Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.

The most convenient thing about being an opinion columnist during President Trump’s administration is the stories pretty much write themselves. A brief summary of this week’s drama:

To kick things off, The Washington Post broke the story that Michael Flynn, the recently-resigned national security adviser, had private discussions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak about U.S. sanctions against Russia before Trump was inaugurated. Flynn then misled the vice president about the nature of the aforementioned discussions and was subsequently resigned.

Then, The New York Times stepped up to the piñata and broke the news that despite the administration’s repeated denials, members of Trump’s campaign team and other associates had “repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials” during the campaign.

All of these stories cite American intelligence officials. Trump doesn’t condemn the sources as false — in fact, his Twitter-barrage response to the stories included the gem, “Information is being illegally given to the failing N.Y. Times and Washington Post by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?)” Certainly, Flynn’s resignation makes it clear there’s truth in the leaks.

Other items of note include the House Oversight Committee’s investigation into a security breach involving an open-air discussion of sensitive information at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. Further, the Office of Government Ethics is taking Kellyanne Conway to task over her plug for Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. It bears repeating that Trump has been president for less than a month. Both the diversity and density of his administration’s missteps have been remarkable, if unsurprising, and one imagines 1600 Penn isn’t the cheeriest of work environments at the moment.

What a time, though, to be a reporter. For all his cries of “fake news,” Trump just keeps giving the press material to work with. In the early days of his campaign, when he was lampooned over and over for his apolitical temperament and knack for misspeaking, that material was fairly inconsequential.

As his campaign grew more realistic, coverage tightened up. His cries of “fake news,” once considered the whining of an out-of-touch narcissist, have been rightly treated as dangerous ever since. And it’s true; the ultimate duty of the media is to hold people and institutions accountable. Texas U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith recently encouraged Americans to “get [their] news directly from the president” because “it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth.” That’s an astoundingly flawed viewpoint and should set off critical-thinking alarm bells the world over.

This week’s developments prove a point. Trump has gone out of his way to discredit both the mainstream media and American intelligence agencies — two institutions particularly well-suited to dig up dirt. And, as it turns out, there’s dirt aplenty in the White House. Reporting on it isn’t inherently partisan or political — it’s the news media doing its job to report sourced, cited facts.

The Washington Post and The New York Times didn’t so much strike a blow this week as they maintained their due diligence in holding the executive branch accountable. The facts themselves forced the president’s hand. Flynn’s resignation is a tangible manifestation of what happens when all the spin and bluster falls away. Score one for “fake news.”

Jack Siglin is a senior physiology and neurobiology major. He can be reached at