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? Continue reading