Here’s some crap that came from that clickbait aggregator site “Raw Story”: Trump says privately that a terror attack could save him and GOP from 2018 election bloodbath: report.
Yeah, that’s kind of a reach.
I’m not the person who says don’t share things from Rawstory because it’s fake news.
I’m the person who says don’t share things from Rawstory because it’s never the raw story. This article contains a link to a Vox article, which by the way is misleadingly labeled in the link as “Donald Trump’s terrifying plan to win the 2018 midterms.” The Vox article contains a link to a Washington Post article, which actually has the original reporting.
The Washington Post article says:
In private conversations, Trump has told advisers that he doesn’t think the 2018 election has to be as bad as others are predicting. He has referenced the 2002 midterms, when George W. Bush and Republicans fared better after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, these people said.
Yeah, I’m going to say that the aggregators are sensationalizing here. The Post article isn’t clearly saying what the Rawstory headline claims. And that’s their only actual source.
Sure. Trump is reported by an anonymous source to be thinking out loud about the electoral impact of 9/11. But if the source had said “No, I’m telling you Trump said out loud that he thinks a terrorist attack would be a good thing right about now,” you can be sure the Washington Post would have published that. We don’t even know who the hell is saying this, other than that they’re “advisers.”
Now here are two things about anonymous sources.
They’re anonymous for a reason.
Some publications, like the New York Times, have a house rule that nobody gets to be anonymous without a good reason. They’ll even qualify a quote or fact by saying something like “We learned from a senior administration official, who requested anonymity because this information goes against stated policy…” or “A source, who is not named because sharing this information will get them fired, said…” so you can judge its context and reliability.
The Post isn’t doing that here. Why? I don’t know. Maybe the reporter is full of shit. It pisses me off that the Post is letting democracy die in darkness on this one. At least tell us why this “adviser” isn’t being named. That’s essential to the story.
Nobody is just “anonymous.”
Similarly, there’s a semi-standardized set of euphemisms for anonymous sources. A “senior administration official,” for example, means a Cabinet member or someone who’s a peer to the Cabinet. You at least call someone “a former Capitol Hill staffer” or “a person with prominent ties to the intelligence community.”
Calling someone “an adviser” isn’t informing. It’s obscuring. That could be anyone from a Cabinet member to Jared Kushner to a paid campaign consultant. It tells us almost less than nothing.
Long story short:
The aggregator websites aren’t adding any value here, and they’re actually distorting the relevant information with hype and flattened interpretations. I think people should link to the original sources as much as possible. Also, in this case, the original source is playing games with sources and isn’t giving us much reason to trust them.