The craziness of the Times: Yesterday morning, we barked out an order to our eager young team of analysts.
"Who is Catie Edmondson?" we persuasively said, stating our aggressive command in the form of a question. We were asking because of the news report Edmondson authored in yesterday's New York Times.
We were stunned by the incompetence of Edmondson's report, which moved from pitiful conflations at the start on to bald-faced misstatement at the end.
Edmondson was discussing Senator Kennedy's original claim that Ukraine may have been responsible for hacking the DNC's emails during Campaign 2016.
As you may recall, Kennedy made the claim on November 24, took it back the next night. He hasn't repeated the claim since then. But so what? Yesterday's news report ended like this:
EDMONDSON (12/4/19): Mr. Kennedy, an Oxford-educated lawyer who is perhaps best known in the Senate for his folksy aphorisms and pointed grilling of judicial nominees, has emerged as one of Mr. Trump’s most vigorous impeachment defenders in the Senate. He first floated the theory about Ukraine’s culpability more than a week ago on Fox News, saying that the perpetrator of the hack on a server at the Democratic National Committee “could be Ukraine.”We're sorry, but no. Kennedy didn't repeat his initial claim on Sunday's Meet the Press. We're sorry, but no. It just didn't happen.
The next day, he told CNN that he “was wrong” and that the “only evidence” he had “is that it was Russia who tried to hack the D.N.C. computer.”
But on Sunday, he reverted to his initial claim on “Meet the Press.”
(For the Meet the Press transcript, click here.)
We were amazed by Edmondson's awful reporting. Sadly, we can't name the editor or editors who let the report go to print.
That said, our analysts returned to us with the information we'd demanded. Edmondson is in her second year out of college (Barnard, class of 2018). Routinely, our national reporting is being done by the youngest of our nation's inexperienced kids.
We thought Edmondson's report was awful—but then we read the lead editorial in today's New York Times. A masterwork of conflation, confusion and tribal attack, the editorial started like this:
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL (12/5/19): President Trump and his defenders simply won’t stop playing into Russia’s hands by promoting the debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine hacked the 2016 election in an effort to sabotage his candidacy.We're sorry, but no. Kennedy didn't "spread the disinformation" in question on Sunday's Meet the Press.
On Sunday, Senator John Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana, was on “Meet the Press” spreading this disinformation...
If we're going to go with the truth, Kennedy didn't do that! But as the editorial continued, the editors made it perfectly clear that they were making this charge:
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL: [Kennedy] suggested on “Fox News Sunday” that, in fact, Ukraine had hacked the Democratic computer server, obtaining emails that embarrassed Hillary Clinton’s campaign. “I don’t know, nor do you, nor do any of us,” he told the host, Chris Wallace. (The next day he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo: “I was wrong. It was Russia who tried to hack the computer. I’ve seen no indication that Ukraine tried to do it.” It is unclear what changed his mind. Again.)The editors' charge is perfectly clear, and the editors' charge is just wrong. Comically, the editors linked to the Washington Post, not to Edmondson's report, to support their claim from paragraph two—their claim that Kennedy had gone on Meet the Press to "spread this disinformation" again.
As with Edmondson's report, the report in the Post was built around a hapless conflation. All across the pseudo-liberal world, the same conflation is being pimped by our tribal shamans. It's built upon the inability, or the unwillingness, to distinguish between two different claims:
Claim #1: Ukraine hacked/stole the DNC emails.Obviously, those are different claims. A person who makes Claim #2 isn't necessarily making Claim #1. Everyone is able to see that! Even people who work for the Times!
Claim #2: Ukraine interfered/intervened in the 2016 election.
That distinction is obvious. But all across the pseudo-liberal world, we're seeing what the human brain is like on tribal war.
For our money, Chuck Todd's handling of the Meet the Press interview with Kennedy was just this side of insane. That said, at no point did Kennedy claim that Ukraine hacked the DNC emails.
That said, the human brain is extremely weak, especially when we the people are on the verge of war.
"This is your brain on drugs," a famous old TV ad said. If you want to see your brain on war, you should subscribe to the Times.
Two last questions: Why are kids right out of college doing so much of our top-end reporting? Also, where do they go when they turn 30? No jokes about Soylent Green!