Why is the Media Buying Jerome Corsi’s Claim He Rejected Mueller’s Plea Deal?
Jerome Corsi is a conservative writer, conspiracy theorist and close political ally of Roger Stone who was, until very recently at least, in plea negotiations with the special counsel’s office. This according to last week’s Washington Post report that he was in talks with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
We are now learning from numerous outlets, however, that Corsi plans to reject Muller’s plea deal. This was first broken by Natasha Bertrand who is a staff writer at The Atlantic and an MSNBC contributor. Bertrand tweeted:
Jerome Corsi tells me that Mueller has offered him a plea deal on one count of perjury, but that he’s not going to take it because it would require him to sign a statement saying he knowingly and willfully lied, which he still denies. And much more. Story to come.
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) November 26, 2018
This was then reported on by Shimon Prokupecz in the clip above, who appears to cite Bertrand’s reporting. But while Bertrand accurately cast the news as a claim from Corsi, media outlets have reported it as a certainty. “Roger Stone Associate Jerome Corsi Refuses Plea Deal,” read CNN’s chyron. Other outlets ran similar headlines, taking the claims at face value.
The special counsel’s talks with Corsi were reported by the Post to “bring Mueller’s team closer to determining whether Trump or his advisers were linked to WikiLeaks’ release of hacked Democratic emails in 2016, a key part of his long-running inquiry.” But now we are learning, from Corsi himself, that the plea deal is off the table.
This raises the very important question: why do we believe anything Corsi says or does, to begin with?
For the uninitiated, Corsi has made his living spouting baseless conspiracy theories for the past two decades, many of which were designed to hurt his political rivals. The term “Swift Boating” a political opponent based on unverifiable claims stems from his book Unfit for Command that smeared 2004 Democratic hopeful John Kerry.
In 2008 Corsi claimed that a “Muslim terrorist group with ties to criminal drug networks and al-Qaida” has given “strong support” to John McCain. Corsi was early on the Birther movement, publishing the very unsubtle, Where is the Birth Certificate. He is also a 9-11 truther and, frankly, his list of half-baked conspiracy theories could go on ad nauseam.
Corsi’s unproven claims appear to have finally caught up with him career-wise as he went from a reasonably frequent contributor on mainstream cable news outlets to the YouTube streams of fellow conspiracy-minded InfoWars, hosted by gay frog obsessive Alex Jones.
While Corsi isn’t being booked by any cable news outlet for punditry, getting his name and face on the television appears to be happening again for him, based solely on his claim that he isn’t taking a plea deal. But what has Corsi said or done in the past decade that would lead anyone to take his claim at face value?
The news media is in somewhat of a tricky situation on this story, since how does not one report on someone, who by all accounts, is a focus of the Mueller investigation. But there is a small but significant detail that many are missing. Corsi CLAIMED to have rejected a plea deal without offering any evidence apart from his own questionable word. Reporting this flatly as a “rejection” give Corsi more credit than he has earned.
Mueller could very well be looking into Corsi but it is just as likely that the conspiracy-minded author is looking to leverage his relationships and spew unverifiable bullshit designed to draw attention.
And that’s exactly what he’s getting from news producers serving content to viewers starved for Mueller Investigation reporting.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.