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Does the truth matter in media coverage of Trump?

051617 Murray Blog Post
This Trump hit piece is the latest in a growing list in which unnamed sources leak information to a press eager to paralyze a president. (Russian Foreign Ministry Photo via AP)

As Laurence Tribe utilized the Washington Post Opinion page to rally Democrats for the impeachment of President Trump, the Washington Post newsroom unleashed a major hit on the White House. The headline read, "Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador."

"One day after dismissing Comey, Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — a key figure in earlier Russia controversies — into the Oval Office," Washington Post reporters Greg Miller and Greg Jaffe wrote. "It was during that meeting, officials said, that Trump went off script and began describing details of an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft."

The sources for this bombshell story? The only ones cited were unnamed "current and former U.S. officials."

Almost immediately, the White House hit back. "I was in the room it didn't happen," national security adviser H.R. McMaster said, adding that "Two other senior officials who were present, including the secretary of state, remember the meeting the same way [I do]" and "Their on-the-record accounts should outweigh those of anonymous sources."

Doesn't McMaster have a point? Shouldn't we at least pause to question whether the Washington Post's anti-Trump slant is motivated by something other than the search for truth? Or do we just concede that, in an age where Democratic opposition to Trump has adopted a Sherman-to- Atlanta mentality and the mainstream media provides the gasoline and torches, the truth is relative?

When story broke the October 2016 Access Hollywood record of readers per minute for the Washington Post, the newsroom erupted into cheers. Miller and Jaffe were most likely trying on Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's shoes during the applause.

This Trump hit piece is the latest in a growing list in which unnamed sources leak information to a press eager to paralyze a president. While it is true that leaks have played a powerful role in politics, the number of leaks come from this White House is alarming at best, treasonous at worst. Not since the British in 1814 has the White House faced such a siege.

Unnamed sources were never to be the norm in journalism, but the exception. Why? Because they are highly suspect and can be used to advance the political ambitions of a newspaper or the source, rather than the objective truth of a story. A cheering newsroom is Exhibit A.

Joseph Murray (@realJoeMurray) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. Previously, he was a campaign official for Pat Buchanan. He is the author of "Odd Man Out" and is administrator of the LGBTrump Facebook page.

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