‘Stinks from every possible angle’: Media blasts Buzzfeed’s ‘unverified’ Trump dossier
FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
The claims published by BuzzFeed relate to a dossier, allegedly created by an anonymous former British intelligence official, which claims Russia has information on Trump that it's using to blackmail him, and that Trump and Moscow have been in communication for years.
The allegations include claims about Trump’s “personal obsessions and sexual perversion,” including the charge that Trump had Russian prostitutes urinate on each other in a Moscow hotel room which the Obamas stayed in during an official visit.
It also alleges Russia has been “cultivating, supporting and assisting,” Trump for years.
“It is not just unconfirmed: It includes some clear errors,” BuzzFeed admits. The dossier had reportedly circulated among officials and journalists for a few weeks, it said.
Either the Russians tried to compromise Trump or the IC is trying to undermine incoming POTUS on weak evidence. Both are scary.— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) January 10, 2017
BuzzFeed’s decision to publish the report has been slammed by a number of prominent journalists, with Glenn Greenwald highly critical of BuzzFeed’s citing of anonymous sources.
An anonymous person, claiming to be an ex-British intel agent & working as a Dem oppo researcher, said anonymous people told him things. https://t.co/RIi1iItpZw— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 10, 2017
The Obamas have shared how many hundreds of hotel suites? If you wanted to make a mess in 1, you wouldn’t have to fly to Moscow— David Frum (@davidfrum) January 11, 2017
BuzzFeed breathlessly promotes a "dossier" that it admits is unverified / riddled with errors, and reaps the rewards in traffic. A win-win. pic.twitter.com/LPkAUicnJo— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) January 11, 2017
deep state in movies: CIA assassin garrotes the president— Max Read (@max_read) January 11, 2017
deep state IRL: old memo about presidential piss party winds up on buzzfeed
The website has been slammed for its lack of verification in publishing the report, aiding in the spread of “fake news,” something BuzzFeed itself has been critical of in the past, as Guardian reporter Julia Carrie Wong noted.
buzzfeed: publishing unverified claims is fake news— Julia Carrie Wong (@juliacarriew) January 11, 2017
buzzfeed to buzzfeed: let the readers decide pic.twitter.com/I3bxfDRhIq
One of the report’s glaring errors has already been debunked. Michael Cohen, special counsel to Trump, was named in the report as having met with Kremlin officials in August 2016.
Cohen has flatly denied the allegation, providing an alibi that he was visiting University of Southern California with his son at the time, and met with its baseball coach, which a USC baseball source confirmed. Cohen also said he has never been to Prague, or Russia.
The Atlantic's editor Jeffrey Goldberg again noted the report's "unverified information" and "anonymous figures" as being of major concern, while Conde Nast’s Chief Digital Officer, Wolfgang Blau, said it was “rare that a story stinks from every possible angle.”
This report contains unverified information, sourced to anonymous figures whose existence has not been proven.— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) January 11, 2017
My broader concern is this tendency now to treat every leaked, anonymous IC claim as Truth, with a secondary democracy concern. https://t.co/QTsYnfrGPp— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 10, 2017
Yep - but this time, the IC is putting a very indirect, anonymous, vague and untraceable stamp of approval on it. https://t.co/HlXP8zxnEi— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) January 10, 2017
Rare that a story stinks from every possible angle: the source, the content, the consequence, the messenger, the target.— Wolfgang Blau (@wblau) January 10, 2017
WikiLeaks blasted the dossier, saying it was not an intelligence report and that the “style, facts and dates show no credibility.”
35 page PDF published by Buzzfeed on Trump is not an intelligence report. Style, facts & dates show no credibility.https://t.co/twa8pJMMtP— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 11, 2017
Evidence mounts as to the lack of credible sourcing for the CIA's report on Russia & Trump https://t.co/QcbnA8Rdjr— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 11, 2017
An except from the pseudo "intelligence report" "leaked" to Buzzfeed, who published it, ahead of Trump's press conference on Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/X6z9mlboOW— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 11, 2017
Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen & alibi deny he was in Prague as was claimed in Trump dodgy dossier https://t.co/dTRV5W4sB3— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 11, 2017
Mother Jones published a story about the memos in October, but didn’t go into the details of what had been alleged. It reported the former intelligence officer had sent the FBI memos, and that his findings were first funded by a Republican client before switching to a Democrat-aligned client.
David Corn, the author of the Mother Jones piece, confirmed he did not publish the memo due to his inability to confirm the allegations made in it.
1. For those asking, I didn't publish the full memos from the intelligence operative because I could not confirm the allegations.— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) January 11, 2017
2. I believed it was fair & responsible to note that a credible source had provided FBI allegations of Moscow op to co-opt Trump.— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) January 11, 2017
3. I accurately characterized the memos-this is important stuff-but didn't publish details. Even Donald Trump deserves journalistic fairness— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) January 11, 2017
Senior writer with Tablet Magazine Yair Rosenberg acknowledged a number of journalists had been aware of the report but "couldn't verify it" so did not publish it. Without video proof, Rosenberg said it was "just unsubstantiated innuendo."
Real talk: unless the video alleged in intel report is produced, it's just unsubstantiated innuendo about Trump that won't change anything— (((Yair Rosenberg))) (@Yair_Rosenberg) January 10, 2017
This story, including the sexual deviance part, was pitched to several excellent journalists during the campaign. They couldn't verify it. https://t.co/wOS7AxGWh9— (((Yair Rosenberg))) (@Yair_Rosenberg) January 11, 2017
“It’s so ridiculous on so many levels,” Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen said. “Clearly, the person who created this did so from their imagination or did so hoping that the liberal media would run with this fake story for whatever rationale they might have.”