On Sunday, Sharyl Attkisson — who famously resigned from CBS in 2014 after growing frustrated with the network’s liberal bias — published her “definitive list” of media errors in the Trump era. It’s a long list.
The eye-opening list contains 50 notable mistakes, from the media falsely reporting in August 2016 that Melania Trump violated her visa status by modeling in 1995 (they got the year wrong) to AP getting export figures wrong last week by $799,999,200 . . . Many of the errors related to the “Russian collusion” conspiracy, the mainstream media always managing to get the facts wrong in a way that suggests guilt on the part of Team Trump, or incidents that were somehow embarrassing to Trump.
While the list is certainly worth reading in its entirety, here’s the top ten as a teaser:
1. The Trump Didn’t Pay His Income Taxes Myth (Oct. 1, 2016)
Trump’s taxes played a massive role in the Democrats’ campaign against him, but it ended up backfiring big league:
The New York Times and other media widely suggested or implied that Trump had not paid income taxes for 18 years. Later, tax return pages leaked to MSNBC ultimately showed that Trump actually paid a higher rate than Democrats Bernie Sanders and President Obama.
2. Trump’s Path to the Presidency Is “Nonexistent” (Oct. 18, 2016)
In a moment representative of the aura of Clinton’s inevitability portrayed by the mainstream media, The Washington Post “reported” that Trump could not possibly win:
In a Washington Post piece not labelled opinion or analysis, Stuart Rothenberg reported that Trump’s path to an electoral college victory was “nonexistent.”
3. MLK Bust Story Goes Bust (Jan. 20, 2017)
Remember this viral, ultimately retracted claim by TIME’s Zeke Miller?
4. Fake News About Trump Firing Comey Over More Resources To Investigate Russia (May 10, 2017)
The only “collusion” here is the mainstream media colluding to report fake news:
Multiple outlets including Politico, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, AP, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal reported the same leaked information: that Trump fired FBI Director James Comey shortly after Comey requested additional resources to investigate Russian interference in the election.
The New York Times’ Matthew Rosenberg and Matt Apuzzo, and CNN’s Sara Murray reported the information in sentences and paragraphs that omitted attribution, as if it were an established fact. The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, Sari Horwitz and Robert Costa wrote news articles in the style of opinion pieces and from an omniscient viewpoint as if they were somehow in the mind of Trump. For example, they reported, “Every time FBI Director James B. Comey appeared in public, an ever-watchful President Trump grew increasingly agitated that the topic was the one that he was most desperate to avoid: Russia.” (Other reporters —Reuters’ Dustin Volz and Susan Cornwell— did properly attribute the claim.)
The Justice Department, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said the media reports were untrue and McCabe added that the FBI’s Russia investigation was “adequately resourced.”
5. Media Meltdown Over Comey’s Supposed Plan To Refute Trump’s Claim (June 6, 2017)
Big names got caught up in this false report:
CNN’s Gloria Borger, Eric Lichtblau, Jake Tapper and Brian Rokus; and ABC’s Justin Fishel and Jonathan Karl reported that Comey was going to refute Donald Trump’s claim that Comey told Trump three times he was not under investigation. Instead, Comey did the opposite and confirmed Trump’s claim.
6. Three CNN Employees Resign After False Story About Supposed Russian Ties To Trump (June 22, 2017)
CNN’s new special investigation unit officially crashed and burned after this one:
CNN’s Thomas Frank reported that Congress was investigating a “Russian investment fund with ties to Trump officials.” The report was later retracted. Frank and two other CNN employees resigned in the fallout.
7. More Russian Collusion-Related Fake News (December 2, 2017)
ABC News’ Brian Ross reported that former Trump official Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was going to testify that candidate Trump had directed him to contact “the Russians.” Even though such contact would not be in of itself a violation of law, the news was treated as an explosive indictment of Trump in the Russia collusion narrative, and the stock market fell on the news. ABC later corrected the report to reflect that Trump had already been elected when he reportedly asked Flynn to contact the Russians about working together to fight ISIS and other issues. Ross was suspended.
8. The Infamous First Lady “Snub” That Didn’t Happen (July 6, 2017)
Remember this bogus claim?
Newsweek’s Chris Riotta and others reported that Poland’s First Lady had refused to shake Trump’s hand. Newsweek’s later “update” reflected that the First Lady had shaken Trump’s hand after all, as clearly seen on the full video.
9. Three Not Seventeen (July 6, 2017)
Another Russia-themed series of false reports by “colluding” outlets:
The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, CNN and numerous outlets had long reported, as if fact, the Hillary Clinton claim that a total of 17 American intelligence agencies concluded that Russia orchestrated election year attacks to help get Trump elected. Only three or four agencies, not 17, had officially done so.
10. The Wiretapping Fiasco (Sept. 5, 2017)
There were several false claims regarding this story, but Attkisson highlights it in this way:
CNN’s Chris Cillizza and other news outlets declared Trump “lied” when he stated that Trump Tower had been wiretapped, although there’s no way any reporter independently knew the truth of the matter—only what intel officials claimed. It later turned out there were numerous wiretaps involving Trump Tower, including a meeting of Trump officials with a foreign dignitary. At least two Trump associates who had offices in or frequented Trump Tower were also wiretapped.