Editors have such a cliche: “Let the readers decide for themselves”. These words are most often uttered when it comes to the debate on public policy or the revelations made during the investigation — when the arguments are presented, and the facts are well established.
Today BuzzFeed has used this cliche in a totally different context. In the material prepared by three authors, Ken Bensinger (Ken Bensinger), mark Scupham (Mark Schoofs) and Miriam elder (Kym Elder) — the news Desk the popular website has published a dossier with allegations concerning Donald trump and Russia. The dossier describes the attempts of Russian officials “to court and handle” trump and collect it compromising material. The existence of this document sensational news is not — before the election some of these materials were discussed by David Korn (David Corn) from the publication Mother Jones; and, today, CNN published a sensational article under the heading Frank “the Heads of intelligence agencies presented to Trump evidence of Russia’s attempts to discredit him” (Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him).
To its credit, BuzzFeed prominently stated that “the charges are not proven, and in this report there are errors”. Moreover, it is written in the subtitle. But to the shame of the BuzzFeed article publishing as the reason for the publication of the charges names the following: “Now, BuzzFeed News published the full text of the document so Americans could form their own opinion on the rumours and statements about the elected President, which are distributed in the us government at the highest level”.
Americans can “make your own opinion”, but only if they create their own special services with a large concentration of operational employees in Russia and Eastern Europe. CNN refused to inform the public of the details of the document: “At this point, CNN does not report the details contained in the official documents because it is not confirmed in the independent order, the facts supporting specific allegations”.
In an email sent to colleagues, the chief editor of BuzzFeed, Ben Smith (Ben Smith) presented the following explanation:
“As you probably seen today evening we published the secret dossier, which presents a controversial and untested claims about Donald trump and Russia. I wanted to briefly explain to you how we have decided to publish it.
We have published a dossier that Ken Bensinger received thanks to his characteristic hard manner of the coverage, so as we wrote, “the Americans could form their own opinion about the statements about the elected President, which are distributed in the us government at the highest level”.
We believe that his journalistic work, we have to be transparent and to share available information with our readers. We always prefer to publish the materials. In this case, the document was widely circulated at the highest levels in American government and in the media. Apparently, it is the basis of the total number of uncertain statements of the majority leader in the Senate, addressed to the Director of the FBI, and report that intelligence agencies presented to President and President-elect.
As we noted in our article, there are serious reasons to doubt the validity of these statements. We are within a few weeks, trying to verify statements made in this document. And intend to try further.
The publication of this document was a difficult choice, and sympathetic-minded people with our decision may not agree. But the publication of this dossier reflects the way we imagine the work of reporters in 2017.
Review of Smith reveals more details. However, as CNN reports, the dossier was created as a collection of compromising information that was gathered by the opposition (first with financial support from groups associated with the main rivals trump on the Republican party, then the opponents-Democrats), and it is the result of the activities of the former employee of British intelligence. A dossier has become, in fact, a government document — the water of the documents that journalists can request (through the appropriate resource) on the basis of the law on freedom of information. A brief summary of the dossier was presented as President Obama and President-elect Trump.
Again, this info is unverified — this means that it is necessary to conduct further investigation. BuzzFeed has already started this work and promises to continue it. So why publish now?