Why did CNN’s Carl Bernstein destroy his reputation and legacy with the following lie: “Contacted by CNN, one of Cohen’s attorneys, Lanny Davis, declined to comment.” We now know that’s a lie because we now know Davis was indeed a source for Bernstein’s story, a pile of fake news about President Trump knowing in advance about the Trump Tower meeting. But…
That is not the point anymore. The point is this…
Why would Bernstein tell that lie, a meaningless lie, when all he had to do to protect his source was not write that sentence, was to say nothing? Instead, though, he made a conscious choice to tell a lie, to intentionally mislead his readers over something that really doesn’t matter.
Now, I fully understand why Bernstein would publish what he had to have known was fake news (after all, Michael Cohen had already testified under oath he knew nothing about President Trump knowing in advance of the Trump Tower meeting). This is no mystery.
For the last 20 or so years, Bernstein has been a left-wing political hack dining out on what happened in 1973. Meanwhile, his former partner, Bob Woodward, has continued to published bestsellers and break big news. The Trump Tower story was a way for Bernstein to feel like a journalist again, as opposed to just another aging cable news pundit. But why tell such a silly lie?
Roll that question around in your head for just a moment, as I have for the past few days, and there is only one answer: CNN and Bernstein lie because… they can.
And why do CNN and Bernstein know they can get away with it? Well, there are two reasons, and both of are as troubling as they are illuminating.
First off, never in a million years did Bernstein worry about getting caught. The perfect storm of events that proved him a liar simply never happen. We only know he’s a liar because Davis burned himself, came out, not only as Bernstein’s source but with the admission he had lied to CNN (and other far-left outlets like the Washington Post).
This never happens. In my 25-years of analyzing the media, this has never happened, So Bernstein probably figured he could publish that lie because what had to happen in order for him to be exposed was, at the time, unthinkable.
The second reason, as I pointed out Wednesday, is that Carl Bernstein knows he is Carl Bernstein and that no matter what he does, his tribe within the establishment media will protect him.
While the establishment media is made up of a whole bunch of separate entities (CNN, ABC, NBC, NPR, the New York Times, etc.), it is still one big cult of left-wing liars who all worship the same partisan god. And just like a gang of corrupt cops, the media circle the wagons and protect each other at all costs… Even at the price of their own credibility and moral authority.
So you put these three things together… 1) Bernstein never believed he would be caught. 2) Even if he was caught, Bernstein knew his cult would ensure he faced no professional consequences. 3) While safe and secure in this knowledge, Bernstein published a meaningless lie.
You see, it is that last one that bugs me, that truly exposes the corruption of the media, that says so much about the state of “journalism” overall…
If, because he knows he is safe, Bernstein is willing to lie about the little things, about things that don’t really matter, what about the Big Things, the things that do matter?
If CNN is willing to obfuscate, lie, further erode its credibility, and make a public fool of itself “standing by the story” over a meaningless lie, imagine what CNN has already done and is willing to do to spread and protect lies about the Big Things that do matter.
If the establishment media as a whole are willing to look the other way and protect Bernstein by ignoring a legitimate scandal that damages the media’s residual reputation as a whole, imagine the lengths they will go to look the other way and protect lies about Big Things that do matter.
This is the true lesson of Carl Bernstein’s meaningless lie.
Another is this…
Burning sources used to be a rule in the media. If a source lied to you, the media would out the source. This was an unwritten rule when we had a media still interested in protecting its own credibility.
Back in the days when the media still cared about telling the truth, sources understood that if they lied to a reporter, they would be exposed as the liar. And it was this understanding that worked as a deterrent to keep unnamed sources from lying, from using the media to advance a personal agenda.
Can anyone remember the last time the media exposed a source who had burned them?
Think about all the fake news the media have published during the Trump-era, and yet not a single source has been exposed as a result, as a deterrent that puts everyone on notice that this practice is unacceptable.
The reason for this is simple — the media want to be lied to, want to spread lies, want to mislead the public, and all they need in order to accomplish this is an “anonymous” or “unnamed” source to hide behind.
Even after a dishonest source brings scandal and derision on a news outlet — something we have witnessed countless times over the years — that source is protected… and for only one reason: The media need that source as cover to mislead the public.