Watchdogs on both sides of the aisle feel the “now-fully-obliterated-and-exposed Steele Dossier fraud” helped corporate media push the Russian collusion narrative and news organizations that hyped it up in the first place need to be held accountable.
Igor Danchenko, the primary sub-source for the Christopher Steele dossier of salacious rumors about Donald Trump and Russia, was indicted Thursday as part of Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.
Durham is charging Danchenko, a Russian citizen residing in Virginia, with five counts of making false statements to the FBI. The charges stemmed from statements Danchenko made relating to the sources he used in providing information to an investigative firm in the United Kingdom.
“We knew the Steele dossier was pretty much a crock before today’s indictment of Igor Danchenko, the primary collector of intel — or ‘intel’ — for the reports,” Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple tweeted.
“But honestly: The indictment drives home what a rinky-dink operation was the dossier. A sham — and *any* news org that attributed credibility to its ‘findings’ needs to go back and correct the record,” Wemple added along with a link to a series of columns he previously wrote on the media’s handling of the Steele dossier. The columns included criticism of CNN, MSNBC, Politico, Mother Jones and The New York Times, among other outlets.
Journalist Drew Holden, who is known for lengthy Twitter threads documenting hypocrisy and bias in the media, marked Danchenko’s indictment with a trip down memory lane.
“Remember the Steele dossier? It went to hell today, barely making news,” he wrote. “Now that it’s been thoroughly discredited, anyone care for a trip down memory lane about how folks on the left & in the media hyped it up because it made Trump look bad?”
Holden then shared a variety of examples, starting with CNN which he wrote “made it a point to bring up the dossier early and often, and frequently led with the most explosive claims.”
“One tactic was to bring on elected officials and other ‘reputable’ people to talk up the dossier,” Holden wrote. “In retrospect, I’m not sure they picked the most trustworthy folks,” which included Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
Holden then reminded followers that CNN’s left-wing media pundit Brian Stelter helped promote the dossier.
But “CNN wasn’t alone,” as Holden pointed out. He feels New York Magazine was “one of the most consistent media voices in all things Russian Collusion” and provided examples.
However, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was “probably the most vociferous cheerleader of the Steele dossier,” according to Holden, noting she “hyped it at every turn.”
“And she managed to suck in much of the rest of the network. @MSNBC was probably the worst of the mainstream outlets on this,” Holden added to accompany coverage from Katy Tur, “Morning Joe” and tweets from the main MSNBC account.
“And Maddow gets us to one of the original advocates of this theory, @DavidCornDC of Mother Jones. His original reporting kicked off a lot of this firestorm,” Holden added. “The central allegation is that the POTUS is beholden to our geopolitical enemy. Black helicopters stuff.”
The lengthy thread went on to criticize The Daily Beast, Newsweek, Slate, The Lincoln Project, Joy Reid, Jennifer Rubin, Max Boot, Malcom Nance, Seth Abramson, Michael Avenatti and Kurt Eichenwald, among others, for promoting the dossier.
“Anyway, take away here should be clear: our media should have a shred of incredulity when it comes to enormous and explosive claims, up to and including the leader of the free world being a Russian puppet,” Holden wrote.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald promoted Holden’s thread, noting that “anyone now trying to claim that the now-fully-obliterated-and-exposed Steele Dossier fraud was not centrally featured as a key part of Russiagate by corporate media” needs to take a gander.
Danchenko is believed to be the sub-source for Steele, the former British intelligence officer who compiled the dossier that served as the basis for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The dossier was funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign through the law firm Perkins Coie.
Danchenko was released late Thursday with no electronic monitoring and is scheduled to appear before the court on Nov. 10.
Fox News’ Yael Halon and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.