The fake news media is in overdrive. The constant torrent of disinformation and manipulative ‘reporting’ from fake news outlets like the Daily Beast, Salon, Slate, and Talking Points Memo is as predictable as it is hysterical.
One would expect higher standards from the Wall Street Journal but, sadly, the Journal has now joined the perpetually-obtuse fake news lynch mob nipping at my heels with constant recycling of repeatedly-discredited claims of collaboration between me, Wikileaks, Julian Assange and the Russians.
On April 2, 2018, the Journal breathlessly reported about an August 3, 2016 email I sent to Sam Nunberg, in which I joked that I had dined with Julian Assange in London the night before.
This email, with its purely tongue-in-cheek comment about dinner with Assange, was simply a continuation of the same joke I had sarcastically made to Nunberg as I ended a prior phone call with him, after it had dragged on for far too long. This call, with my original jest about ‘meeting with Assange’, was first reported by the Washington Post.
Sam, being a neurotic, would sometimes call me dozens of times throughout the day. Late one Friday night, while I was trying to get him off the phone, he asked me if I had weekend plans. I responded, “I think I’ll fly to London and have dinner with Julian Assange”.
I was astonished when I read the Post’s deadly-serious treatment of what was a completely-farcical offhanded comment, made in pure jest at the end of yet another dragged-out phone call with Sam Nunberg.
More so, I was flabbergasted that any intelligent person with the slightest discernment would not only interpret this flippant, facially-absurd wisecrack as some sort of nefarious admission, but would persist in doing so even after I had made it explicitly clear that it was a joke.
At all times before, during and after both that phone call and the subsequent tongue-in-cheek email that made my “dinner with Assange” into a running joke, I was firmly ensconced right here in the United States of America, nowhere near London, Assange or anything even resembling foreign soil. Yet, incredibly, the Wall Street Journal took these toss-away comments seriously enough report as though it was possible for me to be in two places at once…in fact, on two different continents at once.
Sam, a little too intense to say the least, and with his head not screwed on quite right, apparently fell for it when I hung up with him saying I was to meet with Assange.
It had been nothing but a throwaway line, pure shtick, the way I talk, the humor I savor, as anyone who knows me well will attest (anyone without an ulterior agenda, that is). When I realized that Nunberg actually believed that I had flown to London, I simply milked the joke a little more in a subsequent email. End of story.
Bringing this back to factual reality, as opposed to the utterly absurd yet hyper-serious fake news coverage of this tempest in a teacup, my passport, the records of U.S. Customs, airline records and even security cameras at the Ecuadorian Embassy make it irrefutably clear that no such meeting ever took place.
Seems like Sam can’t take a joke, but then either can the Wall Street Journal. As a matter of simple deduction, of unclouded reasoning, would it even be the slightest bit logical…would it make any sense whatsoever, to any honest observer, that if I were on the eve of something as momentous as an overseas trip for a face-to-face meeting with the world-famous founder of WikiLeaks that I would just casually announce it as the hang-up line to what was probably the umpteenth, attempt to end perhaps the longest conversation with Nunberg I have ever had??
No honest person would assert otherwise, but then an honest evaluation of such an exchange, logically accounting for things like context and setting and circumstance, is clearly an exercise the fake news media has no interest in undertaking.
Last week, the big story was about Ted Malloch, the pro-Trump academic who was quite forcefully detained by the FBI upon returning to the country to celebrate Easter with his family.
Malloch is a scholar whom I believe was a very effective volunteer advocate and defender of candidate Trump in the European media, in both print and televised interviews, during the campaign. He is a policy wonk, an intellectual, nothing in the mold of a political operator, not even in the slightest. The idea of Malloch’s involvement in some sort of 007-style spycraft is patently ludicrous.
Malloch’s heavy-handed treatment is a classic example of the new McCarthyism. First, this unfortunate man is described as an “associate” of mine. Then, in the reporting of his detention at the hands of Robert Mueller’s bully-boy hit squad, Malloch is described as “significant figure linked to Roger Stone.”
I have met Ted two or maybe three times in my entire life. Yet, suddenly he is my “associate” and then leaping off from that leap of fantasy a “significant figure.” If this isn’t the most crass and dishonest form of guilt by association, I don’t know what is.
My few interactions with Ted convinced me that he is a good guy and so I agreed to allow him to use the transcript of my recent Oxford Union speech as the forward to his upcoming book. At least one media outlet reported that Malloch and I had actually co-authored a book – a perfect example of fake news, perhaps even of a new, even more extreme form of fake news: fantasy news.
The very idea that Ted was involved in any skullduggery is beyond ridiculous and would actually be hilarious, were it not the source of such heavy-handed, abusive treatment as Ted has been subjected to, as a consequence.
This notion, cynically propagated by the usual faux-news suspects, that Malloch obtained supposedly-hacked emails from WikiLeaks or Assange and then gave them to me, and that I then passed them on to Donald Trump or his campaign is nothing short of delusional.
Robert Mueller should be ashamed of himself. Ted Malloch is a patriotic American who has done nothing whatsoever to deserve the shabby, iron-fisted mistreatment Mueller and his goons have visited on him, not to mention on his wife, who was accompanying Ted home for Easter when the storm troopers pounced.
My small few social interactions with Ted and his very nice wife Beth were entirely pleasant and decidedly policy-oriented. I sincerely doubt he ever had any contact whatsoever with WikiLeaks or Assange.
Moreover, there has not been offered by any of the fake news jackals so much as a single shred of evidence substantiating any aspect, whatsoever, of any of this phony intrigue that they have concocted and now perpetuate, with grotesque abandon, at the expense of innocent people, myself included.
This is nothing less than a wild goose hunt, rabidly chasing, with almost pathological bloodlust, after something that simply DID NOT HAPPEN.
Over the past several weeks, I have been the subject of a virtual tsunami of ‘fake news’ and defamatory coverage by a vicious, indiscriminate lynch mob made up of crypto-partisans posing as “journalists”, who infest and swarm around the dying legacy media’s monolithic propaganda hive.
It is important to recognize that in the new so-called ‘journalism’, annoying obstacles like facts…evidence…corroboration…verification…proof…are out the window.
Accusation, hearsay, repetitive speculation presented as factual recitation, embellishment upon embellishment…these are the new standards.
Any sentence that begins with “Roger Stone said” is held up and paraded through the news cycle, or cycles, like a smoking gun.
A few weeks ago, it was a bogus story by the pseudo-serious, now decidedly-partisan, Atlantic magazine.
This cul de sac of shallow manipulative story-crafting published a piece – ‘Roger Stone’s Secret Messages with WikiLeaks’ – complete with a doctored screenshot showing only part of my brief, clearly arms-length, Direct Message (“DM”) exchange with WikiLeaks on Twitter.
(Obviously this would be the preferred medium for conducting international intrigue, given how super-secret and ultra-secure we all know the messaging service surely is on…Twitter. NOTE TO FAKE NEWS MEDIA: THIS IS WHAT NORMAL, SANE PEOPLE WOULD CALL A JOKE.)
The screenshot of these DM’s was lifted from documents I had turned over to the House Select Committee on Intelligence months ago, at the time of my closed-door testimony before that Committee.
This exchange occurred not before, but after WikiLeaks published the emails that had been either hacked or leaked from the DNC and Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta.
Notwithstanding the Atlantic’s photo-manipulation and editing of these Direct Messages, as well as the story writer’s subsequent MSNBC appearance to feed the contrived spin and ominous cast being whipped up about them by dueling panels of fake news experts and faux-authoritative pundits, the messages clearly demonstrate the fact…the truth…that there was no collaboration between WikiLeaks and myself.
WikiLeaks itself even said as much in these DM’s, which the Atlantic nevertheless quite-disingenuously and counter-factually built up as some sort of new smoking gun.
Their reportage treated these terse, rather un-friendly exchanges that any honest observer would immediately see as indicative of an unfamiliar, superficial at best, interaction, not even rising to the bare minimum elements of a ‘relationship’, as a hyper-hyped attempt to concoct a big “GOTCHA!” moment.
On the heels of that hit-n-run smear job, a longwinded, sometimes-inebriated, mentally-unbalanced Sam Nunberg suddenly appeared on multiple network television outlets and, amidst a veritable gush of crazy statements and barely-suppressed bitterness towards the president, declared that — back in mid-2016 – during the presidential campaign – I said to him over the telephone that I was going to meet Julian Assange.
As a matter of fact, I did say that and I remember it clearly. It was very late in the day and — after ignoring his 30 or so previous attempts to reach me that day — I had finally taken Sam’s call and, once he got me on the phone, try as I might, I simply could not get him off of the line – it was an exhausting string of “one more things” after another.
I gave hints.
I said, “Sam, I have to go.”
But Nunberg droned on…and on…and on.
I told him it was really getting late. That didn’t work.
I said my wife is waiting for me for dinner.
Sam said he had just a few more ideas to relate.
I said we have guests at the house.
Finally, when Nunberg asked me if I had plans for the weekend, I couldn’t restrain my sarcasm and risk extending the interminable conversation another second by giving him a genuine response, so I deadpanned, “Well, Sam, I think I’ll fly to London to have dinner with Julian Assange.“
I might as well have said I was going to meet Kim Jong-un for tea and crumpets.
Happily – perhaps not so much for the skeptics and cynics who think I might be (or want desperately to believe that I am) lying about meeting Assange – the absolute NON-occurrence of such a fantastical trip and meeting is easily proven – and by law enforcement officials, no less. My passport alone conclusively precludes even the possibility that I ever left this country, even once, in all of 2016…and certainly never to fly to London for “dinner with Julian Assange.”
And then there are airline records. Post 9-11, everyone who flies is identified; passenger manifests are kept. There are no records of me flying to England in 2016. Airline records show that I was, in fact, in California on the very dates that the Wall Street Journal has speculated that I was in London.
Delving into the realm of utter absurdity, fake news skeptics might argue I could have taken a private jet or a boat, or flown to France and swam the English Channel. But even private planes or boats have to go through customs, and passports are stamped. Again, my passport shows that I had no travel outside the US in 2016.
By the way, not that it is important to fake news purveyors, I have never met with, nor spoken to Julian Assange, either in person, by telephone or email or any other means. Assange himself has repeatedly and publicly said the same thing.
As a further aside, lest we go too far down the tracks on the fake news crazy train, it bears pointing out that there is nothing criminal about either knowing or meeting with Assange – even if I had done so.
There has been no proof published or reported in any of these fake news-storms whipped up around me that I am, or should be, aware that Assange is somehow a Russian asset.
Assange’s website WikiLeaks provided the American people with accurate information about Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party, John Podesta and other widely-visible public figures during a seminal presidential election.
It is natural enough for people who didn’t like the truth that came out about these people, whom they clearly and undisguisedly favored, to be upset about the wrinkle it put in their narrative that was supposed to end with President Hillary Clinton. But, such is life.
The entire fake news media firestorm being stoked about the origins of the WikiLeaks disclosures is simply a means to distracting from the grim substance of them; Hillary Clinton is accurately depicted as a greedy, corrupt, self-entitled candidate up to her knees in political dirty tricks designed to disrupt Donald Trump’s rallies and derail his campaign.
But I digress. We were talking about torrents – of fake news. Following Nunberg’s pie-eyed descriptions, during his media meltdown, of my now-infamous phone call with him, next comes the good old reliable mother of all deep state propaganda: The Washington Post.
The Post contacted me to say that two sources – yes TWO — told the Post that I told the sources that I had met with Assange in London. In other words, anonymous double hearsay – hardly the stuff of Woodward and Bernstein getting Deep Throated in some parking garage.
Of course, one source was quickly identified as Nunberg himself, consistent with his recent debacle of serial, some-drunken TV appearances.
But then the Post reporter spoke ominously about the alleged second source – nameless and faceless – who told the Post that I had emailed him – it was in writing, the Post reporter said – that WikiLeaks would disclose information that would ‘torture’ John Podesta, Donna Brazile and the Clinton Foundation.
I asked the reporter to see the email itself, redacted as necessary. The reporter admitted he had not even seen the alleged email .
So I was being asked to respond to questions from a reporter about an email that the reporter not only did not have, but had never seen, with only the word of the supposed anonymous source that such an email even existed, and said what this mini-deep throat told the reporter it said.
I knew there was no such email and I said so.
The Post story was, nonetheless, published – not surprisingly – and omitted mention of any such email. Now the Post attributed the claim that I had advance knowledge of the WikiLeaks disclosures to a phone call with their alleged anonymous source – in other words: uncorroborated hearsay.
This is how fake news is born and proliferates; a dozen fake news outlets went on to seize and repeatedly recycle this flawed, if not partly-fabricated, Washington Post story.
To be perfectly clear: I had no advance notice of either the source, contents or exact timing of any of the WikiLeaks disclosures, despite hearsay and speculation and phony allegations to the contrary, reported without corroboration by the supposedly-scrupulous Washington Post.
By the way, this was not just double hearsay but, even worse, double hearsay of two unnamed sources.
Sean Hannity has been right since he first said it many years ago: journalism is dead. When this was published in the Post it was under the category of news. Only in the new fake news business is uncorroborated hearsay considered ‘news.’
After the Post published their double hearsay story, Politico, Salon, Slate, Huff Po, MSNBC, CNN and others piled on with their own variations of the same bogus story.
Several of these outlets repeated the false assertion that I had refused to answer questions before the House Intelligence Committee. They weren’t there, but of course yet more “unnamed sources” must have told them it was so.
I was there and I recall answering every question put to me. It is no secret, though you won’t see it in the pages or broadcasts of the fake news, that I have repeatedly called for the release of the entire transcript of my testimony to the Committee. The Committee has steadfastly declined to do so, without any explanation as to why not.
Now re-enter the ever-colorful Sam Nunberg, back on CNN to say that he warned me several times about my “relationship” with Assange – despite the fact that Sam never ever said this to me, even once. But hey, it got Sam on CNN again.
Nunberg then embellished his embellishments one more step on MSNBC, suggesting that I cultivated a relationship with Assange to “ingratiate’ myself with Donald Trump – even though I have never discussed WikiLeaks or Assange with candidate Trump anywhere or at any time.
I can’t move on without asking: is it not utterly irresponsible for any TV producer, especially of a “news” program, to put someone on air whom they suspect or believe to be intoxicated?
Politics is a game of smoke and mirrors. My emails would certainly show that I was deeply enmeshed in the presidential political maneuvering in 2016. At the end of the day, however, it is not what you said you did, but what you actually did that matters.
I can say unequivocally that I received no material, including allegedly-hacked or leaked emails from WikiLeaks, from Julian Assange or from anyone else and I certainly never passed any such materials on to Donald Trump or to the Trump campaign.
This entire fake news teapot-tempest extravaganza is nothing more than another left-wing conspiracy theory.