As to who may have sent the document to the show, Maddow says, “We’re working on it.” It could have come from a two-bit trickster or some hanger-on with no agenda whatsoever. Then again: Maddow outlined a scenario with frightening implications for the tip-receiving media on the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia:
Whether or not the Trump campaign did it, one way to stab in the heart aggressive American reporting on that subject is to lay traps for American journalists who are reporting on it, trick news organizations into reporting what appears to be evidence of what happened, and then after the fact blow that reporting up.
You then hurt the credibility of that news organization. You also cast a shadow over any similar reporting in the future, whether or not it’s true, right? Even if it’s true, you plant a permanent question, a permanent asterisk, a permanent — who knows — as to whether that too might be false like that other story, whether that too might be based on fake evidence.