The Washington Post ran a story on Friday with the declarative headline: “Four debunked talking points used to discredit the whistleblower complaint.” The story then goes on to confirm all four.
And reporters wonder why just 13% trust them “a lot” these days?
“To defend President Trump against the whistleblower allegations, Republicans in Congress are having to dodge or misstate some key facts,” writes Amber Phillips.
She then lists the the four talking points:
- There is no quid pro quo — in the call or the whistleblower complaint
- The whistleblower has political motivations, and so the complaint can’t be trusted
- The whistleblower had only secondhand knowledge
- This is a ‘secondhand conspiracy theory built on biased media reports’
So, let’s see how well she debunks these.
On “debunked” talking point No. 1: Phillips begins her debunking by writing: “This is technically true.” Then she goes on to write that “the idea of a quid pro quo may be a red herring.” In other words, she admits there’s no quid pro quo demonstrated in either document, which is what got the recent impeachment frenzy started. Then just dismisses it as irrelevant.
How about “debunked” talking point No. 2? Phillips writes that “Page 5 of a report about the whistleblower by Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general, mentions that the whistleblower has ‘arguable political bias … in favor of a rival candidate.’” So Phillips just confirmed the first part of this “debunked” claim. Which at the very least means that the trustworthiness of the whistleblower should be scrutinized very carefully. The fact that she dismisses this concern is what’s shocking, not that Republicans are raising it as an issue.
Ok, well maybe Phillips does a better job debunking talking point No. 3. Nope. She starts that debunking by writing, “This is also true.” Someone ought to present Phillips with a dictionary, wherein she would learn that the definition of debunking is to “expose the falseness or hollowness” of something.
There’s still one more talking point to debunk. How about No. 4, that it was a “secondhand conspiracy built on biased media reports”? Surely she is able to debunk that one.
Nope. Instead, Phillips writes that “The whistleblower does use public events, as reported by journalists, to bolster his or her claims and help paint a picture of a president abusing his power for personal gain.”
Wait, isn’t that exactly what No. 4 says (except for the part about “biased” which should go without saying)?
So, the entire exercise by the Washington Post is not about “debunking” anything. It’s about trying to defend the original impeachment narrative, even as the facts themselves fail to do so.
This is your “unbiased” press at work. Expect to see a lot of this now that Democrats and their media handmaidens can almost taste an impeachment victory.
— Written by John Merline
Note to Readers: Issues & Insights is a new site launched by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our mission is to use our decades of experience to provide timely, fact-based reporting and deeply informed analysis on the news of the day.
We’re doing this on a voluntary basis because we think our approach to commentary is sorely lacking both in today’s mainstream media and on the internet. If you like what you see, feel free to click the Tip Jar over on the right sidebar. And be sure to tell your friends!