Yesterday, during Melissa McCarthy’s, I mean, Sean Spicer’s press conference (sorry, it’s just so easy to get the two confused), he made a claim that didn’t even pass the smell test on what Jon Stewart famously dubbed as “bullshit mountain.” Answering a question about the hack of the CIA, Spicer falsely asserted that Fox News reporter “James Rosen had his phone, multiple phones tapped.”
What makes this lie so breathtaking is that Rosen pushed back against that contention on Fox & Friends on Sunday—three days prior to Lying Spice’s bumbling bullshit. Fox & Friends repeated the party line sent down from our aspiring fascist, and Rosen replied
“They teach us in TV school to never contradict the anchor unless it’s absolutely necessary, and here I guess it is because I have to clarify that I was not wiretapped, my parents were not wiretapped—which is where you place a listening device on someone’s telephone line and you listen to their conversations. What happened to me was that the Attorney General Eric Holder—under Barack Obama as president—secretly designated me a criminal co-conspirator, and a flight risk, and thereby had a federal judge give the government permission to rifle through all my Gmails. They could read the e-mails, and also to get all the phone records associated with about 20 phones that I used at that time in my reporting. All of those phone lines were 202 or 703, which are the area codes associated with Washington and the Pentagon, northern Virginia area. One of those phone lines was 718, and that referred to my parents house on Staten Island at that time.”
This didn’t stop the administration from continuing to put words in Rosen’s mouth, as White House deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders told CNNMoney “There are multiple reports on this matter.”
No there aren’t—at least not from any actual journalists. Plenty of Donald Trump’s favorite right-wing clickbait conspiracy theorists have repeated this propaganda, but the only real journalist in the middle of this has pushed back against this nonsense twice in the last three days—the second time coming on Twitter, affirming the denial of the report and expanding on the actual violations the Obama administration committed against him.
What really happened to Rosen was far worse than simply tapping into live conversations on his phones, as Rosen could have spent life in prison had the Obama administration followed through on their historic and unprecedented threat.
It’s pretty clear why the White House is pushing this line of nonsense, instead of sticking to the far more damning truth about what actually happened to Rosen: Dear Leader Don un-Trump tweet-whined that his phone was tapped by President Obama, and now his lemmings are jumping off the cliff one by one trying to find any shred of evidence to back up that completely unsubstantiated claim. Rosen is one of the few capital-J journalists over at Fox News, and his pushback is proof that it has not been completely overtaken by Sean Hannity and friends’ wannabe-Pravda act. Journalists—no matter what team they play for—are the enemy of this administration, which aims to create a North Korean-style invented reality to combat the “fake news” undercutting the Mount Everest of bullshit currently being constructed by our new overlord’s laughably tiny hands.
Jacob Weindling is Paste’s business and media editor, as well as a staff writer for politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.