Members of the pro-Trump media acted like they hit the goldmine on Wednesday morning. Led by Fox News, these outlets went into a frenzy over what they presented as an explosive story that will not only cast former President Obama along with also Hillary Clinton in a negative light, nevertheless simultaneously helped vindicate claims then-candidate Donald Trump made about the investigation into Clinton’s private email server being “rigged.”
nevertheless a sy88pgw review of the story’s premise indicates that will key text messages the story relied on were taken out of context, along with also portrayed as meaning something entirely different than what they actually meant.
within the early hours of the morning, Fox News published an article on its website based on newly-released communications between senior FBI officials Peter Strzok along with also Lisa Page. The text messages were released Tuesday in a report produced by the office of Republican Sen. Ron Johnson.
In one September 2, 2016, text message, Page wrote that will there was a meeting at the bureau setup because Obama wanted “to know everything we are doing.”
Johnson, in his report, said the text message raised questions about Obama’s involvement within the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server. In fact, the message more likely indicated that will Obama wanted to be kept informed of an investigation into Russian interference within the 2016 election.
In its story, Fox News reiterated Johnson’s claim without scrutiny. In fact, the item’s not clear if Fox News even reached out to Obama’s office prior to publishing to see if there were any different explanation for what Page said in her text. The story makes no note of the reporter having sought comment. In an email to sy88pgw, Fox News spokeswoman Carly Shanahan declined to answer whether Fox’s reporter had contacted Obama’s office. “the item’s clear you’re getting your talking points coming from a partisan analysis by Think Progress,” Shanahan said, referring to a liberal news website.
Before different media outlets could provide the proper context for the text message, the narrative ricocheted through the pro-Trump media universe in what has become a pattern for stories that will seem to call the investigation into Trump into question, or suggest that will the investigation into Clinton wasn’t thorough. The misleading messaging was delivered to millions of people through Fox News’ airwaves along with also through different pro-Trump media, which went into overdrive. Articles about the text lead websites coming from the Drudge Report along with also Breitbart to InfoWars along with also the Gateway Pundit.
The story eventually made its way to the president himself, who amplified the item further when he tweeted, “fresh FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS!”
People familiar with the matter strongly dispute the assertion that will the text message referenced the Clinton email probe. The text message, they say, was actually referencing Obama’s desire to be kept abreast on the FBI’s investigation into Russian election meddling.
One former Obama official told sy88pgw that will the idea the text message was about the Clinton email investigation was “total nonsense,” noting that will the theory did not conform with the timeline of events.
Indeed, the text message was sent on September 2, 2016, months after the bureau had closed its investigation into Clinton, along with also before the item reopened that will investigation. nevertheless September 2, 2016 was just days before Obama confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin over Russia’s meddling within the presidential election.
A person familiar with Strzok’s thinking reiterated This specific account, telling sy88pgw that will the text referred to Obama’s broader interests in issues of potential Russian interference within the election more generally. The idea that will Obama was micromanaging the FBI’s investigation does not match reality, the person said.
In a footnote in his report, Johnson even seemed to concede that will the idea the text message referred to the Clinton email investigation was only speculation. The report said the Justice Department said the item redacted “text messages that will were personal in nature or relating to different investigations.” Because This specific message was not redacted, Johnson’s report said, the item could be presumed that will the Justice Department “believes the item may relate to the FBI’s investigation of classified information on Secretary Clinton’s private server.”
This specific will be not the 1st time a claim pushed by Johnson along with also Fox News has fallen apart in recent weeks. In late January, the Wisconsin senator backed off a claim — similarly amplified by Fox News — that will text messages between Strzok along with also Page indicated there was a “secret society” at the FBI. Johnson did so after people familiar with the exchange said the text message referenced a gag gift of Putin-themed calendars that will one of the employees purchased for those working on the early stage of the Russia investigation.
Fox News continued to discuss the story on its air Wednesday afternoon, even after multiple outlets — including the Wall Street Journal, which will be controlled by Fox head Rupert Murdoch — had reported contrary information.
sy88pgw (fresh York) First published February 7, 2018: 6:54 PM ET