Gets liberally showered with praise: Donald J. Trump is pushing hard on Hillary Clinton's alleged misconduct in the scary uranium deal. In recent weeks, this has also become a standard topic at Fox.
This weekend, Joy Reid challenged a reporter from the Washington Examiner about this hot new topic. Her work is praised today at Slate, under this cheerleader headline:
Watch MSNBC’s Joy Reid Expertly Debunk Lies Around Uranium-Clinton StorySo it goes when a failing society turns almost totally tribal.
In fact, Reid's "expert debunking of the lies" was a great deal less than expert. She spoke with the Examiner's Jennifer Kerns, who was even more fuzzy than Reid about certain parts of the story.
Over at Slate, Daniel Politi was convinced by Reid's performance. He offers two minutes of videotape, along with the transcript of several chunks of Reid's interaction with Kerns.
Reid was far from expert, but she blustered with skill. All across the Internet, the tribe let up a cheer.
How "expert" was Reid's actual performance? Consider the part where she began grilling Kerns about contributions to the Clinton Foundation—contributions which supposedly helped secure Clinton's alleged support for the scary uranium deal.
(Reminder: There is no evidence that Clinton played any role in the deal's approval by the State Department. Beyond that, the deal was approved by eight other federal agencies, a statutory requirement, and was presumably approved by President Obama as well. This wasn't a Hillary Clinton deal, although that's the claim the New York Times endorsed in April 2015 in a gigantic sprawling report, as part of their bizarre "journalistic" deal with a Steve Bannon-funded hack.)
How "expert" was Reid this day? Below, you see one part of the transcript Politi provided. Kern is vague on various facts; Reid seems unaware of others. We've reinserted a few of Politi's deletions:
REID (10/29/17): Who is the person who donated to Hillary Clinton who is related to, and had an investment in, Uranium One? What is that person's name? Do you remember their name?Kerns didn't seem to be hugely current on this topic, but then she hasn't been reporting this topic for The Examiner. (We don't know where she got the $143 million figure.)
KERNS: They are board members of Uranium One, donated up to, I think it's $143 million, I think—
REID: Tom Giustra.
KERN: —to the Clinton Foundation.
REID: And when did Tom Giustra— Did he own any assets in Uranium One at the time that Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State?
KERNS: You know, I don't know that—
REID: Did not. Sold them.
KERNS: But here's what I would like to know—
REID: He sold them years before. So what you're talking about is a deal that nine members of CFIUS approved unanimously. None of them was Hillary Clinton. You have a donor who separately gave Hillary Clinton donations at a time when she was not Secretary of State. The two things cross in the night, they have no relation to each other.
That said, Reid didn't seem real clear on her basic facts, even as she interrupted Kerns and lectured her about those facts, much like a scolding parent.
For starters, no one named "Tom Giustra" was involved in this matter. The person to whom Reid referred is actually named "Frank Giustra." In semi-parodic fashion, Reid misstated Giustra's name even as she seemed to scold Kerns for not knowing it.
Reid seemed to know the basic back-story concerning Giustra's donations. On the other hand, Kerns knew that other donations occurred, not just those of Giustra.
Reid framed this matter, from the start, as a matter of one donor (Giustra) with "an investment in Uranium One." That said, other donors, and other donations, were in fact involved. These donations did in fact come from "board members of Uranium One," a fact Reid blew right past and seemed unaware of.
In this recent report by the Examiner, some of those other donations were cited. The chairman of Uranium One, to whom the report refers, was a man named Ian Telfer. The various donations he made and bundled came through his Canadian family charity, the Fernwood Foundation. Unlike with Giustra, these contributions were made when Clinton was Secretary of State.
Kerns seemed vaguely aware of these facts. Reid simply blustered past them.
In her discussion with Kerns, Reid acted like she very much knew what she was talking about. It doesn't seem that she actually did, but so what? When a society devolves into a state of tribal war, true believers from all tribal sides will robotically praise the "expertise" of other hacks on their side.
One final note on this gong show:
People like Reid are attacking this topic now because it's being pushed by Trump. When it came from the New York Times in the spring of 2015, the overpaid stars at MSNBC and their like were silent.
That's because people of their ilk will never challenge the Times or its stars. The rank and file aren't in a position to know that they're being conned by this code of silence.
The 4400-word Times report on the scary uranium deal was a parody of a news report. It put a stupid attack on Clinton into play, and it went uncontradicted by the boys and girls who draw their large pay checks from corporate minders at MSNBC.
It went uncontradicted because boys and girls of this type have their hands in career and corporate troughs. Career paths run through the New York Times. For that reason, the New York Times gets an eternal pass.
This started in 1992 with the Times' weirdly bungled front-page reports on Whitewater, the pseudoscandal which gave its name to an era. It continued in Campaign 2016 through the scary uranium deal, and through other attacks on Candidate Clinton by the eternally puzzling Times.
By now, the children are willing to go on the attack because they get to attack Donald J. Trump rather than the New York Times, whole role in this mess has been disappeared. Reid didn't even seem to know Giustra's name. But she's been praised all over the liberal web for her expertise in debunking the lies.
This is the way the Fox crowd rolls. As the nation's downward spiral continues, it's also the way We play. "Cable news" is largely Potemkin. It's largely tribal entertainment plus morality play.
For extra credit only: Have you ever heard anyone on MSNBC mention the role the New York Times played in pimping this ridiculous script?
We're just asking. Why do you think you haven't?