no idea who they are... meaning that anybody with an axe to grind can make international news simply by mailing a sufficiently salacious claim in to the WaPo or NYT in an un-return-addressed envelope.

Ah, "journalism"...

wholelottasplainin' said...

I know I'm just making the rubble bounce, but:

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/09/07/u-s-ambassador-france-denies-atlantic-story-potus-never-denigrated-any-member-us-military/

Yancey Ward said...

At this point, I am beginning to think Goldberg's sources set him up- you have two choices, either the sources are as dumb as shit, or Goldberg is. Of course, they could all be as dumb as shit, so three choices. Never mind.

Michael K said...

"Stephen" is a vicious troll with the usual blank profile.

NYC JournoList said...

I’ve written more than 5,000 stories in my career and could go into detail on why this story is suspicious. Fifty-fifty that the reporter is lying and if I were the editor I would push back to get sources on the record before greenlighting it. But that is problem one: the reporter is also the editor.

Second issue, if the story is true then Trump knows who heard him make the statements. So why do the sources need anonymity? Trump already knows who they are. I am willing to bet money that Goldberg made this up. Once a story is out it is not hard for a second reporter to find sources willing to pile on out due to their own motives. The Fox reporters conformation are worthless. I have been there, done this.

tim in vermont said...

So John Althouse Cohen is now in bed with the neocons who got us, with Biden’s support and approval, into the Iraq war, where Cheney specifically cited Jeffry Goldberg’s lies.

You must be so proud John, to be on these people’s sides banging the war drums.

tim in vermont said...

I will take the man who has moral qualms about sending kids off to die in a war over the person who orders them into battle while tapping his foot to Stars and Stripes Forever and a broad smile.

“We came! We saw! He died! (chortle guffaw)” - Hillery Rodham Clinton.

Now there are open slave markets in that country Hillery. ‘Wives’ sold to the highest bidder.

tim in vermont said...

It’s the military/intelligence community/defense contractor/New York Times-WaPo cabal that was behind impeachment who are genuinely angry that we have a president who questions their absolute right to send our young men off to war.

I'm Not Sure said...

"But talking to a source, verifying that s/he is really a senior administration official, and hearing that this person says s/he was accurately quoted in the original report and s/he stands by it — that would be confirmation."

Confirmation that the anonymous source was accurately quoted, not that what the anonymous source said was true.

Do you understand the difference? I hope so.

Matt Sablan said...

The time to punish journalists for "fake but accurate" was years ago.

Stephen said...

None of you takes on the full range of the evidence, which consists of multiple sources, present or former government officials, who claim direct knowledge and who have given accounts to multiple reporters, including reporters with no evident axe to grind, as well as a lot of other corroborating public evidence. And no one addresses the problem with Trump's own credibility, including the fact that in his public denials of Goldberg's story he offered a provable falsehood about what he said in the public record about McCain, not to mention his disastrously bad overall record for truthfulness.

Bottom line: Trump could have gone to honor the war dead if he believed it was important to do so. American ingenuity would have found a way. Kelly got there; other world leaders got there; Trump could have too. His failure to do so is completely inconsistent with his professed commitment.

More fundamentally, none of you really take on the article's basic point: that Trump is a hypocrite, who professes devotion to military values, but in fact believes that courage, selflessness and devotion to duty are for suckers and losers, that the dead and wounded are to be hidden and ignored, and that unless one has made a lot of money one is not really a success.

So let's switch the question around. Who of you actually think that Trump in fact sincerely reveres and honors courage, selflessness and devotion to duty? And what is your evidence that he does so? And how do you square it with the broad range of evidence cited in the Goldberg article, or with his complete failure to find common ground with the distinguished and highly decorated military men who served him, including Kelly, Mattis, and McMaster?

You might also want to compare him, along this axis, with the Democratic candidate, whose son served overseas, who evidently has a high regard for the values in issue, and who, with his wife, has made a significant personal commitment to the cause of military families.




I'm Not Sure said...

I guess it shouldn't, but still- it surprises me that anyone with two brain cells to rub together thinks that confirming the existence of an unsubstantiated claim is in any way meaningful.

But wait- what's that, you say? Those making that confirmation are doing so in the hope that people who aren't paying much attention (or aren't too bright) will confuse the fact they confirmed an unsubstantiated claim with confirmation that that claim was, in fact, true?

As much as it sucks, there's no denying that's where we are today.

Bunkypotatohead said...

The irony is that the people writing these news "stories" about how the president said something disparaging about US soldiers, would call them nazis, babykillers, and racist murderers if you asked their opinion of our armed forces.

Narayanan said...

Stephen said...
Professor Althouse, you have become right wing apologist.

The heart of this story is what Trump is alleged to have said to Kelly at his son's grave.
That story could only have come from Kelly, and Kelly himself has never denied it.
---------=========

I found the story from 2017 (below) - about war dead in 2010 (Obama - Biden)

my simple question to you -
does Kelly (or you) have an answer for Trump and more importantly his son? and other fathers and their sons?

.... Kelly's son 1st Lt. Robert Kelly was killed while on patrol in Afghanistan in 2010. "Robert was killed in action protecting our country, its people, and its values from a terrible and relentless enemy," Kelly wrote after his son's death.
When Trump and Kelly, who served as secretary of homeland security before becoming the White House chief of staff, visited Arlington on Memorial Day in 2017, the two men stopped at Robert Kelly's grave. Standing there, Trump reportedly turned to Kelly and said: "I don't get it. What was in it for them?"...

ken in tx said...

Some wit has said that's easier to fool some people than it is to convince them that they've been fooled.

Kirk Parker said...

Big Mike,

Wow, that guy must have been jealous of Gen. Haig's body count.

Yancey Ward said...

Stephen,

It is clear you know nothing about argumentation or logic. You wrote:

"More fundamentally, none of you really take on the article's basic point: that Trump is a hypocrite, who professes devotion to military values, but in fact believes that courage, selflessness and devotion to duty are for suckers and losers"

This is a fallacious argument that has a well known name. It is called question begging. You assume as true exactly the thing we are debating here. Who are the people who claim that Trump holds these beliefs? You also employ another fallacious tactic of argumentum ab auctoritate when you appeal to anonymous sources described by you as government officials. We are directly questioning the truthfulness of these officials, Stephen- anonymous officials- you haven't even addressed this because you don't know who these people are either. You earlier claimed it had to be John Kelly, but I pointed out that Kelly didn't confirm the story for Goldberg, and I suspect I know why- because Kelly wasn't sure himself if he had been insulted, and this is me accepting for purposes of debate that Trump even said those words described- words I pointed out are not all that easy to interpret, as even Goldberg's story clearly indicates.

In short, there is literally no support for any of the claims in the article about Trump calling dead soldier losers or suckers but the word of anonymous people. For me to even entertain the possibility that they are telling the truth, I would absolutely have to know who they are. People unwilling to forthrightly make an assertion under their own damned names are to be doubted until they do.

iowan2 said...

I know he/they is a troll, but this is for me, not the troll. It was just too easy, and the wife has a hallmarky kind of movie on, I need something to occupy they other 98.763% of my brain.

None of you takes on the full range of the evidence, which consists of multiple sources,4 people all say the same thing,none are identified as independent of each other present or former government officials,which is it? Former, or present? Both? Who? What title do/did they hold? who claim direct knowledge no direct knowledge is claimed, that would put them in the room, something never claimed in article and who have given accounts to multiple reporters,Woa..multiple reporters? Multiple reporters have contemporaneous reciting of the same events? That's new, I need a cite including reporters with no evident axe to grind,At least you admit reporters will lie to tell a story to get their ax ground. It's a start as well as a lot of other corroborating public evidence.

Original Mike said...

"None of you takes on the full range of the evidence, which consists of multiple sources, present or former government officials, who claim direct knowledge and who have given accounts to multiple reporters,"

Really? Name the sources.

Jamie said...

Stephen. You appear to be personally convinced of exactly the thing Greenwald decries - that this story could be true - not that it can be proven or shown to be true by examination of evidence, which is a reporter's job.

There are two questions here. 1. Did the reporters do their job here? 2. What is the importance of the story?

In answer to 1., it's abundantly clear that they didn't - they have no independent corroboration of this story. If they did, they'd lay it out - so clearly they were unable to get corroboration. In answer to 2., let's posit for the moment that Trump said a mean thing about dead war veterans. What has he actually done for the military, including veterans, today? Answer that question - answer it truthfully - and you may find yourself a step closer to understanding why Trump supporters can remain Trump supporters desire his often blunt and occasionally crude speech: his actions are on point.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Stephen, you are a complete turd. You do not address the evidence, just pile on another steaming load of your diarrhetic claims , claims that you simply add to those that have been amply refuted and you choose to ignore in silence.

You have the brains of an amoeba, the kind of amoeba that give people...diarrhea.

Narayanan said...

Big Mike said...
Believe it or not, I can actually picture Trump saying something disparaging -- however not about the WWI doughboys but about their leadership. Here's the most famous example, but I bet hardly any of you readers are aware of it.
----------============
thank you Sir.
Trump amazingly is the first humane man to occupy the White House in more than a century.

rcocean said...

"Is there any reason to think Fox News and CNN did anything less than that?"

I shouldn't have to ASSUME, that a news-story "confirmed" by Fox News and treated as credible by the MSM, is accurate. Its up to Fox News and Goldberg to show us their story, which they claim is accurate, is supported by evidence, and credible, real-life people.

Right now, we have two Trump hating "Journalists" asserting they talked to some mysterious someone's who may or may exist, who supposedly have 2nd hand gossip about Trump. And NO OTHER EVIDENCE. If this was fact-checked it would be labeled an assertion without evidence, and a Conspiracy theory.

rcocean said...

Look if this story was true, Goldberg would name his 4 sources. Instead, he refuses to do so, because "they will get mean tweets". I mean, how STUPID and DISHONEST do you have to be, to think this is a credible news story worthy of publication or discussion?

Again, why doesn't Goldberg NAME HIS SOURCES? is he protecting trump? Why doesn't the Trump hating Fox News babe name her sources?

Give me a good reason, for keeping them secret IF the story is true.

tim in vermont said...

""More fundamentally, none of you really take on the article's basic point: that Trump is a hypocrite, who professes devotion to military values,”

Democrats banging the war drum, what else is new.

Banjo said...

"(I got to met with Herb Caen in SF when I was a kid. Didn't' know who he was but my parents thought I should be impressed :-) They had high respect for him)"

Caen was the S.F. Chronicle columnist who had 10,000 people turn out for his parade through the downtown when he was dying of cancer. He was the master of witty short paragraphs and one liners that killed. He was great on giving people names, better even than Trump. The department store magnate Cyril Magnin was dubbed The Merchant Prince. I asked him what percentage of Caen's stories did he think were true based on his own personal knowledge. "About half," he said. That's a pretty good average for a newspaperman.

tim in vermont said...

So it all fell apart, only got printed due to the shoddy standards at the Atlantic, and the Fox ‘confirmation’ actually never confirmed anything, because he wasn’t talking about soldiers, he was talking about his well-documented contempt for the military industrial complex.

Don’t worry, Left Bank and Althouse Cohen will swallow the next story hook line and sinker too.

They remind me of the bowfins that sometimes hang around my dock. You can catch the same one six times in a row, if you want, and they will bite just as hard the sixth time as the first.

This was Glen Greenwald’s point.

tim in vermont said...

Trump never once has professed devotion to the weapons manufacturers, leakers to the NYT and WaPa, and generals who start these wars.

Original Mike said...

"They remind me of the bowfins that sometimes hang around my dock. You can catch the same one six times in a row, if you want, and they will bite just as hard the sixth time as the first."

Thanks for that analogy, Tim. I have caught the same fish more than once myself. It just makes me shake my head.

"What were you thinking?"
"Oh. Right."