Fake News Reaches New Highs (Lows): Intelligence Dossier Gives New Meaning to ‘Yellow Journalism’

Is this what Chuck Schumer was talking about last week when he said that the US intelligence community had countless ways to strike back at Trump for daring to question them? Yesterday evening, CNN posted this article, about an alleged briefing of President Obama and President-Elect Trump concerning allegations that Russian intelligence had been collecting compromising information about Trump for years:

Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.

The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump.

The classified briefings last week were presented by four of the senior-most US intelligence chiefs — Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers.

One reason the nation’s intelligence chiefs took the extraordinary step of including the synopsis in the briefing documents was to make the President-elect aware that such allegations involving him are circulating among intelligence agencies, senior members of Congress and other government officials in Washington, multiple sources tell CNN.

Things really kicked off when Buzzfeed decided to publish the entire 35 page memo. As the New York Times pointed out in its piece, the existence of the document had been known in Washington DC circles for months now:

The chiefs of America’s intelligence agencies last week presented President Obama and President-elect Donald J. Trump with a summary of unsubstantiated reports that Russia had collected compromising and salacious personal information about Mr. Trump, two officials with knowledge of the briefing said.

The summary is based on memos generated by political operatives seeking to derail Mr. Trump’s candidacy. Details of the reports began circulating in the fall and were widely known among journalists and politicians in Washington.

The first thing to note is that there are a lot of words like ‘alleged,’ ‘unsubstantiated,’ ‘unconfirmed,’ and of course the sources are vague ‘senior officials,’ and British and Russian ‘intelligence operatives.’ In short this is one giant pile of innuendo. Indeed, as the New York Times points out, this story has been circulating for months. Earlier this morning, Tom Brokaw, speaking on Morning Joe on MSNBC, stated that he had received this information four months ago. He and his team tried to verify it, and could not, which rendered the story ‘unreportable,’ to use his word.

Other journalists came out on Twitter implying they had been approached with the story, including Julia Ioffe.

Apparently, the Clinton campaign had the memo as well, but obviously didn’t use it. That a Trump-hating Russophobe such as Ioffe couldn’t be persuaded to run a story that surely is the stuff of dreams for her, let alone the Clinton campaign, which could have easily ended Trump’s chances had this been true, is a clear sign that the story is garbage. Furthermore, if the likes of Tom Brokaw had it, all of the ‘top’ news organizations had it, and like Brokaw, none could verify the story to a ‘reportable’ level.

So why is it leaking now? To this point we’re not entirely sure, but there are some interesting theories. It starts with the fact that the document itself reads like opposition research from Never Trump Republican types and the Democrats during the election. The Never Trump angle of this is particularly of interest, given the following Pastebin:

On january 10, Buzzfeed posted a story under the byline of Ken Bensinger, Mark Schoofs and Miriam elder titled “these reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia” and posted a link to a document alleging, among other things, that russia has been cultivating trump for 5+ years, that trump has been in constant contact with the kremlin for information on his opponents, and perhaps most inflammatory, that there are many recorded instances of blackmail of trump in sexual misconduct. A prominent claim is that trump rented the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in moscow, where he knew that the Obamas had slept in; he them hired a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden shower’ (pissplay) on the bed and in the room.

Noted #nevertrump voice Rick Wilson later commented on twitter, stating that the report “gave a new meaning to Wikileaks” and that the report was the reason everybody was fighting so hard against the election of Trump.

The remarkable thing? It’s all fake. And not only fake; it’s a prank perpetuated by 4chan, on Rick Wilson himself. A post on 4chan on october 26 stated “mfw managed to convince CTR and certain (((journalists))) on Twitter there’ll be an October surprise on Trump this Friday” along with a picture of a smug face with a hash name.

on november 1, a person without a picture but is assumed to be the same person posted “So they took what I told Rick Wilson and added a Russian spy angle to it. They still believe it. Guys, they’re truly fucking desperate – there’s no remaining Trump scandal that’s credible.”

on january 10, moments after the story broke and began to gain traction on social media, a person with the same smug grin face, and the same hash title for the picture, stated “I didn’t think they’d take it so far.”

This story has taken on something of a life of it’s own. Going through Rick Wilson’s twitter, you can find many different stories from the time that he had shown the story to a wide number of anti-trump news sources, trying to find a news organization that would actually publish the story. During that time period, he referred to it often as ‘the thing’, and often playing coy with followers on the content with the story with anybody who was not also a #Nevertrumper. Unconfirmed sources has people as high up as John McCain giving the story to FBI Director James Comey to attempt to verify the story. Given that Rick Wilson runs in Establishment circles, it is not an impossible scenario that long-serving senators are falling for what amounts to a 4chan troll trump supporter creating an ironic October Surprise out of wholecloth to punk a GOPe pundit who derogatorily referred to them as single men who masturbate to anime.

Leaving out the possible 4chan element (which would really take this saga into a new level of ignominy), and leaving out NeverTrumper Rick Wilson, consider John McCain. This article from The Guardian confirms that McCain forwarded this dossier to the FBI last month.

Now, consider the players here, and consider the nature of this dossier. On one side you have CNN, Buzzfeed, John McCain and the FBI (part of the Intelligence Community), and on the other side you have Donald Trump. This is basically a continuation of the same split which has been in place for the better part of two years now, in which the globalist, establishment interest in the media and in both major political parties have been fighting against a nationalist interloper in Trump who poses a threat to their standing.

Every single step of Trump’s rise has been met with severe resistance from this establishment group, their goal being to stop him from becoming president. Having failed at achieving that goal, they went on to delegitimize the President-Elect at every turn, by bringing up the meaningless popular vote, by heavily publicizing recount efforts in targeted states, by inciting post-election riots, and finally by hyping up the narrative that Russian involvement was at least partially responsible for Trump’s victory.

This latest dossier leak is an extension of that Russian angle, released at a moment just after the intelligence community released its ‘comprehensive’ report asserting that Vladimir Putin himself directed hacking attempts into the DNC to leak information with the view to assist Trump. This dossier, with its ‘compromising information’ is the next phase of the Russian involvement, seemingly showing that the Russians have Trump by the short hairs. In that, given the ‘fact’ that the Russians did the dirty work to get Trump elected, Trump better do what they say or else that compromising information would be released.

Note that this leaked hours before Rex Tillerson, Trump’s pick to run the State Department, is set to have his confirmation hearings. Tillerson has been criticized for his ‘soft’ stance on Russia. The circus created by this dossier leak simply muddies the waters for his confirmation hearings. It will certainly be brought up in the hearings, and Tillerson will be grilled about it.

McCain being involved in this sort of thing is not surprising, but it should really highlight what is going on here. McCain and the globalists, which include leftist politicians and the leftist media, really hate Russia. This story has shown that this Russian antagonism in those quarters has gotten to a point that any slight information, regardless of how absurd it is on its face, is jumped upon as though it were a smoking gun. These interests seemingly won’t rest until there is nuclear war with Russia.

CNN and McCain in this instance are proxies for the wider globalist interest, and in concert with the intelligence community (the much maligned ‘deep state’), it has taken its fight with Trump to the next level. It’s a sign that, despite its defeat, the globalist interest has no plans of relinquishing its place in the world. It is also a confirmation that Trump really is a threat to that order.

But the farcical nature of the information itself renders the whole gamut to be impotent. Yes, in the eyes of the unthinking masses, it may look as though Trump is a Manchurian Candidate. And given that half of the American electorate sides with the Republican and Democratic establishment, the media, a politicized intelligence community, as well as academia in hating Trump and everything he stands for, the slightest of improprieties, real or perceived will be taken to the highest of heights in no time.

This is exactly what happened on Twitter last night in the wake of the Buzzfeed release. The millions who dislike Trump immediately jumped on it, uncritically and dutifully believing that he hired Russian prostitutes to pee on a Muscovite bed that President Obama may have slept on years ago. It goes beyond wishful thinking, and highlights the deluded nature of the anti-Trump crowd.

The irony is that the same globalists, backed by the intelligence community, accused the Russians of interfering in our election in part by creating chaos, when those same interests have been interfering with the start of the Trump era by creating chaos over questions of his legitimacy.

The final aspect of this is the media. As stated before, this dossier had been making the rounds for months, yet it was such nonsense that no respected journalist could run with it. CNN took the plunge yesterday, and when it, a ‘respected’ name had already gone out with the story, other mainstream outlets were almost obliged to follow, in fear of losing clicks, ad revenue and so on to CNN and Buzzfeed. CNN gave them cover, as long as they made a reference to the original CNN report.

Without being dramatic, we are potentially seeing another nail pounded into the coffin of the mainstream press. As mentioned before, they conspired to take Trump down from day one. Having lost that fight, they blamed it on every outside factor they could think of, including the now maligned ‘fake news,’ which they defined as any news item or opinion which ran counter to their world view.

To this end, consider this tweet from Donald Trump, in response to the leaks:

Trump, the President of the United States, referring to mainstream, leftist organizations like CNN and Buzzfeed as ‘fake news,’ is further driving home the current divide that exists. The already waning trust of the public in these institutions will continue to slide. This tweet also highlights Trump’s unique trolling ability, adding in the ‘Nazi Germany’ swipe, which is relevant given that the leftist old media continually compared him to Hitler. Using this story to reframe the situation as the ‘lugenpresse’ having one last shot at him outlines his mastery of the media.

In any case, by putting forth this dossier as a real news story, the old media has forever ruined its right to be the arbiters of ‘fake news,’ if it ever had that right in the first place. Indeed, just the other day, the Washington Post was begging the public to retire the term, having observed that it had been overrun by those on the right, who were correctly redirecting the term to mean ‘the intellectually dishonest drivel emanating from old, legacy media,’ not to mention the outright lies that publications such as the WaPo themselves post.

This saga is yet another example, and given the nature of the salacious details involved, gives new meaning to the term ‘yellow journalism.’