The Steele Dossier Drove Media Coverage For Years, And Now They Want To Memory Hole It

"This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened."

One of the positive developments coming out of the case in Kenosha is a bunch of people waking up to the fact that the media got the Kyle Rittenhouse story so wrong. That’s a good thing — when you can see it with your own eyes, regardless of your feelings about Rittenhouse himself, you can see that the establishment narrative was just totally wrong. As more responsible media blue checks wrestle with this realization, though, they’re also skating right past the much bigger media scandal that has dominated our conversation: the completely phony Steele dossier. It was a partisan fraud that drove the investigation of a candidate and then a president, it was the basis for award-winning coverage at major media outlets, everyone on every network was talking about for years, and now, it might as well have never existed.

Becket Adams on the “close enough” defense: “Amazingly, rather than strike a conciliatory note and apologize for uncritically promoting a document whose primary source has since been indicted on five counts of lying to federal investigators, certain journalists who faithfully endorsed the dossier have fallen back on a defense that amounts to saying, “Close enough!”

“Even if every single word in the Steele dossier was wrong,” the Atlantic’s Anne Applebaum mused this week, “that would not change the fact that the Russians sought to manipulate the U.S. election using hacked material and a disinformation campaign.”

“She added, “Nor would it change the fact that the Trump family welcomed this intervention.”

“The brazenness of it all — to ignore entirely that the FBI used this fake document to spy on an actual presidential campaign. That alone poses a far greater danger to the republic than all the Russian bots that littered Twitter in 2016 combined.

“Applebaum’s argument is even more ridiculous when one recalls her effort to promote and legitimize the dossier.

“In 2017, she promoted a New York Times story titled “How a sensational, unverified dossier became a crisis for Donald Trump.” Applebaum then alleged, “The political origins of the dossier have long been known. Problem was that so many European intelligence agencies had similar information.”

“But now she is arguing, “Sure, the dossier may be a lie. This doesn’t change that Russia and Trump are bad!”

“Also, Applebaum’s casual dismissal of the grave implications of the dossier incident ignores that nearly everyone involved in creating it worked for Russia.

“Steele was working for Deripaska,” Bloomberg Opinion’s Eli Lake notes. “Fusion GPS was working with Veselnitskaya to advance Russian interests and discredit the Magnitsky Act. Charles Dolan was an unregistered lobbyist for Gazprom.”

“Ignore all that, Applebaum says. What was reported and what was promised regarding the dossier is basically “close enough.”

“Given the fact that the Russians sought to manipulate the U.S. election campaign using hacked material and a disinformation campaign,” she said this week, “it was not stupid for the FBI to take the Steele dossier seriously. Was a mistake to publish it, but that wasn't the FBI's fault.”

“She added, “Some of the confused responses to this very uncomplicated and uncontroversial statement reflect just how much damage Trump's lies have done to the American psyche. Tragic that so many of you fell for them,” wrote this person who fell for the Steele dossier.”

More of the Same Won’t Save Joe Biden:

Zaid Jilani. “Issue polling reveals that a few key factors are driving Biden’s decline. Just 35 percent of Americans approve of how the president is handling immigration. As Americans witness chaotic scenes of migrants from Central America, Haiti, and elsewhere at the U.S.-Mexico border, it’s clear that the administration has lost the public’s confidence on that issue.

“Chaos is also likely the reason behind why so many Americans disagree with Biden’s handling of the war in Afghanistan, where his approval rating is lower still, at 34 percent. While there was strong public support for withdrawing from Afghanistan, most Americans found fault with how that withdrawal was conducted.

“Meanwhile, rising inflation also appears to be dragging the president down. A poll from Politico and Morning Consult found that 89 percent of voters are concerned about inflation and that 62 percent think that the Biden Administration’s policies are very or somewhat responsible for rising inflation.

“Finally, we should remember that Biden promised he would “shut down the virus,” referring to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. One poll shows just 44 percent of Americans are “very” or “somewhat” confident that Biden can bring about a quick post-pandemic recovery. Cliff Young, the president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs, noted that Biden hasn’t been able to demonstrate what moving past the pandemic would look like. “The problem is convincing those who are vaccinated that they have the tools to navigate a COVID world,” he noted, adding that “people are confused” because “there’s no sense of what the endgame is.” And while more Americans view Biden’s response to the coronavirus positively than negatively, his net approval on the issue collapsed from 30% in June to 4% today. 

“The botched Afghanistan withdrawal, the crisis at the border, inflation, and the ongoing pandemic have shattered Biden’s image as a competent leader. Additionally, his decades in Washington have not prevented him from mismanaging issues like Afghanistan and the border, nor have they guaranteed his ability to get bipartisan legislation (notwithstanding the recently passed infrastructure bill) through Congress.“

School Boards Against Parents:

Chris Rufo. “The latest and most egregious example comes from Round Rock, Texas. In a series of school board meetings this fall, two fathers—a minister named Jeremy Story and a retired Army captain named Dustin Clark—spoke out against alleged corruption and school officials’ hostility toward parents. Journalist Pedro Gonzalez reported that at an August meeting, Story had calmly “produced evidence that the board had covered up an alleged assault by the superintendent, Hafedh Azaiez, against a mistress.” The superintendent and school board president cut him off midsentence and ordered officers to remove him from the premises.

“At the next meeting, in September, with the district’s controversial mask mandate on the agenda, the school board locked the majority of parents out of the room, preventing them from speaking. Clark and other frustrated parents asked the board to open the nearly empty room to the public. Instead, school board president Amy Weir directed officers to remove Clark from school property. As he was dragged out by two officers, Clark shouted to the audience: “It’s an open meeting! Shame on you. Communist! Communist! Let the public in!”

“A few days later, the school district, in coordination with law enforcement, sent police officers to the homes of both men, arrested them, and put them in jail on charges of “disorderly conduct with intent to disrupt a meeting.” Families and supporters of Story and Clark held an all-night protest outside the jail, until the men were released the following morning. They are now raising funds for their legal defense.

“The school board was able to do this because the Round Rock Independent School District has its own police force, with a three-layer chain of command, patrol units, school resource officers, a detective, and a K-9 unit. The department serves under the authority of the board and, through coordination with other agencies, apparently has the power to order the arrest of citizens in their homes. For many parents, the school board is sending a message: if you speak out against us, we will turn you into criminals. When reached for comment, the school district’s police department confirmed that it initiated the investigation and that “one board member requested details from the RRISD Police” prior to the criminal referral.“

Texas Tries To Stop The Border Crisis:

John Davidson in Del Rio. “What happens in border states when the federal government refuses to enforce immigration laws amid a record surge of illegal immigration? Are those states, and the elected officials charged with maintaining law and order in them, supposed to stand back and accept the ensuing chaos in their communities? Or do they have a right, even a duty, to take action and fill the void left by the federal government?

“In Texas, where the border crisis that began as soon as President Biden took office is still in full swing, the answer appears to be that in the face of federal inaction, states must act on their own.

“That’s the idea behind “Operation Lone Star,” Gov. Greg Abbott’s evolving and expensive plan to secure the U.S.-Mexico border using thousands of state troopers and Texas National Guardsmen. The operation, launched in March, was initially billed by Abbott as an effort to “deny Mexican Cartels and other smugglers the ability to move drugs and people into Texas,” but has since become a sprawling and controversial experiment in the use of state power to secure an international border.

“Democrats have denounced it as illegal and unconstitutional, and called for a Justice Department investigation. Republicans have praised Abbott for taking a stand and pushing the envelope.

“Abbott has not asked the Biden administration for permission because he does not believe he needs it. Indeed, the entire operation has been designed to operate exclusively with state resources and agencies, and within the existing confines of state law. That’s both a strength of Abbott’s approach and, as I saw for myself in Del Rio, Texas, a major weakness.

“It’s a weakness because it severely limits what the operation can achieve. The basic idea is that Texas state troopers and National Guard troops will arrest illegal immigrants, who will in turn be prosecuted for misdemeanor criminal trespass in hopes that such prosecutions will serve as a deterrent. Whatever the merits of this approach to border security, it comes with a host of caveats and constraints.”


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