Mike Cernovich, a controversial, right-wing media personality, made waves when he broke the story about the termination of Reince Priebus a full hour and ten minutes before it was announced by President Trump.
This isn’t the first time that the unconventional Cernovich, whom the mainstream media dismisses and occasionally even shows disdain for, has broken a story.
When Cernovich first tweeted that Trump’s chief of staff was told that he’s out, I asked Cernovich if he’d agree to give me an interview in the event that he was right. He agreed.
You “out-scooped” the president by an hour and ten minutes. How long was it from when you got your scoop until you tweeted it out?
Probably no more than 30 seconds.
How would you differentiate between the leaker who provided you with this scoop and the other leaks coming out of the White House—of which you’ve been very critical?
The problem I have is when people are leaking top-secret or classified conversations with foreign leaders.
What were your big scoops?
The Syria bombing. The Susan Rice unmasking [of Michael Flynn] was a good one, as was the Saudi arms deal.
How do these sources contact you?
I use Signal [an app through which information can be transmitted untraceably] and that’s how I get stuff. I don’t even know my sources personally. Much of what I’m sent is false, and I can tell that people are trying to set me up. So how do I know what’s fake? For one thing, it has to be within the realm of possibility.
Now, was I a little afraid that the Priebus scoop wouldn’t come true? Sure. Because personnel moves can change by the hour.
In your tweet you wrote “source close to POTUS” what did you mean by that?
That it was somebody who was in a position to know.
You mean it was someone who was in the Oval Office as it was being discussed?
I didn’t say that. It could be a friend, someone he has lunch with, it could be anybody.
Did you ever receive a scoop that you didn’t act on and then later regretted it?
I almost didn’t tweet out the Priebus one. I had a story about the Afghanistan troop surge, but I didn’t believe it. I thought it was impossible, so I said, “Whatever.” I felt bad that I didn’t get that, but if I get one every month or two I’m pretty happy.
What kinds of scoops have to be on the money at the risk of losing credibility?
Policy change. For example, if I were to say that Trump was going to bomb Syria and that didn’t happen. That would be bad.
Is it not possible that he really was going to bomb Syria but changed his mind once he saw that it was all over the media?
Well, that’s how we would spin it. That there was so much outcry from the base that they decided to stop it. But there are only so many times that you can try that before people call you out on it.
Which stories have you gotten wrong?