THURSDAY, MAY 14, 2015
Part 4—Hayes/Chait/Tomasky submit: On its face, the New York Times’ recent bombshell report had the look of a bit of a con, or perhaps of a sham or a scam.
The bombshell report was so long that few people actually read it. In this way, massive length can enable journalistic scams.
Massive length can also create the appearance of a bombshell. When Jo Becker’s scammy report appeared in the April 24 hard-copy Times, its 4400 words started at the top of the paper’s front page. Inside the paper, it filled two entire pages, fluffed as it was by seven photographs plus a time line and an additional chart.
It had the look of a bombshell report, plus it was so long and confusing that nobody actually read it! That said, its basic insinuation was clear, for example in the headline it still carries on-line:
“Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal”
An alert third-grader could read the drift of that exciting headline. Becker’s novelized “news reports” often seem to be written on that level.
Becker’s piece had the look of a “bombshell report.” Indeed, that’s the way Chris Hayes, aka The Puppy, described the piece on April 23, the day it appeared on line.
It had the look of a bombshell report. But if you actually read the report, it perhaps had the feel of a scam.
In rambling fashion featuring tons of gorilla dust, Becker told the tale of a scary uranium deal involving the frightening Russians. She even worked a side trip into her piece. It featured the scary Chinese!
As a matter of literary form, Becker had rather plainly fashioned a scary Cold War tale. Its insinuations may have been plain. But on a journalistic basis, it had the slight feel of a scam.
Consider this quick review:
The uranium deal in question was approved in 2010. Concerning that scary deal, Becker presented no evidence showing that anybody actually thought it was a bad deal at the time.
More specifically, she presented no evidence showing that Hillary Clinton thought it was a bad deal. Indeed, she presented no evidence showing that Clinton played any role in approving the scary deal.
An assistant secretary of state, Jose Fernandez, seemed to tell Becker that Clinton had played no role in approving the deal. In a familiar slippery move, Becker didn’t mention his statement until paragraph 67, when nobody was still reading.
Despite the endlessness of her report, Becker never reported the actual number of cabinet departments which took part in approving the deal. (The number seems to be nine.) She never reported that the Treasury Department chairs the committee which approved the deal, not Clinton’s State Department.
She didn’t report that any of those nine departments ever opposed the scary, frightening, virtually treasonous deal. Despite the endlessness of her report, Becker’s piece is best defined by the silos of information she slickly chose to omit.
There’s nothing new about this kind of work at the New York Times. In 1996, for example, Gene Lyons published Fools for Scandal: How the Media Invented Whitewater.
The book was published and promoted by Harper’s magazine, a storied American institution.
The book critiqued front-page reports in the New York Times which, starting in January 1992, invented the Whitewater pseudo-scandal. In an appendix to the book, Lyons presented the reams of highly relevant material the Times has chosen to omit from one of those early reports.
At least since the appearance of Fools for Scandal, play-for-pay liberal journalists have worked extremely hard to avoid discussing this apparent culture of scam at the Times. That culture of liberal avoidance was on display in the wake of Becker’s recent report.
Becker’s piece appeared on line on Thursday morning, April 23. That night, Hayes dubbed it a “bombshell report” on his fiery liberal news program.
Incredibly, Hayes explicitly vouched for the accuracy of the bombshell report. He also vouched for the apparent good faith it displayed.
Who was Hayes troubled by that night? He filled his ten-minute segment with discussions of the various things which “drive him crazy” or “drive him nuts” about the troubling Clintons. He didn’t voice a word of complaint about the work of the glorious Times. For whatever reason, players like Hayes have played it this way for at least the last twenty years.
On the bright side, people like Hayes get rich and famous when they play it this way. On the down side, people are dead all over the world because of this ongoing culture of abject liberal surrender.
Three weeks have now passed since the appearance of Becker’s “bombshell report.” Did Diogenes seek one honest man? In similar fashion, we’ve been looking for one upper-end liberal pundit who’s willing to challenge the New York Times about Becker’s scammy-seeming report.
It’s easy enough to do so! Becker’s clowning was so vast that she featured an apparent repeat mistake—an apparent “mistake” she first featured in a front-page report in 2008.
At that time, her “mistake” was challenged by Forbes magazine in a fairly definitive manner. But so what? Three weeks ago, her “mistake” appeared again!
Over the past three weeks, the New York Times hasn’t explained this apparent repeat “mistake.” None of our fiery liberal heroes has asked the Times to do so.
We’re wondering why the fiery Hayes hasn’t revisited his original analysis. We’re wondering why the fiery Rachel Maddow—she’s sometimes called The Nun—hasn’t stood up and critiqued that bombshell report.
Tomorrow, we’ll turn to the work of Michael Tomasky and Jonathan Chait to show you the shape of liberal surrender in the face of the Times. But make no mistake:
If you’re a Democratic voter, you’ve been scammed this way for years. People are dead all over the world because we in the liberal rank and file have tolerated this behavior.
At some point, you have to decide. Is it true that Becker’s report has the look and the feel of a scam?
Is it true that Jeff Gerth’s Whitewater reports were built on the same scammy practices?
Is it true that the New York Times and the Washington Post spent twenty months making up takes about Candidate Gore? At some point, a person has to decide if those things actually happened.
It’s much easier—easier by far—to keep pretending that this is all a dream. Chait and Hayes have certainly played it that way. To us, it looks like they may be enabling a long-running type of scam.
They’ll keep it up till you force them to stop. President Walker is betting the house that it will never happen.
Tomorrow: More sounds of “liberal” silence
Still coming: McIntire and Becker pretend to discuss disclosure