Before Trump and his allies jump on NBC News for correcting their report about Michael Cohen being wiretapped, ask yourself when has Donald Trump ever corrected any of his intentionally false statements? (Hint: The answer is he never has).
Video of Chuck Todd and Tom Winter explaining the correction:
NBC News’s Tom Winter explained the difference between the first report and the correction:
Chuck, based on information from two independent sources who have a long-term track record of credibility in providing accurate information to this news organization they today — earlier today based on that information we reported there was a wiretap on Michael Cohen’s phone meaning they were able to listen in to conversations from phone lines associated with Michael Cohen to any other person that he might have talked to. In part of that reporting, we said one of those phone calls was between a phone line associated with Michael Cohen and the white house. Now, three senior U.S. Officials are telling us that this is a — it was not a wiretap. Instead, it was what is referred to a pen register.
That means it is a log of phone calls that were made from a specific phone line or a specific phone lines. And this case we know that Michael Cohen had several phone lines. In this case, they were able to see who he called or who somebody using his phone lines called but they were not able to listen in real time or record those conversations. It is an important distinction, chuck. I want to add to that by saying it doesn’t change necessarily the legal bar here. In order to get a warrant of this type, it’s still a very serious matter because they would have needed to fill out a significant affidavit and be able to go down a significant road to get this approved by a federal judge.
Responsible journalism isn’t making a false statement and repeating it, as Trump and his conservative media allies often do. Responsible journalism means putting the facts first so that corrections can be explained and people come away better informed.
Trump and his friends will use this correction to discredit the Cohen investigation, but the original point still stands. The President Of The United States was caught in surveillance related to a criminal investigation. The fact that NBC News had to correct a detail doesn’t change the big picture.
Trump and Cohen are in real trouble, and instead of raking NBC News over the coals people should be learning from their example of what responsible journalism is supposed to be.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association