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The Clinton Rules and the Media’s Ghastly Failure to Inform the Public

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200px-AtlasShruggedAbove: the novelistic version of Paul Ryan’s domestic policy agenda, albeit with less religion

As a couple of commenters have noted, Ygelsias has filed a couple of exceptionally good columns recently. First, on the assumptions that cause “scandals” to be routinely manufactured ex nihilo:

The latest Hillary Clinton email revelations arose out of an unrelated investigation into Anthony Weiner’s sexting.

The best way to understand this odd hopscotch is through the Prime Directive of Clinton investigations: We know the Clintons are guilty; the only question is what are they guilty of and when will we find the evidence?

So somehow an investigation that once upon a time was about a terrorist attack on an American consulate becomes an inquiry into Freedom of Information Act compliance, which shifts into a question about handling of classified material. A probe of sexting by the husband of a woman who works for Clinton morphs into a quest for new emails, and if the emails turn out not to be new at all (which seems likely), it will morph into some new questions about Huma Abedin’s choice of which computers to use to check her email.

Clinton has been very thoroughly investigated, and none of the earlier investigations came up with any crimes. So now the Prime Directive compels her adversaries to look under a new rock and likewise compels cable television and many major newspapers to treat the barest hint of the possibility of new evidence that might be damning as a major development.

[…]

Knowing all that, the natural thing to assume when you learn that one of Weiner’s laptops includes client-side copies of emails sent to or from Clinton’s private server is that there is nothing new in these emails. They are going to be duplicates of emails that have already been turned over. If by some chance some of them are different, they are almost certainly not going to expose grave crimes in Benghazi or willful mishandling of classified information on Clinton’s part. This has all already been thoroughly investigated.

But then you remember the Prime Directive: Clinton is guilty; we just don’t know what she’s guilty of or what the evidence is that proves it.

The Prime Directive is how meeting with a Nobel Peace Prize winner and rescuing hostages from North Korea or raising money for a foundation that saved millions of lives becomes a scandal.

In Prime Directive terms, the Weiner laptop is a major break. After all, the evidence of guilt must be out there somewhere. So why not Anthony Weiner’s laptop?

It’s only when you step outside the circle of madness that you can see how ridiculous this is. If nobody had ever seen a Hillary Clinton email before, uncovering a trove of them on the laptop of the estranged husband of one of her key aides might be a big deal. But Hillary’s email has already been exhaustively investigated from multiple different angles, and it shows no wrongdoing whatsoever. If you assume there is wrongdoing, then, yes, maybe all evidence of the wrongdoing was suppressed from what was turned over and Weiner’s computer contains secret new damning emails.

Even if Clinton had done something wrong, the email scandal would be trivial — it wouldn’t rank in the top 50 of “horrible things Donald Trump has done.” The extent to which her emails have dominated press coverage even though she is not guilty of any serious wrongdoing is remarkable in the worst way.

And we should emphasize the media’s agency here. Comey’s letter was an appalling and indefensible partisan intervention into the election. But if it matters, it’s because the media failed to cover it accurately (as a scandal about Comey’s violation of longstanding procedures to provide no information worded in a way to allow the implication that Hillary Clinton is guilty of something) rather than inaccurately (as a Hillary Clinton scandal) or with meta-coverage that does Comey’s dirty work (did this letter damage Clinton?) Or, of course, the media could do something crazy like covering policy differences rather than email storage trivia:

Imagine, in other words, that Trump does what he says he wants to do on taxes, the environment, immigration, and health care. It’s true that he is not a passionate policy wonk; nor does he seem like someone who is deeply invested, on a personal level, in the non-immigration aspects of his policy agenda. But the agenda is there, and on all these non-immigration issues his views are basically in line with the vision put forth by Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who will do the boring work of drafting the bills for Trump to sign.

The result would be a sweeping transformation of American life. Millions would be forcibly removed from their homes and communities as new resources and a new mission invigorate the pace of deportations. Taxes would drop sharply for the richest Americans while rising for many middle-class families. Millions of low-income Americans would lose their health insurance, while America’s banks would enjoy the repeal of regulations enacted in the wake of the financial crisis. Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gas emissions would end, likely collapsing global efforts to restrain emissions, greatly increasing the pace of warming.

Millions of Americans would love some or all of these changes, and millions of others would hate them. But most of all, the vast majority of Americans would simply be confused. Someone who’d been following the election moderately closely — scanning headlines, watching cable news, and tuning in to debates — would simply have no idea that this sweeping shift in American public policy is in the offing if Trump wins. Nor would they have any real sense of what the more modest shift in public policy that would emerge from a Clinton win would look like. Beneath the din of email coverage and the mountains of clichés about populism, the mass-market media has simply failed to convey what’s actually at stake in the election.

One of the most frightening things about a Trump administration is the fact that he’d sign whatever Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan put on his desk. The public should be being told repeatedly, for better or worse, what this agenda is. Instead, they’re getting a steady stream of drivel about Hillary Clinton’s fucking emails that is consistently inept and misleading even on its own terms. It’s an absolutely grotesque collective failure. And as with 2000, the right-wing media is not the important problem here.

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  • Karen24

    And in the RCP averages, Trump is winning.

    • D.N. Nation

      I can’t quite tell if this continual polling ignorance is legitimate or ratfucking schtick. Also, he’s not even winning the RCP averages.

      • Karen24

        He’s one point behind. Yes, I know watch the averages and the trend lines. The trend lines all point in his direction now. She’s got a tiny three-vote margin in the EC, assuming no faithless electors like that guy from Washington State.

        • D.N. Nation

          You just said he was winning, which was the exact opposite of true. Now you’re saying he’s one point behind, which isn’t true either. (If we’re just going by the RCP, it’s 1.7, and if you look at the polls they take into account, Trump’s only ever winning that ridiculous LA/USC poll.) You’re constantly making pronouncements that “_______ now says Trump’s winning,” “_________ now says Trump’s taking PA,” etc., that turn out to be botched reading of facts, overreactions, and commitment to noise. You’ve been doing this for a while now, too.

          If you’re a drama llama, that’s one thing, but you’re making it harder to believe that it’s just that.

          • Karen24

            Just panicky. Even a 1% chance of that asshole getting the launch codes is a catastrophic thought.

            • Gregor Sansa

              Personally, I have $838.84 that’s currently saying that Trump will lose FL (in which case it will become $1562, minus 10% of profits). So, money where my mouth is, not only am I not worried, I’m happy to take the money of the (surprisingly large number of) people who are betting the other way. The shares are currently worth $.49, which is less than what I paid for them on average, but that’s due to pro-Trump fools, and I’m maxed out already.

              • mds

                Which market are you using? I wouldn’t have a clue about reputable betting markets, so it would be handy to have a recommendation from a pseudonymous statistician on the internet. :-)

                • Gregor Sansa

                  PredictIt. Which I’m using not because it’s the most efficient, but because the lack of efficiency means there’s a greater percentage of idiots.

                • mds

                  the lack of efficiency means there’s a greater percentage of idiots.

                  Which is why I went with “reputable” as a criterion rather than “efficient.” I’ve seen enough people clean up on EMH failures to know I want no part of high-information markets that clear promptly.

                  I’m looking at PredictIt right now, and I’m seeing what could be some interesting opportunities for arbitrage, if I actually knew what “arbitrage” means: There’s currently a mismatch between “Who will be elected VP?” and “Will the next president be a woman?” Now, I’m no statistician, but I would expect those two to be very tightly correlated.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  Arbitrage for dummies:

                  Guess which side of the odds you’d like to be on. Let’s say you think Clinton has a better chance than the market says.

                  Now take $n, buy n shares of the anti-Clinton thing that’s cheaper, and spend the rest on the “no” of the more expensive anti-Clinton thing (assuming that those two prices add up to less than $1)

                  You now have spent $n, will get $n if Clinton loses, and will get >$n if Clinton wins.

                  Risk-free profit!

                  (OK, that’s more like hedging than arbitrage. But close enough.)

            • Pat

              Just for you, Karen, there is a great article by YouGov addressing questions about poll swing.

          • mds

            If you’re a drama llama, that’s one thing

            In our household, we loved Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama books.

            And I really don’t think Karen24’s Llama Drama is because she’s a Rat Rogerer. I think she’s a Nervous Nellie who keeps panicking in the comments here at least partly because she can be so authoritatively reassured by other commenters. For those of us who are freaked out by the reminders that it’s not an automatic total blowout even with Donald Trump on the ballot, because (1) the MSM won’t do its fucking job and (2) so many American voters are still such horrid reactionary dumbshits, I think you underestimate how soothing it is for Bijan Parsia et al. to set us straight.

            • Karen24

              I could not have said it better! Thank you!

              • Hob

                Wanting reassurance is one thing. Karen has asked straightforwardly for reassurance before, and gotten it. Fine.

                It’s another thing to keep needling everyone by literally saying these fears are true. Karen, do you ever stop to wonder how you– as someone who frequently has panicky thoughts, finds them really unpleasant, and would prefer to be free of them if possible– would feel if someone else kept showing up in your favorite hangout and telling you “Trump is winning! Trump is winning!”?? I don’t think you would appreciate it. But you seem to feel totally fine with doing that to everyone else, as if you are the only one who might ever need reassurance.

                It’s like someone who has a fear of snakes trying to get over it by randomly throwing baskets of fake snakes at their friends, some of whom are also afraid of snakes.

                • mds

                  “Professor Gallagher and his controversial technique of simultaneously confronting the fear of heights, snakes, and the dark.”

                  And I’m with blackbox, too. Stay uncomfortable, people, and get those phones to the bank!

                  … What?

            • blackbox

              Piling on the reassurance is nice, but I actually appreciate — and appreciate that other people will also receive — the jolt of uneasiness that can help inspire the biggest Clinton turnout possible.

              GOTV!

          • efgoldman

            If you’re a drama llama, that’s one thing, but you’re making it harder to believe that it’s just that.

            Karen is, has always been, and probably would always be textbook Eeyore++ and Chicken Little++++. It’s the endearing and offputting thing about her at the same time. It’s reflexive, like TJ’s Hillary hate.
            I’m just afraid she does the same thing with her kids, and possibly her clients.

            • mds

              It’s reflexive, like TJ’s Hillary hate.

              Which is purely offputting.

              I’m just afraid she does the same thing with her kids

              Wait, doesn’t everybody? Uh-oh.

              and possibly her clients.

              Well, it depends on whom she’s … clienting. Are they people seeking to lower their expectations sufficiently to be pleasantly surprised? Are they horror movie fans who love to be scared? Do they have really persistent hiccups? I mean, sure, if she’s a marriage counselor, then there could be a problem. If she’s a computer consultant, then she’s way too optimistic.

              • Karen24

                I’m a lawyer for the state government in Texas. My client is quite scary enough on its own. (Although my particular part of it is quite pleasant and does important consumer advocacy.)

            • Karen24

              And yes, I do the same thing with my kids. Well, maybe not quite so intensely, but I do have a tendency to 3rd Degree them over school and health issues. Oddly, I’m far better and dealing with actual crises than my husband — I’m the one who takes the kid with the concussion to the ER and pesters staff until someone actually tells us things.

        • He’s one point behind.

          Which isn’t winning.

          Yes, I know watch the averages and the trend lines. The trend lines all point in his direction now.

          Look at the pattern though. “Trend” doesn’t mean “current slope”.

          And look at several:

          http://polltracker.talkingpointsmemo.com/contests/us-president-2016

          http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/2016-general-election-trump-vs-clinton

          It’s annoying, but there’s no evidence that he’s winning or that his line will cross hers. If it does, that will be a surprise.

          • Thom

            Yeah, but no one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

            • CP

              If I am ever accidentally sent back in time, I want it to be to the time of the Spanish Inquisition. Just so that I can say “wow, I wasn’t expecting that.”

              • priceyeah

                Which you will be.

        • UserGoogol

          Whether you can extrapolate trends at all is debatable, but RealClearPolitics is a particularly bad place to extrapolate trend lines. By design, they do fairly little smoothing of the data, so the data jumps up and down all the time. Whether a poll averaging site should do more or less averaging can be argued either way, (I mean, some of the jumps is informative) but when that’s the kind of data you’re looking at, saying “it’s going up at the moment so it will keep doing that” is less justified.

    • Joseph Slater

      Seriously, Karen, stop saying things that aren’t true. The reality is worrisome, but you don’t make things better by making things up.

  • BGinCHI

    The Great Ghatsly, some say.

    • Gregor Sansa

      Fixed now, but it’s still in the URL. Lemieux, how could you do this to BGinCHI’s good joke? You monster.

    • Vance Maverick

      The Burning Ghatsly, say others.

  • NewishLawyer

    The Clintons were the first Democratic politicians to be the real victims of modern right-wing thought. This is that the Democratic Party and liberalism is completely wrong and should not be treated with anything but contempt and evil.

    I suspect this is going to get worse before it gets better because everyone seems ultra anxious right now and the right wing is going through a white identity resurgence. The media has tried somewhat to correct this but old habits die hard and it seems to be too little too late.

    What are the chances of not having a clear winner on November 8th?

    • TheDeadlyShoe

      I think you are forgetting history’s greatest monster, Jimmy Carter.

      Here’s 538’s odds graph:

      Electoral College deadlock no candidate gets 270 electoral votes 1.1%
      Electoral College 269-269 tie 0.4%
      Recount at least one decisive state within 0.5 ppt 7.3%
      Clinton wins popular vote 81.0%
      Trump wins popular vote 19.0%
      Clinton wins popular vote but loses Electoral College 10.6%
      Trump wins popular vote but loses Electoral College 0.4%
      Johnson wins at least one electoral vote 0.4%
      McMullin wins at least one electoral vote 19.4%
      Clinton majority wins at least 50 percent of the vote 32.6%
      Trump majority wins at least 50 percent of the vote 3.0%
      Clinton landslide double-digit popular vote margin 7.9%
      Trump landslide double-digit popular vote margin 0.4%
      Map exactly the same as in 2012 0.3%
      Clinton wins at least one state Mitt Romney won in 2012 71.2%
      Trump wins at least one state President Obama won in 2012 82.9%

      • NewishLawyer

        I would still say Clintons more than Carter because as far as I know, there were never calls to investigate Carter for crimes again and again. Even if the GOP managed to control Congress from 1976-1980, I doubt the GOP of that era would do the total investigation thing.

        • CP

          Carter was a victim of the usual dirty tricks (especially if the stories of Reagan negotiating with the Ayatollahs is true) and the usual political rhetoric.

          Clinton was the first time a Democratic president was so systematically attacked and harassed in full view of the public, not by ratfuckers and other GOP operatives but by prosecutors operating in broad daylight. While the media and a sizable chunk of the American people pretended this was normal and acceptable behavior. It’s continued under Obama. It’s the same basic impulse as the one behind, say, Watergate (we must win no matter what it takes), but normalized, mainstreamed, and essentially given the benediction of Official Washington – “Democrats cannot win, and if they win they cannot be allowed to govern, and all other concerns are secondary.”

          • Pat

            I agree that Bill Clinton was targeted for personal destruction by a certain Republican billionaire donor, aided and abetted by Newt Gingrich and the modern media. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have received the same treatment.

            I believe, however, that this kind of political targeting has the disadvantage of being an inherently losing strategy. All the Clintons and Obama have to do is survive, and continue the administration of the executive branch. That makes the Republicans losers. Moreover, they are losers with nothing to show for their efforts.

            • CP

              Depends on how you look at it. All the efforts the Clintons/Obamas are putting into defending themselves is effort they’re not putting into advancing their agenda. From a right-wing POV, a government that’s dead in the water isn’t as good as an actively right-wing one, but it’s a good start.

              ETA: and, in the long term, you normalize the position that it’s acceptable to do more and more things to the other party that used to be considered unacceptable.

              • so-in-so

                They explicitly stated this by at least 2008 (I think they expected permanent control prior to that).

          • NonyNony

            Carter was also a victim of members of his own party teaming up with Republicans to trash him.

            Come to think of it, so was Clinton.

            At least the Democrats had learned by 2008 that you got to dance with the one that brung you. Whether you like the president or not, if you’ve got a D by your name trashing their agenda means trashing your own for the most part.

      • XTPD
    • FlipYrWhig

      The Clintons were the first Democratic politicians to be the real victims of modern right-wing thought.

      I think that’s Carter, culminating in the coverage of the energy crisis and hostage crisis.

    • Denverite

      What are the chances of not having a clear winner on November 8th?

      Pretty low, I’d think. You need one of a bunch of Clinton firewall states (Colorado, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan) that she is in the 70%-80%+ range of winning to be too close to call (and since Colorado is a mail-in state, that’s almost certainly not going to happen). There are a bunch of states that might be too close to call on election night, but none of them get Trump to 270.

      This election may be very close both electoral vote-wise and popular vote-wise, but at this point it’s a major surprise if Clinton gets less that 272 electoral votes (i.e., Trump wins NC, NV, IA, OH and a vote in ME).

    • Jay B

      You’ll have to define “clear” and “winner” here. Given the absolute shit show of the past 18 months, anything less than a 60% Clinton win will be treated as an illegitimate election — the GOP will call it rigged no matter what, but the media itself will maintain there are “questions” about how blacks voted in North Philly or some such shit — and since every contested Senate race seems to be within the margin of error, THAT will also be excruciating. Then there’s the respect WE will have to pay the populist white supremacist losers of this election because of their economic anxiety and their racism, lest we don’t give credence to their anxieties simply by electing a Democrat who actually has a reasonable economic plan. Then there’s the Supreme Court, which, as of now, won’t necessarily have any new members until all of the Democrats on it die, in which case, if there’s a Republican President, there will be a 100% conservative majority pushed through in a matter of weeks.

      In other words, if the Democrats win — which I think they will in the Senate and the Presidency — our fight is just beginning about what “winning” actually means. It will never be clear or accepted by the other party. If the unthinkable happens then our fight will be doubled since they will have clearly won and we’ll have to point out that it’s still legal to oppose a President.

    • The Lorax

      Scott this is really a great post. It puts very clearly the reason I’ve been walking around more angry than I have been at the media (and I’m looking at you too, NPR) in a long time. I suppose places like CNN and NPR tell themselves, “We need to talk about it, because everyone is talking about it.” Fine, OK, then provide some fucking context. Point out there is nothing to this “scandal.” Compare it to the top 10 Trump legitimate scandals.

      If I weren’t paying attention, I’d think that both candidates were equally problematic. And that’s a fucking dereliction of the media’s duty.

      At this point, more letters to NPR complaining probably isn’t going to help, I suppose.

  • LeeEsq

    All of the above is true but I’m not sure how much whether it matters or not. Millions of Americans are weary of or actively hate Bill and Hilary Clinton. Most of this hate is for really ridiculous reasons, especially for Hillary Clinton, but that doesn’t change the fact that many Americans see both as not trustworthy. On the Williamsburg Bridge there has been graffiti art depicting Hilary Clinton as a tool of Wall Street for months.

    Weariness or hatred of the Clintons transcends geography and the political spectrum. I’m not sure that pointing out whether or not this hatred is basically groundless would work. People assume like Yglesias pointed out that the Clintons are guilty of something. Showing that they are not guilty will probably not change this.

    This isn’t a King Goat post about the Democratic Party should have nominated somebody else. There really wasn’t anybody in the Democratic Party who would have been a credible alternative to Hilary Clinton as a Presidential nominee. Her nearest challenger didn’t even come close. That still doesn’t change the fact that many people really dislike both Clintons.

    Even if the media did what we consider its job to be, I’m not sure that most Americans would listen. Most people really do not follow the news because they are not political junkies or if the follow the news they use it as a source of entertainment or confirmation of what they already believe. Its why people tend to get their news from sources that align with their beliefs rather than neutral or oppositional sources from the most times. Since news is organized on a for profit, business basis for the most part, news has to attract viewers and customers. That means that getting page hits or ratings is part of the media’s job in the United States.

    • ChrisS

      I think the Clinton weariness lies, in part, with the people who want nothing to do with celeb families and wish they would just go away (or at least have the media shut the f’ up about them). It’s too bad there are enough people who are infatuated with royal (or close enough) families for the media to turn a profit from covering the daily lives of celebrity families.

      • NewishLawyer

        I don’t think this follows and you need more evidence. There is nothing inconsistent with Clinton weariness and also liking US weekly. There is nothing inconsistent with Clinton fandom and disliking US Weekly.

      • JohnT

        A closely related way to look at it is as the flip side of the great political name recognition that her husband gave Hillary Clinton.

        The pair of them (quite possibly unfairly) are seen by many as a single entity. Most successful political leaders in Western countries seem to fairly rapidly exhaust the patience of their electorates around the 8-10 year mark (see Thatcher and Blair in the UK, Gerhard Schroeder in Germany, Gro Harlem Brundtland in Norway, Aznar in Spain etc). Only those with ‘Father of their country’ status like Helmut Kohl and Felipe Gonzalez seem to be able to stretch this. Hillary and Bill Clinton have already racked up 8 years in the White House and 4 years in Foggy Bottom between them. For ordinary people who see them as a unit, they’ve simply had their time. I suspect it’s going to be an even more striking issue if she goes for a second term in 2020, and I don’t think it’s anything she can do anything about. Leaders in a democracy simply pick up a patina/scar tissue over the years and voters don’t like it.

        • LeeEsq

          Thatcher had that big mistake with the Community Charge and Poll Tax issue. The Conservatives did manage to hold on to power for seven years after she resigned as PM. Major’s policies were a continuation of Thatcher’s policies. That’s almost seventeen years in power for Thatcher or a PM following Thatcher’s years. She might have lasted longer without the Community Charge issue.

          • JohnT

            Each one of those was done in by specific things, but I do think that people get a bellyful of individual leaders sooner than parties.
            If I remember rightly even the ancient Athenians had a system where they voted to ostracise (temporarily exile) particular politicians once in a while so they could just send away ones they were sick of….

      • efgoldman

        I think the Clinton weariness lies, in part, with the people who want nothing to do with celeb families and wish they would just go away

        No. The president of the United States, even a true celebrity like JFK or BHO, =/= Honey Booboo or a Kardashian.
        That someone would even think of conflating him (and yes, current RWNJ Republiklown asshole is a big part of that) is sad and disgusting.

        • so-in-so

          If it is at all related, it’s because HRC is “boring” compared to a Kardashian or Duck Dynasty episode. Talk about “policy”? Yesh. At least with Monica and Weiner (and Trump) they get to talk about who’s having sexy time and who is mad as a result!

    • Scott Lemieux

      Even if the media did what we consider its job to be, I’m not sure that most Americans would listen.

      The stark increase of Clinton’s standing in the polls following the DNC and the debates strikes me as pretty dispositive evidence against your thesis. As does the fact that she was an extremely popular Secretary of State. When she’s presented without the lens of bullshit manufactured scandals, most of the public seems to like her just fine.

      • Rob in CT

        Also: when Trump basically gets to hide, his numbers rise.

      • Bill Murray

        The stark increase of Clinton’s standing in the polls following the DNC and the debates strikes me as pretty dispositive evidence against your thesis.

        so an ~7% increase compared to Trump and increasing to 43% from 40% of the vote is dispositive that most Americans would care about her policies. That’s pretty thin, especially as at least half that increase was return from the Trump RNC bounce.

        • Scott Lemieux

          No, I’m saying that the constant drumbeat of bullshit manufactured scandals damages her standing. If policy reporting had no effect that would be a huge improvement.

    • jpgray

      The Clintons are not trustworthy. Neither are the Obamas. Neither was Truman/FDR/Ike/whoever. You don’t get to that level without engaging in dishonesty of some kind to advance yourself.

      What is unique is the standard the Clintons, in particular Hillary, are held to. 95% of what we’ve heard about HRC dishonesty would go unreported for normal pols, or, if reported, would not snowball into wall-to-wall negative coverage, and so be instantly forgotten.

      I keep going back to 2000 – Bush could baldly lie about his tax plan, over and over, and be seen as a regular straight-talking guy. Gore couldn’t even soundbite his attested-by-all support for developing the internet without being depicted as a ridiculous pathological liar. Even his boring non-statements like “that was the one that started it all” became “he claimed to discover Love Canal” once the unfair standard got going.

      Trying to claim that Hillary has done nothing that looks corrupt or untrustworthy is just going to embarrass you – but the minor crap that everyone knows by heart about her would simply have not ever been reported if done by others. THAT’S the problem, and yes, it’s ruined her favorability and has exacerbated her overly-mannered and overly-secretive qualities. She seems like she has something to hide to people because she is forced to hide SO MUCH MORE than any other politician – they’d do the same if all their minor BS was on the front page and provoked weeks of “questions remain” analysis!

      • Colin Day

        The Clintons are not trustworthy. Neither are the Obamas. Neither was Truman/FDR/Ike/whoever. You don’t get to that level without engaging in dishonesty of some kind to advance yourself.

        Is this the political equivalent of “everyone in sports is doping”?

      • For a democratic leader, trustworthiness isn’t as simple as not lying. A President incapable of telling half-truths and white lies when necessary would be untrustworthy, in the sense that they could not be trusted with the nation’s secrets, and could not be relied upon to value the nation’s best interest more than their personal integrity.

        A trustworthy politician is one who lies about the right things for the right reasons.

        • jpgray

          Right – there’s a different standard for pols. That different standard is waived for a harsh-as-hell never-used standard when it comes to Hillary. That’s why everyone knows she does things that look untrustworthy – the unfair standard has made them newsworthy.

          Pretending a politician should be held to the same standard of truth as a regular person is like pretending a nation-state’s budget should be held to the same fiscal standard as a family budget. It’s disingenuous as hell, and harmful as hell to the cognition of everyone who listens to it or takes it seriously. (c.f. ThrottleJockey all over this thread and people overreacting to him)

    • Slothrop2

      She is corrupt – we know this from especially wikileaks Doug Band revelations that she traded access for donations and for-profit speaking gigs and board memberships.

      • JMP

        They revealed no such thing, you’re just making shit up here.

    • No Longer Middle Aged Man

      I agree with JPGray above that the Clintons are not trustworthy but that the same applies to just about any other politician and that what is out of line is the level of attention the Clintons have drawn.

      But even more extraordinary is how little attention the media give to how large portions of the Congressional Republican simply want to overturn election results. “We will not confirm any of her Supreme Court nominations” “We will investigate her from Day 1” my paraphrase of McConnell from 2008 “our top priority is for Obama to fail” Fundamentally these are “fuck yous” to American voters These are not statements that “we disagree with this proposal/policy so are going to vote against it,” rather it’s “We don’t give a shit that a majority of you voted for this candidate, we won’t allow him/her to govern.”

      Profoundly anti-democratic and destructive, and the media largely give them a pass.

    • The Lorax

      That art on the bridge is due almost certainly to simplistic bullshit (as most of his is) from Sanders.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        There are no E.J. Dionnes wielding spray paint cans at 3 am.

  • XTPD

    Perhaps the most novel defense of the Clinton rules has come from the Sparkling Glibturd himself (and I know I’ve been flogging this horse the past week, but I wanted to get Scott’s thoughts on this):

    The Trump University scandal—whose coverage has not been nearly as voluminous as the Clinton email coverage, which some partisans cite as an example of press disproportionately—lacks all the nooks and crannies of the Clinton email story. Additional source material is not still oozing from the Trump University case the way it still oozes from the Clinton email story—hence the story has dried up.

    Where reservoirs of new information about Trump have been discovered, of course, the coverage is robust. At the Washington Post, reporter David Fahrenthold has written a remarkable series of stories about the Trump Foundation based on a two-sided question: Where did the Trump Foundation money come from and where did it go? Has the Post coverage been disproportionate? Magnificently so. Having made its point that Trump is a habitual foundation grifter, should the Post put Fahrenthold to pasture and move on in the name of proportionality? Please, god, no.

    Which is the equivalent of saying “You see, we use white lead pigment to help us look lighter and thus ‘prettier,’ even though we all know it’s a poison which will eventually rot our teeth and turn our nervous systems into Swiss cheese! I see literally no reason why we should discontinue this fad.”

    • I don’t understand your nickname for Shafer.

      Also, is he seriously comparing Fahrenthold’s investigation to the 24/7 media freakout over Clinton? What a dork.

      • XTPD

        Jack Shafer pretty much embodies everything wrong with Villager morality – the smugness, the naked insiderism that holds anyone underneath him in contempt (he actually openly praised efforts to shred the safety net), the sociopathic contempt for the idea that policies even matter, the pointless contrarianism of the sort you read on Sp!ked Online, and worst of all the wet-toilet-paper-thin skin that is both utterly unforgivable and commonplace in all these people – in short, he’s the perfect writer for a rag like Politico, and is everything conveyed by the term “glibertarianism” that isn’t overtly racist or misogynist. I wanted to come up with an epithet that was a stronger insult, and in doing this I looked to refine the terms “libertard”/”liberturd” (as they both sound rather awkward). I eventually decided on “glibturd,” which is concise, euphonious and can – with repetition – be distinguished from terms of abuse describing glib liberals (who may already be covered by “libturd” or “glibrul”).

        I actually don’t remember where the “sparkling” part came from. If I had to guess, it probably came from the phrase “turd-polishing,” which is a largely accurate description of Shafer’s job at Slate – and which DeLong has argued only succeeds in anyone less intelligent thanMichael Kinsley look like a troll). That said, “Sparkling Glibturd” just sounds funny, so I went with it and there you are. (I also noticed Shafer looks a lot like Aaron Sorkin, and think maybe that’d have been a better starting point).

        All in all, though, I’m rather upset that “Fucking Idiot” and Ramfis II (the latter a reference to the Trujillos of the D.R.) have failed to gain traction.

  • AMK

    What about the bad African American turnout numbers being reported in FL and NC? Can’t be good..and FL has no voter ID/supression laws in effect. Are we going to find ourselves relying on Hispanics alone to save the Republic?

    • ThrottleJockey

      I was just discussing that with friends. First off Obama isn’t on the ballot and that makes a yuuuuge difference.

      Second it might be that Clinton’s race baiting in ’08– which started in NC– is coming home to roost.

      Actions have consequences but thats really unfortunate because NC needs a whole new government top to bottom.

      • AMK

        Even for people who don’t really follow politics, I would hope Trump’s blatant real racism outweighs Clinton’s half-assed dog whistling for a few days in 2008–not to mention her service to Obama since then.

        There’s still almost a whole week of early voting left to go anyway, so maybe the panic is premature. I haven’t voted yet myself.

        • ThrottleJockey

          The Chair of Princeton’s African American Studies Program said on TV that he refuses to vote for Clinton and even if he lived in a swing state he’d have to hold his nose with both hands to vote for her. Anecdata I know but something has to explain it.

          • so-in-so

            There is Ben Carson too, but the Chair of a program at Princeton is a different demographic (and his comment that he WOULD vote for her in a swing state) do not support the point for the average AA voter in North Carolina.

            • ThrottleJockey

              He’s also more informed and more politically engaged than your average black voter. Take away a degree or two of his and he might not even be willing to “hold his nose” and vote for her.

              But, yeah, given all the “Moral Mondays” black pols have led in NC its strange that the drop off in black voting is so huge.

          • Thom

            Who is that? Their website is too cool to say who the chair is.

            In any case, the idea that everyone still resents some statements made in the heat of a campaign in 2008 does not fit with the fact that African-American voters were crucial to HRC’s primary victory.

            • (((Hogan)))

              Eddie S. Glaude Jr. His specialty is religion.

            • JohnT

              It’s true, African Americans put Clinton over the top against Sanders.

              It’s a crazy election year when the major (and hopefully successful) candidate aiming to maintain the current system depended (and depends) on the votes of the group most thoroughly shafted by the current political and economic system…

              • so-in-so

                Um, last two elections? Romney and McCain did win the purely white vote IIRC.

                • JohnT

                  They weren’t candidates of radical change. Trump and Sanders are/were.

                • so-in-so

                  Not all change, radical or otherwise, is good.

                  Just because someone is shafted by the current system doesn’t mean they jump at the first change. That’s Trump’s outreach; “You live in hell, why not try something different (although it IS based on even more blatant racism than what you have now…).

                  Bernie became more popular once his campaign got off the “it’s class, not race” kick and figured out who to talk to in minority communities. Unfortunately for him, that was after Super Tuesday.

                • JohnT

                  I’m not disagreeing with them or you, so-in-so, I am just reflecting on a mild irony. Kudos to people who had the mental discipline to figure out that that smashing the chessboard is a bad idea, despite having it way tougher than your average Trump voter

            • ThrottleJockey

              In any case, the idea that everyone still resents some statements made in the heat of a campaign in 2008 does not fit with the fact that African-American voters were crucial to HRC’s primary victory.

              Two different voter segments. You can’t ever draw conclusions between primary voters and general voters. The types of people who are so informed and engaged as to come out and vote in a primary differ dramatically from general election voters.

          • AMK

            Well all I can say is, to the staffer at NBC with access to the tapes of Trump using racial slurs backstage, now is the time. He could get a Kickstarter canpaign to cover all the legal bills and have a nice job waiting at some progressive outlet.

            • I’m interested in the insight of black commenters on this.

              My hunch is that a tape of Trump using racial slurs probably wouldn’t budge black voters much one way or the other, because everyone already assumes he talks like that in private.

              • so-in-so

                No, it (theoretically) affects white voters who who don’t want to be associated with such an in-your-face racist.

                So maybe a percent or two of Trump voters (the same ones that drift away when he says something awful, then drift back at times like now when he’s quiet/ignored by the press for a week or so).

              • AMK

                That argument applied to women before the Access Hollywood tapes came out, but something about actually hearing him say what everybody knows he says in private really did move them (or at least polls of them).

                • ThrottleJockey

                  I think Trump is polling at the lowest level ever recorded for a Republican since Barry Goldwater. I’m not sure there are blacks left to move.

                  Latinos–maybe. (Though since he launched his campaign by calling them rapists and murderers I don’t that there are many Latinos voting for him that are persuadable).

      • Second it might be that Clinton’s race baiting in ’08– which started in NC– is coming home to roost.

        We often wring our hands around here about working class republicans voting against their own interests. It wouldn’t be too disimilar from that situation if NC African Americans refrain from voting for Clinton, allowing a Trump win, because of her 08 campaign.

        • mds

          NC African Americans are not “refraining” from voting for Clinton. NC African Americans have been actively prevented from voting early at all, thanks to flagrant partisan efforts by county election boards. The fall-off correlates well with areas where early-voting locations were shuttered. 2008 has fuck-all to do with it.

          • NickFlynn

            THIS.

            The lack of reporting on the GOP tactics being used in NC (and Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida and god knows where else) is scandalous.

            • ThrottleJockey

              Rachel Maddow has been following this issue closely for a few years now. Really since the advent of Moral Mondays.

              But with the numbers I’ve seen published it doesn’t explain much. We’re talking about hundreds of voters affected by these county-level shenanigans, but the fall off is in thousands. Voter suppression probably explains a percentage point or two, but its hard to believe based on the numbers I’ve seen it explains more than 3.

      • FlipYrWhig

        Clinton’s race baiting in ’08– which started in NC

        The Bill Clinton remark about Jesse Jackson was SOUTH Carolina, number one. Number two, calling it “race baiting” to say, rightly, that black candidates have done well in South Carolina… that was some straight-up bullshit, and when the online Obama brigades pulled in 2008, it was embarrassing.

    • junker

      Please, don’t read too much into early vote results. On Twitter Dana Houle pointed out that the raw number of AA votes in both NC and FL are both up from 2012. The fact that they make up a smaller percentage of the early voting electorate might be due to a drop in enthusiasm, or it might reflect a shift for white voters from voting on election day to voting earlier. It’s very hard to tell just from early voting numbers how a party is doing.

      • Pat

        My hope is that a lot of suburban white women are voting early so that their husbands don’t know that they aren’t voting Trump.

      • NonyNony

        On Twitter Dana Houle pointed out that the raw number of AA votes in both NC and FL are both up from 2012.

        Jesus Christ – is this true?

        If that’s true then this really is a nothingburger – it just means that more people overall are voting early and comparing percentages is pointless.

        Holy God I wish people in the journamalism field understood enough statistics to be able to report on statistics.

        • FlipYrWhig

          I hadn’t seen this, but I suspected as much.

        • Also, early and absentee voting both used to have an older, wealthier, whiter, and thus more Republican electorate. It is only very recently that there has been a demographic shift toward younger minority early voters.

          There was a coordinated push in 2012 to encourage black voters to vote early. Maybe more white Democrats are voting early; maybe more white Republicans are. I think it’s a huge mistake to assume that white early voters are a perfect microcosm of white voters overall.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          Holy God I wish people in the journamalism field understood enough statistics to be able to report on statistics.

          Amen. They’re what i call “words people.” Numbers and mechanical things seem to flummox many of them.

    • Rob in CT

      1. Could be premature worrying.

      2. Could be no Obama.

      3. Could be suppression (in NC, anyway).

      It could even be what TJ suggests, though that seems less likely to me.

      Could be a bit of each.

      We’ll see.

  • ThrottleJockey

    Comey’s letter was an appalling and indefensible partisan intervention into the election.

    Obama disagrees with that assessment. And he’d be in a position to know.

    • Scott Lemieux

      This is hilariously ignorant about how politics works.

      • ThrottleJockey

        Circular reasoning.

        And you’re hilariously ignorant of Obama. He’s distanced himself from Comey before. If he felt the same as you he’d do it again.

        • petesh

          He just did.

        • Well there’s hilarity. And there’s ignorance. But then there’s Obama:

          In an interview with NowThis News, Obama said that “there is a norm that when there are investigations we don’t operate on innuendo, we don’t operate on incomplete information, we don’t operate on leaks. We operate based on concrete decisions that are made.”

          Obama also said he has “made a very deliberate effort” to avoid the appearance of meddling in government agencies’ independent processes.

          White House press secretary Josh Earnest had said Monday that he would “neither defend nor criticize” Comey’s actions.

          I wonder if this refutation (cf petesh and junker as well) also goes to the memory hole.

          • mds

            Yeah, TJ’s smarmy flagrant horseshit finally reached critical mass for me right here. Pie it is, because the First Amendment is dead. Thanks, Hillary!

            • The Lorax

              The good thing about requiring usernames is that I can scroll past everything TJ writes. Seriously; I never read any of it. If everyone else did the same he’d go troll somewhere else.

          • ThrottleJockey

            I was aware of Josh’s comments when I replied, and Obama’s comments since then don’t question Comey’s integrity or motives. Do you have some evidence that Obama believes Comey is acting in a partisan manner in an attempt to sway voters??? ‘Cuz that statement ain’t it.

            • You are aware that Obama made statements which 1) are obliquely critical of Comey’s behaviour and 2) state that he’s trying to avoid publicly interevening and yet claim that Obama thinks that Comey is not acting in a partisan manner?

              Yes, I guess simple assertion against the weight of evidence is a kind of argumentative strategy. Just not a good one.

    • junker
    • mds

      junker has already posted it, but left it in the form of a link. Let’s do it with the title, just to underscore the point, shall we?

      Obama Criticizes F.B.I. Director: ‘We Don’t Operate on Incomplete Information’

      How about the Washington Post version?

      Obama on FBI: ‘We don’t operate on innuendo’:

      “I do think that there is a norm that when there are investigations we don’t operate on innuendo, and we don’t operate on incomplete information, and we don’t operate on leaks,” Obama said in the interview with NowThis News, which was filmed Tuesday. “We operate based on concrete decisions that are made. When this was investigated thoroughly last time, the conclusion of the FBI, the conclusion of the Justice Department, the conclusion of repeated congressional investigations, was she had made some mistakes but that there wasn’t anything there that was prosecutable.”

      … Huh, imagine that. His press secretary walks a fine line to keep the MSM from going all “Saturday Night Massacre,” (probably explained in a sidebar as McGovern’s fault), yet Obama himself finally weighs in by indicating he thinks Comey’s leakage is inappropriate. I mean, he’s no ThrottleJockey, so who really knows?

      • ThrottleJockey

        I haven’t seen any evidence that Comey has leaked anything. Perhaps you’re aware of articles I’m not. Last I heard the only thing he’s done is issue a letter to Congress that he’s re-opened the investigation–and he did that publicly expressly to prevent leaks.

    • DonN
      • efgoldman

        Yeah sounds to me like a pretty clear signal to Comey that he better get the boxes to pack up his desk.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Yeah sounds to me like a pretty clear signal to Comey that he better get the boxes to pack up his desk.

          I don’t think Obama’s confidence has wavered at all.

          I’m in a gaming mood Elf. Are you in a gaming mood?

          If that day comes in the next 30 Days I’ll write: “TJ is Dumb as a Sack of Shit.”

          Bet?

          • BartletForGallifrey

            I’m sure someone will write that regardless.

  • I have believed ever since CNN just ran with Trump coverage so nakedly last year that the great untold story of this election cycle is the utter hollowing out of the press. Consider:

    1. Every major paper and television news outlet in the country is now operating on what would’ve been considered a skeleton staff as recently as the 2000 election.

    2. Magazines are in even worse shape.

    3. TV news continues to see ratings declines (outside of Trump)

    4. It’s now apparent to everyone that digital advertising is a total bust, with even economically healthy behemoth Facebook getting caught knowingly lying about its numbers.

    5. Clickbait headlines and stories routinely appear in once proud news outlets and everyone has started using pageviews as *the* metric of a story’s worth.

    I could go on, but you get the idea. Add all that up and the obsession with Clinton’s emails makes perfect sense. It’s not that the media, especially cable news, hasn’t always chased sensational stuff over substance. They have. It’s not that the media hasn’t long had a separate set of Clinton rules where they just know Bill and Hillary are up to something. That’s been true since at least the early 90s. It’s that all those trends are peaking at the same time, and “Clinton Scandals” get eyeballs and clicks, both from panicky Democrats and angry Republicans.

    It’s not like it took a lot of reporting to ferret our a whole galaxy of Trump scandals, but none of them really bothered to look into him until after he was the nominee. It’s not a deliberate conspiracy, it’s a lack of resources combined with a reluctance to look too closely at the goose that’s laying the golden eggs.

    Clinton’s best for political media outlets when there’s a new scandal about her. Trump is best when he says some crazy shit, which he can’t help but do anyway. Therefore, that’s what they run with. Any sense of journalistic pride or civic responsibility (“issues”, pfft) has been destroyed by economic desperation.

    • twbb

      Reporters are morally autonomous and should be held responsible for what they write.

      The disgraceful “shadows/clouds/questions” headlines were not created by impersonal institutional forces but rather actual people exercising judgment for which they should be held accountable. And “but I wanted to bring in more money” is almost never a justification for doing the morally wrong thing.

      • Rob in CT

        “I helped a fascist (who, among other things, blathered about going after the press) attain or nearly attain power, but hey, there was money to be made” sure doesn’t sound like a good excuse. I mean, shit, it’s worse that I was just following orders, no?

        ETA: it sounds slightly less awful if you change “there’s money to be made” to “I needed to eat” of course. But a lot of this shit is done at a high enough level where it’s not about beat reporters scraping by.

        • so-in-so

          There are (or used to be) editors, who were responsible, and had higher salaries, to be sure the stories were not BS. I suppose those have also mostly gone way (who needs an editor, Word has spell check built in!).

          • Some of it is people who need to eat, or are at least worried how the hell they’re going to keep paying rent in NY/DC if they lose this job or take one of those buyouts they’ve all seen other people take.

            But my point here is more institutional. It makes more sense to their bottom line for CNN to pay a panel of yammering heads to go over the emails for the umpteenth time than it does to spend the same amount of money on reporters out in the field filing expense reports to get a story that may or may not work. And even if you do get a real scoop, other outlets will be all over it as soon as you run it.

            CNN is an extreme example, but that same withering of reportorial capabilities leads naturally to rehashing a single “controversy” over and over again rather than trying to pay someone to figure out Trump’s tax plan.

            • efgoldman

              It makes more sense to their bottom line for CNN to pay a panel of yammering heads to go over the emails for the umpteenth time than it does to spend the same amount of money on reporters

              Actually, talking heads yammering is about the cheapest type of programming available to them.

          • efgoldman

            There are (or used to be) editors, who were responsible, and had higher salaries, to be sure the stories were not BS

            Yes, but that didn’t stop all kinds of publications from taking unprincipled, biased stands in their news as well as opinion pages. Remember Hearst and yellow journalism? That’s just one obvious historical instance.

      • Pat

        I think that it’s driven by editorial oversight, which one might imagine could be shaped by economic/institutional concerns.

    • LeeEsq

      This aligns with what I wrote above about the media. Most people really don’t follow the news. Even during the golden age of newspapers and radio or TV news, news was used as a source of entertainment. Walter Cronkite interviewed literally puppets on the air. As people got more entertainment options, they stopped reading or watching the news except in a superficial way.

      • Right. And don’t forget that news itself didn’t used to be considered a profit source. CBS, NBC, and ABC had to have robust news outlets to maintain their broadcasting licenses, but they made so much money from other shows that they didn’t care. Newspapers worked basically the same way, with the news considered a money losing public service that justified the ads and the subscription revenue. Now, the news itself has to make money, and with unlimited entertainment options just a tap or a click away, hard to see how that happens.

        • LeeEsq

          Seeing news as a profit source doesn’t help but even if the old ethos was alive, it wouldn’t help if people don’t the news. The broadcast networks agreed to air news or news-type programs like morning shows and interview shows at the same so that people had to watch them if they wanted to put the TV on. The golden age of news, which roughly lasted from the blossoming of mass market newspapers in the 1880s to 1980 depended on many factors that no longer exist.

        • blackbox

          And we have Fox News to blame for changing this. Thanks to Aussie McWallaby and Groper Ailes, news people in the US suddenly learned they could make loads of money if they just went in for some shlock. And the shlock levels have increased ever since, partly because of the shlock’s natural ability to corrode originally decent foundations, and partly because they’ve been upping the shlock concentration to try to combat the dwindling ratings. And so the integrity that came along with news as a mandated public service has eroded.

          MSM might be completely fucked in the not very distant future. It might be time for parents and schools to start raising kids to get their news from local stations only, and any news-related commentary from comedians like Oliver.

          The only way to consume news in this day and age is to isolate the facts from whatever rare sources contain them and draw your own conclusions.

  • Mark Field

    The best way to understand this odd hopscotch is through the Prime Directive of Clinton investigations: We know the Clintons are guilty; the only question is what are they guilty of and when will we find the evidence?

    Clear precedent for this approach:

    Snyder: I’m sure you know why I asked you here.

    Buffy: To thank me?

    Snyder: (walks around his desk) That’s right, I wanna thank you. What would Sunnydale High do without you around to incite mayhem, chaos and disorder?

    Buffy: I don’t incite! I stopped that boy from killing his girlfriend, ask him. Ask the janitor.

    Snyder: People can be coerced, Summers. I’m no stranger to conspiracy. I saw JFK. I’m a truth seeker. I’ve got a missing gun and two confused kids on my hands. Pieces of the puzzle. And I’m gonna look at all the pieces carefully and rationally, and I’m gonna keep looking until I know exactly how this is all your fault.

    • mds

      Eh, none of that would have happened if the Watchers’ Council hadn’t put a thumb on the scales to keep Kendra from getting the nomination in the first place.

  • Junipermo

    This is a good post, and 100% true.

    But at what point do we hold voters accountable for their ignorance? If all of us know that Trump’s agenda would be catastrophic, then it is knowable. I realize there are a lot of engaged, well educated, political junkies here, but it’s not like the information posters and commenters here rely upon is written in Aramaic or held under armed guard. Information is accessible. If people don’t understand or realize what’s at stake here, maybe they just can’t be arsed to give a shit.

    • mds

      If people don’t understand or realize what’s at stake here, maybe they just can’t be arsed to give a shit.

      Yeah, well, the information may not be written in Aramaic, but it might as well be as far as the present-day MSM are concerned. I think we overestimate how much leisure time most voters have to sift through actual information, especially since voting has virtually never been based primarily on reasoned weighing of facts. If the TV news says it, and the newspaper headlines say it, how many people’s first thought is going to be “That’s probably bullshit”? (Normal people, I mean; ardent right-wingers routinely think that way, but usually when it’s non-bullshit that they don’t want to believe.) That’s why I would really like the media to do their jobs, in the idealistic sense, rather than the bottom-line sense.

      On the other hand, you have my blessing to apply “can’t be arsed to give a shit” to non-presidential elections. Sure, Dem-leaning voters don’t turn out for midterms, because who has time to figure out that Congress exists, or what it does? But when it’s state-level elections, come the fuck on: Of course it affects you directly who’s running things in your own neighborhood. Michigan, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin … All of these places would be in much better shape right now if Dem-leaning presidential-year voters had the sense God gave a fucking turnip. Yeah, it’s hard to take off work to vote. They figure out how to do it once every four years; how about shooting for twice for a change?

      • Rob in CT

        And then there’s the ~40% of the population that doesn’t vote even in Presidential elections.

        Sure, some of those folks don’t vote because voting (and researching things to make at least a semi-informed choice) is harder for them than it is for me. And I have sympathy for that, and would like to make it easier.

        But hot damn, that’s also a lot of not giving a shit.

        • mds

          I wish there were a way to average together the people who think their vote wouldn’t make a difference, and those people who think their vote is a purely indivual act of purity, not to be offered to the less-than-entirely worthy.

  • NickFlynn

    Wrong as he may have been on trade / labor issues over the past decade, I’m glad to see some positive feedback for Matt Yglesias here. He has been an insistent and effective anti-Trump voice this year.

    • Rob in CT

      Absolutely. Yggy has his faults, but I think he’s turned out pretty well.

      • The Lorax

        If he’s not writing about education (or philosophy), he’s usually really good.

        I read the threads here because it’s full of people from his old CAP blog threads. So I’m grateful to him for that!

  • kped

    Speaking of the Clinton scandals, was just reading about the Mark Rich thing. It’s always brought up to prove some corruption. Turns out, Bill pardoned him at the request of Ehud Barak, as a favor to Israel, as he was providing them with intelligence. And although pardoned, he never came back to America, as Clinton put a condition of repaying $23M to come back to America.

    There were also many more people who donated to his foundation and didn’t receive pardons.

    Ultimately, like all but the blowjob, this scandal evaporates the minute it gets investigated. But if you keep just saying it without providing any information, golly, doesn’t that look like some smoke? And…shouldn’t that mean there’s fire?

    • heckblazer

      And for some reason Republicans never mention that his lawyers were solid Republicans like Scooter Libby.

  • SamInMpls

    One of the most frightening things about a Trump administration is the fact that he’d sign whatever Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan put on his desk. The public should be being told repeatedly, for better or worse, what this agenda is.

    Wouldn’t this be the best case scenario in a Trump administration? I mean, I take to to imply that their leadership will be able exert some control over the rank-and-file. If Trump does win isn’t there a decent chance that the Freedom Caucus would fight the rules changes that Ryan and the rest of the leadership want put in place?

  • CrunchyFrog

    For some reason no one is reporting this but Politicalwire, Huff, and Rawstory, but the woman who is suing Trump for raping her at 13 is holding a press conference at 3 pm Pacific Time in California with her lawyer.

    Since the 3rd debate I’d been waiting for the next “surprise” from the Clinton camp but nothing has been forthcoming. Oh sure, Russia, another sexual harassment report, blah blah blah. Maybe this was it.

    It’s going to be interesting … in a gut wrenching way. The fact that even the center left outfits like TPM are avoiding the story suggests that they think this could blow up quickly if the press conference goes badly a la the Bush national guard story. But if the story holds it’s going to be interesting to see how the press deals with it. The press has gone from anti-Trump to pro-Trump to anti- and now back to pro- in a matter of 3 months. They were all ready to spend the day today on the shooting of the police officers until the accused turned out to be white, after which it fell off the chryons. But how will they bury this and focus on tonight’s Wiki dump if the story is credible? Especially after days of speculation on nothing about Clinton?

    ETA: It’s real. Politico, NY Daily News, and a few others just picked it up.

    • CrunchyFrog

      PressCo cancelled. Oh well.

  • Jake the antisoshul soshulist

    Wonder if the woman resembled Ivanka, considering Trump’s creepy
    comments about his daughter.

  • Jake the antisoshul soshulist

    The right firmly believes that the MSM routinely covers up the Clintons’ crimes. Despite the fact that they report everything
    that anyone with some apparent scrap of credibility accuses her
    of. If you don’t scream at the top of your lungs that she should
    be in jail, you are in collusion.

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