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CNN's alleged "sources" need to be called into question

L. Brent Bozell III on

CNN host Jim Sciutto was mocked for tweeting two months ago, "Let's please ban the word 'narrative' from our discussion of the news and this president. There is only one version of the facts and the truth. Full stop."

CNN is about the last place you should look for what Sciutto demands of the news media. Full stop.

Networks such as CNN insist the "truth" as they see it must be anointed as "reality" and anything dissenting from that is "misinformation." But what they see are conclusions in search of facts and that there's no time or need to establish those facts in pursuit of the narrative that President Donald Trump is a crook who must be removed from the presidency.

Thus, the dominant narrative of the first two years of the Trump presidency was the accusation of Russia colluding with the Trump campaign ... until it collapsed. The network evening news shows wasted thousands of minutes just oozing with doom for the president. In 2018, the Russiagate stories were 98% negative. Now they're doing it all over again with Ukraine.

All of this is based on what? Evidence provided by whom? How many dozens, maybe hundreds, of television and print reports have been based on "anonymous sources"? How many times have we read about the reporter's conversation with "multiple" or "six" or "more than a dozen" or some such number of sources?

Why can't a single one come forward? Why must we find out, after digging and digging, that their most recent whistleblower has vanished from the scene?

 

As consumers of "news," it's exhausting to wade through wild quotes accompanied by phrases like "the official spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly." How on Earth would we know if the source was candid? The word, after all, is defined as "the quality of being open and honest in expression." So why not come forward?

On the latest "Fox News Sunday," host Chris Wallace played this swampy game with acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. "I talked to a very well-connected Republican in Washington this week, somebody whose name you would know well," he promised. The source "says that if the House votes to impeach and it gets to a trial in the Senate, there is now a 20% chance he believes ... enough Republicans will vote with the Democrats to remove the president."

Mulvaney shot back, "Oh, that's just absurd," and tried to move on, but Wallace resisted and the typical TV back-and-forth ensued.

It's time for Team Trump to get smart about this. Mulvaney let Wallace off the hook. Not only should he have refused to answer the question but he also should have put Wallace on the spot instead.

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