Journalist Matt Taibbi joined Hill.TV to discuss the legacy of the 2016 Steele dossier and how the decision of some media outlets to distribute the report was “one of the all time disasters of journalism.”
Taibbi, who recently wrote about the dossier on his website TK news, said the mainstream media should be more critical of questionable source material before publication.
“You always have to ask, ‘Where is this stuff coming from and can I see it?’ In this case, what happened with the Steele dossier was just the classic error where everybody was basing their conclusions on the Steele dossier on the fact that the reputation of Christopher Steele was supposed to be a good one,” Taibbi said.
The dossier, a research report from intelligence specialist Christopher Steele, contained a number of unconfirmed allegations about ties between Russia and then-candidate Donald Trump. Some news publications, such as BuzzFeed News, published the report’s findings.
Figures such as Steele, Taibbi warned, should also be met with more skepticism from journalists.
“The thing is, with these kind of characters, what they end up doing is they hand you a bunch of research and oftentimes you can’t see the root of what they base their conclusions on,” he told Hill.TV. “Journalists end up outsourcing that part of the job to these private operatives. They rest on the laurels and the reputations of the people who are giving them the materials and that’s where the flaw is.”