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Very few journalists make up stuff from nothing—the celebrated cases, sure—but seasoned political reporters largely do not.

But they have choices: they accept scoops/info from people who’ve lied to them in the past—ALL THE TIME—so long as it advances their preferred narrative.
It’s possible some are so deranged and blinkered they want to believe, but I think a few of them know that their source’s info just has to have a certain plausibility, and that’s it.
There are a finite number of people who give you information if you’re on a certain beat. It’s not 500; it’s more like 50. (That’s still a ton of sources.)

You ALWAYS know the basic motivation for the source, especially if it’s a Trump story.
Fusion GPS gave many a peek behind the curtain, but people we’ve been in this business have long known how the system works.

If I called Fusion Ken at MSNBC with a scoop about Adam Schiff’s misdeeds, he’d do what he could to protect him—because he’s clearly been a source.
Those sources are valuable, you use them sometimes many times a week over the course of decades. A smart analyst of these things—or a fellow practitioner—could piece together who’s almost certainly a source just from looking at a reporter’s other work.
So let’s say you’re a reporter, and your source who’s always been good to you—you’ve made your bones, gotten raises and been on TV thanks to his info or leaks—shows up with a story you know is bullshit. What do you do?
Odds are, you’d hold your nose and run it, because you want to go your guy a solid and because, well, maybe it could be crazy enough to be true? Either way, you think, the accusation itself is newsworthy.
So that’s how a reporter ends up running a story that is transparently bullshit.
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