The opposition party is all lined up. The establishment media, all of whom are opposed to the presidency of Donald J. Trump, are up in arms after a Breitbart News investigation published New York Times emails from environmental correspondent Coral Davenport exposing how she cultivates anti-Trump leakers inside the EPA.
The emails Breitbart News obtained and published demonstrate how Davenport—who is colluding with the head of a government union representative for EPA employees—is aiming to cultivate leakers against President Trump and his EPA administrator Scott Pruitt. In other words, Davenport is digging for dirt on Trump and Pruitt and is seeking to activate a legion of leakers to help her get it.
Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades-Ha told Breitbart News in response to the Davenport email that it “demonstrates the process of reporting and gathering facts.”
Rhoades-Ha went even further in a statement to the Hollywood Reporter on the whole episode: “Stories like this can have a chilling effect on precisely the type of investigative journalism that holds government power to account.”
Many in media like to claim—falsely—that they are objective and do not take a side in reporting and writing. That is just plain false, and what Davenport’s email more importantly demonstrates—something that is painfully obvious based on the actual content of it—is that she is looking for facts and information that can be weaponized against, with the intent to hurt, President Trump and Administrator Pruitt.
What these Davenport emails clarified—and demonstrated with evidence—is something patently obvious but extremely revealing about the media: They prove the point that she is taking a side in the information war. She’s not asking for information that would help Pruitt or Trump or conservatives or Republicans, nor hurt or expose Democrats or Gore or leftists who believe in climate change. Or, put another way, the New York Times thinks cultivating deep state saboteurs is journalism.
A quick stroll through Davenport’s byline at the Times shows a clear point of view on the issues she covers. Most of the stories she writes for the Times help leftists and progressives, and hurt conservatives and the Trump administration.
For instance, last month she interviewed former Vice President Al Gore about climate matters. “Talking About Climate Change With Al Gore,” was the headline for that piece, which contains no critical lines about anything Gore has done. It includes a video of Davenport’s interview with Gore. It refers to Gore glowingly as a “Nobel Prize-winning climate change activist.”
Compare that to pieces she has written about Republicans, and particularly Trump administration officials. The day before her Gore interview posted, Davenport filed from Morgantown, West Virginia, this headline about Energy Secretary Rick Perry and clean coal: “Perry Praises ‘Clean Coal,’ but Trump Administration Policies Don’t Promote It.”
On that piece, right there in the headline, she rips Perry and criticizes the Trump administration, including Pruitt and the president. Her Times piece, largely citing “some experts” from MIT and the leftist Brookings Institution, argues that there are “contradictions” between what Trump, Perry, and Pruitt say and what they can do.
Or look at her coverage leading up to President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accords. For months, she hammered Trump with headlines like “Top Trump Advisers Are Split on Paris Agreement on Climate Change,” “What Trump Can and Can’t Do to Dismantle Obama’s Climate Rules,” “Trump Lays Plans to Reverse Obama’s Climate Change Legacy,” “Policy Advisers Urge Trump to Keep U.S. in Paris Accord,” “Trump Administration Delays Decision on Leaving Climate Pact,” “World Leaders Increase Pressure on Trump to Stay in the Paris Accord,” and “World Awaits Trump Decision on U.S. Future in Paris Accord.”
A scroll through her byline on the New York Times website shows no reporting or headline from Davenport on all the people who were urging the president to withdraw from the Paris deal to protect American workers’ jobs throughout the rust belt and in the energy industry. Or what about a piece from Davenport about how the president delivered on his campaign promise to withdraw from the deal?
Places like CNN, the Washington Post, and yes, the New York Times, consistently claim as a defense for what they do: “objectivity.” They claim they do not take a side on the information battlefield, and despite occasionally throwing the other side some crumbs to build their credibility, they clearly do take a side in the fight.
Therein lies the main reason why Breitbart News’s reporting on this matter—and the publication of Davenport’s emails seeking to cultivate leakers—has Davenport’s buddies throughout the leftist media triggered.
New York Times White House correspondent Glenn Thrush fired off a series of nasty tweets about Breitbart News’s piece.
First, Thrush bashes Breitbart News as a “Trump-allied outlet funded by anti-regulatory conservatives” and says that Breitbart News “should be” “very afraid” of Davenport.
— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) August 8, 2017
Others, like the Washington Post‘s Erik Wemple, simply bashed Breitbart News as unfamiliar with journalistic process.
EXCLUSIVE: Breitbart completely unfamiliar with journalism: https://t.co/UJWPi3hh4B
— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) August 8, 2017
Politico’s White House correspondent Josh Dawsey said there was nothing out of the norm about these emails:
This is literally how reporting works. You call and email and text and beg people to tell you things. https://t.co/eRsF7yEqXS
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) August 8, 2017
Same with USA Today‘s Brad Heath:
— Brad Heath (@bradheath) August 8, 2017
And the Los Angeles Times‘ Matt Pearce:
I am disturbed to learn that the New York Times has been talking to government employees to do journalism. https://t.co/gGnuCtkpHS
— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) August 8, 2017
In addition to many others:
— Michael Noble (@NobleIdeas) August 8, 2017
Breitbart shocked by evidence of actual news reporting taking place by another outlet. https://t.co/GHzGpM0wf9
— Jon Murray (@JonMurray) August 8, 2017
Emails reveal reporter seeking relevant information from sources https://t.co/s1XP0I9sWp
— Ben Pershing (@benpershing) August 8, 2017
— Valerie Volcovici (@ValerieVolco) August 8, 2017
My conclusion from this piece is that Breitbart writers don't know you're supposed to … you know … talk to sources https://t.co/JpAdkvEWMx
— ☕ (@joemfox) August 8, 2017
Without question, the stupidest thing I've read in 2017. BOMBSHELL: NYT follows standard reporting practices. https://t.co/fpEpUZ3NKE
— Kevin Slane (@kslane) August 8, 2017
Wow. This is something else. https://t.co/Tx4Ngs4oPo
— Lauren Horsch (@LaurenHorsch) August 8, 2017
— Margherita Stancati (@margheritamvs) August 8, 2017
— Kristine Phillips ♀️ (@kristinegWP) August 8, 2017
There are countless more out there. But if this is such a nothing-burger of a story, why are so many in the media going to such great lengths to fight back against it and the revelations within? The reason is because shining a light on the process of how the media operates–again, there is nothing abnormal about what Davenport is doing–begins to pull the veil back on how what former Breitbart News national security editor and deputy assistant to the president Dr. Sebastian Gorka has correctly called the “Fake News Industrial Complex.”
Others in the White House, including former Breitbart News executive chairman and White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon–as well as President Trump himself–have called the majority of these people in the media the “opposition party.” Bannon, at the beginning of the administration in February, just after Trump took office, infamously mocked reporters lined up in the White House:
Steve Bannon walks by a large group of reporters camping out, says to us, "The opposition party, all lined up."
— Francesca Chambers (@fran_chambers) February 15, 2017
In addition to all of the above, another reason the media is so triggered by Breitbart News’s publication of these Davenport emails is because the Breitbart News piece on them listed the names of government employees at the EPA whom the union organizer Davenport was colluding with encouraged to become anti-Trump leakers. In other words, their sources–or potential sources–were outed, making it more difficult for them to achieve their objective. Interestingly, in later commentary, even people like Thrush and Wemple seem to understand all of that–though they only admit it in the most derogatory of ways.
By publishing recipients of email, Bannon's protege is behaving as a tool of administration–to intimidate whistleblowers. Like State Media. https://t.co/1T7Z1d69VX
— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) August 8, 2017
Breitbart seeks to chill NYT sources, assist EPA in possible leak investigation: https://t.co/kb815YtW6b
— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) August 8, 2017
In fact, in the full article Wemple felt compelled to write about this Breitbart News story, he spends hundreds of words whining about it before getting to the real point in the final two paragraphs:
Were this tract merely a piece of Breitbartian, conspiracy-driven media criticism, that’d be fine. But it’s more than that. Read Boyle’s entire story; after he hammers Davenport for seeking information on how Pruitt is running the EPA, he notes that O’Grady forwarded Davenport’s email to a number of EPA employees who might be interested in providing information to her. So what, right? Well, Breitbart is here to provide the extraordinary public service of listing names — more than 30 — to which the email was supposedly forwarded.
Nice move, Breitbart. You’ve scolded the New York Times, possibly stifled its sources and assisted the Trump EPA with a potential leak investigation, all in one post.