Trump - Clapper
BuzzFeed faced ridicule and biting criticism after publishing a flimsy and unsubstantiated dossier linking President-elect Donald Trump with the Russian government and cataloguing putatively lewd behavior - without any solid evidence or investigation of the startling accusations.
Now, it appears the decision may be even more foolhardy than it first seemed, as Trump wrote in his first tweet of the day:
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper did, indeed, discuss the contentious report with the president-elect on Wednesday evening, and released a press statement, in essence, condemning mainstream media's careless handling of unsubstantiated and sensitive information:
Although Clapper's statement doesn't exactly denounce the dossier as "phony facts," his criticism and the fact intelligence officials have not deemed it "reliable" erode even further BuzzFeed's feckless and inexplicable choice to run the report.
CNN first alluded to the allegations contained in the dossier, but did not provide the actual pages - but BuzzFeed somehow took that as a cue to print the dossier in full, despite editor-in-chief Ben Smith publicly doubting whether the ruinous information was factual:
Mainstream media outlets rushed to ride the viral wave of controversy sparked by BuzzFeed's report, though none of the rest provided the actual document.
According to the corporate media, this dossier - an unofficial, 35-page compilation of alleged tawdry acts and suggestions Trump maintained communication with Russian government throughout the election - had been produced by a former British intelligence officer and thus must be at least somewhat legitimate.
However, the audacious and abrupt rush to publish the document without a thorough investigation to vet the contents quickly unraveled as the corporate press - who had essentially done as much damage as BuzzFeed by reporting the story without providing the document for the public to evaluate - began lobbing Fake News accusations at each other.
As this study in irony and pitfalls of irresponsible journalism unfolded, Trump held a press conference, his first of the year, to attempt damage control, calling mainstream media's reporting of "false" and "fake" information "a disgrace."
That press conference furthered the unseemliness of the day's events, and was most aptly described by Zero Hedge as,
Understandably riled by the brash departure by the press from journalism to articles befitting a tabloid, Trump taunted,
CNN reporter Jim Acosta, however, bore the brunt of the president-elect's rage over the salacious allegations, after he repeatedly failed to get Trump's attention and finally blurted out,
Unsatisfied, Acosta pressed further,
Acosta continued loudly pressing to be granted a question, but Trump sharply rebuked,
Without the backing of the U.S. Intelligence Community or the findings of its own investigations of the allegations concerning the incoming president, CNN and BuzzFeed - and the New York Times, Washington Post and others who followed suit - did, indeed, publish the exact Fake News all those same outlets have been condemning for months.
Now, the head of U.S. Intelligence has essentially said the same.