New report alleges Russia has compromising information about Donald Trump
Buzzfeed News became the centre of a debate over journalistic standards on Tuesday evening when they published a 35 page document containing "explosive", but unverified, allegations about links between the Russian government and President-elect Donald Trump.
The document was alluded to by CNN in a report on Tuesday who claimed a two page report on the document had been presented to President Obama and Trump by intelligence officials.
The document, a file compiled by a former British intelligence officer hired by political opponents of Trump, has been circling with government officials and journalists since autumn last year.
While CNN did not go into the specifics of the allegations, Buzzfeed published the entire document which included the yet unverified allegations involving Trump, including details of a trip the President-elect took to Russia.
“BuzzFeed News is publishing the full document so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government,” BuzzFeed wrote.
Buzzfeed Editor-In-Chief Ben Smith released a statement shortly after detailing the reasons why Buzzfeed made the editorial decision to publish the document.
"As you have probably seen," Smith wrote, "This evening we published a secret dossier making explosive and unverified allegations about Donald Trump and Russia. I wanted to briefly explain to you how we made the decision to publish it.
"We published the dossier, which Ken Bensinger obtained through his characteristically ferocious reporting; so that, as we wrote, "Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government."
"Our presumption is to be transparent in our journalism and to share what we have with our readers. We have always erred on the side of publishing. In this case, the document was in Wide circulation at the highest levels of American government and media. It seems to lie behind a set of vague allegations from the Senate Majority Leader to the director of the FBI and a report that intelligence agencies have delivered to the President and President-elect.
"As we noted in our story, there is serious reason to doubt the allegations. We have been chasing specific claims in this document for weeks, and will continue to.
"Publishing this document was not an easy or simple call, and people of good will may disagree with our choice. But publishing this dossier reflects how we see the job of reporters in 2017."
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