Journalists Criticize Outlets Who Ignored FBI Letter And Ran With Republican Congressman’s Spin

BRENNAN SUEN/Media Matters

After some media outlets ran with a misleading story that the FBI planned to examine new evidence associated with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s email server, numerous reporters and media figures criticized the initial coverage for using Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s (R-UT) spin rather than the actual letter from FBI Director James Comey, which said only that new emails “pertinent”  to the investigation had been discovered and will be assessed.

Journalists: “Do Some Investigation Before You Go To Print” With A Story From Jason Chaffetz

Dear Reporters:

If Jason Chaffetz gives you a story, and you care about accuracy, do some investigation before you go to print.

Interesting thing to watch: How local newspapers hed it. Chaffetz description of what Comey said is not holding up 

A distinction: Comey did not say ‘reopening investigation.’ That language came from House Oversight Chair @jasoninthehouse.

As I said in my piece, Comey did not say case reopened. Rep Chaffetz said that. Now FBI saying to reporters on background thats incorrect.

1) Chaffetz said re-opened
2) NBC said re-opened
3) Other media began reporting and decoding concise Comey letter 

1.Comey speaks. 2.Chaffetz over-reacts. 3. Dems panic. 4. Twitter freaks. 5. Markets jump. 6. Reporters report. 7. New Trump video surfaces.

Let’s look at politics. Chaffetz, who’s cuddled up to DJT, seems to be first to talk about it…made it sound far graver than letter (1/2)

Media immediately gives it Chaffetz’s characterization, rather than much more vague characterization of Comey’s letter. No? (2/2)

Lots of bad headlines re Comey letter. Reason? Instead of leading with letter, reporters led with Republicans view of the letter.

Leaks and spin from Chaffetz, Gowdy et al are baker’s chocolate, and reporters are children who think “maybe it’ll taste sweet this time!” 


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