Fake news?--Media narrative on Trump-Russian conspiracy gets its wrong

Byron York:
A key talking point in the theory that Donald Trump and the Russians conspired in the 2016 election is the allegation that last summer, during the Republican convention, the Trump campaign changed the GOP platform to weaken its stance on Russia's aggression in Ukraine.

It's been cited many, many times. The only problem is, it's all wrong.

The wildest expression of the theory came, as it often does, from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who told viewers on March 8 that "something weird" happened to the GOP platform on "that Ukraine and Russia thing" when the Trump team "jumped right up on that and they insisted that that plank only, that one, had to be taken out, that language could not stand."

Maddow's charge echoed what Democrats have long been saying about the issue. "Donald Trump changed the Republican platform to become what some experts would regard as pro-Russian," Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook told ABC on July 24 of last year. Some journalists, including those less fevered than Maddow, joined in to report the so-called weakening as an accepted fact. National Public Radio, for example, explained "how the Trump campaign weakened the Republican platform on aid to Ukraine."

Much of the reporting and commentary appears to spring from a single story, published in the Washington Post on July 18, 2016, with the headline "Trump campaign guts GOP's anti-Russia stance on Ukraine." The piece reported that the Trump team "orchestrated a set of events" to change the platform in a pro-Russian direction.

Missing from all the talk is what the Republican platform actually said before it was allegedly "gutted" by Trump. What did the original draft of the platform say about Russia and Ukraine? Was it, in fact, changed? If so, how?

As it turns out, a look at the original draft of the platform — which has never been released publicly — shows that it always had tough language on Russian aggression in Ukraine. And not only did that language stay in the final platform — nothing was taken out — it was actually strengthened, not weakened, as a result of events at the convention.
There is more.

This is the kind of thing that happens when the media has an agenda and a narrative to fit that agenda.

The Washington Post has been relentless in its criticism of Trump and appears to look for any excuse to attack the President ande his agenda.


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