When Nixon was running roughshod over politics in the '70s, we had Bob Woodward meeting Deep Throat in a parking garage. In the '90s, Larry Flynt responded to the attacks on Bill Clinton’s extramarital affairs by offering cash for evidence of Republican lawmakers having adulterous affairs.
And today, in the age of Trump, we have Gizmodo using social media to solicit inside info from government employees.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Gizmodo is running Facebook ads targeted at employees for specific agencies, offering them a secure and anonymous way to pass along information about the inner working of the Trump Regime.
The ads take you to a site called TellOnTrump.com that says “One thing we know about Donald Trump is that there are a lot of things Donald Trump doesn't want people to know about. If you’ve reached this page, you might have information about the conduct of Donald Trump or his administration that you’d like people to know about.” The site then goes on to list a number of secure means of passing information along to the Special Projects Desk of Gizmodo.
Gizmodo is not the first news outlet that has publicized secure means for leakers to leak. Pro Publica, the New York Times, and the Washington Post have also set up secure sites for insiders to drop information with minimal risk. (Disclaimer: No method is without risk and anyone leaking info can get caught.) But Gizmodo is the first to utilize the highly targeted advertising on sites like Facebook to reach employees of agencies they think have the best data.
Gizmodo also plans to go old school and place ads on bus shelters near the agencies in question. Yin and yang of investigative journalism, I guess.
Is any of this going to turn up a smoking gun that unTrumps America? Who knows. What is certain, however, is that the 45th President is incensed about all the leaks that have been springing forth from the White House, the intelligence community, and other federal agencies. He can’t stop tweeting about it or ranting about it in appearances this week. This man appears to like to keep his secrets, and doesn’t seem to relish the feeling that his underbelly could be exposed at any moment.
So whether or not Gizmodo’s call for leaks actually nets any important information, they’re successfully trolling the Troll in Chief. And that may be good enough.