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Seth Abramson @SethAbramson
, 11 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Media must stop it with text like the below. First, these sources aren't qualified to provide such info—they have no access to it. Second, interviewing Trump clearly wasn't a last piece, or Mueller's probe would've ground to a halt a year ago. Instead, he issued many indictments.
2/ Just so, text like the below is out of bounds. Lawyers representing witnesses don't know the status of a probe! Nor do DOJ lawyers besides Rosenstein. And yes, as time moves forward, not backward, we're getting "closer" to the end of the probe. That *sentence* means *nothing*.
3/ The result of these ongoing issues in Mueller-probe coverage is that Americans are artificially made to feel impatient about the duration of the probe, wrongly made to think it's leaky, and are directly misinformed on the history of the investigation as to Trump's interview.
4/ The truth is, what we *do* know—50+ hours of Cohen interviews in the last month; 50+ hours of Manafort interviews in the last month; upcoming Stone and Trump Jr. indictments; recent news about new investigative leads/avenues—tells us Mueller is *not* almost done with his work.
5/ I don't know. I think I'm frustrated because, as a former criminal defense attorney, I'm sick of seeing journalists get punked by criminal defense attorneys in such transparent ways. Especially because I hear directly from readers about how such reports poison the well here.
6/ Another example is this tweet by Shimon (and I want to underscore that I do think he's awesome): the storyline becomes that Mueller is acting strangely, but it's based on an *assumption* (which has no evidence behind it) that we are "late" in the probe.
7/ In reality, Mueller is doing *exactly* what you'd expect as he builds up toward an indictment of Stone—an indictment that actually confirms that we are *not* "late" in the process. It's for that reason readers of this feed weren't surprised by any of the Stone news and...
8/ ...might be frustrated by some of the Mueller coverage, believing that certain of its base presumptions color each story, such that (as here) Mueller is seen as being fickle and irresponsible and somehow tardy rather than a consummate professional. And the narrative *matters*.
PS/ People wonder why I write threads like this. Am I carping? Just a crank? The answer is no: I teach journalism at a large public research university, and part of my life's work is dissecting journalistic writing practices to see *why* so many feel dissatisfied with journalism.
PS2/ The first time we were told Mueller was almost done with his work was a year ago; the sourcing was Trump's lawyers—but it was presented as merely a reliable, knowledgable source. Yet the source was self-interested and wrong—and that damaged media's credibility on this issue.
PS3/ When media said a year ago Mueller was almost done, I said here he wasn't—an example of one of many times I disagreed with media on the basis of my legal/investigative experience and views on sourcing and turned out to be right. It helps answer why some find the feed useful.
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