Peter Stone and Greg Gordon of McClatchy News smeared Cleta Mitchell in their story “Lawyer who worked for NRA said to have had concerns about group’s Russia ties.” The gist of the McClatchy story was false. In “Fake news: A case study,” we saw Cleta dispute the veracity of the smear directly with Stone and Gordon. “You took some unnamed source,” she noted, “you put their false statement as the lead and you put my truthful on the record statement down in the story as some sort of denial. You are reprehensible. Your tactics are disgusting.” Bingo. We also saw that Stone and Gordon were unable to substantiate the smear with a single fact.
After publication of the story and after consulting with his McClatchy editor, Stone responded to Cleta’s vehement denial: “Just letting you know that we discussed your concerns and are changing the headline at the top of the home page, tweaking the first sentence, and moving up your denial from the 4th graf to the 3rd.” Color me unimpressed.
The smear was planted by Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS behind the veil of anonymity. The story replicates in small the techniques that Simpson used to conjure the Russia hoax and roil the United States over the past two years.
Stone and Gordon are still at it. This past April they reported: “Sources: Mueller has evidence Cohen was in Prague in 2016, confirming part of dossier.” In the style to which we have become accustomed, Stone and Gordon relate that their sources for the story “spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is confidential.”
The investigation is confidential, but Stone and Gordon are trusted conduits for “sources.” Those of us into pattern recognition should probably be able to hazard an intelligent guess about the identity of their sources and doubt that all is as it appears according to McClatchy.
Working on this series over the past week, I finally came to understand Simpson’s modus operandi and to absorb related news of which I was only vaguely aware. As one might infer from Stone and Gordon’s April story about Cohen in Prague, Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS continue their efforts to undermine Donald Trump unabated. The Federalist’s Sean Davis reported earlier this year, around the same time that Stone and Gordon’s Cohen in Prague story was published: “CONFIRMED: Former Feinstein Staffer Raised $50 Million, Hired Fusion GPS And Christopher Steele After 2016 Election.” The mission continues.