The Federalist's Mollie Hemingway: Flynn's guilty plea shows media have been "willful vassals of an intelligence apparatus"
Hemingway: The Obama administration's intelligence apparatus has "been doing things very improperly, and that continues"
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From the December 3 edition of Fox News' MediaBuzz:
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MOLLIE HEMINGWAY: We frequently see with stories like this, the media will make a huge claim, then we will see a little bit of backtracking to the point where it might even be meaningless, and there is this cycle that has been repeated. It is big news that Mike Flynn pled guilty, particularly because the FBI had previously said that they weren't even going to prosecute this. They didn't think that he really lied so much as misremembered. That's a big deal that something happened here. But, in general, we have a story that we are supposed to believe that there was treasonous collusion with Russia to steal an election. And what we actually get is learning that there was diplomatic groundwork being laid by an incoming administration. That's a big difference from what we were promised when this investigation began.
HOWARD KURTZ (HOST): But is there a sense of vindication for news organizations who have insisted for all these months that the Russia investigation was not fake news as the president has repeatedly labeled it, as well as calling it a witch hunt.
MARIE HARF: Absolutely, and look, a lot of the reasons the public knows about what Mike Flynn has done is because reporters have broken that story. They broke the news that he had talked with [Russian] Ambassador [Sergey] Kislyak about sanctions.
KURTZ: That was The Washington Post back in February or March.
HARF: That was The Washington Post. Exactly. So, a lot of these stories, every time they come out, the Trump White House says, "These are fake news." This vindicates a lot of that. And, I think it is fair for experts and commentators in the media to be analyzing the Flynn guilty plea and what that might mean for President Trump and for the investigation.
KURTZ: Yes. Go ahead.
HEMINGWAY: I have to disagree here. I think what it shows is that the media have been too frequently willful vassals of an intelligence apparatus. That was an illegal leak about Mike Flynn. He was doing something completely legal -- having a completely good conversation with Ambassador Kislyak.
SHELBY HOLLIDAY: But he lied to the FBI. That was the story. Lying to the FBI was not legal.
HARF: And I'm not sure he was doing something completely appropriate in that conversation.
MOLLIE: This is a big part of the story is whether the intelligence apparatus under the Obama administration was doing things properly or not. And, in fact, they've been doing things very improperly, and that continues. That's a story that the media have not done a good job covering, in part, because they are just willfully receiving these leaks without thinking critically about what they signify.