How It’s Done

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Here’s how it’s done. On Wednesday Fox News Chief Political Anchor Bret Baier broke a story that was absolutely devastating to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Here’s what he had to  say (from the YouTube video):

Published on Nov 3, 2016

Video Transcript:

BRET BAIER: Two separate sources with intimate knowledge of the FBI investigations into the Clinton emails and the Clinton Foundation tell Fox the following: The investigation looking into possible pay-for-play interaction between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Foundation has been going on for more than a year. The Clinton Foundation investigation is a, “very high priority.” Agents have interviewed and reinterviewed multiple people about the Foundation case, and even before the WikiLeaks dumps, these sources said agents had collected a great deal of evidence. Pressed on that, one sources said, “a lot of it,” and “there is an avalanche of new information coming in every day.” As a result of the limited immunity deals to a number of top aides, including Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson, the Justice Department had tentatively agreed that the FBI would destroy those laptops after a narrow review. We are told definitively that has not happened. Those devices are currently in the FBI field office here in Washington, D.C. and are being exploited. There has been some angst about Attorney General Loretta Lynch and what she has done or not done. She obviously did not impanel or go to a grand jury at the beginning. They also have a problem, these sources do, with what President Obama said today and back in October of 2015.

[Fox News Senior Political Analyst] BRIT HUME: We’ll get to that later on but he downplayed it today. He said something that suggested he’s changed his tune a bit about [FBI] Director Comey. This does not sound like something that’s going to be completed anytime soon, which suggests that if Hillary Clinton is elected, she will take office with not one but two serious investigations of her past conduct hanging over her.

BAIER: Definitely. And I pressed again and again on this very issue and these sources said, “Yes, the investigations will continue, there is a lot of evidence.” And barring some obstruction in some way, they believe they will continue to likely an indictment.

Category News & Politics

License Standard YouTube License

That is so interesting. And so damning. There is little doubt Hillary Clinton has been caught with her hand in the cookie jar and is headed for big trouble, elected or not. Let’s parse what came out Wednesday on Fox News.

First, Fox News Chief Political Anchor Bret Baier announced career-shattering revelations. He cited FBI sources (not named). The words “Clinton Foundation scandal” flashed on the screen. This language was not found in the transcript of the video, but somebody at Fox News saw it important to use “Clinton Foundation” and “scandal” in the same sentence, carrying the presumption there is a scandal related to the Clinton Foundation.

There is talk of “limited immunity deals to a number of top aides, including Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson.”

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Baier relates information he has obtained from his anonymous sources. A lot of it is damning.

Fox News Senior Political Analyst Brit Hume, who sits at the anchor desk with Baier, interprets what has just been said. His conclusion is that Clinton will face serious charges after she is elected.

Baier concludes “barring some obstruction in some way,” presuming there might be obstruction from the administration, Obama’s or Clinton’s. He says his sources believe there will be an indictment (barring any obstruction).

All of this would be very bad for Clinton’s plan to become president-elect on Tuesday. Very bad, indeed, if any of it were true:

Fox News anchor Bret Baier apologized Friday for reporting that federal investigators had determined that Hillary Clinton’s private email server had been hacked and that an investigation would lead to an indictment of Clinton after the election.

In fact, Baier said, after checking with his sources, there is no evidence at this time for either statement.

On Friday, ABC World News Tonight summarized the sorry episode. The 30-minute news segment cruelly replayed Bret Baier’s on-air fiasco. I captured the story in a sequence  of screen shots. First the retraction, which may or may not have been painful.

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Reporter: Trump ripping the headline and running with it.

Trump: “There is more breaking news that I would like to share with you right now. The FBI agents say their investigation is likely to yield an indictment.”

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Reporter: But the story was soon discredited. Still Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, unfazed when asked if he would correct the record.

Conway: Well, the damage is done to Hillary Clinton, no matter how it’s being termed.

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Reporter: Today Fox News anchor Bret Baier apologized for reporting an indictment was likely, saying, “It was a mistake, and for that I am sorry.”

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Reporter: But Trump, still pushing the discredited story. “Hillary is now facing major problems with perjury. The FBI agents say their investigation is likely to yield perhaps an indictment.”

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Reporter: Today at a Trump rally in New Hampshire, another sign of just how ugly the race has gotten, this crass joke from former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu.

Sununu: Do you think Bill was referring to Hillary when he said, “I did not have sex with that woman?”

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Wow! That last was just icing on the cake. Sununu, as some of will recall, was previously chief of staff to President George H. W. Bush and is a noted conservative firebrand.

And all this has been fun to for me to watch,  because I recently stepped through a Facebook conversation with some conservative correspondents. It started with a posting cautioning us to not be so “offended by what Trump said in private.” This is in reference to the audio from 2005 revealing some of Trumps coarse comments on women and what he could get away with because he was rich and famous.

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I chimed in and had this to say:

Tessa talks about what Donald Trump says in private. Let’s talk about what he says in public. Many of these statements were made on the campaign trail in a bid to get a certain segment of the population to vote for him. Don’t be part of that segment:
3. “Ariana Huffington is unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision.”
8. “If I were running ‘The View’, I’d fire Rosie O’Donnell. I mean, I’d look at her right in that fat, ugly face of hers, I’d say ‘Rosie, you’re fired.’”
14. “My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.”
16. “I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.”
17. “You’re disgusting.”
To put this into context, Donald Trump said this to the opposing lawyer during a court case when she asked for a medical break to pump breast milk for her three-month-old daughter.
24. “Look at those hands, are they small hands? And, [Republican rival Marco Rubio] referred to my hands: ‘If they’re small, something else must be small.’ I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee.”
Along with the petition to keep him out of the UK, can we also campaign for Trump to stop talking about his penis?
2. Says John McCain isn’t a hero
“He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever. In my opinion, she was off-base.”
“Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that — the face of our next president!?”
I have more.
Full disclosure. I voted for Hillary Clinton in early voting last week. In March I voted for Donald Trump in the Texas primary, because I wanted to make sure Clinton would run against Trump rather than a candidate with a possibility of winning. We will see how that works out.

That brought some reaction, leading to this curious bit:

Tessa Parker Lol John Blanton. My case in point To much of one thing and no verity is not good for the mind and soul. To reiterate stop watching CNN. Lol. To much CNN makes you lean left to much Fox News makes you lean right. Stay balanced.

We should watch Fox News to  stay balanced? Yes, I’ve heard this kind of talk before. We should teach evolution in public schools, but for balance we should tell students about Intelligent  Design and other alternatives to evolution. Mentally, I have extended the argument:

  • Scientists have made a good case for anthropogenic global warming, but some, including Donald Trump, think global warming is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese to wreck the American economy.
  • The story is that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone killing President Kennedy. People should also pay attention to what Oliver Stone had to say about it.
  • Popular media parrot the story that 19 hijackers perpetrated the attacks on 11 September 2001, but others, such as Thierry Meyssan have an explanation we should explore.
  • Yes, the Earth is more or less round. But there are those who think it is flat.

How’s that for balance? Yes, despite the adulation from a segment of American society, any resemblance of Fox News to a straight news organization would be coincidental.

It remains curious what went on here:

  • Bret Baier talked to people within the FBI and has obtained previously unknown information.
  • These people are not identified.
  • Baier came on-air on Fox News and told the story as though it were true.
  • Donald Trump picked up the story and ran with it.
  • Somebody noticed a problem, and it  turned out Baier’s story is false. He retracted the story on-air.
  • Fox campaign manager Kellyanne Conway did not denounce the story, explaining that the damage has already been done (and it would be pointless to say more—my words).
  • Donald Trump keeps running with the story, because it’s good for his campaign. And why get involved with the truth after all these years?

Yes, I’m beginning to  see how it’s done.

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One thought on “How It’s Done

  1. Pingback: How It’s Done | Skeptical Analysis

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