The phrase “fake news” has come to signify everything from foreign intelligence-created propaganda, to partisan bias in reporting, to paid sock-puppet tweet-storming, to Macedonian teens manufacturing Buzzfeed-clickbait stories, to simply anything with which the speaker of the phrase disagrees. But what is undeniable is that the current prominence of the term came about as a result of a hugely controversial news piece published in Sullivan’s very own Washington Post in the wake of the election in November of 2016.
An irony of the escalating hysteria about the Trump camp’s contacts with Russians is that one presidential campaign in 2016 did exploit political dirt that supposedly came from the Kremlin and other Russian sources. Friends of that political campaign paid for this anonymous hearsay material, shared it with American journalists and urged them to publish it to gain an electoral advantage. But this campaign was not Donald Trump’s; it was Hillary Clinton’s.
If the practice of leaking information that concerns not just the United States but also Russia, which has become a tradition in Washington in the past few years, continues, there will come a day when the media will publish leaks about the things that Washington asked us to keep secret, for example, things that happened during President Obama’s terms in office. Believe me, this could be very interesting information.