April 4, 2018

Shakesville's Melissa McEwan cuts right to the chase:

A number of news outlets are clearly eager to act as stenographers for Trump while concealing him as their source, because they want to broadcast exclusive scoops. Still others appear willing to act as stenographers to convince Trump to back down from his relentless assaults.

In either case, it's chilling to see the complicity of significant portions of the political press — and their unconscionable willingness to conceal that Trump, a shameless and reflexive liar, is their source.

There it is, in a nutshell. What we bloggers used to call "journalmalism."

McEwan notes that Ronald Kessler's new book on the Trump White House reports Trump "has a number of journalists he frequently contacts, and leaks to on the condition that he be identified only as one of his own unnamed staff members."

"Trump phones Maggie Haberman of the New York Times directly, as well as Philip Rucker of the Washington Post, and Jonathan Swan of Axios, feeding them stories attributed to 'a senior White House official,' creating the impression the White House leaks even more than it already does," Kessler wrote.

WTF? Kind of makes you wonder just who Maggie, Phil, and Jon are working for!

You know, I was a reporter for 20 years. I didn't work at the New York Times, but I prided myself on doing a good job. I would be embarrassed to be a politician's sock puppet.

Sure, they fed me stories (some of them, I even believed) but I was always aware they had an agenda -- and it would be insulting to my readers to present those stories as fact if I didn't confirm it myself. I would have quit any job that expected me to do so. (I understand there aren't endless employment opportunities for journalists these days, but damn. They sure do have low standards at the top!)

So the next time you read or hear a "scoop" from Maggie, Phil, Jon or anyone else quoting an anonymous White House source, rest assured our President Spanky is creating chaos and making authoritarian mischief.

Save your sanity and limit your attention to stories with real documentation. You know, like indictments.

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.