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Rachel Maddow accused of misleading viewers over Trump Jr.’s blocked phone call reports


Not a good look for MSNBC

Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Rachel Maddow, host of MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," is under fire for reportedly misleading her viewers.

What are the details?

On Monday, Mediaite pointed out that Maddow failed to detail new reports that reveal Donald Trump Jr. did not phone his father around the time of the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

Before the new reports, Maddow fervently reported on suspicions that Trump Jr. had phoned his father — presumably to inform him — about the June 2016 meeting involving Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and others, including Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

According to previous speculation, Trump Jr. made the alleged calls in the days following the meeting.

Trump Jr. initially claimed that the meeting was held for the purpose of discussing Americans adopting Russian children. Trump Jr. later admitted that the meeting actually was a political meeting for research purposes, adding that he believed he would receive damaging information about then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at the time.

When information about the meeting became public, Trump Jr. insisted that his father knew nothing of such a meeting.

The investigation of the meeting — and alleged Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election — is ongoing.

The Mediaite op-ed, written by editor Caleb Howe, was titled, "Rachel Maddow's narrative on Don Jr.'s 'blocked calls' disappeared. She forgot to tell her audience."

In Howe's article, he detailed how the liberal show host adamantly pushed theories that Trump Jr. had spoken to his father, President Donald Trump, after the June 2016 meeting.

President Trump's knowledge of the meeting has been a point of controversy since news of the meeting initially broke. President Trump has repeatedly claimed that he had no knowledge of the meeting during the campaign.

When reports emerged that appeared to clear Trump Jr., however, Maddow appeared to substantially lessen her intense focus on the initial reports.

On Thursday, The New York Times reported that investigators who'd been able to procure phone records discovered that Trump Jr. had spoken to friends, instead of his father, as Maddow had speculated.

Howe added that Maddow only briefly mentioned the reports, despite previously and regularly covering the topic. Maddow's comments came on Thursday's show to guest Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif).

"This is not MSNBC reporting and MSNBC hasn't confirmed this, but they're saying Senate investigators have obtained information about something that you have asked about in the past concerning Donald Trump Jr.," Maddow vaguely said.

Maddow did not make mention of the fact that such reports — if true — would cast a new light on the Trump Jr. phone call suspicions.

Howe wrote, "In his rambling response, Schiff not only didn't indicate the reporting that it was not a father-son phone call, he implied that the open question remains to be investigated. At no point does Maddow tell viewers what the 'new reporting' actually was."

"Maddow says," he continued, "'This is not MSNBC's reporting,' but she doesn't [reveal] whose reporting it is. For the record, it was CNN. And ABC News. And The New York Times."

Howe added, "[G]iven the chance to tell her viewers not only that Senate investigators have evidence it was not a call to his father, that major media were reporting this that very day, or even the names of the people who were actually called (itself an interesting Russian lead), Maddow instead chose to gloss over it and let Schiff continue to beat his well-worn drum."

"Even for an opinion show, that goes past shoddy and approaches deceptive," he concluded.

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