Fox News’ Outnumbered Repeats False Claims that Russian Bounty Story Was Debunked


Russian President Vladimir Putin is alleged to have paid Afghanistan fighters a bounty to kill US soldiers according to intelligence reports that surfaced during the 2020 election. Fox News midday opinion program Outnumbered repeatedly claimed that this story is now debunked or false, which is an incorrect description of the events as we currently know them.

Friday’s version of Outnumbered featured not one, but TWO former press secretaries under the Trump Administration. Former Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who is now a Fox News host, and former Spokesperson for the State Department Morgan Ortagus who was a guest of the show.

It was a good day to have them on as a new report emerged Thursday night surrounding the Russian Bounty story, which, during the 2020 campaign, was reported with a great deal of more certainty than we now know.

As it turns out, the Russian Bounty story was based on an intelligence report with a low to moderate level of confidence, which likely means that it was sourced by only one individual (likely a detainee) and not confirmed broadly.

Retired General Jack Keane said during an appearance on Fox & Friends earlier, that low to moderate confidence does not mean that it didn’t happen, and the notion of paying Taliban fighters a bounty to kill US Soldiers is certainly something Putin would do. So while there may be less credibility around this initial report, it has not risen to a false or debunked story.

But that didn’t keep Ortagus from falsely claiming that the story was debunked, repeatedly. She blasted the initial media reports for trying to “goad President Trump and the military into a conflict with Russia over a debunked rumor.”

Again, it is fair to criticize the political amplification of this story and perhaps claim that the story should never have been reported due to its low to moderate confidence. But that is not what is being stated here. Ortagus, and later co-host Harris Faulkner, repeatedly called the Russian Bounty story debunked or false.

There is this strange phenomenon where so often the critics of what is deemed to be shoddy journalism or reporting, rarely feel the need to abide by the very standards which they are holding their targets.

Mediaite’s own Tommy Christopher wrote a thoughtful explainer on why this story is not a hoax or debunked, which you should read here.

Watch above via Fox News.

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