“If Trump Leaks are OK and Clinton Leaks Aren’t, There’s a Problem” Trevor Timm, The Guardian, 13 October 2016

“Journalists should always publish newsworthy information --even if its from a potentially biased source--. This election should be no different”.

The 2016 presidential campaign isn’t turning out to be the Facebook election, but the  election dominated by leaks. The Clinton and Trump campaigns’ main attack points revolve around leaks that put their opposing candidate on the defensive. Both have actively encouraged leaks about the other side, while claiming those involving them are illegitimate or illegal. Leaks are in the public interest when they expose how candidates act behind closed doors. The motivations of the leakers shouldn’t prevent reporting on them. Donald Trump’s campaign has been rocked by two major leaks: his 1995 tax return to The New York Times, showing how he avoided paying taxes for two decades; and the video to The Washington Post, where Trump admits to sexually assaulting women. As for the tax story, Trump’s lawyer threatened legal action against The New York Times. Yet, they couldn’t be happier with the hacked emails from Clinton’s campaign manager leaked to WikiLeaks and later published. Trump cited WikiLeaks twice during the debate, declaring: I love WikiLeaks. Previously, he had called on Russia to release the deleted emails from Clinton’s private server. This provoked a furor from the Clinton campaign, but leaks exposing Trump’s behind-the-scenes behaviour, however, are not only legitimate in their eyes, but encouraged. As Jack Shafer wrote, the Clinton camp should stop freaking out about WikiLeaks: “Angels almost never leak”, he wrote. The New York Times reporter David Barstow, who broke the Trump taxes story, said much the same thing: he doesn’t know who leaked the Trump tax return, nor their motivation, but that shouldn’t stop him from reporting on it. Leaks make the subject of them uncomfortable, and increasingly large leaks of private emails raise questions about Internet security and privacy. But we should ask ourselves: would we rather reporters not cover what politicians are doing behind closed doors?

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“If Trump Leaks are OK and Clinton Leaks Aren’t, There’s a Problem” Trevor Timm, The Guardian, 13 October 2016


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