Colorado Democratic Representative Jared Polis tweeted about an unconfirmed Buzzfeed report that Russia has damning information on Donald Trump, including a claim that the president-elect employed a "number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) show in front of him."
Trump has branded the assertions "fake news," yet at least one Republican state senator from Colorado has rejected a pledge to stop disseminating such false information and a former GOP gubernatorial candidate calls the media pundit behind it a "fake reporter."
Buzzfeed acknowledges in the subhead of "These Reports Allege Trump Has Deep Ties to Russia," the post that includes a 35-page dossier containing the golden showers tale and plenty of other incendiary statements, that the allegations are "unverified" and the report "contains errors."
But after Polis tweeted out a link to a CNN story about U.S. intelligence chiefs briefing Trump on the info, along with an intro suggesting that The Donald is unqualified to be president if the contentions are accurate....
...he retweeted Buzzfeed editor Ben Smith's explanation for why the site published the file, complete with a link to its story:
As for Trump, he used the caps-lock key and his busy Twitter account to dismiss the avalanche of questionable data.
As we've reported, Trump has been accused of benefiting from fake news during the presidential campaign. A prime example is a bogus post maintaining that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was behind a child-sex ring.
Last month, progressive media pundit Jason Salzman publicly asked Colorado officials to sign a pledge not to pass along fake news in an item on his BigMedia.org site. The article sported eight examples of fake news stories that were shared or liked on Facebook by members of the Colorado legislature, all of whom left them to linger on their pages long after they were debunked.
We asked Salzman to keep us up to date on the response to the pledge, and yesterday, right before the Trump (fake?) news broke, he sent the following update, complete with links:
One state senator, Kevin Lundberg, rejected the pledge, saying the term fake news “smacks of a new censorship.”
Another state representative, Kit Roupe, removed a fake news item that I spotlighted in my initial blog post.
Conservatives, including ex-gubernatorial candidate Greg Brophy, have been attacking me on Twitter. [Brophy tweeted: "fake reporter."]
One conservative blogger, Ari Armstrong, defended me, but said the pledge is insulting, even though he agrees with it.
But Armstrong or conservatives on Twitter aren’t taking me up on my offer to edit the pledge to make it suitable to them.
Salzman continues to insist that he doesn't see the fake-news pledge as strictly a Republican issue, even though he suggested last month that the phenomenon has been "more of a conservative problem." If the Trump stories are fictional, Polis's tweets about them could prove the matter is nonpartisan after all. And if not....