• Caputo

#FakeNews and Media Literacy

We MAGA types grumble about #FakeNews, and it’s often warranted. But media literacy is important - reading a full story and identifying real news. I’ll give you a good example.

Complaints about the New York Times are rampant, sometimes deserved. I hear them about Times reporters Maggie Haberman and Ken Vogel often - but they are reporters always worth reading. Today’s Vogel story is a case in point.

Check that headline: "How Vilification of George Soros Moved From the Fringes to the Mainstream." Ugh. More of that trope that invoking George Soros’ name is veiled anti-Semitism, right? Of course, reporters don’t write their own headlines. When you complain to one about a headline, they deflect blame to the headline writer - but you never get to talk to a headline writer. Still, read more of Vogel's article.

I know Soros, I know his history - I worked with him in Russia in the 1990s and checked him out then. Back then, he was considered pretty pro-American and anti-communist. Vogel gets his history 100 percent right. Of course, Soros has changed a lot - he's not so pro-America


But read even more. Oh look! There’s this tidbit: Soros is presently funding Fusion GPS post-2016 work via former DiFi Senate Intel staffer Dan Jones - a million bucks to start. Where did you ever see that before? That’s no small news.

"Mr. Soros’s representatives say he gave $1 million to one such group, the Democracy Integrity Project, which was established after the 2016 election to investigate foreign interference in elections and to research Mr. Trump’s connections to Russian interests. Mr. Soros is considering additional donations to the group, which has paid for research from Fusion GPS, the firm behind the controversial dossier containing salacious claims about Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia."

Vogel did real journalism here. Fusion GPS has been feeding reporters like baby birds since Summer 2016. If you write about their backstory, you get cut off. He won’t be offered any more Simpson worms, if he ever got any. That’s a fact.

And oh, look! Remember Ana Maria Archila, the leftist activist who trapped Sen Jeff Flake in a Capitol complex elevator and berated him unendingly for CNN’s camera? Turns out, she was on the clock for Soros. Vogel drops that in his story, too.

"One of the women did, in fact, work for a group called the Center for Popular Democracy, which has received significant funding from the Open Society Foundations. But the group said that neither it nor Mr. Soros had paid people to protest."

Sure, Archila’s affiliation with Soros was already out there. But it was mostly reported in conservative media, not taken seriously by the mainstream. Vogel put that out there under the credibility of the Gray Lady. Now it’s “fact” and can’t be sniffed at. That’s a big deal.

After 30 years working with the world’s top reporters and media outlets, I can tell you for a fact that this story was pored over by NYT editors and there was certainly debate about whether these facts should be included. They probably tried to cut, Vogel likely fought

for it.

Something more: I was on CNN Prime Time with Chris Cuomo right after Archila’s big elevator pitch. She was on just before me and Cuomo asked about her funding. She dodged his question artfully, and the segment ended. Cuomo was bothered. You can tell always by his expression.

Cuomo doesn’t like it when I dodge him, or anybody else. It really rankles him. After her segment, during commercials, he talked back to Archila off air. He still doesn’t know it, but they forgot to turn off my earpiece and I overheard everything.

Cuomo was nice, congratulating her on her big moment, but he asked again: who funds you? She dodged again. He said politely, and I'm paraphrasing: you better come up with a better answer because somebody else isn’t gonna run out of time like I did.

No kidding. I heard it. I think it's important for people to know that he holds people accountable.

I call out reporters all the time, often right here on Twitter. They get pissed off, of course. I think they deserve it when they’re being dishonest or deceptive. I believe there’s a lot of #FakeNews out there. But if you’re media literate, read past the headline, you find the facts.

PS: I know Chris Cuomo will make damn sure my earpiece is turned off when it’s supposed to be from now on. Oh well.

© 2019 Still Standing with Michael Caputo

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