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Glenn Greenwald is Wrong on Media Retractions

  • Glenn Greenwald is up in arms over recent retractions by news organizations such as The New York Times & The Washington Post about Rudy Giuliani and Russia.
  • The retractions are actually far less significant than they seem. They did not retract highly concerning details about Giuliani.
  • Imperfect news isn’t fake news. Retractions show the attempt to maintain truth even after America has moved on.

Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) posted a slew of Tweets today attacking the mainstream media for retractions on a recent story about Rudy Giuliani.

What Was Retracted

Major news outlets had reported that Giuliani & One America News were warned that Giuliani was a target of a Russian influence campaign. They’ve retracted this statement after further evidence was discovered.

What They Kept

While Greenwald has focused on the part they retracted, he seems to have missed all the parts they haven’t retracted. The original Washington Post tweet that Greenwald cites, should’ve never gone viral, still stands.

Here’s what the Washington Post isn’t retracting,

“The FBI became aware in late 2019 that Rudolph W. Giuliani was the target of a Russian influence operation aimed at circulating falsehoods intended to damage President Biden politically ahead of last year’s election, according to people familiar with the matter.

Officials planned to warn Giuliani as part of an extensive effort by the bureau to alert members of Congress and at least one conservative media outlet, One America News, that they faced a risk of being used to further Russia’s attempt to influence the election’s outcome, said several current and former U.S. officials. All spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter remains highly sensitive.”1

So they still say the FBI believed Giuliani was a target of a Russian influence operation. They still say the FBI planned to warn Giuliani and OAN.

Mistake in the Details, Correct in the Substance

While major outlets retracted the specific details about the Giuliani & OAN being officially briefed, much of the substance, the thing that Americans should actually be concerned about remains. The FBI believed Giuliani was being used as a target of a Russian influence operation.

Imperfect Isn’t Fake

No human endeavor is perfect, and the news is no exception. However, it’s a big leap to say that it is imperfect, therefore it is fake. We should expect retractions. Retractions show that a news organization still cares about the truth even when Twitter has already moved on to the next story. Imperfect isn’t fake.

If we really care about knowing whether the news is reliable, why not focus on the bigger picture rather than isolating mistakes. How often are stories from the mainstream media later proven true vs. when they are proven false? That’s how you determine if they are reliable. Not finding out that they’ve made mistakes, something that news networks openly admit in their corrections.

Opinion: Loyalty to America, the Real Story?

While major news outlets retracted some details, they left a hugely concerning substance. That Rudy Giuliani was the target of one of America’s most concerning enemies, Russia, and they were trying to use him to further their attack on America. Why isn’t that a serious concern rather than related details? How can a nation last if it is more concerned about winning political points than defending itself?

Additional Sources:

New York Times Story With Correction

Washington Post Story With Correction

Glenn Greenwald Twitter Thread

Glenn Greenwald Twitter Thread 2

  1. Washington Post: FBI was aware prominent Americans, including Giuliani, were targeted by Russian influence operation (emphasis added)

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