ABC’s Jonathan Karl’s non-apology apology for scandal mongering fabricated emails


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

ABC's Jonathan Karl got caught this past week having cited emails in his reporting that he claimed were directly quoted from the actual emails on Benghazi! Yeah, not so much. It turns out that what Karl cited as actual quotes from the actual emails in his reporting were from summaries prepared by staffers for Republicans in Congress leaked to the media. Those summaries are most charitably "inaccurate," and at worst intentional fabrications. ABC ran the story as an "exclusive" report and touched off a Scandalpalooza last week.

Major Garrett at CBS essentially pantsed Jonathan Karl with his reporting last week, laying side-by-side the actual emails versus the fabricated summaries in Karl's report, and concluded that "There is no evidence [that] the White House orchestrated these changes."

ABC later updated its story, but has not publish a "correction" or any assertion that Jonathan Karl had been duped by his source.

Today Jonathan Karl offered a non-apology apology on CNN — oddly not on ABC's This Week — for his reporting. Media Matters reports, ABC's Jon Karl Tells CNN He Regrets Getting Benghazi Talking Points Reporting Wrong.

The bigger story here, also from Media Matters, is this. ABC News & The Whitewater Tactics At The Center Of The Scandal Machine:

Right-wing media have been quick to invoke
Whitewater, the real estate scandal that developed during Clinton's
first term, as part of their endless quest to scandalize the Obama
administration over the tragedy in Benghazi.

And reliance on shady Whitewater tactics – which involved leaking
selectively edited transcripts to the media to push forth the scandal —
was on full display this past week, leading to a critical question: how
will the media respond to the campaign of press manipulation?

CBS News reported
on May 16 that Republican staffers have been selectively and
deceptively leaking information to reporters in order to keep the
Benghazi "scandal" alive.

As Kevin Drum of Mother Jones explained:

So here's what happened. Republicans in Congress saw copies of these
emails two months ago and did nothing with them. It was obvious that
they showed little more than routine interagency haggling. Then, riding
high after last week's Benghazi hearings, someone got the bright idea of
leaking two isolated tidbits and mischaracterizing them in an
effort to make the State Department look bad. Apparently they figured it
was a twofer: they could stick a shiv into the belly of the White House
and they could then badger them to release the entire email chain,
knowing they never would.

ABC News, which initially reported that it had "obtained" the actual
emails showing greater White House involvement editing the talking
points than administration officials had acknowledged, was forced into a
slippery acknowledgement that its "exclusive" report was based only on summaries of emails, a method of reporting that journalism experts called "highly problematic ethically" and "sloppy."

ABC's flawed reporting on the emails, based on selective leaks, has led to questions
about reporter Jonathan Karl's future, vividly demonstrating the
consequences of this type of press manipulation. But whether fellow
journalists – and viewers – will demand accountability from Karl remains to be seen.

* * *

In the 1990s it was David Bossie, at the time an investigator for the House Government Reform and Oversight, who leaked selectively edited transcripts
to the press in order to advance the scandal mongering of President
Clinton. Bossie was reportedly fired for his role manipulating the

Will the media, which once again saw one of their own get burned by
relying on selective leaks in furtherance of a hunting of a president,
demand accountability this time?

One brave soul has. Rachel Maddow twice last week roasted Jonathan Karl's nuts and ABC for their scandal mongering reporting based upon fabricated emails from Republican Congressional staffers leaked to the media. has a transcript of this segment (video below). Maddow: Fair Game to Disclose Names of Republicans Who Lied to ABC News:

After taking her viewers through the whole, long, ugly mess with ABC's big "scoop" on the Benghazi emails and the how the story pretty much fizzled out by the end of the week with the discovery that Republicans were responsible
for doctoring the supposed quotes from the emails that they published,
Rachel Maddow gave her two cents on ABC still protecting the sources who
lied to them.

MADDOW: And now, part of the scandal here is a press
scandal. You know what? When you get used like this and you end up
publishing false information, false quotes, you have to correct it.
the bigger scandal here is not a process matter, not a press matter.
There's a very stark fact that somebody in Congress right now, or
somebody working for somebody in Congress right now, a staffer,
concocted a big lie to try to make the White House look very desperately
bad on this Benghazi scandal that they otherwise have not been able to
get traction on.

Who told the lie? And a note to my journalist pals who got involved
in this scandal. If your source lied to you, they are not actually a
source. They are a con artist and you are their victim. It means you
don't have to protect them any more. They're not a source.

When you get lied to, when you are a tool of somebody else's
deception, when you get lied to, the person lying to you is no longer a
source, they are news
. Their lie to you is itself news and you can
report that news. Republican Congressional offices shopped a false
dossier as if it was a White House email. That is a story. The office
and the staffers and the members of Congress maybe who did that… that
is news. And if you know who it is, you can say so

Brian Beutler at Talking Points Memo has more on The Backstory on Those ‘Doctored’ Benghazi Emails

The real Benghazi! scandal is the fabricated emails, who leaked them to the media, and media scandal mongering. That scandal does not seem to interest the media villagers — partly because it means they would lose access to Republican politicans and staffers if they identified the culprit(s), and partly because it involves their own lack of professionalism and judgment.