News and Commentary

REMINDER: WaPo, NYT Won Pulitzers For Russia Collusion Reporting

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Investigation is over. There will be no more indictments. He found no evidence of collusion but also did not exonerate President Donald Trump.

We know there will be no reckoning among members of the media for their contributions to the narrative that Trump would be indicted or impeached following the allegedly obvious evidence that he and his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia to steal the election from Hillary Clinton. Those media outlets that did follow the narrative were richly rewarded.

The Washington Post and The New York Times both won Pulitzer Prizes for reporting that bolstered the narrative that Trump and his associates committed treason by working with a foreign government to win an election. The two outlets shared a joint award from the Pulitzer board for national reporting:

“For deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation’s understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the President-elect’s transition team and his eventual administration. (The New York Times entry, submitted in this category, was moved into contention by the Board and then jointly awarded the Prize.)”

In its article about receiving two Pulitzers in 2018, the Post bragged that its reporting “helped set the stage for the special counsel’s ongoing investigation of the administration.” That investigation concluded that even though the media repeatedly shouted that “where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” there turned out to be no fire.

One of the Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning articles was about former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn talking to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition, alleging it was “potentially in violation of the law.” Flynn was indicted in the Mueller investigation — for apparently lying about his contacts with Kislyak and not about anything illegal about those contacts. As the Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway suggested, the Flynn probe “created its own crime” by setting a perjury trap for Flynn.

Another of the Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning articles was about then-Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions meeting with Kislyak while he was a legislator. The media portrayed this as Sessions lying about meeting with Russians regarding the Trump campaign. In reality, Sessions met with the Russian ambassador as part of his job on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

As for the Times, it boasted of its report about Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law Jared Kushner (full disclosure: I wrote for the New York Observer while Kushner owned it), and former campaign manager Paul Manafort meeting with a “lawyer linked to Kremlin.”

That lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, was actually providing the campaign with disinformation from Democrat opposition research firm Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS is also the firm behind the discredited “Trump Dossier” compiled by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson met with Veselnitskaya the day before and after the meeting with the Trump campaign.

The information about Veselnitskaya makes it look more like an entrapment plot by a research firm paid for by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

There are problems with the other articles that received awards, but the bottom line is that the major outlets who reported disinformation as evidence of collusion were rewarded, while those — like Chuck Ross of The Daily Caller, Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist, Andrew McCarthy of National Review, and others — who reported that the collusion narrative was a bust and have now been proven correct, received only scorn and judgment.

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