by Sharon Rondeau

(May 28, 2017) — Before 9:00 AM EDT on Sunday, President Donald Trump focused on the mainstream media in a series of three tweets, reminding his followers that he believes the media consists of purveyors of “fake news.”

“#FakeNews is the enemy!” he declared in a second tweet which responded to his first in which he decried the media’s use of unnamed sources.

“Whenever you see the words ‘sources say’ in the fake news media, and they don’t mention names…” Trump wrote, “…it is very possible that those sources don’t exist but are made up by fake news writers.”

While Trump, his wife and some of his White House staff and cabinet members were away on an eight-day trip to the Middle East and Europe, the first of his administration, The Washington Post and The New York Times issued several stories claiming that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, attempted to set up a “back channel” with the Russians during the transition period.

Neither mainstream outlet named its sources, but the story quickly propagated on the web and became front-page “news” at Yahoo! News for days.  “Kushner-Russia Reports Roil Washington,” reads the headline story at Yahoo! on Sunday morning.

The FBI has been conducting investigations into alleged Russian interference in the election and whether or not anyone from the Trump presidential campaign maintained improper relationships with Russian government operatives.

Several commentators, as well as presidential historian Doug Wead on Sunday morning, have said that “back channels” are customary between the U.S. government and other governments’ political counterparts.  Some have pointed out that in late 2008, the then-incoming Obama regime set up “back channels” for communication with Iran.

On October 1, 2014, NPR reported on a book by two co-authors who claimed that since the days of JFK, “Secret Talks And Back Channels Pervaded U.S. Relationship With Cuba.”

Former CIA and NSA Director Gen. Michael Hayden (Ret) said such an action would have been “off the map” and stemmed from “naivete.”

Iran is a rogue nation with whom the United States had maintained no diplomatic relations since the 1979 Iranian revolution, when 63 Americans were taken hostage within the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and three at the Foreign Ministry.  While 14 hostages were released early on, it was not until over a year later, just after President Ronald Reagan took office, that the remainder were freed.

One left-leaning outlet, Foreign Policy, went so far as to accuse Kushner of a “stench of treason” without the presentation of hard evidence, something for which the mainstream media immediately faulted Trump after he accused the Obama regime in March of “wiretapping” him during the presidential campaign.

The accusation was arguably a conundrum because The New York Times had itself reported on January 19 and 20, 2017 that the FBI and other intelligence agencies were conducting “investigations” into Trump and his campaign aides relying on what The Times said was “wiretapped” data gathered at an unspecified time.

The aforementioned FP editorial, posted at Yahoo! News and which uses unnamed sources at The Washington Post, begins:

Nobody knows yet whether the president’s son-in-law broke any laws. But “traitor” is more than just a legal term.

It’s time to talk about treason.

We now know, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports cited by the Washington Post, that in early December 2016 Jared Kushner and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak “discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities, in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring.”

On May 25, The Post published an article relying on unnamed “people” as sources, titled, “Jared Kushner now a focus in Russia investigation.”  The article admitted that “The Post has not been told that Kushner is a target — or the central focus — of the investigation, and he has not been accused of any wrongdoing.”

Likewise, reports at left-leaning Business Insider, Reuters and CNN used unnamed sources in their articles.

On Saturday, The Times posted an article titled, “Trump Returns to Crisis Over Kushner as White House Tries to Contain It.”

On Sunday, CNN reported, “Trump, feted and chided abroad, returns to uncertainty at home.”  Of his overseas trip, the article states, without any sourcing:

A homebody with little appetite for discomfort, Trump was imagining the worst. Unpleasant foreign food, withering jet lag, and an unfamiliar bed had been his experiences as a businessman abroad. Even in the days leading up to his departure, Trump asked whether the trip could be truncated. He vented about the ambitious schedule to his senior advisers in the days leading up to his departure.

Trump’s third and final tweet in the series referenced the Montana special election for the U.S. House of Representatives between Democrat Rob Quist and Republican Greg Gianforte, a seat vacated by Trump’s appointment of Rep. Ryan Zinke to head the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The New York Times, while stating that Montana has not elected its sole U.S. representative from the Democrat Party “for over two decades,” also predicted on the eve of the election that “It’s going to be a long night.”

As The Times reported the next day, Gianforte one by a 6.1% margin a day after he was accused of assaulting The Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs.

Gianforte will appear in court on June 8 on a misdemeanor assault charge.  At his victory speech on Thursday night just before 11:00 a.m. MDT, Gianforte apologized to Jacobs and indicated that he took responsibility for his poor behavior.

“Does anyone notice how the Montana congressional race was such a big deal to Dams & Fake News until the Republican won? V was poorly covered,” Trump tweeted, with “V” presumably meaning “Victory.”

Recent mainstream media reports say that the Trump administration will soon be assembling a “war room” to counter narratives of Trump aides’ alleging improper communications with the Russians and “continued chaos in the West Wing.” However, given the sources and their unnamed sources, it is unknown whether or not the reports are simply “fake news.”

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  1. In my youth and as a young adult I would never have had considered the term “unnamed sources”as “credible news”. Now as a senior adult while I am a bit silly, naive, and gullible I don’t buy unnamed sources as credible news sources.

    Just try to give a police officer a report or be at a court of law hearing and state your evidence as unnamed sources as credible sources. In doing so, not only should you be fined and jailed, it should be ordered that one would received serious mandatory mental treatment. Enough preaching to the choir.

    Some time ago there was an advertisement stating “eliminate the middle man”. If I heard correctly, other Presidents had so-called back channels too, example OBAMA… If Trump was
    attempting this, so what. And who else had back channels?

    Could this not also be an important tool for direct contact in times of trouble to avoid a BIG PROBLEM and used to avoid severe conflict…? This could be a time saver as well as saving
    lives or stop aggression or war…as well as gross misunderstandings.

    Perhaps back channels are insurance to be utilized in times of trouble or distress. Perhaps
    they could be thought of as a safety valve.