WASHINGTON – Is it a real story, or is it fake news?
That’s the raging debate about the exploding scandal over Susan Rice’s “unmasking” of incoming Trump administration officials when she served as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser.
Despite some likening the White House use of classified leaks for political purposes to a scandal bigger than Watergate, media outlets Tuesday were shooting down – or flat-out ignoring – the blockbuster report that verified the Obama administration surveilled the Trump team.
I just published “Susan Rice Requested Unmasking of Incoming Trump Administration Officials” https://t.co/bzYACuvwfH
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) April 3, 2017
It wasn’t to be found on the front page of the New York Times.
That outlet, instead, pushed the story to Page A16 with the headline “Trump tries to deflect Russia scrutiny, citing a crooked scheme by Obama.”
The Washington Post didn’t mention the story at all.
White House Correspondent Margaret Brennan defended Rice on the “CBS Evening News,” citing unnamed sources who told her there was nothing wrong with what Rice did.
“As national security adviser to the president, Susan Rice could and did request the names of individuals who were picked up during legal surveillance of foreign nationals,” Brennan said.
“According to a former national security official, Trump associates were not the sole focus of Rice’s request, but they may have been revealed when she asked to understand why they were appearing in intelligence reports. However, Rice did not spread information according to this former official, who insisted that there was nothing improper or political involved.”
ABC and NBC both chose to ignore the controversy surrounding the former national security adviser on Monday evening. The networks finally covered the story minimally on Tuesday morning, but they also defended the administration.
As WND reported, Rice is married to ABC Executive Producer Ian Cameron.
CNN, the cable-news outlet that pushed the infamous “Russian dossier” story, has dubbed the news story “fake.”
CNN’s Don Lemon blasted President Trump, the Fox News Channel and “right-wing” media for reporting the revelation. He declared that any report on Obama’s former adviser is merely a “fake scandal.”
“No surprise from Fox News, and no surprise, it does not support the president’s claim that the Obama administration spied on him,” Lemon said. “Let’s be very clear about this: There is no evidence whatsoever that the Trump team was surveilled or was spied on illegally. There is no evidence that backs up the original claims.”
Lemon vowed the network would not cover the story.
“And on this program tonight, we will not insult your intelligence by pretending otherwise, nor will we aid and abet the people who are trying to misinform you, the American people, by creating diversion. Not going to happen.”
This is how CNN opened its Susan Rice segment this morning. What an embarrassment. pic.twitter.com/LpVN9iIjqu
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) April 4, 2017
CNN’s Chris Cuomo claimed the reports are “demonstrably untrue.”
The network has repeatedly called on its chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, an Obama appointee and a former colleague of Susan Rice at the Obama State Department, to dismiss the reports as a non-story.
Sciutto said when Rice claimed to be ignorant of the unmasking scandal two weeks ago, it’s because she “wasn’t aware” to what Rep. Devin Nunes had been referring.
Just in: “The idea that Ambassador Rice improperly sought the identities of Americans is false.” – person close to Rice tells me
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) April 3, 2017
Following months of uninterrupted media coverage of unproven allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian agents to undermine Hillary Clinton’s candidacy – and the media’s reluctance to inform the public on whether Obama White House gathered and leaked surveillance information on Trump or his aides – America’s trust in the media is rapidly diminishing.
Most Americans (60 percent) believe traditional media outlets publish fake news reports, and Republicans are more likely to believe that fake news is being pushed to advance an agenda, according to a recent Monmouth University poll.