Two Views of Sondland’s Testimony Show Fissures in News System

This is why our perceptions of reality are so badly skewed. Here are two “take-aways” from Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s testimony today, one from the venerable Associated Press and the other from the upstart Yahoo News.

Note that the lead sentences in the AP story are summary extracts from Sondland’s testimony, while the Yahoo News story is part of the actual transcript, which is a much more accurate depiction of what actually transpired.

It’s a sad day when Yahoo News outclasses the Associated Press

The Associated Press story (shame on them) conveys the impression that nothing of importance was revealed by Sondland’s testimony. The Yahoo News verbatim extract demonstrates that Sondland’s testimony pokes a huge hole in Trump’s defense strategy.

The Associated Press is a venerable, reputable institution. Yahoo News, not so much but, here, at least, Yahoo News seems to be right on the money while the Associated Press is somewhere out in the boondocks living in the weeds, lost in the sauce.

View #1 from the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ambassador Gordon Sondland says a July cellphone call with President Donald Trump “primarily discussed” rapper A$AP Rocky, who was imprisoned in Sweden earlier this year.

Sondland told a House impeachment inquiry into Trump on Wednesday that testimony from U.S. diplomat David Holmes had jogged his memory of the discussion.

Sondland says his July 26 call with Trump from a Kyiv restaurant mainly focused on the rapper, instead of Ukraine military aid. At the time, the rapper was in a Swedish jail awaiting trial on charges stemming from a June 30 street brawl in Stockholm.

View #2 from Yahoo News

Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified Wednesday that while officials in the Trump administration coordinated a months-long campaign to procure a public announcement from Ukrainian officials of an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, they didn’t care whether Kyiv followed through with it.

“They would have to announce that they were going to do it,” Sondland said. “I never heard … anyone say that the investigations had to start or be completed.”

Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, was testifying in the impeachment inquiry before the House Intelligence Committee, discussing the Trump administration’s conditions for a White House meeting for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the delivery of military aid that had been held back by the White House.

His testimony was sharply at odds with the Republican defense of President Trump: that he sought investigations of Biden and his son Hunter out of concern over corruption in Ukraine.

Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman asked Sondland if it was true that Trump “didn’t actually care if they [the Ukrainians] did them.”

“I never heard, Mr. Goldman, anyone say that the investigations had to start or be completed,” Sondland replied. “The only thing I heard, from Mr. Giuliani or otherwise, was they had to be announced in some form and that form kept changing.”

“Announced publicly?” Goldman pressed.

“Announced publicly,” Sondland replied.

“And you of course recognized that there would be political benefits to a public announcement as opposed to a private confirmation, right?”

“The way it was expressed to me was that the Ukrainians had a long history of committing to things privately and then never following through. So, President Trump, presumably, again communicated through Mr. Giuliani, wanted the Ukrainians on record publicly that we’re going to do these investigations. That’s the reason that was given to me.”

“But you never heard anyone say that they really wanted them to do the investigations.”

“I didn’t hear either way,” Sondland answered.




 223 total views,  1 views today