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marble falls

(59,000 posts)
Fri Jan 26, 2018, 06:03 PM Jan 2018

No, Trump Did Not Deny Reports That He Tried to Fire Mueller


No, Trump Did Not “Deny” Reports That He Tried to Fire Mueller
“Fake news.”

Dan FriedmanJan. 26, 2018 4:31 PM

Donald Trump on Friday morning didn’t really deny a blockbuster New York Times report that last June he had ordered the firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller but had backed off when White House Counsel Donald McGahn threatened to resign in protest.

“Fake news. Fake news. Typical New York Times. Fake stories,” the president, who is in Davos, Switzerland, told reporters when asked about the story. Trump did not address the specific allegations in the report.

But that was good enough for the Associated Press to declare in a headline, “Trump denies Times report that he ordered Mueller fired.” CNN, ABC, and the Daily Caller all announced that Trump had denied the Times’ findings. (Mother Jones wrote that that Fox News hosts “parroted Trump’s denial of the report on Friday as ‘fake news.’”)


When Trump calls the Times report “fake news,” he might be saying he thinks it treated his concerns about Mueller’s alleged conflicts of interest too dismissively, or that he simply doesn’t like the story. His response is a classic “non-denial denial.” That’s a term for when the subject of a story issues a dismissive statement to the media without actually denying the report.

Trump has also described as “fake news” articles that rely on unnamed sources, as the Times piece does. This is a common media criticism. The idea is that readers should be skeptical of stories with unnamed sources, since others cannot easily verify the accuracy of their claims. But a gripe that an article uses anonymous sources is not an assertion that the article is false.


Trump may has avoided a direct denial of the story because an overt lie about an effort to fire the head of an investigation into him could be used by Mueller to demonstrate that Trump had intent to obstruct justice. Lying about the attempt could show that Trump was aware his actions were improper.

Yet Trump also obviously wanted to downplay the Times story. By labeling the scoop “fake news,” Trump obfuscated while giving his supporters something to rally behind. When publications describe Trump’s non-denial as a denial, they are unwittingly assisting him in this effort.
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No, Trump Did Not Deny Reports That He Tried to Fire Mueller (Original Post) marble falls Jan 2018 OP
Put your hands together for Dan Friedman, mind reader! gratuitous Jan 2018 #1
'Cuz Mother Jones and Dan Friedman are rightwing mouthpieces for the GOP and Trump..... marble falls Jan 2018 #2
No, I'm saying Trump is a big boy gratuitous Jan 2018 #3


(82,849 posts)
1. Put your hands together for Dan Friedman, mind reader!
Fri Jan 26, 2018, 06:13 PM
Jan 2018

I really wish the media would get over their compulsion to explain away what Trump says. Trump was asked about whether or not he had contemplated firing Mueller, and his stuttering response was "Fake news." This response doesn't require cutting a chicken or a goat open and spreading its entrails on the ground to divine what Trump meant by that. He's presumably a big boy, and if he didn't mean what he said, he can say it some other way. "Fake news" is Trump's signature locution, and the context of its utterance here is clearly that the New York Times story is false, which is to say he denies it.

If that's not what Trump meant to say, let him clarify it himself. Or have one of his paid stooges clarify it. Or maybe that's precisely what's happening here.

marble falls

(59,000 posts)
2. 'Cuz Mother Jones and Dan Friedman are rightwing mouthpieces for the GOP and Trump.....
Fri Jan 26, 2018, 07:09 PM
Jan 2018

the point is that stuttering "fake news" is not a denial. Trump uses his proxys for that.


(82,849 posts)
3. No, I'm saying Trump is a big boy
Fri Jan 26, 2018, 07:15 PM
Jan 2018

He doesn't need, and certainly I wish the popular media (liberal and conservative) would get over this obsession they have for trying to read Trump's mind. What Trump says is what he says, and he's a big boy. If he didn't mean his "fake news" parrot-squawk to be interpreted as a denial, then he can explain what he means. Friedman is indulging a media weakness by trying to explain to the rest of us simpletons what Trump "really" meant.

Friedman can stop anytime he likes.

Here's what a non-denial denial looks like:


Wynn Resorts CEO calls sexual misconduct accusations 'preposterous'

"The idea that I ever assaulted any woman is preposterous," Steve Wynn said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

As you can see, Wynn delivered his statement by e-mail, which indicates to me he sent it after careful consultation with a legal professional. He claims that the "idea" the he sexually assaulted any woman is "preposterous." That's a statement of opinion, not fact. As such, it doesn't go to the substance of the numerous allegations currently bruited, and doesn't rise to the level of a denial of those allegations. That is a non-denial denial.
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