Major media outlets had already decided on the narrative of the whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump regarding his conversation with the Ukraine president. Now that the White House’s transcript has been released, these same outlets are cutting out important context in order to give a different, more negative, impression of the call.
The New York Times and The Washington Post each put sections of the transcript on their front pages on Thursday. Each paper cut out what Trump said after asking Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky for a “favor” and skipped ahead to a portion of the call when Trump brought up former Vice President Joe Biden’s son’s involvement in a company that was investigated by Ukraine.
Here’s the “favor” Trump actually asked for:
I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people … The server, they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the attorney general call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it. As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller, an incompetent performance, but they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.
Zelensky responded to Trump saying his country would cooperate with the U.S. Then Trump brought up the prosecutor that Biden helped fire.
But when Media outlets reported the transcript, they left out the entire section after Trump asks for a “favor” – the part where the favor is for cooperating in the U.S. investigation into the origins of Russiagate.
On CNN, Trump is quoted as saying “I would like you to do us a favor.” The outlet then quotes the section of the transcript relating to Biden, completely ignoring the part about Crowdstrike. Fox News’ Shepard Smith did the same thing, as did MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, MSNBC’s Katy Tur, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, and “The View.”
Print media did no better. The Times’ cover includes the snippet about Trump asking for a favor (highlighted to just before he mentions Crowdstrike), then a snippet about working with Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani (ignoring that it was Zelensky that first mentioned Giuliani), and then the snippet about Biden. The Times at least says Trump “appears to be referring to the 2016 hacking of Democratic Party emails,” but the sections of transcript they highlight are intended to make it appear as though Trump’s “favor” was to ask Zelensky to investigate Biden, which was not the case.
The Post was even worse. On its front cover, the Post highlighted Trump asking for a “favor” and then immediately highlighted the section where he talked about Biden, without any mention of Crowdstrike or the 2016 election.
NPR took a similar tactic, quoting the part about the “favor” and then posting the following paragraph:
I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation in Ukraine … There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that. So whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it … it sounds horrible to me. (Emphasis added.)
The bolded ellipses represents about 500 words that were removed by NPR to make it seem as though Trump’s favor was about Biden. The Los Angeles Times put their deception right in the headline, “Trump asked Ukraine’s leader for a ‘favor’ — help investigating Joe Biden and a California company.”