Put on your pressman’s newspaper hat and pretend that you are the editor. What would you do?
On a Tuesday afternoon major news organizations were reporting that both President Obama and President-elect Trump had been briefed on an “unsubstantiated” report that Russia had collected “compromising and salacious personal information” on Trump. The document even contained verifiable errors.
The New York Times was reporting Tuesday afternoon, “The material was not corroborated, and The New York Times has not been able to confirm the claims. But intelligence agencies considered it so potentially explosive that they decided Mr. Obama, Mr. Trump and congressional leaders needed to be told about it and informed that the agencies were actively investigating it.”
BuzzFeed posted the 35-page document that reportedly was compiled by a person who claiming to be a former British intelligence official, while noting, “The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors.”
What is the difference between this and a rumor?
The salacious aspect included claims Trump hired prostitutes at Russian hotels. The compromising aspect involved efforts to financially entice and entangle him for the purposes of blackmail. The Kremlin denied it.
For some reason the Las Vegas morning newspaper decided to not print anything about this report, but it did post online at 9:38 p.m., well before what should be its print deadline, an AP account that included a Trump tweet calling the whole account: “FAKE NEWS – A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”
The New York Times has a motto: All the News That’s Fit to Print. It’s editors saw fit to print, but for some reason the editors at the Las Vegas newspaper did not. Or did they simply fumble the ball?
As usual Trump went on a Twitter rampage. Here are the latest posts as they appear on his feed:
Whether the salacious stuff is worthy of reporting is a good question for an ethic debate, but Trump’s strained ties with the intelligence community should not be ignored.
According to the AP account:
The report had been circulating in Washington for months. In October, former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid wrote the FBI asking the bureau to publicly disclose what it knew about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Reid was aware of the dossier before he wrote the letter, according to a person knowledgeable about the subject who spoke on condition of anonymity because this person was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
Trump just held a press conference. Here is a clip on this topic: