Fox News portrayed it as one of the biggest scandals in American history. Then he collapsed

Fox News portrayed it as one of the biggest scandals in American history. Then he collapsed

Tucker Carlson described it as an “internal espionage operation” that was “hidden under the pretext of national security.” Laura Ingraham described senior Obama administration officials as “exposed”. Sean Hannity categorically declared it “the biggest corruption and abuse of power scandal” the country has ever seen.

That was in May. But this week, the conspiracy theory collapsed when The Washington Post reported The Justice Ministry investigation into the alleged scandal ended quietly without charges.
The narrative presented by Fox News centered on the routine intelligence practice of “unmasking”. document Declassified in May By then-Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, who Been criticized By Democrats and professional intelligence officials as the most outspoken political person to serve in the position, it was revealed that many Obama administration officials “exposed” an American citizen mentioned in intelligence reports.
Information about Americans Unknown In US intelligence reports for privacy reasons. But there are instances when US officials who have read these reports need to see the full picture. To achieve this, they need to provide a justification to the intelligence agency that issued the report. If the agency accepts this request, the information is “unconvincing” and the name is revealed.

The person in the intelligence reports ended up with Michael Flynn, who served as a national security advisor to President Donald Trump before he was fired for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russia. Obama officials who asked for the “unmasking” of the American citizen, however, would not have known Flynn’s identity until after he was “unveiled.”

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During the transition period, Flynn’s name would have appeared in intelligence reports due to his extremely erratic contacts with foreign officials, including phone calls with the Russian ambassador and a meeting with a delegation from the United Arab Emirates. Obama-era national security officials said they “exposed” Flynn as they attempted to decipher these unconventional diplomatic dealings.

While “unmasking” is common in national security matters, and occurs thousands of times each year, right-wing media portrayed the act as outrageous. The crux of the narrative they pushed was that President Barack Obama and members of his administration, including then Vice President Joe Biden, participated in the “deep state” conspiracy to improperly use government tools to win the 2016 elections. Presumed scandal It was referred to colloquially by its supporters as “OBAMAGATE”.
Attorney General William Barr eventually commissioned the Federal Prosecutor to look into the matter. the post I mentioned on Tuesday The investigation ended without finding any substantive wrongdoing and that the results of the investigation were likely to disappoint conservatives who believed that the “unmasking” was linked to a political plot against Trump.

The news that Trump’s Justice Department had expired landed without charges being brought against Fox News. Martha McCallum covered it on her show Tuesday evening, but a search of the texts did not reveal any other instances that Fox has covered it on air. The story was briefly shown on the Fox News homepage before it was removed Wednesday afternoon. Even when it was shown on the network’s website, it wasn’t given the same play as the initial disclosure stories in May.

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This episode represents another case where Fox News and its hosts unfairly inflated a harmless national security measure into a supposed scandal, only to later watch it quietly collapse before moving on to feed something else to its audience.

A Fox News spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

It’s hard to overestimate the extent to which Fox News promoted the revelation story in May, let alone as a malicious plot against Trump.

With the coronavirus death toll approaching 100,000 in the United States, Fox News Practically covered dumping Illness to focus on “OBAMAGATE”. After Grenell declassified related documents in May, references to keywords related to the supposed scandal on the conservative network soared as word count related to the coronavirus decreased.

And it wasn’t just pro-Trump advocates on Fox News, such as Hannity and Ingraham, who shared the story. Fox News broadcasters, such as Brett Bayer, whom the network promotes as covering the news in a meaningless “live news” manner, have also raised the story on their shows.

For example, Bayer has hosted right-wing commentator Molly Hemingway to discuss the presumed scandal without challenging her assertions, although it is far from the path of what the national security community says.

The topic was featured in countless other news portions on the network as experts chewed through declassified documents.

CNN’s Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.

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