Thursday, November 21, 2019

Corruption Of Fourth Estate On Full Display

Fourth Estate? Wikipedia helpfully explains:

The term Fourth Estate or fourth power refers to the press and news media both in explicit capacity of advocacy and implicit ability to frame political issues.

And Epoch Times offers a devastating example of the perhaps unprecedented degree of corruption we've witnessed over the past several years. The article explains that, for the second time in the same number of days the "venerable" AP has had to correct demonstrably false information that it has attempted to foist on news consumers:

The Associated Press deleted a tweet that pushed false information about President Donald Trump on Nov. 20, the second time in two days the wire agency has been forced to significantly amend its reporting on Trump. 
The agency, also known as the AP, wrote in a post on Twitter: “Contradicting the testimony of his own ambassador, President Trump says he wanted ‘nothing’ from Ukraine and says the #ImpeechmentHearings should be brought to an end.” 
But Trump was quoting from what ambassador Gordon Sondland said during testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. 
“I finally called the president… I believe I just asked him an open-ended question, Mr. Chairman,” Sondland told Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). “What do you want from Ukraine? I keep hearing all these different ideas and theories and this and that. What do you want?”
“It was a very short abrupt conversation, he was not in a good mood, and he just said, ‘I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo. Tell Zelensky to do the right thing,’ something to that effect,” Sondland added.

AP issued a correction for an inexcusable bit of fake news, but offered no apology:

“An earlier tweet that didn’t make clear that President Trump was quoting from Gordon Sondland’s testimony in which he was quoting Trump has been deleted,” the agency wrote.
It did not apologize for the error.

That followed this:

The situation unfolded one day after the AP, wire agencies Reuters and AFP, and a slew of media outlets, deleted or significantly revised stories that reported a claim by a supposed expert that the Trump administration had detained 100,000 migrant children. 
The media outlets took their figures from a U.N. report published Nov. 18, the author of which has since admitted the numbers are from a U.N. refugee agency report citing data from 2015. 
That was during the administration of President Barack Obama. 
The AP also did not apologize for circulating the number and attributing it to the Trump administration.


  1. Could a group of citizens "victimized" by this deceit get standing, for a suit vs. this BS, vs. the AP?

    1. I can't think of a legal theory offhand. The bigger question is whether the SCOTUS is ready to reconsider New York Times Co. v. Sullivan.

      There have been some rumblings:

  2. Thanx for the link.

    "prove that the statement was made with 'actual malice', meaning that the defendant either knew the statement was false or recklessly disregarded whether or not it was true."

    It should be quite possible for Trump to argue, that AP knew these statements were false, or (at very least) recklessly disregarded whether or not they were true.
    Would you suggest he sue soon, or wait 'til after the election?

    1. "Arguing" that AP knew these statements were false before publishing them is night and day different from proving it. Compare the circumstances here--corrections were made within a day--with the Palin suit against NYT, which is going forward with some reasonable hope for success.

      This is why the SCOTUS needs to act. It's gotten totally out of hand.

  3. OK, if the AP could count on a district court to rule, that their prompt retractions mitigate suspicions of actual malice, could a SCOTUS still rule, that retractions have no bearing on assessments of "actual malice"?

    (I do see that the Palin case would be a stronger one for a test, but just what would be the best prospects for that case, from SCOTUS?)

    1. Only a fool would try to predict what the SCOTUS would decide on a case of this sort. That said, I think it would be more likely--make more sense from my POV--that if they wanted to change the law they'd toss the "actual malice" rule rather than set up some evidentiary test. Retractions very obviously DO bear upon malice.

  4. Is it malice or reckless disregard when the AP claims incompetence as the daisy-chain-of-command misunderstood who-said-what-about-whom when reporting the president's Twitter monologue. Human error hasn't outlawed, has it...

    I'm pretty sure the AP will claim they're not in the truth reporting business--they're just calling it the way they see it, within the usual limitations of human mistakes.

    Since they're also not in the news reporting business, but in the opinion, perspective, and commentary business, why should there be any limitation on what can be said? Public figures, such as the president, are regularly alleged to be racist and treasonous in media. What's the problem...

    And I'm only half-kidding.

  5. This may be a good place to point out that the Nick Sandman case against NBC is advancing. Just today the judge said discovery may proceed. All those internal communications that will likely show that the reporters and editors and producers and on and on didn't care about the truth.