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“You Know, You’re a Nasty Guy.”

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David Farenthold, one of the few national campaign reporters who could emerge with his or her held high, one what it was like to cover Trump properly.

The fact that the Clinton Foundation — a philanthropic organization that has saved millions of lives and entailed no significant misconduct by the Clintons despite the very real potential for conflicts of interest — received considerably more sustained critical coverage than the Trump Foundation — a straight-up grift — is, in a nutshell, the story of the coverage of the 2016 campaign. Whether it was motivated by animus towards Clinton, an implicit assumption that Clinton should be treated as the president-elect, or the need to find false equivalence, a lot of vulnerable people are going to suffer because most campaign journalists failed massively. Kudos to Farenthold for actually practicing journalism.

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  • humanoid.panda

    All that, and he is a very good and funny writer. (His tidbit about shooting himself with a glitter gun is magnificent.)

    How can he and Weigel work in the same beat as Cilliza and not to murder him in the dead of night is a major mystery.

    • tsam

      A Krugman/Brooks type jabfest would be hilarious…

    • ExpatJK

      He is great. I liked his humility as well, and responses to the German reporter. I am tempted to become a WP subscriber, despite some of the other writers for that paper.

      • Warren Terra

        I subscribed to the WaPo (online) entirely because of Farenthold (a huge first year discount helped).

        On the other hand, I hope no one sends the goddam NYT a thin dime until they fire everyone associated with their politics coverage, preferably out of a cannon and into a somehow syphilitic dungheap. That bunch of unrepentant assholes learned nothing from their key role in The War On Gore, the swiftboating of Kerry, etcetera.

        • ExpatJK

          Yeah, I am going to add my NYT alerts to my spam list. I am also extremely unimpressed by the “stop calling Trump voters racist” op-ed pieces they have.

          On the other hand, they do have Krugman and Blow, and I want to support them. If only it were possible to subscribe just to their columns and tell the rest of the paper to fuck off.

          • humanoid.panda

            And that’s the thing: they also have a great international section, do investigative journalism, cover policy at a level no one else can. It’s just their single most important desk is a horror.

            • ExpatJK

              Also, their public editor is a disgrace.

              • howard

                as always, i recommend a strong but not spittle-drenched note to [email protected].

                for bonus points, note, as i have done, that i would like to write to the public editor about this but since the public editor is hopeless, i am forced to write to the publisher directly.

                for extra bonus points, notify the publisher, as i did, that thanks to the fact that their national politics desk is a disgrace and their public editor a know-nothing unqualified for the job, i was cancelling my subscription.

              • Brad Nailer

                Why do papers even have public editors or ombudsmen or whatever they call them these days? “Now that it’s all over but the shouting, let me tell you what we did wrong–I won’t name names of course–which we will continue to do wrong into the foreseeable future because I have no authority to change anything around here.”

                Public editors: another good idea gone bad.

            • Mellano

              Cancelling subscriptions is going to lead them to promote operations that generate clicks (ad revenue) — which is almost certainly the cheaper-to-produce gossipy horse race stenography crapola, with its demand for false equivalencies and dramatic races.

              I was really tempted to cancel this fall, and more so after the election – but I’m coming around to the conclusion that that would be an empty, feel-good gesture. Long term, we need people pumping subscription revenues into the media to reverse the culture of shallow reporting. The NY Times has a lot to answer for, but at the same time it has strengths that other organizations should want to emulate, not see as something they can write off.

              I’m looking to addWaPo if I can afford it this year. And donating to other good reporting organizations, too – I’ll probably donate to ProPublica before adding a subscription. But cancelling anyone with redeeming qualities sends the wrong message, I think.

              • TopsyJane

                This. It’s a mite odd that people would want to start off the Trump Administration by hobbling the country’s greatest paper. Nothing would please the GOP more.

                Also, the NYT’s Trump coverage has become much more aggressive. You can say “too little, too late” and you’d have a point, but even so.

                • Origami Isopod

                  the country’s greatest paper

                  [citation needed]

                • TopsyJane

                  the country’s greatest paper [citation needed]

                  There is no other paper in the country, except possibly the WSJ, with the international and national reach of the NYT. There is also the depth of its arts and book coverage, which is not matched by any other broadsheet.

                • humanoid.panda

                  [citation needed]

                  WAPO did a much better job covering the election than the Times. Still, compare the Times’ international, or business, or policy, coverage to WAPO’s, and the Times come on top ,easily.

        • mongolia

          I subscribed to the WaPo (online) entirely because of Farenthold (a huge first year discount helped).

          got mine for $20 for the first year by following a link through one of their writers’ twitter a few weeks ago: https://twitter.com/TimBontemps/status/808419228424409088

          looks like it’s still active, so for those that want it cheap…

        • MAJeff

          If you have a .edu .mil or .gov email address, you can get free WaPo online subscriptions.

          Working them into my classes this semester.

          http://help.washingtonpost.com/link/portal/15067/15080/Article/628/How-do-I-activate-my-gov-mil-edu-free-subscription

          • Wamba

            If you have Google Chrome with incognito windows then you have free subscriptions to the New York Times AND the Washington Post right now. Just make sure you’re in an incognito window when you browse those sorry-ass piece of shit propaganda outlets.

            Fuck the both of them. They’ve sucked ass and been conservatively biased from at least the 80’s on. Yeah, yeah they do original journalism yada yada yada, but huge proportions of that is biased too so whatever “redeeming” features they may be said to have are merely lipstick on a mud-splattered pig.

            Fuck them both. They won’t get a penny from me.

            • humanoid.panda

              Fuck the both of them. They’ve sucked ass and been conservatively biased from at least the 80’s on. Yeah, yeah they do original journalism yada yada yada, but huge proportions of that is biased too so whatever “redeeming” features they may be said to have are merely lipstick on a mud-splattered pig.

              And still, you read them for some reason..

        • efgoldman

          preferably out of a cannon and into a somehow syphilitic dungheap.

          I’d settle for the East River

          That bunch of unrepentant assholes learned nothing from their key role in The War On Gore, the swiftboating of Kerry, etcetera.

          Sure they did. They learned that they can keep fucking over Democrats, without penalty, even though allegedly holding similar views.

          • Origami Isopod

            Sure they did. They learned that they can keep fucking over Democrats, without penalty, even though allegedly holding similar views.

            This.

          • Brad Nailer

            That’s the part I still haven’t figured out. Why would they do that?

            When they gloat, at their latest cocktail party, “Man, did we fuck over Hillary today,” don’t the people standing there just look at them like, “What the fuck are you talking about”?

      • If you’re an Amazon Prime member, I believe you can get six months for free. So that’s something.

  • XTPD

    Actually a bit surprised Pareene et al. didn’t put him on the “Least Important Writers” list a week back.

    (TBH, though, you could defensibly place him on such a list that didn’t have its head up its own ass, albeit with the addendum that on the merits he had absolutely no right having as little impact as he did).

  • Yes. I think most people had no idea what the Clinton Foundation does. In fact I think there was a general impression that the money somehow went into the Clinton’s pockets. Just outrageous.

    • Scott Mc

      Isn’t that what the right wing media’s been pushing always? That the Clinton’s just line their pockets? Meanwhile the Republicans do line their pockets while Hilary got paid to make speeches, but both sides or something.

      • FlipYrWhig

        And Trump also got paid to make speeches, and much more than Hillary Clinton did, but REASONS!

      • Derelict

        The power of this line of, uh, reasoning? argument? remains extraordinary. I know far too many people who thought it was just unconscionable that the Clintons did not remain deeply in debt after leaving the White House. They believe that making money as an former president of the United States was somehow wrong.

        And, of course, there’s the “fact” that the Clintons are horribly corrupt, and their foundation took money from foreigners, and it gave money to foreigners, and then Hillary became Secretary of State and something something and, well, you know she should be in jail until we can figure out exactly what crime she committed. Because we know she did something.

        Maybe another 25 or 30 years of investigations can figure it out.

        • efgoldman

          Maybe another 25 or 30 years of investigations can figure it out.

          By then, they can subpoena and disinter Bill’s and Hillary’s corpses and get to the real truth.

          • leftwingfox

            I’d suggest that the next generation’s Geraldo Rivera will be bursting into the hidden Clinton Vault on live TV to show absolutely nothing…

            …then remember Geraldo Rivera for some godforsaken reason still has a career after multiple similar pratfalls.

        • Brad Nailer

          And all the while, Trump’s “foundation” was paying his legal bills and donating a portrait of himself to his own fucking golf course. This guy’s unbelievable.

          But Hillary’s corrupt!

      • CP

        You’ve got to love the idea that people whose entire economic creed is “Greed Is Good” are suddenly outraged at someone lining their pockets.

        And it’s not just Clinton, it’s everyone who’s not them. Look at the way they denounce unions for being greedy and only looking out for their own members. Because God forbid working class teachers, construction workers, firemen, et al be permitted to band together and advocate for their own interests the way wealthy businessmen forming a cartel are. It’s surreal the way so many people are shamed for having the same things that they trumpet as virtues when it’s one of their own.

        • Scott Mc

          Because God forbid working class teachers, construction workers, firemen, et al be permitted to band together and advocate for their own interests the way wealthy businessmen forming a cartel are.

          Yeah, I’ve never understood why it’s ok for a lone CEO to negotiate for higher pay (or any one employee) but when two or more do it at the same time, it’s the end of civilization. I’ve actually asked some of my more anti-union friends/acquaintances from b-school etc exactly that and I just get silence or mumble mumble individual liberty or something.

          • Howlin Wolfe

            mumble mumble individual liberty or something

            Also, too, corporations are people my friend! Nope, no collective rights there!

          • Jonny Scrum-half

            I can’t speak for them, but my guess is that they wouldn’t object to people voluntarily banding together to negotiate. I think that they object to the federal law that allows “union shops,” where people who don’t want to be part of the union are nevertheless included in the bargaining unit.

            • guthrie

              You might think so, but that appears to be too rational an approach for most people.
              Note also that some decry unions whilst at the same time benefiting from working at a place that is mostly unionised and therefore they have higher wages etc.

              • Origami Isopod

                Note also that some decry unions whilst at the same time benefiting from working at a place that is mostly unionised and therefore they have higher wages etc.

                Free riders. Same as anti-vaxxers. Same as people in blue states who refused to vote for HRC.

            • Brett

              They’d oppose it because they hate unions and any sort of worker power, but to be fair there is a coercive element to labor law. If a group of workers carries out a successful election, the company has to bargain with them “in good faith” – it can’t simply say it would prefer not to deal with said union and fire all the workers who chose to delegate their bargaining rights to it. They can go out of business, although the NLRB in Democratic-dominated eras might get on their case if they re-open in the same business somewhere else.

              At least in theory we don’t allow cartelization on the employer side of things (although the practice is something else).

          • The Great God Pan

            Because CEOs are Makers while workers are Takers.

            • efgoldman

              Because CEOs are Makers while workers are Takers.

              Well then let the CEOs go down on the floor and work the assembly lines, or get behind the wheel and drive the fucking trucks, or go umpty stories up in a construction site and handle the steel.

              Fucking assholes.

          • CP

            I mean, I understand exactly *why* – it’s just not a very politic answer. “Because we worship the rich and it’s okay when they do it.”

    • I’ve had a chance not to read the Thomas E. Patterson piece (which I highly recommend) and it has the explanation. It’s basically impossible to do positive stories in the current media culture. A story that says “here are all the great things the Clinton Foundation does” is basically inconceivable.

    • ThrottleJockey

      The Conflict of Interest would exist regardless of the charity’s programming and has to do with the lack of compartmentalization and Chinese Walls. Trump’s charity being a grift makes his worse but it doesn’t change things for her.

      • Warren Terra

        TJ, just fnck off when the topic connects to Clinton, will you? You’ve got nothing useful or even rational to say on the subject, and if you did at this point no-one would listen to you.

        • veleda_k

          As I said in another post, at this point I really don’t think he can help himself. He’s just bizarrely compelled to feed his hatred addiction.

          • ThrottleJockey

            Yeah I saw that reply Veleda. As I explained it to you there ( http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2016/12/bad-applications-of-anti-harassment-law-should-not-be-used-to-justify-mostly-eliminating-anti-harassment-laws#comment-2471672 ) hypocrisy is one of my pet peeves. If you didn’t think the CGI presented a conflict of interest for Hill don’t tell me Trump’s foundation presents a conflict of interest.

            Now I concede that Trump’s Foundation does little if any charity while CGI does a great deal but that’s a difference in programming (or outright fraud) and not a difference in conflict of interest. CGI could end world hunger and Hill’s involvement with it would still be a conflict of interest.

            There’s a reason to not tolerate hypocrisy. Then you get people who accuse conservatives of being racist while blithely ignoring racists among progressives. I don’t play that shit.

            • There’s a reason to not tolerate hypocrisy.

              There’s a reason not to cry “hypocrisy!” so freely at people, unless the situations you are comparing are roughly equivalent. That’s why in this case, what TJ calls “intolerance of hypocrisy”, I call “false equivalence”.

              CGI could end world hunger and Hill’s involvement with it would still be a conflict of interest.

              I’m trying to imagine what activity politicians could be engaged in outside of politics that would not, in fact, constitute a “conflict of interest” by the expanded definition TJ engages in here. I suppose going into a monastery or complete retirement or suicide could be. Certainly going into business or a law practice must be verboten. Or is charitable activity a particular sin for ex-politicians for some reason I am unable to grasp?

              Speaking of “hypocrisy”, then, one has to wonder why TJ seems to be particularly exercised by “Hill’s” activities and not by those of others who have temporarily left politics and gone into the non-profit or (more often) the for-profit sector. It would be one thing if he addressed it as being part of a bigger issue- that such people regularly fall into “conflict of interest” or appearance of same. But for some reason, he hasn’t.

              • Origami Isopod

                Speaking of “hypocrisy”, then, one has to wonder why TJ seems to be particularly exercised by “Hill’s” activities and not by those of others who have temporarily left politics and gone into the non-profit or (more often) the for-profit sector.

                Because “Hill” is a woman who doesn’t know her place.

                • muddy

                  Also references “Huma” downthread. But says Sanders, even though everyone calls him Bernie. Just those things that make you go, hmm. psh

              • ThrottleJockey

                It’s not the only case of Conflict of Interest interested in. I shared this example with friends earlier this year.

                Obviously Trumps refusal to dump his assets in a blind trust presents monumental conflicts.

              • efgoldman

                But for some reason, he hasn’t.

                Well, it isn’t up to us to drop a banhammer on someone, but I propose we treat TJ as just another troll and stop responding as if he’s commenting in good faith; he isn’t.

            • Barry_D

              The Clinton Foundation is an a-rated charity; the Trump Foundation has been caught commiting fraud, bribery and tax fraud.

              End of case.

              • ThrottleJockey

                As you know theres a difference between Conflict of Interest and fraud.

                There’s a case of an Alabama DA ( http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/12/13/us/alabama-prosecutor-valeska-criminal-justice-reform.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=photo-spot-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=1&referer= ) who only grants people deferred adjudication who’ve donated to charities on whose board he sits. There’s no evidence that the charities do anything but good work but it’s still a clear conflict of interest. The Conflict exists without regard to the quality of work the charity performs.

                • Ithaqua

                  This is simply wrong. If I set up a foundation whose sole purpose is to benefit me, and I am in a position to “encourage” others to help it along, where’s the conflict of interest? My interests are being served both coming and going, so to speak. Now, if the foundation is set up to help other people, then there’s a conflict of interest, because they are interested in being helped and I’m not interested in helping them, so I made a mistake setting it up that way.

            • veleda_k

              I don’t know why I’m engaging you on this, since you’re incapable of logic or reason on this topic, but here we go.

              The Clinton Foundation has a four star rating from Charity Navigator. No one who’s actual job it is to find corruption has found any corruption. You simply declaring there’s conflict of interest doesn’t make it so. You’re a conspiracy theorist. Your little mantra is “conflict of interest,” but you could just as well be ranting about jet fuel and steel beams or aliens at Area 51. Sure, you see yourself as some brave truth teller, but so does every other conspiracy theorist out there.

              • ThrottleJockey

                The Charity’s rating and good works has nothing to with there being a Conflict of Interest. It’s not even apples and oranges its apples and elephants.

                I’m going to reprint the definition here since there’s so much confusion on the subject. No where below does it depend on the quality of the charity work being done.

                A conflict of interest (COI) is a situation in which a person or organization is involved in multiple interests, financial or otherwise, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation or decision-making of that individual or organization.

                The presence of a conflict of interest is independent of the occurrence of impropriety. Therefore, a conflict of interest can be discovered and voluntarily defused before any corruption occurs. A conflict of interest exists if the circumstances are reasonably believed (on the basis of past experience and objective evidence) to create a risk that a decision may be unduly influenced by other, secondary interests, and not on whether a particular individual is actually influenced by a secondary interest.

                A widely used definition is: “A conflict of interest is a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgement or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest.”[1]

                • ThrottleJockey

                  Let me give you another example. Scalia and Cheney were hunting buddies. Most liberals agreed that that it was therefore improper for Scalia to rule in issues regarding Cheney. That’s a simple conflict of interest. The fact that Scalia flouted and conservatives ignored ethics principles is no reason for liberals to do the same.

                • Let me give you another example. Scalia and Cheney were hunting buddies. Most liberals agreed that that it was therefore improper for Scalia to rule in issues regarding Cheney. That’s a simple conflict of interest. The fact that Scalia flouted and conservatives ignored ethics principles is no reason for liberals to do the same.

                  LOL, I don’t recall “most liberals” agreeing anything of the sort. In fact, I am not sure where the conflict is supposed to be here, unless any kind of social relationship automatically puts one in a conflict. If Cheney were, say, regularly paying Scalia’s way in these social occasions it would be another matter.

                  It may be that liberals frowned on the cozy relationship between the vice-President and a member of the SCOTUS but that’s not the same thing as decrying a conflict of interest. And there’s a good reason why they would not do so. Given the ideological proclivities of both men it is implausible that Scalia’s judgments conformed to Cheney’s preferences because they happened to go hunting together.

                  Weak, TJ. Very weak.

              • efgoldman

                You’re a conspiracy theorist.

                Not even that. He just hates “HILL” but somehow is unable to say that truth in so many words.

        • Dilan Esper

          So TJ tells the truth (that the conflict of interest was built into the Clinton Foundation because HRC was running for President) and your objection is that the truth isn’t “useful”?

          Remember when the left was the “reality based community”? I miss that. I realize some people liked HRC more than I did, but that doesn’t justify telling lies abd telling people to fuck off because the truth isn’t “useful”.

          • sibusisodan

            This places quite a lot of the logical weight of the argument on people not knowing the difference between ‘a conflict of interest’ and ‘the appearance of a conflict of interest’.

            The Clinton Foundation gives rise to the latter. That’s bad, but it is not the same degree of problem as an actual conflict of interest. But it’s being analysed as if it is.

            • ThrottleJockey

              There’s no difference between a conflict of interest and the appearance of a conflict of interest. The appearance is the Conflict.

              Now a Conflict of Interest doesn’t mean you’ve sold your office but it means you have an incentive to be corrupt, to let the incentives from one web of relationships change your behavior with respect to another set of relationships.

              Take the case of a defense attorney who was elected DA. If they retained an equity partnership with their former practice they would have a Conflict of Interest even if they never went easy on a defendant represented by their former firm.

              • sibusisodan

                There’s no difference between a conflict of interest and the appearance of a conflict of interest.

                At least that helps clarify where your misunderstanding is.

                It is trivially true that something can appear to be a conflict of interest without being so.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  There’s either a Conflict or there’s not. This isn’t like general corruption where there might be an appearance of corruption without actually being corruption. No conflict, no appearance of conflict.

                  Do you have an example what you’re talking about?

                • sibusisodan

                  None of that allows you to say ‘appearance of conflict, therefore conflict’. Any more than you can automatically say ‘appearance of theft, therefore theft’.

                  You can’t even say ‘no appearance of conflict of interest, therefore no such conflict.’ Politicians here in the UK have been very slow to disclose such conflicts here in the last decade. They existed, but the public did not know (eg the number of MPs who receive income from rental property, voting on regulation of the rental market…)

              • There’s no difference between a conflict of interest and the appearance of a conflict of interest. The appearance is the Conflict.

                Wrong. The conflict lies in there actually being “divided loyalties” when it comes to a public official making decisions. The fact that someone can make it appear that there could possibly be a conflict does not create the conflict.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  Yes divided loyalties is it.

                  Absent divided loyalties there’s no conflict.

                  Hence why there’s no such thing I know of As the appearance of a conflict of interest. There’s either a relationship that divides loyalties or there’s not.

                • Now, it is true that actual divided loyalties can be hard to prove, which is why regulations regarding conflict of interest tend to focus on avoiding the appearance of conflict as much as humanly possible. Given this, a critic of Clinton’s foundation work has the following avenues:

                  1) Clinton violated existing regulations

                  2) Clinton did not violate existing regulations, but those regulations are overly lax and should be tightened

                  3) Clinton did not violate existing regulations, but there are actual cases in which it is reasonable to say conflict occurred because of their favorable treatment by government officials after they, say, donated money to the Clinton Foundation- or even evidence of pressure of any kind made upon officials to grant such privileged treatment.

                  I have seen no indication of 1) being the case

                  Some have argued 2)

                  No cases of 3) have been demonstrated

                  If you wish to argue 2), fair enough, but again, it is wrong to argue that it should be seen as being in the same league as Trump and his Foundation. Such spurious collapsing of moral categories is the very definition of “false equivalence”

                • ThrottleJockey

                  You’ve presented an elaborate analysis but none of them address a conflict of interest.

                  It’s enough to show a strong relationship. If I was the DA could I try my best friend for murder? Your tests would say yes. But that fails the test of whether or not I might have divided loyalties, and that’s the only thing that matters.

                  Your test is akin to asking if I was driving drunk whereas the issue here is do I have an open container in the car–irrespective of whether I was driving drunk or not. If I get pulled over and I have an open bottle of beer in the car I can’t plead to the judge “But hey I blew a solid zero on the breathalyzer!” I’m still guilty of having an open container.

                  In that same vein The Conflict exists without regard to taking action on behalf of the relationship.

                • brad

                  I smoke a lot of pot, but nothing strong enough for me to see this world where reality is generated by the hypothetical that TJ is trying to metaphysically create. I don’t think I’ve had acid strong enough for that, even.
                  The reality of a crime is generated by the potential for its appearance despite an utter lack of demonstrable reality of said crime. By this standard TJ is a murderer, considering he has firearms.

                • muddy

                  But CLOUDS!!!

                  eta: totally agree with Brad, the fact that TJ has guns and frequently fantasizes publicly about committing violence is plenty, if we’re going to carry on about clouds and appearances and whatnot.

                • veleda_k

                  The reality of a crime is generated by the potential for its appearance despite an utter lack of demonstrable reality of said crime.

                  It’s such a convenient way of thinking. If some jerks with obsessive vendettas think Clinton is guilty of something, then she is guilty, simply by virtue of them thinking so.

              • Ithaqua

                … and if they didn’t, but didn’t announce publicly that they had been bought out, it would APPEAR to the outside world as if there was a conflict of interest but there would NOT actually be one.

              • It’s enough to show a strong relationship. If I was the DA could I try my best friend for murder? Your tests would say yes. But that fails the test of whether or not I might have divided loyalties, and that’s the only thing that matter.

                I am not sure where, if anywhere, TJ draws the line between “relationship” and “strong relationship”, but surely that distinction is of some relevance, and as very little to do with appearances, as I shall try to demonstrate:

                Your tests would say yes.

                LOL, no! Not unless my friendship with my best friend counts for very little! If my friendship with my best friend is significant, then I have real loyal;ties to my friend and the conflict with my duties as DA is real enough to require me to withdraw from the case. That has absolutely nothing to do with “appearances”, btw. If the friendship were not widely known that would have no bearing whatsoever on the actual existence of a conflict or on my ethical obligations in the matter.

                As for an example of a case where appearances of a conflict can be deceiving, imagine I am a DA who must work on a case against a former classmate in high school. There may be no conflict at all – I have not been in touch with this person in decades, I have no particular memories of them, etc, yet someone wishing to make an issue of it could “raise questions” about the actual nature of my relationship with this person, creating the appearance of a conflict where none actually exists.

                • Beyond this, note how TJ sidesteps the issue I have raised. He does not actually allege that there are any known cases of public officials having to consider people’s generosity to the Clinton Foundation in their official duties. He does not allege that Clinton broke any existing regulations. He doesn’t even clearly indicate that the regulations concerning conflict of interest should be tightened. What he actually says is very, very broad and, in practice, very very vague:

                  The appearance of a conflict is, by definition, the existence of a conflict

                  Any relationship whatsoever between two people can result in the appearance of a conflict

                  Therefore, we can allege a conflict based on whatever relationships exist between people (see TJ’s ludicrous example where he claims that “liberals agree” that hunting trips with Vice President Cheney put Justice Scalia in a conflict of interest when it came to Supreme Court rulings, a principle that, widely applied, would preclude social relationships of any kind among politicians and public officials.)

          • rea

            So, in the view of Dilan and TJ, no one who might someday run for political office ought to raise money for charity–it’s a conflict of interest! (So much for Herbert Hoover).

            • Scott Mc

              Or if you left office you can’t run a charity if you were in office and plan to run again. Lobbying’s ok though. No conflicts there!

              • ThrottleJockey

                Who said lobbying ok? Not me.

            • ThrottleJockey

              Running a charity in between stints was fine but she remained heavily involved with it while SecState and even ensured that her chief aide was doubly employed by both organizations simultaneously. That’s sloppy. And it doubled down on the Conflict of Interest.

              • sharonT

                But, she wasn’t “heavily” involved in CGI while she was SoS. I’ve got my beefs with the Clintons and their wing of the Democratic Party, but I understand why close staffers would choose to ride out their time out of office in foundations and think tanks associated with Hillary and Bill.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  She had her chief aide simultaneously directly work for her at State while also working at CGI. That’s a huge conflict by itself. From the email traffic it appears that was her means of remaining involved in CGI. She shouldn’t have let Huma work at both. She should’ve severed her ties to CGI while she was at State. If CGI wanted her to meet with a Nobel Laureate or Bill Gates CGI should’ve called up her State Dept assistant same as everyone else would and request a meeting. Instead they called up Huma.

                  I don’t think a public official can be heavily involved in an outside organization without running afoul of a conflict of interest. If we had a GOP that wasn’t feckless we could enforce such on Trump.

          • tonycpsu

            Remember when the left was the “reality based community”?

            Was that back when Clinton Derangement Syndrome was rare among self-described leftists?

            • Scott Lemieux

              Remember when Dilan’s initial reaction to the Comey’s highly prejudicial and grossly irresponsible and unethical letter was that Comey was a honest, nonpartsian civil servant Just Doing His Job nailing the sleazy Clintons? Very reality-based.

          • The objection is to “false equivalence”, a concept that even now, after weeks and weeks and weeks, you and TJ appear to be utterly unable to grasp.

            Here you are, responding to a post which makes the point that the media engaged in this false equivalence on a massive scale with terrible consequences, and your only answer is to carry on blithely doing the exact same thing with no evidence even of any reflection on what Scott has had to say about why this is problematic. Talk about being non-responsive!

            That, I would think, accounts for the impatient nature of many responses here: you two are just saying the same thing over and over again and never listening, never learning, just trotting out the same thing time and time again. It gets just a little tiresome.

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              the logical conclusion is that both Dilan and ThrottleJockey actually believe that the Clinton Foundation *is* as corrupt as Trump’s various scams

              • ThrottleJockey

                Not at all and that’s a BS accusation. I’ve made abundantly clear in this thread and others that Trump is monumentally worse. That’s the opposite of “equivalence”.

                What you guys want is for me be partisan and say CGI presented her no Conflict of Interest. You want a white wash and that I won’t do. That would be hypocritical.

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  no, at this point it’s just masturbation. Which, as far as I’m concerned, is pretty much all you got

                • ThrottleJockey

                  You’re just a partisan.

                • sibusisodan

                  You’re just a partisan.

                  The idea that you can dismiss someone soley because they have political convictions is backwards.

                  The cult of disinterested centrist is no less partisan than the people it tars with that label. It’s just playing for a different team.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  I’m not a centrist. I’m a liberal. My objection to partisanship is that it elevates party over principle. I see it how JFK saw it: sometimes party asks too much. If I have to choose between party and principle I choose principle.

                • Domino

                  Look, I’m not a huge fan of TJ, and disagree with a decent amount of things he says. But I don’t see how he’s wrong here – he’s not say the CGI is somehow a poor charity that doesn’t do a lot of global good.

                  He’s saying by Huma staying on the board, along with her at Sec of State office, there was the appearance of a conflict of interest.

                  How is he wrong?

                • sibusisodan

                  Domino, that’s not what TJ is claiming.

                  You’re reading him as saying that Abedin’s role gave the appearance of a conflict of interest to Abedin.

                  What he’s claimed, rather, is that Abedin’s role was an actual conflict of interest for Clinton.

                  It rests upon this daft idea that the scope and consequences of the appearance of a Bad Thing in politics are precisely the same as, and as severe as, an Actual Bad Thing.

                  Which leads to treating a problem of reputation management – the kind of thing we could discuss and be done with in 5 minutes in the case of virtually any other politician – as if it were a deeper ethical failing.

            • muddy

              Gets lots of replies tho. The purpose of trolling has been fulfilled!

              I caught several pounds of smelts yesterday through the ice, I was actually jigging and not trolling but the effect was the same. One bit of bait and I could snag 3 or 4 of them at a time.

              That was a better use of my time and I’m going to keep that in mind going forward.

          • efgoldman

            And Dilan makes two.

      • Ithaqua

        Didn’t notice “conflict of interest” in the word cloud… and the impression of the right-wingers I know is that the thing was indeed a grift. One of them said while I was trying out the “no evidence that there was a conflict of interest” line that everything in life is a conflict of interest with respect to everything else in life, but the Clinton Foundation was just set up to enrich the Clintons, and that’s what hacked him off.

  • Origami Isopod
    • N__B

      The Wonkette headline is a thing of beauty, even if it’s obvious.

    • Warren Terra

      It’s a funny story, but I assumed from your link text it must be the Chinese government, or at least a state mouthpiece. It’s a shopping mall – and a shopping mall making solid the work of an American artist, at that.

  • n00chness

    The attention to detail, the deep dive, and letting the facts lead him to the conclusions – Farenthold didn’t just acquit himself OK, he covered himself in glory.

    A lot was made of Jeff Bezos not being a good citizen because he didn’t invest in charities in the Seattle area like the symphony, etc., but I would say his investment in the Washington Post more than made up for it.

    • Derelict

      I would not be surprised to learn that Bezos–the consummate arriviste–looks upon Trump as some kind of jumped-up trailer trash.

      • DrDick

        To be fair, Trump is “jumped-up trailer trash”. Of course that also applies to a whole lot of other billionaires.

        • XTPD

          Bianca Steele‘s remarked that Trump’s accent is especially evocative of the “Germanic new money cokehead”.

          It’s also been remarked that “jumped-up trailer trash” is the same on Staten and Long Islands as it is everywhere else, except for the accents. Or alternatively, the only real difference between them and gopniks/”chavs”/dresiarze/what-have-you is the absence of tracksuits.

          • Well, the particular cokehead I was thinking of was an undergraduate at an Ivy (and a reasonably good guy, I think, despite his taste in jewelry), and I’d personally say Trump is a generation or two past the point where he can accuse his third of fourth cousins of being wannabe jumped up trash, but that’s the difference between a thriving economy and a stagnant one.

            • Origami Isopod

              I don’t get the “Germanic” bit, at least not when it comes to Trump’s accent.

    • petesh

      Marty Baron was hired as editor not long before Bezos bought the paper. Kudos to Bezos for not firing him, but I think Baron deserves a lot of the credit, as Farenthold acknowledges in his summary.

    • Phil Perspective

      … but I would say his investment in the Washington Post more than made up for it.

      No, no it didn’t. He still employs Fred Hiatt, among other things. Lets not glorify Bezos just because of one reporter.

      • It’s not just Fahrenthold. As petesh points out above, Marty Baron has done a great job as editor as well, and Bezos didn’t have to keep him on. In general the politics coverage at the WaPo has been considerably better than that at the NYT. Some of this may be because, with Bezos at the helm, they have more editorial independence.

        • sharonT

          You must be reading a different A Section of the Post than I am. Chris Cilliza’s column is a monument to slightly warmed over takes, while Robert Costa’s reporting from team GOP is serviceable, It’s not very insightful.

  • DrDick

    This simply serves to highlight the fact that without the grotesque journalistic malpractice of our “elite” press in enabling him, there would not be a President Trump.

  • CP

    “You Know, You’re a Nasty Guy.”

    It’s amazing how often Republicans break out “you’re a big meanie” as an argument.

    • Origami Isopod

      DARVO.

  • cs

    I agree with everything you say about the way the media coverage put a thumb on the scale for Trump, but (and I realize this topic has been worn out already), I think those word clouds also reflect a failure of the Clinton campaign. I’m starting to think that “when they go low we go high” is actually not a great motto for a modern presidential campaign. (It was a great line by Michelle Obama, don’t get me wrong about that, but what works for a First Lady at a convention is not the same as what works for a candidate at a debate.)

    • In retrospect, you may be correct. We like to think Americans are above negative campaigning, but it’s possible that it’s a thing because it works.

      • humanoid.panda

        I don’t about that. The Clinton campaign was overwhelmingly negative, and she demolished him in all 3 debates. I think the “they go high we go low” was a slogan more than a declaration of policy.

        • humanoid.panda

          I mean, she didn’t call his a dickless orange yam on stage or anything, but I think Rubio demonstrated that going into the mud with him is not a good political move.

      • econoclast

        They would have just ignored it. Clinton accused him of being a Putin stooge in one of the debates, and the media ignored the idea until after the election.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

          and the media ignored the idea until after the election.

          And are still not covering it very much. I’d bet the average voter believes that this is just sour grapes by the losing Democrats.

          • Thlayli

            It continues to amaze me how many people are just about flat-out saying “I’m fine with a foreign government meddling in our election, because That Bitch lost.”

      • efgoldman

        We like to think Americans are above negative campaigning

        What you mean “we.”
        I remember it as far back as JFK (the non-existent “missile gap”) and of course, Tricksie Dicksie Nixie even before he ran for VP or president (“soft on communism”

    • Scott Lemieux

      You can criticize the Clinton campaign for many things, but to criticize them for not being negative enough about Trump is…odd.

      • Tactical criticisms aside, the Clinton campaign was facing an environment where their candidate was broadly viewed as competent, conniving, and cold — that is, their primary weakness to counter was on perceptions of her character. So they focused on drawing a contrast between Trump’s character and Clinton’s. This has been a successful tactic in the past — attacking on one’s own weakness was one of Rove’s favorite tricks, for instance — but it didn’t seem to work as well against Trump.

        I am generally much more sympathetic to critiques of Clinton’s ground game (the postmortems out of Michigan and Wisconsin are pretty sad) than her messaging, which I think was probably the best we could expect. I base this in part on how I’ve read people say that she was too focused on attacking Trump, not focused enough on attacking Trump, too focused on Trump’s sexism, not focused enough on Trump’s sexism, too dependent on slogans and glittering generalities, too wonkish and policy-heavy (remember how much she got made fun of for her comprehensive, list-based defense of ACA at the second debate?), too focused on turning out young people and POCs, not focused enough on turning out young people and POCs, etc. ad infinitum.

        • tsam

          I thought they could have made a lot of progress by going through the differences between the economy in 2008 and 2016, Clinton was THERE when Bin Laden was killed, etc….

          I think that running on the record of a two term Democratic president could have made a difference–though I have no evidence to support this claim.

          • Thom

            Trouble is, by 2016 most people don’t even remember 2008 or who was president and Bin Laden was old news in the new world of IS.

        • MDrew

          Messaging that was “the best we could expect.”

          That is… an interesting level at which to set a bar.

      • CrunchyFrog

        You can criticize the Clinton campaign for many things, but to criticize them for not being negative enough about Trump is…odd.

        Perhaps there is something about what negative traits they chose to focus on. During the final month they went heavy on his rampant sexism with an emphasis on impacts on young girls. I’m sure that ad they ran on a loop the last week scored off the charts with their focus groups. Unfortunately, it now appears that the late deciders were willing to ignore all that because they had forgotten (or not heard) all the stuff, for example, about how he’d screwed every business vendor who’d ever worked for him.

        The big thing is this: so much of what Trump did would have been disqualifying for any other candidate in any other election. Frequent cheating on wives, frequent cheating of business partners, multiple bankruptcies, thousands of lawsuits, long string of failed promises. Sure, his fans forgave all that, but they weren’t enough to win an election. There were enough swing voters who held their noses and voted for him because, despite all of that, he was not seen as the least trustworthy of the two candidates by a surprising number of swing voters.

        Yes, I’m saying that Trump won because his opponent was Clinton, and that he wouldn’t have won against any generic Democrat.

        And the reason for that is that Clinton’s negatives – something we all knew about at the outset and all hoped could be overcome – never were overcome. Blame the press, yes, and they were horrible. But until the Democrats get a backbone and reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine that is the press we have. Also blame the Democratic party for nominating someone with those intense negatives and never countering them effectively.

        • efgoldman

          But until the Democrats get a backbone and reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine that is the press we have.

          This is bullshit, it was always bullshit, it will always be bullshit.
          THE FAIRNESS DOCTRINE APPLIED ONLY TO OVER-THE-AIR FEDERALLY LICENSED BROADCAST STATIONS/NETWORKS!
          It never applied to cable-only networks. SCOTUS said so.
          It never applied – nor could it – to print media (newspapers and magazines, and their web iterations). The first amendment says so.
          It never applied – nor would it ever – to websites. The first amendment says that, too.

          There is no way it could prevent the NYT from being the bullshit purveyor of record.
          Or Fox News from making up shit.

          • CrunchyFrog

            Sigh. Ok, it may surprise you but I actually do understand what the Fairness Doctrine was, what it wasn’t, the rationale behind it, and what other changes were made in media laws at the time the FD was deleted.

            Yes, I know full well that it applied only to broadcast networks on TV and Radio. The rationale was that these are public airwaves with limited entry points (since the federal government had to protect each station by preventing others from using the same broadcast frequency), and therefore they had to serve to benefit the public. In contrast to print media which presumably had low barriers to entry.

            Still, that’s huge. Radio is still a major source of news communication in the US – for many people the primary source. Today rural America is bathed in far right propoganda on almost every radio channel they receive, with no counter balance. Changing that to neutral reporting would make a huge difference.

            Similarly with broadcast TV news, including various news programs that have taken to greatly slanting their reports since the FD was killed. Even if you leave the cable networks unchanged that by itself would have a major impact since far more people watch broadcast evening news than watch cable news.

            But, there is no reason that Cable would have to stay untouched – except of course a far right wing SCOTUS that would rule anyway it wants to on anything regardless of what the Constitution or law says, so granted that would have to be dealt with. However, since the time of the last SCOTUS decision on the FD all those decades ago cable has changed greatly. The costs of entry are now huge – especially the cost of getting onto the basic packages of the subscribers. A new attempt at an FD based on that rationale would likely succeed with a rational SCOTUS. But even if it didn’t, just changing the tone of broadcast news would force some sort of change on cable simply by influence, because cable news tries to sell itself as objective and now would be compared to broadcast news under FD standards.

            And yes, print and internet media is not subject to the FD. But even if those remained unchanged the change to broadcast news would greatly change the tone of all reporting.

      • Wamba

        You have settled on that glib analysis, but you are wrong.

        It wasn’t that they didn’t spend enough time going negative on Trump, it was the weak execution. No way should he have been able to win after confessing to sexual assault.

        But you have to go after him as if this is the scandal to end all scandals, as if you are personally morally outraged and you have to be completely dismissive of his eligibility given the revelations, and you have to keep harping on it like it is the only thing that matters — you know, the way the Republicans would have done it.

        Instead, all Clinton did with that godsend was chide him — tsk tsk — for using naughty language. And even when she did that she buried it in a bill of off-topic particulars, thus reducing its significance to the level of calling girls fat.

        Its another of those things, like Scott’s fav the Comey letter, that could have made the 1 or 2 point difference that would have made all the difference.

        That was campaign malpractice.

  • AMK

    an implicit assumption that Clinton should be treated as the President elect

    Yup. Much of the media’s conduct is explained by nobody thinking Trump could actually win. When you start with that assumption, which just about everyone here shared–voters are not that stupid, just look at every poll, demographics make electing him impossible etc etc–then Clinton becomes a bigger target. It speaks to the huge cultural and educational and cognitive divide between educated “elites” on the coasts and the WWC more than it does to Clinton hatred among the media.

    • Origami Isopod

      It speaks to the huge cultural and educational and cognitive divide between educated “elites” on the coasts and the WWC

      Yes. The latter live in their own bubble, complete with their own “news.”

      Also, you do know that there are lots of people out there who are neither “elites” nor “WWC”?

      • AMK

        Also, you do know there are lots of people out there who are neither elites nor WWC

        In the sense that there are lots of low-information white people who make too much money to be considered “working class,” then yes. But in terms of worldview, there is no real difference.

        By contrast, the GOP elite/establishment–the Ryanites who are in on the scam for the tax cuts–did not expect Trump to win and did not support him until there was no other option, because they were working from the same assumptions that us and much of the mainstream media were.

    • Barry_D

      “Yup. Much of the media’s conduct is explained by nobody thinking Trump could actually win. When you start with that assumption, which just about everyone here shared–voters are not that stupid, just look at every poll, demographics make electing him impossible etc etc–then Clinton becomes a bigger target. It speaks to the huge cultural and educational and cognitive divide between educated “elites” on the coasts and the WWC more than it does to Clinton hatred among the media.”

      We can test this hypothesis – if the MSM go after Trump the way that they went after the Clintons, it might be true. Otherwise, ….

      • Solar System Wolf

        Ha ha ha. The MSM has never, and will never, go after anyone the way they’ve gone after the Clintons. Even if they started on Trump from this moment on, there’s at least 25 more years to go.

        • sharonT

          After all of these years, I’ve decided that the press behavior towards almost all Democrats, politicians and voters is driven by fear, I.e., the press has absolutely no fear of Democrats. Republicans on the other hand, can find dozens of ways to punish the media.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        if the MSM go after Trump the way that they went after the Clintons, it might be true.

        I’d settle for the MSM going after Trump in any significant way, which I’ll be amazed if it happens.

        • Ahuitzotl

          Going after Trump when he has power and delights in retribution, earned or otherwise? That’d take courage, something the MSM has shown none of since … idk, Watergate?

  • Solar System Wolf

    One of the things that most infuriates me about that graphic is the fact that the word “policy” is visible on the Trump side but not on the Clinton side (unless my increasingly nearsighted eyes are missing it). Because despite what people like to say about her, she really did talk about policies. And you just know that any article that mentions Trump’s “policies” had the word embedded in a sentence like, “No one is really sure what Trump’s policy toward X is, because he said one thing today and another thing last week.”

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