It’s unanimous: not only has every high-level US official who was actually in the meeting where the Washington Post claims President Trump exposed classified information to Russian officials flatly denied that it happened, now even the Russians are denying it. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded to all the questions on Facebook with this: “Guys, have you been reading American newspapers again? You shouldn’t read them. You can put them to various uses, but you shouldn’t read them. Lately it’s become not only harmful, but dangerous too.”

Sure, it’s easy to dismiss what a Russian government spokeswoman says (although she’s right about American newspapers having some real uses; just ask my friends who run a parrot rescue and need plenty of bird cage liner.) But it really tells you something about how far their reputations for journalistic integrity have fallen that when even a spokeswoman for the Russian government denounces a Washington Post story as fake news, you find yourself more inclined to believe her than the Post.

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The names “Washington Post” and “New York Times” used to stand for the highest standards of quality in their field. Now when you see them, you immediately suspect you’re about to be exposed to shoddy, fourth-rate dreck. Congratulations, guys: you’re now the “National Lampoons” of journalism.