03:38 GMT +327 March 2017

    CNN, BuzzFeed Publish ‘Golden Shower’ Rumors, Other Media Outlets Mock Them

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    Cassandra Fairbanks

    Despite being shopped around the DC journalism scene, only CNN and BuzzFeed fell for the fake report on Donald Trump’s activities in Russia, and now they are being slammed by other outlets for peddling the same “fake news” that they accuse alternative media of spreading.

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    In an article published on Wednesday in the New York Times, the paper took BuzzFeed to task on journalistic ethics, regarding their publication of the 35-page dossier.

    “BuzzFeed’s decision, besides its immediate political ramifications for a president-elect who is to be inaugurated in 10 days, was sure to accelerate a roiling debate about the role and credibility of the traditional media in today’s frenetic, polarized information age,” the Times reported.

    The paper of record then flat out accuses CNN and BuzzFeed of stooping to the level of the so-called “fake news.”

    “Of particular interest was the use of unsubstantiated information from anonymous sources, a practice that fueled some of the so-called fake news — false rumors passed off as legitimate journalism — that proliferated during the presidential election,” the report continued.

    Georgetown University journalism professor Christopher Chambers has described the BuzzFeed story as a “metaphor for the race to the bottom” in American journalism.

    “At first this was something you saw restricted to either partisan blogs and spurious ‘news’ sites on one end of the spectrum, and the billion dollar cable news giants Fox and CNN on the other. But due to new business models and the need to publish first, jump on the viral bandwagon, anything that is salacious and click/eyebait is far game,” Chambers told Sputnik News.

    Chambers explained that BuzzFeed is subject to the same ethics standards as other outlets, and therefore should not have published the document in the manner in which they did.

    “Buzzfeed is subject to the same ethics standards as any larger outlet. You don't have to be balanced, but you must (1) be fair (2) substantiate things you are presenting as fact to best extent you can. If you can't do that confirmation reasonably, then you either don't publish it, or to hedge and explain the context, and give the subject of what might be wrong, or gossip the chance to slam it.”

    Following the release of the sloppy “report,” many journalists took to Twitter to say that they too had been offered the story, but had declined as they could not confirm its validity.

    Lawfare, a blog, claimed that they have been in possession of the document for “a couple of weeks,” but opted not to publish as there was no proof.

    David Corn of Mother Jones referenced the dossier as far back as October 2016, but chose not to publish the contents of the report as he could not confirm the details contained within it.

    Other highly-respected journalists weighed in on the lack of ethics.

    “An anonymous person, claiming to be an ex-British intel agent & working as a Dem oppo researcher, said anonymous people told him things,” award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

    Brad Heath, an investigative reporter for USA Today responded to the story, and the note contained within that there is serious reason to doubt the allegations, and that they had not been verified.

    “Not how journalism works: Here’s a thing that might or might not be true, without supporting evidence; decide for yourself if it's legit,” Heath tweeted.

    Even the Huffington Post, openly hostile toward the President-elect now and throughout the election season, noted that “there’s still no compelling public evidence that the claims are true.”

    During a Wednesday morning news conference, both the incoming White House press secretary and communications director Sean Spicer, as well as President-elect Trump, slammed the report and the publications that released it.

    “The fact that BuzzFeed and CNN made the decision to run with this unsubstantiated claim is a sad and pathetic attempt to get clicks. The report is not an intelligence report, plain and simple,” Spicer said.

    Chambers has an explanation as to why some outlets choose to run with unsubstantiated stories, and it all comes down to ratings.

    “But now everyone in corporate mass media in America has decided that since various outlets and people who deal on bullhorn gossip and innuendo are beating the legacy big boys in ratings. So to feed their business models and their egos they feel they must emulate it. Or function as bullhorns themselves rather than the ‘watchdogs’ the press should be. That's the yin and yang of our First Amendment: protection in return for responsibility,” Chambers told Sputnik News. “Soon American may have neither.”


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    • avatar
      tony p
      There is little difference between the government owning a media organisation or the media owning the government.
    • avatar
      CNN and Buzzfeed are going to hurt for this one. I don't know what they were thinking. Acosta was STILL trying to grill Trump about it today, was still chasing a known lie.
    • avatar
      marcanhaltin reply totony p(Show commentHide comment)
      tony p, In either case, they are both suppose to be a servant of the people. Without either of them, we are at loss as to our life, our liberty, our happiness, our ability to feel secure in our person.
    • avatar
      Darrell R
      I don't believe that it's the gossip and otherwise unsubstantiated reporting that turn so many people to the alternative sources. The mainstream has been doing such a bad job. As Trump said in a press conference today, it's you guy out here(the press) that are reporting so much fake news. The MSM is is so busy pushing their partisan agendas with increasingly narrow views. They want to tell you how to think and put down anything different from their agenda. It's no wonder people turn to all the alternative outlets now available. That can be a mixed blessing. If the big news outlets want to stay competitive, they need to try good old fashioned journalism and seek the truth and not so much agenda preaching. They are getting desperate.
    • avatar
      jasin reply toDarrell R(Show commentHide comment)
      Darrell R, I was impressed about how Trump thanked the people who refused to use the story. I think going to the gutter was part of what lost it for Clinton. We learned that in school. Most people are repulsed by being too crude.
    • The Night Wind
      This is why so many Americans turn to Russia and China for real news. The American media has absolutely no credibility and really functions on the journalistic level of gutter-gossip sheets. Some blogs in the US won't even quote the mainstream American press without offering a disclaimer first, it's gotten so bad.
    • Adrienne Adonis
      CNN can't snake their way out of this one ! They are desperately trying to undermine Trumps legitimate election. They are the sluts for Hillarys campaign. CNN will do anything to undermine Donald Trump so I'm glad trump refused to take questions from a CNN stooge. That's the way Trump has to be from now on. He should not have to take any questions from the fake news media. CNN, NBC, MSNBC, CBS , ABC, Politico, Washington Times, New York Times, Salon, Buzz Feed
    • support
      The London Daily Telegraph has identified the ringleader of the fraudsters as Christopher Steele, a former MI6 agent who runs a business intelligence service for hire and who was in the employ of the newsies-for-hire under contract with the Democratic Party.

      It would be interesting to know why Mr. Steele is a former employee of MI6 if the reason was other than being pensioned off. He is quoted by the Telegraph as saying he now "fears for his life," which is a bit thick if he had been in reality an MI6 agent.

      Perhaps he fears for his life because the Democrats want their money back and CNN is now suing him :>)

      BTW, there really is no longer a London Daily Telegraph as a UK-owned and operated concern. It is de facto a US "high quality" propaganda machine which sports an American editor with a reputation for doing hit jobs on behalf of US left-wing interests.
    • avatar
      tony pin reply tomarcanhalt(Show commentHide comment)
      marcanhalt, True but we need knowledge not opinions.
    • avatar
      tony pin reply tosupport(Show commentHide comment)
      support, We need to stick our heads out the window and yell "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore"
    • supportin reply totony p(Show commentHide comment)
      tony p, agreed but do not try it on when taking the "A" train to Far Rockaway or a telephone pole will knock you head off your shoulders. :>)

      Wasn't Faye Dunaway great in Network? That and an amazingly scary but sadly under-rated film with Tommy Lee Jones called The Eyes of Laura Mars.

      I wonder how this series of fake news events are going to affect the alumni funding of America's journalism schools. If CNN & other news flush commodes keep it up, America's BS academies will be as bereft of students as was the nationwide ROTC programme during Viet Nam.
    • avatar
      tony pin reply tosupport(Show commentHide comment)
      support, The information age and the internet is making life all so difficult for the MSM. Haven't seen The Eyes of Laura Mars, will look it up though. Thanks.
    • supportin reply totony p(Show commentHide comment)
      tony p, times change but usually most people do not. The punchline to the story is the MSM newsies became too comfortably lazy to do their jobs.

      Eyes of Laura Mars will have you looking over your shoulder when alone for months. It is too primal, real and tribal to have been made, and makes Paranormal and Blair Witch Project look like silly Saturday morning kids' cartoon shows (a lot of 1970's films were too well-made and properly thought-out for their own good; this is one of them). Watch it on a sunny day with a couple of best friends.
    • avatar
      Darrell Rin reply tojas(Show commentHide comment)
      jas, hopefully this will be the straw that broke the camels back and they fall down, down, way down. I know they are feeling it. It couldn't happen to a better bunch of people.
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