She thought she had it. The smoking gun that would prove someone in Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians to steal the 2016 election. But, when a forged NSA document sent to Rachel Maddow turned out to be just more bad information from more anonymous sources, it left the crusading MSNBC host feeling a bit "triggered." As such, she opened her show last night with the following segment:
“Somebody, for some reason, appears to be shopping a fairly convincing fake NSA document that purports to directly implicate somebody from the Trump campaign in working with the Russians in their attack in the election."
“This is news, because: why is someone shopping a forged document of this kind to news organizations covering the Trump-Russia affair?”
Not surprisingly, Maddow uses the discovery to imply that someone within the Trump administration is intentionally planting fake information in an attempt to discredit her show. She goes on to imply that similar efforts may have caused the recent firing of 3 'journalists' at CNN who simply couldn't be bothered with verifying the anonymous tip they received.
Here are more details of Maddow's show from the Daily Caller:
On June 7, an unidentified person sent documents to an online tip line for Maddow’s show, she said.
That was two days after The Intercept published legitimate NSA documents that were stolen by Reality Winner, a contractor for the agency.
And that's where Maddow's faux-outrage breaks down.
You see, if it's clear that Maddow received her forgery after the intercept published their documents then there's really no 'there' there. Pretty much anyone with an internet connection could have simply taken the Reality Winner documents from The Intercept website and used them create a forgery to send to Maddow.
Of course, Maddow knew that her whole story was bullshit unless she could convince her viewers that the forgery she received was created before The Intercept published it for the world to see. If she could prove that, then she could insist the forged document must have come from someone on the 'inside.'
So, she decided to get 'technical' and take a look at the "metadata" on the document she received. As it turns out, the "creation date" on the document she received was roughly 3.5 hours before The Intercept published their Reality Winner story. See, it's all laid out right here on this lovely timeline graphic. Checkmate, Mr. Trump!
Except, not. Ironically, by stretching the truth in an attempt to prove that her story was in any way relevant, Maddow unwittingly proved exactly the opposite.
As The Intercept has subsequently pointed out, the "creation date" on the document received by Maddow (see the timeline above) perfectly matches, to the exact second, the "creation date" on The Intercept's Reality Winner document.
Why? Because that is the exact time in which The Intercept created their document and published it to their cloud server.
All of which simply proves that Maddow's source didn't have a sneak peak at the Reality Winner documents...they actually used The Intercept document as their source for creating their forgery.
Now, we could be wrong here...but, if the Trump administration wanted to dupe Rachel Maddow we suspect they could have gotten their hands on clean copies of the Reality Winner docs without having to lift them from The Intercept's website.
So, what seems more likely to have happened here is that Maddow's staff could easily tell the "NSA document" was a forgery from the start and simply ignored it at first. Afterall, she received the document on June 7th and is just now deciding to talk about it a month later? Unlikely.
But, when 3 journalists from CNN lost their jobs for publishing fake news, Maddow saw an opportunity to launch a whole new narrative attacking the Trump administration by alleging that they're planting fake intelligence reports with the media. Never let a good crisis go to waste...as they say.
Edward Snowden summarized the situation the best in a series of tweets:
Maddow's lawyerly defense of why her implication was wrong is disappointing. Such caution should come prior to raising alarm on national TV.
When the media's credibility is under attack, rushing stories out before checking facts and contacting the subject is hard to comprehend.
That said, journalism is hard and mistakes happen. When they do, as in this Maddow case, apologies should be frank and unequivocal.
When we start getting economical with facts, we lose. This important story was mangled by needlessly injected an unsupportable conspiracy.
Each time the media gets a prominent story wrong right now, I wince. More than egg on a famous face, it risks a generation's trust in news.
If our most famous journalists are so proud they can't admit to what is now an obvious error, how can they hope to hold the public trust?
Most folks can't read three different papers every day. If we don't set the highest standard, many give up and say the truth is unknowable.
That is the twilight of an age.
When the media's credibility is under attack, rushing stories out before checking facts and contacting the subject is hard to comprehend.— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) July 7, 2017
When we start getting economical with facts, we lose. This important story was mangled by needlessly injected an unsupportable conspiracy.— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) July 7, 2017
If our most famous journalists are so proud they can't admit to what is now an obvious error, how can they hope to hold the public trust?— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) July 7, 2017
That is the twilight of an age.— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) July 7, 2017
Still, we do feel badly for the liberal 'journalists' of the world...all the embarrassing fake news stories of late means that they may have to actually start doing their jobs rather than just blindly running stories from 'anonymous sources.'