If there is one country in the world that garners media coverage bereft of even the most basic journalistic standards, it is Russia. Over the past month, the Russian government has been accused of hacking the DNC, orchestrating the Brexit, tacitly supporting the candidacy of Donald J. Trump, and much else.
On June 14, The Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima published what, at first sight, looked to be a blockbuster scoop, a Watergate scandal for the cyber age. The report alleged that the Democratic National Committee’s computer network was compromised by Russian hackers who stole caches of DNC opposition research on Trump. According to Nakashima, the Russian hackers were so thorough that they were able to access the DNC’s e-mail and chat traffic. Yet the firm that supposedly spotted the hack, Crowdstrike, admitted it was “not sure how the hackers got in.” They were definitely sure, however, that it was the Russians.
The American media, needless to say, jumped all over the story. The New York Times swiftly followed up with a story which proclaimed: “D.N.C. Says Russian Hackers Penetrated Its Files, Including Dossier on Donald Trump.” The dogged media critic Adam Johnson of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) compiled a list of headlines that appeared in major media outlets within 24 hours of Nakashima’s scoop,
• Russian Government Hackers Broke Into DNC Servers, Stole Trump Oppo (Politico, 6/14/16)
• Russia Hacked DNC Network, Accessed Trump Research (MSNBC, 6/14/16)
• Russians Steal Research on Trump in Hack of US Democratic Party (Reuters, 6/14/16)
• Russian Government-Affiliated Hackers Breach DNC, Take Research on Donald Trump (Fox, 6/14/16)
• Russia Hacks Democratic National Committee, Trump Info Compromised (USA Today, 6/14/16)
• Russian government hackers steal DNC files on Donald Trump (The Guardian, 6/14/16)
• Russians Hacked DNC Computers to Steal Opposition Research on Trump (Talking Points Memo, 6/14/16)
• Russian Spies Hacked Into the DNC’s Donald Trump Files (Slate, 6/14/16)
• What Russia’s DNC Hack Tells Us About Hillary Clinton’s Private Email Server (Forbes, 6/15/16)