On 10/4/19, the MDJ published an A.P. story bylined by Eric Tucker and Lisa Mascaro. The news story reported that a former Special Representative to the Ukraine testified in closed session to a panel of the U.S. House of Representatives.

In the last graph of the article, the “reporters” referred to the now infamous “whistleblower’s complaint.” The two “journalists” wrote that the complaint “describes how Trump, in a July 25 phone call, repeatedly prodded Zelensky for an investigation of Biden and his son Hunter while his administration delayed the release of military aid to help Ukraine fight Russian-backed separatists.”

First, the claim the president “repeatedly prodded Zalensky for an investigation” is false and the reporters had to have known it was false because the administration released the text of the call. Trump mentioned the Bidens once (not repeatedly as the two writers reported), referring to the report that Vice President Biden traveled to Ukraine a few years ago with a U.S. loan guarantee that would enable Ukraine to avoid defaulting on existing debt. (Why the U.S. is guaranteeing loans to Ukraine is another question.) Biden, in his own words, admitted he conditioned the delivery of the loan guarantee on Ukraine firing the Ukrainian prosecutor general who had launched an investigation into a Ukrainian natural gas company on whose Board of Directors Hunter Biden was serving and getting $83,000 per month. Trump said if Ukraine had information on this he would appreciate it if Ukraine would share it with U.S. Attorney General William Barr. The allegation of “repeatedly prodded” is false but the reporters repeated it as if it were true.

Second, the reporters erroneously linked the request for information to a holdup in U.S. military assistance to Ukraine. During the call the two presidents discussed the failure of leading European powers Germany and France to assist in resisting Russian efforts to regain control of Ukraine. The reporters misled their readers by failing to report that the holdup in U.S. military assistance had nothing to do with Trump’s request for information and everything to do with an effort to get the European nations to financially support the effort to keep Ukraine free of Russian control.

These are two very poor reporters, or they have a political agenda that has no business in news reporting. If they want to write opinion pieces, they need to get out of the news reporting business and move to the editorial page.

Daniel Joy



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