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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Do journalists take bribes?

The mainstream media simply refuses to admit the truth: They're out to destroy the Clintons. They want to destroy the most honest, transparent, selfless, intelligent and talented people to seek the presidency in my lifetime -- and I'm old enough to recall (barely) the JFK presidency.

Allow me to repeat a point buried in an earlier post. To prove that Hillary Clinton has been on the receiving end of a decades-long media mudslinging campaign, let me cite but one minor example from 2013. A thousand other smears could illustrate the same point, but this particular one sticks in my craw.

The juxtaposition of that photo and that headline is clearly designed to give the impression that Hillary not only takes bribes, but does so with a cavalier "screw you" attitude. Apparently, we are to believe that the beads around her neck in the photo are part of that ill-gotten Saudi booty.

Does this kind of smear happen to ANY candidate not named Clinton?

The truth of the matter is revealed toward the end of the article: The law prohibits all government employees from keeping gifts worth more than $300. (You already knew this fact if you're a West Wing fan.) When foreign leaders insist on making such gifts -- and they do -- diplomacy prohibits a refusal. The General Services Administration takes charge of these items and either sells them or donates them to a good cause.

You know damned well that both Clintons have been subjected to this kind of nonsense continually for decades.

You know damned well that no other politician -- not even Barack Obama -- has had to withstand these nonstop smears.

You know damned well that Hillary's negatives owe more to this tireless propaganda campaign than to anything she has actually said or done.

Occasionally a few mainstream media voices manage to break the programming. Newsweek, for example.
For 18 months, Republican strategists, political pundits, reporters and Americans who follow them have been pursuing Hillary Clinton’s personal email habits, and no evidence of a crime has been found. But now they at least have the skills and interest to focus on a much larger and deeper email conspiracy, one involving war, lies, a private server run by the Republican Party and contempt of Congress citations—all of it still unsolved and unpunished.

Clinton’s email habits look positively transparent when compared with the subpoena-dodging, email-hiding, private-server-using George W. Bush administration. Between 2003 and 2009, the Bush White House “lost” 22 million emails. This correspondence included millions of emails written during the darkest period in America’s recent history, when the Bush administration was ginning up support for what turned out to be a disastrous war in Iraq with false claims that the country possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and, later, when it was firing U.S. attorneys for political reasons.

Like Clinton, the Bush White House used a private email server—its was owned by the Republican National Committee. And the Bush administration failed to store its emails, as required by law, and then refused to comply with a congressional subpoena seeking some of those emails. “It’s about as amazing a double standard as you can get,” says Eric Boehlert, who works with the pro-Clinton group Media Matters. “If you look at the Bush emails, he was a sitting president, and 95 percent of his chief advisers’ emails were on a private email system set up by the RNC. Imagine if for the last year and a half we had been talking about Hillary Clinton’s emails set up on a private DNC server?”
Republicans may do what a Clinton may not. This is the reason why we've seen a barrage of false stories designed to convey the impression that the Clintons' completely honest and utterly laudable charity is some sort of slush fund. Meanwhile, very few have pointed out that the Trump Foundation is, in essence, an utterly opaque enterprise which has provably been used from criminal purposes -- and that's not just me saying it; the determination was made by a court. It's not a charity at all: The Foundation exists to allow Trump to pretend to give to charity.

The question is: Why do reporters maintain that double standard?

Josh Marshall looks into the "false equivalence" question at some length...
There's little doubt that the scrutiny of The Clinton Foundation and Clinton's emails have had a repetitive, hyper-skeptical and saturation coverage that hasn't been close to matched by any investigative story about Donald Trump. It's not remotely close. Whether the Trump scandal coverage or the Clinton scandal coverage is the proper standard I can't say. But they're unquestionably different.

At one point Spayd seems to concede that Times reporters have been so wedded to the Clinton/Foundation/Email apocalypse storyline that they've published major front page stories that actually contained nothing damaging or even newsworthy but presented it as though it were some damaging new revelation. But she dismisses the importance of this as simply the result of inevitable journalistic misfires or shortcomings as opposed to evidence of a deeper, structural problem - either with the canons of contemporary journalism or Times' reporters' biases. At some level it's true that journalism has been, especially in this campaign, forced to choose sides between an empirical, factual orientation and what we might call a post-factual, notionally anti-elitist mentality which rejects expertise and such a thing as facts as existing separate from opinion and desire. We can chortle over how this mindset on the right is actually at least broadly similar to ideologies of radical subjectivity in the world of the academic left these people detest. But that's not terribly relevant beyond being funny. Journalism isn't being asked to choose sides. Its craft is part of the Enlightenment framework whether it likes it or not. It can only become something different if that ceases to be the case.
Marshall thinks that this double-standard derives from the way the newspaper business operated in the pre-internet days, with one newspaper covering an entire region.
This monopoly or near monopoly framework made reporters - and particularly political campaign reporters - into something more akin to moderators of debates between candidates rather than arbiters of fact, what was happening and what wasn't.
I don't think that this explanation explains much. It certainly doesn't tell us why national news coverage has become worse in the internet era.

I have an alternative suggestion. I suspect that many -- not all, not most, but many -- editors and journalists have taken bribes.

Remember the principle of Occam's Razor? I've just given you the simplest explanation.

We know that Donald Trump once tried to bribe Wayne Barrett. How can we be sure that other reporters did not take that kind of deal?

This manual suggests that such offers are made constantly. Why presume that all journalists refuse? Most journalists are paid poorly -- less than $40K a year, and often much less. If you could double your annual pay through the simple expedient of writing a story that kinda-sorta makes the Clinton Foundation look vaguely skeezy, would you take the offer? Can you be 100 percent certain that all journalists will always refuse that offer?

The Trump campaign has plenty of money which has not gone to television ads or local offices or any number of other expenditures normally associated with a presidential campaign. The money has to go somewhere.
It fits Occam's Razor very nicely. Why assume complex social-dynamic explanations, when cold, hard cash (for the reporters), along with the editors playing golf with their country-club Republican pals, explains just about all of it?
Josh should tell us why he tilted the scales toward TehLightbringer back in 2008. If he were to gaze at his own navel long enough he might be able to share with the rest of us what is the root of his hatred for the Clintons. I was a big fan of his until Clinton v TehLightbringer. It's really rather amusing now watching Josh who tossed as much shit at Clinton in 2008 as any Republican spawn of Roger Stone.

I'll blame Josh when we're watching the inauguration of Pres Drumpf.
I think you are wrong. The headlines you are complaining about are not a journalists decision. That's an editorial decision. You should really ask why editors (of different seniority) might be pushing against HRC. Usually it's cos of ownership pressure.

In the case of the WAPO I'm sure that the owner is HRC friendly. However even there they may wish to make the race look closer than it is to generate circulation bumps or advertising rate bumps. Nyt is a bit more complicated.


Lets not forget the National Enquirer and Weekly Globe angle. If they can, week after week, write HEADLINE articles claiming Hillary Clinton has gained 103 pounds, that Michelle Obama now weighs 250 pounds, that both Clintons are in such ill health neither will live to each election day, if those rags can influence millions of grocery shoppers on a weekly basis, then is it possible that a supposed real journalists motivation may be being subverted knowing that crap is subliminally influencing the race?

As mentioned above by Harry, I constantly see headlines that DO NOT match the content of the article.
Not only headlines, but those who write the quotes and "breaking news" subtitles (or their editors) on news shows hold much power to shape the narrative. I saw Hillary's brief interview with Anderson Cooper yesterday. She properly scored him and the entire news industry as he hammered her with inane accusations over not revealing more about having pneumonia. He was stammering as he struggled to regain composure. Meanwhile those struggling to find suitable quotes to run in the headlines at first had some of her choice points. They one they settled on after the interview passed, tho, was the one that made her look the most cavalier: "I didn't think it was that big a deal."

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