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NBC News published a story by Andrea Mitchell on Thursday reporting the Kremlin offered the United States WNBA player Brittney Griner or former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, “The Merchant of Death.”
The article stated Joe Biden chose the pot-smoking domestic-abuser Griner over Whelan, whom Russia accused of spying on the state.
But NBC, at some point post-publication, stealth-edited the bombshell. The report now says Russia only offered Griner, not Whelan, for trade.
The altered text reads much differently:
As the editorial change drew suspicion, the outlet added the following editor’s note to the bottom:
“An earlier version of this article misstated the choice the Biden administration was given over hostages. It was to swap for Griner or no one, not a choice between Griner or Whelan. “
OutKick reached out to both NBC and Andrea Mitchell for comment on the matter. Specifically, we inquired about their wording that says they “misstated” the information. Does that mean NBC believes it obtained accurate sourcing but communicated it erroneously? Or does it state the source provided an inaccurate account of the communication between Russia and the U.S.?
Neither NBC nor Mitchell has replied for comment.
The possibility of the network reporting false information is high. Publishing fake news is not native to NBC newsrooms. One may recall the outlet peddled misinformation about Trump colluding with Russia for over three years.
A third possibility
NBC has retracted two substantial reports over the last month, with a common thread between them. The outlet “corrected” both news stories to present information that mirrors the public message from the Biden Administration.
Mitchell’s initial report about Russia’s offer to the U.S. refuted Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s notion that Russia offered only Griner in exchange for “The Merchant of Death.”
Now, NBC News’ article parrots the administration’s assertion.
Likewise, “Today” show correspondent Miguel Almaguer reported on Nov. 4 that Paul Pelosi was not in immediate danger when police arrived at his home prior to his attack. Democrats and the rest of the press say otherwise, that Pelosi was in danger at the time police arrived.
But before NBC could address the disparity in information, the outlet scrubbed the videos from its website. Next, the network suspended Almaguer indefinitely for a “failure to meet network standards.”
He remains suspended to this day.
The deletion of the Pelosi report looks particularly suspicious as a connected NBC affiliate in the Bay Area corroborated key details from Almaguer’s sourcing two weeks later. The affiliate also learned that Pelosi opened the door for police when they arrived.
Critics have accused NBC of editing the report as if it’s a state media outlet, one that only publishes what the government allows. The lack of transparency behind the handling of Almaguer’s sourcing has sparked such understandable speculation.
The handling of Mitchell’s sourcing should only escalate those concerns.
At best, NBC News is a reckless news organization that continues to handle information improperly.
At worst, NBC News operates like a state-run media outlet at the behest of the Democratic party.