Washington Post Eviscerates Rachel Maddow For Steele Dossier Coverage

The Washington Post is liberal. MSNBC is even more so.

So for the Post to bash a MSNBC host is quite remarkable.

But that’s just what Jeff Bezo’s newspaper did on Thursday, publishing a scathing article about Rachel Maddow’s biased coverage about the Steel dossier.

The bogus dossier was put together by counterintelligence specialist Christopher Steele, a former head of the Russia Desk for British intelligence (MI6). The dossier included allegations that members of the Trump campaign joined forces with Russian operatives to interfere in the 2016 election to help President Trump win. The report — partially funded by the Clinton campaign — also alleged Russia sought to damage Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and claimed Trump was with prostitutes peeing on each other in Moscow in 2013.

Maddow had been pushing the dossier for years.

“In March 2017, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow invited Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) onto her show to talk Russia. She noted that in a House hearing, Schiff had cited the 35-page dossier of memorandums compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele. Ever since that document had burst into national politics — and surfaced on the BuzzFeed website in January 2017 — Maddow had closely monitored its reception,” the Post wrote.

“Each time she addressed the dossier, she was careful to alert viewers that it was unverified. But she had espied some developments that appeared to support the dossier’s nitty-gritty. So she asked Schiff: ‘When you cited … that dossier, should we stop describing that as an uncorroborated dossier? Has some of the information of that been corroborated?’”

Earlier this month, Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a 434-page report, declaring that requests from the FBI and Obama administration to conduct surveillance of a Trump campaign adviser were rife with errors and omissions — and maybe some flat-out deception.

The report said that the dossier played “a central and essential role in the decision by FBI [Office of the General Counsel] to support the request for FISA surveillance targeting Carter Page, as well as the FBI’s ultimate decision to seek the FISA order.”

FISA stands for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which created a secret court by which federal officials can petition a judge to conduct physical and electronic surveillance and the collection of “foreign intelligence information” between “foreign powers” and “agents of foreign powers” suspected of espionage or terrorism.

Said the Post:

Claims in the 35-page dossier fell into three pails, according to the report: “The FBI concluded, among other things, that although consistent with known efforts by Russia to interfere in the 2016 U.S. elections, much of the material in the Steele election reports, including allegations about Donald Trump and members of the Trump campaign relied upon in the Carter Page FISA applications, could not be corroborated; that certain allegations were inaccurate or inconsistent with information gathered by the Crossfire Hurricane team; and that the limited information that was corroborated related to time, location and title information, much of which was publicly available.”

But Maddow relentlessly pushed the dossier.

Sorting through the silence from the FBI and the unverified claims in the dossier, Maddow riffed on her Jan. 13, 2017, program: “I mean, had the FBI looked into what was in that dossier and found that it was all patently false, they could tell us that now, right?” said Maddow. “I mean, the dossier has now been publicly released. If the FBI looked into it and they found it was all trash, there’s no reason they can’t tell us that now. They’re not telling us that now. They’re not saying that. They’re not saying anything.”

That line of analysis has gained some important context via the Horowitz report. The FBI did, in fact, find “potentially serious problems” with Steele’s reporting as early as January 2017. A source review in March 2017 “did not make any findings that would have altered that judgment.”

The Post summed it all up with this: “The case against Maddow is far stronger. When small bits of news arose in favor of the dossier, the franchise MSNBC host pumped air into them. At least some of her many fans surely came away from her broadcasts thinking the dossier was a serious piece of investigative research, not the flimflam, quick-twitch game of telephone outlined in the Horowitz report. She seemed to be rooting for the document.

“And when large bits of news arose against the dossier, Maddow found other topics more compelling. She was there for the bunkings, absent for the debunkings — a pattern of misleading and dishonest asymmetry.”



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