Your Republican uncle who watches Fox all day might have emailed you the other day, alerting you to a big scoop: the FBI was "likely" to issue an indictment as part of an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. In fact, your uncle's note probably included a question such as, "Why aren't other news outlets covering this?"
The answer, it turns out, is because the report was wrong. Several news organizations, including NBC News, quickly discredited Fox's report, and Bret Baier apologized on the air
this morning for his mistaken reporting.
There are plenty of questions surrounding this incident -- we don't know, for example, who gave Fox the bogus information -- but in the short term, it's important to appreciate the fact that Donald Trump and his team have decided to believe Fox's debunked claims and they're inclined to keep treating fiction as fact.
This morning, for example, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), a Trump surrogate, suggested that repeating a false claim that the campaign knows to be false is acceptable behavior. When CNN's Chris Cuomo asked the congresswoman for proof, Ellmers said
, "I'm hearing about it. I don't really have all that many connections and yet I'm hearing about the investigation."
Of course, "hearing about" lies doesn't make them true.
Similarly, on MSNBC last night, Brian Williams asked Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway whether Trump will walk back his claims about the Fox report, now that everyone including Fox knows the claims are wrong. She didn't answer directly, instead saying
, "Well, the damage is done to Hillary Clinton.... It just doesn't change what's in voters' minds right now."
Don't brush past this too quickly. This was the campaign manager for a presidential campaign telling a national television audience that her team spread bogus information -- and she doesn't really care, because some people are believing falsehoods.
Conway's boss appears to care even less. TPM reported