This is the former Director of National Intelligence telling all of us that as of 12:01 a.m. on January 20th, when he left government, the intelligence agencies had no evidence of collusion between Donald Trump's campaign and the government of Vladimir Putin's Russia. Virtually all of the explosive breaking news stories on the Trump-Russia front dating back months contain some version of this same disclaimer....There is a real danger to the press in proving the spirit of Trump's accusations against it: that it is an enemy, if not of 'the People,' certainly of him personally and his administration in general. Credibility is the currency, and the media's is in grave danger here. If it becomes obvious that they allowed themselves to become the willing puppets of administration opponents within the security state, the press has a lot to lose.
Setting all of that aside, look at the techniques involved within the more "legitimate" reports. Many are framed in terms of what they might mean, should other information surface. There are inevitably uses of phrases like "so far," "to date" and "as yet." These make visible the outline of a future story that isn't currently reportable, further heightening expectations....
These constructions are an end run around the [NYT']s own reporting standards. The Times by itself could never have run that "explosive" Steele dossier, or mentioned the "embarrassing videos" – because the dossier material can't be confirmed....
[W]hat if there is nothing else to find?
Reporters should always be nervous when intelligence sources sell them stories. Spooks don't normally need the press. Their usual audiences are other agency heads, and the executive. They can bring about action just by convincing other people within the government to take it.
In the extant case, whether the investigation involved a potential Logan Act violation, or election fraud, or whatever, the CIA, FBI, and NSA had the ability to act both before and after Donald Trump was elected. But they didn't, and we know why, because James Clapper just told us – they didn't have evidence to go on.
Thus we are now witnessing the extremely unusual development of intelligence sources that normally wouldn't tell a reporter the time of day litigating a matter of supreme importance in the media.
Rolling Stone: This Russia Story is Dangerous to the Press's Credibility
The magazine that gave us Hunter S. Thompson has begun to publish queasy second-thoughts about all this Russia stuff.
By Grim on Thursday, March 09, 2017