Reid bungles the scary uranium deal!


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 Story
So 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: 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.
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.)

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?


  1. And, Bob, your calling of the NYT 2015 story a parody? I suppose you think Haiti is "just another word for nothing left to lose" and the Clintons' white gloved hands are still clean there, too.

  2. Obfuscations, obfuscations.

    The timeline of the 'contribution' is perfectly clear from wikipedia:

    "UrAsia Energy's acquisition of its Kazakhstan uranium interests from Kazatomprom followed a trip to Almaty in 2005 by Giustra and former U.S. President Bill Clinton where they met with Nursultan Nazarbayev, the leader of Kazakhstan. Substantial contributions to the Clinton Foundation by Giustra followed"

    So. Bill Clinton, the husband of Senator (at the time) Clinton, flies to Kazakhstan and meets president Nazarbayev -> Nazarbayev approves UrAsia Energy's (owned by Giustra) acquisition of its Kazakhstan uranium interests -> huge (over $100 million) contribution to the Clinton Crime Family Foundation by Giustra.

    Coincidence? I think not...

    And now let us listen to the noises resident zombies will (no doubt) utter in response...

    1. Much more substantive than Maddow's crazy Russia dot connecting. Trump is all but in the clear but the same can't be said for the Clintons.

    2. We already heard the number one zombie ('Mao'), doubtless being goaded by his Muscovite Houngan.

    3. Way to copy and paste from Wikipedia there, Mao. Where did you learn this highly technical skill? Likely the same place you were taught the logical fallacy that, because b occurs after a, b must have been caused by a.

    4. So. Bill Clinton, the husband of Senator (at the time) Clinton...

      bwahahahaha!!!! That's who "Bill Clinton" was at the time, just the husband of Senator Clinton. bwahahahaha, that's a good one, vodka breath.

    5. "but what you think proves zilch"


      "Same evidence-free illogic ... etc."

      Not at all. I'm simply offering a rebuttal to the obfuscations perpetrated by one Joy Reid, as described in the post.

      Is this so complicated? It shouldn't be.

    6. And what power did non-president Bill Clinton or his wife Senator (not Secretary) Hillary Clinton have over uranium purchases back then? Exactly none. Neither had any active role in the Executive Branch.

  3. All of this speculation about quid pro quos is meaningless if Clinton had no involvement in approval of the deal. She had to have DONE something in order for the supposed payments to have been payment for something.

    Contributions to the Clintons Foundation go toward the activities of the foundation and those are charitable. The Clintons did not divert funds to personal activities (as Trump did) and the Foundation has been audited repeatedly and found to be doing what it should with people's money.

    So how exactly did the Clintons benefit?

    The conservative hysteria about this never seems to make any sense. People are busy connecting dots but not the ones that matter in order to prove something nefarious happened.

  4. Somerby keeps asking this:

    "For extra credit only: Have you ever heard anyone on MSNBC mention the role the New York Times played in pimping this ridiculous script?"

    The reason we don't hear journalists commenting about other journalists is because they have it drummed into them throughout J-school that they are not the story. The press is not the story. They are bystanders and observers who are reporting on the story but who are not part of it. At the point that they are involved in the story, they are no longer journalists.

    So, the NY Times, by definition, is not a suitable topic for other journalists because they all try to keep themselves (e.g., journalists) out of the pieces they are writing. There is the assumption that they are all trying to be as competent and objective as possible and if they are failing it is due to human frailty.

    There are specific venues for criticizing the media, such as Columbia Journalism Review. It is not the role of the everyday press to critique each other.

    Nevertheless, Somerby likes to pretend there is some desperate collusion involved.

    1. Dumb faggot: it's a story when a major newspaper publishes falsehoods and innuendo about a presidential candidate that was funded by a Bannon organization.

      Pull your head out.

    2. Anon No. 1 — Obviously you have nothing factual to say when you open your comment with name calling.

      And, indeed, you have nothing factual to say. The story of 2015 was all true, with the exception of the NYT staff not knowing at that time that Dear Leader himself was blocking further investigation.

      Oh, in presidential races, and where possible elsewhere, I did my #DuopolyExit more than a decade ago, so save your breath and your two remaining brain cells.

      And, if this is what you're like with a head pulled out, please re-insert yours.

    3. @Gadfly:
      "I did my #DuopolyExit"
      Did that result in anyone but Democrats or Republicans getting elected?

  5. One thing to remember about the uranium story:
    Trump and the Republicans are engaging in their usual obfuscation.
    Uranium One, originally Canadian, now owned by Rosatom, is a mining company. They aren’t allowed to export the uranium they extract. It is sold to reactors in the US.
    So when Trump says Clinton “approved the transfer of 20 percent of America’s uranium holdings to Russia”, that’s a typical misstatement to excite the rubes.
    While Clinton may have had an opinion on the sale of Uranium One, Jose Fernandez, who was the representative of State at the CFIUS meetings, says that Clinton did not intervene in this matter.
    The CFIUS consists of nine members from various departments of the government, each of which gets a vote.
    Aside from this, Clinton didn’t have the power to make the ultimate decision. That lay with the president.
    It is amusing, though, to see Trump and his minions explain away and even cheer his own attempts at “d├ętente” with the Russians, while describing the Uranium One brouhaha as a grave national security threat. New idiot Republican in the White House, same old Republican dirty tricks.

    1. Yeah, blaming the uranium purchase on Clinton is like “No puppet, no puppet, you’re the puppet!” — or claiming that Paul Manafort was actually the Clinton campaign manager....

  6. While correct in his criticisms of Reid, I would say that misstating someone’s name on air is not really a big deal. People do that frequently when they are speaking extemporaneously. Perfection is not an attainable goal.
    The larger question though, is why Somerby isn’t examining the much bigger story of the collusion between the White House, congressional Republicans, and Fox News to gin up this controversy in the first place. The silence from TDH is deafening.
    Another media story that TDH has never once mentioned is the attempted takeover of a vast number of local TV stations by right-wing, Trump-friendly Sinclair Media Group. The now right-wing FCC is mulling the “easing” of restrictions to allow this buyout to take place. This is arguably an important media story, more important than whether Giustra’s name was Frank or Tom. Or do you like being treated to Boris Epshteyn’s recurring propaganda? Or Sharyl Attkisson’s “Full Measure”, now beamed into my unhappy household by my friendly Sinclair affiliate. Your local Sinclair TV station has no choice but to serve it up to you, one giant poo at a time.

    1. Bob Somerby’s Daily Howler seems to have had little interest for some time reporting on the right-wing takeover of news [and social] media, preferring to focus — over and over, repetitively, by every appearance obsessively — on criticizing Rachel Maddow and other journalists of what he calls “our tribe”.

    2. He never, at any time, had any interest whatsoever in reporting on right-wing media. In the past, you will see in the archives, he repetitively criticized Frank Ridge, Maureen Dad, Chris Matthews and Gail Collins.

    3. @ 11:22 AM: pure historic revisionism.

      For the first couple of years its existence, the Howler and a now-defunct blog called Media Wholes Online were the only blogs criticizing right-wing media as well as the useful idiots of the time in the mainstream media.


      These posts from 1998 are about the New York Times, The Washington Post, Chris Matthews, Meet the Press and not the right-wing press Corps. So I don't know what you're talking about. Please show me.


      These posts are from 1998 and they speak primarily about the Washington Post, the New York Times, Meet the Press, Chris Matthews and mainstream media. There's very, very little about right-wing media. So I don't know what you're talking about. Please provide some examples if you can. You're full of s*** if you can't.

  7. Oh, Hillbots, in case you didn't read the full story, the specifics of Manafort's current indictment relate to work he did for the Podesta Group.

    1. Wrong Podesta, but a good example of why you need to get those first names right.

    2. Oh Trumpbot Gadfly, you have things mixed up. Did you read the indictment? Does it charge anyone named "Podesta"? Are you sure Manafort "worked for" this "Podesta Group?" That isn't what the indictment says.
      Poor Trumpbot. Hillary still unscathed. Repubs still batting zero.

  8. Bob doesn't hugely have his eye on the ball, but whatever. Some of us will always remember the import work The Daily Howler once did.

  9. Bill Clinton got on an airplane to seal this deal. Let's stop pretending there wasn't lobbying, at best there was no overt lobbying. But that's a weird distinction from the Republican decided court. The Clinton foundation is a clearing house for political elites .