If you can remember back to last week, The New York Times ran a story that Secretary Clinton had stated that the Russians were grooming one of the female Democratic primary candidates for a third party run as a spoiler to ensure the President’s reelection. She also took a justified and accurate swipe at Jill Stein. It turns out that The New York Times made an error in their reporting. And they’ve corrected it. But, as appears to be standard operating procedure for The New York Times, they didn’t announce the correction. The now corrected article doesn’t actually make logical sense anymore as it includes Congresswoman Gabbard’s initial response to the assumption that Secretary Clinton was referring to her. Congresswoman Gabbard’s initial response was based on the misquote/misreporting that Secretary Clinton stated that the Russians were grooming this unnamed female Democratic candidate.
On Friday, the NYT did a piece about a podcast Secretary Clinton did with David Plouffe. They incorrectly quoted her saying that the “Russians” were “grooming” a candidate running in the Democratic primary. They rightfully fixed it to reflect that she was taking about the GOP. pic.twitter.com/iFCphQhZcU
— Nick Merrill (@NickMerrill) October 22, 2019
This really significant error set off days of commentary slamming Secretary Clinton, which included the President weighing in both on Twitter and in remarks to one of the press gaggles he has every day. It also allowed Congresswoman Gabbard who was not named by Secretary Clinton to use this for fundraising. And Congresswoman Gabbard did so using terminology and verbal imagery that is usually only directed at Secretary Clinton by Republicans, conservatives, and Russian bots and trolls! Secretary Clinton is, of course, correct in her analysis, especially as now properly and correctly reported. Some of Congresswoman Gabbard’s biggest promoters, especially on and through social media, are the various neo-nationalists, neo-fasicsts, neo-NAZIs , and white supremacists that are collectively labeled the alt-right and conservative media figures, as well as a host of Russian backed and funded bots and trolls.
And yes, she said that certain fringe members of the Democratic and Green parties are assets to the Russians. Well guess what folks? That’s true. She didn’t call anyone a spy, as some are wrongly asserting for their own political gain.
— Nick Merrill (@NickMerrill) October 22, 2019
This also led to a number of people, including several other Democratic primary candidates, coming to Congresswoman Gabbard’s defense because she’s a veteran. As if current or former US military personnel haven’t unintentionally aided foreign actors from allies to peer competitors to hostile foreign actors, as well as deliberately selling out the US. And the same goes for civilian, non-uniform US personnel. Names like Arnold, Pollard, Manning, Snowden, Hansen, and Ames come right to mind. Just because one has served the US, in uniform or out, in a war zone or in much more permissive environments, doesn’t automatically confer some sort of special protection from doing the wrong thing, intentionally or unintentionally, at a later date.
While Congresswoman Gabbard pledged several months ago that she wouldn’t run as a third party so as not to spoil the election for the Democratic nominee and throw it to the President by allowing him to once again lose the popular vote while eking out a narrow Electoral College victory, this has been a concern for almost 10 months. I delineated this concern last January in a discussion of whether Senator Sanders might be pushed to run third party by his key advisors, supporters, and surrogates if he didn’t get the nomination (emphasis mine)!
Sanders, no matter what he does, has the potential to function as a super spoiler for the Democrats in 2020. Think Jill Stein’s effect on the electoral college on steroids. And if he decides he’s going to be a team player and not do so, his trusted agents won’t play ball and you’ll have the same problem regardless. And we can now add Congresswoman Gabbard to the potential spoilers category emanating from Sanders orbit.
Regardless of what Congresswoman Gabbard may or may not do next year, The New York Times made a huge error here. They misreported what Secretary Clinton said, which sparked several days of controversy and negative reporting, and then, when they realized they’d inaccurately transcribed the quote, they corrected it without announcing they’d made the mistake and the correction. This isn’t responsible. We are currently living in the fifth or sixth year, depending on when you want to date its start, of an unconventional Russian war against the US that uses information warfare to influence Americans to destroy ourselves. The US is not doing a particularly good job of fighting Russia as the US government and most Americans don’t seem to have figured out that we are at war. One of the major effects the Russians are trying to achieve is to influence Americans through the weaponization of information, misinformation, disinformation, and information for provocation in order to enflame American political; ethnic, racial, and religious; rural, urban, and suburban; sexuality/gender; and economic differences so that Americans destroy ourselves. In order to do this they have to use weaponized information for effect. And the effect they are trying to achieve is to make it impossible for Americans to both agree on what is true, factual, and accurate and, in many cases, even know what is true, factual, and accurate. The objective is to make it so that for Americans nothing is true and, therefore, anything and everything is possible. The New York Times needs to stop doing this. Not least of which because they do it over and over and over again and that pattern leads to an ugly conclusion: that as an organization they’re doing it on purpose. But even if they aren’t doing it on purpose, what they’re doing only assists the Russian’s information war against the US.