A lot has been said about the kerfluffle between Trump and CNN/BuzzFeed about the scandal involving potentially fake documents about information the KGB has on Donald Trump. Here is the original CNN story. Here is the BuzzFeed story.
Most people have been either hailing or shunning CNN/Buzzfeed as a unit. That is, either you think that they should have published the news, and therefore are doing their patriotic duty to keep power in check, or they shouldn’t have published the news, and are both guilty of FakeNews.
CNN has said that since they did not publish the documents, but only the contents of the meetings, that they are NotGuilty of FakeNewsery, and that BuzzFeeds should be the only ones to hang. However, I think they have it completely backwards.
First of all, CNN reported first. The reported that there are reports that Russia has compromising information on him. The was published around the blogosphere, and re-published, and many of my own friends were saying, “ohmygosh, Trump is being controlled by the Russians”. That was the result of the CNN story. After the story came out, BuzzFeed published the actual documents upon which these stories were based. As soon as the BuzzFeed documents came out, the scandal quickly turned, and everybody could see that this was a bunch of B.S..
Here’s the deal, had BuzzFeed not produced the documents, then CNN would have been able to say with impunity that the CIA was continually providing intelligence reports to Trump that show that the KGB has information on him. There would be nothing to stop them. Despite the fact that the documents were obvious fabrications, since CNN did not distribute the documents, it is just a bunch of “he said she said” with the only factual information known is that the CIA was talking to Trump about it.
However, BuzzFeed’s reports effectively ended the CNN story. Once people were shown the ridiculousness of the document that the story was based on, it was easy to see that it was all a fake sideshow. Even my friends who were pushing the CNN story, once the BuzzFeed story came out, started to shy away and say, “well, maybe not”.
Now, had BuzzFeed published their document before CNN said anything, I would say that BuzzFeed was publishing Fake News. However, because CNN published first, BuzzFeed was actually exposing CNN’s Fake News operation – showing it for the sham that it was. BuzzFeed didn’t even have to come out and call CNN out. They just showed the base information that CNN was reporting on (and CNN confirmed this by later adding in a link to the BuzzFeed documents into their story!).
What CNN did – report to the public bogus claims about Russian intelligence operations as if they were truth.
What BuzzFeed did – show the actual documents that the CNN report was based on, and exposing it for the sham that it was.
So, I have to say that, at least in this instance, CNN was the purveyor of Fake News, and BuzzFeed did the whole country a favor by giving us all access to the real documents that CNN was working from.