As could be expected given its importance, major U.S. newspapers made Trump's divulging of top secret and highly-classified information their top story. As Kiosko.net currently demonstrates, the Trump story is at the top of the front page and it is the headline with the largest font on each of the five newspapers featured at the top of their page. Contrast that with this morning's Wheeling Intelligencer. Today's top story is about the issues connected to the purchase of Ohio Valley Medical Center. Okay, I can see the local importance of that story. On the other hand, the other above-the-fold story is
WVa. Woman Gets House Arrest For Shooting Dog
Also, on the bottom half of the front page is a story about the West Virginia legislature's special session and one that features local Ohio Representative Jack Cerra discussing Ohio's budget and gas revenues at a town hall in Martins Ferry. For Wheeling residents, the WV legislature report is important; the Cerra story not-so-much. Was there room for the Trump story on the front page? I think so: both the dog and Cerra stories could easily have been placed on an inside page like page 3 which is where the Intelligencer placed the AP's Trump story.
Perhaps more importantly, what the Intelligencer decided to print is only the first third of the AP article which included the defenses rendered by three Trump aides: H.R. McMaster, Rex Tillerson and Dina Powell. Excluded from the Intelligencer coverage of the AP story was any criticism of Trump's action -- for example, six strong statements including those from Republican senators Bob Corker and John McCain. (See the last two-thirds of the AP article here.)
My hunch is that if your only source of information is what you read in the Intelligencer (or the Intelligencer and Fox News), you'd probably agree with the paper's page three placement of the story. (Hey, there's nothing going on here!) Not surprisingly, studies of the low information voter in the last election correlated nicely with voting for Trump. Yes, the Intelligencer is still doing its part to keep its readership uninformed or ill-informed.
By the way, the afternoon News-Register did not cover the story.
Similar to the AP story, Talking Points Memo explains what his defenders said yesterday:
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson proclaimed that Trump never divulged “intelligence sources or methods”—a claim that was not alleged in the reporting on the meeting.
Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy Dina Powell called the Post story “false,” a claim that McMaster later echoed in a terse, minute-long statement from the White House driveway as dusk fell over the West Wing.
“Going on the record should outweigh the anonymous sources. I was in the room,” McMaster said. “It didn’t happen.”
Like a number of sources, the TPM report noted that President Trump tweeted about this controversy earlier today. And it did happen:
Supporters and surrogates of President Donald Trump woke up Tuesday morning to another kick in the teeth.
After working overtime Monday to quell a political firestorm ignited by reports that the President disclosed highly classified information to senior Russian diplomats, Trump promptly threw everyone who came to his defense under the bus, acknowledging in a pair of tweets that he shared “facts” with his visitors from the Kremlin.
A couple of final thoughts
Last year a week didn't pass that a local editorial didn't tell us about how Hillary Clinton had mishandled sensitive information while Secretary of State. No, I'm not going to hold my breath.
And there's also this from last year:
Hat tip to Talking Points Memo.