Josh Rogin

Tags ››› Josh Rogin
  • Contra right-wing media, US officials have verified core aspects of the Trump dossier

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Right-wing media have waged a months-long attempt to discredit the 35-page dossier produced by a former British intelligence officer that contains allegations of coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Various right-wing commentators have described its contents as “unreliable,” “discredited,” “largely debunked,” and "evidence of ... collusion between Democrats and Russian disinformation," including a Washington Times story that Trump promoted this week. But, according to numerous reports, American intelligence officials have “verified” various “core” aspects of the dossier.

  • How a 2014 story about Russia went from a fringe blog to Fox News in just a few days

    Blog ››› ››› ALEX KAPLAN


    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    A 2014 article about then-President Barack Obama’s behind-the-scenes efforts to work with Russia has been widely disseminated among right-wing media in the past 48 hours in an attempt to defend President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, who allegedly asked for back-channel communications with Russia during Trump’s transition. The article seems to have initially re-emerged on fringe blogs and two Twitter accounts that could be bots.

    Trump and his administration have come under scrutiny after The Washington Post on May 26 reported that in December 2016, Kushner had discussed setting up a secret communications channel between Trump’s presidential transition team and the Kremlin. Former intelligence and national security officials have called the move naive, “bizarre,” “very concerning,” “indicative of espionage activity,” and “possibly even illegal.”

    In the early morning hours of May 27, the day after the Post ran the story, Twitter account TheTruthIsOutThere posted, “#BROMANCE Inside Obama’s secret outreach to Russia, including a Kissinger offensive.” The tweet linked to a 2014 article from Josh Rogin, then of Bloomberg, reporting that Obama was “working behind the scenes for months to forge a new working relationship with Russia.” Seemingly hours later, fake news purveyor Before It’s News published a link to a fringe blog highlighting the Bloomberg article. The following evening, slightly before 9:30 p.m., a second Twitter account linked to the article. About two hours later, at around 11:46 p.m., the Drudge Report highlighted the article at the top of its page. About an hour later, many Twitter accounts started to highlight the Bloomberg article without adding much accompanying text. Rogin, the author of the 2014 Bloomberg piece, noted the Twitter activity, writing, “This article of mine from 2014 has been tweeted hundreds of times today, all exactly the same way. #bots.”

    Meanwhile, likely thanks to Drudge, the article exploded into fringe right-wing media, eventually making its way to Fox News on May 29 and on Trump’s favorite morning show, Fox & Friends, on May 30, which cited the article to suggest hypocrisy by the “fake, left-leaning, mainstream” media for focusing on Kushner. This despite the fact that Obama’s effort came during his presidency, not during his presidential transition.

    If a fake news purveyor and bots did play a role in disseminating this claim into more traditional right-wing and mainstream media, it would not be the first time. Former FBI official Clint Watts testified before the Senate in March that Russian bots spread fake news during the 2016 election and beyond, and the FBI is investigating Russian bots pushing pro-Trump articles from conservative websites. The fake news outlet involved in this recent incident, Before It’s News, has also repeatedly pushed claims that support the Kremlin's agenda, such as spreading the dubious charge that the Syrian chemical attack in April was a “false flag” operation and pushing a fake news story from Russian state media. The site is part of the “alt-right”/fake news ecosystem that has disseminated misinformation to the public before.

  • Pence Runs With Flawed AP Report To Smear The Clinton Foundation

    ››› ››› CAT DUFFY

    During the 2016 vice presidential debate, Republican Gov. Mike Pence referenced a flawed Associated Press (AP) report to baselessly allege Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was involved in “pay-to-play politics.” The cited AP report falsely suggested that Clinton granted special State Department access to Clinton Foundation donors but included no evidence of wrongdoing. Pence also left out the fact that the AP was forced to take down its misleading tweet on the report, saying it did not meet its journalistic standards.

  • GOP Uses Flawed AP Report To Call For An Investigation Into The Clinton Foundation

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Republicans are using a flawed Associated Press report -- that baselessly alleged Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton granted special State Department access to Clinton Foundation donors -- to justify calls for an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Even though the report included no evidence of wrongdoing, numerous media figures hyped it as a scandal, claiming “the optics are disturbing” for Clinton.

  • Media Hype “Optics” In AP Report On Clinton Foundation, While Admitting There Is No Evidence Of Ethics Breaches

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ & JARED HOLT

    Media are attempting to scandalize a report from The Associated Press that revealed that “[m]ore than half the people outside the government who met with now-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money ... to the Clinton Foundation,” calling the report “breathtaking” and “disturbing,” because it “looks bad,” and the “optics” and “perceptions” are problematic, despite the fact that their programs also note that “it wasn’t illegal,” and there was no quid pro quo. The focus on the “optics” of the situation rather than the facts has led some in media to criticize the reporting, and explain that “consumers of the media [should] think twice about whether or not the narrative” media are pushing “fits ALL of the facts.”

  • Media Fell For Bogus “New Information” Spin In GOP Benghazi Report

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Several media outlets falsely reported that the final report released by Republicans on the House Select Committee on Benghazi contained “new information,” when in fact all of the “key findings” in the report had been previously reported. Committee Republicans reportedly released “embargoed ‘exclusives’” strategically to manipulate reporters into presenting details in the releases as new information.

  • Widespread Agreement That House GOP Benghazi Report Has No “Smoking Gun” Against Clinton

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Following the release of the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s report on the 2012 terror attack on a diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, -- which was the culmination of an investigation lasting “two years and [costing] more than $7 million,” -- journalists are pointing out that the report “failed to unearth anything so damning as to change many minds about the events of that tragic night, or who is to blame for them,” and that “there doesn't seem to be a smoking gun when it comes to Hillary Clinton's culpability.”

  • Daily Beast Distorts Clinton's Iran Comments To Accuse Her Of Hypocrisy

    Blog ››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER

    Clinton AJC

    The Daily Beast misleadingly accused Hillary Clinton of claiming credit for sanctions that the State Department opposed by selectively highlighting a portion of a speech she gave. In reality, Clinton was referring to her successful efforts to help pass a 2010 Iran sanction bill and convince major firms to divest from Iranian oil.

    In a May 16 post, The Daily Beast's senior national security and politics correspondent Josh Rogin highlighted a recent speech by Clinton at the American Jewish Committee. During the appearance, Clinton said "With the help of Congress, the Obama administration imposed some of the most stringent crippling sanctions on top of the international ones." Rogin claimed Clinton was "referr[ing] indirectly to a series of bills passed from 2009 through 2012 that attacked Iran's ability to export goods, participate in international financial markets, and continue with its illicit activities and money laundering" and suggested that Clinton was being deceitful by pointing out that high-ranking officials in the White House and the State Department, under Clinton's leadership, opposed some of the sanctions.

    But Rogin's charge ignores the rest of Clinton's speech. In the portion of the speech that Rogin did not include in his post, Clinton said that the U.S. legislation she referenced was "building on the framework established by" sanctions passed by the UN's Security Council in June 2010, making it clear that she was referring not to every sanction proposal, but specifically to the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010. Clinton played a critical role in brokering a deal to guarantee passage of those sanctions, which passed weeks after the UN sanctions:

    CLINTON: So we went to the UN Security Council and proposed some of the toughest multilateral sanctions ever on record. I worked for months to round up the votes. It reminded me of the back-room negotiations in the Senate with all the horse-trading, arm-twisting, vote counting that go into passing any major legislation. In the end we were successful. After years of division, the international community came together and sent a very strong, unified message to Iran. 

    And then building on the framework established by the United Nations Security Council, with the help of Congress the Obama administration imposed some of the most stringent crippling sanctions on top of the international ones, and so did our European partners. Our goal was to put so much financial pressure on Iran's leaders that they would have no choice but to come back to the negotiating table with a serious offer. We went after Iran's oil industry, banks, and weapons programs, enlisted insurance firms, shipping lines, energy companies, financial institutions and others to cut Iran off from global commerce. Most of all, I made it my personal mission to convince the top consumers of Iran's oil to diversify their supplies and buy less from Tehran. That was no easy sell. Remember, this was taking place in the midst of the global economic slowdown.

    Clinton's efforts to make sure CISADA passed have been documented and back up her statement that she and the Obama administration were successful. As The New York Times reported in 2010, Clinton "brokered a last-minute compromise with House leaders on the Iran sanctions bill."

    Clinton also pointed to her record of influencing "top consumers of Iran's oil to diversify their supplies and buy less from Tehran." Her record here is also well-established. State Department fact sheets show that, as a result of CISADA's passage and the State Department's diplomacy under Clinton, the department sanctioned companies for "doing business with Iran's energy sector," and persuaded "five major multinational oil firms to withdraw all significant activity in Iran, costing them hundreds of millions of dollars."