Helderman, killing the pig: Narrative is endless. Narrative is powerful.
Proving this point is Rosalind Helderman in today’s Washington Post.
Helderman is a well-known lover of scandal. In this morning’s front-page report, she finds it in the same old place, just as it has been written.
As always, You Know Who is committing grave harm with his Global Initiative. As Helderman starts, she describes a fiendish decision—
Good lord! You Know Who accepts a donation to help feed the hungry:
HELDERMAN (6/4/15): During the closing session of the Clinton Global Initiative’s 2013 annual meeting, Bill Clinton called to the stage a former rival named Hassan Abdullah Al-Thawadi.Have you followed the logic so far? Here’s the way it goes:
Three years earlier, Al-Thawadi, a young Qatari businessman, had led his country’s successful effort to host the 2022 soccer World Cup, beating out, among others, a U.S. bid led by Clinton. Al-Thawadi and his countrymen had rejoiced after they were awarded the tournament in an auditorium in Zurich, while elsewhere in the room Clinton and his team stewed.
Allegations that Qatar had bribed its way to the victory soon emerged, prompting an internal investigation by soccer’s governing body that had been going on for more than a year by the time of the CGI event.
At the gathering, Clinton stood on stage as Al-Thawadi talked with pride about plans to use technology developed for Qatari soccer stadiums to cool greenhouses and feed the hungry.
As of 2013, there were “allegations” that Qatar had bribed its way to victory in its pursuit of the World Cup. On that basis, You Know Who shouldn’t have let that young businessman play a role in “feeding the hungry.”
Does that really make sense? To us, it largely doesn’t. But narrative is powerful, and Helderman is surfing a standard group story-line, one we’ll be hearing again and again in the weeks and months to come.
Just for the record, Al-Thawadi seems to have been representing the government of Qatar at the CGI event. Helderman never seems to establish that point one way or the other.
So how about it? Assuming that’s true, should the Clinton Foundation have refused to accept Qatar’s donation on the basis of allegations which had emerged at that time?
If so, who was going to tell “the hungry” about the foundation’s decision? Based on occasional observations, Helderman doesn’t seem to have missed a lot of meals. Was she, the Post’s top scandal-lover, going to handle the task?
This is the three millionth recent report on a very familiar, unstated theme:
Bill Clinton should have rejected the money! He should have told the wretched of the earth that they can just go hang!
Creeps like Helderman get a warm feeling when they imagine that outcome. In the following passage, she tries to explain the ultimate logic behind her front-page report:
HELDERMAN: The Qatar donation has drawn attention amid a burgeoning international soccer scandal. Last week, federal prosecutors in the United States charged 14 people with bribery, fraud and other charges, alleging that the sport has been rife with corruption for two decades. Swiss authorities announced they are also specifically investigating Qatar’s bid.Even rich business tycoons! Surely the hungry don’t want to be fed with money from people like that!
The donation from the Qatari committee serves as the latest example of the willingness of the Clinton Foundation to accept big-dollar contributions from controversial and, sometimes, politically problematic sources. Donors have included foreign governments, Wall Street banks and some of the world’s richest business tycoons.
Meanwhile, did you follow the logic of that passage?
Last week, prosecutors charged 14 people with bribery. This has “drawn attention” to Clinton’s decision to accept a donation back in 2013.
Should the Clinton Foundation accept contributions from sources which are “controversial?” It seems to us the answer is simple:
If you want to feed the hungry, the answer will often be yes. If you only care about scandal and script, you will see this matter differently. You’ll finger yourself as you tell the world about what You Know Who did.
Helderman is killing the pig in her front-page report. For journalists, this enjoyable practice is easy and fun because they rarely seem to consider what this foundation does.