CNN, MSNBC, all broadcast networks, NY Times, Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, and all others that routinely incorporate bias and misinformation in to their coverage. We will also track the reporters and editors of these organizations.
That’s from the “Primary Targets” section of a three-page fundraising pitch seen by Axios.
The document comes from a group of Trump’s political allies who are seeking to raise some $2 million for a pre-election push to investigate reporters and editors at the nation’s top media outlets.
If that sounds like an autocratic war on the free press, that’s because it is, although the spirit of the effort (i.e., digging up dirt on editors and reporters for media outlets deemed unscrupulous) certainty isn’t new.
According to Axios, the cabal plans to “slip” potentially embarrassing information about reporters and editors for the above-mentioned outlets (and others) to “friendly media” including, of course, Breitbart.
Axios names GOP consultant Arthur Schwartz as being involved in the fund raising effort. Last week, he tweeted that “if the NY Times thinks this settles the matter we can expose a few of their other bigots”. The reference was to the Times journalist whose anti-Semitic social media posts were unearthed by the same operation. “Lots more where this came from”, Schwartz sneered.
The draft reviewed by Axios expands on the Times’s own reporting on the push to target editors and reporters. The paper last week described those involved as “a loose network of conservative operatives allied with the White House”, but noted that Trump and his campaign deny any knowledge or involvement.
“The White House press office said that neither the president nor anyone in the White House was involved in or aware of the operation, and that neither the White House nor the Republican National Committee was involved in funding it”, the Times said, adding that “the Trump campaign said it was unaware of, and not involved in, the effort, but suggested that it served a worthy purpose”.
The irony, Axios writes, is that “this new group is now using the exposure [from the Times article] to try to formalize and fund the operation”. Apparently, those involved now quip that the tagline for the effort should be “Brought to you by The New York Times”.
Of course, the other “irony” is that this motley crew is alleging “bias and misinformation” on the part of every news outlet in the country with the exception of Breitbart and Fox when, in reality, it is the administration which routinely peddles not just “bias and misinformation”, but outright lies, to the public, lies which in many cases originate with – you guessed it – Fox.
But more broadly, it’s naive in the extreme to believe the White House and/or the Trump campaign is unaware of this effort. To the extent they are cognizant of it, this is a rather chilling development that sounds like it walked right out of an autocracy – probably because it did.