Top Trump aide blasts media for using unnamed sources, then uses unnamed sources

Source: Carolyn Kaster/AP

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus really hates when the media doesn't name its sources. He also wants you to know that all those stories with unnamed sources aren't true, because someone whose name he can't disclose told him so.

"The media is willing to run with unnamed sources — apparently false leaked documents — to create stories," Priebus said Sunday in an appearance on CBS's Face the Nation. "I think that the media should stop with this unnamed source stuff. Put names on a piece of paper, and print it. If people aren't willing to put their name next a quote, then the quote shouldn't be listed — period."

Priebus was referring to a number  of incredibly damning stories published by major news outlets about the Trump administration over the past several weeks, which cite multiple unnamed sources from the national security and intelligence communities. 

One of those stories, published last week by the New York Times, alleges members of Trump's presidential campaign and other Trump associates were in contact with Russian intelligence officials on multiple occasions in the year before the election. 

In a separate appearance on Fox News Sunday, though, Priebus pushed back against those allegations, citing his own unnamed sources. Claiming to have spoken "top level" intelligence officials, Priebus told Fox News' Chris Wallace, "They have made it very clear that that story in the New York Times was complete garbage and, quite frankly, they used different words than that."

When Wallace asked Priebus who, specifically, told him that, Priebus responded, "I'm not going to tell you that."

"Wait, a minute, you just complained about unnamed sources," Wallace replied, "You're using an unnamed source." 

"Well, because I didn't ask for approval to use their name," Priebus said. "But let me tell you when I say top-level people, I mean top-level people."

So Priebus wants you to believe his unnamed sources, because they are "top-level people," but if the media tries to do the same, then the White House suddenly decides they need to show receipts. 

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Andrew Joyce

I cover politics and policy.

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