The nothing-burgers continue to flow!


The New York Times moves them along:
Even we were surprised by what the New York Times did this morning.

In this report on Donald Trump's day, Nick Corasaniti pushes the latest nothing-burger along. He simply repeats Trump's latest claim, without making the slightest attempt at clarification or challenge:
CORASANITI (10/25/16): [Trump] furthered his attack, citing a report from The Wall Street Journal that found that the political organization attached to Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, a key Clinton ally, donated more than $465,000 to the 2015 State Senate campaign of Jill McCabe, the spouse of Andrew McCabe, the deputy director of the F.B.I. The donation was among many made that year by the group in an effort to win back a Democratic majority in the Virginia Senate.

“So the man that was investigating her from the F.B.I., his wife runs for office, and they give her more than $675,000 to run,” Mr. Trump said of Mrs. Clinton, as the crowd began to boo. “And it just came out. They just figured it out.”

It is evidence the whole system is geared against him, Mr. Trump said...
It one sense, this report is accurate. Trump really did say those things yesterday on the trail.

On the other hand, Trump's story was utterly bungled. At the Washington Post, Trump has already received four Pinocchios for this latest nothing-burger. For whatever reason, the Times decided to write it on up, just exactly the way Trump said it to the booing crowd.

Full stop.

As Corasaniti continued, so did his weird stenography. This time, he simply repeated what Trump had said about all those phony polls:
CORASANITI (continuing directly): It is evidence the whole system is geared against him, Mr. Trump said, and any polls showing him behind, he told his supporters, are not to be believed.

“What they do is they show these phony polls where they look at Democrats, and it’s heavily weighted with Democrats,
and then they’ll put on a poll where we’re not winning, and everybody says, ‘Oh, they’re not winning,’” Mr. Trump said at the round-table event Monday morning.

Toward that end, Mr. Trump’s campaign will begin airing its own form of programming on Facebook Live, offering daily reports from campaign officials on what it says is the real state of the race.

His anti-polling and anti-news media message is quickly catching on with his supporters.

“There’s no way any of those polls are real,” said Bill Stelling, 44, a real estate agent from Jacksonville, Fla. “If you’ve gone around throughout the country and seen what’s going on, you go through any neighborhood and see how many Trump signs there are and how many Hillary signs there are, and I guarantee you it’s not even going to be close. It’s not even going to be close.”

It is a message that Mr. Trump has been highlighting at his rallies, repeatedly predicting victory and encouraging his supporters to embrace early voting, which began in some Florida counties on Monday.
In this instance, Corasaniti simply repeated Trump's claims about all those phony polls, the ones which are heavily weighted with Democrats.

Is there any truth to Trump's claims about the phony polls, the claims his supporters find so convincing? Did the Trump campaign offer any evidence that phony polls are being heavily weighted with Democrats, whatever exactly that is supposed to mean?

Corasaniti made no attempt to say. He simply wrote what the candidate said, with no attempt at providing context, evidence, clarification, fact-checking, possible words of caution.

This seemed like one of the laziest news reports we had seen in some time. In fairness, Corasaniti had seemed to start with a slippery shot which cut against Candidate Trump.

This slippery shot concerned what Trump had said about Jessica Drake, the latest woman to accuse him of being perhaps a bit grabby. To our ear, Corasaniti's slippery play had occurred here:
CORASANITI: Ms. Drake, an actress in pornographic films, is one of several women to accuse him of unwanted aggressive sexual advances after the release of a 2005 recording in which Mr. Trump boasted of being able to sexually assault women without consequence.

Mr. Trump has called all of the allegations lies and has said that he does not know the women.

But in a radio interview on WGIR’s “New Hampshire Today,” it was clear that Mr. Trump was aware of Ms. Drake.
"But it was clear that he was aware of Drake?" Was that supposed to suggest a contradiction? That's how it sounded to us.

This was a miserable news report. Our smartest and brightest American newspaper can be extremely lazy.


  1. "Aggressive sexual advances" does not mean the same thing as "sexual assault," the behavior Trump has been accused of. Nor is it the same as solicitation of sex for money, prostitution, the other accusation made against him. Whitewashing criminal behavior shouldn't be occurring in the guise of journalism either. These are serious accusations against Trump. Women expect their complaints to be taken seriously, not diminished through the use of language that sounds like begging for a date, not grabbing a woman's body. Some guys are apparently not getting the message about this.

  2. Should every news story be written as if every reader had just arrived from Mars? By the eighth grade we all should be coming to the table with a background of experience and a set of agreed-upon facts.

    If the presidential nominee of a major party denies the Holocaust or declares that Elvis lives, do editors hold the story until proof or refutation of each crazy claim can be adduced for the sake of balance?

    These things didn't come from some frustrated bureaucrat lurking around a shadowy parking garage. In this case a man who wants to be President is saying things the average Joe would consider rash, reckless, and plain whack-a-doodle. There's the story. Don't bury the lead.

    In other news, denials of allegations are reported without investigation every day. We have courts for that.

    Who knows what kind of deadline pressure the Times was under. They had a legitimate story (presidential candidate says consensus reality bunk)and they ran with it.

    ("Well, I'd like to hold off judgment on a thing like that, sir, until all the facts are in." -- Gen. Buck Turgidson, from "Dr. Strangelove, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.")

    ("Great Caesars's ghost! I just got a hot tip from the Republican nominee that the Death Star is hovering behind the moon awaiting Obama's signal to attack," said Perry White. "Miss Lane, check it out!")

    Good on the Post for weighing in on Trump's veracity, doing our critical thinking for us as a public service. The Times can always follow up and probably will, if they haven't already. There's no journalistic law that says every story has to be complete and self-contained before it is unleashed upon an ovine and credulous populace.

    There is such a thing as staying tuned for more, you know.

    1. Jeeves, you sound like an insider. You paint a picture of the news media treating their readers like marks, not citizens. I agree with this characterization.

  3. Whitewater bogus type nonsense.

  4. The public editor has to take the NYT politics editor, Carolyn Ryan, to the woodshed time after time. It doesn't seem like she's really up to the task.

  5. I can picture those burgers rolling or falling but not actually flowing. Limited imagination, I guess.

  6. “Did the Trump campaign offer any evidence that phony polls are being heavily weighted with Democrats, whatever exactly that is supposed to mean? Corasaniti made no attempt to say. This seemed like one of the laziest news reports we had seen in some time.”

    It was. I would have received an F in my course in polling at my university if I wrote like the Times. Based on a few minutes of time with Dr. Google, the world's greatest newspaper could have informed its readers that reality is weighted towards Democrats. If polls want to be accurate they must reflect that reality.

    Based on 2014 data, 39% identify as independents, 32% as Democrats and 23% as Republicans. When the partisan leanings of independents are taken into account, 48% either identify as Democrats or lean Democratic; 39% identify as Republicans or lean Republican. The gap in leaned party affiliation has held fairly steady since 2009, when Democrats held a 13-point advantage (50% to 37%).

    -Pew Research Center

  7. I personally am sick of hearing about all the media bias out there. everyone cries bias these days when they hear something that they don't agree with or when things don't go their way. The only poll that matters is the one on November 8.

    What scares me the most are guys like Bill Stelling quoted above that can't believe the polls might be right. Probably won't believe the election results if Clinton wins either.

    If everyone thinks its bad now, watch how bad it gets if people lose all faith in our democratic system and take to the streets...then the sh*t will really hit the fan.

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