The allies of Donald Trump have collected dossiers of information which they plan to use to discredit hundreds of journalists and news organizations ahead of the 2020 election.
A loose network of conservative operatives allied with the White House is pursuing what they say will be an aggressive operation to discredit news organizations deemed hostile to President Trump by publicizing damaging information about journalists.
It is the latest step in a long-running effort by Mr. Trump and his allies to undercut the influence of legitimate news reporting. Four people familiar with the operation described how it works, asserting that it has compiled dossiers of potentially embarrassing social media posts and other public statements by hundreds of people who work at some of the country’s most prominent news organizations.
Operatives have closely examined more than a decade’s worth of public posts and statements by journalists, the people familiar with the operation said. Only a fraction of what the network claims to have uncovered has been made public, the people said, with more to be disclosed as the 2020 election heats up. The research is said to extend to members of journalists’ families who are active in politics, as well as liberal activists and other political opponents of the president.
The White House and the Trump campaign both deny involvement in the operation, but these are Trumpian tactics.
The message being sent is that Donald Trump can’t run on his own record. The president can’t run on any positive accomplishments. He may not match up well against Biden or any of the other top Democrats, so the president and his allies are going to run against the free press. They are going to try to destroy and discredit any press that covers Donald Trump with a critical eye.
It is an attack on journalism, which means that it is also an attack on the institution that keeps the American people informed. Trump and his allies have never hidden their goal of demolishing the free press and making all media coverage like Fox News, and if Trump loses in 2020, his friends are putting in place a mechanism to blame his defeat on the media.
The right of the American people to know what their government is doing is in grave danger thanks to the undemocratic impulses of Trump.
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