“Before the 2016 election, most Americans trusted the traditional media and the trend was positive…Today, the US media has the lowest credibility—26 percent—among forty-six nations”

Russia collusion hoax had a lot to do with it
“Bob Woodward, of the Post, told me that news coverage of the Russia inquiry ‘wasn’t handled well’ and that he thought viewers and readers had been “cheated.” He urged newsrooms to “walk down the painful road of introspection.’”
“It was Hillary, not Trump, who began her campaign facing scrutiny over Russia ties….including a lucrative speech in Moscow by Bill Clinton, Russia-related donations to the Clinton family foundation, and Russia-friendly initiatives by the Obama administration”
“By 2016, as Trump’s political viability grew and he voiced admiration for Russia’s “strong leader,” Clinton and her campaign would secretly sponsor and publicly promote an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that there was a secret alliance between Trump and Russia.”
“Paul Krugman, in his Times column, called Trump the “Siberian candidate,” citing the “watering down” of the platform. Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor of The Atlantic, labeled Trump a “de facto agent” of Putin.“
Matt Taibbi said the “more neutral approach” to reporting “went completely out the window once Trump got elected. Saying anything publicly about the story that did not align with the narrative—the repercussions were huge for any of us that did not go there. That is crazy.”
“Clinton was said to have approved a “proposal from one of her foreign-policy advisers to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security services,” according to notes, declassified in 2020, of a briefing CIA director John Brennan gave”
“Hamburger, of the Washington Post, told Simpson the Page allegations were found to be “bullshit” and “impossible” by the paper’s Moscow correspondent, according to court records.
But not everyone held back. In late September, Michael Isikoff, at Yahoo News, published”
“The Clinton campaign put out a statement on Twitter, linking to what it called the “bombshell report” on Yahoo, but did not disclose that the campaign secretly paid the researchers who pitched it to Isikoff.”
“It was a twist to the symbiotic relationship between the media and the national-security apparatus; usually, reporters use pending government action as a peg for their stories. In this case the government cited the media for its actions.”

Jonathan Karl, the ABC White House correspondent, … said the media coverage of Trump was “relentlessly and exhaustively negative,” rather than “striving for fairness and objectivity,” and did “as much to undermine the credibility of the free press as the president’s taunts.”
“Bob Woodward, appearing on Fox News, called the dossier a “garbage document” … later he said, “To be honest, there was a lack of curiosity on the part of the people at the Post about what I had said, why I said this, and I accepted that and I didn’t force it on anyone.”
The day before inauguration, the Times featured a story: “Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry into Trump.” The piece evoked a strong reaction from Strzok, who was leading FBI inquiry: “no substance and largely wrong…the press is going to undermine its credibility”
After the election, “the Times produced a steady stream of stories about whether Trump conspired with Russians to win the election without knowing whether the allegation was actually true.”
On March 1, 2017, the Times stood by the accuracy of its explosive story.. but … muddied the question of whether Trump associates had contacted “senior Russian intelligence officials” by noting that “the label ‘intelligence official’ is not always cleanly applied in Russia.”
“The story described Strzok… as “one of the most experienced and trusted” investigators. Hundreds of Strzok’s texts became public….one from before the election@had Strzok responding to whether Trump would “ever become president” with this reply: “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it”
And yet Strzok said “‘there’s no big there, there.’ Other FBI documents, released in 2020, reflect the same assessment: the inquiry into possible ties between the campaign and Russia, according to one of the agents involved in the case, ‘seemed to be winding down’ then.”
“Gerard Baker, who was the Journal’s top editor at the time… says he found the performance by the media in the Trump-Russia saga, ‘for the most part,’ to be ‘among the most disturbing, dishonest, and tendentious I’ve ever seen.’”
The New Yorker’s “Jane Mayer, wrote a lengthy piece about Steele and his work. Then she went on Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC to note how the dossier “was looking better and better every day, more and more credible.”
“In November 2021, Trump threatened to sue the Pulitzer board after the indictment of the dossier’s main collector. In short order, the Post retracted a significant section of an article about the dossier.”
The Russia collusion hoax worked

“A Yougov/Economist poll found that two-thirds of Democrats were definitely or somewhat sure that ‘Russia tampered with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected.’”
Despite the US intelligence community’s assessment in January 2017 that it couldn’t measure “the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election,” the Times weighed in, at over ten thousand words in September “The Plot to Subvert an Election.”
“The first sentence described an obscure banner of Putin unfurled on his birthday, a few weeks before the election, on a Manhattan bridge. The report quickly noted that the banner was promoted by a fake Twitter account of… a privately owned troll operation in Russia.”
“Even before that, studies, largely ignored by the media, pointed to a more modest impact” but “many voters believe Russian meddling had a big impact on those results, and the mainstream narrative in journalism was that it had.“
“As 2019 arrived, BuzzFeed.. dropped a seeming bombshell: Trump had directed Cohen to lie to Congress about the Moscow Project….The special counsel’s office issued a rare denunciation of the BuzzFeed story the next day, calling it ‘not accurate.’”
“When the original story was posted and then denounced, @ggreenwald … pointed out that all the “errors” went in the same direction: “exaggerating the grave threat posed by Moscow and the Trump circle’s connections to it.”
“Isikoff had previously begun having doubts about the credibility of the dossier, but Barr’s letter pushed him further down that road. He went on MSNBC soon after the letter’s release and criticized the network for its coverage of the dossier”
The report found “multiple links between Trump Campaign officials and individuals tied to the Russian government,” including “Russian offers of assistance... In the end, “the investigation did not establish that the Campaign coordinated or conspired with the Russian government”
“Democratic members of the panel, in an addendum, wrote that Manafort’s sharing of campaign data “is what collusion looks like.”
But the evidence of Kilimnik’s Kremlin ties is far from certain, and the question of whether Manafort’s dealings with him are even murkier.”
“With regard to the motivation for sharing the polling data, Mueller’s report said it “could not reliably determine” why the data was shared or what happened with it. …Manafort and his deputy, both told Mueller’s team that the data was passed on to help Manafort’s finances”
“Chapter 5: The scandal that never ends

“The Times, for many years, has cited the Kilimnik-Manafort relationship to defend its controversial story of February 2017 about Trump-Russia ties, noting that the Senate and Treasury statements ‘confirm the article’s findings.’”
“The Mueller report’s implication that the IRA was part of a ‘sweeping’ Russian government meddling campaign in 2016 was later rebuked by a federal Judge..”who found“only private conduct by private actors” and “does not link the [IRA] to the Russian government.”
“Mueller’s report cites a review by Twitter of tweets from accounts ‘associated with the IRA,’ in the ten weeks before the 2016 election, which found that ‘approximately 8.4%’ were ‘election related.’ Only the St. Louis Post Dispatch covered that part of the report…”
“Ipsos/Reuters poll showed 48% of Americans—84% of Democrats and 17% of Republicans—still believed Trump or his campaign “worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election.” Democrats saw Mueller’s report… as a template to impeach the president”
“Barr, in an interview, said that “a lot of witnesses tried to convey that no one took a lot of Trump’s bloviating seriously. They thought that he was letting off steam.” McGahn himself told Mueller’s investigators ‘he believed the president never obstructed Justice’”
“Woodward told me the Mueller report was a “fizzle” but reporters were ‘never going to declare it’s going to end up dry.’”
Durham’s filings last February described monitoring done at Trump Tower,… by private researchers.. “to mine internet data to establish ‘an inference’ and ‘narrative’ tying Trump to Russia. The businessman lawyer, Sussmann, billed both DNC and the Clinton campaign in 2016”
“One result of Durham’s investigation has been to further discredit the dossier in the eyes of many in the media. It prompted the Washington Post to retract large chunks of a 2017 article in November 2021, and to follow with a long review of Steele’s sources and methods.“
“The Times has offered no such retraction, though the paper and other news organizations were quick to highlight the lack of firsthand evidence …But they rarely, if ever, pointed out that the origin of the FBI inquiry was itself third hand information, at best.”
“On his way out the door as attorney general, Barr told a Wall Street Journal columnist that the inquiry shouldn’t have been opened because “there wasn’t any evidence.” The Times dismissed those remarks.“
“In an interview, Wemple said he was “horrified” over media’s “devastating” portrayal of the dossier. ‘What most dismayed me was the failure of MSNBC and CNN to counter and properly address the questions I was asking them.” CNN, in November 2021, did a “reckoning”—of the dossier”
“In May 2020, DOJ dropped the case against Flynn for lying after a review by Jensen, the US Attorney in St. Louis & cited FBI’s “frail and shifting justifications for its ongoing probe of Mr. Flynn” and said FBI interview was “conducted without any legitimate investigative basis”


“I’ve avoided opining in my more than 50 years as a reporter. This time, however, I felt obligated to weigh in. Why? Because I am worried about journalism’s declining credibility & society’s increasing polarization.
“The two trends, I believe, are intertwined. My main conclusion is that journalism’s primary missions, informing the public and holding powerful interests accountable, have been undermined by the erosion of journalistic norms and the media’s own lack of transparency.
“One traditional journalistic standard that wasn’t always followed in the Trump-Russia coverage is the need to report facts that run counter to the prevailing narrative.
“In January 2018, for example, the New York Times ignored a publicly available document showing that the FBI’s lead investigator didn’t think, after ten months of inquiry into possible Trump-Russia ties, that there was much there.
“I interviewed a former top CIA expert on behavior and propaganda, Jerrold Post, who told me that leaving important information out of a broadcast or story lowers public trust in the messenger because consumers inevitably find the missing information somewhere else.
“One frequent catchphrase—“people (or person) familiar with”—is widely used by many journalists: the Times used it over a thousand times… The last executive editor I worked for, Bill Keller, told the staff repeatedly the phrase was “so vague it could even mean the reporter.”
“I reached out to more than sixty journalists; only about half responded. Of those who did, more than a dozen agreed to be interviewed on the record. However, not a single major news organization made available a newsroom leader to talk about their coverage.
The author of the above is 78-year-old Jeff Gerth who won the Pulitzer and worked at the New York Times between 1976 and 2005.

Every sentence is well-sourced

It is a damning indictment of the U.S. news media

All four parts are gripping
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