Debasing encounter watch: Times reporters filibuster!

TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2016

Lawrence takes a dive:
Let's face it. On cable news, "campaign coverage" is an endless string of distractions, diversions and cons.

Speculation about primaries give way to speculation about VP picks. Meanwhile, almost everyone killed some time last night discussing the New York Times' front-page report about that "debasing encounter" with Candidate Trump back in 1990.

On MSNBC, Lawrence landed the get. The Times reporters who assembled the farce appeared as part of a twelve-minute segment. During this segment, they pretended to answer the questions which Lawrence pretended to ask.

Basically, the Times reporters filibustered. Lawrence took a dive.

You can watch the entire segment here; MSNBC hasn't yet provided the transcript. That said, Lawrence failed to require answers as the Times reporters skillfully killed off the time.

We discussed the incident yesterday. It concerns the part of Sunday's front-page report which actually appeared on the Times front page.

Two basic questions required answers. After the filibustering began, Lawrence pursued neither one:
The two basic questions:
1) Why did you describe Rowanne Brewer's experience with Trump as a "debasing encounter?"

2) Did Brewer tell you she found the encounter flattering, as she has now widely said?
Just to be clear, Lawrence basically knew that these were the basic questions. Indeed, this was the first question he posed to the New York Times pair:
O'DONNELL (5/16/16): So she says that she didn't think it was a demeaning moment at all. Did you get that from your conversation with her?
In essence, that's the basic question! In response, Michael Barbaro staged the first of the segment's three or four filibusters.

Lawrence never really sought an answer to that question. That said, this was his second question:
O'DONNELL: I haven't heard her dispute anything that appears within quotation marks. But she's saying that you then add an editorial interpretation of what she said.

I mean, what do you make of that, where she says "I actually thought it was flattering that he complimented me in the bathing suit?" Did that come across in your interview?
At that point, the filibustering started in earnest. Lawrence knows how to return to a basic question. He just never did.

Lawrence spoke to the Times reporters for almost nine minutes. They avoided those basic questions. He agreed to let them.

At one point, Michael Barbaro actually said this: "There actually is no dispute over the reporting in the story."

We aren't making that up! Barbaro actually said that. Lawrence actually let him.

Within the guild, it's Hard Pundit Law. You simply don't challenge the New York Times.

Everyone knows that it just isn't done. Lawrence proved it last night.


  1. "Within the guild, it's Hard Pundit Law. You simply don't challenge the New York Times.

    Everyone knows that it just isn't done. Lawrence proved it last night."

    So concludes Bob Somerby in this post, repeating one of his favorite memes, the conspiratorial Silence of the Guild.

    Funny how two commenters here in the Howler yesterday afternoon and evening proved the lie behind the meme of Somerby's, by providing links to CNN doing just the opposite.

    Bob, of course disappears CNN in favor of using Lawrence O'Donnell to further his meme.

    Oh, and did we mention, Lawrence once said mean things in the War on Gore/Clinton. Well, if we did, don't forget people are dead all over the world because of liberals you love.

    1. Wouldn't it be nice to have our own true liberal station do the job too?

    2. What job needed to be done?

      BTW, last I checked it was a cable outfit belonging to Comcast. But then you are a reader of the master of the first person

    3. Dave the Guitar PlayerMay 18, 2016 at 1:00 PM

      Anon 6:53 - Just in case you really don't know, the "job" is to find the facts. We should be able to expect that the NYT would be able to provide that service, since that is what they claim to do. When they fail, it should be helpful to you for you to know that. Other organizations (like MSNBC) could provide this service and provide a check on the NYT, however, they are apparently not always capable of that. Can you see the problem if there is no check on facts? How do you know the "facts" you are getting from other sources (Fox News?) are actually the facts? Does it matter?

  2. Brewer is not Ivy educated so she is too ignorant to know that she was demeaned by Trump giving her a swimsuit and complimenting the way she looked in it. Women need New York Times reporters to properly identify what happened to them and show readers how a woman was victimized. If the woman felt good about the flirtation, it's best to feminisplain to her why the man, if heterosexual, was a disgusting pig for enjoying her appearance and that she is pathetic for enjoying his attention.

    1. You sound like one of Somerby's smart guys.

    2. Flirtation is a word that applies to high school romances. With someone like Trump, his demands that she change into a revealing outfit so that he could include her in his lavish lifestyle is more like a financial transaction. It doesn't matter that she was happy with the bargain she struck. He is a disgusting pig for buying women and for using beauty as his selection criterion. No one called Brewer stupid. They called her a victim and she was, just as we are all victims of the plutocrats in our society, who use their money to buy things others cannot. Trump has no doubt already discovered that you cannot buy love, but he apparently doesn't care. Another reason not to vote for him.

    3. Joseph Cannon is reporting that Trump has an escort service operating out of the Trump Tower. It originally had his name on it but changed its name. Whether he owns the business or not, he was willing to endorse the buying and selling of women.