The Washington Post is no friend of President Donald Trump and his ilk.
The paper published an article, “Trump’s Lost Summer,” at the beginning of this month. Today, Trump’s latest press secretary Stephanie Grisham attempted to rebut the piece in an op-ed called “The Washington Post’s Lost Summer.”
The President’s middle son, Eric Trump also tried to pile on the Washington Post, shaming its “tactics” using a screenshot of an email sent by Post reporter David Fahrenthold. The attempt backfired completely.
Because the tactics Eric was condemning were standard journalism.
Fahrenthold writes in the email:
“I’m very sorry to bother. I’m a reporter for the Washington Post, and I cover the Trump Organization as a business. As part of that, I try to make sure every Trump Org employee has my contact information. You know the company so much better than I ever could. I’d like your help to make sure I don’t miss something important.”
The email is a standard journalistic letter for reaching out to a source: he explains why he’s reaching out and provides his contact information, he assures that the source’s information could be kept confidential, and he lets the potential source know where to send confidential documents anonymously.
At no point does Fahrendthold ask for incriminating or negative information (he says he doesn’t want to miss “something important”). At no point does he promise money or rewards for an incriminating story. At no point does he pressure, bully, or blackmail the potential source.
He simply says to reach out if there’s important information, then explains how to reach out.
A number of journalists came to Fahrenthold’s defense, and roasted Eric for his lack of awareness.
quite nice of Eric Trump to show young journalists everywhere a model template for reaching out to sources https://t.co/VguBQ4Spkq
— Steadman™ (@AsteadWesley) September 6, 2019
You really nailed him here Eric…. A reporter asking for information! https://t.co/kmmSUameDc
— Sam Stein (@samstein) September 6, 2019
Lol is this supposed to make Fahrenthold look bad? He looks like a total pro here https://t.co/nsOOGAqvxe
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) September 6, 2019
YOU THINK THAT'S BAD?!?
I HEARD HE HAS INVITED POTENTIAL SOURCES TO LUNCH!!!! https://t.co/YpANHi9uhA
— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) September 6, 2019
Asking people if they want to talk to you is somehow underhanded now. https://t.co/oXJE8Mrvnm
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) September 6, 2019
This is an extraordinarily standard, to the point of almost boringly boilerplate, way to reach out to a potential source.
Up to them whether to agree to the terms — or report them to higher-ups. https://t.co/zhndhEFJdv
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) September 6, 2019
This email is:
– detailed (explains what "on background" means)
– grammatically correct and typo free
– a great template for reporters who want to develop sources https://t.co/tI10SZF13a
— Arit John (@aritbenie) September 6, 2019
Other journalists and non-journalists alike continued to roast Trump for this ultimate self-own.
Basic reporting via polite emails?
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) September 6, 2019
Wait. A reporter is trying to get information?
It’s hard to be the dumbest Trump, but you make a hell of an effort.
— Crutnacker (@Crutnacker) September 6, 2019
Dam, this journalist is reporting and taking to people, very unethical sir.
— Brendel (@Brendelbored) September 6, 2019
Ummm, Eric. This is called journalism.
Speaking to sources on background and anonymously sourcing documents to expose corruption is par for the course.
I think you should learn how to use this other neat thing called Google before you tweet. https://t.co/FMICgPGs5v
— Ahmed Baba (@AhmedBaba_) September 6, 2019
Fahrenthold has yet to respond.
You can purchase David Fahrenthold’s Uncovering Trump: The Truth Behind Donald Trump’s Charitable Giving on Amazon here.
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