Yet Another Media Meltdown Turns Out To Be Totally Wrong

News that President Donald Trump was easing sanctions against Russia was refuted almost immediately, like so many other stories.

The Department of the Treasury said Thursday that it would allow U.S. companies to make limited transactions with the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia’s intelligence agency. Possibly eager to establish a connection between the new U.S. president and Russia, numerous media outlets and journalists were quick to claim that Trump was easing, and even lifting, sanctions against Russia.

“I haven’t eased anything,” Trump told reporters at the White House Thursday.

“We’re not easing sanctions,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed, saying that, “It is a regular course of action.”

Guys, I’m not sure this is the story you think it is. Looks to me like correcting an unintended consequence (export licenses).

— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) February 2, 2017


As it turns out, the move was a “technical fix” planned by the Obama administration.

“Our understanding is that this is not the start of sanctions easing,” Ian Bremmer, president of the consulting firm Eurasia Group told reporters.

“It’s a rule change clearing up a problem with the sanctions regime that prevented U.S. exporters of non-sanctioned electronic devices from complying with both U.S. and Russian law. The problem was identified by the Obama administration, and this appears to be the response to address it.”

Even Arizona Sen. John McCain, who has called for tougher sanctions on Russia, agreed that Thursday’s move was “largely a technical fix.”

The media whirlwind that followed the Treasury Department’s actions proved unjustified almost instantaneously.

BREAKING: US Treasury Dept easing Obama admin sanctions to allow companies to do transactions with Russia’s FSB, successor org to KGB.

— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) February 2, 2017

NEW: Source familiar w sanctions says it’s a technical fix, planned under Obama, to avoid unintended consequences of cybersanctions

— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) February 2, 2017


The media has missed the mark several times, and the present situation perfectly exemplifies the problem. A pattern is now emerging: headlines strike in a matter of hours, followed by the release of information contradicting the initial reports.

Concerning Trump’s recent immigration order:

senior Justice official tells @NBCNews that Dept had no input. not sure who in WH is writing/reviewing. standard NSC process not functioning

— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) January 28, 2017

new info from @PeteWilliamsNBC: another DOJ official says proposed immigration order WAS reviewed by Department lawyers before it was issued

— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) January 28, 2017


Regarding the Supreme Court pick…

White House is setting up Supreme Court announcement as a prime-time contest: @JusticeGorsuch and @JusticeHardiman identical Twitter pages.

— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) January 31, 2017

The Twitter accounts of @JusticeGorsuch and @JusticeHardiman were not set up by the White House, I’ve been told.

— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) January 31, 2017


And, these are just a few of countless examples.


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