A CNN reporter made a false attack on Fox News host Martha MacCallum Wednesday evening, using a deceptively edited video clip from a far-left hit group to inaccurately portray an exchange she had with a retired FBI agent.
MacCallum brought on retired FBI profiler and forensic linguist Jim Fitzgerald, who helped catch the Unabomber, to analyze the multiple devices that were sent to Democratic political figures earlier in the day.
Speaking about the different potential scenarios of who could have been behind sending the devices, Fitzgerald explained that it could be someone on the political Right, a foreign entity looking to meddle in U.S. elections, or a false flag attack staged by someone on the political Left.
"A false flag, they also call it black ops, [is] some kind of an operation where a crime, or a letter, or something is done to make it look like it belongs to one entity when it actually in real life belongs to the other," Fitzgerald said. "And I'm by no means locked into this theory, but I'll tell you this Martha, these devices were either made and sent by a right-wing guy who doesn't like the Dems — and we can't rule out international aspects to this, Russians messed with our 2016 elections just using Facebook, could they have done this? — the other [possibility] is that false flag."
"And there could be someone in there, some Democrat, that low-level person, I'm not suggesting anyone on the top, but who just decided, 'I'm going to put this out,' because two weeks before a major election, who's going to look like the bad guy here? The Republicans," Fitzgerald concluded.
MacCallum responded by saying, "Fascinating," before launching into her next question.
CNN's Oliver Darcy tweeted a video clip from Media Matters that cut out most of what Fitzgerald said. The clip only included him saying:
...the other [possibility] is that false flag.
And there could be someone in there, some Democrat, that low-level person, I'm not suggesting anyone on the top, but who just decided, 'I'm going to put this out,' because two weeks before a major election, who's going to look like the bad guy here? The Republicans
The clip did not show him talking about how it could be a right-wing person, a foreign entity, or even the fact that he was not sold on the "false flag" theory. The clip also just listed Fitzgerald as a "Fox News guest," and did not mention that he was an expert FBI profiler who worked on bomb cases in his career.
Along with the deceptively edited video clip, Darcy wrote: "It's the responsibility of @marthamaccallum to make sure that after her guest spreads an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory on her air, she immediately corrects it for viewers and provides them the facts. Instead she simply replies, 'Fascinating.'"
Darcy's claim that a network news host has a "responsibility" to "make sure that after her guest spreads an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory on her air, she immediately corrects it for viewers and provides them the facts," is laughable considering CNN's extensive history of doing far worse.
Here are just 19 examples of when CNN either promoted unsubstantiated conspiracy theories on their network, flat out lied, or allowed guests to promote unsubstantiated conspiracy theories on their network without offering any pushback:
"President Trump receives faulty information, then he makes impulsive decisions, and his staff has to scramble," Stelter began, NewsBusters reported. "Ask yourself, why is there so much talk about the U.S.-Mexico border all of a sudden? Why are National Guard troops suddenly being deployed? Well, the answer involves President Trump's favorite channel."
Stelter's wild goose chase, which lasted more than three minutes, proceeded to try to convince viewers that "the line where Fox News ends and where Trump begins is getting blurrier by the day," a statement he made on the show and tweeted out afterward.
“That is how we end up with the National Guard deployed to the border in what I would argue is a PR stunt,” Stelter concluded, after taking viewers through another one of his conspiracy theories. “Trump wants a PR victory. He wants to give his Fox friends something to celebrate. And as a result, we’re all talking about the border. A manufactured crisis.”
CNN's national security analyst Peter Bergen twice suggested that "right-wing extremists" could be behind Monday's Boston Marathon bombings. Yet over an hour later, CNN reported that Boston Police were not holding anyone in custody as a suspect for the attack.
CNN's Jake Tapper, according to transcripts, said before Bergen that he didn't "want to speculate," but did not offer any pushback after he suggested multiple times that a right-wing group could have been behind the attacks.
CNN's Don Lemon began the segment by suggesting that the Berkeley riots were caused by right-wingers and allowed former Clinton Secretary of Labor and Berkeley professor of public policy Robert Reich to repeatedly suggest right-wingers were behind the riots, which was false.