Attributed to a former member of British intelligence, the addendum informed the U.S. that the incoming president, supposedly, had been filmed doing scandalous things in a hotel he didn’t even own in Moscow during a beauty pageant. If Moscow can wound Clinton it can hurt Trump, too, and that may be Putin’s message to the Donald because the unanswered question is how did British intelligence learn about the tapes, real or not? The Kremlin, probably, knows best.
This is not the hack of actress Melissa Benoist, the twenty-eight-year-old Marymount Manhattan College graduate who had just announced that she wanted to be a good role model for young girls and, therefore, would wear a tighter than skin costume, just once, (unlike her normal costume), on the show. Days after the admirable, wholesome, announcement graphic pictures of Benoist having sex emerged on the Internet. It didn’t matter that the photos were stolen, or that she was in a relationship with her partner, Benoist was a public figure and segments of the public felt they deserved to know everything about her, including how she makes love. If Supergirl is this interesting how much more so is Donald Trump?
There was a time when the press laid off elected politicians and their staffs were, similarly, tight-lipped about sexual shenanigans. JFK was a ladies man but the press rarely discussed his peccadillos while he lived. Maybe it’s the Internet, but the thirst for every intimate detail of the lives of anyone rich and famous is incapable of being fulfilled. It’s not surprising that the new president’s private life is being scrutinized to the degree we’re presently experiencing, no matter how much he rails against the attention.
What takes this story out of the tabloid class is that the allegations about the President-elect were given to him, and President Obama, in secret by U.S. intelligence with the barest caveat that they were unsubstantiated. Purportedly, the FBI is investigating the matter, further, just as it did when Hillary Clinton’s emails were found on the computer used by the spouse of a staff member. As we wait for James Comey’s judgment in this matter, 4chan hoaxers are claiming responsibility for the story but they, too, may be lying.
Thanks to his first press conference, since July, we know that Mr. Trump considers the reports to be “sick” and a part of the fake news phenomenon he and his people helped create. Here’s the thing about the news, though, if it’s something the government is doing it’s not fake. A report was presented to the outgoing and incoming presidents about possibly compromising details that could endanger our nation’s safety and security. Outlets didn’t make it news; the government did. If it’s so, obviously, fake, the bigger question is why did U.S. intelligence think it important enough to put details of the allegations into a writing that became part of a top secret eyes-only report? That this intelligence involved personal conduct and not, say, the Pentagon Papers, Iran Contra, or WWMD doesn’t make it any less newsworthy, especially, when security is involved.
Ironically, the news pundits are falling all over themselves in a rush to assert that they cover only factual material that they’ve vetted, just like they did prior to the Iraq invasion, or the Vietnam War, or the bank bailouts, and so on, and so forth. When the news media makes itself the news, as it’s doing in this instance, that’s far worse than anything Trump may, or may not, have done after a night of watching beauties strut their stuff on a runway or in a dressing room. What is clear is that this is another Russia related allegation and that the Kremlin is getting another pass from Trump, making it more likely, than not, that they’ve got something of interest in their dossiers, just not Ukrainians in the Night.