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Trump Allies Reportedly Plan to Release Damaging Information on Journalists Critical of the President

A new report is shedding some light on a group of conservative operators working to compromise journalists by releasing damaging information about them if they keep criticizing President Donald Trump.

The New York Times spoke to multiple sources close to the operation, reporting that they’ve assembled “dossiers of potentially embarrassing social media posts and other public statements by hundreds of people” working for major news outlets. While the Times notes that its hard to tell how much of this is a bluff to scare off journalists, they reported that the operation’s participants are looking through several years’ worth of public statements, figuring out which ones to amplify.

From the report:

The operation has compiled social media posts from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and stored images of the posts that can be publicized even if the user deletes them, said the people familiar with the effort. One claimed that the operation had unearthed potentially “fireable” information on “several hundred” people.

“Only a fraction of what the network claims to have uncovered has been made public, the people said, with more to be disclosed as the 2020 election heats up. The research is said to extend to members of journalists’ families who are active in politics, as well as liberal activists and other political opponents of the president…”

The White House and the Trump campaign both told the Times they were not aware of or involved with the operation, though a campaign spokesman voiced approval for its endeavors. The coalition claims they’ve only released a portion of what they’ve found so far but will continue to release dirt over time against journalists, politically-active members of their families, and other opponents of the president.

CNN, Washington Post, and the Times have all been targeted by the operation so far, with the report noting how NYT editor Tom Piersanti recently apologized after Breitbart reported on several old anti-semitic tweets of his. Reporters Kenneth Vogel and Jeremy Peters described the published materials as “stripped of context or presented in misleading ways” in some cases, but “has proved authentic, and much of it has been professionally harmful to its targets.”

Times publisher AG Sulzberger had this to say about the operation:

“They are seeking to harass and embarrass anyone affiliated with the leading news organizations that are asking tough questions and bringing uncomfortable truths to light. The goal of this campaign is clearly to intimidate journalists from doing their job, which includes serving as a check on power and exposing wrongdoing when it occurs. The Times will not be intimidated or silenced.”

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