January 17, 2017 11:30 AM
Manu Raju, CNN’s Senior Political Reporter, is a fabulist spreading lies about Rep. Tom Price. Here’s Raju’s work:
“Rep. Tom Price last year purchased shares in a medical device manufacturer days before introducing legislation that would have directly benefited the company, raising new ethics concerns for President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Services secretary.”
Sounds scary, except it’s counterfactual, which is what most people call a “lie.” Ellen Carmichael, a former Price staffer, tweeted out some details, like this one:
“Purchase on his behalf occurred 3/17/16. Dear Colleague letter in opposition to CMS provision sent 9/21/15. CNN’s timeline is WRONG.”
Ms. Carmichael has a dozen or so tweets explaining that Price’s stock trades were made in a broker-directed account without his prior knowledge and that once he was aware of his financial stake, he disclosed the information in full compliance with the law. She’s also got some proof -unlike Raju- in the form of a “Dear Colleague” letter with a date on it.
The Trump transition team has finally gotten around to releasing a statement that describes the CNN segment as “junk reporting,” and calls out the pattern of “…Senate Democrats and their liberal media allies cannot abide the notion that Dr. Tom Price is uniquely qualified to lead HHS and will stop at nothing to smear his reputation.”
I noted this effort to smear Price when it started at the behest of the Kaiser Health News organization last week. Since then, this “big lie” has worked its way through many media outlets, always following a narrative model that goes “1. Price did something fishy! 2. Questions have been raised! 3. Although it wasn’t illegal and complied with ethics rules and was fully disclosed. 4. Sen. (insert generic liberal name) calls for investigation!”
We don’t need an investigation to figure out why so-called journalists are so eager to play Ganymede to whichever liberal thinks he’s Zeus on any given day -as a profession, the media lost most of their credibility long ago. But the industry is currently engaged in another round of collective navel-gazing as they try to figure out how to cover a new president who prevaricates so boldly and with such utter contempt for them and their profession. “How can Trump get away with that?” they ask.
He gets away with it because people hate the media more than they dislike Trump. They hate smug, arrogant, condescending lies more than they hate anything Trump has said or done.
And as long as an industry not only tolerates, but thrives on, the use of verifiably false smears to gin up opposition or outrage, Trump and peo-le like him will keep getting away with it.