Meet Fusion GPS.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore
Thursday's New York Times has a report on how the highly suspicious dossier alleging that Donald Trump was compromised by Russian intelligence agents came into existence. Among the other interesting revelations was that the dubious opposition research report was put together by the research firm Fusion GPS:
What's interesting about this revelation is that Fusion GPS has an institutional reputation for doing shoddy and underhanded political work, and nearly all of it has been at the behest of Democrats looking to attack Republicans. In 2012, Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel did some blockbuster reporting on Fusion GPS's alarming efforts to dig up dirt on donors to Mitt Romney and socially conservative causes:
That's not all Fusion GPS has been up to in recent years. In 2015, Planned Parenthood was stung by a video expose that detailed its involvement in human organ trafficking—organs harvested from the bodies obtained after abortions. Those behind the expose, David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress, knew they would be severely scrutinized so they released dozens of hours of raw footage that their documentary evidence was culled from to show that their reports had not been selectively edited. Nor were they misrepresenting the shocking statements of Planned Parenthood officials.
Nonetheless, Planned Parenthood produced a "forensic report" concluding that the videos had in fact been manipulated. The author of that report was none other than Fusion GPS. If you bothered to read the details of Fusion GPS's report it made some damning concessions, even admitting there was no "widespread evidence of substantive video manipulation." But overall, the report was calculated to be misleading and was nothing but an underhanded PR stunt for Planned Parenthood. Naturally, Fusion GPS's report was uncritically covered by a credulous media. Politico's headline was "Report for Planned Parenthood finds sting videos manipulated." The New York Times went with "Planned Parenthood Videos Were Altered, Analysis Finds." Neither report mentioned the controversy about Fusion GPS's attacks on GOP donors or otherwise suggested the firm had partisan motivations.
Indeed, it seems that the media have been uncritically amplifying Fusion GPS's disinformation campaigns for years now. Their involvement in the Trump report that blew up in BuzzFeed's face these past few days should be unsurprising, and prompts a host of questions. What other big stories was Fusion GPS involved in pushing? Surely, the group has been behind other stories where they were not disclosed as a source. Further, Fusion GPS is predominantly associated with Democratic causes, and it seems unusual that that Republican operatives would be crossing the aisle to hire them. The who, what, where, when, why, and how of Fusion GPS getting hired to take on Trump is something that the RNC and other Republican operatives ought to get to the bottom of.