|JOHN YOU SHOULDN'T OF EJECTED!|
So the website BuzzFeed decided to publish a series of memos that have been floating around for months alleging all kinds of terrible things about Donald Trump.
Some of those terrible allegations have to do with efforts to influence the American elections and Trump. Some of them have to do with Trump’s personal sexual conduct.
BuzzFeed tells us that “the document was prepared for political opponents of Trump by a person who is understood to be a former British intelligence agent.” Indeed, the memos are designed to read as though they were cables sent from the field to the home office. And they should set off the bull detector of every rational person who reads them.
I’ve been a newspaper and magazine editor for 31 years, and like many in my profession, have had occasion over the course of four decades to work with people linked to intelligence agencies both domestic and foreign when they are retailing stories injurious to one or another politician or cause.
In my experience, there is no source of whom you need to be more skeptical, and whose information you need to verify to the letter before you can even begin to think of publishing it, than an “intelligence” source.
The telling indicator is that every factoid such a source produces is given equal weight with every other one. Chances are some percentage of those factoids is actual fact, but it could be 10 percent or it could be 90 or any number in between.
Since the person retailing the factoids has an agenda, as BuzzFeed acknowledges here, he has at the very least a bias toward believing every piece of anti-Trump detail he puts down on paper—and at worst a desire to throw every single rumor he can collect (or generate out of his own fevered imaginings) at the wall to see which ones might stick.
“Publishing this dossier reflects how we see the job of reporters in 2017,” Smith writes. This is an amazing thing to say, because if you think it through, it means publishing open libels and slanders is the job of reporters in 2017.
I didn’t make that up.