News orgs succumbed to "Telephone," cable host declares: It started with this dramatic tease midway through last night's program:
MADDOW (5/25/17): On top of that, though, there is one mystery about James Comey's firing and the question of whether or not that was the president trying to obstruct justice in the Trump-Russia investigation.The Maddow Show had solved a mystery concerning James Comey's firing! Maddow was going to have that exclusive right after the break!
There's one piece of that that we think we've solved tonight. We've got that exclusive, next, right after this break.
After a commercial break, Maddow began an interminable, 15-minute segment with this nugget statement:
MADDOW: So we've got some new information in the Trump-Russia investigation. It is not a blockbuster revelation, but I think it's important and clarifying. It's about a key part of the behavior of the Trump administration with regard to the FBI since Trump has been in office. So, not during the campaign, but since the inauguration.In fact, we would have to settle in for almost fifteen minutes. But if we just settled in in for those many minutes, Maddow was going to correct the record on something which had been widely reported!
And I think what is widely believed to have happened, what is widely believed to have—actually, widely reported to have happened at this key point in time—what we think we know about it I think is wrong. And I think we can correct that record tonight.
So just settle in for a second and follow this through with me.
The analysts were catatonic by the time she was done.
We've just been informed that this is a holiday weekend, so we're going to wait until tomorrow to lay the whole thing out. But Maddow went on to tell the world that, based upon her program's reporting, she now believes that James B. Comey did not request more resources for the Russia probe shortly before he was fired.
Based upon her staff's reporting, she now believes that congressional sources engaged in a game of "Telephone," which ended up with people making misstatements about what Comey had actually done.
You're right! We specifically warned you about this possibility in real time. We didn't have to do any "reporting." We simply read the Washington Post and the New York Times, noting the weakness of their sourcing on the morning of May 11, the morning when this exciting report produced a banner headline across the front page of the Post.
(The exciting report topped the Times' front page too. Over the subsequent two days, it seemed to us that the Washington Post was walking its banner claim back.)
We discussed this report in detail, warning you that this is the sort of thing which happens when a chase is on. Last night, Maddow spent fifteen minutes telling us that her staff's reporting had broken this case wide open.
She forgot to say that she herself was one of the people who had "widely reported" the claim she now believes to have been mistaken. She did that because she chose to report this pleasing claim on Wednesday night, May 10, about ten minutes after it hit the web.
That's what happen when people rush, at times when a chase is on, to feed us the stories we'll like.
Wednesday evening, May 10! That was also the night when Maddow spent twenty minutes telling us that Andrew McCabe had "joined the Trump disinformation campaign" last February. Where did she get that explosive report, which she has never mentioned again? For unknown and unreported reasons, Maddow was accepting the word of Reince Priebus for this otherwise unsupported but highly dramatic claim.
Just for the record, Maddow produced no particular new "reporting" during last night's segment. She merely said that her staff had received a new statement from the Justice Department, in which the spokesperson we cited two weeks ago vehemently denied the claim in question again.
The analysts were catatonic by the time Maddow finished last night. Tomorrow, we'll show you the text of what she eventually said, after roughly ten minutes of laborious, trademark time-wasting.
For now, you can observe an instance of high pomposity in the service to strange ascot-covering! To do so, just click here. You'll be observing the sort of thing which happens when the press is conducting a chase.
"EXCLUSIVE: NEW REPORTING ON CIRCUMSTANCES OF FBI DIRECTOR'S FIRING"
Somewhat comically, that's what the signage behind the cable host said.