The Washington Post's front page: We've spent the bulk of the day watching people read and interpret the Mueller report on television.
We haven't reviewed the report ourselves. Earlier, we did look at the Washington Post, whose hard-copy, top-of-the-front-page news report started like this:
ZAPOTOSKY, LEONNIG, HELDERMAN AND BARRETT (4/18/19): The Justice Department plans to release a lightly redacted version of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s 400-page report Thursday, offering a granular look at the ways in which President Trump was suspected of having obstructed justice, people familiar with the matter said.Right up to the very end, the Post was offering front-page scoops based on statements by unnamed people—statements by people said to be "familiar with the matter."
The report—the general outlines of which the Justice Department has briefed the White House on—will reveal that Mueller decided he could not come to a conclusion on the question of obstruction because it was difficult to determine Trump’s intent and because some of his actions could be interpreted innocently, these people said. But it will offer a detailed blow-by-blow of the president’s alleged conduct—analyzing tweets, private threats and other episodes at the center of Mueller’s inquiry, they added.
This produced an exciting moment, but was that highlighted statement accurate? Pared down, here's what that statement says:
"The report...will reveal that Mueller decided he could not come to a conclusion on the question of obstruction because it was difficult to determine Trump’s intent and because some of his actions could be interpreted innocently."
Interesting! But is that why Mueller decided he couldn't come to a conclusion on the question of obstruction? Watching MSNBC over the past several hours, we've received a very different impression of Mueller's stated reason.
There it was, sitting atop this morning's front page. Readers of the Washington Post were getting treated to an anonymous scoop.
But was that anonymous statement accurate? We haven't seen the Mueller report ourselves, but that doesn't seem to be what we've been hearing on our TV machine.
So it goes, so it has gone, with the culture of the anonymous scoop, not to mention with the culture of round-the-clock speculation. These cultures are very good for business, but how often do these rampant cultures actually "get it right?"
Full disclosure: We're so old that we can remember when Donald Trump Junior was going to get indicted by Mueller, perhaps even frog-marched away.
We heard it said again and again. Then we heard it some more!
We'll guess it was very good for business. But was it actually right?