'Donald Trump dossier will allow any politician to dismiss claims against them as fake news'

Donald Trump: 'Now any politician can say claims about them are fake news', says media professor

Buzzfeed have posted documents online about the alleged behaviour of Donald Trump

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The saga surrounding the Donald Trump 'dossier' will enable any high-profile figure to dismiss claims against them as fake news, a leading academic has told Sam Delaney.

Buzzfeed has posted a tranche of documents containing unverified claims about the behaviour of Donald Trump. The news website has faced a firestorm of criticism in the wake of the release, with critics saying it was irresponsible to release such an explosive document without verification.

Charlie Beckett, professor at the Department of Media and Communications at LSE, said “Buzzfeed's argument is that the least we can do is publish [the dossier] and let the public decide [whether the allegations are true]. There’s an argument both ways.

"Personally I think they’ve taken a big risk. The biggest risk, of course, is that Donald Trump or any other politician can now turn around and say 'look it’s fake news.'

“It is Donald Trump himself who rewrote the rules...he attacked journalists directly for example on twitter, not just saying they got things wrong but questioning their morality.

“This is a real change for American journalists, they’re having to report the President sometimes…by saying the President has today said something which is untrue."

Listen to the full interview to find out more