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The worst-kept secret in Washington took another twist — and the reputation of professional journalism took another hit — on Sunday when a Fox News contributor dared to utter the name of the suspected “whistleblower” at the heart of the impeachment effort against President Donald Trump.

And the most newsworthy part of the moment was the effort by a clearly discomfited “MediaBuzz” host Howard Kurtz to downplay the whole thing.

Even at Fox News, about the only major news organization that is not part of the impeachment mob pursuing the president, the identity of the suspected whistleblower is supposed to be a secret.

And isn’t keeping secrets what American journalism is all about?

As just about anyone paying attention knows by now, the man behind the whistleblower complaint is thought to be Eric Ciaramella, a 33-year-old CIA analyst and registered Democrat who’d been assigned to the National Security Council by former CIA Director (and now-ardent Trump foe) John Brennan.

Ciaramella’s name has never been officially confirmed, however, so the nation’s news outlets have engaged in a determined effort to ensure that the man apparently behind the Democrats’ efforts to undo the results of the 2016 election must remain “he-who-shall-not-be-named” as far as the American public is concerned.

Last week, according to CNN Business, Fox hosts were emailed a reminder that Ciaramella’s name was not to be used because the network had not “independently confirmed [the] name or identification of the anonymous whistleblower.”

On Sunday’s “MediaBuzz,” the Fox News show devoted to the intersection of politics and the media, Fox contributor and senior editor at The Federalist Mollie Hemingway went ahead and identified Ciaramella anyway, and the discomfort on the set was obvious.

Check it out here (The video is not directly available from Fox News, which has apparently disappeared the whole incident down the memory hole):

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“The New York Times did all but reveal his name in September,” Hemingway said. “And RealClearInvestigations has identified a man named Eric Ciaramella as the whistleblower, so it’s already out there.

“We could be talking about this reporting, and talking about whether that’s accurate reporting or not. So I’m still a little bit confused about why we’re pretending that hasn’t already happened.”

Philippe Reines, a former Hillary Clinton strategist and MediaBuzz regular, practically blanched at the name being spoken out loud.

“That might be the first time that the name has been mentioned on Fox News,” he said.

Kurtz, the host, and normally a reliable voice of sanity in the D.C. Wonderland, tried to paper over the moment. But he didn’t exactly cover himself with glory.

“I just want to clarify that I don’t know that that’s the person,” Kurtz said.

Directly addressing the camera, he made the point as crystal clear as a hostage video: “I don’t know whether this is actually the person or not,” he said. “And I don’t want to speculate about that. But there have been a few conservative outlets and commentators that have floated that name.”

  • Art LaPella says:

    Well I don’t use his name, for the same reason I don’t discuss how atomic bombs work, even though it’s public knowledge. The whistleblower can be prosecuted (if appropriate) because Trump’s lawyers know his name. We can discredit impeachment by discussing the whistleblower’s ties to Biden, preferably without using his name. But using his name doesn’t seem to accomplish anything except encourage vigilantes, and this talk page shows that is imaginable.

  • Arlene says:

    How does anyone still listen to the pre-programmed bullsh*t that the Left is trying to make us think is true? WOKE isn’t just a “phrase” but a FACT! We are all now waking up to the fact that our government has been lying to us, using the MSM to spoon-feed it to us ~ and we are now sadly, frighteningly aware of the real truth – and we won’t compromise the belief – that our president is the only one with no agenda who can bring some sanity into this corruption of power that we still call a government. And he has them running scared. No, terrified. Just maybe, we will leave our children and grandchildren the America that our forefathers originally envisioned for us…before greed of the highest order took over.

  • Marina says:

    Why is it that the courageous ones to speak out are mostly women?
    Howard Kurtz and the other guy have no backbone.
    Kudos to Mollie!
    P. Trump deserves the support of all Americans for what he has done to make America Great Again!

  • mileaway says:

    Boy did Kurtz’s testicles shrivel ! I used to like this guy but he really showed me he has no journalistic fortitude!

  • Gerry says:

    Just another cowardly demoSCUM piece of trash. Let’s make a false statement then run and hide in hopes the lame worthless media and the demoSCUM party will cover for me.


    The Idiot’s name was in the Press and online for over a week. He is a 33 year old idiot who took direction from John Brennan, another idiot, however an adult idiot. You both have once again shamed the CIA, where neither has any qualification or honorability. Both should lose jobs/pensions for grandstanding positions in an honorable part of our government.

  • CF