News organizations were put in an awkward situation on Tuesday when the term “golden showers” took the nation by storm, but most decision makers decided to go a different route when reporting the news of a Russian dossier.
BuzzFeed sent the internet into a frenzy on Tuesday when it published a collection of memos accusing Trump of improper contact with Russian officials — and alleging the former reality TV star arranged “golden showers” with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room.
CNN posted a story earlier Tuesday citing documents that included allegations that Russian operatives have compromising personal information on the president-elect, but declined to publish the raw files. BuzzFeed had no such compunction, publishing the full, unverified document from a person purporting to be a former British intelligence agent.
Also Read: Kellyanne Conway Calls Golden Shower Dossier ‘Nonsense From the Internet’ (Video)
The documents included this one:
“According to Source D, where s/he had been present, TRUMP’s (perverted) conduct in Moscow included hiring the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where he knew President and Mrs OBAMA (whom he hated) had stayed on one of their official trips to Russia, and defiling the bed where they had slept by employing a number of prostitutes to perform a ‘golden showers’ (urination) in front of him.”
So who reported it?
The New York Post published a scathing column, saying BuzzFeed’s decision to print the dossier “takes fake news to a new level,” but it never mentions the term “golden shower” in the process.
Also Read: Here’s Why BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith Published the ‘Golden Showers’ Dossier
CNN did not use the term “golden shower” and the network’s chief national security correspondent Jim Scuitto discussed why certain elements of the dossier were withheld.
“Our decision was based on this, We at CNN could not independently confirm the allegations, some of which are salacious and very personal,” Sciutto said on air. “Because we couldn’t it was our editorial decision not to put them out there in public.”
NBC News did not use the term, nor did its cable news counterpart MSNBC. Wednesday afternoon, Brian Williams referred to it as “compromising information.” ABC News did not cover the “golden showers” section of the dossier during “World News Tonight.”
Also Read: Donald Trump Responds to ‘Golden Showers’ Claim: ‘Total Political Witch Hunt’
It does not appear that the term was mentioned on Fox News, but a network spokeswoman could not confirm whether or not a guest mentioned it at some point. Incoming Press Secretary Sean Spicer appeared on various morning news shows to bash the BuzzFeed report as “garbage,” and refrained from using the term.
The New York Times mentioned the situation, but chose not to use the term “golden showers.”
“The memos describe sex videos involving prostitutes with Mr. Trump in a 2013 visit to a Moscow hotel. The videos were supposedly prepared as ‘kompromat,’ or compromising material, with the possible goal of blackmailing Mr. Trump in the future,” the Times printed.
A Times spokeswoman sent TheWrap a section of the paper’s in-house style guide when asked to explain its decision.
Also Read: Here’s Why ‘Golden Showers’ Is Trending (Yes, It Involves Trump)
“Obscenity, vulgarity, profanity. The Times writes unblushingly about sexual behavior, science, health, crime and similar subjects, opening its report to any newsworthy detail, provided the approach is dignified and the vocabulary clinical rather than coarse. In these situations, writers and editors avoid evasiveness and euphemism, which would be a disservice to readers who need to understand issues,” The guide states. “But The Times very rarely publishes obscene words, and it maintains a steep threshold for vulgar ones. In part the concern is for the news report’s welcome in classrooms and on breakfast tables in diverse communities nationwide. But there is a larger concern. The Times differentiates itself by taking a stand for civility in public discourse, sometimes at an acknowledged cost in the vividness of an article or two, and sometimes at the price of submitting to gibes. “
Other news organizations had fun with the creepy term, while some left-leaning websites reported it as news.
The Huffington Post published a story titled, “Look, These ‘Golden Shower’ Jokes Are Just Funny, OK?” The article admits the claims might not be true. The Mirror published a story headlined, “Golden Showers for PEETUS: The 11 funniest responses to the Donald Trump Watersportsgate claims.”
The Daily Beast took the report seriously, with a headline, “Report: Russia Has Trump ‘Golden Showers’ Blackmail.”
Related stories from TheWrap:
Kellyanne Conway Calls Golden Shower Dossier ‘Nonsense From the Internet’ (Video)
Here’s Why BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith Published the ‘Golden Showers’ Dossier
Here’s Why ‘Golden Showers’ Is Trending (Yes, It Involves Trump)