This piece from Michael Gerson, “The Tribal Truths that Set the Stage for Trump’s Lies,” is an excellent and important read, but in some regards it has not aged well. I’m talking about the Susan Rice story.
And in a piece from the City Journal, Aaron M. Renn tells us about “The Real Unmaskers: Independent bloggers and social-media voices are scooping the mainstream media”.
A couple clips:
“The news this week that former national security advisor Susan Rice likely requested the “unmasking” of Donald Trump-related names in intelligence materials promises to upend the narrative about spying and collusion that has obsessed media circles for months. But just as startling as any revelations about illicit domestic political espionage is the story of who broke the news and how: independent writer Mike Cernovich on his Twitter account @cernovich.
Just a week after Cernovich was the main subject of a 60 Minutes report on “fake news,” he took to Twitter and unloaded some real news: “breaking news! Susan Rice requested unmasking of incoming Trump administration officials.” The tweet received 6,900 retweets, a level comparable to some of President Trump’s own. The next day Eli Lake wrote about the story for Bloomberg in more detail, breaking it widely into the major media—though some outlets like CNN have declined to cover it, labeling it a “distraction.”
How did an independent person working at home in Southern California, completely outside the traditional media ecosystem, manage to get such a scoop?…”
“The apotheosis of the independent right-wing blogger came during the 2004 election, when documents purporting to show that President George W. Bush had been granted special treatment during the Vietnam War were proven to be fakes. Crowd-sourced intelligence from typographers, military historians, and amateur journalists demonstrated that CBS News had erred in not authenticating these apparent forgeries. Dan Rather’s career was essentially destroyed in the fallout from the controversy, a dramatic chapter in the Internet’s destabilization of traditional media power.”
And here are a couple very interesting clips from the unedited transcript of Cernovich’s appearance on 60 Minutes, which was tweeted out by, for example, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway:
Scott Pelley: You say you don’t publish anything that you believe to be true. How do you decide whether something is true?
Mike Cernovich: How does anybody decide? That’s an epistemological question. What is the nature of truth? How do human beings who are floating around this rock with eyes and ears and skin and smell, how does anybody ascertain what is true or what is false?
Scott Pelley: Well, you ask questions, you verify the information it’s not that hard.
Mike Cernovich: You reach your own truth, find the truth. It’s not that hard?
Scott Pelley: I do it all the time.
Scott Pelley: You wrote in August a story about Hillary Clinton’s medical condition the headlines said, “Hillary Clinton has Parkinson’s disease. Position confirms.” That’s quite a headline.
Mike Cernovich: Yeah, Dr. Ted Noel had se-sent a story to me anonymously, that I checked out, analyzing her medical condition. And –
Scott Pelley: It isn’t true.
Mike Cernovich: How do you know?
Scott Pelley: Well, she doesn’t seem to have any signs of Parkinson’s disease.
Mike Cernovich: She had a seizure and froze up walking into her motorcade that day caught by a citizen journalist.
Scott Pelley: Did you, well, she had pneumonia. I mean –
Mike Cernovich: How do you know?
Scott Pelley: Well, because that’s what was reported.
Mike Cernovich: By whom? Who told you that?
Scott Pelley: Well, the campaign told us that.
Mike Cernovich: Why would you trust a campaign? Why would you trust the Hillary Clinton flats?
Renn closes his piece with the following words:
“….even if Cernovich stumbles, an army of replacements is standing by, waiting to take his place. Nearly 20 years on from Drudge’s Lewinsky scoop, the political power of the Internet continues be felt in new and surprising forms.”