Maddow's Bombshell: Trump's War on Media has Taken another Turn for the Worst

By: Kayla Pasacreta

Last night, Rachel Maddow tweeted, “We've got a strange exclusive coming up at 9pm ET on MSNBC. In house, we've been calling this our "inside-out" scoop.” After seeing this tweet, I knew I had to tune into the show promptly at 9 to see what scoop Maddow had.

 Maddow, photo via  MSNBC

Maddow, photo via MSNBC

When she finally got around to revealing her scoop, she said:

“Somebody for some reason appears to be shopping a fairly convincing fake NSA document that purports to directly implicate somebody from the Trump campaign in working with the Russians on their attack on the election. It is a forgery”

— RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC

Maddow went on to explain how her team came to this realization – the NSA document looked very real, but there were some glaring mistakes, like weird spacing, mention of a US citizen, and typos. Maddow detailed the extensive process her team went through to fact check the document. After much consulting with intelligence specialists and background digging, Maddow and her team were able to conclude the document was fake.

But why would someone be shopping a fake document around? The answer is simple. To discredit the media. If news outlets receive documents that look astoundingly authentic, then report on the documents, once the documents turn out to be fake it achieves one thing: the outlets can be rightfully called “fake news”, and this falls into Trump’s agenda. So if news outlets are really reporting fake news, it makes Trump not look so crazy after all – right?

Two weeks ago, three CNN contributors resigned after a retracted Russia-related article. CNN allegedly believed, “the story wasn't solid enough to publish as-is.” Though the facts in the story weren’t necessarily false, CNN did not see the information as solidly accurate enough given that the proper editorial processes were not followed. After the resignation, Trump tweeted about it, avowing he was right all along about Russia being fake news. Many Trump-supporters gloated that this was proof that CNN was Fake News with an agenda to bring down the President. The answer is clear about who wins when news outlets are discredited: Donald Trump.

Maggie Haberman of the New York Times tweeted in response to Maddow’s bombshell:

CNN, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and most credible news sources are the only ones who ever dare to call Trump out on his imploding administration and questionable ties to Russia. So when Trump viciously tweets and declares war on these “fake” news sources, he is working hard to discredit the only credible news sources around. Trump’s presidency is unique in that it calls for a not-so-silent war on media. Just a couple of weeks ago, the administration was under fire for doing off camera press briefings.

 

Although Maddow was careful to not pin the forged documents on any one person or entity,  it’s not too difficult to connect the dots. Credible news sources are the only way we have been able to learn about concerning facets of the administration. These news stories have put incredible pressure on Trump and his administration, which is clearly why he (might) be working overtime to try to completely discredit and dispose of these news sources. A free press is an extremely important part of a free, informative, and engaging electoral and political process - it is very concerning to think the press may be at risk. 

I’m not saying Trump is behind this – but it wouldn’t be hard to believe someone on his team is.