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Leaks and Donald Trump

Leaks and Donald Trump

By Dennis Loo (2/18/17)

Given that the current administration got into office because of leaks in the first place and Trump went so far as to say he loves Wikileaks and publicly called for Russia to hack Hillary Clinton and the DNC’s emails, for him to try to now make the issue leaks and not contest the truth of said leaks, means that he does not understand how investigative journalism works in the first place or the media’s role in general.

Leaks and anonymous sources are part of how newspapers’ stories are written. If the news media did not use them as part of what they do, and verify those leaks or sources as not just coming from one source alone, they could not do their jobs. If bureaucrats and other authorities were banned from ever speaking anonymously and could only be attributed by name, and never off the record or speaking about background, then the press would become only official mouthpieces for the government, relying exclusively on government press releases only.

Here is a current example from CBS News:

“CBS News has learned that on Thursday, an angry President Trump called CIA Director Mike Pompeo and yelled at him for not pushing back hard enough against reports that the intelligence community was withholding information from the commander-in-chief.”

Then, in a closely related story, CBS further reported:

“But sources told CBS News there is a ‘chill’ in the flow of intelligence to the White House, both because of comments from the president about the intelligence community [where Trump has called them Nazis and shown twice his inability to keep national security secrets secret – before the Yemen raid that was approved during a dinner, and a Florida restaurant where cell phone lights were used to read classified documents] and anxiety over the handling of sensitive information about Russian interference in the 2016 election.”

This is the same president who has repeatedly demonstrated his contempt for the intelligence community by declining to see the PDB (Presidential Daily Bulletin) every day, and instead said he’s, “like a smart person.”

In the real world, what do you expect career spies to do? They want a POTUS who values their work and knows how to judiciously handle what they sacrifice for, and they get only praise of Putin from Trump, repeated contacts between Russia and the Trump team, and a president who flies off the handle regularly. For a much more detailed description and analysis of how bureaucracies like the intelligence services work, see this and this, for example.

But that is what Trump and his team want: mouthpieces. He and they want propaganda organs.

How envious they must be of the Russian/Putin-controlled media!

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