, 11 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
So, @KenDilanianNBC with a false statement: "Cohen testified he'd never been to Prague or met with Russians in Europe—refuting a key allegation by a former British intel officer whose dossier sketched out a Trump-Russian conspiracy." Steele had "raw intel" and made 0 allegations.
1/ I keep trying to explain to people how bad reporting leads to bad news. Look at Dilanian's statement; even though Steele made no allegations whatsoever *himself* and told *everyone* his dossier was "raw intel" that was likely partly wrong, Ken is *discrediting Steele falsely*.
2/ As with all bad reporting, it doesn't stop there: @KenDilanianNBC then pole-vaults himself into more bad reporting—writing that "Cohen poured water on the Russia collusion narrative." Fact check: Steele, McClatchy, and others reported *Russians* as saying Cohen was in Prague.
3/ Those *Russians* may have been lying, or working from—as now reported elsewhere—the "Cohen in Prague" evidence being phone records rather than eyewitness evidence. So Steele didn't allege anything himself, and *even his raw intel* might be right. The *Russians* might be wrong.
4/ So to correct @KenDilanianNBC, what Cohen "threw cold water on" was statements by Russians about their belief Cohen was in Prague—which may have been a) them lying in the first instance, b) them simply being mistaken, c) them working from phone records many intel agencies saw.
5/ Part of the purpose of this feed is to show how media analysts who don't know the stories they're reporting on well—or write inexactly—change public perception dangerously. To be clear, *nothing* Cohen wrote discredits Steele *at all* and his dossier was *always* "raw intel."
6/ Indeed, let's say Steele *correctly* compiled his intel—i.e., the Russians really *did* say Cohen was in Prague, and did so based on phone records that *did* suggest that, but *not* based on any eyewitness claims. That would suggest Steele's sourcing was *good* but *mistaken*.
7/ Moreover, in that scenario—which arguably is the *most plausible scenario*, given that Russians discussing Cohen-in-Prague would've worked from the same phone records U.S. intel did—not only is Steele's sourcing strong but Cohen's testimony *doesn't refute its claims, either*.
8/ How is that possible? What if Cohen's phone *was* in Prague? I'm not saying one way or another that it was, I'm saying the paragraph below, given what I've just explained, is *bad reporting* that *falsely attacks Steele's credibility* and *perhaps* falsely attacks the dossier:
9/ What's worse is that Ken says the "president and his allies" will seize on "Cohen's answer," but he knows full well they won't—they'll seize on *his reporting and analysis* instead. So it's *Ken* whose bad analysis the president and his allies will now use as political fodder.
10/ I don't know if Cohen was in Prague. My book focuses on what he did in *Italy* two months earlier. But I do know that public debate over what's going on is shaped by people like @KenDilanianNBC, who are falsely smearing a former MI6 Russia desk chief—and doing so willy-nilly.
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