The “Post Truth” News Media

The following is a news analysis and commentary.

As some reporters unequivocally declare Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to be “wrong” when he claimed thousands in New Jersey celebrated the Sept. 11, 2001 Islamic extremist terrorist attacks, I observe with more than a passing interest.

My interest isn’t in the presidential candidates; it’s in the news media’s conduct.

One news outlet dubbed Trump “the post truth 2016 candidate,” lifting a propaganda phrase passed along by the usual suspects. If one didn’t know better, one might think Hillary Clinton’s supporters among propagandists, astroturfers and the news media know she polls weakest when it comes to honesty, so they’re on a mission to reduce her strongest Republican competition to equal footing.

If voters can be convinced that Trump and Ben Carson are liars, then those candidates are less likely to attack Clinton’s own dubious relationship with the truth…

It may not be a conscious thought on the part of some reporters; more of a reflexive response. Maybe they constitute the post truth news media.

Substitution Game

If you’ve read my New York Times bestseller Stonewalled, you know that I’m a fan of an intellectual exercise I call the Substitution Game. It involves comparing how the press treats similar events or people depending on how the reporter or news organization feels about the issue or the newsmaker.

In the case of Trump–thoroughly despised by so many in politics and the news media–his claim about cheering Muslims has been widely dissected for days. Reporters sometimes gleefully challenge him directly, aggressively and repeatedly.

Trump’s claim “defies basic logic,” says one report. “No news reports exist…” declares another, as if an event cannot have occurred, by definition, unless it was played on the news.

In the meantime, politicians who are better liked by the news media get a relative pass on statements that could arguably merit the same brand of scrutiny and analysis as Trump’s.

For example, President Obama claims mass shootings only happen in the U.S.–as he stands in Paris where there was a mass shooting about two weeks earlier. He claims to have met his green energy goals even “quicker” than expected –never mind the instances where the goals weren’t met. He calls the U.S. “the largest country” (Canada and Russia are bigger; China and India have more people). And all of that was just at his December 1 press conference at the Paris climate change summit.

The intent is not to pick on President Obama. To be sure, there is context for the questionable comments. But the point is: reporters do not chew on them for days upon end. They don’t constantly pick arguments with Mr. Obama or demand he apologize. In fact, for the most part, reporters seem simply not to notice.

Logical Fallacy

Reporters may believe it’s untrue or unlikely that thousands in New Jersey cheered-on the World Trade Center attacks. They may not know anybody who participated in such a thing and they may not be able to locate videotape of it. But that’s quite different than knowing, unequivocally, that it didn’t happen.

Knowing that it didn’t happen would require a magical mix of omniscience and clairvoyance. Reporters who claim to know that it didn’t happen are committing a journalistic error more serious than the offense of which they accuse Trump.

Assuming for the sake of argument that Trump’s or Carson’s stories were definitively proven to be fabricated, it’s difficult to argue that would be more significant or indicative of their leadership abilities than the missteps of one of their opponents: Hillary Clinton. Yet reporters tend not to question her fabrications or misstatements with the same determination and persistence.

Clinton’s Honesty Issue 

For the sake of brevity, we’ll review two of the most notable examples: 1. Clinton claimed we were shot at by snipers on a trip to Bosnia when she was First Lady (I was covering the trip for CBS News). Nothing even remotely close to sniper fire happened. 2. As secretary of state, Clinton publicly blamed the deadly Benghazi terrorist attacks on demonstrators inspired by a YouTube video, even though the best information was to the contrary (and she privately told her family the truth).

Substitution Game: With Clinton the lead Democrat running for president, are reporters engaging in days of passionate arguments with her about her false sniper fire claim insisting over and over, as they did with Trump, “It didn’t happen,” “It’s just plain wrong,” “Are you delusional?” or “It never happened”?

Have the same reporters criticized Clinton as secretary of state for misleading the public on Benghazi, demanding she “issue an apology”? Have they engaged in endless one on one debates with her for falsely claiming there were no classified emails on the private server on which she conducted the public’s business?

Couldn’t it be argued that Clinton was a post truth candidate long before Trump?

Slippery Slope

As reporters set aside their traditional role as fact seekers and veer into advocacy, they find themselves on a slippery journalistic slope.

There’s nothing wrong with reporting on skepticism of Trump’s (or other candidates’) claims. But to present Trump’s ideas about Muslim celebrations as the ravings of a lunatic requires dismissing, cherry picking, weighting or ignoring evidence.

In 2001, there were worldwide reports of relatively small groups of Muslims celebrating the 9/11 attacks; some of them in the United States. Substitution Game: When CBS News anchor Dan Rather told CBS late night host David Letterman there were reports of celebrations by Muslims at home, there was no collective outcry from reporters demanding an apology from Rather or Letterman. Only when Trump suggested the same.

Substitution Game: When the Washington Post reported allegations of people “seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river,” nobody demanded the newspaper issue apologies or corrections. Only when Trump made his allegations.

When CNN and the Los Angeles Times reported on Muslims overseas in East Jerusalem celebrating the 9/11 attacks; and when Snopes.com reported that “journalists were threatened for capturing images of Palestinian celebrations, making real footage of the event harder to obtain,” and when the Foreign Press Association of Israel reported that “thousands filled the streets to celebrate” in the West Bank town of Nablus to celebrate the 9/11 bombings, and that “armed police blocked camera crews from photographing the rally,” the news wasn’t met with wild disbelief.

“The images of exuberant, cheering Palestinians – some of them children and teens – when they heard news of the tragedies angered and horrified people worldwide,” said one report at the time. Another said, “TV stations everywhere were broadcasting footage of revelers in the streets of Jerusalem and Nablus, in refugee camps and in coffee shops. Some joyously fired rifles in the air, laughed, handed out sodas and candy and made signs of victory with their fingers.” Others said that Palestinian Authority officials “phoned TV stations and other media to caution them their safety would be in jeopardy if they aired the [celebratory] segments.” U.S. News and World Report asked, “Why did so many inhabitants of the long Muslim ‘street,’ stretching from Morocco to Indonesia, appear to be overjoyed by what Osama bin Laden’s henchmen had accomplished?”

As the facts have been fleshed out, some reporters have found themselves in the awkward position of having to repeatedly redefine their criticism of Trump’s statement. At first, they scoffed at the notion that anybody celebrated the 9/11 attacks. But when overseas video surfaced, they narrowed their criticism and scoffed at the idea that there were celebrations specifically in New Jersey. But when multiple witnesses and accounts about New Jersey surfaced, they narrowed their criticism further and said it couldn’t have been “thousands.”

See how it works? Each time their narrative is undermined, they simply reframe the argument to avoid the appearance that they’ve had to concede anything.

When it comes to Trump’s 9/11 celebration comments, the news media’s conduct may not matter to people who dislike Trump; in fact, they may cheer it on.

But someday, the post truth news media might set its sights on somebody or something you care about.

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80 Responses to “The “Post Truth” News Media”

  1. Ed Carlson
    December 2, 2015 at 2:04 am #

    Well said Sharyl….as usual…

  2. Andrew Curlutu
    December 2, 2015 at 6:36 am #

    Thank you for reporting on this, Ms. Attkisson. It’s a shame how the major media lets its biases overwhelm its news judgement and compromises their journalistic integrity in the process.

  3. Roger Camargo
    December 2, 2015 at 11:57 am #

    That is a very articulate and accurate analysis of today’s media agenda. I am angered by what they are able to get away with. I wish that people would open their eyes to this. But I realize that most see only what they want to see. The truth be damned. Thank you Ms. Attkisson
    R.L. Camargo

  4. sam
    December 2, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

    Unfortunately the main stream media is an extension of liberalism. Honest reporting does not happen. At the end of the day the country loses as politicians are not held accountable.

    Wow! Sharyl your commentary as usual is very enlightening. Everyone should read your book Stonewalled.

    • DMaster
      December 3, 2015 at 12:42 am #

      Actually, research has shown that the media “bias” is liberal-leaning on social issues, but actually conservative-leaning on financial issues. It’s not as clear cut as everyone would like to believe. Also, you can call it a “bias”, or in a free-market system you could say the way the media covers stories is based upon demand or consumer preference, and that there is less consumer support for conservative media sources. Given that the majority of registered voters are independent now, the liberal social “bias” and conservative financial “bias’ reflects the views of a majority of voters.

      • JazzBoneDaddy
        December 27, 2015 at 9:59 am #

        Actually no. The dominant media (there’s nothing ‘mainstream’ about them) is a wholly-owned subsidy of the Democrat Party. Even regarding financial news. If they honestly reported on that topic the horrible Obama ‘recovery’ would never have been proclaimed and the false narrative of low unemployment would never have seen the light of day. With 93 million working age Americans simply gone from the workforce because they gave up trying (or have been unemployed for more than 6 months), the real unemployment figure is MUCH worse; upwards of 14% (some would save even higher). Let that number sink in: 93 million workers out of a total population of 320 million have simply dropped-out and the media says nothing?

    • Ed Johnson
      December 3, 2015 at 10:40 am #

      Sharyl, this “analysis” of yours is as incoherent as your CBS reporting. I have no idea what points you were trying to make, other than “The LameStream Media” and “Conservatives are Victims” in the “Substitution Game”.

      Everyone should realize the Media is not Liberal, nor is it Conservative. It is a BUSINESS. The millions earned by Sean Hannity, Megyn Kelly, Jake Tapper, Candy Crowley are being paid on checks signed by VP’s at giant Media conglomerates.

      Judge accordingly.

      Media is a business, not an ideology. Just look at Politico.com or RealClearPolitics.com if you want a lesson in how to attract clicks and advertisers.

  5. Chuck Zinner
    December 2, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

    Re. Post Truth News Media. Excellent.

  6. A Fan
    December 2, 2015 at 8:14 pm #

    Thank you for caring enough to report aggressively and even-handedly even when few others will. I speak for many when I say I appreciate the sacrifices you’ve made and the courage it’s taken to maintain your integrity.

    Hillary told Chelsea the Benghazi attacks were terrorism while insisting to the public and the families of the dead that is was all caused by an “Internet video.” How odd is it that “reporters” in the prestige press spend their time pressing Trump about whether he should have said “thousands” while giving Hillary a pass?

    You know better than I the damage the Fourth Estate’s corruption and indifference has done to this country. Thank you for caring enough to buck the tide! You have more admirers than you’ll ever know.

  7. T. Wright Barnes
    December 2, 2015 at 11:07 pm #

    I think journalism died as a result of Watergate. Richard Nixon in fact destroyed himself, but the perception was that Woodward & Bernstein brought him down – and many if the following generation of “journalists” see their proper role as deciders of fact and advocates for chosen causes. Objectivity is gone and even “straight” news reporting contains bias that was once confined to the editorial pages.

    • Crossett
      December 5, 2015 at 10:42 pm #

      you are great and badly needed. What NIXON did was nothing as to what has been going last 20 Years. Also there were reliable reports of mid eastern students giving HI FIVES

  8. Cornfed
    December 2, 2015 at 11:50 pm #

    Someday? Everyday, is more like it. I, among many others, am cheering as the traditional media slowly circle the drain. It’s too bad, because a robust news media should be an essential asset to our society. But since they have become monolithically liberal, they no longer are an asset to our freedom, they are a detriment. Good riddance.

  9. Mark
    December 3, 2015 at 12:00 am #

    With due respect, Sharyl, if you wish to call your writing “analysis,” you should include direct quotes rather than paraphrasing things to your liking.

    First, Obama’s statement about “met our [clean energy] goals a lot quicker” (19:35) is a lead up to the “cost of solar has gone down much faster” (20:28). He doesn’t say “all goals were met,” nor does he deny that some goals weren’t met. That part is your fabrication.

    Second, at 26:30, Obama says, “I say this every time we have one of these mass shootings. This just doesn’t happen in other countries,” the pronoun there comparing the *frequency* with which the U.S. deals with mass shootings. How can you credibly interpret this as the president saying “mass shootings only happen in the U.S.” (your words)?

    Finally, there are many measures by which the U.S. is indeed the “largest country,” discounting size and population.

    Taking a step back, what you imply is that Obama thinks (1) everything is great with climate change response, that (2) no other nations have mass shootings, and that (3) he is ignorant of the fact that the U.S. in not largest in size or population. Do you actually believe this?

    If you do, I am truly sorry. If you don’t, you have just revealed yourself as part of the “post truth media” of which you speak?

    • Baylee Schenk
      December 4, 2015 at 9:34 am #

      You clearly don’t get that what Sharyl is pointing out here. She agrees with you that Obama’s statements would be taken out of context and that journalists would be deceptively adding that context as well as pushing people towards the wrong conclusions around those statements in how they present the information to audiences. The issues is that it is okay in the minds of “progresssive” pro-facism types (because they are fascists at this point) for journalists to do this to the right or anyone that is not onboard the “progressive” fascist agenda. Good thing the brainwashed are still a minority, bad thing is that thanks to colleges being indoctrination facilities for the last five or six decades, far too mant people in power are “progressive” fascists in their thinking and have dominated a media that is losing credibility at a rampant rate. It is pretty simple why college graduates (I am one with honors from a “progressive” school, because we know your next move is to insult my background) support corrupt “progressive” facists like Obama: they have been indoctrinated with an agenda to do so.

      • Mark
        December 6, 2015 at 11:14 pm #

        Congratulations on graduating w/ honors from college. What about my statement makes you think that I’d respond with an ad hominem attack on your educational credentials? Let’s talk about analysis, howsabout? First, quickly, please read up on the term “fascism” to see how wrongly you are using it (and that you are committing an ad hominem, yourself, in doing so). For the short-and-quick, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fascism#Fascist_as_an_insult . Second, I “get” very well what Atkisson is saying. The problem is that the 3 statements she says “could arguably merit the same brand of scrutiny and analysis as Trump’s” are not at all comparable/analagous to Trump’s. My original comment documents just why this is the case.

  10. Prospector
    December 3, 2015 at 12:01 am #

    Well done, Sharyl. Thank you.

  11. Louis
    December 3, 2015 at 12:21 am #

    Ms. Attkisson, you are the true definition of a journalist, tough and fair to both sides. I would love to watch your news show but cannot find it, and the website FullMeasure.news is seriously broken. When you click on what is coming up this Sunday, you get a page that references September 26th. I hope you will consider doing something on Fox News like a one hour alternative to 60 Minutes. You need to be on TV as much as possible – besides being a great investigative journalist, you have the brains and beauty that make you a natural on TV. Please look into higher profile ways to bring your stories to as many people as possible. Thanks

  12. Timothy
    December 3, 2015 at 12:37 am #

    For what it’s worth, the night of 9/11/01, and for the next several evenings, I was appalled to hear chants of “Bin Laden, Bin Laden” late into the night in Rathmines, Dublin, Ireland. I’d estimate the wandering groups of young men (all non-Irish) at perhaps two dozen each. Thousands of Dubliners heard it, yet Irish media failed to report on the phenomenon. It’s something this American will never forget.

  13. Jerrod Kloetzer
    December 3, 2015 at 12:59 am #

    Keep up the good work Ms. Attkisson. It is appreciated.

  14. ellie
    December 3, 2015 at 1:34 am #

    Sadly, the transition of the press from truth teller to political machine has not produced an informed electorate but rather an electorate of angry cynics. Americans place high value on truth and facts thus the serious drop in newspapers and magazines. We tend to be pragmatic when making decisions. With truth and facts at our fingertips, we’ll not again vote with a media driven emotion. Been there and done that and don’t want to do it again! Great analysis and commentary.

  15. Truth Gun
    December 3, 2015 at 1:41 am #

    Concise. Precise.

    Well done Ms Attkisson.

  16. Mercer Tyson
    December 3, 2015 at 2:34 am #

    Thank you. Well said. Of course, most of us already know it, but can’t put our fingers on the specifics as well as you did.

    Now, while we all know of the liberal bias, the real story never discussed is why and how much it actually matters. As an example, tea party policies are, in fact, mainstream. When polled on tea party policies, over 50% of the American people agree with them. Over 50%! Yet they are referred to by the mom as extreme right wingers, often called wackos. So, when you ask Joe Sixpack about their policies, he likes them. But when you tell Joe a candidate is a tea par.tier, they recoil in horror because they have been told over and over, and therefore believe, that the candidate is an extreme wacko.

    Sheryl – do a piece on the impact of liberal bias. Would be Really hard assess the actual damage, but I’m sure it is substantial.

  17. Mercer Tyson
    December 3, 2015 at 2:40 am #

    By the way, after the Clinton-Benghazi hearings recently, no one that I recall mentioned the “video” lie. Now, think about this: Obama and Clinton and the herd put an American’s life at risk (the guy who made the video) and other Americans’ lives around the world at other embassies by blaming the video. If they really thought the video was a problem, why did they call attention to it? My uderstanding is the number of hits skyrocketed after the WH placed the video front and center. They put American lives at risk for political purposes.

    That is an issue that needs to be exposed. Sheryl, write an article about that.

  18. john werneken
    December 3, 2015 at 4:20 am #

    Considering media are businesses first, seeking to sell ads and/or access and needing readers/viewers, the fact that they do not give a God damn about truth is easily explained.

  19. Terry Hale
    December 3, 2015 at 5:53 am #

    President Obama is an “Islam-O-Phile” and is incapable of making the connection between his beloved “Great Religion of Peace” and the horrific slaughter of innocent people.

    The Main Stream Media of today are an extension of The Democratic Party, therefore THEY treat Islam with Kid-Gloves, avoiding that same connection whenever possible.
    After all, it’s much easier to just keep blaming everything ‘bad’ on Racist Republicans. Right?

  20. Kyle
    December 3, 2015 at 6:04 am #

    How about the claims about the crowd in Washington the day Obamacare was passed? No audio or visual evidence despite a limited area, plenty of cameras and the offering of a reward.

  21. Bud Fox
    December 3, 2015 at 7:25 am #

    Great article Sharyl. Not sure if this news was out when you wrote your article, but just yesterday a new video surfaced showing a CBS news report from September 16, 2001. It reported that not only did the FBI arrest Muslims cheering on rooftops, but those Muslims were actually terror suspects – supporters of the blind Sheik Abdel Rahman – mastermind of the 1993 WTC attacks. The FBI found SWARMS of terror supporting Muslims at these apartment buildings. They also found a model of the WTC on the same rooftop. The whole point of Trumps rehashing what happened that day is to illustrate that there are Muslims living among us that support terror. All Pam Geller had to do was hold a Mohammed cartoon contest in TX, and Muslim terror supporters show up with automatic weapons. If we are to prevent a Paris style attack from happening here, we need to rcognize that there are terrorists among us, last nights mass shooting in CA notwithstanding.
    Trump was right about Muslims cheering in Jersey City. And they werent just Muslims, they were terror suspects and followers of Sheik Abdel Rachman, ringleader from the 93 attacks on the WTC. The FBI found a model of the WTC on the roof where they were cheering
    And that has been Trumps point all along, that there are terrorists living here among us.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3auKMHkZJnQ

  22. David Mattea
    December 3, 2015 at 7:33 am #

    The self allowed corruption of the mainstream media may well be the driving force which ends America as we know it.

    And it is not only in political reporting, it is persuasive in every arena. The coverage on climate change is framed as if the theory is carved in granite. The false but constantly claimed 97% consensus among scientists is only the most obvious example.

  23. steve
    December 3, 2015 at 8:36 am #

    Great column as usual. It really shows how progressives depend on a compliant, if not propagandizing media. -greetings from your old stomping ground, Tampa.

  24. Larry Trickel
    December 3, 2015 at 9:08 am #

    Great reporting by a real journalist. I’ll read all her articles. Real Clear Politics and others need to make sure she gets coverage instead of the Washington Post, NYT and Los Angles Times opinion writers none of which are journalist

  25. pacificus
    December 3, 2015 at 9:11 am #

    Sharyl, I think your existence as practically the lone voice among “credentialed” journalists in making the observations you do alone speaks volumes about where the political culture of this country is. Your former colleagues–do you still speak much?–mainly seem to have taken Orwell’s 1984 as a guidebook instead of a warning. “A free and independent press”: boy, is that candle starting to gutter.

    I admire your courage and straightforward adherence to the truth in the old fashioned sense of the term, i.e., what conforms to reality, as opposed to what is useful to the government. Speaking of useful, the drive-by’s you refer to are “useful” in Lenin’s sense–useful idiots, but this time in service to our very own Newspeak administration, whose mission they have flocked to join. Ministry of Truth, anyone?

  26. Mark
    December 3, 2015 at 9:44 am #

    Amen, Sharyl, amen.

  27. Doug Santo
    December 3, 2015 at 9:46 am #

    Nice piece, and nice to see it from a person with extensive experience in the business. Our current media is pretty poor, with a few exceptions. Keep up your good work.

    Doug Santo
    Pasadena, CA

  28. John M. Kelly
    December 3, 2015 at 10:44 am #

    Outstanding.
    Now I know why she is so respected as a journalist/commentator. Clear, well though out. articulate but more important she actually had something to say.
    very good. Old school reporting and commenting.

  29. Jay
    December 3, 2015 at 10:47 am #

    At one point, after reading Stonewalled, I admired you, Ms. Attkisson, almost more than any other woman in America, but now I’m puzzled by your seeming softness on Donald Trump. You would perform a real and much-needed service in using your penetrating intelligence to focus on his demagoguery, for you must admit, if you are as honest as I think you are, that he is having a terrible influence.

  30. Sid Booksh
    December 3, 2015 at 10:53 am #

    May i say, Ms Attkisson, that you are the singularly most credible journalist working today. Never change. Your work is more important than you know.

  31. JacintoKid
    December 3, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    The media has always been biased to the left but the big 3 networks did a good bit of PR work to convince most viewers that they at least attempted to be objective. The new media scene makes it impossible for them to mask their ideology. However, there have always been good, objective reporters that are the exception to their profession. Mrs Attkisson is one of these few. Keep up the good work!

  32. Howard
    December 3, 2015 at 11:06 am #

    Here is a similar example of “post-truth” reporting: It’s become reflexive by many in the media after tragic shootings as in California yesterday to lend their microphone to those, including the President, who advocate for “commonsense gun safety laws.” Much is then discussed about the politics of such laws and the likelihood of legislation clearing Congress. Rarely is there discussion (let alone incisive reporting) on whether the usually discussed provisions of such laws – restrictions on private sales (the gun show loophole), more exhaustive background investigations, and now no-fly listings – would have prevented the actual crime at hand.

    If no evidence exists that the type of law being advocated would have actually prevented the crime, there is no more reason to bring gun control into the story than the possible impact of global warming, anti-Muslim bigotry or America’s wrong-headed interventions in the Mideast. (Oh, wait – some reporters also bring those into the discussion, too!)

  33. Pete gross
    December 3, 2015 at 11:12 am #

    ” As reporters set aside their traditional role as fact seekers and veer into advocacy. ”

    While the article in general is on target, this statement above is laughable. Most of the MSM has long ago ” veered ” so far to the left they may fall off the edge of the earth ( the earth is flat isn’t it ).

    Just read the WaPo ( if you have a strong stomach) and you will see what I mean.

    It’s no wonder the MSM and print media, in particular, is dieing.

  34. Keith Crofford
    December 3, 2015 at 11:15 am #

    Great piece! how sad the great sin of omission that the press commits everyday by refusing to report the truth,,the real problem is; how do you fix it,,the mainstream media and our public education system has been, for the most part, taken over by liberals,,this once great country has fallen so far so fast,,,

  35. Shawn
    December 3, 2015 at 11:29 am #

    Once again, speaking truth to power. You have become my favorite journalist by a wide margin.

  36. Tom Silver
    December 3, 2015 at 11:51 am #

    There needs to be much more of this kind of excellent commentary. Media bias has become so prevalent that it’s almost as if they’re an arm of the state (as long as the state has a Democratic President).

  37. Maribel
    December 3, 2015 at 11:57 am #

    Wonderful article. Millions have been waiting for the truth about today’s media. They have fouled their nest.

  38. John Hutchinson
    December 3, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    “Trump’s claim “defies basic logic,” says one report. “No news reports exist…” declares another, as if an event cannot have occurred, by definition, unless it was played on the news.”

    Fair critique. And no doubt, being the NYC vicinity, there were some Muslims cheering. However, a positive charge should be backed up by evidence.

  39. Doug Nusbaum
    December 3, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

    It is both pathetic and typical that someone with your poor logic skills can write a best selling non fiction book. Trump did more than claim that thousands cheered. He claimed that he saw it.

    Now even a simpleton in the field of logic and rhetoric knows that it is up to the person making the statement to prove their assertion, since as you say, it is extremely difficult to prove a negative. And Trump claimed that he saw such events on TV. The amount of TV coverage for the towers collapsing is not infinite. There are a dozen of so cable channels, and less than a dozen broadcast channels.

    So, either there is some vast conspiracy where everyone is hiding or has destroyed the existing videos, or more likely no such videos exist. And trump, despite his billions, has not been able to turn up an instance of this having been broadcast.

    Trump claimed that it was on television
    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/427478/trump-muslim-cheers-new-jersey-911-it-did-happen-i-saw-it-jim-geraghty

    So your statement
    Trump’s claim “defies basic logic,” says one report. “No news reports exist…” declares another, as if an event cannot have occurred, by definition, unless it was played on the news.

    is some form of three stooges stupidity from the twilight zone.

  40. Reddog
    December 3, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

    I wish there were more like Atkinson in the news business and less like …………. all the rest of the MSM.

  41. Paul Rich
    December 3, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

    Ms. Atkisson – the local news report has been unearthed:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3auKMHkZJnQ

    I remember hearing about all sorts of celebrations, as I am a lifelong Brooklynite. Some were certainly hearsay only. Some were not.

    We are currently living through terrible times, times that I pray people will look back upon with disgust at our leaders and press. Thank you for the work that you do.

    Paul

  42. Drew
    December 3, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

    Great article. I am literally so famished for fair and unbiased journalism that it’s viscerally painful to turn on the news or read the newspaper. Please continue to shed light on these issues whenever you can.

  43. Swampcat
    December 3, 2015 at 4:55 pm #

    I love Sharyl Attkisson. She is one of the few unbiased journalists. So, thank you, Sharyl!

  44. michael
    December 3, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

    This doesn’t pass Journalism 101 or Honesty 100. Clinton’s comments were years ago and have already been picked apart. Trumps comments were recent and part of a presidential campaign. Try again, and imagine your readers completed 8th grade. This is embarrassing.

  45. MM
    December 3, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

    The reason the media/politicians do not like Trump is because he tells the truth. For instance, when the Tea Party was against entitlements, the media mocked the “old white guys” who felt they were specially entitled to social security but felt other entitlements should be cut. Trump said, “Of course the seniors feel entitled to Social Security. They paid for it.” And that is the truth. And count up that Senior vote, for Trump

  46. Mark
    December 3, 2015 at 6:45 pm #

    For the record, I posted a respectful comment yesterday that pointed out some contradictions in the article. The moderator(s) chose to delete it. I would appeal to their belief in the 1st Amendment to re-instate that comment.

  47. kirk
    December 3, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

    Sharyl, I wasn’t going to comment. But then I thought about it. Journalists that the government fears need to be supported and encouraged.

    It’s because of the ultra-liberal tilt to the media that makes us safer when a Republican is in office than when a Democrat is in office. When there’s a Republican in the White House, we see the press as an adversarial (to an extreme) instrument of the people. It’s very difficult for a Republican president to get something over the people. Unfortunately, the opposite is true when a Democrat is at the country’s helm.

    They attacked President Bush over Iraq. “He lied.” Whether he did or didn’t lie, he wasn’t going to get away with it if he did! Contrast that with President Obama. “If you like your health insurance, you can keep it.” “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” “I found out about [fill in the Administration scandal] like everyone else. I saw it on the news.” Only the “right wing media” bothered to sound the alarm on the outright lies. Not one editorial in the NYT, not one expose on 60 minutes on the bold-faced lies these statements were. The incurious in the media have enabled corruption and the executive branch’s willful abuse of unconstitutional authority. They have made our country less safe.

    We need watchdogs who will bark at any politician who lies, is corrupt, or oversteps constitutional authority even to put in place policies we believe in. Thank you for your courage!

  48. Richard ErkenBrack
    December 3, 2015 at 10:24 pm #

    All this inane talk about ANY politician’s honesty during the presidential campaign season is wasted. All those interested, especially now in the digital age, where the historical “main stream” media is so challenged and disputed, can find out for themselves what’s what. Every thinking American knows that The Donald is both highly accomplished and savvy. Even with his loudness and pitch can anyone who is truly serious doubt his political genius at this point in the campaign. With arrows being slung at him at every angle from every direction, he continues to surge. Every national “crisis” he chooses to comment on catches on. He cares about one thing, his connection to the voter, and that he strengthens at every turn. Whether right or left, those who cannot stand him, in direct proportion, fear him. If he takes out the Secretary, he will own the Presidency, exactly what his supporters want.

  49. csmats
    December 3, 2015 at 11:10 pm #

    Very cogent and insightful analysis. Attkisson represents the high water mark for excellence in investigative journalism, which is what she’s long been known for, but here she shows that she’s no slouch at commentary either.

  50. Brendan
    December 10, 2015 at 10:48 am #

    I respect your work Sharyl, but there is a major dose of false equivalency here. Politicians are ALWAYS going to bend the truth and use circumstances to make their arguments seem better than they really are. And OF COURSE the news media are going to slant stories depending on the situation. As I’m sure you are aware, there are now really only 5 major news media sources (down from hundreds a few decades ago), and they are all part of the economic plutocracy that is infecting our country like a disease of and will bring out system to it’s knees in the name of short term corporate profits (this is how the vaccine issue has gotten to where it is). Unfortunately, this situation is largely backed by the establishment part of the GOP and the centrist portion of the Democratic party. Corporations are buying our government and figuring out clever arguments to get us go think it’s somehow in our best interests, despite ALL the evidence suggesting otherwise.
    The reason that Trump gets so much attention is because the things he says are not just not true, but they are intentionally divisive and bombastic. Comparing other less divisive half truths and crying foul is low hanging fruit, but it is absolutely the definition of a false equivalency, and is a dog whistle way of excusing xenophobic rhetoric that will absolutely cause major problems for us if it takes hold.

  51. Joseph Pfister
    April 6, 2016 at 2:11 am #

    But someday, The “Post Truth” News Media might set its sights on somebody or something you care about.

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