Con-Fusion GPS and the Art of Fake News
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Conspiracy theories die not with a bang, but with a whimper as many conspiracy theorists pushing the alleged Russian collusion fairytale are finding out. Many on the radical left and their allies in the media bet all their chips looking for a big payoff that just won’t come. Over the last two weeks many of these fairytales have been dispelled in new reporting and congressional testimony. But those revelations have also highlighted a greater concern. The evidence coming out regarding the collusion conspiracy theories has revealed the media’s susceptibility to falsified information like the Fusion GPS dossier, and those pushing it, exposing the true fake news pipeline.

The mainstream media has been desperate to nail President Trump to the wall. After giving then candidate Trump more than $2 billion in free air time during the GOP primary, the media reversed course for the general, publishing anything it could get its hands on. This tunnel vision led some of the premiere outlets like the New York TimesWashington Post, and CNN to eagerly report stories that turned out to be entirely false. Most notably, outlets started reporting on a Russian collusion narrative that was in many ways spurred on by the Trump Dossier prepared by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence agent. Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee highlighted that Steele was being paid by a group called Fusion GPS to compile the unsubstantiated dossier. Financier Bill Browder’s testimony flipped the Russian collusion story on its head. The thinking now is that it was allies of Hillary Clinton who were colluding with elements in Russia. Many suspect that Clinton donors funded the work of Christopher Steele and that liberal news outlets have sadly have become disinformation outlets. Fusion GPS, a Democrat opposition research firm, the cofounder of which donated to the Clinton campaign, was paid by a Russian holding company to smear Browder and the Magnitsky Act. Then Fusion GPS went on to create Steele’s fake dossier meant to stir controversy and muddy the waters.

While there has been coverage of how the dossier made its way into the hands of John Brennan’s CIA and then into the Obama White House, and how the FBI is still currently using the fake dossier as a check list for its Russia investigation, not much has been made of how Fusion GPS injected the dossier into the mainstream media’s bloodstream to create the false narrative of the Trump-Russia collusion fairytale.

On July 11, McClatchy ran a piece on Senator John McCain’s receipt of the dossier, but the piece also laid out the two legal cases that are now being brought against Christopher Steele because of the dossier. In the legal documents filed in British court, there is an interesting section that very few in the media have covered. As McClatchy reported:

“The journalists initially briefed at the end of September 2016 by the Second Defendant (Steele) and Fusion at Fusion’s instruction were from the New York Times, the Washington Post, Yahoo News, the New Yorker and CNN,” Steele’s lawyers said, adding that he (Steele) “verbally and in person” briefed the first three organizations in mid-October and a reporter from Mother Jones via Skype.

These reporters were not shown the dossier, the lawyers noted, and received instead a “disclosure of limited intelligence regarding indications of Russian interference” in the campaign. The information was off the record, meaning it could be used for further research but not published nor attributed.

Consider that three of the most antagonistic outlets towards President Trump and his administration have been the New York TimesWashington Post, and CNN. The defamation lawsuit against Steele not only suggests media outlets took the bait, but Browder suggested in his testimony what some have suspected: that Fusion GPS is even paying journalists to report positively on behalf of their shady clientele. Here’s the exchange in full:

Senator Grassley: “Do you know or have any reason to suspect that Fusion may have engaged in pay for play tactics directly or indirectly offering money to journalists to run stories that benefit their clients?”

Bill Browder: “I don’t have any hard evidence to present, but I suspect that a number of journalists and one in particular here in Washington was operating so far out of the bounds of normal journalistic integrity that there must have been some incentive for them to be doing it coming from Fusion GPS.”

So we have Fusion GPS seeding the mainstream media with briefings on the fake dossier, potentially even paying reporters for their help. Now consider that for the last six months we have heard constantly about Russian collusion. Breathless and at times wall-to-wall coverage virtually assuring us that somehow Trump was in fact a Putin puppet. The mainstream media has been obsessed with the narrative, feeding the American people stories based on single anonymous sources, rumors, and innuendo of Trump-works-for-Putin. Based off what we’re seeing in regards to Fusion GPS’s work and relationship with the media, and the stories that have been a staple of the media for months, we can come to this conclusion: Manufactured and fake news does in fact exist. And all of this despite the fact is that President Trump has taken such a strong stance against Putin and his Ukrainian incursion, enacting even more sanctions against Russia, he has helped “encourage” NATO countries to put $40 billion more into its NATO obligations, and while in Poland he proactively went after the very foundation of Putin’s power, oil and gas exports. Regardless, the mainstream media will continue promoting the collusion narrative.

What’s frightening about all of this is that you have the former Wall Street Journal reporters who founded Fusion GPS feeding disinformation into such outlets like New York Times and the Washington Post, which often have a liberal bent, but at least have had the veneer of respectability. With reports of fake dossiers and briefings on it and the potential of reporters being incentivized to report on false narratives, is it really any wonder why some of us have strong suspicions about the veracity of what the mainstream media is writing?

While we don’t know how many outlets were fed information by Fusion GPS, or if or how many reporters received funds from Fusion to push its stories, there is only one thing that the mainstream media can do to regain its respectability: come clean and come clean on everything. Excommunicate those who willingly participated in this deception and move forward without the needless sensationalism and focus on getting “just the facts.” Maybe then the American public will finally trust these institutions that have failed them.

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