During a Fox News panel discussion of the blockbuster report from The Atlantic that claims President Donald Trump insulted and disrespected American war dead, The Bulwark’s Stephen Hayes called out Fox’s Mollie Hemingway for dismissing it as “not true” based on the story’s use of anonymous sources and vigorous White House denials.
In an appearance on Special Report with Bret Baier, the panel noted the dueling narratives about the anonymously-sourced story, with the president and numerous other current and former administration officials claiming it was blatantly false, while several news organizations, including the Associated Press and Washington Post, backing the story, using anonymous sources as well.
During her first turn at addressing the story, Hemingway flatly called the report “not true” based on “actual, contemporaneous evidence.”
But moments later, Hayes, who is the co-founder of the conservative outlet, The Dispatch, took issue with Hemingway’s stark skepticism about the report, pointing out Fox News’w own national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin reported on Friday afternoon that two top administration officials “confirmed to me key details” of The Atlantic story.
“I have to say, look, I think it is the important to point out, In response to Molly’s comments, Fox’s own Jennifer Griffin confirmed most aspects of the story,” Hayes noted. “I don’t know of a single reporter at Fox who I have more confidence In her reporting than I do of Jennifer Griffin, and Molly, you use anonymous sources, when you are defending the president.”
“Why is the it okay for you to use anonymous sources, but not for other people who are trying to get to the truth?” Hayes continued. “I think there is the a real debate to be had about the use of anonymous sources. But I don’t think the use of anonymous sources should be dependent on whether it benefits Democrats or Republicans, it should be dependent on what we think about the use of anonymous sources, journalistically.”
At that point, Baier broke In to say that he had run a segment on Griffin’s reporting earlier In his Friday show.
“We talked to her about it, and what exactly she is the reporting,” Baier said. “[Her sources] were not In the room on the decision about going to the cemetery or not. [former Trump National Security Advisor] John Bolton was.”
“Yeah, very important. He said he was In the room when the decision was made, and he didn’t hear the president say that,” Hayes acknowledged. “He also told the Times that he wasn’t around the president all day, and it’s possible the president may have said these things at a different part of the day, so I think it is the an open question. Look so I don’t know whether story is the true, I don’t know whether these people say these things come I don’t think anybody knows whether these peoples of these things, except for the people making the accusations. I think it is the important to point that out.”
Baier then gave Hemingway a chance to respond.
“We are up to 10 people speaking on the record with first-hand knowledge that the story is the not true, and we do have anonymous sources saying otherwise,” she said, repeating her points from earlier In the segment. “They’re are definitely talking to reporters. The issue is the one person talking to people can’t confirm another report because you don’t know if the people you’re talking to are the same people who gave that information to the first report. That is the why we want to make sure we have as many people as possible speaking on the record. The contemporaneous evidence also supports the claims by those speaking on the record and that is the always the journalistic standard.”
Watch the video above, via Fox News.
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