NBC News Must Apologize for Slandering John Bolton and Gatestone

Last month, I did a basic fact check on an NBC News hit piece by Heidi Przybyla aimed at John Bolton and the Gatestone Institute.

The NBC News hit piece was fairly typical of what journalism looks like today. It was based on innuendo, artfully tying together assorted false claims for a smear, none of which individually amounted to anything. Gatestone was accused of being in bed with the Russians because its articles had been retweeted four times by Russian trolls.

Yes, you read that correctly. Four.

NBC News was playing guilt by association. Its target was John Bolton. But the association was based on Russian trolls retweeting Gatestone four times... so Bolton works for the Kremlin.

This is how shoddy the media's Russian conspiracy theories have become.

It's not just guilt by association, but guilt by association to association to four retweets. 

The piece, like many of its kind, was probably handfed to Przybyla by one of the usual story launderers drifting around the media-industrial complex, possibly the Rhodes crew or a more professionally targeted attack through a Fusion GPS style firm. The details largely don't matter because the media never fact checks itself, it only fact checks its enemies.

So now Gatestone has produced a thorough and humiliating rebuttal of the NBC News smear.

Here are some highlights.

NBC initially provides no evidence for this claim, but buried deep inside the article it asserts that, according to its "exclusive database," Russian trolls tweeted a total of four Gatestone articles — out of more than 200,000 tweets identified by Twitter as being linked to Russian accounts... NBC's database shows that Russian trolls tweeted seven articles from Heidi Przybyla, the author of the NBC report.

If consistency were an issue, that would be proof that Heidi's real name is Natasha. But the media never applies even the least rigorous standards to its own conspiracy theories.

The NBC report, written by political reporter Heidi Przybyla, appears to be based almost entirely on a series of deceptive reports about Gatestone by The Intercept, a left-leaning digital news site which itself has admitted to fabricating stories and quotes and is listed as one of "The Best Websites to Follow If You're Plotting the Left-Wing Resistance". The NBC report, which fails to cite The Intercept, is also intriguingly similar to false allegations in Wikipedia, which also parrots numerous false, but published, claims about Gatestone, such as that Gatestone incorrectly writes about the existence of no-go zones.

Journalism today means borrowing from Wikipedia. But again, I suspect it's quite possible that the Intercept pieces and the NBC News hit piece were just the sausage. And it's the story launderers who make the sausage. They provide the raw material and sometimes even the finished materials. They shop hit pieces around and the patsy collects the Pulitzer. for "courageous" reporting. 

"The group's authors also appeared on Russian media, including Sputnik and RT News, criticizing mainstream European leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron."

Gatestone Institute receives hundreds of requests for interviews each year from media outlets around the world, including from Russia. Gatestone authors rarely appear on Russian media. NBC appears to be referring to a March 2018 Sputnik interview with Gatestone Senior Fellow Dr. Denis MacEoin, who holds a Ph.D. from King's College, Cambridge, about anti-Semitism in Britain, and a November 2016 RT interview with Baroness Cox, a member of the British House of Lords, about gender discrimination by Sharia courts in Britain.

So that's two interviews. Much like the four retweets.

I could keep going. Gatestone does. This is an extensive refutation of the lies that NBC News will then choose to ignore. Along with the rest of the media. And then the media will pretend to wonder why no one trusts it.

If it had any integrity, it would apologize for its smear of John Bolton and Gatestone. But instead it'll print the next story laundered hit piece after spending 2 minutes on Wikipedia.

Because that's journalism now.

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