There’s a fatal flaw baked into the bombshell reporting by the Washington Post about the forthcoming Mueller report, according to a former aide to New York’s attorney general.
The Post reported Wednesday that the highly anticipated report will be “lightly redacted” by Attorney General William Barr, and the report also claimed special counsel Robert Mueller believed President Donald Trump may have acted “innocently, and that the Department of Justice briefed the White House only on “general outlines” of the investigation’s findings.
Those explosive claims each made news in their own right, but there’s one big problem with the newspaper’s reporting, according to Dan Lavoie, a speechwriter and senior adviser to former New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman.
"People Familiar With The Matter"
It''s a sourcing that can be useful when the sources are relaying simple facts.ADVERTISEMENT
It is wildly irresponsible when the sources are relaying opinions and those opinions are presented to fact.
Which brings me to tonight's WaPo/Barr story. 1/x
— Dan Lavoie (@djlavoie) April 18, 2019ADVERTISEMENT
Lavoie noticed that each of the report’s bombshell claims was an opinion presented as fact, sourced to “people familiar with the matter.”
The Post acknowledges that inherent contradiction seven paragraphs in, but does not make clear that the sourcing for the report was “obviously,” according to Lavoie, political appointees in the Department of Justice.
“The entire piece is a pre-pre-spin to Barr’s pre-spin presser tomorrow,” Lavoie said. “The story is focused laser-like on deflating the growing firestorm.”
He said two of the reporters on this story had previously been burned by the Department of Justice after impeachment talk ramped up in January, based on an explosive report by BuzzFeed News that claimed Trump encouraged his then-lawyer Michael Cohen to lie under oath.
Mueller’s office issued a rare but cryptic rebuttal to that story, claiming simply that some part of BuzzFeed’s story was “not accurate” — and the Post followed up two days later with a report claiming “the special counsel’s office meant the statement to be a denial of the central theses of the BuzzFeed story.”
And what was the sourcing for that story — and that vital assertion — that almost single-handedly ended the one real spasm of impeachment momentum?
"People Familiar With The Matter."ADVERTISEMENT
— Dan Lavoie (@djlavoie) April 18, 2019