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November 27, 2017

Court Papers: Fusion GPS Paid Journalists

Play for pay.

Newly filed court documents confirm that Fusion GPS, the company mostly responsible for the controversial "Trump dossier" on presidential candidate Donald Trump, made payments to three journalists between June 2016 until February 2017.

The revelation could be a breakthrough for House Republicans, who are exploring whether Fusion GPS used the dossier, which was later criticized for having inaccurate information on Trump, to feed anti-Trump stories to the press during and after the presidential campaign. The three journalists who were paid by Fusion GPS are known to have reported on "Russia issues relevant to [the committee's] investigation," the House Intelligence Committee said in a court filing.

But the recipients' names, the amounts, and purposes of those payments were either redacted from the documents that Fusion GPS filed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia or were not disclosed.

...


Fusion GPS didn't deny that some payments went to reporters, but argues that these payments were made to help the company with research.

That sounds like a dodge to me. If you pay a reporter specifically to "research" (for example) Trump, and he finds x or y, obviously he's going to print x or y in his paper. I'm sure Fusion GPS doesn't forbid them from doing that; rather, that's the entire point of this exercise.

So they're paying reporters what we might call bounties to find dirt about specific individuals. As I said, they do not need to then demand reporters print those stories -- reporters will do that automatically. Their entire stock in trade is printing stories, so if they have one -- whether paid for by an outside interested party or not -- they'll run it.

So this might be a clever scheme which permits reporters to believe they're not being paid to write stories Fusion GPS wants, and permit Fusion GPS to say they're not specifically paying reporters to print stories -- all they're doing is paying for "research" on a specific person or organization, and hey, if the reporter then wants to publish what he found, that's just Good Journalism, right?


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posted by Ace at 04:15 PM

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