Conservative-leaning news website Washington Free Beacon (WFB) published a number of articles on Fusion GPS and the “Steele dossier” without disclosing their relationship to the company.
The New York Times reported Friday that the Free Beacon, a site funded in part by billionaire Trump critic and Marco Rubio donor Paul Singer, hired Fusion GPS to conduct opposition research on Donald Trump, as well as other GOP primary contenders.
One article from July 2017 titled “Senate Democrats Protest Obamacare Repeal, Block Key Witness in Russia Probe,” mentions Fusion GPS at length in its reporting, yet doesn’t mention the website’s relationship with the opposition research firm.
Another article from June 2017 mentions Fusion GPS, referring to them only as a “Washington investigative firm” that had “raised concerns the president was being blackmailed by the Kremlin.”
One article from August 2017 titled “Huckabee Sanders Blasts Media for ‘Misleading’ Russia Coverage” refers to Fusion GPS once again only as a “consulting firm.”
And just this week, the website ran the article “Clinton Campaign, DNC Paid for Research Behind Russia Dossier,” which repeatedly mentioned Fusion GPS but did not disclose their own relationship with the firm that created the anti-Trump dossier.
It’s also noteworthy how sparse the Free Beacon’s reporting on Fusion GPS was.
Searching “Fusion GPS” on the Free Beacon’s website returns a large number of articles, but the majority of those seem to only turn up in search due to a Friday statement admitting WFB’s relationship with Fusion GPS.
Articles that actually refer to Fusion GPS and provide reporting on it constitute a much smaller number, with The Daily Caller being able to locate less than 10 stories that actually report on Fusion. A few of those only mention Fusion in passing, without much scrutiny.
Other right-leaning news websites like Breitbart News, TownHall, and the Washington Examiner showed no similar restraint in covering Fusion GPS and the Steele dossier.
WFB reportedly hired Fusion GPS for opposition research in October 2015 and stopped in May 2016.
Fusion GPS was later paid by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for anti-Trump research. The firm had former British spy Michael Steele produce a dossier on Trump’s alleged connections to Russia which was posted online by Buzzfeed News in January 2017.
The Free Beacon’s editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti and chairman Michael Goldfarb put out a statement Friday, which read in part:
…during the 2016 election cycle we retained Fusion GPS to provide research on multiple candidates in the Republican presidential primary, just as we retained other firms to assist in our research into Hillary Clinton. All of the work that Fusion GPS provided to the Free Beacon was based on public sources, and none of the work product that the Free Beacon received appears in the Steele dossier…
…The Free Beacon had no knowledge of or connection to the Steele dossier, did not pay for the dossier, and never had contact with, knowledge of, or provided payment for any work performed by Christopher Steele. Nor did we have any knowledge of the relationship between Fusion GPS and the Democratic National Committee, Perkins Coie, and the Clinton campaign.
How do you feel about the Free Beacon never disclosing their relationship to Fusion GPS? Let us know in the comments below!