Last week there was considerable journalistic and political furor over a article in The Atlantic magazine claiming that President Trump had referred to our nations fallen heroes as “suckers and losers.” The story was written by Chief Editor Jeffrey Goldberg and was said to be based on several anonymous sources.
The article provoked a strong response from the White House, and more than a dozen persons, not all of them friends of Trump, stepped forward to strongly challenge the veracity of Goldberg’s story. At least one key part of the anonymous sources’ account was disproven by contemporary evidence. The President himself said that the entire article was a ugly fabrication.
Unfortunately, because of our the nature of our libel and slander laws, there is no way for public figures in America to defend themselves against this sort of attack. Goldberg says that his sources demanded anonymity for fear of verbal assaults from Trump supporters. They are doubtless correct. However, anyone making such outrageously harmful charges against another person should identify themselves and provide some evidence to support their story. Otherwise, they should remain silent. Goldberg, by publishing this article, has done the nation and journalism a great disservice.