Rachel Maddow dropped a bombshell on Thursday, reporting that her show received what appeared to be a forged NSA document implicating somebody in Donald Trump’s campaign in colluding with the Russians during last year’s presidential election.
Maddow explained that the document received by her show is almost certainly a fake, and it instead appears to be a clear attempt by an unknown person or group to undermine the credibility of the news media and derail the entire Trump-Russia story.
“Somebody, for some reason, appears to be shopping a fairly convincing fake NSA document that purports to directly implicate somebody from the Trump campaign in working with the Russians on their attack on the election,” Maddow said. “It is a forgery.”
I don’t know if the Trump campaign worked with Russia or not. … One way to stab in the heart aggressive American reporting on that subject is to lay traps for American journalists who are reporting on it. Trick news organizations into reporting what appears to be evidence of what happened, and then after the fact, blow that reporting up. You then hurt the credibility on that news organization, you also cast a shadow on any similar reporting in the future, whether or not it’s true. Even if it’s true, you plant a permanent question, an asterisk … So heads up everybody.
— Sean Colarossi (@SeanColarossi) July 7, 2017
While Trump and his allies continue to label the media as “fake news,” it’s now clear that there is somebody working behind the scenes to circulate false information and derail the explosive Trump-Russia reporting.
Even though it may very well be true that Trump’s campaign worked with the Russians to tilt the election in his favor, that evidence has not yet been revealed to the public. Sending out fake documents claiming something that hasn’t yet been confirmed is the perfect way to undermine future reporting on this story if the ongoing investigations do, in fact, uncover collusion between Trump and Russia.
— The Last Word (@TheLastWord) July 7, 2017
Even if it ends up being true, as Maddow said, efforts like this will undermine the credibility of such reporting.
So while this president and his administration continue to claim that American journalists are on some anti-Trump crusade when it comes to Russia, it appears that someone – a person who wants the Trump-Russia story to go away – is intentionally distributing forged documents.
The real fake news isn’t coming from Trump critics or trusted news organizations – it’s coming from an entity or person who wants to undermine journalists and protect the president.