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Former CIA Director Michael Hayden slams pro-Trump media for peddling 'illegitimate' and 'non-fact-based worldview'

Oliver Darcy
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(Former CIA Director Michael Hayden.Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden on Monday criticized the pro-Donald Trump bloc of conservative media for advancing what he deemed to be an "illegitimate" worldview.

"There are some outlets that have incredibly powerful lenses by which they view the facts they collect," Hayden told Business Insider in a sit-down interview. "I think the Breitbart and the likes are off the chart in terms of shaping data to meet the preconceptions."

Hayden's comments came after it was reported that a conservative radio host's comments aggregated by Breitbart News inspired Trump to accuse President Barack Obama of bugging phones at Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign, a claim reportedly rejected as false by the FBI.

"You have a Breitbart News story essentially launching the Starfleet of the federal government about one of the most horrible political scandals in American history, if true," Hayden said, adding that it was "very troubling" the president seeming to value Breitbart reports over data compiled by intelligence agencies.

"Breitbart doesn't do any creative journalism — it just moves the parts around," Hayden continued. "And I haven't done this personally, but I've heard others say, when you dig into the Breitbart sources, the articles don't really say that."

Hayden concluded: "It's kind of scary — a postfact world. How does intelligence survive in a postfact world?"

The retired four-star Air Force general said too that "there's an amazing consistency" on numerous subjects between the information disseminated by Russian media outlets and that of conservative American sources like the Drudge Report, radio and television host Sean Hannity, and Breitbart.

"There are powerful parallels between the Russian narrative and things being said," Hayden said, adding that the president also used similar talking points.

Hayden stopped short, however, of making a "moral judgment" on whether such outlets were intentionally misleading the public.

"They have a worldview, and they are playing with it," he said. "I think it's an illegitimate worldview, and I think it's a non-fact-based worldview. It's a worldview in which preexisting visions seem to be being used to distort the fact pattern that exists."

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