The Widdershins

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Hello Widdershins!

Another week, more shenanigans from Sinenchin. AZ Senator who caucuses with Democrats went to fundraise in Europe while steadfastly insisting the filibuster is saving democracy and Manchin finally drew one red line on what he is willing to support: transitioning from coal to sustainable energy. We all thought Manchin objected to the cost of Biden’s BBB bill, but that ain’t it. It’s the pretty cheap part of the bill that transitions his state from coal. Manchin can’t have that. Coal must flow!!!! Even though it is a tiny part of the state’s industry (Arby’s employs more people than the coal industry). But Manchin looooooves coal. So.

Also Bernie Sanders released a blistering statement criticizing how the media is obsessed with the price tag of the bill, while the public has no idea what’s in the bill. Bernie is right (someone check hell, it must be freezing.) The press only talks about the $3.5 trillion price tag and the negotiations. They barely mention what’s actually in the bill. Naturally this sent the press (people like Magga Haberman!) into a tail spin of “This isn’t our fault, it’s your fault! It’s never our fault!” social media posts. Fact check: It is the media’s fault. 3.5 trillion % the media’s fault. The same media still insists their coverage of 2016 election was perfect. But I keep going back to Harvard’s Shorenstein Media Center’s study that ABC, NBC & CBS Nightly News shows – the most watched news programs in the country – spent 100 mins of 2016 discussing Hillary’s email. 30 mins discussing all political issues combined. And 0 of those minutes were on climate change. And yet, the media continues to insist their coverage is above criticism. Trump was right about one thing, if for the wrong reasons: media is the enemy of the people.

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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.

Happy Hump Day Widdershins!

I believe we at TW are in a state of flux or something like that.  Is it due to something astrological?  Perhaps.  Maybe something to do with Mercury retrograde or perhaps Pluto doing the same.  Honestly, I have no idea.  I do good to check my horoscope on a daily basis.  But what I do have are some articles and pieces that I came across on the internet that I’ll share with you.

We tend not to do current events type posts here at TW but these are some items that have been in the news lately and so I’ll pass them along with a few thoughts of mine to go with them.

The Golden Boy of New York Real Estate is in for a rude awakening

We’re going to see soon how much that Harvard education (courtesy of dad’s $2.5 million donation to Harvard?) will help him now that he’s going to be under the microscope with the F.B.I.

Perhaps Jared Kushner really believed that his New York real estate skills set him up to bring peace to the Middle East, solve the opioid crisis, run a government Swat team of business experts and protect his father-in-law from disloyal White House advisers. And that he could do it all while observing the Sabbath and reserving enough time for family ski vacations with Ivanka and their three children.

We know these folks had no idea of what they were walking in to when they started getting appointed to areas of government where they had no previous knowledge or experience.  And the idea that they were clueless was evident when Jared’s sister went to China to hawk investor visas to buy into a Kushner real estate development and thought nothing of mentioning her brother’s association with Trump.

Let’s put the most charitable interpretation possible on the facts that have emerged about Kushner.

The bizarre suggestion to use the Russian communications system to secretly link the Trump transition team and the Kremlin could have come from Michael Flynn, the star-crossed former national security adviser who was also at the meeting.

Kushner, in his naivete about government, may also not have remembered that Barack Obama was still president and in charge of all negotiations with Russia. And it was an innocent oversight that Kushner failed to mention his talk with Kislyak on his government security clearance form.

Once again Flynn rears his ugly head with something involving the Russians.

Again from The Guardian:

Whether it is an appearance under oath on Capitol Hill or the inevitable FBI interview, every sentence Kushner utters will bring with it possible legal jeopardy.

[snip]

Kushner may have once thought that he established his tough-guy credentials when he stared down angry creditors and impatient bankers over his ill-timed 2007 purchase of a $1.8bn Fifth Avenue office building. But the worst thing that can happen to an over-leveraged real estate investor (as Trump himself knows well) is bankruptcy. When the FBI and special prosecutor Robert Mueller get involved, the penalties can theoretically involve steel bars locking behind you.

Yep, Jared is about to find out what it really means to play with the big boys.  And he really, really should be familiar with the consequences after what happened with his father .

Can they (the Trump clan) really be that clueless?

Yes, it appears they can be.  Memorial Day is a day to honor those members of the military who died for our country.  For Ivanka it’s an excuse to make champagne popsicles.

I’ve had enough of them already.

With six you get eggroll arrested

Now this…this really takes some nerve (I wanted to use another word).

So you are going to Sava’s, a restaurant in Ann Arbor Michigan.  The food there must be really, really good because a cadre of ICE agents went there, had breakfast, and then arrested three of the workers employed there!  As they say, I shit you not.

In the first 100 days of the Trump administration, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office arrested more than 40,000 people suspected of being in the country illegally, nearly a 40% increase from the same period of time last year. They are acting on President Trump’s Executive Orders to crack down on illegal immigration — but some critics believe their methods occasionally go too far.

This week, ICE arrested three employees at Sava’s, a restaurant in Ann Arbor, MI, after learning of their immigration status. Restaurant owner Sava Lelcaj says the officers ate breakfast at the restaurant before they stopped, questioned, and eventually charged the staffers.
Since they were working, I wonder if the ICE agents charged their meals on a government credit card?  Also, I wonder if they tipped?
Said an ICE spokesman when asked about the arrests:
When asked directly about whether or not the ICE officers ate food served by the illegal immigrants before arresting them, spokesperson Lou Martinez would not comment. Instead, he sent a statement to Delish: “Aliens who illegally enter the United States and those who overstay or otherwise violate the terms of their visas have violated our nation’s laws and can pose a threat to national security and public safety. Aliens in violation of the immigration laws are subject to immigration arrest, detention, and placement in removal proceedings.” (bolding/italics mine)
I simply cannot believe that three restaurant workers are a threat to national security.  Public safety?  Well just check the damned health dept. inspections to see if the place passed or had any deficiencies.

Finally I’ll leave you with Randy Rainbow’s latest:

Okay that’s all I have.  What’s on your minds today Widdershins?

 

 


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