Axios goes for the baseless rumors

Axios, a lefty news website I usually like anyway, is lurching into Buzzfeed territory by reporting a rumor that hasn't even had a chance to be a rumor.  Sources opposed to White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster are reportedly cooking up the claim that straight-arrow, hyper-disciplined McMaster is really...a drunk.

Outside forces opposed to McMaster are going to allege he has a drinking problem, according to sources outside the Trump administration familiar with the anti-McMaster campaign. The controversial nationalist Mike Cernovich, who has an inside track on the anti-McMaster campaign, teased the alcohol attack in an Internet video with Alex Jones of the website Infowars. Anti-McMaster forces believe this attack will harm his standing with the president, who is a teetotaler.

It's as absurd a claim as any that can be imagined, given those who know McMaster.  I was impressed by this firsthand account of the man that ran in American Thinker just recently by Eric Holmes.  Whatever you may think of McMaster's policies, and it's valid to have some criticism, he does come across as a man with impeccable discipline and character.  Whoever the other people are who are claiming that McMaster is a lush can't know McMaster as well as Holmes does, and whatever they might say cannot be as true as whatever Holmes has described.

This calls into question why Axios is reporting this.  American Thinker has at least as wide a reach as the other publications, and the story could have as easily been "conservative sites begin to defend McMaster."  Instead, it goes for the one site or other that has a problem with McMaster and reports that as the news, even as its only product is baseless information.  The Axios headline framed the story as the campaign against McMaster about to get uglier, but seriously, it's not a story yet, and there is no campaign thus far.  It's not even clear that Axios is upset about this development.  From what I can tell, the publication seems to be enjoying it.

In that case, we are well into Buzzfeed territory with this rumor-reporting as news that isn't news.  This is how the media work these days.  Axios can do a lot better than that.

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