NYT Explains “Confusion” About Its “Trump Wiretapping” Story
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Mar 8 2017
In the aftermath of the Trump accusation that Obama wiretapped his phone during the election, an allegation which the flagbearers of the “truthful” (according to their various advertising campaigns) anti-Trump media wave, namely the WaPo and the NYT have vehemently denied, an unexpected victim has emerged over the past few days: the NYT itself. The reason is that while the NYT has repeatedly criticized and denied Trump’s allegation, its own reporters Michael Schmidt and Michael Shear had written an article on Jan 19, titled in the print version Wiretapped Data Used in Inquiry of Trump Aides and online Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates, which paradoxically corroborated much if not all of what Trump himself said and quoted the usual anonymous source, who said:
wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House (concerning) the business dealings that some of the president-elect’s past and present advisers have had with Russia.
With various conservative blogs taking the NYT to task over this seeming contradiction, even the WaPo’s own fact-checker seemingly became confused…
Today the NYT’s public editor, Liz Spayd felt compelled to address its Jan 19 article which implicitly substantiated much of Trump’s allegation, and to explain why that’s not the case. She starts by saying:
Trump’s assertions, however over-inflated, nonetheless echo certain aspects of the NYT’s reporting from recent weeks. That in turn has allowed his administration to assert that the basis for his claims rests in part on reporting by the NYT. On the surface, there are similarities. Both the NYT and Trump have referred to wiretaps. Both have referenced White House knowledge of the investigations. And both have described efforts by officials from the Obama administration to involve itself in the continuing investigations of Trump and Russia.
Maybe Trump is not a completely raving lunatic after all. Where are the differences?
For one thing, as the NYT and others have made clear, these investigations have been conducted by the FBI, intelligence agencies and Congress, not by Obama himself. The NYT has also said that Obama administration officials sought to spread intelligence about a possible link between Trump and Russia to ensure a trail of evidence for investigators, but it said Obama himself was not involved. And no NYT reporter has claimed that any warrants have been issued to spy on Trump or his associates.
And there it is again! Several months after we thought we would never again hear the old refrain, “if the Fuhrer only knew!”, it strikes yet again, only this time we find it very difficult to believe that Obama, who expanded the distributions of confidential
SS NSA data to multiple offices just weeks before his final day in office, had no clue that Trump was being wiretapped. There’s more, and this is where things get delightfully Orwellian, because as Spayd “explains”, the confusion is really just a function of readers being confused becaus, well, it’s complicated:
Distinguishing between Trump’s assertions and the NYT’s reporting is essential. Yet readers at this juncture may be understandably confused on what is true and not in one of the most important ongoing news stories in the country.
More details about this pervasive “confusion” fanned by none other than the NYT itself:
Several readers have written in this week saying they’re having a hard time squaring the NYT’s own past reports of wiretapping with the paper’s assertions that there is no firm evidence that any warrants for wiretaps have been issued. Readers also expressed confusion with the NYT’s assertion that it would be illegal for a White House to receive information about such investigations, when its own wiretapping story in January said the Trump White House was given some information from intercepted communications. John Penley of Asheville, North Carolina, writes: “For months now, the NYT and many other MSM have been running stories based on anonymous leaks saying that a massive investigation was going on into Trump and Co’s Russian dealings based on wiretaps and intel intercepts. Now, Obama officials are saying this all never happened, so my question is this: Why have the NYT and others been saying it has for months now, basing their stories on anonymous leaks?”
So to eliminate the confusion, here is the NYT’s explanation of how the wiretapping of Trump and/or his associates, which eventually made its way to the White House, didn’t really happen:
I reached out to editors in the Washington bureau to seek their help in clarifying the difference between Clapper’s and the NYT’s assertions that no warrants had been issued, and the reference to wiretapping in the January story. Elisabeth Bumiller, the bureau chief, said the January story was referring to information picked up from wiretaps and other intelligence collected overseas, a process that requires no warrants.
Still confused? Don’t worry! The NYT even has a Q&A to help you out of your cognitive dissonance predicament:
There’s a lot to parse, and doing so in a way that is clear to readers is not easy when the subject matter is complicated and the information that reporters receive comes under strict terms of how it can be used. One reporter, Charlie Savage, produced a helpful Q&A explaining the law around wiretaps and key terms, but it didn’t try to show how Trump’s claims line up against the NYT’s past reporting.
Sarcasm aside, what the NYT’s long-winded explanation boils down to is that Trump’s inner circle was wiretapped, but the difference is whether Obama knew about it or not. And if anyone harbors any gullible thoughts that the president who lied to the public about his knowledge of Hillary’s email server, arguably the biggest fiasco of her presidential campaign, is telling the truth when he says that he has no idea whatsoever that someone somewhere was in fact wiretapping Trump, as the NYT reports, then we wish you all the best as you click away on all the other NYT “Q&A”s to help you in your misery.