CBS Atlanta Runs #Pizzagate Report, Then Pulls It, Wikileaks Backs Report
In a week of bombshell developments in a story arising from the leaked emails of Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, known as "#pizzagate," CBS-46 in Atlanta began running an investigative report by Reality Check reporter Ben Swann on the allegations in the story. Reality Check is a syndicated broadcast journal by Swann, a former Fox News - El Paso anchor. Before the week was over, the organization responsible for the publication of the emails, Wikileaks, tacitly approved the substance of the report, and the segment was reportedly pulled from the CBS-46 line-up.
In a Tweet, Wikileaks said:
CBS Reality Check covers Pizzagate. https://www.facebook.com/BenSwannRealityCheck/videos/1330641910334089/ … More: https://file.wikileaks.org/file/FBI-pedophile-symbols.pdf …
The tweet by Wikileaks was interpreted as a signal that the narrative being adopted around the leaked emails was on the right track.
Declining to air what he called the most disturbing images and "strange" correspondence between John Podesta, his brother Tony, and the owner of a pizza shop in Washington DC, Swann focused his report on the FBI's own public memorandum on pedophilic symbols which appeared in the logos of two DC pizza shops, which have since been removed. Swann also referred to the close friendship between John Podesta and former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who in 2015 pleaded guilty to charges involving the sexual molestation of children, and was called a "serial child molester" by the judge. Hastert suffered a stroke soon after his conviction and never served prison time.
Swann notes bemusedly that the pizza shop owner primarily referred to in the emails has been listed by Esquire Magazine as one of the "50 Most Powerful Men" in DC.
Investigations and evidence of child sex abuse scandals in high places, including elite political circles, is nothing new in America. In 1989 during the second George HW Bush administration, the Washington Times ran a well-documented report on what seemed to be a call-boy ring operating in the White House, which included credit card receipts and other documents. A key figure in the scandal, Craig Spence, was soon after found dead in an apparent suicide, and the story never broke into the mainstream news cycle.
That same year, 1989, a Nebraska state senator opened an investigation along with the Nebraska state police on allegations of a child sex trafficking ring, which the senator said, Senator Loren Schmit, said might "reach into the highest levels of the Republican Party." The scandal became known as the Franklin Scandal. The investigation was squashed when federal authorities, rather than prosecute the named suspects, prosecuted one of the victim-witnesses for perjury instead, and when the lead investigator for the Schmit Committee suddenly died in a small plane crash.
The Franklin Scandal was made into a Discovery Channel documentary which was never aired.
In his report, Ben Swann repeatedly emphasized that there was not a single admission or obvious reference to pedophilia in the Podesta emails. However, Swann said that, taken together, the strange coded talk in the emails - one refers to a "pizza-related handkerchief" - the FBI's own bulletin on signs to watch out for in the investigation and identification of pedophiles, and images and comments that Swann deemed too disturbing for a broadcast television audience, the documents and exchanges would seem to warrant investigation. Swann mused that there was not a single "public [law enforcement] investigation" of the revelations.
In a related development, former Huffington Post writer David Seaman, who was summarily canned for writing an article in which he questioned Hillary Clinton's health during her presidential campaign, passionately claimed he had been vindicated in writing about #pizzagate, to wide mockery in the journalistic profession. CBS-46 is the first major local news station to carry reportage in the Podesta emails as they relate to #pizzagate.
Seaman has been a guest on CNN Headline News, BBC, The Young Turks, and Fox News.