It’s called a circular leak.
A politician has information which they want in the public domain. This message serves a particular purpose for the politician. It may smear an opponent, provide a distraction from a more damaging story, or legitimize a policy position.
A hand picked reporter is granted special, exclusive access to the information. In exchange, the source of the story–who also happens to benefit from the story–gets to remain anonymous.
The reporter writes a story using this information and it is printed in the paper. Now, the politician can cite the reporter’s story as proof that his false statements are true.
As the clip above illustrates, Dick Cheney made the circular leak famous, or is it infamous, when he used it to support his false claim that Saddam Hussein was developing WMD’s and posed an imminent threat to the United States of America.
This fancy bit of footwork helped convince the American people that Saddam was somehow linked to Al-Qaida and 9/11. The Iraq War soon followed.
Fast forward a few years.
Republican Congressman Dave Reichert is desperately trying to hold his seat against challenger Darcy Burner. Even though Reichert has lead in the polls most of the race, Burner has pulled ahead two weeks before the election.
What to do? Time to consult the Republican Handbook.
Why not shop around a story that Burner is lying about her Harvard degree in economics? Once the story is in print, use the article to smear Burner in a negative ad.
If you want to help Darcy Burner fight back against the smear, click here now.