I recently wrote how the Washington Post issued a statement that declared that the newspaper was “standing by” columnist Philip Bump on his proven false claims on subjects ranging from Lafayette Park to Russian collusion. Bump’s prior claims have not only been conclusively shown to be false but other major media outlets have now rejected those claims. However, the Post claimed this week that they are in fact true in response to one of my earlier columns.
Now, Miranda Devine at the New York Post has written about a meltdown by Bump in a podcast interview with Noam Dworman, owner of New York’s own Comedy Cellar. Dworman had asked Bump to explain some of his claims and Bump offered one of the most vivid examples of the new media and it is chilling. After declaring that “I’m gonna lose my mind,” he stormed out of the interview after refusing to address the contradictions and dubious claims in his prior columns.
Dworman’s podcast interview stands as one of the most revealing and vivid examples of how the media has changed in the age of rage. Bump moves quickly from the conversational to crazed when simply asked about the basis for his claims in the Washington Post.
Dworman was asking about the mounting evidence and contradictions in the Biden corruption scandal. Some of us have said that there is evidence of obvious corruption and influence peddling, but more investigation is needed to establish any basis for impeachment or criminal charges involving President Biden. Bump, however, will have none of it. The Post writer (who demanded investigations of a wide array of Republicans on false stories with little evidence) is vehement that there is nothing to see here . . . and the public just has to take his word for it.
Dworman remains polite and pushes Bump to simply engage him in explaining some of the countervailing evidence. Bump responds “I just I’m gonna lose my mind. I’m gonna lose my mind.”
As the interview shuts down, Dworman asks “is there nothing we can talk about … half the country believes this stuff.”
Bump: “I know, because half the country doesn’t actually dig into the issues.”
Dworman: “Here’s your chance to disabuse people. They don’t read the Washington Post.”
Bump will have nothing of it as Dworman continues to try to get him to explain his controversial writings: “There’s just no point, because all you want to do is you want to have me here as the putative expert so that you can present me with things that have been debunked multiple times that I’ve written about.”
Dworman: “What’s been debunked?”
Bump: “These, these claims. I’ve written about this, this argument about his dad calling him. I’ve written about this. Did you read what I wrote?”
Dworman: “It’s not debunked. Neither of us were there.”
Bump: “Well, I debunked it in the standpoint that I’ve already addressed this and presented the counterarguments to it.”
Of course, Bump has been repeatedly shown to have pushed false claims and then refused to admit to his errors. Moreover, he has repeatedly been criticized for not honestly presenting the counterarguments.
Dworman makes another valiant effort: “I have two issues here. One is Joe Biden’s behavior and one is the issue of the press. The press actually bothers me more than Joe Biden.”
Bump, however, has all but left the building: “Because you don’t listen to the press. I’m sitting here and I’m telling you, you’re wrong about these things, and you don’t listen, and you continue to insist upon things that are, you know, parsing of language. And it’s just, it’s this is why I keep saying it’s silly.” He then says that he is leaving.
Dworman responded “Well, it’s a shame because this is a good conversation.”
Bump: “It’s not a good conversation, because you refuse to listen to what I’m saying to you. You asked me on to present evidence. I keep telling you.”
However, what he “keeps telling” Dworman and the public is to just accept his conclusions and not question his support and analysis.
Bump then walks out with a statement that captures perfectly the new media. He first attacks independent journalist Matt Taibbi and says that he has “an agenda.”
Dworman delivers a haymaker in response and states “You have no agenda.”
That is when Bump delivers his exit line that foreshadowed the Post statement on my column: “I do have an agenda … My agenda is to do my best to try and present accurate information to the public. And I have an institution behind me to hold me to account when I don’t do that, which I think is an important consideration.”
Indeed, the Post would then stand entirely behind Bump and claim that all of his false statements were true. Even when other media have acknowledged that these claims were false, the Post insists that they remain true. Thus, the Post is now saying that the following are true despite findings by inspector generals and special counsels to the contrary: (1) Bill Barr did order the clearing of Lafayette Park for the Trump photo op, (2) Barr also lied when he denied the use of tear gas by federal personnel in Lafayette Park, (3) there was never any spying on the Trump campaign by the FBI, (4) Hunter Biden’s laptop was seeded with Russian disinformation, and (5) the Clinton campaign was not behind false Russian collusion claims. It is all now deemed true by the Post. It appears that, if “Democracy dies in darkness,” journalism more often dies in the light of day.
After all, the problem is not that they are false but that people just “don’t listen to the press. I’m sitting here and I’m telling you, you’re wrong about these things, and you don’t listen.”
Update: Bump later objected to the coverage as misleading and unreflective of the interview as a whole. In the interview, he states that the interview had gone longer than originally planned. I added this video version of the interview posted by Live From the Table to help viewers reach their own conclusions. Notably, around the 13 minute mark, Bump is asked about how the Ukrainians were supposed to take the involvement of Biden’s son on one of the most corrupt companies in the Ukraine and a company then under investigation for corruption. Bump admits that the “entire reason that Hunter Biden was on the Burisma board was absolutely too present the image of the Bidens being involved in Burisma.” Bump also admits that this was an influence peddling operation by Hunter and others, but insists that there is no basis to suggest that President Biden was part of the scheme.