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Steven Mnuchin's confirmation hearing to become secretary of treasury in the Trump administration was already going to be contentious, what with Mnuchin's status as a Goldman Sachs alum who ran a bank with a history of ruthless foreclosure practices. But this week we found out even more, thanks to a manila envelope with no return address that showed up in our reporter David Dayen's mailbox. Inside was a memo from the top prosecutors at the California Attorney General's Office Consumer Law Section, describing in great detail how they had “uncovered evidence suggestive of widespread misconduct” at OneWest Bank while Mnuchin was in charge. The memo indicated that Mnuchin’s bank didn’t merely act callously when it foreclosed on homeowners, but did so with blatant disregard for the law.
The Washington Post didn't get a thick memo in the mail, just a whisper from anonymous “federal officials” to the extent that the Russians had hacked into a utility grid. They ran with it. And Glenn Greenwald points out that although the story turned out to be completely wrong, the Post was richly rewarded — another case of the Post's aggressive hyping of sensationalistic false stories, ensuring that they go viral.