Ethics Hero: CNN’s John King

Things are pretty bad in the profession of journalism when a reporter can be an Ethics Hero by simply staying objective and stating the obvious, but such is the wretched state of journalism ethics in 2017.

As mentioned in the earlier post, CNN immediately avoided journalism and defaulted to partisan Obama Administration defense mode when it was revealed that Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice “unmasked” Trump campaign personnel whose conversations were inadvertently picked up in security surveillance. Rather than examining the story, objectively, factually, CNN anchors Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo declared the story, respectively, a Trump-manufactured  diversion and “fake news.” (The New York Times did its part by burying the Rice story on page A-11.)

CNN’s John King, however, bravely eschewed the company line, that line being “partisan spin.” Showing a video from last month, King began…

“This is Susan Rice a short time ago on the PBS Newshour with Judy Woodruff. When asked at first, her name was not involved at first in the conversation at this point. When asked at first the House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes says there was unmasking done by Obama administration officials.”

Now he runs the tape…Woodruff’s question was, ” I began by asking about the allegations leveled today by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes that Trump transition officials, including the president, may have been swept up in surveillance of foreigners at the end of the Obama administration.”

SUSAN RICE: I know nothing about this. I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today. I really don’t know to what Chairman Nunes was referring. But he said that whatever he was referring to was a legal lawful surveillance and that it was potentially incidental collection on American citizens.

The clip ends.

KING: Uh, remember the beginning of that. “I know nothing about this.” This is the same Susan Rice moments ago on MSNBC.

He runs the second clip.

RICE: There occasions when I would receive a report in which a U.S. person was referred to. Name not provided. Just U.S. person. And sometimes in that context in order to understand the importance of the report and assess its significance it was necessary to find out or request the information as to who that U.S. official was.

The clip ends.

KING: Not to be a jerk here but will the real Susan Rice please stand up?

Added guest Yahoo! News chief Washington correspondent Olivier Knox:

KNOX: The second part of that on MSNBC there a perfectly logical explanation on how unmasking works but the problem is the previous comment in which she denies any knowledge of it so she can’t in the same breath…

KING: Welcome to the witness list.

KNOX: Yeah, I mean, come on!

Translation: If what Rice did was innocent and unremarkable, why did she initially deny she did it?

The National Review fills in what King only hints at:

So in two weeks, we went from “I know nothing about this” to “yes, I requested the ‘unmasking’ of these individuals, and it was perfectly appropriate and legal.” Also notice this careful denial: …the notion that — which some people are trying to suggest, that by asking for the identity of an American person, that is the same as leaking it, is completely false. There’s no equivalence between so-called unmasking and leaking. No, but once information is unmasked, it’s a heck of a lot easier to leak, now, isn’t it? On January 12, when Susan Rice and all of her deputies were still in their jobs, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius cited a source that was a “a senior U.S. government official” declaring that Michael “Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29.” That information and the contents of the call are classified; whoever leaked the information to Ignatius committed a crime. Rice denies leaking the information. Of course, she also insisted the Benghazi attack was a “spontaneous protest” and denied that it was “premeditated or preplanned”; and that Bowe Bergdahl served the United States with “honor and distinction.”* Maybe it was her, maybe it wasn’t, but no one with any sense should trust her denial; saying otherwise would be admitting to a crime.

Exactly. It wasn’t perfect, but let’s credit John King for refusing to join his colleagues’ unethical practices.

*In the earlier article, I failed to mention this  glaring example of Rice’s recurring role as the purveyor of convenient Obama administration false narratives.


24 thoughts on “Ethics Hero: CNN’s John King

  1. I am so tired of all of this partisan bickering and lying and politics in general. I am reminded of Mercutio’s line from Romeo and Juliet: “A plague on both your houses.”

  2. Jack,
    Friendly Correction: You mis-wrote her name as “Sudan” in the first paragraph. Interestingly enough, I’ve never had rice from the Sudan.

    Hope you’re well!

      • No, it isn’t… And Trump probably had no idea that this was going on when he tweeted.

        But isn’t it neat that you can say basically anything negative about the DNC, or its operatives, and given enough time evidence will eventually be found to back up your claim?

        At this point, politicians in general have lost the benefit of my doubt, this case, like so many others reeks of illegal, corrupt, political one-upsmanship and the scrabbling defenses of partisans of either stripe says just as much about them as it does the people they’re defending.

        I’m not saying that slick is right, he’s obviously not… But does it REALLY matter? If, as this suggests, Rice DID in fact unmask Trump operatives during a period in time where she was acting under the auspices of the administration, using methods unavailable to people outside the administration, and leaked that information in a way which was both illegal and contravened the interests of the administration she ostensibly served, does it REALLY matter if we call it “wiretapping” or just simply “fucking abhorrent behavior”?

        • does it REALLY matter if we call it “wiretapping” or just simply “fucking abhorrent behavior”?

          A rose by any other name… stinks as badly as this situation. Trump WAS spied on and a felony was committed when Flynn was leaked to the press. Obama sought and eventually got a FISA warrant to do so, under flimsy pretenses. Obama then changed the rules such as to make it LIKELY the information would be leaked.

          And Trump can now do the same to HIS opponents. This is the road we are on, sadly enough.

          • So there is no “wiretapping”, just intercepts of telephone calls? Reminds me of the folks that get all exercised when I talk about vote fraud and they huffily explain to me that there is voter registration fraud, but little actual vote fraud. Sheesh.

            • Phil, this is starting to remind me a lot of the comments on most AOL/Huffington Post (which I call Huff Puff Po). “You spelled ‘the’ wrong and your syntax is awful”. Never address the actual issue…that phone calls identifying Trump staffers were intercepted, maybe as a matter of course and maybe it wasn’t a “wire-tap”, but you know what? It happened and was leaked to the liberal press. So who’s the bad guy?

  3. Frightening, actually. These are the same people who start a riot at a Trump rally, then convince a liberal Federal judge that Trump incited the violence.

    • Frightening, actually. These are the same people who start a riot at a Trump rally, then convince a liberal Federal judge that Trump incited the violence.

      Where are you getting your facts on this, dragin_dragon? As far as I’m aware, the judge has been convinced of no such thing; he simply refused to dismiss the case. This is also the first I’ve heard that the protesters in question “started a riot” at the rally; even Trump’s lawyers are not making that argument, so why are you?

        • Do better, and don’t respond like a partisan hack. It is a fact that the judge has not been “convinced that Trump incited the violence.” So at least one of the two claims you just made was false.

          I suspect your claim that the protesters started a riot is also false, since Trump’s lawyers aren’t claiming they did, and I can find no source that claims this; you seem to have invented this from whole cloth. You could show me the news source where you got this claim, since you claim you got it from the news, but I really don’t think you did.

          It would take integrity to admit that all three of your claims were false. Show some.

          • First, for you to call ME a partisan hack is a hoot. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

            For the most part, I don’t bother to read your comments…it’s mostly liberal gibberish. When you’re not trying to gain points by insulting people. That I would respond to you is very rare, and will become more rear. You rarely have anything new to say, although your efforts to spin are sometimes (rarely) amusing. Thus, I will return to not responding to your posts, and continue to ignore them.

            • dragin_dragon,

              You were just proved wrong on three separate claims. I urge you to read Jack’s link.

              What you said was not true.

              My only sin in this exchange was pointing out that what you said was not true. I started out polite, and you responded sarcastically, like a partisan hack. I gave you one more opportunity to show integrity, and you chose not to take it.

              I am sorry you made this choice.

  4. I don’t think she’s going to be able to wiggle out of this one. Like Debbie Wasserman Shultz “She’s going down. Down, down, down, down, down.”

    • “I don’t think she’s going to be able to wiggle out of this one.” I could never be as hopeful or optimistic as you seem. Crooks like Susan Rice are the creme-de-la-creme of unaccountable government power-(mis-)users.

  5. I think you have to take your fairly-reported news wherever you can get it, even if belated.

    There is no doubt both sides are engaging in partisan spin. The question at hand is can we ever actually separate the partisan spin from the news? For the most part, we haven’t been able to because most of the news seems to be reported from one partisan perspective or the other — conservative news is hyping Susan Rice as a felon, and the mainstream news is either ignoring it completely or quoting Susan Rice’s husband as a source defending her.

    Conservatives have trouble believing Rice’s statements because she’s been caught dissembling in the past. Nobody can blame them for their suspicion. But the truth is, we have no idea yet if Rice did anything illegal, or actually abused the power of the executive by proxy. Hopefully, we’ll find out, but we may not — most of the matters involved are at least nominally classified, at least for now.

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