Trump ‘shared classified information with Russia’
screams the BBC headline of their main story of the day.
President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information about so-called Islamic State (IS) to Russia’s foreign minister, US media report.
The information, related to the use of laptops on aircraft, came from a partner of the US which had not given permission for it to be shared with Russia, says the Washington Post.
Mr Trump received Sergei Lavrov in the Oval Office last week.
Note that this is all being presented as fact. Not until the sixth paragraph are we told:
But the president has dismissed such allegations as “fake news”.
Which is all we get before the BBC’s expert analyst weighs in with:
The fallout from this story could be enormous and not just because there is a boundless trove of Republican quotes over the past year – directed at Mrs Clinton – about the utmost importance of protecting top-secret information.
There is the Russian connection, of course.
The FBI is currently investigating the Trump campaign for possible ties to Russian interests.
This continues for another four paragraphs. Because rehashing unsubstantiated rumours about Trump’s Russia ties is far more important than telling us what actually happened at the meeting, who was there, and what was supposed to have been said. That comes later:
National Security Adviser HR McMaster told reporters that the story, “as reported”, was “false”.
Some weasel words there for sure, but nonetheless perhaps this could have been given to us earlier?
“The president and foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries, including threats to civil aviation,” he said.
“At no time – at no time – were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. ”
In a statement, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson echoed the point that “the nature of specific threats were discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods or military operations”.
In other words, the BBC’s headline – presenting one side of the story as fact – is deliberately misleading.
The Washington Post, which first broke the story, said this did not amount to a denial.
And the spin cycle continues.
The point of this post is not to highlight any anti-Trump bias at the BBC, nor even speculate as to why such endless ‘scandals’ are of interest to British licence-fee payers: I’ve gone over this ground before. It is more to say that, since I’ve been on Twitter, I have noticed that the BBC’s anti-Trumps stories are simply lifted directly from social media, reformatted, and presented as their own reporting. There is absolutely nothing in this latest BBC article which I did not glean from browsing Twitter over my cornflakes this morning. They have offered no added value whatsoever in their headline story.
There is an argument that they are bringing the story to a wider audience who might not use Twitter, but this will rapidly weaken as time goes by and the young folk shun traditional media sources altogether. And also, as I’ve said, why are the British interested in this – especially as headline news?
The credibility of the Washington Post was in tatters long before it broke this ‘story’, and most people on Twitter see this as one lot of bumbling bullshitters making an accusation against another and normal people wishing both sides would stop acting like fucking children and start doing their actual jobs. I find myself wishing the BBC would do the same. Fat chance.