When numerous news organizations were reporting Trump shared classified intelligence with Russia this week, rightwing sites told a different story
The constant river of controversies relating to Donald Trump and the FBIs investigation into his aides links to Russia have not only caused problems for the president.
The reports of Trumps alleged misconduct have also been seriously problematic for his traditional defenders in the rightwing media.
On Monday evening the Washington Post reported that Trump had shared classified intelligence with Russias foreign minister and US ambassador. Within hours numerous news organizations had confirmed the tale for themselves.
It was the top tale on most news websites( including this one) on Tuesday, and predominated cable news.
But rightwing sites told a different story.
Fox News, Breitbart and Drudge chose to lead with a highly contentious tale about Seth Rich, a DNC staffer who was killed in July, allegedly having had contact with WikiLeaks before his death.( For months conspiracy theoreticians have been claiming with scant evidence that Rich leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks, and that that potentially contributed to his death .)
However dubious the tale, it represented a specific tactic by all three to set alternative solutions story in front of their readers, thus playing down the relevance of the latest Russian revelations.
When the New York Times reported that Trump had asked then-FBI chief James Comey to fell an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn on Tuesday evening, it presented a similar problem.
But this time, rather than ignore the narrative, the Fox News channel lined up pundits and partisan reveal hosts to reject it. Jesse Watters, Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity variously rejected the Comey revelations as a boring scandal and two examples of hyperventilating by the media.
But, as Buzzfeed reported, there was an awkward juxtaposition between what Fox News pundits were saying and what the networks reporters were saying.
Chief political anchor Bret Baier told his audience that no Republicans had been willing to appear on Fox News to discuss the revelations, while chief White House correspondent John Roberts did not shirk from the Comey reports , noting that the White Houses response is saying what[ Trump] didnt say, but we do not know what he did say.
Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge went a step further, saying a source had confirmed the Comey memo.
On Wednesday Fox News website seemed similarly torn. The top story in the morning was that Vladimir Putin had accused Trumps critics of political schizophrenia, and that the Russian president was prepared to hand over records which would disprove claims Trump had shared classified information.
But by the afternoon Fox News was resulting on what it called cracks in the wall.
Comey memo has Republicans increasingly leery of Trump drama, the top story read. It was a report on how Republicans are increasingly voicing concerns about how the daily drama at the White House is impacting the GOP agenda on Capitol Hill.
Breitbart, formerly run by Trump adviser Steve Bannon, toed a more loyal line, but was creative in its method.
The story resulting Breitbarts website on Wednesday morning was, remarkably for the rightwing website, based on remarks by Bernie Sanders. We Learned Trump Asked Comey to Stop Flynn Investigation, Which Is the Definition of Obstruction of Justice, the headline read.
It seemed an attempt to discredit the Trump-Comey story by tying it to people who, in the minds of Breitbart readers, are fringe and untrustworthy.
And it appeared to have worked. The most liked of the 4,000 plus remarks on the narrative was by a reader called Rubicon.
CNN, Bernie& MSM … are the definition of propaganda for fake news! Rubicon said.
In the Breitbart world, Trump can do no wrong.
Read more: www.theguardian.com