Interlude—No respect at all: Does respect for information and facts play any role in our “journalism?”
Any role at all?
More specifically: As the liberal world develops news organs, do we maintain any standards—any standards at all—for people like Matthews and Maddow?
Chris Matthews has been an obvious journalistic fraud since the 1990s. More recently, Rachel Maddow has been in a remarkable downward spiral. Her work resembles Matthews’ work more with each passing day.
We’re thinking of the way these TV stars have reported on the Mastro report. Before we examine the pitiful gong-shows these corporate millionaires have staged, we need to do a bit of review about what that document claims.
The Mastro report is very weak in a wide assortment of ways. But it seems to include some new information, and it offers a new theory about the possible motivation for the Fort Lee lane closings.
We’ll say one thing for the Mastro report—it explicitly says that it couldn’t establish the “ulterior motive” for the lane closings. Its basic stance concerning motive is laid out right on page 2, in its executive summary
To peruse the report, click here:
MASTRO REPORT (page 2): Our investigation found that David Wildstein (then of the Port Authority) and Bridget Kelly (then one of the Deputy Chiefs of Staff in the Governor’s Office) knowingly participated in this plan to realign toll lanes leading onto the George Washington Bridge at Fort Lee, at least in part, for some ulterior motive to target Mayor Sokolich...The body of the Mastro report goes into more detail, offering documentation. But that represents its basic approach to the question of motivation—more specifically, to the idea that Sokolich was being punished by the lane closings for his failure to endorse.
What motivated this act is not yet clear. The common speculation that this was an act of political retaliation because Mayor Sokolich failed to endorse the Governor for re-election is not established by the evidence that we have seen. By his own account, Mayor Sokolich had a “good relationship” with the Christie Administration. He was therefore considered a Democrat who might cross party lines to endorse the Governor’s re-election. But by late March 2013, both the Governor’s Office and his campaign knew that Mayor Sokolich would not be endorsing, yet that had no apparent effect upon his working relationship with the Christie Administration over the next several months. Indeed, by April 2013, Sokolich was no longer on the list of Mayors whose endorsement the campaign would be seeking; yet in mid-May 2013, he remained on a list of Mayors being considered for honorary appointments by the Governor.
According to the Mastro report, the Christie Administration knew by late March 2013 that Sokolich would not be endorsing Christie. According to the report, Sokolich’s name was removed at that time from the list of Democratic mayors being pursued for endorsement, but he was still well regarded within the administration.
We can’t evaluate those claims, in part because major news orgs have almost completely ignored this part of the report. Below, you see a more detailed account of this matter from the body of the report.
Matt Mowers and Evan Ridley were Sokolich’s contact points within the Christie administration. They worked under Bridget Kelly:
MASTRO REPORT (page 51): In January 2013, Mayor Sokolich’s name appeared on a list of 21 Democratic Mayors from whom the re-election campaign intended to seek endorsements. According to Mayor Sokolich, neither Mowers nor Ridley ever “asked directly” for Sokolich to endorse Governor Christie…In the judgment of the Mastro report, that chronology casts doubt on the idea that the lane closings were intended to punish Sokolich for his failure to endorse.
Consistent with Mayor Sokolich’s recollection, according to Mowers, he and Sokolich generally discussed a potential endorsement of Governor Christie on two occasions. First, on February 5, 2013, Mowers met with Mayor Sokolich; during that lunch meeting, Sokolich first brought up the possibility that he might endorse Governor Christie. Indeed, in a contemporaneous email summary of the meeting sent to Sheridan, Mowers wrote that “the topic of endorsement” was “one he [Sokolich] raised.”
Second, on March 26, 2013, Mowers had dinner with Mayor Sokolich in Fort Lee, at which time Mowers and Sokolich again discussed a potential endorsement. Mowers recalled that Mayor Sokolich said he was supportive of Governor Christie, but could not publicly endorse the Governor...That night, Mowers confirmed Mayor Sokolich’s decision not to endorse in writing, texting Sheridan that Mayor Sokolich “is going to be a no. It’s a shame too—I really like the guy.”
When Mayor Sokolich decided not to endorse, his name was removed from the Christie re-election campaign’s internal target list. Mayor Sokolich’s name did not appear on several internal endorsement status memoranda prepared by Sheridan and Renna in April and June, 2013. And Ridley’s contemporaneous summaries of his meetings with Mayor Sokolich confirm that Mayor Sokolich’s position on endorsement did not change throughout that summer.
Mayor Sokolich’s decision not to publicly endorse Governor Christie, conveyed to Mowers on March 26, 2013, does not appear to have affected Mayor Sokolich’s standing with respect to the Administration. To the contrary, Mayor Sokolich was included on an appointment list of Mayors considered for potential appointments. And more broadly, numerous other Democratic municipal officials whose endorsement the campaign targeted ultimately declined to endorse Governor Christie publicly, yet were typically treated no differently.
According to the report, the administration knew in March that Sokolich wouldn’t endorse.
According to the report, the administration didn’t seem upset or offended. Kelly’s email about Fort Lee was sent almost five months later.
Making use of various emails, the report asserts that Kelly and Wildstein did seem to have a fairly obvious animus toward Sokolich. But the report says it couldn’t determine the nature of that animus.
We can’t confirm the accuracy of the history laid out above. In its latest amazing display, the press corps has almost completely ignored this part of the Mastro report.
Few news orgs have even reported the fact that the Mastro report lays out this history. They’ve preferred to search for single words in the 340-page report which can be used to drive preferred cultural narratives.
Obviously, those same news orgs haven’t tried to evaluate this part of the Mastro report. Is the basic history well documented? How strong are the judgments which are based on that history?
The New York Times hasn’t tried to answer those basic questions. This part of the Mastro report went unmentioned in the Times’ initial reporting last Friday. According to a Nexis search, this part of the Mastro report has never been mentioned in the hard-copy Times at all.
The New York Times hasn’t discussed that part of the Mastro report. Disgracefully, Matthews and Maddow have.
In a journalistic world, they’d be fired for the way they’ve done that.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at Matthews’ astonishing work on Monday and Tuesday nights of this week. After that, we’ll look at Maddow’s appalling performance last Thursday night.
Matthews has been an obvious fraud for a very long time now. Maddow seems to be losing her soul to her wealth and her fame, as has happened to many before her.
That said, their work has been astoundingly bad. Once again, we ask our basic questions:
As the liberal world creates its news organs, do we maintain any standards for the work of our multimillionaire TV stars?
Any standards at all?
More personally, will the Drums, the Chaits, the Pareenes, the Dionnes ever speak up about our tribe’s obvious frauds and their endless journalistic hoaxes? When push comes to shove, do we in the modern “liberal” world maintain any standards at all?
Tomorrow: A long-standing fraud
Barely discussed in the Times: As best we can tell, this part of the Mastro report has never been mentioned in the hard-copy New York Times.
On-line, this minor, two-paragraph treatment appeared. Given the prominence of the “failure to endorse” theory, the news judgment strikes us as strange.