Inside The Black Market Information Trade

Excerpted from Sharyl Attkisson’s “The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote,” published by HarperCollins

It’s March 2016. I’m speaking at a meeting on Capitol Hill attended mostly by congressional staffers. Groups of Democrats and Republicans routinely invite me and other journalists to speak. Sometimes I go because it helps me to get to know the players. They try to pick my brain. Why do journalists do such-and-such? Why can’t we get a fair shot from such-and-such news organization? There’s an understandable desire within both political parties to use the media to their advantage. In terms of who has the organization, leadership, strategy, and infrastructure to take better advantage, Republicans tell me they know that going into the 2016 campaign, it’s the Democrats. They ask me how they can get the same edge. I tell them I’m not a political adviser, just an observer.

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