Pavlich: Mueller’s indictment of the media

Pavlich: Mueller’s indictment of the media
© Getty Images, The Hill photo illustration

It’s been nearly two years since Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE’s special counsel investigation into the 2016 presidential election was officially launched. Since its initiation, the probe has been shrouded in mystery, with little information outside of official indictments and court documents to paint a clear picture about what’s actually going on. 

The special counsel’s spokesman, Peter Carr, is hardly one at all and seems to only respond to inquiries to the office with “no comment.” That hasn’t stopped the press from barreling forward with their narrative that President TrumpDonald John TrumpOvernight Health Care: US hits 10,000 coronavirus deaths | Trump touts 'friendly' talk with Biden on response | Trump dismisses report on hospital shortages as 'just wrong' | Cuomo sees possible signs of curve flattening in NY We need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Barr tells prosecutors to consider coronavirus risk when determining bail: report MORE has direct ties to Russia and used the Kremlin to win the 2016 presidential election.

There may be no evidence now, but eventually dogged reporters will get to it by breathlessly backing fired FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyIs coronavirus the final Trump crisis? Full appeals court to rehear case over McGahn subpoena Tucker Carlson: Biden's 'fading intellect' an 'opportunity' for Democrats to control him MORE’s decision to open a counterintelligence operation into President Trump. After all, he joked about Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWe need to be 'One America,' the polling says — and the politicians should listen Poll shows Biden with 6-point edge on Trump in Florida Does Joe Biden really want to be president? MORE’s unsecured email server and how it would be easy for the Russians to hack. Because of this, he could be a Russian operative sitting in the Oval Office.

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Or how about the media’s endless obsession with a meeting that took place at Trump Tower in 2016, which led NPR to accuse Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpTwitter says coronavirus disinformation spread by Chinese officials does not violate rules Former lawyer for trophy hunting group joins Trump administration A rarely used fine could limit the spread of the coronavirus to the United States MORE of giving  Congress false testimony. After the allegation was called out for being untrue, the outlet was forced to retract, citing “being in a hurry” for the mistake. 

Despite a lack of solid information, evidence and facts, speculation has run rampant in major news reports about the special counsel’s operations. Many of them were wrong, with major errors that led to mass retractions. 

In April the special counsel issued one of two public statements. It was about the media failing to properly report the actions of investigators. 

“What I have been telling all reporters is that many stories about our investigation have been inaccurate,” Carr said in a statement. “Be very cautious about any source that claims to have knowledge about our investigation and dig deep into what they claim before reporting on it. If another outlet reports something, don’t run with it unless you have your own sourcing to back it up.”

Then last week BuzzFeed News published a story alleging President Trump directed attorney Michael Cohen to lie during congressional testimony. After being blasted across major news networks and digital outlets for nearly 12 hours, with the word “impeachment” used hundreds of times, the special counsel released a rare statement knocking down the accuracy of the story.  

“BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the special counsel’s office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate,” special counsel spokesman Peter Carr released in a statement. 

Adding insult to injury, President Trump’s personal legal team confirmed they were in contact with the special counsel about the story and both concluded it was bogus. 

Not surprisingly, BuzzFeed is standing by its reporting. 

Media outlets aren’t simply in a hurry when covering the Trump, Russia or the special counsel. Instead, they’ve repeatedly allowed personal confirmation bias and a visceral reaction to a Republican president tank nearly all of their credibility. The vast majority of journalists or reporters sit on the left. Only 7 percent of the White House Press Corps identifies as Republican. The continued proliferation of their own narrative is what matters, not correcting previous mistakes brought on by bias in the first place. After all, true reflection of the press’ problem would require some real introspection and an admission there is a problem at all. This is the first step to recovery and one the majority of those at the heart of this issue just can’t come to terms with. 

Rampant anonymous sourcing continues, despite how many times those sources have burned reporters. So long as they’re still saying the right things about Trump’s collusion with Russia, their quotes and information are still being used to drive major pieces. 

Members of the press who truly care about regaining credibility can start by acknowledging the personal biases that bleed into their work. Until then, nothing will change.

The special counsel investigation hasn’t only been an indictment of Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortJuan Williams: Mueller, one year on Juan Williams: Will the GOP ever curb Trump? Nadler seeks interviews with DOJ prosecutors that left Stone case MORE or Michael Cohen for personal crimes unrelated to collusion, it’s been an indictment of the media and a transparent view into how most reporters view the Trump presidency. 

Pavlich is the editor for Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor.