Part 1—Watching Times readers get played: In this morning's New York Times, three readers discuss Megan Twohey's 2900-word, front-page report about the way Hillary Clinton savaged her husband's accusers back in the glorious day.
Twohey's report appeared on the front page of Monday's Times. It focused on the (highly improbable) claims made by Gennifer Flowers in 1992, when Twohey was in the tenth grade.
The thrilling story still gives Twohey strange wonderful feelings today. That said, her report struck us as plainly deceptive—as baldly dishonest work.
As we noted in this post, Twohey seemed to pick and choose her facts with great deal of care. This was true when she wrote about the accusation by Flowers, and when she discussed an earlier accusation by "rock groupie" Connie Hamzy.
Perhaps most strikingly, Twohey seemed to pick and choose her facts when she told her readers that Bill Clinton eventually confessed to "having 'sexual relations' " and to "having sex" with Flowers. In our view, Twohey's careful presentation strongly suggests that she, and her editor, were deliberately telling Times readers much less than they actually knew.
Did Bill Clinton confess to those cultural crimes? If we're all still speaking English, we'd have to say he didn't. But Twohey picked and chose with great care, telling the story in a way which has long thrilled high-end "journalists." In three letters in today's Times, we see the cluelessness which can result when New York Times readers get played.
Two of the letters come from supporters of Hillary Clinton. The first such letter comes from a woman right here in Baltimore. She blames everyone for the continued existence of this story—everyone but the New York Times and the rest of the mainstream press corps.
In her letter, she blames Candidate Trump—and she blames "the right-wing." She shows no sign of thinking that she has been played by Twohey and by the New York Times.
The second letter comes from a Hillary-hater in Florida. He is devoted to "the truth," which Hillary Clinton fought:
LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (10/5/16): Hillary Clinton fought back against the truth, and she either was willfully blind to the truth or considered it a mere inconvenience to be swept away.According to this truth-loving reader, Hillary Clinton "was willfully blind to the truth or considered it a mere inconvenience." It doesn't seem to have entered his mind 1) that Hillary Clinton may have known the truth about the accusations of Flowers and Hamzy, namely that their claims were false; or 2) that Hillary Clinton may not have known the truth about her husband's relationship with Monica Lewinsky, in part because there had been so many false claims in the past.
When “Mrs. Clinton expressed pleasure to her friend that she and her husband were able to drive ‘their adversaries totally nuts’ because they did not appear to be suffering,” she also expressed what a Clinton Restoration will mean for the future—suffering for the rest of us.
The Clintons may have a high threshold of pain, but the nation should not have to endure the pain and suffering of another Clinton presidency.
(Full disclosure: We don't know what Hillary Clinton thought about the claims concerning her husband and Lewinsky. Neither does that fellow in Florida, until he gets played by the Times.)
The third letter comes from another Clinton supporter. He seems to accept, and even assert, a central premise from Twohey's deceptive report—the premise that Hillary Clinton "was mean" to her husband's accusers:
LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES: After exhaustively chronicling Benghazi and Hillary Clinton’s email transgressions, now you run a story on how she grappled with her husband’s infidelity. Really?For the record, that was "the point of [Twohey's] article." Amazingly, Twohey implied that Hillary Clinton was mean for assembling affidavits in which three witnesses swore that Hamzy's story was bogus.
This is not news. If the point of your article is that Mrs. Clinton was mean to the women who accused her husband of having sex with them, so be it. Does this suggest that her regard for women is the same as Donald Trump’s? Hardly. She was an irate wife, fighting to save her marriage, and their careers.
Politically and professionally, she has spent her career championing the rights of women and minorities. Mr. Trump has focused on enriching himself at the expense of others, while denigrating women for fun.
(Unmentioned by Twohey: Hamzy was using her thrilling claim to promote an upcoming appearance in Penthouse.)
In those three letters, Times readers react to Twohey's highly deceptive, lengthy front-page report. In our view, they chronicle the way this newspaper's readers have been misled, misinformed and deceived down through the many long years since Twohey was maybe 15.
When Gennifer Flowers first appeared on the scene, mainstream newspapers largely rejected her claims. A Newsweek report by Jonathan Alter provided strong reasons for doubting or rejecting her claims. The earlier claim by Hamzy had also been rejected, on the basis that Hamzy was a well-known national nut.
That said, by 1998, the press corps had come to [HEART] all Clinton accusers. They found themselves thrilled by a new possibility, a possibility which actually turned out to be true.
This new possibility involved a "21-year-old intern" who was neither 21 nor an intern—but they loved loved loved their new story so much that they kept describing her that way. In the process, they even resurrected the ludicrous Flowers, who would go on to tell the world about the Clintons' many murders, while reminding TV viewers to please visit her play-for-pay site!
(Chris Matthews to Flowers during one such appearance, on Hardball, in August 1999: “Well, you know, I gotta pay a little tribute here. You're a very beautiful woman, and I—and I have to tell you, he knows that, you know that, and everybody watching knows that. Hillary Clinton knows that. How can a woman put up with a relationship between her husband and somebody, anybody, but especially somebody like you that's a knockout?...It's an objective statement, Gennifer. I'm not flirting.” Flowers went on to discuss the deeply troubling murders. Her half-hour appearance was so crazy that she was quickly rewarded with a full hour on Hannity & Colmes.)
Even today, at age maybe 40, Twohey gets mysterious feelings in her body when she dreams about this old tale. On Monday, she and her editor put their thumbs and their asscheeks on the scale as they retold the thrilling story of the accusations lodged by Hamzy and Flowers.
They picked and chose their facts with care, keeping their thrilling old stories alive. In the process, they seem to have convinced some readers that Flowers and Hamzy were telling the truth, and that Hillary Clinton had somehow been "mean" to her husband's accusers.
The public has been played for many years by a collection of people like Twohey. This morning's letters help us see the way the public can get misinformed when the major news orgs they trust play such remarkable games.
Tomorrow, we'll consider an affair which actually may have occurred during the years encompassed by Flowers' highly implausible claims. On Friday, we'll review the slick and slippery way two major journalistic stars played you about Gennifer Flowers in two high-profile books.
It's hard to believe that this conduct exists. Yet it plainly does exist. It has typified our mainstream "journalism" for a very long time.
People are dead all over the world because these life forms behave in these ways. On the brighter side, telling these tales can make our scribes feel good.
Mysterious feelings may still emerge when scribes dream about these thrilling old tales. If voters get badly misled in the process, it may seem like a small price to pay.
Tomorrow: An affair you may not have to misremember
Friday: As far as George Stephanopoulos knows, no one was murdered at Rose
Hillary Clinton may not have known the truth about her husband's relationship with Monica Lewinsky, in part because there had been so many false claims in the past.ReplyDelete
This is a concept I pointed out a few days ago. The idea that some accuations against the Clintons are false somehow refutes or excuses all accusations against them.. I think this is Bob's reasoning with regard to the Clintons. They've been wrongly accused in some cases, so he gives them a pass on all the accusations.
I don't agree with this reasoning. I think it's a misapplication of the principle, "Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus" ("false in one thing, false in everything.") At common law, this is the legal principle that a witness who testifies falsely about one matter is not credible to testify about any matter. However, for this principle to apply to the Clinton scandals, all the accuations against them would have to have been brought by the same person.
What are some true accusations that have bearing on their ability to lead?Delete
In general I agree with you 12:26. A lot of the accusations against both Hillary and Trump don't bear on their ability to lead. E.g., legally paying zero income tax.Delete
who the fuck cares whether asshole TROLL from California agrees with TDH's reasoning?Delete
TROLL, your treasonous malignant party spent 8 years investigating a land deal in which the Clinton's lost their investment and wound up dragging this country to it's knees impeaching a President over a blow job.
Get the fuck out of here TROLL, don't you have some campaigning to do for the your party's racist nominee with neo-Nazi sons? The con man fraud who just had his phony charity foundation shut down by the NY AG. You know, the deadbeat who hasn't paid Federal income taxes in decades. Mr. 3 wives - 2 of the mail order variety - one of whom apparently is in this country illegally
Or are you still working on the mystery of just exactly what kind of sex act did Bill and Gennifer engaged in 40 fucking years ago, one of those burning issues that seems to consume your every waking hour.
And who Trump owes tremendous sums of money to, including Russian oligarchs and the Red Chinese Govt, is a hell of a lot more relevant than what sex act Bill Clinton engaged in 40 years ago.Delete
One of the most amazing disgusting disgraceful spectacles to come out of this election is the sight of die hard conservative republicans falling over themselves to rationalize their party nominee in love with a brutal Russian dictator.
do you think mm is for real, or just joking, playing the role of an over the top angry liberal.Delete
must be a joke right, cause dave in cal makes a calm argument, and mm launches into an angry tirade throwing around Nazi references, and racism, and treason...
hope its a joke, otherwise mm is totally unhinged
The fact that some accusations were false justifies the Clintons in asking their staff to investigate those accusers. That isn't "being mean", it is self protection.Delete
Equating these accusations of consensual sex with accusations of rape is a dirty political trick intended to embarrass Hillary. None of these women are victims, including the ones who endured sexual advances. They only become victims if they (1) say no and reject the advance, and (2) the attention persists. At that point it becomes harassment.
Consensual behavior is not a scandal.
you don't know if it was legalDelete
The NY Times' accuses Trump of legal tax avoidance. The article says Trump's huge NOL
"...could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes...
You don't know what this deadbeat business failure con man fraud scammer did because he has not released his tax returns up thru the year 2015. People are guessing at this point, so blow me d.Delete
DinC's sister-cousin once went to Staples to apply for a manager's job. She told them in an interview that she had been coming into their store and stealing stuff for years. It made her smart, she told them.Delete
There is very, very strong evidence that Trump has committed income tax fraud:Delete
DAVID CAY JOHNSTON: Well, Donald has done a very good job of trying to keep a number of things out of the public record and shut down investigations, but I found two tax appeals he filed from the year 1984, one with the City of New York and one with the state. And in one of these two cases, Donald filed something called a Schedule C. That’s what a freelancer files. He reported zero income and $626,000 of expenses, with no receipts and no documentation. That’s something that could be construed as tax fraud.
During the hearing, which lasted two days, the CPA and lawyer who had done Trump’s tax returns for years was shown the tax return, and he said, "Well, that’s my signature, but I didn’t prepare that tax return." Now, it was a photocopy. And, of course, you can put a name on a document with a photocopy machine. My first big national investigative reporting award was for just such a device used by a corrupt Michigan politician. And The Trump Organization didn’t respond to any of my questions—the Trump campaign—about this. Donald was hit in one case with a 35 percent penalty. And in the other case, the 25 percent penalty was not applied, only because nobody could find the original tax return, which I think suggests that a photocopy is what was mailed in in the first place.
It also shows, in these two cases, that in the year 1984 Donald paid no federal income taxes. And there’s very good reason to think he doesn’t pay them now, because of a provision in federal law that allows large real estate professionals to live without paying income taxes.
There is very, very strong evidence that Trump has committed sales tax fraud:Delete
6. In 1983, you were among those named in sales tax fraud at the Bulgari store on Fifth Ave. You bought $65,000 worth of jewelry and evaded the tax by having empty boxes mailed out of state. Mayor Ed Koch said at the time that you and other customers should be jailed for 15 days as tax criminals. Should this fraud disqualify you from becoming President? If not, explain why.
mm da mman!Delete
Consensual behavior is not a scandal.Delete
Adultory knocked Gary Hart and John Edwards out of the Presidential race. But, maybe the rules are different today.
This comment has been removed by the author.Delete
AnonymousOctober 5, 2016 at 3:32 PM -- since Trump's tax deductions were legal, your analogy is little off. Change it to her telling the manager that she was such a consciencious bargain hunter that the store had lost money on her purchases.Delete
mm -- you seem to have a "guilty until proven innocent" standard for Trump. Anyhow, very wealthy people and large businesses get audited routinely, so they can't cheat on their income tax.
"... very wealthy people and large businesses get audited routinely, so they can't cheat ...."Delete
Straight from Prof. Otto Yerass. Tell it to Robert Vesco, Al Capone, and Wesley Snipes.
I've got a story for you DinC. When I was in college, out for the weekend, there was a group of us that would pool our money to buy beer. There was one guy who always had an excuse for not pitching in, but shared in the drinking. Now you might think he was smart, and getting away with something. But we all knew he was just a selfish asshole.Delete
Show me where I said he was guilty until proven innocent of tax fraud.
You are the ignorant asshole who keeps vouching for him without even having the benefit of seeing the returns.
that's what I call true blue dedicated ignorance.
I have simply repeated my point that you can't make this kind of a judgment call without seeing the fucking returns, a point which you have studiously ignored.
Just getting a peak at the bits and pieces of what we've seen, I would say he fucking owes it to the American people to come clean before asking them for their vote to lead our nation.
One thing we do know for sure, his charity foundation was a complete fraud, and there have been multiple reports of his using the funds for his own personal gain and illegally to bribe various AG's.
Just your kind of guy, right dinc?
mm -- You wrote, "you don't know if it was legal, Mr. Asshole TROLL, cause your racist neo-Nazi nominee won't release his tax returns" andDelete
"You don't know what this deadbeat business failure con man fraud scammer did because he has not released his tax returns up thru the year 2015."
Both of these quotes seem to demand that Trump prove his innocence, even though there's no credible accusation that he committed tax fraud.
More from the false-equivalence troll:Delete
disclose prior years' tax returns as a presidential candidate = prove innocence.
don't you ever dare to talk to me about transparency again, you fucking two-faced hypocrite.
DinC says, "[t]he idea that some accuations against the Clintons are false somehow refutes or excuses all accusations against them."Delete
You don't like this attitude towards the Clintons, but you love it for Trump.
There is a big difference between balancing the attacks against Hillary's character with the positives of her experience and proven ability to handle the job, and the attacks on Trump's character with absolutely nothing positive to balance it with. No, he is not a successful business man. I think anyone can lose a billion dollars.
How anyone can be upset with the security issues with Hillary having an email server at home, and then not see Trump's personality being a major security issue if he makes it to the White House, is baffling. It's almost as if some have decided who they are supporting first, then making the best argument they can to support them. DinC, this truth comes oozing out of your posts. Hopefully, all of you Republicans selling your souls to support this shockingly unfit clown (c'mon, "You're fired!"?) for the most powerful position in the free world, will tear the GOP asunder.
David you ungenerously keep not mentioning that Trump's wife Ivana testified during their divorce proceedings that she was raped by Trump. That is much more compelling and concerning than any of the weak Clinton garbage you spew here almost daily.Delete
The emotions driving the Clinton Derangement syndrome have coalesced all of it's carriers into one mob of people who all share the emotion-induced lack of judgment that turned whitewater, filegate, travelgate, emailgate, Benghazi, etc. into huge horrifying scandals for Hillary Clinton. The faces I would put on this mob are Trey Gowdy for Hillary and Ken Starr for Bill. They both overreached and failed and have forever discredited those with CDS. This mob of which you are clearly a part of has cried wolf (false claim is a euphemism for lie.) way too many times to have the right to be heard any longer on the topic of the Clintons.ReplyDelete
These investigations have not only made it hard to hear a subsequent cry of "wolf" but they have made it impossible for people to evaluate the good that the Clintons have contributed in their various jobs. That is the worse outcome, in my opinion.Delete
The troll's sockpuppet has returned (eg. "false claim is a euphemism for lie").Delete
Where have I read that before? Oh yeah, one of David in Cal's comments.
The New York Times...Say, isn't that the same paper that's enthusiastically endorsed Hillary for president, offered an equally spirited anti-endorsement of her main opponent, tagged that opponent's false statements as actual "lies" rather than mere falsehoods, reported on his declared billion dollar operating loss and possible subsequent exemption from future taxation, etc., etc., etc.?ReplyDelete
Yet this same paper dared to report how Bill Clinton admitted to sexual behavior outside his marriage, and did so without unpacking for the umpteenth time the definition du jour of sexual relations? Does one editorial hand not know what the other is doing? Can a great metropolitan paper suffer from Dissociative Identity Disorder? (The Seven Faces of the Evening News?) More to the point, how can the Times' overt attempts to spare the country from the ravages of Trumpism withstand Ms. Twohey's momentary madness? What kind of institutional self-sabotage is this? Don't they realize what fools these readers be?
At this point, rushing to Bill's defense because he may not have taken this or that liberty with this or that woman seems a little like pardoning Jeffrey Dahmer because he was convicted of eating the wrong kid.
Whatever the grisly detail, folks long ago accepted that old Bill was rather a sleaze in his day while demonstrating convincingly that, beyond a certain level of salacious nosiness, THEY DON'T CARE. After a year of harping on Monica, Republicans lost half a dozen or so seats in the fall elections, contrary to historical patterns. Thereupon Moral Majority bores around the country dismissed the electorate as being beyond salvation and promptly abandoned politics to check into their respective cathouses.
Who knows what voters were thinking in 2000, but I bet they didn't care about Al Gore's earth tones, either.
One finds all kinds of contradictions in big newspapers. The devil can cite the Times for his purpose, but don't quote me on that.
One cannot point out awful reporting in the Times, because sometimes they write things that support the Democrat's side?Delete
Did I get that right?
Or is it this: if one can tell that it is advertising, then one won't be affected by it?
("I bet they didn't care about Al Gore's earth tones")
"Whatever the grisly detail, folks long ago accepted that old Bill was rather a sleaze in his day..."Delete
What if the man is no more of a sleaze than the average guy? What if he actually didn't do most of the things he was accused of? Is it fair that he has carried that sleazy reputation around, that he has been the butt of so many late-night comedian's jokes?
I believe he has accepted that there is little he can do to rehabilitate that part of his reputation -- no global initiative can outweigh Monica's confessions.
The right doesn't seem to be satisfied until it has destroyed his legacy. Where does such hatred come from?
My admiration for both Clintons arises from their ability to keep on doing their good works no matter what is said about them.
As you say: "folks long ago accepted that old Bill was rather a sleaze in his day while demonstrating convincingly that, beyond a certain level of salacious nosiness, THEY DON'T CARE"ReplyDelete
Clinton's approval ratings in the week of the impeachment hearings begin: 73%. Highest in the year. He averaged over 60% for his second term.
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