Fake News: Journal from '06 Affair With Trump Written on Notepad That Didn't Exist Until '16

A major scoop by Howard Kurtz who catches David Remnick's New Yorker and Ronan Farrow pulling a Dan Rather. It's not quite as bad as Rather's time traveling copy of Microsoft Word somehow appearing during the Vietnam War, but it's a serious credibility hit.

Still, some journalists reached the understandable conclusion that McDougal’s notes were composed back in 2006. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote this week that McDougal “handwrote a contemporaneous account of her alleged affair.”

Time, in a common formulation, said that “a former Playboy model kept handwritten notes about an alleged nine-month affair with President Donald Trump that began in 2006.”

The Week said that “McDougal's friend John Crawford supplied Farrow with McDougal's handwritten notes from the time, which detail the affair.”

Not so much. 

The McDougal passages were written on a notebook marketed by fashion designer Izak Zenou, whose name appears at the bottom of one of the pages. He got into the business of creating office supplies in 2016, and the notebook was not available for sale on Amazon until March 2016.

Unless they time traveled with Dan Rather's Vietnam War copy of Microsoft Office, they date from the election.

The centerpiece of a New Yorker story on Karen McDougal, who says she had an affair with Donald Trump, is scribbled notes kept by the former Playboy playmate.

These notes, obtained by journalist Ronan Farrow, are presented as her personal reflections on the relationship –“later memorialized in an eight-page, handwritten document provided to the New Yorker.”

Readers could easily get the impression, as many journalists have, that McDougal wrote these notes during what she describes as a consensual relationship that began in 2006. But that is not the case.

A telltale marking on the entries, reproduced by the magazine, shows that McDougal wrote these pages either during or since the 2016 campaign—relying on memories that were at least a decade old...

Making the journal rather pointless.

The whole point of presenting notes like these is to document that the events took place by recording them during or after they took place. A journal that you wrote up ten years later while trying to sell the story is a meaningless joke. 

Remnick and the New Yorker are playing a double game by pretending that everyone knows these are 2016 notes even as it's quite clear that they do not. There wouldn't have been nearly as much interest in the material in '06. Which would have added credibility. Instead they're just another attempt to cash in on Trump by feeding the media the hit pieces that it wants.