Wolff and Press 101

Axios reported yesterday that Michael Wolff taped the conversations that he used for his book:

Michael Wolff has tapes to back up quotes in his incendiary book — dozens of hours of them….

  • In some cases, the officials thought they were talking off the record. But what are they going to do now?

I am a relative nobody. But I know better.

I talk with the press fairly frequently. I have reporters that I talk with a lot because they are honestly striving to tell complex stories with the intent of making their readers smarter by the end of the piece. I assume that any interaction I have with any reporter is on the record and highly likely to be recorded.

On Wednesday evening, a reporter that I have talked with in the past e-mailed me to ask for some background on a long term policy issue. I said I could callback in 10 minutes. The initial chunk of the conversation was like this:

“Hi, this is John Doe of the XXX News”

“Hi John, this is Dave from Duke, responding to your e-mail, still got time?”

“Yep, let me get my recorder going…”

“Everything on the record unless we both agree before hand?”

“Sounds good, so tell me about X and Y and how they interact?”

And then we talked for a while.

This is not hard. You assume that you are on the record and a good memorization will occur unless there is a specific guarantee that is previously agreed upon that says a conversation is either off the record, deep background, not for attribution or any other restriction including no notes/recordings. I’m a nobody who will never work in the White House and I know that.

Picture > 10^3 Words

This pretty much captures it, amirite?

Finding stuff like this is why having a 17 y.o. cynic for a son is so rewarding.

Thread along, friends jackals.

Open Thread: The Very Serious Media Will Never Give Up Their ‘WWC Trump Voters’ Woobie

The suits assigning these articles are doing very nicely under the Trump Oval Office Occupation. The Media Village Idiots writing / mouthing the stories have all their deeply ingrained prejudices (not just about people of color, but about non-Ivy-League white people who can’t immediately tell you their SAT scores) reinforced by these stories. The moguls paying for the media are happy to assume these stories mean that all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds. Whyever would they stop telling each other (and, incidentally, us) these heartwarming tales, just because they’re irrelevant to 97% of their supposed news “mission”?

Ignorance Is Strength

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were told today not to use seven words in official documents they prepare for next year’s budget. The words are








Instead of “science-based” or ­“evidence-based,” the suggested phrase is “CDC bases its recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes,” but in other cases, no substitute was suggested.

No names were given of people responsible for this dictum.

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden words at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget

but, from the wording, it looks like it was a Party operative another official who gave the order. Or somebody told the senior CDC officials that that would be required.

“Transgender” and “fetus” are particularly problematic. The preference to replace “fetus” is probably “unborn baby.” I don’t want to imagine what they would prefer for “transgender.” Or, I guess, programs involving those nonexistent categories can just be struck. I’m sure the CDC budget will be decreased in any case.


Update: cthulu informs us that Kevin Drum has supplied substitutes. Here they are 

Mid-Morning Open Thread

The Good:

I love stories like this:

With the help of his professor, Gary Urton, a scholar of Pre-Columbian studies, Medrano interpreted a set of six khipus, knotted cords used for record keeping in the Inca Empire. By matching the khipus to a colonial-era Spanish census document, Medrano and Urton uncovered the meaning of the cords in greater detail than ever before. Their findings could contribute to a better understanding of daily life in the Andean civilization.

The Bad:

Using taxpayer dollars, the Environmental Protection Agency has hired a cutting-edge Republican PR firm that specializes in digging up opposition research to help Administrator Scott Pruitt’s office track and shape press coverage of the agency.

According to federal contracting records, earlier this month Pruitt’s office inked a no-bid $120,000 contract with Definers Corp., a Virginia-based public relations firm founded by Matt Rhoades, who managed Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Pretty much par for the course, I know: when reality offends you, make your own. But on our dime and to the end of wrecking the environmental infrastructure on which we all depend.

And, by popular (aka Schrodinger’s Cat) demand…

The Tikka:

Open thread, y’all.


I grew up in Bergen County and I must differ with Lucinda Rosenfeld’s attribution of Jared Kushner’s entitlement to his growing up there. I was there somewhat earlier than she was, though.

The neighborhood I grew up in was ethnically mixed, although yes, white. Czech, German, Irish, longer-time American, and, overlaid, Jewish and Christian. We were Democrats and Republicans. We were too working-class to aspire to the heights of New York society. We kids would have disdained that anyway. We had the local playground, the railroad tracks that our parents wished we wouldn’t frequent, and buses to get to the next town. Who needed more? We had good schools that continue to be good.  The diversity mix has changed, but diversity there is.

It particularly pains me when I read that Kushner attended a private school in Paramus. Paramus was, for me, a magical place. Read more

Site News: Hurricane

(This is a re-post from Saturday evening for those who may have missed it)


Our hosting company, Hosting Matters, is in reach of Irma. So lines or power could go down and so could this site. They have generators, backups, all kinds of great and groovy stufff, but shit happens.

Luckily, we have a test server. Right now, it’s configured for test usage, not live site usage. So please don’t go there to check it out. But, should the main site go down, I will upgrade the memory and processers so you can use it instead. It is hosted far away from Irma (or José, for that matter!)

Even after memory and CPU upgrades, it will be much less powerful then the main server, but it will work to keep the community going.

Please consider the site a resource to help get through Irma, and whatever cruel twist of fate José might offer.

Your normal nyms should work, and it should work and look like the main site but there may be twitches – it’s a development, testing, and staging site.

The site is at https://test.balloon-juice.com

I will repost this post over the next day or so, stopping when the threat to the main site has passed.