The power of the Enquirer: If it's sheer stupidity you enjoy, we recommend a news report in this morning's New York Times.
The report was written by Trip Gabriel. In hard-copy editions, it appears beneath this headline:
Iowa Poll Gives Biden an Edge Over SandersOn-line, the headline's even dumber.
Truly, it doesn't get much dumber than that. That said, they love to write about the horse race. They love it so much that they start to do it long before the race has even begun.
That report is defiantly pointless. That said, similar piddle was being discussed all over "cable news" this weekend. This kills time and lets corporate "journalists" avoid what their handlers abhor—discussions of matters of substance.
That report is characteristically dumb. But also in this morning's Times, Jim Rutenberg gets it very much right in his Mediator essay.
Rutenberg writes about the deeply unfortunate, corrupt and corrupting power of one of our dumbest, most dishonest institutions. We refer, of course, to the National Enquirer.
Forget the way the Enquirer played "catch and kill" in the last campaign, an act for which we think they ought to receive a major award. Instead, Rutenberg focuses on the Enquirer's ability to corrupt the minds of us the people through such garbage can conduct as this:
RUTENBERG (12/17/18): The Enquirer’s power was fueled by its covers. For the better part of the campaign season, Enquirer front pages blared sensational headlines about Mr. Trump’s rivals from eye-level racks at supermarket checkout lanes across America. This stroke-of-genius distribution apparatus was dreamed up by the man who made The Enquirer the nation’s biggest gossip rag: its previous owner, Generoso Pope Jr.It's time to ask why supermarket chains are willing to take part in this assault on the public interest. If progressive groups want to stage a fight which could actually matter, they'll start to picket these famous stores until this garbage can conduct is brought to a halt.
The Enquirer spread false stories about Hillary Clinton—illnesses concealed, child prostitution, bribery, treason. Each cover trumpeting these tales was arguably more powerful than a tweet from an account with millions of followers.
[T]he company pulled up files on the Clintons that it had collected over decades—some two dozen cardboard boxes filled with promising material.
A.M.I. began a painstaking effort to sort through the old clips and tips concerning “pay-for-play” deals, rumors of affairs and Vince Foster conspiracy theories. But as the campaign wore on, The Enquirer’s covers favored stories similar to those coursing through Infowars, Russian trolldom and, increasingly, your uncle’s Facebook feed.
According to one headline, Hillary was “Corrupt! Racist! Criminal!” In another, she was “Eating Herself To Death!”
The Enquirer also reported—make that “reported”—that she had suffered “three strokes,” had “liver damage from booze,” and was prone to “violent rages.”
A couple of weeks before Election Day, as Russian bots pushed a narrative into Facebook of a “Clinton body count,” an Enquirer cover line screamed: “Hillary Hitman Tells All.”
The false narratives built to a frenzy that included an appearance by the A.M.I. chief content officer Dylan Howard on Infowars and a cover promising that Mrs. Clinton and her aide Huma Abedin were “Going to Jail” for “Treason! Influence Peddling! Bribery!”
The Enquirer is an evil force within American life. But even as we read Rutenberg's report, we couldn't help thinking of the way his own newspaper, along with many other mainstream orgs, has taken part in this garbage can culture over the past thirty years.
From 1992 on, the New York Times played an extremely active role in the promulgation of crazy claims about Clinton, Clinton and Gore. In the realm of corporate cable, no one has peddled more of this garbage than Chris Matthews, with Rachel Maddow telling the world that he's her favorite pundit.
How pitiful has the New York Times been in coming to terms with this garbage? Citizens, please!
On Sunday, July 3, 2016, the Times ran a front-page report about Donald J. Trump's long, disgraceful history as king of the nation's birthers. That said, the Times was so eager not to offend that it shied away from asking the obvious questions:
Isn't it true that Trump was lying all along when he claimed that he'd sent investigators to Hawaii to check on the status of Obama's birth? Wasn't he lying all along when he said his gumshoes were absolutely shocked, just shocked, by the various things they learned there?
Had Trump been lying all along? The New York Times wasn't willing to ask! A few months later, they were back on the front page with silly, garbage can pseudo-reporting about the ways Hillary Clinton was alleged to have assaulted her husband's sex accusers.
Indeed, the Times was stuck so deep in EnquirerWorld that they even rehabbed Gennifer Flowers for that tabloid pseudo-report. Among three million other offenses, Flowers had pimped the "Clinton body count" claims—the claims which Rutenberg finds offensive when peddled by Russian bots.
(In response, Matthews spent half an hour telling Flowers how smokin' hot she was.)
Minor omissions to the side, Rutenberg's essay takes where we've long needed to go. He takes us to the place where corporate criminals set out to corrupt the public's understanding of even the most basic facts.
Safeway and Giant take part in this scam. But so does the New York Times.
The liberal world has tolerated this rank corruption every step of the way. Indeed, most of the people who invented crackpot claims about Clinton, Clinton and Gore came from the "mainstream" or "corporate liberal" camps.
We liberals! We're lazy and gullible and nobody likes us. Will we picket those National Enquirer racks in our supermarket chains?
Actually, no—we won't. At present, we're complaining that the Enquirer didn't feed us more of this dreck during the last campaign!
We're silly, and we're easily conned. In these ways, we elected George W. Bush, then moved to the harder stuff.
Trembling in their boots: Donald J. Trump was king of the birthers from 2011 on. That said, here's the headline the timorous Times put on its front-page report:
Inside the Six Weeks Donald Trump Was a Nonstop ‘Birther’The Enquirer is a pernicious force in American life. That said, the deranged, influential food store rag isn't working alone.