President-elect Donald Trump has put the blame for irresponsible journalism right where it belongs — in the media’s lap.
The frenzy over a recently-released intelligence dossier that claimed the Russian government had embarrassing information on Trump was fake news at its worst: not only inaccurate, but already known to be so.
Among the report’s many glaring inaccuracies was a photo of Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, accompanied by the claim that Cohen met with Kremlin officials in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in August 2016.
Except that it wasn’t Michael Cohen in the photo. And Michael Cohen has never been to Prague. And he was in California on the day of the supposed meeting. In fact, CNN has since admitted that it was a completely different Michael Cohen who was in Prague on that day:
Government source confirms different Michael Cohen was in Prague https://t.co/B4cwmL1Ek3
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 11, 2017
Trump did not mince words.
“Information that was false and fake and never happened got released to the public by BuzzFeed — which is a failing pile of garbage — writing it, I think they are going to suffer the consequences,” he said in his first official news conference yesterday, according to the U.K. Daily Mail.
He also took CNN to task for reporting the story while knowing that nothing in the report had been verified.
The existence of the 35-page dossier had been common knowledge among U.S. journalists for more than six months. When CNN reported that Trump and President Barack Obama had been given a two-page summary of its contents by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the fake news frenzy began, according to The U.K. Telegraph.
There were a dozen things that made this story smell, The New York Times reported.
To name a few, the report was financed by anti-Trump donors; the author, after providing it to his clients, passed it to the FBI and multiple journalists, including The Times; and the FBI passed a summary of completely unvetted claims to multiple members of Congress, virtually assuring that it would be leaked.
A free media is a cornerstone of democracy, but it only works if the media are timely, accurate, fair and unbiased. The media are learning that Donald Trump is going to challenge them every time they fail to meet this standard.
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