Friday, April 26, 2019
Home News Exposing the anti-CNN conspiracy theory of Roger Stone

Exposing the anti-CNN conspiracy theory of Roger Stone

Stone continues to promote a completely false story about the circumstances of his arrest. He makes a baseless allegation at the US District Court. Meanwhile, his wife is collecting money from a slightly disproven conspiracy theory about CNN reporting.

The Stones receive help from members of the pro-Trump media, such as Fox News's Tucker Carlson, who ignore what they've learned in journalism. 101 Even Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has fueled the fire.

So here's what's really true.

Stone is a notorious media manipulator. In the months before his arrest on January 25, he knew he had Robert Mueller in his eyes. He opposed the special administrative investigation, questioned his legitimacy, accused the "deep state", attacked the media and raised money for his legal defense fund.

That's why he should not have been surprised when FBI agents appeared at home.

CNN was not surprised. About an hour before the raid, a producer and photojournalist put Stone's house out. They followed their "reporter instinct," producer David Shortell said Stone could be taken into custody.

"The whole Russia team thought maybe something would happen," Shortell said shortly after the raid. "There were unusual grand jury activities in Washington DC yesterday." There were also some "other signs" of the movement in the Stone case.

The result was a major exclusive for CNN: a video from FBI that arrived at Stone early in the morning.

The birth of a groundless theory

Later that day, CNN's Jeremy Herb wrote that the video was "the product of good instincts, some key hints, more than a year's observation of coming to the Federal Court in Washington and the Special Representative's office – and a bit of luck in timing."

Within minutes of the raid, a conspiracy theory took shape in social media. Some defenders of Stone claimed without proof that Mueller's office attacked CNN at the time of the robbery.

Trump fed this idea by tweeting, "Who made CNN aware of being there?"

Of course, Trump spent years dismantling CNN and other news agencies. He encourages the conspiracy thinking of his followers.

Within hours, this idea – CNN and Mueller in Cahoots! – became a gospel in far-right circles. All the contrary evidence was not taken into account. For example, journalists from numerous news agencies said that Müller's team is frustratingly leak-proof. And the CNN crew outside Stone's house was misplaced when the FBI arrived. Therefore, the video has only insights into the imprisonment of Stone.

How CNN recorded video of the Roger Stone raid

Stakeouts are common in the news business. In fact, CNN had a different crew in another state that same morning. The crew were in the house of another player in the Mueller investigation, suspected that the person could be arrested, but this assumption did not come to light.

Despite all this, Stone's allies, like Carlson – who used to work at CNN – believed that they knew what was going on in Stone's house. "Mueller wanted the raid on Roger Stone's house to be recorded on tape and aired publicly as a warning to other disobedient witnesses as to what could happen if they stepped out of line," Carlson claimed. "And CNN was happy to do that."

With these unfounded allegations Stone tries to present himself as a victim and to collect money for his legal defense.

He has also published lies about CNN on his Instagram page, including a memo claiming that CNN legal analyst Josh Campbell was at the scene of the robbery.

Campbell, who used to be a special assistant to former FBI director James Comey, actually slept in his Los Angeles home. A producer called, woke him up and asked him to go live in the office of L.A.

But Stone's memo indicated that a conspiracy was imminent. He described Campbell's (invented) presence as "the greatest coincidence since the Reichstag fire!"

To be clear, Campbell was on the morning of the raid live on television by L.A.

That did not stop Stones wife Nydia from repeating the claim about Campbell in a donation letter.

The problem with the timeline of Stone

Collecting money could be at the heart of these cuts to CNN. However, Stone also seems determined to distract attention from the fact that he was accused of manipulating and lying to Congress.

In other words, Stone seems to pull a page from his own game book: deny everything and start a counterattack against your enemies. These are tactics detailed in his book Stone's Rules. Following successful documentation on Netflix, "Get Me Roger Stone" followed.

Stone receives a lot of help, including from Trump's allies in executive and legislative branches.

Whitaker has done nothing to ignore the CNN conspiracy theory when GOP legislator Doug Collins pointed this out at a hearing last week.

"It was deeply troubling for me how CNN heard about the robbery," Whitaker said.

And Stone is trying to invoke this problem in his lawsuit. On Wednesday, he filed a lawsuit indicating that the special lawyer had misled the media by pronouncing a sealed charge.

6 Entries from the Indictment of Roger Stone

But the timeframe shown in the court document again misrepresents what happened.

The court's lawsuit on Wednesday says Stone was arrested at 6:06 in the morning. At 6:11 AM, CNN correspondent Sara Murray – briefed on Shortell's raid – reported to Stone's lawyer "and told him that Mr. Stone had been arrested."

"At 6:22 in the morning," the depositary said, "the same reporter sent the lawyer a text message appending a draft of the still-sealed indictment."

Scandalous? Not at all. Müller's office sent out a press release and sent a link to the indictment to a mailing list with many reporters at 6:16 am. Thus, most news agencies learned of arrests and charges.

This is common practice. The Department of Justice regularly releases versions of indictments and other cases before they are stamped by a court clerk and posted online on the court's public records website.

So Murray sent a lawyer from Stone with a link to the press release and the indictment while asking for a comment – another common practice. "I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news," she wrote.

To be clear, the judge's order to seal Stone's arrest warrant and the indictment states that the document only needed to be sealed "until the accused named in the indictment is in custody not be sealed. " This seems to mean that the office of Müller could be released at 06:06 any time. But Stone's lawyers dispute this interpretation.

"What a time to live."

CNN began live coverage of Stones arrest at 6:22 am. The reporters and anchors tried to read the indictment like everyone else. "Our viewers will be dealing with us when we read this in real time," said John Berman.

However, the Stone deposit claims CNN is omniscient thanks to a tip.

Ironically, Stone also used the video – which features FBI agents heavily armed on his property – in his PR campaign.

Washington Post's Erik Wemple wrote on Tuesday: "Where would Stone and Trump and Carlson be if they did not have the CNN footage to present their arguments about the FBI's abuses?"

As far as the cuts are concerned, CNN reporters and analysts have taken with them.

"What a time to live," Campbell twittered on Tuesday, a link to a story about the "bizarre conspiracy theory that I was in different places on different coasts at the same time".

Campbell and Shortell were amused that someone might have mixed them up. Last week, when they were together in the office, they posed for a photo and fingered each other, laughing at the ridiculousness of the whole thing.

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