The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Breaking News’ Category

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There was a moment during the previous Trumpcare vote, when John McCain made his dramatic entrance and gave the melodramatic thumbs down, when Democrats spontaneously burst into applause. And minority leader Chuck Schumer angrily waved for them to stop, which was almost like someone hit the “mute” button. Schumer must have known that Trumpcare was not yet dead and gloating was premature. Sure enough, Trumpcare is back. And it is actually closer to passing now than it was back then. Lisa Murkowski, who with Susan Collins so resolutely stood against it then, is wavering now. It is impossible to read McCain’s intentions. His maverickness has always been an illusion. Will he waver until the last moment and deal Trumpcare another deathblow so he can bask in the glow of public praise? Or will he do his usually hyper-partisan right-wing thing and do what he has always done: vote right along party lines? Who can tell.

There’s a moment in Hillary Clinton’s book “What Happened” where she mentions that at the inauguration McCain came up to her and hugged her, and had the same horrified expression on his face that she had. I’m sure this happened, but I’ve always been fascinated by how politicians can do and say such awful things to one another – and then talk about each other’s integrity. McCain’s behavior towards Clinton has been vile for many years. From Benghazi and emails through the entire campaign. And yet, Hillary considers him a friend. I know this sort of thing has been the gold standard for bipartisanship (fight during the day, share dinner and drinks at night), but when so much it at stake, how do politicians separate their personal feelings? How do they compartmentalize watching people do horrible things and go grab a smoke after? How does one continue to respect a man like John McCain?

Speaking of vile and no respect: Bernie. Yesterday socalannie posted a tweet from Sasha Stone, founder of the entertainment website awardsdaily.com.

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That’s a perspective on Sanders and his Revolution I hadn’t appreciated until Stone articulated it. And suddenly, so much of it makes sense. Bernie is the alien from “Aliens,” a parasite with acid for blood that latches on to a host because it can’t survive on its own, and then eats its way out through the chest cavity. It lays eggs (Bernie’s loyal minions like Nina Turner and Susan Sarandon), who do their own damage by killing their own hosts. And the cycle continues. Of course Sanders’ revolution is against Democrats. He and his believers have dedicated more time to attacking Democrats than Republicans and Trump. And they are doing it by infiltrating the party and are now eating their way out. Sadly the Democratic party is allowing it. Last week Sanders managed to bully a lot of leading Democrats, like Kirsten Gillibrand, Corey Booker and Kamala Harris into supporting his single payer plan, a plan each and everyone one of them knows has zero chance of passing. And a plan that they announced just as the newest version of Trumpcare, conceived by Lindsey Graham, began to dig its way out of the grave. Sanders convinced Democrats to take their eyes off the undead with the usual promises of magical unicorns. Even Bernie Bro Matty Yglesias tweeted that October 1 – the day after reconciliation of ACA repeal ends – would have been a better day to introduce single payer. Now it’s impossible to tell if ACA will survive. And no, contrary to what Bernie Bros maintain, death of ACA will not lead to single payer.

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On the plus side, NY Times’ Glenn Thrush announced he quit Twitter. Sayonara baby.

What’s your minds Widdershins? This is an open thread.

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Good morning Widdershins.

It’s Wednesday morning, so it must be “let’s pile on Hillary” day. As excerpts from her book are starting to leak, they are mobilizing the usual suspects within the media to tell us how much they detest her. At the center of the latest are, naturally, the Times Twins: super star political reporters Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman. Thrush recently went on a massive twitter storm listing all the things Hillary did wrong to lose the election. Conspicuously absent from his list was an acknowledgement of multiple Harvard studies showing the media “gorged” on Clinton e-mails.

Back in December of 2016 the Shorenstein Center from Harvard studied the coverage of the television networks and major newspapers.

Clinton’s controversies got more attention than Trump’s (19 percent versus 15 percent) and were more focused,” noted study author Thomas E. Patterson. “Trump wallowed in a cascade of separate controversies. Clinton’s badgering had a laser-like focus. She was alleged to be scandal-prone. Clinton’s alleged scandals accounted for 16 percent of her coverage—four times the amount of press attention paid to Trump’s treatment of women and sixteen times the amount of news coverage given to Clinton’s most heavily covered policy position.

The recent Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard studied online coverage of the campaign and reached same conclusions.

“I think the fact that we get the same results as Shorenstein using significantly different methodologies yields a high degree of confidence,” Robert Faris, the center’s research director, tells the Erik Wemple Blog.

I would come to Haberman, Thrush and the rest’s defense on this particular issue though. The real fault in this lies with the editors of the newspapers. In the case of New York Times it’s executive editor Dean Baquet. Baquet is the one who decides what his reporters will investigate and what the headlines will read. So it’s Baquet who decided in 2016 that Hillary’s e-mails were the single most important story his paper would pursue. (Eric Lichtblau’s disastrous “Investigating Donald Trump, FBI sees no direct link to Russia” headline remains un-retracted and uncorrected.”) Baquet is a disgrace and he controls what topics Haberman and Thrush will pursue. But he does not control what Thrush and Haberman tweet.

Which brings me back to Clinton’s book. Hillary writes:

Jake Sullivan, my top policy advisor, told me it reminded him of a scene from the 1998 movie There’s Something About Mary. A deranged hitchhiker says he’s come up with a brilliant plan. Instead of the famous “eight-minute abs” exercise routine, he’s going to market “seven-minute abs.” It’s the same, just quicker. Then the driver, played by Ben Stiller, says, “Well, why not six-minute abs?” That’s what it was like in policy debates with Bernie. We would propose a bold infrastructure investment plan or an ambitious new apprenticeship program for young people, and then Bernie would announce basically the same thing, but bigger. On issue after issue, it was like he kept proposing four-minute abs, or even no-minute abs. Magic abs!”

This passage brought out perhaps the most deranged tweet I have ever seen Maggie Haberman write.

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Note that Haberman is re-tweeting a Republican Bernie Bro, who worked on Jeb Bush’s campaign. Miller’s feed is filled with anti-Clinton sentiments.

The ethical and moral corruption of Haberman’s vision expressed in this tweet is breathtaking. I have never seen a tweet from Haberman about Donald Trump that approaches this level of insanity. I have been thinking about the media and their coverage of Clinton for a long time. And I’ve concluded that if one assumes true lack of politics (let’s pretend for a minute that Haberman, Thrush, Chris Cillizza and their ilk aren’t right-wing Republicans) – what is it that drives their Clinton Derangement Syndrome? I think it’s amorality. Not immorality, but amorality. There is a school of thought that journalists are supposed to tell a story, but not be a story. And that their stories should be impartial.

We long ago lost sight of “tell the story, don’t be the story” mantra. Perhaps it was the post-Watergate effect, where Woodward and Bernstein became superstars. This is what every reporter today craves: attention. Few of them seek the truth for truth’s own sake. Most of them seek invitations to cable news shows where they can dazzle us with their self-serving insight and wit. Their hunger for twitter followers devours their journalistic integrity.

And then there’s impartiality. Impartiality sounds great on paper, but it can not be achieved, like Utopia. It can not exist if you have morals. It does not exist in judges, it does not exist in politicians and it does not exist in journalists. Morals and ethics drive everything that we are because we are human. But lack of impartiality should never be confused with lack of honesty in the story, however. As Christiane Amanpour said in an important speech in November 2016:

I learned long ago, covering the ethnic cleansing and genocide in Bosnia, never to equate victim with aggressor, never to create a false moral or factual equivalence, because then you are an accomplice to the most unspeakable crimes and consequences.

I believe in being truthful, not neutral.

This is where people like Haberman and Thrush and all the rest fail, and fail so painfully because it is the rest of humanity that pays the price. Supposed impartiality in their work actually demonstrates the absence of morals.

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What’s on your mind Widdershins? This is an open thread.

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Hello Widdershins,

We have survived another week without a nuclear apocalypse. Yay? Doesn’t mean another one won’t come tomorrow. The 45h Dump is escalating the war in Afghanistan (hey, remember when Rita Skeeter Maureen Dowd wrote a whole column arguing that Dump was a “dove” and Hillary was the “hawk?” LOL yeah.) John McCain and Lady Graham couldn’t be happier about more war. And a twitter war broke out between the NYTimes Twins (Thrush and Haberman) and people with a brain, many of whom happened to be Clinton supporters, but not exclusively, after Thrush went on a sexist tirade listing all the things Hillary did wrong during the election. This is after a Harvard study showed that “her emails” was the single most covered story in the media, which perhaps was unwise of the media. But Times Twins found other reasons for the 2016 disaster, among them that Hillary flew home for dinner every night of the campaign (some have disputed that), that she spoke too much (he actually said that) during the campaign, waged a silly war on the media, and should have listened to people more, and that Huma Abedin should have fired. These are things Glenn Thrush tweeted and Haberman backed up, and then Jonathan Martin jumped in too. I’ll just leave the topic right there because I’m getting palpitations right now.

We are also learning that the DNC is having a hard time raising money. Liberal organizations are not having difficulties. Individual political campaigns, like Jon Ossoff’s for example, and organizations like ACLU. So liberals are giving away a lot of money – they’re just steering clear of the DNC. Perhaps, possibly, just maybe the reason is Bernie Sanders? The disastrous “Unity Tour” and endless screaming by Sanders proxies like Nina Turner, as well as DNC’s attempts to reach white people, at the expense of its actual base (women and people of color)  is not going to bring out the donations. And Sanders supporters are not going to start sending their $27 to the DNC. So Tom Perez has some decisions to make. Stick with Bernie and his Bros, and starve DNC of its base money, or throw Bernie into the trash where he belongs.

New Republic also notes that

“Obama and Clinton are both high-profile Democrats and neither have been helping the DNC raise much money,” Beckel said. There is a finite amount of resources, and it’s possible that Obama and Clinton are pulling the deep donor networks that they have cultivated away from the party itself. (Obama, however, has reportedly been privately advising Tom Perez.)

And in really fun news: there’s a state of war between Dump and McTurtle.

It seems that the President personally berated McConnell the last time they did talk, on August 9, repeating his complaints about the Senate and about the mild criticism its leader aimed at him. And the two pols have been carrying out a proxy war via Trump’s attacks on, and McConnell’s vigorous support for, Republican senators who have disrespected POTUS, notably Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who recently published a book that rejected Trump’s claim to be a legitimate conservative.

Per the failing NY Times, the Dump/McTurtle conversation on August 9th turned into a cursing shouting match. Lordy I hope there are tapes!

What’s on your mind Widdershins?

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I have been a sick Widdershin, my fellow Widdershins. Summer colds are the worst, and you can’t turn the AC off because it’s too hot and humid. So the cycle of cold, dry air at home and office vs. smack-you-in-the-face heat and humidity outside. There’s only so much a body can take.

Plus, a couple of days ago MadamaB asked how long it has been. I can inform you that we just passed the 84th anniversary of Donald Dump becoming president. Ok, it’s only been 6 months, but I think we’ve all aged 84 years, give or take. So my post will be a bit more rambly than usual. Blame it on the fever and, of course, Dump.

One story that caught my eye this week is the shooting of an Australian woman named Justine Diamond by a police officer in Minneapolis. Diamond called 911 to report a possible assault and was somehow shot and killed herself. She was shot through the door of the police car as she was leaning over to speak to the officers. Both cops were wearing body cameras, but they did not turn them on. Another fatal cop shooting in a long string of fatal cop shootings. One would expect the usual reaction: Right-wing forming a protective wall around the cop. Cops can do no wrong. Except this case was different. The victim was a blonde caucasian. The cop: a black Muslim. Imagine the reactions from the alt-right…

In an interview with Ari Melber on MSNBC, Bernie Sanders was asked a question he was clearly not expecting to be asked.

“Did you know then that this might have been part of [the Kremlin’s] design?” MSNBC reporter Ari Melber asked Sanders Wednesday. “To leak these emails precisely so that there would be more riffs in the Democratic Party?”

“Well of course we knew that,” Sanders replied. “Of course we knew that they were trying to cause divisiveness within the Democratic Party,” the senator continued. “That’s no great secret.”

This should, of course, be a bigger story. Sanders admitting that he knew he was acting as a Kremlin-puppet is a big deal. But in our current endless news cycle of endless breaking stories it got somewhat lost. By now if you ask a Bernie Bros about it, they’ll tell you they never even heard of such a thing.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is going forward with its investigation of Russian interference into our election. How it’s going is hard to tell. Chuck Grassley is the chairman and I wouldn’t trust him as far as I can throw a Russian. But they have scheduled an open hearing (with Bob Mueller’s permission) to question Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort. (Also to be questioned is Bill Browder, the man who hired tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky to look into missing money…the rest is the Magnitsky Act seemingly at the center of Putin’s anger at the West.) The most interesting part of the letter the Judiciary Committee sent to Junior and Manafort, asking them to preserve all communications with people like Carter Page and Sergei Lavrov and that ambassador nobody remembers and Alfa Bank… is the inclusion of Dr. Jill Stein.

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Stein is right there between Michael Flynn and Michael Cohen. Let the fireworks begin. The hearing is scheduled to take place on Wed, July 26th.

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I think we can all safely assume that the depths to which the Republican party will sink to prop up Trump is a bottomless pit. There are still, believe it or not, those who think that the next big thing that happens will be the moment the GOP will turn on Trump. But we have all collectively been expecting the next big thing for almost two years. It did not come before the GOP primaries, it did not come during the GOP primaries, Trump did not pivot after securing the election, Trump did not pivot as the 2016 race heated up, Trump did not change after he “won,” he did not change after beings worn in, the GOP did not turn on him after his 100 days and they will not turn on him after he nukes California. If I am wrong about this, Tucker Carlson will eat my shoes. I say that because I am not a betting man and I have no desire to eat my shoes, but Carlson should have shoes shoved down his throat every day he breathes.

GOP did not turn on Trump after he fired Comey. Instead, they have gone after Comey. In 170517175257-03-robert-mueller-file-large-169recent days Trump has indicated via carefully leaked stories (which he then denies…) that he is considering firing Robert Muller. If anyone thought this would turn the GOP against him – LOL. Newt Gingrich has already began an assault on Muller. The most recent news (sorry, it’s by Haberman and Thrush, the Times Twins) is that Trump thought leaking the story that he’s considering firing Muller would make Muller more likely to exonerate Trump because, in Trump’s twisted head, Muller is desperate to keep his job.

The president was pleased by the ambiguity of his position on Mr. Mueller, and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions also declined to offer his support for Mr. Mueller during testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

This is, of course, patently bananas. I doubt Muller cares about this job beyond conducting an investigation. Perhaps Trump thinks Muller is another one of his dim-witted White House monkeys like Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus, people who are – for reasons that defy comprehension – so desperate to hold on to their jobs that they debase themselves each and every day.

On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr. President, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you’ve given us to serve your agenda and the American people. And we’re continuing to work very hard every day to accomplish those goals.

“…the blessing that you’ve given us…” This was the former head of the RNC groveling before Trump and the entire cabinet and 1494875127256many cameras, dragging his pathetic broken body across a bed of nails and fire to lick the athlete’s foot fungus off Trump’s feet. Sean Spicer, his eyes hollow, hideous black bags under them, skin bloodless like a vampire, screams at the press The President has made it very clear that… each and every day. (Except the days he is replaced by Sarah Huckabee Sanders (I never fail to marvel at the glory of her name; God really does have a sense of humor), who is as haughty with the press as Spicer is hysterical. Huckabee Sanders yells at them too, but hers is a thinly veiled Fuck you, you numb nuts ratfucking pigs sort of contempt. The White House press deserves both.)

What it is the GOP at large wants to accomplish I’m not entirely certain. Yes, I know they want to repeal the ACA (chances of this have increased by a lot), and lower taxes on rich people and take grandma’s social security away. But it seems to me the long-term damage done to their party is irreparable. The Republican who stands up and leads the chant of “Impeach Trump!” is likely to be glorified in the future. Everyone else will be forgotten in infamy as a blob of GOP scum. If we ever thought John McCain would lead a Republican resistance, McCain never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity to stand on actual principles instead of talking about them. After an embarrassing partisan display (but her e-mails) and humiliating mental collapse while questioning Comey, we now also learn Cindy McCain will work for Trump in the State Department.  But then again, I have been wrong before and if I am wrong about any of this again, I will let let Tucker Carlson eat my shoes.

This is an open thread. What’s on your mind Widdershins?

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As I have written many times, often writing posts in the Trump-age feels like an exercise in futility because by the time they are posted they are already out of date. I fear this post will be the same… so we must stay on top of latest news via the comments!

What we know: FBI Director James Comey has been fired by Donald Trump, his Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, with Rosenstein writing the explanation. (Rosenstein had previously been viewed as an honest man. He was confirmed just a few weeks ago to the Justice Deparment with a 94-6 vote in the Senate. But as Philippe Reines pointed out, if Rosenstein was an honest man he would have answered Trump and Sessions’ demand that Comey be fired with: “No, I refuse.” Instead, he wrote his own epitaph as a coward.) The administrations explanation for firing Comey is: it’s Hillary’s fault. Also, her e-mails.

I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.

It is not the function of the director to make such an announcement. At most, the director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors. The director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department.

This is, of course, laughable on its face and no one can take this explanation seriously except maybe Fox News, which suddenly shows great concern for how Comey treated poor Hillary Clinton. Even Roger Stone (!) expressed regret: “What Comey did to Hillary was disgraceful. I’m glad Trump fired him over it,” he said to Alex Pfeiffer. We know, of course, the firing had nothing to do with Clinton. It is about the FBI’s investigation of Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 Presidential election.

Comey

James Comey has been an enigma for a long time. His press conference announcing that his agency would not recommend charges against Clinton over use of a private e-mail server, while blasting her in such a public manner, seemed inexplicable. Some stories later suggested Comey wanted to reveal information about Russian interference in our election in the summer of 2016, but was stopped by Obama. Then Comey refused to sign on to other agencies’ announcement of this info in the Fall of 2016 because it was too close to the election and he didn’t wish to interfere. But his Letter just days before the election, announcing discovery of new e-mails on the computer of Clinton’s aide Huma Abedin’s husband, did precisely what he claimed earlier he didn’t wish to do: he changed the outcome of an election. What a bizarre story arc for a man who once rushed to the hospital bed of Attorney General John Ashcroft to stop the Bush/Cheney administration from spying on Americans. None of it made sense. Until last week when Comey testified before the Senate. Finally the fog lifted.

I could see two doors and they were both actions. One was labeled speak, the other was labeled conceal. Because here’s how I thought about it, I’m not trying to talk you into this, but I want you to know my thinking. Having repeatedly told this Congress, we are done and there’s nothing there, there’s no case there, there’s no case there, to restart in a hugely significant way, potentially finding the emails that would reflect on her intent from the beginning and not speak about it would require an active concealment, in my view.

And so I stared at speak and conceal. Speak would be really bad. There’s an election in 11 days, Lordy, that would be really bad. Concealing in my view would be catastrophic, not just to the FBI, but well beyond. And honestly, as between really bad and catastrophic, I said to my team we got to walk into the world of really bad.

In the end, this long term public servant fell for the oldest tragic flaw, the one Greeks wrote plays about: Hubris. Comey just thinks of himself as the last honest man in America. Our own Prolix has written a few times that Comey isn’t corrupt, he is Righteous and his own belief in his Righteousness is where things can get murky. It’s true that his Righteousness is why I think ultimately he could have been trusted with the FBI investigation into Trump/Russia. But his zealotry came with unintended – even by him – consequences: the election of Donald Trump as President. In an honest desire to be seen as non-partisan Comey managed to ruin the reputation of his favorite agency. With his fear of being taken to task by Republicans, who would smear him and the FBI if he did not tell them about the Abedin e-mails, Comey compromised himself as an honest broker of truth. He misassigned the concepts of “bad” and “catastrophic.” He thought not telling Congress about the e-mails would be catastrophic. In fact, not telling Republicans and becoming the target of their wrath would have been bad. Affecting the outcome of a Presidential election was catastrophic.

-Joy Reid Sally Yates comment

(There were also the grave issues that in his testimony to the Senate Comey gave inaccurate information about Abedin’s e-mails, falsely claiming “tens and thousands” of messages had been sent by her to her husband’s computer. It took 6 days, and prodding from ProPublica and Washington Post, for the FBI to issue a correction. The same day Comey was fired. Trump had his bodyguard Keith Schiller deliver the firing letter to the FBI headquarters, but they didn’t realize Comey was not in the office. Comey was delivering a speech and learned he was fired when the news popped up on the screen behind him.)

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This brings us to the present. What does Comey’s firing mean in the larger scheme of things? Many Clinton aides have expressed concern, not joy, at the developments. That Clinton aides, who dislike Comey as much as anyone, are concerned about the firing speaks volumes about the Clinton candidacy and the people who supported her. We are more concerned about the Republic than petty revenge. Because what does Comey’s firing mean for the Russia/Trump investigation and the future of the Republic? It is impossible to know just yet. Some high profile Republicans, like Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins, have lined up behind Trump. Collins told Judy Woodruff: “Well, the president didn’t fire the entire FBI.” Graham said: “I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well.” This is worrisome because it shows a continued support for the insupportable Trump, his administration and his policies. The good news is that some others Republicans have expressed concerns. (And not just the Nixon Library tweeting an objection to people calling Trump’s behavior “Nixonian.”)

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John McCain tweeted that “Removal of Director Comey only confirms need for select cmte to investigate #Russia’s interference in 2016 election.” Tea Partier Justin Amash tweeted: “My staff and I are reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia. The second paragraph of this letter is bizarre.” Republican Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, who heads the Senate investigation into Trump/Russia, wrote:

I am troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey’s termination. I have found Director Comey to be a public servant of the highest order, and his dismissal further confuses an already difficult investigation by the Committee. In my interactions with the Director and with the Bureau under his leadership, he and the FBI have always been straightforward with our Committee.  Director Comey has been more forthcoming with information than any FBI Director I can recall in my tenure on the congressional intelligence committees. His dismissal, I believe, is a loss for the Bureau and the nation.

Other notable Republicans who have expressed concern about Comey’s firing are James Lankford of Oklahoma, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Mark Sanford of South Carolina, and Senate Judiciary Committee member Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

I think we are at a cross-roads. What happens next is what history books will say about all of us. Will the firing of Comey bring about Trump’s downfall? Or will Republicans close ranks and save him, kill the investigation… and damn us all to a banana republic?

-History joke

Christiane Amanpour interviews Hillary Clinton. | CNN/David Holloway

Another week… another Twitter meltdown at the Clintons. Last week Chelsea was in the crosshairs, on Tuesday it was back to Hillary Clinton. And it’s all the usual suspects who returned into the arena.

Earlier in the day Clinton spoke to Christiane Amanpour in a town-hall interview at the Women For Women International, an organization that helps women in war-torn countries. Amanpour asked Clinton about the 2016 election and Clinton responded:

I take absolute personal responsibility. I was the candidate, I was the person who was on the ballot. I am very aware of the challenges, the problems, the short falls that we had. […] I have been in a lot of campaigns and I’m very proud of the campaign we ran. and I am very proud of the staff and the volunteers. It wasn’t a perfect campaign — there’s no such thing — but I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28th and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me and got scared off and the evidence for that intervening event is I think compelling, persuasive and so we overcame a lot in the campaign. We overcame an enormous barrage of negativity, or false equivalence, of so much else, and as Nate Silver … concluded, if the election had been on October 27, I would be your president. [ …] Did we make mistakes? Yes. [But] The reason I believe we lost was because of events of the last 10 days.

This is where the hyenas descended. Today it was Glenn Thrush’s turn to lead the pack. There were many messages from him over the course of several hours. One tweet read: “Hillary takeaways 1) Loathes Trump 2) blames Comey/Putin 3) the ‘real’ Hillary-funny, hard-edged, unguarded 4) blames everyone but self.”

Thrush’s Times colleague and mentor Maggie Haberman tweeted many messages of personal support for Thrush and critiques of Clinton. At one point Haberman actually said to Greg Sargent of The Plum Line, who posted an article in which he argued the fault  for the loss was not entirely Clinton’s, that one of her – Haberman’s – objections to Clinton’s statement, and the reason she doesn’t believe her, is that the order of Clinton’s statement was all wrong. Haberman argued that if Clinton ended her argument with contrition, it would have made all the difference. Am I the only who thinks this is one of the most preposterous things I’ve ever heard?

Then later in the day Bill Maher told Jake Tapper that he doesn’t understand why Hillary just won’t go away already.

Chris Cillizza also participated in this feeding frenzy, but I won’t even bother you with his nonsense.

To my surprise a number of journalists came to Clinton’s defense. More importantly, a number of them specifically criticized Thrush and Haberman, some times by addressing them directly, for the behavior.

Chris Hayes of MSNBC responded to Thrush: “I find this obsession with Clinton taking full responsibility for her loss from ostensibly “objective” observers really weird.” (To which Thrush answered without any irony: “I don’t care if she takes responsibility.”)

Mark Murray of NBC initially blasted Clinton, but then seemed to change his mind and posted a series of tweets showing poling data: “Just look at the national polls: Pre-Comey, she was up 5-6pts, Post-Comey, 3pts. From outside MOE to inside it.” Perhaps Murray was convinced by actual…data. Data doesn’t lie.

Because of data, Nate Silver has been one of the strongest voices in the “blame Hillary” debate: “We’ll have a piece out on this tomorrow. Issue is that some of the competing explanations for Clinton’s loss implicate the media’s judgment… / Did they jump the gun on Comey letter? Drop the ball on Russia? Cover email too much? Not fact-check Trump enough? / What were ethics of Wikileaks coverage? What role did Clinton’s gender play? Tough questions! Easier to say Clinton durg her own grave.”

Michael Cohen (no, not that one) of Boston Globe: “Genuinely fascinating that so many NYT reporters are so focused on Hillary Clinton’s self-flaggelation / I mean it’s never true that a single candidate is personally responsible for losing a presidential campaign. It’s a confluence of factors / So it’s mystifying how many reporters are adamant that Clinton must take personal responsibility for her loss… / did reporters insist that Romney take personal responsibility for losing? McCain? Gore? The media obsession w/HRC’s self-flaggelation is such an obvious case of diverting responsibility I can’t think of another explanation. / I mean it’s ok to say “we made some mistakes in how we covered the 2016 campaign.” None of [us] are perfect; pencils, erasers etc / and every time reporter tweets “it’s Hillary’s fault” it only serves to highlight how obvious this effort at diverting responsibility is.”

I was stunned when even Bernie Bro with serious case of Clinton Derangement Syndrome Matthew Yglesias of Vox wrote in response to Matt Viser of Boston Globe (Viser: “Clinton in one breath: “I take absolute personal responsibility.” Clinton in the next: “I would have won if not for Comey and Wikileaks.”). Yglesias’ response: “Despite the valiant efforts of many in the press these are not really contradictory statements. / To take responsibility for something is an ethical stance not a causal analysis. / When Harry Truman said “the buck stops here” he was not saying that all events in American life were under his total personal control.”

There is a “mean girls” quality to Thrush/Haberman/Cillizza/Barro/etc. attacks on Hillary (and Chelsea) Clinton. One person starts, the others jump in, sharks sensing blood. Or the last person standing in dodge-ball. The same names come up time and again. But I was encouraged to see several people – especially surprised by Yglesias – break with the pack and directly argue with them. Is this change temporary? Or a new awareness on the parts of some reporters that perhaps, maybe, just possibly they are not infallible?

But… back to Thrush and Haberman. On Tue they published a piece in the Times about Ivanka Trump, who has a book out, which she is not supposed to promote. Former Fortune publisher and current digital director of Columbia Law School Pamela Kruger tweeted at Haberman: “Ivanka gave this in depth interview just as her new book comes out. The book she isn’t promoting.” Haberman, who often reveals herself in spontaneous responses to others, fired back: “We were doing a profile and we went to them.” Kruger retorted: “Timing worked out pretty well for her.”

When I say Haberman often reveals herself in spontaneous tweets, the following may be one of the most revealing messages Haberman ever sent. After stories came out about in-fighting between Bannon and Kushner, Breitbart wrote an article attacking Kushner’s staff. To which Haberman tweeted: “Do folks there seriously believe hitting the president’s family, even by extension, is going to help their access?” I think this message needs to be framed because it reveals everything about not just Haberman specifically, but reporters generally who survive on the need for access.

I also ran into this tweet from Thrush that really made me cringe: “Anyone who thinks [Trump] is ‘incoherent’ has it exactly wrong. Every speech is 100% coherent. Every speech is 100% about Trump.” This message that Trump is a genius is something Haberman has stated in the past as well. A few months ago I followed her arguing with NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen. Rosen wrote that the idea that Trump is some sort of media genius is nonsense. Haberman responded that she’s been following Trump for many years and he is, in fact, a master manipulator of the media. I recall responding that just because Trump manages to masterfully manipulate her, doesn’t mean he is a master at manipulation.

Eric Boehlert summed up the day’s events fairly well: “for those keeping score, NYT reporters who typed up Ivanka puff piece today, spent the afternoon trolling Hillary on Twitter /



 but the newsroom gets very very mad when anyone threatens to cancel subscriptions.
 / 



keep in mind, same day WH press secretary Refuses To Take Any Press Questions, reporters spent afternoon attacking private citizen.”

Joy Reid

As I was finishing this post, I ran into an astonishing piece in WaPo by Dave Weigel. It shows how somebody in the media can take a single statement, misrepresent it, and create a tornado of attacks. In this case, no surprisingly, it was a statement by Hillary Clinton to Amanpour that was misrepresented by Phil Elliott of Time – creating a storm of attacks on Clinton.

Trump may be the first president whose plunge to 40 percent approval was marked by stories about the voters who still loved him. And Clinton may be the only politician who can talk about the need for rural broadband — at this point, an almost banal priority of rural politicians — and be accused of snobbery.

For a final laugh, see this from the NY Times, trying to explain Trump’s comments about Andrew Jackson:

C-2IOOHXkAEVpit

And then this:

Chelsea Handler


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Take the kids to work? NO!

3 turds control fate of healthcare for millions

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

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