Back on December 26, radio host Dan Conry, a former New York City detective, flagged MSNBC host Rachel Maddow as the “fall guy” for those who had retailed the Russia hoax. In the new year, Julie Kelly of American Greatness picked up the theme in “Washington Post vs. the Steele Dossier.”
In a multi-part series, the Post’s media critic Eric Wemple “accurately portrays Maddow as one of the most dishonest and hysterical peddlers of dossier nonsense.” In comments and interviews dating back to January 2017, Maddow, “seemed to be rooting for the document,” which had not the slightest validity but empowered rouge FBI agents to spy on candidate and President Trump. Wemple posted material to back his charge but Maddow declined comment on his story.
Wemple faulted CNN for hiring fired FBI boss Andrew McCabe and also blasted the Trump-hating site Lawfare whose contributors, Kelly notes, “were routine sources for collusion fodder.” Print media also got attention and Wemple targeted the McClatchy newspaper chain, owner of, among many others, the Miami Herald, Sacramento Bee and Fresno Bee.
McClatchy covered an alleged meeting between Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and Kremlin stooges in Prague during the summer of 2016. As Kelly recalls, the trip was cited in the dossier, but denied by Cohen “and refuted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the Justice Department’s inspector general.” Even so, McClatchy bosses refused to retract the coverage and in December, 2018, published “Cell signal puts Cohen outside Prague around time of purported Russian meeting,” by Peter Stone and Greg Gordon. As it happens, McClatchy’s collusion copy goes back much farther.
“Presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton included a third participant: Vladimir Putin, standing in the background, stealthily inserting himself in the process.” Putin’s Russia “uses deniable cyber-hooliganism to actively prank the American political system. And it’s taking a toll.” The piece reads like a Clinton press release, but came headlined “Putin’s power playbook: Hack, steal, disrupt, mislead, confuse,” in the October 28, 2016 Sacramento Bee, days before the crucial election.
This was the work of Markos Kounalakis, whose “columns appear weekly in the McClatchy chain of 30 newspapers from Sacramento, California to Miami, Florida.” POTUS 44 appointed Kounalakis to the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, no surprise he turned out columns such as the April 30, 2016, “In choosing female leaders, U.S. trails many nations.” The piece contended that a woman president “would be following the lead not only of the world’s most developed nations, but of many countries spanning a broad economic and political spectrum.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton picked Kounalakis’ wife Eleni as ambassador to Hungary. The daughter of real-estate tycoon and Clinton mega-donor Angelo Tsakopoulos is now Lt. Governor of California. Beyond its dossier duty, the chain has also targeted California Rep. Devin Nunes, who played a major role in exposing the Russia hoax.
On May 23, 2018, McClatchy’s McKenzie Mays authored, “A yacht, cocaine, prostitutes: Winery partly owned by Nunes sued after fundraiser event.” On an August 2015 cruise, the article charges, men were “fondling and suckling” sex workers’ breasts and men “lined the prostitutes up on the deck of the yacht, reviewed out loud and in detail the sexual services performed.” Readers could be forgiven for seeing parallels to Steele’s urinary whores.
Nunes’ ties to Alpha Omega made national headlines, Mays explained, “because it was discovered the winery sold wine to Russian clients in 2013. The discovery came amid Nunes’ ongoing involvement in a federal investigation of Russian meddling into the presidential election.”
On August 23, 2018, McClatchy’s Rory Appleton authored “Devin Nunes: Farmer? Leader? Traitor? A Community struggles to define its congressman,” citing Democrat calls for an ethics investigation of Nunes. In similar style, last December 5 the Fresno Bee editorial board charged, “Devin Nunes’ blind allegiance to Trump is the real danger to the republic.”
As Kelly notes, Nunes is “suing McClatchy for defamation for aiding a Fusion-sourced smear campaign” against him, but if Nunes wins he may have trouble collecting. As Josh Saul reports in Bloomberg News, “The McClatchy Co., the newspaper publisher that’s teetering near bankruptcy, skipped a payment to some of its pensioners” and the company faces “a mandatory $124 million contribution to its pension plan in 2020.”
While roasting McClatchy, Maddow, CNN and others, Kelly noticed, Eric Wemple glossed over the Washington Post. That publication, “arguably inflicted the most damage on the first few months of Donald Trump’s presidency by pushing the concocted collusion drama even before Inauguration Day.” The Post also published leaked classified information about Michael Flynn and in April 2017 revealed the FISA warrant on Carter Page.
The purpose of the piece, Kelly explains, was to “legitimize the rapidly unfolding narrative that the Trump campaign had colluded with the Russians to hijack the 2016 election.” Even so, Kelly found the series “a compelling if incomplete account of some of the worst purveyors of dossier boosterism.”
Perhaps the series will encourage others to expose the Post its own self. Plenty to consider as November approaches.
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