The Atlantic Slams BuzzFeed for Inadvertently Revealing Just How Incredulus CNN's Russia's Trump Dossier Story Really Is
The Atlantic: BuzzFeed should have kept a lid on it!
In case you have trouble following the Russia Trump dossier story. What happened is:
- First CNN said US Intel agencies had told Trump Russians had gathered tons of highly incriminating information on him. CNN however refused to reveal what this potential dirt was supposedly because it could not vouch for its veracity.
- BuzzFeed which likewise had acess to the document this alleged briefing drew from however decided to publish it -- and in doing so revealed to anyone with an ounce to brain just how outlandish, unbelievable and obviously fake these allegations were.
In other words, the CNN knew how laughable the "dirt" on Trump was. but kept that from the viewers. while opting to pretend this was a serious story. Whereas at least BuzzFeed gave the readers enough data to allow them to judge for themselves.
So a passing grade for BuzzFeed and an F minus for CNN?
Not according to The Atlantic. No, Obama's favorite paper has just slammed BuzzFeed, and only BuzzFeed. Apparently it's perfectly OK to talk about a supposed explosive secret Russian dossier on Trump like CNN did, as long as you don't reveal how incredulus the contents of such an alleged dossier must be like BuzzFeed did.
That raises a range of potential objections. First, it unfairly forces a public figure—Trump, in this case—to respond to a set of allegations that might or might not be entirely scurrilous; the reporters, by their own admission, do not know.
But then its real concern shines through :
If the Trump dossier does prove to be full of inaccuracies, it will resurface in debate every time a credible and supported allegation about Trump emerges. Carefully vetted stories will be rejected by partisans who will haul up the haste to post a damaging dossier as proof that no reporting can really be trusted.
The real problem for The Atlantic is that BuzzFeed inadvertently revealed just what lying shits and peddlers of fake news the mainstream media really are. It should have maintained the conspiracy of silence and sat on the document it had like CNN, Politico, Lawfare and many other according to The Atlantic did.
The Atlantic hit piece ends with a lecture on why it is important for journalists to keep things away from the public.
Second, the appeal to “transparency” notwithstanding, this represents an abdication of the basic responsibility of journalism.
The reporter’s job is not to simply dump as much information as possible into the public domain, though that can at times be useful too, as some of WikiLeaks’ revelations have shown. It is to gather information, sift through it, and determine what is true and what is not.
The point of a professional journalist corps is to have people whose job it is to do that work on behalf of society, and who can cultivate sources and expertise to help them adjudicate it.
A pluralistic press corps is necessary to avoid monolithic thinking among reporters, but transparent transmission of misinformation is no more helpful or clarifying than no information at all.
The dangers of telling the public, Here it is; you decide what’s real and what isn’t are underscored in the strange story of Edgar Maddison Welch, the North Carolina man who took a rifle to a Washington, D.C., pizzeria to “self-investigate” bogus claims of child sex slaves there. He is hardly the only self-investigator out there.