Part 3—The Washington Post, then Slate: Paul Krugman still doesn’t get it.
In this morning’s column, Krugman traffics in facts and information. He has been writing such columns ever since 1999, when he tried, three separate times, to explain the way in which Candidate Bush was misstating his own budget plan.
Krugman doesn’t get it! Our society’s modern post-journalism doesn’t deal in information and facts. Our “journalism” deals in the swill which appeared in yesterday’s Washington Post.
The Post’s Thanksgiving morning report swallowed most of page A2. It gobbled 1414 words, eating some 32 paragraphs.
Like so much that has come before it, the report was narrative all the way down. It was prepared by Rosalind Helderman (Harvard 2001) and Philip Rucker (Yale 2006), the kinds of beasts who are now being churned, for corporate use, by those failed institutions.
In their deathless “news report,” Helderman and Rucker detailed the many vile demands of public speaker Hillary Clinton. The lengthy piece extended a remarkable series of attacks launched by the Post this summer.
Yesterday, this is the way the deathless report was pimped on the Post’s web site:
A rare glimpse into Hillary Clinton’s lucrative speechesClinton reps made many demands about the stage and the green room! Early on, the intrepid reporters began to detail those demands.
Rosalind S. Helderman and Philip Rucker
For a $300,000 speech at UCLA, Clinton reps made many demands about the stage and green-room.
The children relied on e-mails they had obtained through (brace yourselves!) a Freedom of Information request. Warning! Don’t be stampeded by such slippery words as “all-consuming:”
HELDERMAN AND RUCKER (11/27/14): At UCLA, efforts to book Clinton and then prepare for her visit were all-consuming, beginning almost immediately after she left her job as secretary of state on Feb. 1, 2013, until she delivered her Luskin Lecture for Thought Leadership speech on March 5, 2014.If we’re reading that correctly, Clinton’s reps even demanded that she be given water! They demanded “a spread of hummus and crudité”—that is to say, a plate of carrot sticks.
The documents show that Clinton’s representatives at the Harry Walker Agency exerted considerable control over her appearance and managed even the smallest details—from requesting lemon wedges and water on stage to a computer, scanner, and a spread of hummus and crudité in the green room backstage.
The nation is being badly conned when “journalists” behave in these ways. But as they continued, the Ivy League tools continued to list the outrages.
Warning! Don’t be stampeded by such slippery terms as “at length” and “lengthy:”
HELDERMAN AND RUCKER (continuing directly): Top university officials discussed at length the style and color of the executive armchairs Clinton and moderator Lynn Vavreck would sit in as they carried on a question-and-answer session, as well as the kind of pillows to be situated on each chair. Clinton’s representatives requested that the chairs be outfitted with two long, rectangular pillows—and that two cushions be kept backstage in case the chair was too deep and she needed additional back support.If we’re reading that correctly, Clinton reps demanded the use of a lavalier and a teleprompter! In these modern times, this is roughly as shocking as a demand that lights be turned on in the hall.
After a lengthy call with a Clinton representative, UCLA administrator Patricia Lippert reported to campus colleagues, “She uses a lavalier [microphone] and will both speak from the audience and walk around stage, TED talk style. We need a teleprompter and 2-3 downstage scrolling monitors [for] her to read from.”
(Warning! Did you note what the children didn’t say? They didn’t say that Clinton’s reps engaged “at length” in the discussion of those “executive armchairs.” Did readers possibly get misled by their somewhat slippery construction?)
As they plowed through their endless report, the children listed many other “special accommodations” for Clinton’s UCLA speech. Given what modern press corps children are like, it’s possible that they actually didn’t understand the request we highlight:
HELDERMAN AND RUCKER: It is commonplace for celebrity speakers to request special accommodations—and Clinton was no exception. Her representatives asked for a case of still water, room temperature, to be deposited stage right. They also asked that “a carafe of warm/hot water, coffee cup and saucer, pitcher of room temperature water, water glass, and lemon wedges” be situated both on a table on stage as well as in another room where Clinton would stand for photos with VIPs.Why did Clinton want her medal presented in a box, rather than draped around her neck?
For the green room, Clinton’s representatives requested: “Coffee, tea, room temp sparkling and still water, diet ginger ale, crudité, hummus and sliced fruit.” They also asked for a computer, mouse and printer, as well as a scanner, which the university had to purchase for the occasion.
When university officials decided to award Clinton the UCLA Medal, Clinton’s team asked that it be presented to her in a box rather than draped around her neck. That request was sent to the university’s chancellor, Gene Block.
“Chancellor Block has agreed to accommodate Hillary Clinton’s request to have the medal presented in a box,” Assistant Provost Margaret Leal-Sotelo wrote in one e-mail.
If you can’t imagine a reason for that, you simply don’t understand the world in which we all live. Meanwhile, note the other special accommodations demanded by Clinton reps:
They wanted water on stage and in her dressing room! They wanted sliced fruit in the green room! They wanted ginger ale!
Why is the Washington Post publishing swill of this type? Not being mind-readers, we can’t precisely tell you.
But if this type of “news report” doesn’t seem familiar to you, you may not understand the world in which we all live. The Post has been publishing such reports for a great many years now.
Yesterday morning, this nonsense jumped to Slate. The report by the hapless Daniel Politi appeared beneath this screaming headline:
“A List of Hillary Clinton’s Demands to Accept $300,000 for a University Speech”
Politi has been at Slate since 2004; he may be the world’s slowest child. Obediently, he listed all the troubling demands, including the demands for water, chairs and carrot sticks.
Predictably, this touched of a wave of low-IQ comments about removing the brown M-n-M’s from the basket—exactly the reaction this whole thing was designed to create.
Let us note one basic way in which Politi went beyond the work of the other children:
In the Post, Helderman and Rucker did perform the bare essentials. At the end of paragraph 10, they fleetingly noted that Clinton’s speaking fee went to the Clinton Foundation.
In paragraph 22, they noted that the fee was “funded through a private endowment and not with tuition or public dollars.”
Politi omitted both points, as was intended by his siblings. This touched off waves of low-IQ comments at Slate about the way Clinton was enriching herself by stealing the children’s tuitions.
Can we talk?
Judged as journalism, that lengthy piece in the Washington Post is about as dumb as “modern dumb” gets. It’s stunning to think that a pair of privileged children would actually file a FOI request so they could thumb through piles of emails to bring us news about the fact that Clinton eats fruit and carrot sticks (disguised as crudité).
That said, this is very familiar work. The Post and the Times have aimed reams of such work at disapproved candidates in the past.
They’ve changed world history in the process. The liberal world has tended to remain very quiet as this happens, and in the long deadly aftermath.
Nothing is likely to change as the Post conducts its newest jihad against a disfavored (potential) candidate. In particular, Rachel won’t breathe a word about this. She writes once a month for the Washington Post. Her branding must be secured.
Clinton demanded water and chairs. The Post thought you should know that.