Reviews | Call for Media: Stop Regurgitating Anonymous GOP Attacks

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As compelling sworn evidence of Donald Trump’s role in the coup attempt mounts, anonymous responses from defenders of the defeated former president have predictably increased.

The New York Times included this nugget in its coverage of Tuesday’s testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, who served as an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows: “An associate of Trump, speaking under the guise of Anonymously, played down the impact of Ms Hutchinson’s testimony, acknowledging that he painted a picture of Mr Trump as unhinged on January 6, but saying that should come as no surprise to anyone at this point.

Has anyone been granted anonymity to make this garden variety sighting? Another anonymous source said the testimony was “killer”. We know nothing of the credibility or motives of either source, so why is the Times using these excerpts? What do they bring, if not to brighten up a trivial observation?

After Hutchinson’s devastating testimony, multiple outlets – including The Post – also reported on Tuesday afternoon that unnamed US Secret Service sources claimed officers in Trump’s vehicle would dispute his account that Trump assaulted an agent. or grabbed the steering wheel after learning he could not be going to the Capitol on January 6.

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Certainly, the January 6 House Special Committee should hear all relevant witnesses under oath. But Bobby Engel, the head of the President’s Protective Service who was in the car at the time, had already spoke at length in committee. He confirmed the gist of his story – that Trump was furious that he couldn’t go to the Capitol.

The media has no basis to analyze Hutchinson’s claim that Trump rushed at the agent, which may not mean that Trump assaulted him, as the service sources said. secrets. The Post’s Carole D. Leonnig also provided desperately needed context Tuesday night that many Secret Service agents, including Engel, “are seen to be aligned with Donald Trump.”

The avalanche of media outlets only served to smear the only witness testifying publicly under oath on the issue. Almost lost in the cover was the anonymous source confirmation of the devastating fact that Trump was outraged at not being able to join the armed crowd as it stormed the Capitol.

Creating a false equivalence between detailed sworn testimony and an anonymous source vouching for Trump is at best misleading and at worst serves Camp Trump’s disinformation machine. Prepare for more of this kind of frenzied chatter as the mainstream media slips back into bad habits – repeating Trump’s lies, shrugging off the mind-blowing complicity of GOP officials such as the presidential minority leader. Chamber Kevin McCarthy (California) and dealing with statements of known persons. Republican cover-ups as credible as those with no motive to lie and no history of misinformation.

The media would serve the public better if they followed two rules: First, unless they have new factual information that meets anonymous sourcing standards, respectable publications should do not afford anonymity to those offering takes from the Trump camp. Second, if a source is going to challenge testimony under oath, the media outlet should determine whether the source has ever met with the January 6 committee and consider the credibility and relevance of the source’s story (or testimony).

The Jan. 6 committee has so far done its due diligence and relied almost exclusively on named witnesses. The media should do the same.

Early on Jan. 6, The Post’s Kate Woodsome saw signs of violence hours before thousands of President Trump loyalists besieged the Capitol. (Video: Joy Yi, Kate Woodsome/The Washington Post, Photo: John Minchillo/AP/The Washington Post)

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