Right-Wing Media Explodes Over New FBI Texts, Misrepresents the Facts
Conservative media sources remain convinced that any investigation into President Donald Trump's actions is part of a nefarious Democratic plot.
Fox News, Daily Caller, Newsmax and other outlets spent Wednesday running around with their hair on fire over allegedly explosive new texts from 2016 between two FBI agents that allegedly demonstrate President Obama's inappropriate involvement in the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
What did the supposedly damning text say? "Potus wants to know everything we’re doing."
It was a text between FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. Both are being internally investigated by the bureau. Page sent the message to Strzok on Sept. 2, 2016.
Fox News published a story Wednesday morning, and echoing concerns voiced by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, said the text "raises questions" about how involved Obama was in the Clinton email investigation.
The Washington Times picked up the story, running with the headline: "Newly released texts raise questions about Obama’s role in Clinton probe." Newsmax said: "FBI Text Messages Imply Obama's Involvement in Clinton Probe." The Daily Caller ran a similar story, but edited it later after reviewing the texts, saying it's not clear which investigation the agents are referring to.
Trump himself tweeted: "NEW FBI TEXTS ARE BOMBSHELLS."
The Wall Street Journal — hardly a bastion of liberal thought — offered a much more sober reading of the revelations. "Text From 2016 Shows Obama’s Interest in FBI Employees’ Work," read its headline. The Journal reporters found that Page was discussing briefing Obama on the investigations into Russian interference, not the Clinton email probe.
The conservative media version of the story even contradicts available evidence.
Former FBI Director James Comey — quite famously and controversially — announced the end to the Clinton email probe in July 2016. The Wall Street Journal now reports that by Sept. 28, deputy director of the FBI Andrew McCabe knew of a new potential source of Clinton emails, which Comey was informed about on Oct. 28.
Since the leadership at the FBI was unaware of these new emails until nearly a month after Page sent her "bombshell" text, there's no reason at all to think Obama had any interest in the Clinton investigation, which he could rightfully assume was closed.
As of this writing, the Daily Caller is the only cited conservative outlet that corrected its erroneous reporting.