MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski slammed BuzzFeed and CNN Wednesday for running with and publishing a 35-page document maligning President-Elect Donald Trump. Brzezinski said the news outlets were allowing their blatant “bias” against Trump to cloud their judgment.
BuzzFeed, in particular, received swift backlash after the outlet published the unverified dossier in full, even admitting it contained many errors and that the explosive allegations it contained had not been independently confirmed.
“Is there a story, or is there just not a story there that they want to put out because they hate [Trump] so much?”
“But you could say the same to some news organizations: what’s the real story? What’s the real story?” Brzezinski said. “Is there a story, or is there just not a story there that they want to put out because they hate [Trump] so much? Or is the intelligence community putting the screws to Donald Trump because he insulted them? There’s so many layers happening here. A lot of possibilities here.”
But when incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus appeared on the show to denounce and deny the “salacious” report’s allegations, he received some pushback from former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw.
“Why wouldn’t the president-elect say to the intelligence agencies, ‘I want you to run this down to the last period in any of the statements that have been made and make it clear to the public?'” Brokaw asked.
Priebus, however, maintained that there was no truth whatsoever to the letter’s claims.
"As to the BuzzFeed memo — this is not an intel document," Priebus said. "The BuzzFeed memo, the salacious details in that memo — all of those things are total phony, baloney garbage. It never happened. It isn’t true."
"And what created the BuzzFeed article and I think most of what CNN’s been talking about — I’m not watching it 24/7 — is based on this document from this opposition research guy that is based on nothing, that’s not true. And we’re stuck with it, but we’ve got to answer it," Priebus added. "And I can tell you last night that when this came out — I mean, look. [Trump] would tell you the same thing that I’m telling you. That this is total, complete garbage about him personally. It’s embarrassing, it’s disgusting, it’s not true."
Brokaw, seeming to insist on using the incident to malign the Trump camp, was not satisfied with this response and continued to cast doubt on Priebus’ claims.
"This was around in a tertiary way for so long it’s hard for me to believe that the Trump campaign had not heard these stories, as well," Brokaw said. "So it’s not something that just suddenly popped up. It’s been out there in the underground for a couple of months."
Brokaw also declined to denounce the news outlets’ decisions to publish the story with its unverifiable documents and allegations, even though he expressed his surprise at the move.
"And we have been chasing it and a lot of other news agencies have been chasing it, as well. Never been able to close the book on it," Brokaw said. "So it’s been around, and a number of organizations have been looking at it for some time. I was surprised when it showed up in this form, when it got to the intel agencies and they included it in a report to the president without any kind of conclusion about the veracity of it."
Brzezinski reminded Brokaw the issue is publishing the report without any verification.
"Tom, I agree — you and … everybody should work on stories that look like they’re worth looking into. And we should continue to do so. And when you can triple-source it and you have evidence, then you have a story. Right now there’s no story here," Brzezinski said.
"And I think the people who are going with it at this point — and even if we continue with this conversation we’re a part of it — but the two outlets that are actually going with this and releasing it are continuing to make the same mistakes that they have made in the run-up to this election — which is let their bias get in the way of actually finding out what facts are and putting them out there," Brzezinski added. "The whole thing has felt wrong from the beginning of this show."