On Tuesday, the public learned that Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died of natural causes. Just a few days before that, the public learned that the “Russian Bounty” story was fake. In other words, in the span of a week, the “newspaper of record” has been exposed for grossly misleading the public about two major stories — both designed to discredit President Donald Trump.
And the mainstream press still has the audacity to label conservative news sites as unreliable?
Start with Sicknick. The New York Times was the paper that reported he’d been killed by a pro-Trump protester who threw a fire extinguisher at Sicknick during the Jan. 6 incursion into the Capitol Building. The Times claimed that, after being struck and suffering a “bloody gash on his head,” Sicknick “was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support” where he later died.
It was a horrifying story, repeated ad nauseam, that caused millions of Americans anguish, and anger, over the protests. It was proof that the “insurrectionists” were violent. It became a central fact in Trump’s second impeachment trial, with House impeachment managers saying that “the insurrectionists killed a Capitol police officer by striking him in the head with a fire extinguisher.” President Joe Biden said that Sicknick lost “his life while protecting the Capitol from a violent, riotous mob on Jan. 6, 2021.”
What did the Times base its story on? Unnamed sources, of course. There were no pictures. No videos. No on-the-record accounts. No medical examiner’s report. The story fell apart, as news emerged — no thanks to the mainstream press — that Sicknick had texted his family about being in good spirits that night. Then we learned that he’d returned to his office after the events at the Capitol, and only later went to the hospital.
Why the medical examiner’s report didn’t come out until more than three months had passed is a mystery, but when it was finally released this week, it turned out that Sicknick had died of natural causes — from strokes — not from any injuries during the Capitol Hill melee.
The Times could have — and should have — known that its story was false from the beginning, or at least not credible enough to publish. But why bother checking facts when attacking Trump is your main goal?
The second massive fraud perpetrated by the Times involved a shocking claim that Russia was paying a bounty for any U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan and that Trump either knew or should have known about it.
A June 2020 Times story based on — you guessed it — unnamed sources, this time in the intelligence community, said that “a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops.”
Like the Sicknick hoax, every other news outlet parroted the Times. Biden himself said that the fact that Trump denied the truth of the Times’ reporting was further evidence that his “entire presidency has been a gift to Putin.” Never-Trump Republicans had a field day with the story.
But when the Times decided to go with this story there was no evidence to support the claims, other than the word of unnamed sources.
As Glenn Greenwald notes:
Not only was no evidence presented to support the CIA’s assertions — something that, by itself, should have prevented every real journalist from endorsing its truth — but commanders in Afghanistan were saying months ago they could not find convincing evidence for it.
Then last week, the Biden administration suddenly admitted that the bounty story was bogus. Why? As Greenwald explains:
Now that this CIA tale has served its purpose (namely, preventing Trump from leaving Afghanistan), and now that its enduring effects are impeding the Biden administration (which wants to leave Afghanistan and so needs to get rid of this story), the U.S. government is now admitting that — surprise! — they had no convincing evidence for this story all along.
Readers might ask why we bother pointing out these media lies when everyone knows the press is biased? (A new study shows how media coverage went from 89% negative in Trump’s first year to mostly positive under Biden.)
We point out such flagrant media lies because not everyone knows how corrupt, how partisan, and how utterly unreliable the mainstream press has become.
When the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, network news, etc., are no longer considered “mainstream” but are correctly labeled as propaganda arms of the Democratic party, then we will stop complaining when they commit flagrant acts of journalistic malpractice.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board