Bret Baier was "most irresponsible of all!"


Except on a certain TV show:
Some very bad conduct has been occurring as Election Day has drawn near.

Much of this bad behavior has involved the coup plotters inside the FBI—the FBI of the glorious "Comey the God." Various assertions and claims have emerged from their anonymous coup plotting.

By most accounts, the behavior of the plotters themselves has been poor. But according to an editorial in this morning's Washington Post, Fox News anchor Bret Baier has been "most irresponsible of all:"
WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL (11/5/16): According to reports Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal and Thursday in The Post, agents based in New York thought they should investigate whether donors to the Clinton family charity were given improper benefits by the State Department when Ms. Clinton was secretary. They were motivated in part by “Clinton Cash,” a book by the conservative author Peter Schweizer that was published in May 2015. According to The Post’s account, when the [coup plotters] took their desire to probe the foundation to higher-ups, they were advised the evidence was thin. Nothing abnormal about that; prosecutors and officials use their judgment about what cases to pursue all the time.

But this group of New York agents apparently was unsatisfied, and someone decided to prosecute the case through leaks days before the presidential election. Most irresponsible of all was Fox News anchor Bret Baier, who declared an “avalanche” of evidence is “coming every day” and an “expansive” investigation into the foundation was ongoing and would lead “to likely an indictment.” Without any substantiation whatsoever—indictments are returned by grand juries, not by special agents of the FBI—the headlines took off. The false report of an impending indictment was then repeated by Donald Trump. Mr. Baier apologized on Friday for a “mistake,” but the political damage had already been done.
The editors pounded Baier for his conduct. If anything, the editors were being kind. They skipped a second major offense by Baier, which we'll describe below.

They also ignored the ongoing insinuations which were rather plainly lodged in Baier's "apology." We'll also get to that.

At any rate, Baeier was "most irresponsible of all"—but only if you were reading the Washington Post. If you watched last evening's Maddow Show, you saw the program's gonzo host praise the courageous, decent Baier for his moral greatness.

On last night's Maddow Show, Baier came strangely close to being the most upstanding of all. Here's how the nonsense went down:

Maddow played the videotape of one of Baier's recent unfounded claims. Completely ignoring his second "mistake," she then offered a tribute to his rare moral greatness.

No, we really aren't making this up. Our Own Multimillionaire Corporate Rhodes Scholar actually is this strange:
MADDOW (11/4/16): The Fox News Channel today itself also made a remarkable retraction today:

BAIER (videotape): All the time, but especially in the heated election on a topic this explosive, every word matters, no matter how well-sourced, which brings me to this. I explained a couple of times yesterday the phrasing of one of my answers to Brit Hume on Wednesday night, saying it was inartful, about saying how the investigations would continue after the election. I answered that, yes, our sources said it would, they would continue to likely an indictment. Well, that just wasn't inartful. It was a mistake. And for that I'm sorry.

(end of videotape)

MADDOW: That's the reporter and anchor Bret Baier at Fox News Channel today.

I don't usually do this on stories like this, but I'm going to take a point of personal privilege here. I will tell you in my view, in my personal view, I think that Bret Baier is a good reporter and a good anchor. I also think he is a good person.

He made a mistake on this story. In this business, that is a very hard thing for people to admit. But not only did Bret Baier admit that he made a mistake, he explained the mistake and I think this is important. He didn't talk around it. He had the courage and decency to use the word "mistake" in saying what had gone wrong and then saying he was sorry.

And that's really, really hard to do in this business. There's a reason you don't hear a lot of on-air corrections in this business, but that was a real one, and it was well done and the right thing to do and I think it's worthy of respect.

OK. What Bret Baier initially reported and has now retracted and called a mistake and apologized for was this claim on Fox that there was an active FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton that was likely to lead to indictments. That was a Fox News claim from earlier this week. But to be clear, what Bret Baier did today is he took that back:

BAIER (videotape): "Indictment" obviously is a very loaded word, Jon, especially in this atmosphere, and no one knows if there would or would not be an indictment.

(end of videotape)

MADDOW (entertainingly snarking): "Nobody knows if there would or would not be an indictment. It was a mistake when Fox said there would be.

"Hope it didn't create a false impression. Hope that didn't affect the race."
Maddow proceeded to a new topic. Summing up, though, Bret Baier seems to be "the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being she has ever known in her life." To get choked up, click here.

Maddow praised Baier for his courage and his decency. He had admitted that something "had gone wrong," Maddow said. Unlike Maddow in that very formulation, he hadn't tried to talk around it.

Bret Baier is a good person, Maddow said. His courageous, decent, straight-shooting conduct was worthy of respect.

Maddow's praise for Her Own Raymond Shaw struck us as typically weird. For starters, Maddow said that Baier had corrected a "Fox News claim from earlier in the week."

In fact, it wasn't a "Fox News claim." It was a bogus claim made by Baier himself.

In fact, it was a "Bret Baier claim from earlier in the week!" Baier wasn't correcting "Fox News." Baier was correcting himself—rather sloppily, we'll be forced to add.

Is Baier a good person? Based on years of watching his work, we would assume that he is. That said, he was really pushing the boundaries this week. Let's get clear on what he did:

Baier made two horrendous unfounded assertions this week. In a carelessly formulated account in this morning's Post, Paul Farhi explains Baier's two offenses. For the sake of clarity, we'll add the bracketed numbers:
FARHI (11/5/16): Fox News anchor Bret Baier apologized Friday for reporting [1] that federal investigators had determined that Hillary Clinton’s private email server had been hacked and [2] that an investigation would lead to an indictment of Clinton after the election.

In fact, Baier said, after checking with his sources, there is no evidence at this time for either statement.

Baier, the anchor of Fox’s evening newscast "Special Report," went on the air Wednesday to report that the FBI had determined that Clinton’s private server, which she used while serving as secretary of state, had been hacked by “five foreign intelligence agencies.”

He further said on Thursday, during an interview with Fox’s Brit Hume, that a separate FBI investigation—of the charitable Clinton Foundation—was “likely” to lead to an indictment of Clinton after Tuesday’s election.

Both statements, if true, would be explosive developments in the late stages of the presidential campaign...
Baier didn't make one "explosive" unfounded statement this week; he went on the air made two. On Wednesday, he said that Clinton's private server had been hacked by five foreign agencies. The next day, he said it was "likely" that Clinton would end up getting indicted.

Maddow ignored the bogus claim about the foreign agencies. Citing only the second unfounded claim, she praised the greatness put on display when Baier called his report a "mistake."

She failed to note the way Baier continued to vouch for the strength of his sourcing. ("Every word matters, no matter how well-sourced.") She failed to note the problem with a "correction" like this:

"No one knows if there would or would not be an indictment."

In that part of his "correction," Baier continued suggesting that there very well may be an indictment. In this way, he kept advancing a possibility for which he had no respectable evidence.

We'd make a similar small complaint about Farhi. Once again, this is the way his report starts:
FARHI (11/5/16): Fox News anchor Bret Baier apologized Friday for reporting that federal investigators had determined that Hillary Clinton’s private email server had been hacked and that an investigation would lead to an indictment of Clinton after the election.

In fact, Baier said, after checking with his sources, there is no evidence at this time for either statement.
Except as a direct criticism of Baier, Farhi should not be reporting that there is no evidence, at least not at this time. He should be reporting that this was an unfounded claim, full stop.

It seems to us that Farhi made other clumsy statements—statements which have the effect of "keeping hope alive" for the "Benedict Comey" coup plotters. That said, this report isn't about Farhi, a good reporter who did a good job of recording Baier's unfounded statements. It's about [1] the editors of the Washington Post and [2] the reliably gonzo host of the Maddow TV show.

The editors said that Baier was the most irresponsible player of all in this week of the FBI coup plotters. Maddow said Baier was the warmest, kindest, most upstanding person since the death of Raymond Shaw.

He had corrected a "Fox News claim" in which something "had gone wrong." So said the ludicrous Maddow.

Why did Maddow make these peculiar remarks? We can't answer that. But if you get even money, bet on this:

It had to do with career positioning, with a certain cable star's all-important branding and advancement.

Maddow's good at selling cars. The main car she sells is the Maddow.

Still coming: Digby on narrative; a wave of Bridgegate pseudo-reporting; the latest "Maddow edit." Also, the decline of the west and the fall of the human race.

"This whole species is out of order," one analyst dryly said.


  1. The way you are 1000% correct about Dowd. you are the same way 1000% correct about Maddow. Her work is deeply sloppy at best, deceitful at worst.

    MSNBC has become a horrid spectacle.

  2. “Baier is a good reporter and a good anchor. I also think he is a good person.”

    Fox News is a 24-hour long advertisement for the Republican Party. It is owned by a right-wing plutocrat. Together their goals are to establish global plutocracy. And now we are defining as a good person someone who gets paid a million dollar salary to spread lies for this despicable organization? Examples for your children: Bret Baier and Jesus, both did good work.

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  4. Bret seems pretty bad to me, although maybe not as bad as clown reporter (the resemblance to Bozo is eerie) Sarah Westwood.

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  6. Today the NY Times tells us that Clinton aides will bring baggage to the Whitehouse and Hillary is a gun-grabber. Nothing at all about Trump.

    1. I have heard rumors that there is going to be a serious house cleaning at the NY Times politics desk after this election.

      They are simply incapable of covering Hillary Clinton fairly and honestly.

    2. That's good news!

    3. Donald Trump hears rumors too, mm. And he repeats them to a lot more people than you do.

      But he shares your opinion and Bob's of the Times.

      Failed paper.

    4. Anon 10:49, I know, you're right. That's one of the weird ironies of this election. Trump was right about Christy also. He was also right about JEB!'s ridiculous claim that GW prevented attacks on our soil. So weird.

  7. Follow up from a prior thread:

    mm -- Here's a violation of security laws that you may not be able to deny:

    As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton routinely asked her maid to print out sensitive government e-mails and documents — including ones containing classified information — from her house in Washington, DC, e-mails and FBI memos show. But the housekeeper lacked the security clearance to handle such material.

    1. The New York Post?

      A Rupert Murdoch production.

      Go back to polishing Putin's knob, traitor.

    2. Davee, you ignorant slut.
      "The New York Post published a front page report alleging that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton “routinely asked her maid to print out sensitive government e-mails and documents -- including ones containing classified information,” but ignored the fact the emails in question were classified years after the fact. The report cited only two classified emails, both of which were retroactively classified at the lowest level of classification, a practice which is consistent with past State Department actions. Additionally, in both confidential emails Clinton did not request that her maid print the emails. The author of the report has a history of inaccurate reporting when it comes to Clinton’s emails."

  8. Tomorrow's Headlines Today

    Comey channels Emily Litella: "never mind."

  9. "Our Own Multimillionaire Corporate Rhodes Scholar". Wow! Your fragile little ego can't handle that she is a success and that you're not.

    1. We have been discussing what she is a success at. Corporate shill, media clown, mouthpiece for the kleptocracy. We agree she is good at attracting money.

      Somerby is over 65, which makes him a boomer retiree indulging his political hobby with a vanity blog. His days of pining for fame are behind him so your suggestion he resents Maddow's success is nonsensical. In fact it is juvenile and probably reflects your own insecurities. That places you in your parents basement wondering when your own life will start.

    2. "boomer retiree".....


      What has Boomer retired from?

    3. You can look him up. He's listed in Wikipedia. Are you?

    4. 10:47, you should take a page from movie stars and sports figures, and lie to people by saying that you don't read critics. Your skin is positively translucent.

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