More Trump-hating lovebirds: Ali Watkins and the rise of casting-couch journalism

The Beltway's Get Trump movement has added another pair of lovebirds to the morass, this time in the Ali Watkins-James Wolfe hook-up, evidently uniting love with a common mission to destroy the president.

Here's what went down, according to Philly.com, which isn't too flattering in its reportage:

Watkins, who interned at the Philadelphia Daily News in spring 2013, started a personal relationship with Wolfe sometime around December 2013 when she was a Temple intern working with the McLatchy [sic]-Tribune news service, according to a federal indictment.  The relationship continued after she graduated in 2014 until last December, when she joined the Times, the indictment said.  Before joining the Times, Watkins had also worked at the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and Politico.

Watkins said Wolfe was not a source of information during their relationship, the Times reported.  Wolfe, who retired in May, has also denied providing her confidential information he had learned through his position on the intelligence committee.

The federal government suggests otherwise.  Its indictment, which identifies Watkins as Reporter #2, says she published dozens of news articles about the committee and its activities, and that she and Wolfe "exchanged tens of thousands of electronic communications, often, including daily texts and phone calls."  The two, the indictment added, frequently met in person, including at restaurants and her apartment.

We had been wondering who was doing all that leaking from the Senate Intelligence Committee, and well, now the matter seems to be coming to light.  Someone was sleeping with a reporter and the reporter was getting scoops as a result. National Review notes that the Senate leaks seemed to have skewed to just one political side in their motive:

Now, sit down because I know you'll be shocked to hear this: Wolfe's bipartisan, non-partisan intelligence leaks from the bipartisan, non-partisan Senate Intelligence Committee had a decidedly anti-Trump flavor.

Watkins herself tried to throw the trail of clues about the leaks from herself to Republicans in this cynical and apparently dishonest tweet here:

Those bad, bad, Republicans...

She has quite a few other embarrassing tweets coming back to haunt her as well, noted on Fox News here.

So what do we have here?  Lovebird journalism.  Sleeping with sources to get the best story, sealed with kisses and Trump-hatred.  The 26-year-old New York Times reporter and her 57-year-old Senate Intelligence Committee staffer boyfriend now join FBI lovebirds Lisa Page and Peter Strzok who were having an affair and gaming the investigations of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Department of Justice-Fusion GPS lovebirds Nelly and Bruce Ohr, the husband-and-wife tag team who converted the original smears of the Steele dossier into investigative action, and FBI-Democratic National Committee lovebirds Andrew and Jill McCabe, the husband and wife with some Hillary biases who tried to convert that stance into a lunge for political power.

Now we have Watkins and Wolfe, that latter of whom is charged with leaking classified documents to Watkins, because of, well, that delicious combination of love and Trump-hate.  Apparently, he was going to leak no matter what, but in one of his texts to Watkins, he said he wanted her, instead of her competitors, to get the scoops.

The press is focusing on the issue of the FBI seizure of her reporting records, and there are some valid concerns, given that this is a continuation of the pattern established by the Obama administration in seizing the records of reporters just doing the news.

But how the press reports the news is important, too.  There is troubling behavior by Watkins, who didn't bother to tell her New York Times bosses about the FBI seizure of her records in February, which raises questions as to why she didn't.  She didn't want the utterly powerful First Amendment lawyers of the New York Times to help her against a vindictive big government, so she didn't tell her bosses?  Or was she really more afraid of her bosses finding out how the sausage of her scoops was really made, that she had been literally too close to her sources and was using her "advantages"?  It's odd behavior, because Watkins claims she told her bosses about the affair, and the Times says they knew, too.  McClatchy says it didn't.  Meanwhile, Politico claims that it learned of the affair and steered her away from conflict-of-interest topics. Buzzfeed, apparently knew all about it and didn't have a problem, according to a report in the Daily Caller.

It points to a problem in journalism itself.  What's rewarded in journalism these days?  Anonymous scoops.  How did she have such a "meteoric" journalism career, rising in four years past journalism school from McClatchy, BuzzFeed, Politico, to finally the big prize, the New York Times?  Well, it was all those anonymous scoops, obtained her way.

What's more, what is the Pulitzer Committee rewarding these days?  Scoops, based on anonymous sourcing, so long as it undermines President Trump, instead of genuine shoe-leather reporting.  I wrote about those prizes they issued here, complaining:

It wasn't even the kind of reporting that takes a lot of skill; it was pretty well premised on nothing more than having malevolent-minded Deep State sources leaking their stories, their anonymity protected by the papers, which had a prize to win.

The stories listed aren't the ones that turned up as bad information or were obvious instances of the papers allowing themselves to be used as pawns.  But it sure as heck wasn't in the authentic league of excellence that the Times' Harvey Weinstein reporting merited, along with the even better shoe-leather reporting from Ronan Farrow of the New Yorker for his Weinstein story, which was done against massive obstacles from the sources, Weinstein, and the publishers he wanted to publish with. 

Get an anonymous source you conceal from your reader, get a prize, and who cares if you sleep with him to get it...is that the game now?  Casting-couch journalism?  Seems so.  As for Watkins, her credibility is taking a pounding, because all anyone is going to ask next time she gets an anonymous scoop is whom she slept with to get it.  That will be the real news from now on.  Maybe the real change in journalism should be an end to all these anonymous sources.  More Trump-hating lovebirds with their credibility killed seem to be the result otherwise.

The Beltway's Get Trump movement has added another pair of lovebirds to the morass, this time in the Ali Watkins-James Wolfe hook-up, evidently uniting love with a common mission to destroy the president.

Here's what went down, according to Philly.com, which isn't too flattering in its reportage:

Watkins, who interned at the Philadelphia Daily News in spring 2013, started a personal relationship with Wolfe sometime around December 2013 when she was a Temple intern working with the McLatchy [sic]-Tribune news service, according to a federal indictment.  The relationship continued after she graduated in 2014 until last December, when she joined the Times, the indictment said.  Before joining the Times, Watkins had also worked at the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and Politico.

Watkins said Wolfe was not a source of information during their relationship, the Times reported.  Wolfe, who retired in May, has also denied providing her confidential information he had learned through his position on the intelligence committee.

The federal government suggests otherwise.  Its indictment, which identifies Watkins as Reporter #2, says she published dozens of news articles about the committee and its activities, and that she and Wolfe "exchanged tens of thousands of electronic communications, often, including daily texts and phone calls."  The two, the indictment added, frequently met in person, including at restaurants and her apartment.

We had been wondering who was doing all that leaking from the Senate Intelligence Committee, and well, now the matter seems to be coming to light.  Someone was sleeping with a reporter and the reporter was getting scoops as a result. National Review notes that the Senate leaks seemed to have skewed to just one political side in their motive:

Now, sit down because I know you'll be shocked to hear this: Wolfe's bipartisan, non-partisan intelligence leaks from the bipartisan, non-partisan Senate Intelligence Committee had a decidedly anti-Trump flavor.

Watkins herself tried to throw the trail of clues about the leaks from herself to Republicans in this cynical and apparently dishonest tweet here:

Those bad, bad, Republicans...

She has quite a few other embarrassing tweets coming back to haunt her as well, noted on Fox News here.

So what do we have here?  Lovebird journalism.  Sleeping with sources to get the best story, sealed with kisses and Trump-hatred.  The 26-year-old New York Times reporter and her 57-year-old Senate Intelligence Committee staffer boyfriend now join FBI lovebirds Lisa Page and Peter Strzok who were having an affair and gaming the investigations of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Department of Justice-Fusion GPS lovebirds Nelly and Bruce Ohr, the husband-and-wife tag team who converted the original smears of the Steele dossier into investigative action, and FBI-Democratic National Committee lovebirds Andrew and Jill McCabe, the husband and wife with some Hillary biases who tried to convert that stance into a lunge for political power.

Now we have Watkins and Wolfe, that latter of whom is charged with leaking classified documents to Watkins, because of, well, that delicious combination of love and Trump-hate.  Apparently, he was going to leak no matter what, but in one of his texts to Watkins, he said he wanted her, instead of her competitors, to get the scoops.

The press is focusing on the issue of the FBI seizure of her reporting records, and there are some valid concerns, given that this is a continuation of the pattern established by the Obama administration in seizing the records of reporters just doing the news.

But how the press reports the news is important, too.  There is troubling behavior by Watkins, who didn't bother to tell her New York Times bosses about the FBI seizure of her records in February, which raises questions as to why she didn't.  She didn't want the utterly powerful First Amendment lawyers of the New York Times to help her against a vindictive big government, so she didn't tell her bosses?  Or was she really more afraid of her bosses finding out how the sausage of her scoops was really made, that she had been literally too close to her sources and was using her "advantages"?  It's odd behavior, because Watkins claims she told her bosses about the affair, and the Times says they knew, too.  McClatchy says it didn't.  Meanwhile, Politico claims that it learned of the affair and steered her away from conflict-of-interest topics. Buzzfeed, apparently knew all about it and didn't have a problem, according to a report in the Daily Caller.

It points to a problem in journalism itself.  What's rewarded in journalism these days?  Anonymous scoops.  How did she have such a "meteoric" journalism career, rising in four years past journalism school from McClatchy, BuzzFeed, Politico, to finally the big prize, the New York Times?  Well, it was all those anonymous scoops, obtained her way.

What's more, what is the Pulitzer Committee rewarding these days?  Scoops, based on anonymous sourcing, so long as it undermines President Trump, instead of genuine shoe-leather reporting.  I wrote about those prizes they issued here, complaining:

It wasn't even the kind of reporting that takes a lot of skill; it was pretty well premised on nothing more than having malevolent-minded Deep State sources leaking their stories, their anonymity protected by the papers, which had a prize to win.

The stories listed aren't the ones that turned up as bad information or were obvious instances of the papers allowing themselves to be used as pawns.  But it sure as heck wasn't in the authentic league of excellence that the Times' Harvey Weinstein reporting merited, along with the even better shoe-leather reporting from Ronan Farrow of the New Yorker for his Weinstein story, which was done against massive obstacles from the sources, Weinstein, and the publishers he wanted to publish with. 

Get an anonymous source you conceal from your reader, get a prize, and who cares if you sleep with him to get it...is that the game now?  Casting-couch journalism?  Seems so.  As for Watkins, her credibility is taking a pounding, because all anyone is going to ask next time she gets an anonymous scoop is whom she slept with to get it.  That will be the real news from now on.  Maybe the real change in journalism should be an end to all these anonymous sources.  More Trump-hating lovebirds with their credibility killed seem to be the result otherwise.