The world’s population is searching their souls for answers as to how Donald Trump was able to win the presidency. It seems to be through a series of perfect luck on Trump’s part, and bad decision making on the part of others which helped to catapult his rise. One issue which may have prevented Trump from winning was damning information about Trump which was held for months by the New York Times (NYT). Had they released the information sooner would it have made a difference in the election?
Back in the fall of 2016 the NYT was aware of numerous stories involving Trump, but it sat on them. The NYT knew about one of Trump’s computer servers with ties to a Russian bank and Vladimir Putin. The NYT knew about the Russian government’s hacking of computers owned by the Democratic party. Most damningly the NYT knew about a secret dossier which had been circling intelligence communities that implicated Trump was being blackmailed by the Russian government. Rather than publish this information in a timely manner, they did nothing.
The decision was ultimately made by executive editor Dean Baquet who forced the journalists digging into the stories to not publish the material. Baquet’s decision was based on what he claimed to be a lack of information because the stories could not be fully verified. Had the NYT published the information they had when they had it, would it have had an impact on the overall election? That will forever be an unknown, and one which will haunt the the NYT’s staff.
Journalism is not a court of law and Baquet’s decision to not publish information was hypocritical and contradictory considering what happened after he put the brakes on the NYT’s reporting.
It was only after Fmr. Sen Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) took the FBI to task for keeping their investigation against Trump under wraps did the NYT move forward with publishing the information about the mysterious bank server. Did they have any further evidence? No. Which means they could have published the story long before Reid became involved.
The same scenario can be traced back regarding the dossier which has been widely reported to have been created by now missing MI6 agent Christopher Steele. The NYT published the information it had known for months only after CNN had the courage to report on the story first. The NYT had no new information or extra insights, but they had the cover they required from CNN to protect themselves. The NYT’s ability to prove the dossier existed had not changed. Nothing had changed at all, and the NYT proved their own complicity and cowardice.
Knowing this information now does little to soothe the pain of Trump being the 45th President of the United States. Rather it is akin to an investigation after a plane crashes. The task of collecting all of the pieces of wreckage and putting it all back together to view as a whole to help understand what mistakes were made is now the goal.
It is clear the NYT had numerous opportunities to perform courageous reporting and they rather sat timidly on the sidelines. Trump beat them at their own game with his threats to sue news outlets, and now to their everlasting shame they must call him Mr. President.
Lou Colagiovanni is an investigative journalist living in Las Vegas who specializes in politics and crime. His work has been highlighted all over the world and he is regularly featured on television and radio.