UPDATE – It’s a biggie, too. Here’s a major “clarification” from ABC News, finally posted hours after their inaccurate report was shared far and wide. They meant to say this all happened after Trump was elected, not while he was a candidate. That is not exculpatory unto itself, per se (we don’t know what Flynn may or may not be sharing with Mueller), but it’s a significant walk-back. I go into more analysis why below. Post-election contacts with foreign governments on the part of a presidential transition team is not abnormal in the least. Why did Flynn lie to the FBI about it, then? Good question. We haven’t heard the last of this, obviously. But if the central allegation is that the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to impact the US election outcome, some behind-the-scenes discussions initiated after voters made their decision ain’t a smoking gun.
There may be more trouble ahead for Team Trump, but this looks far less bad than it did a few hours ago. With faith in the press in crisis, these bad errors don’t help close the credibility gap, particularly among people who already believe the media is out to get Trump. It took ABC far too long to fix this mistake, especially since other news organizations were reporting accurately on this timeframe issue (again, see below). And blaming it on one source misspeaking suggests that they didn’t have a corroborating second source — a journalistic best practice — who could have cleared up the mistake before it was put on-air and online:
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) December 2, 2017