For weeks now, Washington D.C. and major media outlets have been aware of a document that contains very troubling and compromising allegations against President-elect Donald Trump and his ties with Russia that were compiled by a former British intelligence officer. Bloggers at Lawfare note that the officer was collecting dirt on the president-elect first on behalf of NeverTrump Republicans and then Democrats hoping to crush him in the general election. However, the media have sat on the story because the claims within the dossier, including Trump’s explicit sexual perversions, remain unverified and unproven.
That began to change on Tuesday when CNN reported on the existence of the documents and how they potentially contained “compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump."
Enter Buzzfeed, which in its infinite wisdom of all things journalistic, decided to publish the admitted error-laden document without a second thought “so that Americans can make up their own minds.” Irresponsibility at its finest.
At that moment, Buzzfeed officially became Buzzfake and is hopefully heading to an early grave. Here’s National Review’s David French’s reaction:
This is ridiculous. How can “Americans make up their own minds” when they have no ability to fact-check the allegations? The public knows nothing about the sources, nothing about the underlying claims, and has no means of discovering the truth. Buzzfeed admits that “there is serious reason to doubt the allegations.” It’s been using its journalistic resources trying to verify the claims for “weeks” and hasn’t been able to. But “Americans” can somehow do what Buzzfeed can’t? This isn’t transparency; it’s malice.
Though Buzzfake's zeal to damage Trump outweighed its journalistic integrity, a laughable assertion for that site, to begin with, Lawfare adds, “[W]hile unproven, the allegations are being taken quite seriously. The President and President-elect do not get briefed on material that the intelligence community does not believe to be at least of some credibility. The individual who generated them is apparently a person whose work intelligence professionals take seriously.”
CNN also reported that Sen. John McCain personally delivered the dossier to FBI Director James Comey on December 9th.
The allegations include Trump’s collusion with Russian intelligence regarding his election, hacking of the DNC, secret meetings, travel, bribes, and one particularly grotesque incident involving prostitutes and urination. This is from the actual document:
That would be pretty damaging information if true, but as it happens, it appears that incident was completely fabricated as part of an Internet chat board prank. 4Chan, the anonymous image-sharing bulletin board, is staking claim to starting the “golden shower” rumor on its messaging board. One member claims to have made up the story as “fanfiction” and is as surprised as anyone that it made it into the CIA briefing:
>/pol/acks mailed fanfiction to anti-trump pundit Rick Wilson about trump making people piss on a bed obama slept in
>he thought it was real and gave it to the CIA
>the central intelligence agency of the united states of america put this in their official classified intelligence report on russian involvement in the election
>donald trump and obama have both read this pol/acks fanfiction
>the cia has concluded that the russian plans to blackmail trump with this story we made up
just let that sink in what we have become.
Trump has responded to the allegations on Twitter and is currently holding a presser:
In the era of "fake news," Buzzfeed has secured its place at the top. Here is editor-in-chief Ben Smith's justification for publishing the story despite having "serious reason to doubt" its legitimacy. (Take special note of his concluding sentence):