Dan Gainor: Dishonest press go dark on discredited dossier designed to divide and destroy

Russian analyst who contributed to Steele dossier heads in and out of court NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Turns out that even when you say something is made of Steele, it still falls apart.

The media built four years of “Russia, Russia, Russia” with the Steele dossier. The press claimed President Donald Trump was a Russian “asset” or “agent.” Several outlets used the fancy Russian word “kompromat,” meaning he was compromised because they had dirt on him—including the media obsession with the so-called “pee tape.” 


Journalists loved the idea of throwing mud at the man who called them “fake news,” even if every allegation proved Trump right.

Then the Russian narrative collapsed.

The “primary researcher” for the dossier, Igor Danchenko, was “charged with lying to the FBI about his sources,” wrote The New York Times. The paper described the dossier as “a compendium of rumors and unproven assertions suggesting that Mr. Trump and his 2016 campaign were compromised by and conspiring with Russian intelligence officials to help him defeat Hillary Clinton.” 

It sure got a lot of coverage given that description. 

Former President Donald Trump during a rally at the Iowa States Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, on Oct. 9, 2021. 

Former President Donald Trump during a rally at the Iowa States Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, on Oct. 9, 2021.  (REUTERS/Rachel Mummey/File Photo)

A year after the presidential election, it’s easy to forget just how much the legacy press freaked out about Trump and Russia—every report designed to undermine his presidency and prevent a second term.

The airwaves were filled with stories. ABC, CBS and NBC evening news programs devoted 2,634 minutes in two years. That’s more than 100 minutes a month.

Print was just as bad. The Washington Post lists more than 900 Trump and Russia stories from the date of his election. The paper ran just three pieces since the story fell apart—and only one admitting the media’s responsibility.

Concha rips the media for ‘misleading’ the American people in Steele dossier

The whole conspiracy was just like one of those Russian dolls, but with lies hidden within other lies. The Steele dossier was designed to destroy a presidency, even if it crushed what little credibility the traditional media had left. Sure, this latest news doesn’t erase every Russia story of the last five-plus years. Just most of them, and guts many others. 

The problem now is the dossier was disproven and few in the press are honest enough to admit it. If they do admit it, many couldn’t care less. 

Because it worked. Journalists swept their lies under the rug. The broadcast network evening news shows didn’t report the fall of Steele whatsoever for five straight nights. They’d be more likely to report on Danielle Steel than this.

Mainstream media omits coverage of discredited Steele dossier charges

Post media critic Erik Wemple knows. He’s been calling out this decline of journalism for some time. His recent piece was headlined: “Indictment of Steele dossier source is more bad news for multiple media outlets.”

He led it by reminding readers about MSNBC anchor and Russia obsessive Rachel Maddow’s involvement. Then he added this helpful list: “The Danchenko indictment doubles as a critique of several media outlets that covered Steele’s reports in 2016 and after its publication by BuzzFeed in January 2017. As discussed in this series, CNN, MSNBC, Mother Jones, the McClatchy newspaper chain and various pundits showered credibility upon the dossier without corroboration.”

Looks like dossier was Clinton campaign effort and FBI was duped

Last September, less than two months before the presidential election, the Post was still running pieces about the “unanswered question” of Trump’s relationship with Russia. “The FBI faced a national security nightmare three years ago: It suspected that the new president of the United States was, in some unknown way, in the sway of Russia.”

Even after Joe Biden assumed the presidency, The Guardian ran, “‘The perfect target’: Russia cultivated Trump as asset for 40 years – ex-KGB spy.” 


Then and now, left-wing media outlets did exactly what Russia wanted—divided our nation. The Post has reported, “Russians have been trying to influence outcomes and perceptions of U.S. elections since” 1960. Thanks to the traditional press, Russia finally succeeded. 

Now we need to consider what that means. Journalist Michael Tracey made an important connection. He tweeted that, “If the Steele Dossier was a deliberately executed partisan fraud – now increasingly proven beyond any doubt – then the frenzied political environment which gave rise to the Mueller investigation was also fundamentally predicated on fraud. It’s not just about the Dossier.”

The Steele dossier was simply a dressed-up media hit job. It sounds like a thriller novel and resembles one in a key way. It’s also fiction. Legacy news outlets that claim to traffick in facts instead proved Trump right once more. They are “truly the enemy of the people.” 


Dan Gainor is the vice president for TechWatch, business and culture at the Media Research Center. You can follow him at @dangainor on Twitter and submit suggestions there.

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