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News Media, Journalism

Trump Allies Target Journalists Over Coverage Deemed Hostile to White House

A group of conservatives allied with President Trump has combed journalists' social media as part of a campaign to discredit news organizations


A group of conservatives allied with President Trump has combed journalists' social media as part of a campaign to discredit news organizations

A loose network of conservatives says it has dossiers of offensive social media posts and other problematic public statements by hundreds of journalists.

Aug. 25, 2019, 1:58 p.m. ET WASHINGTON — A loose network of conservative operatives allied with the White House is pursuing what they say will be an aggressive operation to discredit news organizations deemed hostile to President Trump by publicizing damaging information about journalists. It is the latest step in a long-running effort by Mr. Trump and his allies to undercut the influence of legitimate news reporting. Four people familiar with the operation described how it works, asserting that it has compiled dossiers of potentially embarrassing social media posts and other public statements by hundreds of people who work at some of the country’s most prominent news organizations. The group has already released information about journalists at CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times — three outlets that have aggressively investigated Mr. Trump — in response to reporting or commentary that the White House’s allies consider unfair to Mr. Trump and his team or harmful to his re-election prospects. Operatives have closely examined more than a decade’s worth of public posts and statements by journalists, the people familiar with the operation said. Only a fraction of what the network claims to have uncovered has been made public, the people said, with more to be disclosed as the 2020 election heats up. The research is said to extend to members of journalists’ families who are active in politics, as well as liberal activists and other political opponents of the president. It is not possible to independently assess the claims about the quantity or potential significance of the material the pro-Trump network has assembled. Some involved in the operation have histories of bluster and exaggeration. And those willing to describe its techniques and goals may be trying to intimidate journalists or their employers. But the material publicized so far, while in some cases stripped of context or presented in misleading ways, has proved authentic, and much of it has been professionally harmful to its targets. It is clear from the cases to date that among the central players in the operation is Arthur Schwartz, a combative 47-year-old conservative consultant who is a friend and informal adviser to Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son. Mr. Schwartz has worked with some of the right’s most aggressive operatives, including the former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon. “If the @nytimes thinks this settles the matter we can expose a few of their other bigots,” Mr. Schwartz tweeted on Thursday in response to an apologetic tweet from a Times journalist whose anti-Semitic social media posts had just been revealed by the operation. “Lots more where this came from.” The information unearthed by the operation has been commented on and spread by officials inside the Trump administration and re-election campaign, as well as conservative activists and right-wing news outlets such as Breitbart News. In the case of the Times editor, the news was first published by Breitbart, immediately amplified on Twitter by Donald Trump Jr. and, among others, Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, and quickly became the subject of a Breitbart interview with Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary and communications director. Image The operation is the latest step in a long-running effort by President Trump and his allies to undercut the influence of legitimate news reporting. Credit Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times The White House press office said that neither the president nor anyone in the White House was involved in or aware of the operation, and that neither the White House nor the Republican National Committee was involved in funding it. The Trump campaign said it was unaware of, and not involved in, the effort, but suggested that it served a worthy purpose. “We know nothing about this, but it’s clear that the media has a lot of work to do to clean up its own house,” said Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s communications director. The campaign is consistent with Mr. Trump’s long-running effort to delegitimize critical reporting and brand the news media as an “enemy of the people.” The president has relentlessly sought to diminish the credibility of news organizations and cast them as politically motivated opponents. Journalism, he said in a tweet last week, is “nothing more than an evil propaganda machine for the Democrat Party.” The operation has compiled social media posts from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and stored images of the posts that can be publicized even if the user deletes them, said the people familiar with the effort. One claimed that the operation had unearthed potentially “fireable” information on “several hundred” people. “I am sure there will be more scalps,” said Sam Nunberg, a former aide to Mr. Trump who is a friend of Mr. Schwartz. Mr. Nunberg and others who are familiar with the campaign described it as meant to expose what they see as the hypocrisy of mainstream news outlets that have reported on the president’s inflammatory language regarding race. “Two can play at this game,” he said. “The media has long targeted Republicans with deep dives into their social media, looking to caricature all conservatives and Trump voters as racists.” But using journalistic techniques to target journalists and news organizations as retribution for — or as a warning not to pursue — coverage critical of the president is fundamentally different from the well-established role of the news media in scrutinizing people in positions of power. “If it’s clearly retaliatory, it’s clearly an attack, it’s clearly not journalism,” said Leonard Downie Jr., who was the executive editor of The Post from 1991 to 2008. Tension between a president and the news media that covers him is nothing new, Mr. Downie added. But an organized, wide-scale political effort to intentionally humiliate journalists and others who work for media outlets is. Image Those familiar with the campaign described it as meant to expose what they see as the hypocrisy of mainstream news outlets that have covered the president’s inflammatory language regarding race. Credit George Etheredge/The New York Times “It’s one thing for Spiro Agnew to call everyone in the press ‘nattering nabobs of negativism,’” he said, referring to the former vice president’s famous critique of how journalists covered President Richard M. Nixon. “And another thing to investigate individuals in order to embarrass them publicly and jeopardize their employment.” A. G. Sulzberger, the publisher of The Times, said in a statement that such tactics were taking the president’s campaign against a free press to a new level. “They are seeking to harass and embarrass anyone affiliated with the leading news organizations that are asking tough questions and bringing uncomfortable truths to light,” Mr. Sulzberger said. “The goal of this campaign is clearly to intimidate journalists from doing their job, which includes serving as a check on power and exposing wrongdoing when it occurs. The Times will not be intimidated or silenced.” In a statement, a CNN spokesman said that when government officials, “and those working on their behalf, threaten and retaliate against reporters as a means of suppression, it’s a clear abandonment of democracy for something very dangerous.” The operation is targeting the news media by using one of the most effective weapons of political combat — deep and laborious research into the public records of opponents to find contradictions, controversial opinions or toxic affiliations. The liberal group Media Matters for America helped pioneer close scrutiny of public statements by conservative media personalities. The conservative operative James O’Keefe has twisted that concept in ways inconsistent with traditional journalistic ethics, using false identities, elaborate cover stories and undercover videos to entrap journalists and publicize embarrassing statements, often in misleading ways, to undercut the credibility of what he considers news media biased in favor of liberals. In the case of the pro-Trump network, research into journalists is being deployed for the political benefit of the White House. It is targeting not only high-profile journalists who challenge the administration, but also anyone who works for any news organization that members of the network see as hostile to Mr. Trump, no matter how tangential that job may be to the coverage of his presidency. And it is being used explicitly as retribution for coverage. Some reporters have been warned that they or their news organizations could be targets, creating the impression that the campaign intended in part to deter them from aggressive coverage as well as to inflict punishment after an article has been published. Trained as a lawyer, Mr. Schwartz has endeared himself to members of the president’s family by becoming one of their most aggressive defenders, known for badgering and threatening reporters and others he believes have wronged the Trumps. He has publicly gone after Republicans he views as disloyal, including the former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, about whom he Read more: The New York Times

They are trying to expose journalists who have already discredited themselves. Evil, what are you getting for backing tRump and doing his dirty work. , money , power. You should be ashamed Are they also helping Trump White House out list together to keep them out of country You guys regularly publish bullshit.

Exactly what one would expect from Republicunts and Cuntservatives. When drowning in human excrement and cow dung of their own making, blame the press for doing their job. Do you think people would care what they have to say about the journalists, just his fan Base. And besides how much of what they say will be the truth 0%? Keep reporting the way you do telling us citizens what’s happening.

The only people dumb enough to believe this bullshit would be the fox news crowd. Let them have at it.. Most people will discredit them anyway! Just another republican tactics to smear the truth, we already know how they are, lying cheating greedy crazy racist group of incompetent people! Smh Still journalism.

This is what infowars looks like ontheground This is the real deal enveloping us into a bubble of hiperinflated narratives with no regard to ethical principles. They should pay attention to what he tweets. He insults people. But don’t say anything bad about him. Bull! The people that follow him worry me as much as the people who have guns and shoot people for no reason.

Trump: G7 allies 'respect' China trade war, despite warningsTrump says G7 allies 'respect the trade war' with China, despite their warnings against its global consequences. Trump. Impeached. Immediately Trump says a bunch of stuff but I wouldn't believe a word of it. The man lives in a world he creates daily in his mind. Some days Donald of today disagree with Donald of yesterday. So I don't give much credence in anything the Orange Troll hair says. Ever!😁☺️😂😂

We are not part of any “group of conservatives,” and our upcoming doc film is no “campaign.” Your persistent unscrupulousness & evasion of accountability brought CancelNYT upon yourselves. We dare you to “scrutinize” our story “discrediting” you. They are IDIOTS too ! If they had any intelligence would would not support a guy who says we should nuke hurricanes , insults everyone has the vocabulary and understanding of a 14 year old , Is a sociopath and a narcissist

POS That’s not a bad thing, NYT. If journalists are biased in social media, then that spills over into their writing, and it also means they are stupid. Readers want to know a journalist’s bias (and level of stupidity) in order to read between the lines of his/her writing. Now do Media Matters, you hyperpartisan democrat hacks.

New rules...Our turn now. Enjoy the games. Sometimes discrediting is warranted, trumpdeath You’ve done a fine job of discrediting yourselves! Canceling my NYT subscription felt so good, I wish I could’ve done it TWICE! FakeNews Trump2020 Kettle, meet Pot. Pot, meet Kettle. Goose, meet Gander. Gander, meet Goose. PutThatinYourPipe TellPat PatUnleashed KeithMalinak JeffyJFR PatHeads

Trump’s Greenland gambit finds allies inside governmentFor advocates of pulling the ice-capped Danish territory into America’s orbit, the president’s rapt attention is a godsend — and an ironic stroke of bad luck. realdonaldtrump to Greenland

Isn’t this what we expect from conservatives: working like Putin to bring down a free press that annoyingly reveals Trumps craziness & destructive policies? Oh dear! Silencing the free press is straight out of the dictator’s playbook. And the NSA hasn't been notified, why? Isn't this kind of black hat stuff illegal? (Grey hat at best) Sheesh.

trump & his allies, continuing to spread hatred as revenge.... Good. The NYT is an anti-Trump newspaper. No longer objective. If the news coverage is honest then it makes no difference if it is all laid at his feet 😂😂😂😂 “discredit news organizations”? 😂😂😂😂 you guys do that to yourselves! My rule of thumb now: Don’t let journalists inform you with half-truths. Verify, verify, and verify again. Nowadays, journalists make headlines, YOU readers do the fact check.

Your point? The left have been doing it to conservatives since the advent of social media. Just as in Socialist sates, elitist are attempting to control the media’s narrative of victimization to support there government control of our lives in order to save us from ourselves

Merkel's Bavarian allies call for German climate bond: BamSGermany's Christian Social Union (CSU), the sister party of Chancellor Ange... Oh is Merkel no longer uncontrollably shaking? 'sister party'? Why are objects 'sisters'? Is it because feme persons are also seen as objects? Come dance with me !

A threat to the candidates care? Well deserved due to wholesale of manipulative anti Trump news! Does anybody remember the tactics of propagandist Joseph Goebbels. Turn about is fair play we expect you all to give it your best wave. wait until you see the tsunami heading back to you. When a news outlet wakes after an 8 year slumber and decides to forego all fact checking, etc and rather just publish whatever bullshit it likes, yea this is called for.

I wonder what they will do fo a living after Trump loses in 2020 nobody will hire them then Stack any legitimate journalist’s social media against Trump’s and see who’s honest, has integrity, and behaves ethically. No contest! jhamby 🌈 NYpravda and the rest of the MSM don't need any help discrediting themselves, they do a good enough job without help! What joke and a disgrace to the 1st amendment!

Iraq battles aircraft after strikes blamed on Israel and the U.S. against Iran alliesIraq's Popular Mobilization Forces opened fire on a surveillance aircraft as they threatened to turn on the U.S. in the wake of strikes widely attributed to Israel. Some day the world will stand up to the bullies.

They new crazy Christian cult! Harming the truth to push their mindless agenda. The truth will always prevail no matter who tells it. Interesting that they have to find evidence to support the conclusion they’ve already adopted. If they want to legitimately discredit someone who actually deserves it, they need look no farther than Trump's Twitter posts.

Let the boycotts and subscription cancelling roll! As if anyone cared who had a subscription. What a waste of money and time building an 'enemies list.' If only journalists spent more time not covering our impaired president. At least no one is digging up Tucker Carlson interviews from 10 years ago. Oh wait...

This was eye-opening: “One claimed that the operation had unearthed potentially “fireable” information on “several hundred” people.” You’re forcing the world to come up with a new word to label this level of hypocrisy. What’s the matter...afraid ? It’s about time something was done about the LugenPresse

Hmmmm. Propaganda anybody? Sounds similar to something that happened in Germany several decades ago.

At global summit, Trump facing limits of go-it-alone stanceBIARRITZ, France (AP) — President Donald Trump arrived Saturday in France for an international summit with the leaders of the globe's economic powers as he confronts the consequences of his... I bet they’re all looking forward to the rantings of a maniac Fake news Anyone who uses the term, 'growing more isolated', doesn't understand POTUS. If remaining 'one with our economic competitors' means acquiescing, he seeks isolation.

You guys are hilarious. You hire an antisemite & then try to blame Trump.....while at the same time, cheering the incarceration of fellow journalists Julian Assange. You really don’t have a finger on the pulse of the nation, do you....... Our publisher writes. 'We will continue to cover this administration like any other: fairly. aggressively and fearl…

does it really matter? nowadays people just complain for a day and then forget about it, even if something is found, 🤣🤣🤣🤣 If there friends of Junior Trump they're sleaze like Junior Trump. Fire the racists in your fake news organization Isn’t that something the NYT and other media outlets should be doing on their own ? If you were truly journalists you would be researching your own reporters and columnists for such transgressions.

Ummm, you have a network (FOX) & “journalists ” to utilize at your disposal. I don’t understand? Could it be because you would have a very limited base that would not read, watch, hear about other national and international reporting...about Mr. Trump & his lack of couth? I think news organizations don’t need help discrediting themselves! They have been fine all by themselves!

Just a few more lying Trump dirtbags to add to the mix....the American way.

Trump team defends 2020 campaign manager's compensationPres. Trump's 2020 campaign team angrily disputes report in British tabloid that campaign chairman Brad Parscale is profiting excessively from his work for Trump. Of course he is, he’s another grifter. Anybody within trumps orbit is a con or a grifter. Nobody grifts King Grifter. so ? it's business😳

It’s not the journalists that may be hostile to trump they should be worried about it’s the registered voters and trust me on this - WE ARE VERY HOSTILE. Everybody is hostile to the WH I think. Aligned with Trump means something nefarious is going on, because no intelligent, honest, ethical, men of morals will align with Trump without payola of some kind.

Amen 700club cbngordon randpaul realDonaldTrump kennedynation foxnews sandrasmithfox marklevinshow rushlimbaugh danarohrabacher jaysekulow judgenap tedcruz dbongino —-” part of a campaign to hold news organizations accountable for their bad journalism.” FTFY Racist news organization and fake news

I wonder why. Also, tell Twitter to stop shadow banning my tweets to the presidents.... All of rump campaign advisors look like they just got out of jail for organized crime or he met them through the strip club. He and his minions are the biggest threat to freedom of the press America has ever known

That's what Dictators do. That's what Nixon did. Our publisher writes, 'We will continue to cover this administration like any other: fairly, aggressively and fearlessly, wherever the facts lead.' Read the full memo from A.G. Sulzberger here: showing what they actually said and believe The fact that you’re crying over this really says a lot more about you than it does about them

Some newspapers and cable TV news do not need any help from outsiders to be discredited since they are fine doing this themselves. larryelder marklevinshow realDonaldTrump Cool Discredit a news organization ... like shooting fish in a barrel I hope they’re combing through “journalists” from FoxNews as well.

'Archived' = fabricated to seem authentic. Well, what did they find? Was it discrediting? Good. The Leftist media is the danger that grows in the shadows.

Conservative version of snopes. Sounds like we’re using free speech to target hate speech. I don’t see an issue? Media Matters has been doing this to conservatives for years. That is the easiest assignment they will ever get in their professional lives. Yeah, cause Communists, the dudes that have tortured and murdered 500 million people for sadistic pleasure, are totally above that shit, right:D They're like, little angels!

Trust me.. Your articles do the discrediting all by themselves. Turnabout's fair play. You sort advocate doxxing honorable nationalist types all the time. Enemies list ? Looking more and more like Nixon or Hitler Dishonest and dirty journalists deserve to be discredited. We already have had plenty of the NYT theory that past inappropriate actions and words must be brought to light and held against conservatives. But must be overlooked and forgiven for Liberals. - I truly don't believe the NYT even comprehends their own double standard.

Where fameiliarity doesn’t breed contempt. They have done that all on their own . Good. Any efforts used to discredit the New York Times and its Journalists is welcomed news. Thank you for reporting on it so I can support it. Anyone that exposes the Holocaust Denying NYT is doing a great service to this country.

bet you're first on the list It’s time the media is held to the same standard the media hold’s everyone else. Just like Media Matters? How totally false & FOOLISH!! The MSM need no assistance to discredit themselves as they do a pretty damn well good job themselves !! MSM realDonaldTrump NYTimes Good Who cares

Finger in the dike strategy. They need to realize that an overwhelming majority of voters are appalled by Trump and his words and actions, and want him removed immediately, by any lawful means. You mean bringing attention to people like FakeNews BrianStelter ReliableSources aka Dumpty, the lying liberal loon, when he allowed other TDS afflicted idiots to push that POTUS was worse than Hitler, Stalin, and Mao combined? How’s that Russian Collusion going?

No campaign needed. You have discredited yourself. Shameful Conservatives are terrible people that only care about Denny’s , Log Cabin Syrups , clandestine anonymous restroom sex and grilled cheese sandwiches. They are dangerous!! The bias is so obvious it’s almost comical; good to get it pointed out though.

NYTimes publishes hateful fake news as part of campaign to discredit itself. 'member Robert Mueller? Pepperidge Farm remembers. FakeNews EnemyOfThePeople The NYT pushed the Russian Collusion farce for two years....caved to subscriber pressure to change their headline reporting of the Presidents News Conference—when I cancelled my NYT subscription citing bias, I was told to read the Opinion pages...maybe they are onto something..

Maybe we should stop allowing fox to call itself a news network. Like when we put warnings on cigarettes and chemicals. So, you think you’re ‘legitimate’? 🤔 Every day you’re rewriting history....

Pay no attention to the men in brown shirts. Jacob_Myers_25 You all discredit yourself every wether it is on the left or right of journalism you are all hacks with no values or standards. Typical specimens of the bottom feeders you find in the Trump Swamp. Darn. It would be so much better if everyone just ignored journalists' biases and believed everything they write is objective.

We all saw the transcript of the NYT town hall meeting. The grey lady has no intention of covering the president with any sense of objectivity. What is there to worry about if journalists are honest? Oh wait, you’re scared that you vile creatures will be exposed for your biased and fake reporting. Corruption at it's finest, that really sucks

If there is proof that supposed political journalists covering Trump are biased, we should all see it. Isn't that exactly what the NYT does with Republicans? Next Trump’s goons will be wearing orange like the Nazi brown shirts.

Pathetic Typical Russians. Treasonweasels. More fake news lol Translation: “Fakenews propagandists don’t like to be held accountable; Ever.” Well this seems like something a stable, intelligent, productive leader does. This exactly what y’all do anyway wtf😂 H u g e j o b Trump loves his purveyors of propaganda. Hitler hated the media and went after journalists, too. Heil, Herr Trump.

Dictators hate the media Like CNN

Turnabout is fair play! Sucks, don't it? So they did what you do Old News Sinceramente mi pregunta final es usa vende maquinaria ...comida ...medicinas ...que hace que no ayuda a africa a desarrollarse ...cuantos mas sociedades en proceso de desarrollo mas rica es usa 😦 So...holding journalists accountable for their own words is bad?

President Trump’s attacks on the media are wrong. But, to be honest, we don’t need the media. President Trump’s own hateful words, ignorant tweets, and harmful, misguided actions tell us all we need to know about him. Trumps kriminelle Speichellecker - die eigentlich in den Knast gehören. Good.

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