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Who Helped Overturn the "Pentagon Papers Principle"? The Washington Post and New York Times - Matt Tiabbi


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First reported by Michael Shellenberger, new details about the "Burisma leak" tabletop exercise of summer 2020 reveal a notable betrayal of principle by two famed papers

 

Last December, Michael Shellenberger reported in a #TwitterFiles thread that the Aspen Institute hosted a “Hack-and-Dump Working Group” exercise in the summer of 2020 titled, “Burisma Leak,” which predicted with uncanny accuracy an upcoming derogatory story in the New York Post about Hunter Biden’s lost laptop.

The documents Shellenberger published showed how at least five media figures, including David Sanger and David McCraw of the New York Times, Ellen Nakashima of the Washington Post, then-Daily Beast and future Rolling Stone editor Noah Schactman, and Rick Baker of CNN worked alongside Twitter and Facebook’s chief moderation officers, Yoel Roth and Nathaniel Gleicher, to plan a response to a hypothetical damaging exposé about Joe Biden’s son.

The “Burisma Leak” exercise predicted many elements of the real response to the New York Post’s coming Hunter Biden story, including complaints from influential Democratic congressman Adam Schiff about its “source and veracity,” and public statements from “former senior intelligence officials” falsely raising the specter of a “Russian operation.”

Newly uncovered documents show the war-gamed, choreographed response to the New York Post piece in October, 2020 — which included temporary suppression by those tech platforms Twitter and Facebook — may have been part of a broader plan to re-think basic journalistic standards in general, beyond just the one incident. This included junking what experts involved with the tabletop exercise referred to as the “Pentagon Papers Principle,” under which journalists since Daniel Ellsberg’s 1971 leak had “operated under a single rule: Once information is authenticated, if it is newsworthy, publish it.”:snip:

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