Left-Wing Writer at Mainstream Wire Service Peddles Russia Hysteria

McClatchy employs Mother Jones attack dog to float unverified, thinly sourced Kushner conjecture

The White House and media critics are ripping into a new report by McClatchy wire service that suggests a federal investigation is ongoing into whether Russian hackers coordinated with Jared Kushner’s data firm in Texas during the 2016 presidential campaign.

On Wednesday, the D.C. bureau of McClatchy, the parent company of major newspapers such as the Miami Herald and the Sacramento Bee, wrote that federal investigators are looking into whether Kushner and his data guru, Brad Parscale, “pointed Russian cyber operatives to certain voting jurisdictions in key states — areas where Trump’s digital team and Republican operatives were spotting unexpected weakness in voter support for [Democratic presidential candidate] Hillary Clinton.”

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It’s the second major story by reporters Greg Gordon and Peter Stone this year that focuses on conservatives being used by Russian operatives to guide information into the hands of voters via social media.

The first major McClatchy dip into the Russian conspiracy pond, published on March 20, made startling claims, alleging that the FBI was probing Russian influence upon Breitbart and InfoWars.

The story was also unusual for the language a news wire service would use in the story, alleging Breitbart has taken criticism for a “white nationalist agenda.” It also quoted a small Jewish magazine in connecting Sebastian Gorka, an assistant to President Donald Trump and a former Breitbart contributor, to Nazi-aligned Hungarians.

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One top Republican adviser says its obvious why McClatchy’s stories are juiced with such invective and one-sided sourcing: Stone, a McClatchy special correspondent, previously worked for the Huffington Post and the far-left outlet, Mother Jones.

Stone has “little regard for facts or truth —a biased, agenda-driven ‘reporter,'” a top adviser to President Donald Trump told LifeZette.

Others scoffed at the oddly sourced story, rich with Democrats and anonymous investigators.

“It’s pathetic how far off the rails journalism has gone.”

“It’s pathetic how far off the rails journalism has gone. One of those McClatchy stories used both ‘some investigators suspect’ and ‘also has suspicions,'” said Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture at the Media Research Center. “And lefty congressional diva Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) was cited in both stories. It reads more like campaign literature for him.”

The highly speculative story on Wednesday kicks off with loaded questions from Schiff, a highly public Trump critic, and an anonymous source “familiar with Justice’s criminal probe.”

The story alleges federal investigators will look into Kushner’s data firm, and whether it was part of “significant cooperation between Russia’s online propaganda machine.” Democrats in the story expressed disbelief that the Russian hackers and propagandists knew where to target with social media.

The use of social media, especially Facebook, to defeat Hillary Clinton has driven Democrats and their media allies mad.

McClatchy reporters believe much of the social media activity was created by Russian “bots,” web robots that complete functions, such as posting information or helping make certain posts go viral.

The fever spread to Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia), who told Pod Save America (a Democratic web show run by former Obama aides): “I get the fact that the Russian intel services could figure out how to manipulate and use the bots. Whether they could know how to target states and levels of voters that the Democrats weren’t even aware [of] really raises some questions … How did they know to go to that level of detail in those kinds of jurisdictions?”

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Warner told the podcast that the Russians appear to have targeted women and African-Americans in two of the three decisive states, Wisconsin and Michigan, “where the Democrats were too brain-dead to realize those states were even in play.” Warner’s quotes were used in the McClatchy story.

Like Stone, Gordon is a longtime reporter. Last March, he spoke to Rachel Maddow at MSNBC, and suggested flat-out that conservative news websites may have conspired with the Russians.

“Maybe it won’t pan out,” said Gordon, being candid about his reporting. “It’s partly about the impact of these trolls and bots. It’s also about the possibility that some of these far-right news sites may have actually in some way collaborated with Russia as it was endeavoring to unload this enormous cyberattack on the United States.” (go to page 2 to continue reading)[lz_pagination]

meet the author

Political reporter, LifeZette. Indiana University journalism grad. Boston U. business grad. Former Indiana, Alabama statehouse reporter, Daytona Beach editorial writer.

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