Stone’s Judge! Agreed With AG Barr

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After spending days and nights decrying Attorney General William Barr as a stooge for President Trump after he overruled overzealous federal prosecutors in search of a maximum of nine years in the sentencing of Roger Stone, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson passed down a sentence consistent with the recommendation Barr amended. Regardless of this fact, the liberal broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) made it seem as though Jackson was challenging Barr.

On ABC's World News Tonight, chief Justice correspondent Pierre Thomas attentively overhauled what went down in the event to craft a narrative against Barr. “Federal prosecutors initially recommending that Stone receive a seven to a nine-year prison sentence, only to be overruled by Attorney General William Barr,” he said.

He then boasted that “Stone alone faced the wrath of a scolding Judge” as he advanced to read this quote: “The truth still exists. The truth still matters. Roger Stone's insistence that it doesn't, his belligerence, his pride in his own lies are a threat to our most fundamental institutions, to the foundations of our democracy. If it goes unpunished, everyone loses.”

To validate that scolding, Thomas then mentioned Jackson “sentenced him to three years and four months in prison.” At no point did he accurately discuss what Barr's advice was, nor did he record how other federal prosecutors resubmitted the main advice.

Over on the CBS Evening News, where anchor Norah O'Donnell had lied a week ago by asserting Barr sought “to keep Stone out of jail,” chief Justice correspondent Jeff Pegues spun Stone's sentencing this way:

Always be available for the cameras, Roger Stone smiled as he left court today, but inside he was quiet and emotionless as Judge Amy Berman Jackson handed down the 40-month sentence. Jackson, who had previously been stressed by the President on Twitter to go easy on Stone, said the longtime presidential friend was “prosecuted not for standing up for the President, but for covering up for the President.”

At no point did Pegues mention Barr's role.

At the same time, on NBC Nightly News, Justice correspondent Pete Williams mentioned what the other networks did not, that new prosecutors resubmitted the initial recommendation. “But prosecutors urged the judge to consider all the criminal conduct listed in the Justice Department's original sentencing recommendation. The one submitted before Attorney General William Barr directed the government to urge a less harsh punishment,” he reported.

“The sentence, three and third years in prison, well below the maximum under federal guidelines,” Williams noted after he too hyped Judge Jackson's remarks.

And while Williams neglected to point out that Jackson arranged with the Attorney General, he played out a soundbite of former Obama official and federal attorney Chuck Rosenberg, who venerated the sentence but chided President Trump. “I worry that people won't believe this a fair outcome. Though I do believe it is, intervention from political leaders casts doubt on what happens in federal court,” he told NBC.

The networks refused to give Barr credit because the kerfuffle was just another talking point in their anti-Trump narrative; they knew many former career DOJ officials understood the original sentence recommendation was too much.

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