A great report by Becket Adams at the Washington Examiner, pointing out the major changes the NY Times has made to its so-called scoop on KT McFarland:
The New York Times got ahead of itself again with yet another supposedly hot scoop involving former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland, the Russians and the 2016 presidential election.
The story, now titled “McFarland’s Testimony About Russia Contacts Is Questioned,” reported originally that an email sent by the former Trump transition official indicated she lied to Congress this summer when she was questioned about disgraced Gen. Michael Flynn’s communications with the Russians.
The article has been heavily amended since publication so that it is now mostly innuendo. The initial references to the emails have been removed, and the story now leans mostly on Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who only questions whether McFarland was forthright in her testimony.
The headline alone has undergone multiple facelifts. Here they are, in order of change:
- “McFarland Contradicted Herself on Russia Contacts, Congressional Testimony Shows”
- “Email Counters Aide on Flynn’s Russia Contact”
It then reverted to back to: “McFarland Contradicted Herself on Russia Contacts, Congressional Testimony Shows,” and then changed twice more:
- “Email Counters Testimony On Flynn by Former Aide”
- “Former Aide’s Testimony On Russia Is Questioned”
In addition, Adams report that these four paragraphs have been completely removed from the article:
An email sent during the transition by President Trump’s former deputy national security adviser, K.T. McFarland, appears to contradict the testimony she gave to Congress over the summer about contacts between the Russian ambassador and Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn.
Ms. McFarland had told lawmakers that she did not discuss or know anything about interactions between Sergey I. Kislyak, who had been Moscow’s ambassador to the United States, and Mr. Flynn, according to Senate documents.
But emails obtained by The New York Times appear to undermine those statements. In a Dec. 29 message about newly imposed Obama administration sanctions against Russia for its election interference, Ms. McFarland, then serving on Mr. Trump’s transition team, told another transition official that Mr. Flynn would be talking to the Russian ambassador that evening.
The discrepancy is likely to add to mounting troubles for the White House that stem from Mr. Flynn’s interactions with Russian officials. He pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to F.B.I. agents about his discussions with Mr. Kislyak about the sanctions.
These four paragraphs have been removed entirely from the Times’ report. The story’s core message has also been softened considerably.
Where the headline once declared that “McFarland Contradicted Herself on Russia Contacts,” the story now reads, “A leading Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee questioned on Monday whether a high-ranking official in Donald J. Trump’s transition team had been deceptive over the summer about her knowledge of discussions between Michael T. Flynn …”
The report, which was once so sure of itself, now eases away by saying McFarland “might have given ‘false testimony’ in her answers.”
There are no editor’s notes drawing attention to the story’s many changes.
So there you have it. Just wanted to update you on this since we ran the story yesterday.