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In accepting medal, Nunes assails an 'unscrupulous media' for 'information warfare'

Congressman who unraveled Russia scandal misconduct by FBI gets highest civilian award, the Medal of Freedom, and urges media to acknowledge its mistakes.

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DevinNunesMic
Devin Nunes at a press conference during height of Russia scandal he unraveled.
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Updated: January 5, 2021 - 8:57am

Accepting the nation's highest civilian honor, Rep. Devin Nunes spent little time speaking about himself or his accomplishments. Instead, the California Republican applauded his constituents and staff and used the occasion to warn of the corrosive impact of a news industry he believes has engaged in "information warfare" during the Trump years.

Nunes, whose work as House Intelligence Committee chairman exposed the folly and misconduct of the FBI's Russia probe, on Monday accepted the Medal of Freedom from President Trump in a White House ceremony that turned the tables on the reporters and demanded they acknowledge their mistakes that misled the public.

"For years, members of Congress and veteran reporters celebrated the blatant manipulation of intelligence, the unmasking of political opponents in intelligence reports, the presentation of false evidence to a court, the FBI's embrace of concocted opposition research, and the enthusiastic use of classic McCarthyite smears and character assassinations," he said.

The "fake narrative was like a tsunami that washed away all other news topics, any hints of skepticism, and even common sense," Nunes said, and was waged by "unscrupulous media companies, who jointly launched an information warfare operation against a democratically elected president" with their allies in the intelligence, law enforcement and congressional communities.

"In their attack, these figures abused our intelligence systems, trampled the rights of American citizens, lied to a court, and withheld vital evidence both from Congress and from the judiciary," he added. "Although much of the truth about these matters eventually got out, the malfeasance was so vast that millions of Americans have lost faith in the fundamental fairness of our vital institutions. I believe these institutions' primary responsibility now is to fully acknowledge their problems and win back the trust they have squandered," he added.

Nunes' broadside against the news media came just days after a Gallup poll found Americans' trust in the media at an all-time low, with 60 percent of voters lacking confidence, including a third who said they had zero trust in media institutions. 

In announcing the award to Nunes, the White House said he was "a public servant of unmatched talent, unassailable integrity, and unwavering resolve" who persevered against a dominant, but false Russia collusion narrative in an effort to get the truth.

"Congressman Nunes pursued the Russia Hoax at great personal risk and never stopped standing up for the truth," the statement said. "He had the fortitude to take on the media, the FBI, the Intelligence Community, the Democrat Party, foreign spies, and the full power of the Deep State. Devin paid a price for his courage. The media smeared him and liberal activists opened a frivolous and unjustified ethics investigation, dragging his name through the mud for eight long months. Two dozen members of his family received threatening phone calls — including his 98 year old grandmother."

You can read his full remarks here:

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