MSNBC Legal Analyst Tweets Fake News, Social Media Makes It Viral, Prof. Turley Makes Excuses. Yecchh. [UPDATED]

First, MSNBC legal analyst Joyce Alene Vance sends out the completely false tweet above. Of course Fox News covered the hearing. Why would she do that? Is it because she works for all all-anti-Trump-spin all the time network? Or is it because she’s a hard core partisan, having been an Obama U.S. Attorney? Maybe its because she’s not a journalist, and has no idea what kind of standards journalists are supposed to use before reporting “news.” Then again, virtually nobody at MSNBC appears to know what ethical journalism is.

Whatever the reason, she tweeted it, and immediately confirmation bias set in, with such sophisticated political analysts as horror novelist and well-established Trump-hater Stephen King helping to spread the word–three “words,” really: Fox won’t report news unfavorable to Trump, Trump is afraid of the Mueller Report (never mind that anyone’s been able to read it for months) and that Mueller’s testimony was going to be a likely calamity for the President—to his more than 5 million followers.  [NOTE: It wasn’t. It was a calamity for “the resistance” and Robert Mueller’s reputation]

Here’s King:

Funny, neither the Vance tweet nor King’s are available any more. I wonder why? Yet both were retweeted many thousands of times, and Los Angeles Times columnist David Lazarus, MSNBC contributer Rick Wilson, former Rep. Donna Edwards and others repeated the fake news in interviews.

It is especially irritating  that Prof. Jonathan Turley, who says that he knows and admires Vance (they are both law professors), made excuses for her in his post about the episode. The usually more ethically astute law professor wrote,

[P] eople are going overboard in their attacks on Vance. Everyone has tweets that they wish they could take back, including the President of the United States. Vance did the right thing in pulling the tweet. 

Ugh. No, they are not going overboard, at all. She speaks for a news network, and her tweets are the equivalent of news reports. This one wasn’t just a “mistake,” it was gross journalism malpractice. She also understands how Twitter works, and the obligation not to put false facts into the hands of the foaming-at-the-mouth Trump-Deranged who scour the news for anything that will slake their unreasoning hatred.  Turley also doesn’t mention her outrageous “apology”:

What?  What does she mean, “intended ironically”? So complete lies are now acceptable as irony? Her apology is arguably worse than the original tweet.  How can anyone trust a source who claims that she intentionally misleads people to be “ironic”?

Turley, meanwhile, sinks to hack level by using the President’s irresponsible tweeting habits as a justification for Vance. The President isn’t a journalist, and by this time, anyone who takes his tweets as credible fact deserves to be misled, or as Vance would say, “confused.”

Furthermore, Turley is appealing to  pure rationalizations to excuse unethical conduct: #1.The Golden Rationalization, or “Everybody does it”; #2. Ethics Estoppel, or “They’re Just as Bad”; 11. (a) “I deserve this!” or “Just this once!”;  #19. The Perfection Diversion: “Nobody’s Perfect!” or “Everybody makes mistakes!”: and most absurdly of all, # 32. The Unethical Role Model: “He/She would have done the same thing.” The latter is a terrible rationalization when the role model whose unethical; conduct is being used as justifying precedent is Abraham Lincoln, but Donald Trump??

So now we know that Professor Turley is not above using double standards to help his friends, even at the cost of misleading his readers.

Good to know. But disappointing.

17 thoughts on “MSNBC Legal Analyst Tweets Fake News, Social Media Makes It Viral, Prof. Turley Makes Excuses. Yecchh. [UPDATED]

  1. Vance is more than just an MSNBC contributor. She is a law school professor at University of Alabama and a former US Attorney (which she calls an “Obama US Atty in B’ham”). Here is her Twitter page:

    Oh, then there is this little gem:

    “As people criticize Mueller’s performance, it’s hard for me to avoid thinking we let him down, not the other way around. He gave us a report establishing that the President committed high crimes & misdemeanors. He expected we’d understand what he was saying & move forward.”

    jvb

  2. Yes, if you are part of the news media, irony should be avoided. You can’t make declarative statements of fact ironically in an effective manner.

    But, if you must, best to start, “I bet Fox won’t …” or “wouldn’t surprise me if Fox doesn’t…”. Same amount of vitriol, with none of the deception; that’s win-win!

    -Jut

  3. One potentially constructive comment:

    When I see “[UPDATED],” after having read an article, it piques my interest for a re-read. Often, I cannot figure out what the update is, meaning I don’t know if the update is important or even interesting.

    Identifying the update explicitly would make it easier to identify quickly.

    For what it is worth.

    -Jut

  4. “Irony” is one of my favorite concepts insofar as is describes so much of life. This is the second time I’ve seen “I was being ironic” used as an excuse for a bad statement. Do these people know what irony is? Must have been poly sci majors or something.

    • Speaking of journalism, how’s this beaut from the Boston Globe: Mueller “declared Russian election interference one of the greatest challenges to democracy that he had encountered in his career.”

      Mr. Mueller, could you please tell us exactly, or even approximately, how many challenges to democracy you have encountered in your career and rank them and Russian election interference according to their greatness?

        • Was 9/11 really a challenge to our democracy? We were not about to fall as a nation because someone destroyed a few buildings.

          I concede that it led to the totalitarian elements of our government creating things like the War on Terror, the Patriot Act, and so on… but I don’t think Mueller, being a fascist totalitarian himself, minded those threats to our democracy.

  5. What I saw today was a man who bought a PhD thesis and never took the time to kniw what was in it in order to defend it.

    The fact is hacks from both sides will see see what they want and say their own talking points ad nuaseum. Today’s hearing only served to make Mueller look feeble and frail.

    If Mueller wanted to say “If but for the OLC opinion that a sitting president cannot be indicted we would have indicted Trump on XYZ” he could have put that in writing in the report. Instead, he keeps obfuscating on that point so both sides hear completely opposite statements.

    I certainly hope that the other investigations wrap up soon so we can find out:

    How the Trump team was implicated initially and why the Clinton team’s well documented contacts with Russian operatives were not investigated?

    How the FBI determined Russians hacked the DNC server when the FBI forensic experts never had access to DNC servers?

    Why did Perkins Coi hire Fusion GPS and Crowdstrike on behalf of the DNC and Clinton campaign?

    If this was a criminal investigation with Trump as the principle target and not a counter intelligence operation why could Trump be compelled to bear witness against himself to Mueller and how does silence suggest guilt?

    Lots of questions but very few answers from the dottering super “patriot” hired to create a sense of Republican oversight of the Andrew Weisman and his team of rabid anti-Trump prosecuters.

  6. The funny thing is that MSNBC and CNN wouldn’t have shown the hearing if they knew what would happen. It appears that Mueller did not write the report and he may have never read it. He probably lied in his testimony as well (your report is based on the Steele dossier and you have never heard of Fusion GPS?). Another ‘Best and Brightest’ in our federal government revealed as an incompetent, partisan waste of oxygen.

    • We will soon hear that Mueller has some sort of degenerative mental disorder, and therefore cannot be held responsible for his little misstatements before Congress.

      The jury is still out on whether there will be calls to reopen the Russia Investigation base upon Mueller’s illness.

      I mean, it would be political suicide with the elections so close, but that has not stopped the TDS infected from doing similar things the past three years. At least they would go out with a bang!

  7. Ugh. No, they are not going overboard, at all. She speaks for a news network, and her tweets are the equivalent of news reports. This one wasn’t just a “mistake,” it was gross journalism malpractice. She also understands how Twitter works, and the obligation not to put false facts into the hands of the foaming-at-the-mouth Trump-Deranged who scour the news for anything that will slake their unreasoning hatred.

    Well, except for the fact that she doesn’t know any “foaming-at-the-mouth Trump-Deranged” people, at least in her mind. So it’s just a minor goof, right? The “foaming-at-the-mouth Trump-Deranged” are exactly how she thinks everyone should be.

    What? What does she mean, “intended ironically”? So complete lies are now acceptable as irony?

    I do not think that word means what she thinks it means.

    So now we know that Professor Turley is not above using double standards to help his friends, even at the cost of misleading his readers.

    Turley forgot the one big thing he usually remembers: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” There was no good reason for him to weigh in on this matter, but he did anyway and shat the bed.

    In this instance, his cognitive dissonance has made a fool of him.

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