This might be the most important book published this year:
A review from Jason Foster in The Federalist:
New Book From Former NYT Reporter Eviscerates The Bogus Steele Dossier And The Journalists Who Peddled It
The New York Times published an excerpt:
Out today, Barry Meier's book contains a comprehensive, page-turning narrative of the massive media and political dumpster fire that was the Steele dossier.
Foster's review focuses on the role Fusion GPS played in fomenting the Russia-gate hoax via the Steele Dossier. Meier's book is much more than a debunking of that stew of lies, partisan talking points, and resistance wishcasting. Spooked raises serious questions about the news industry and professional journalism. Knowing what we now know about their practices and methods, any fair-minded reader has to ask: “Why should we trust the legacy media about anything?”
Secret Sharers: The Hidden Ties Between Private Spies and Journalists
A booming, renegade private intelligence industry is increasingly shaping (and misshaping) the news.
As the title suggests, the problem goes beyond Glenn Simpson, Michael Steele and their Ahab-like quest to bring down President Donald Trump. Fusion GPS also worked for Theranos while that firm was desperately trying to hide the truth about their business. Black Cube worked for Harvey Weinstein to silence victims and scare off reporters.
Meier reveals that prestige journalists played the same barter game with Simpson that Weinstein exploited before his fall:
Harvey Weinstein counted on a complicit media
"The gossip industry is run on the barter system. If I've got a story about you and you don't want it printed you say 'Hold it. I'll give you something better' and I'll print the other story and save you."
Simpson’s animus for Bill Browder apparently remained unrequited. “In order to get Glenn, you first had to do a hit piece on Browder,” said Schwartz, adding that she and Ross weren’t interested in taking up Simpson on that deal.
“Who wanted it known”
At best this behind the scenes barter system is a terrible disservice to news consumers. It hides, rather than reveals, vital information.
Reporters and private investigators long have had a symbiotic relationship that is hidden from the public. Hired spies feed journalists story tips or documents and use reporters to plant stories benefiting a client without leaving their fingerprints behind.Renata Adler in a review of one of Woodward and Bernstein's books, zeroed in on a critical flaw in modern journalism: the use of anonymous sources and the attendant machinations of source and reporter. Such methods, she noted, “makes stories almost impossible to verify. It suppresses a major element of almost every investigative story: who wanted it known.”
Firms like Fusion GPS now exploit these questionable practices. They make money by misleading the public on behalf of the rich and powerful. Reporters enlist (wittingly but secretly) on the side of the rich. The whole ethos of journalism is turned upside down.
This doesn't accord with the image journalists present to the public. It probably doesn't accord with the self-image journalists have of themselves. Sadly, it is our media reality now.
The bigger scandal is the silence of the rest of the media. Many organizations knew about Fusion GPS's history and its attempt to promote the Russian-hoax. They knew, that is, a vitally important part of the story: “who wanted it known”. They knew, as well, about Glenn Simpson's aggressive demands for quid pro quo for access to his “super spy”. They knew it and concealed this from their readers and viewers.
The “watchdogs” protected each other with a code of omerta.
Photographers hate to be photographed. Surgeons require nearly twice the amount of anesthesia ordinary patients require to undergo surgery. Journalists are the least receptive to professional scrutiny by their colleagues.Renata Adler
An inconvenient book: The problem with sources
Why ‘investigative journalism’ is problematic