It happens every spring: We've promised that we'd finish critiquing Rachel Maddow's ludicrous discussions of Governor Terry McAuliffe, which she pursued on Monday, May 23 and Wednesday, May 25.
It's depressing to review Maddow's clown-car conduct. For today, let's simply review the New York Times' May 25 news report about the apparent probe, or semi-probe, or possible probe, of McAuliffe's past campaign fundraising.
On Monday, May 23, an anonymous source said that McAuliffe was, or might be, under investigation by the FBI. As she typically does, Maddow rushed into action with a segment which seemed to assume his guilt.
(For Maddow, an accusation equals guilt. The anonymous hint of a possible probe equals an accusation.)
Maddow's own presentation that night was bad enough; see our prior report. When she interviewed the Washington Post's Matt Zapotosky that same night, his performance was even worse.
Two days later, the New York Times presented its news report about the apparent, alleged or possible FBI probe. Like everyone else, the Times was working on claims by a pair of anonymous sources.
It was apparent from the Times report that the claims were rather murky. According to Confessore and Saul, the alleged probe involves conduct by the Dandong Port Group, "one of China's leading agricultural importers:"
CONFESSORE AND SAUL (5/25/16): [T]he company's widening influence is coming under scrutiny by federal prosecutors, who are examining the relationship between Dandong's wealthy and connected chairman, Wang Wenliang, and Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, a Democrat who was elected in 2013.That is murky stuff. Did we mention the fact that it comes from two anonymous sources?
A federal law enforcement official said the inquiry included $120,000 in contributions that a New Jersey construction firm controlled by Mr. Wang made to Mr. McAuliffe's 2013 campaign and inaugural committee. That official and a second law enforcement official, both of whom asked for anonymity to discuss the matter, said it was a preliminary inquiry of Mr. McAuliffe's campaign donations, and they provided no detail about the nature and scope of any potential violations being scrutinized.
Though Mr. Wang is a Chinese citizen, he is also a legal permanent resident of the United States, according to a spokeswoman for him, which entitles him to make campaign contributions.
Meanwhile, certain aspects of this report ought to ring every warning bell inside the heads of our top cable news clowns. As they continued, Confessore and Saul rang the bells in question:
CONFESSORE AND SAUL (continuing directly): The inquiry was first reported on Monday by CNN, which said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department's public integrity unit were involved in the review. The inquiry also encompasses Mr. McAuliffe's role as a board member of the Clinton Foundation, to which another company linked to Mr. Wang pledged a $2 million contribution in 2013. The foundation has raised millions of dollars from companies and wealthy individuals overseas as well as from foreign governments.How many warning signs have to exist before the nation's cable news clowns stop their incessant clowning?
Representatives for Mr. McAuliffe and Mr. Wang said they had not been contacted by the Justice Department or the F.B.I. A spokesman for the Clinton Foundation also said it had not been contacted by law enforcement officials.
Speaking to reporters in Virginia on Tuesday, Mr. McAuliffe said he was shocked by reports of an inquiry. He had played no role in soliciting Mr. Wang's pledge to the Clinton Foundation and said the contributions to his campaign from by Mr. Wang's company were legitimate.
''I'm very confident this gentleman had been fully vetted,'' Mr. McAuliffe said of Mr. Wang.
But the federal inquiry throws a cloud over Mr. McAuliffe at a critical time: He is a top fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton, a close confidant of her and her husband, and the governor of a swing state critical to her chances of becoming president. On Sunday, Mr. McAuliffe headlined a $5,000-a-head Virginia fund-raising event for Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign.
For all we know, McAuliffe may be robbing banks on a regular basis—perhaps with Maddow's help! But good God! Probes like these always start inside the bowels of the federal government when someone named Clinton or Gore runs for office.
All the familiar hooks are there! We start with the classic shadowy Chinese businessman, then jump to the evil-doing Clinton Foundation. If you've been alive on the planet in recent decades, you've been to this movie before!
McAuliffe makes the perfect target for a nest of rumors. As noted by Confessore and Saul, he's the governor of an important swing state, and he's a top fund-raiser for Candidate Clinton! Why, the night before the possible news was leaked, he had "headlined a $5,000-a-head Virginia fund-raising event for Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign!"
Has McAuliffe been robbing banks, perhaps with Maddow's help? Everything is possible! But for anyone who has been alive in the past twenty-five years, a million warning signs are found in that Times report.
On the basis of simple fairness, a journalist should want to be very careful in her reactions to such a murky report. Given the circumstances of the past twenty-five years, a liberal journalist would likely be especially suspicious of such a familiar old, heavily fraught, alleged apparent anonymous report.
Maddow, our leading cable clown, simply isn't that person! Tomorrow, we'll show you what happened on May 23 when she interviewed Zapotosky.
Two days later, the Confessore/Saul report appeared, and Maddow did a second report on this topic. This new report was even more pathetic than the one she'd already done.
The analysts howled, writhed and groaned as they watched the cable clown perform on those two evenings. In fairness, her orange shoes were very large. But what have we liberals ever done to deserve this corporate-funded, self-adoring brand of top-flight entertainment?
Tomorrow: Verdict first! What a gong-show looks like