Washington Post, who are the sources for the Trump-Russia story?

There’s no chance in hell that it will name the anonymous sources. But when are we going to stop accepting, willy-nilly, anything and everything that an unnamed source says.

Sure, I know that without Deep Throat we would never had know about Watergate and Nixon and his crew of lawbreakers would never have gone to prison. But it has now become an accepted and daily practice for Americans to be exposed unremittingly to take-it-for-certain unsourced stories.

Too often, the media is a willing participant in a self-serving game by the leakers. For the sake of an exclusive story. It has become a plague on what is supposed to be a profession; now it has become a conduit for self-serving propaganda. As a former, decades-long Chicago journalist I have grown to despise this practice. It’s too easy for a reporter to be used to advance an agenda. It breaks faith with readers. It’s overuse makes readers suspicious, with good reason.

In the case of the Washington Post story “revealing,” according to “sources,”, that Trump disclosed classified information to high Russian officials, Americans are in no position to judge the accuracy of the report in the face of denials by the only people who were present in the meeting. All it does is fuel the fires on both political sides. Including those who would defend Trump even if he said he went over Niagara Falls in a barrel yesterday and survived. Or those who have constructed the most paranoid scenario about Trump betraying America to the Russians.

In fact, we know so little about what specifically is alleged to have done that hardly any credence should be given to the Washington Post story. And this is from someone–me–who thinks that Trump is a jerk and ought to resign.

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    Great post. The Washington Post belongs in the same category as Buzzfeed.
    I also think Trump is a jerk, but not that he should resign. Obama didn't resign over his "flexibility" with the Russians or cash pallet payments to Iranians, both of which really happened, so Trump quitting just because the Democrats don't like him would be silly.

  • In reply to FreeMarketMaven:

    I take it that the only sources you trust are Breitbart and Zero Hedge. Maybe also The National Enquirer. The rest of us don't.

  • In reply to FreeMarketMaven:

    Trump has more than "flexibility" with the Russians. Compared to Obama, he's a contortionist.

  • The Washington Post has a strong interest in using sources it trusts. Its reputation depends on getting things right. And as more reporting and presidential tweeting has come in, it's pretty clear the report was spot on and the anonymous sources were truthful.

    With a president that lies repeatedly and about everything, and with a GOP that won't do anything to put a check on his incompetence and stupidity, these anonymous sources are true patriots.

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    So, what additional reporting are you referring to that has moved us closer to what actually happened in the meeting? Yes, Trump is a serial liar and an incompetent, but I prefer to keep a healthy journalism skepticism instead of going with the usual knee-jerk reaction from ideologues and partisans from either side.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    Who, what, where , when and how --with multiple credible sources --eh, nobody cares. What Jimmy and Jack are about is that Trump is removed from office. I saw no similar reaction to the many lies of Barack Obama, including the one about keeping your doctor and Fast & Furious and the IRS targeting of Tea Party startups. Not a peep about that despite the many facts that bubbled up to the surface.

    If Trump quit tomorrow the drill would start on Pence. In fact, Pence is already a kook because he takes steps to demonstrate his fidelity to his wife. He would be subject to the same shady reporting.

    Jimmy and Jack are just in shock that the country outside of their Blue heavens chose other than Hillary, and nothing will change their focus to make sure that the Democrats regain power. If they don't see the difference in how things were reported Obama vs Trump then it is because the echo chamber is constantly on.

    And credible, verified sources are not needed in the echo chamber.

  • In reply to Chef Boy RD:

    Chef Boy RD,

    You are wrong. Yes, Trump should not be president. He's a terrible human being and is absolutely awful at this job.

    That said, these reports coming out that he's compromising relationships with US allies, endangering the lives of people, obstructing justice, lying about anything and everything, will play out in due time. I don't want Trump to resign or a GOP Congress to remove him, I want him to remain in office at least through the midterms so one electoral cycle can take place with him in office. That's far preferable to having him gone.

    I haven't given Pence a moment of thought.

    Your comment that Obama and Trump are in any way similar reveals so much about you it's silly.

  • In reply to Chef Boy RD:

    "Jimmy and Jack are just in shock that the country outside of their Blue heavens chose other than Hillary,"

    Chef has shown his misogynistic streak numerous times but is unable to just be satisfied that he avoided the horror of a woman president.

    Also, he is an inconsistent poster. A couple of days ago, he posted (in connection with an ineffective rhetorical rebuttal of the Russian interference charge) that "HILLARY WON THE POPULAR VOTE." So, no, it is not "the country outside the blue havens."

    Chef does not have the intellectual capacity to defend his hit and run tactics. Look Chef, AFTER MILO WAS EXPOSED, we know what you are doing.

    And if you really know why I am shocked, it is because you put a psychotic into the White House. Maybe psychiatrists are not supposed to diagnose someone without a personal examination, but I don't feel under such restraints.

    In the meantime, I am 100% confident that we won't see Chef Baloney back on this topic.

  • In reply to Chef Boy RD:

    Boy, Are you in for future shock!

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    The additional reporting in which the NYT, Reuters and WSJ others independently confirmed what appeared in the Washington Post.

    That's the additional reporting I was referring to.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    May I ask why you weren't as skeptical when it came to Hillary?

  • Two points: Hasn't the reliability of the anonymous sources been confirmed now by the White House and by Donald Trump in his early morning tweet?

    Secondly, did you never use anonymous sources in reporting a story, or did you persuade yourself that you did not "overuse" them?

  • In reply to jnorto:

    I rarely used anonymous sources. In fact, I don't recall ever using them, although my memory of the good old days in journalism is fading. Of course, I started as a reporter before "going on background" was widely practiced, so I wasn't being heroic. I did approach the city editor once with a story based on an anonymous source (whom I trusted) but the editor said they would run the story only if the source was willing to be identified. He then agreed, the story was on page one and his political carrier ended. The source was a man of great integrity and thought he had to speak out (it was a kinky backroom deal that Richard J. Daley had engineered) even at the cost of his career. I always felt bad about it, but I continue to admire him today, long after his passing. Now HE was a patriot.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    But you did use them. Case closed.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    But Dennis admitted to outing his source. Felt wasn't outed until he was dead.

    I do see a distinction, to the extent the Washington Post didn't say "we confirmed what inside sources Arabella Kushner and Barron von Trump told the Post that grandad and dad, respectively, leaked to the Russian ambassador. Also, Teddy Kushner leaked, but his diapie absorbed it."

  • In reply to jnorto:

    My 2 reactions were:
    1. The Washington Post is still the Washington Post.
    2. Yes, the tweet confirmed it.

  • Good for you. Do you think your practice and that of your former city editor would be accepted by any major news outlet today, left or right? I also think that the loss of use of Deep Throat in the Watergate reporting by the Washington Post would have caused a major loss to the nation.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    "Do you think your practice and that of your former city editor would be accepted by any major news outlet today, left or right?"
    Not that many. And that's the sad part. I suppose you don't mind being manipulated by anonymous sources, as long as they spin your version of reality. I'm just old school and hopelessly out of date. Back when journalism school ethics courses taught objectivity, balance and our obligations to fully inform our readers, instead of being used by whatever unnamed source that comes along to further his own agenda. Yes, sometimes unnamed sources are legitimately used, but their use has become way too frequent. Speaking of anonymous sources, who are you, jnorto?

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    A reliable anonymous source.

  • In reply to jnorto:

    A good (and funny) rejoinder.

  • Dennis, as a serious journalist you know the value of unnamed sources whose identity would be at risk if they were revealed. When I worked at the White House I was often asked to leak things the administration wanted to get a read on as a trial balloon. However, no President in his right mind would leak some of these stories.

    There is talk in blog-land that maybe Trump himself is doing a lot of leaking? I heard a former colleague of mine in Washington refer to the President as the Leaker-in-Chief, today

  • In reply to Bob Schneider:

    I do not think he has to leak when he is the unrestrained Tweeter in Chief. If anything was a trial balloon that became the Hindenburg, it was the "there better not be tapes" one.
    Also, he has other outlets than those such as WP and NYT, which he and his acolytes despise.

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