Amateur Hour at James O’Keeffe’s Project Veritas

A woman approached a Washington Post reporter, Beth Reinhard, and said Roy Moore had impregnated her when she was a teenager. Except she was lying.

But on Monday morning, Post reporters saw her walking into the New York offices of Project Veritas, an organization that targets the mainstream news media and left-leaning groups. The organization sets up undercover “stings” that involve using false cover stories and covert video recordings meant to expose what the group says is media bias.

That same day, Gateway Pundit, a conservative site, spread a false story from a Twitter account, @umpire43, that said, “A family friend in Alabama just told my wife that a WAPO reporter named Beth offer her 1000$ to accuse Roy Moore.” The Twitter account, which has a history of spreading misinformation, has since been deleted.

A lot about the interaction between Reinhard and the woman, Jaime Phillips. My impression was that Phillips was trying to get Reinhard to say stuff that would look as though she was out to get Moore. Reinhard seems not to have fallen for it.

Alice Crites, a Post researcher who was looking into Phillips’s background, found the document that strongly reinforced the reporters’ suspicions: a Web page for a fundraising campaign by someone with the same name. It was on the website GoFundMe.com under the name Jaime Phillips.

“I’m moving to New York!” the May 29 appeal said. “I’ve accepted a job to work in the conservative media movement to combat the lies and deceipt of the liberal MSM. I’ll be using my skills as a researcher and fact-checker to help our movement. I was laid off from my mortgage job a few months ago and came across the opportunity to change my career path.”

Nice move to post your motives on the internet. Makes it easier to nail you. But I guess Phillips didn’t realize that reporters type your name into the search box first thing.

By 7 p.m. the message on the GoFundMe page was gone, replaced by a new one.

“Campaign is complete and no longer active,” it read.

And open thread!



Crooked Media

There’s a new web publication that may be of interest to Juicers: Crooked Media.

It grows out of the Pod Save America podcasts and is made up of former Obama communications people and others.

  • Jon Favreau
  • Jon Lovett
  • Tommy Vietor
  • Ana Marie Cox
  • DeRay McKesson
  • Dan Pfeiffer
  • Brian Beutler
  • Corinne Gilliard
  • and others, including two pup mascots.

Here’s an article on Paul Manafort and how Trump has torn down public expectations.

This is not an endorsement, just that it looks like a good team and I like people with a sense of humor. Worth watching.

 

 



And, of Course, We Have Breaking News…

Fortunately I did that Browder testimony piece you all have been asking about before checking social media feeds…

While it’s not a crime to lie to the news media, given the ongoing counterintelligence and criminal investigations being supervised by Special Counsel Mueller this is not good!

The strategy, the advisers agreed, should be for Donald Trump Jr. to release a statement to get ahead of the story. They wanted to be truthful, so their account couldn’t be repudiated later if the full details emerged.

But within hours, at the president’s direction, the plan changed.

Flying home from Germany on July 8 aboard Air Force One, Trump personally dictated a statement in which Trump Jr. said that he and the Russian lawyer had “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children” when they met in June 2016, according to multiple people with knowledge of the deliberations. The statement, issued to the New York Times as it prepared an article, emphasized that the subject of the meeting was “not a campaign issue at the time.”

The claims were later shown to be misleading.

“This was . . . unnecessary,” said one of the president’s advisers, who like most other people interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations. “Now someone can claim he’s the one who attempted to mislead. Somebody can argue the president is saying he doesn’t want you to say the whole truth.”



David Brooks Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

One sentence from today’s column that captures the pure, distilled essence of the alt-hack that is our BoBo:

And yet it has to be confessed that, at least so far, the Whitewater scandal was far more substantive than the Russia-collusion scandal now gripping Washington.

It’s all there.

The disembodied passive voice to give pulled-from-the-ass opinion the aura of ex-cathedra authority:  “it has to be confessed…” Oh yeah? Says who?

The careful weasel phrase, a scurrying for plausible deniability when this infallible dictum falls prey to fact:  “at least so far…”

The statement, presented as general consensus, that is, in fact, false:  “Whitewater…was far more substantial than…’ anything at all is simply false, and Brooks himself was both a driver of that falsehood and was and is perfectly positioned to know better than what he writes here.

The Whitewater “scandal,” as just about every non-interested party now knows, was a steaming heap of bullshit, ginned up by Republican operatives (Ted Olson!) in an attempt to damage the Clintons and the Democratic Party.

Brooks reminds his reader that he was the op-ed editor of The Wall Street Journal at the time his page was running piece after piece about the scandal that he claims was substantive — and yet, in (again) classic BoBo self-protective weasel writing, now writes “I confess I couldn’t follow all the actual allegations made in those essays…”

In other words, don’t blame him if his paper and his page retailed great steaming heaps of bullshit that as he now writes, “in retrospect Whitewater seems overblown….” (Note again the tactical use of the grammar that evades responsibility, that subjunctive “seems.”  Translation: my paper on my watch spread bullshit for partisan ends, and but all that can be said (see what I did there) is that the outcome of our work “seems” … not so great.  Nice obfuscation if you can get (away with) it.) (Yes. I like parentheses. Sue me.)

Where was I?  Oh yeah:  don’t contemn Brooks for that overblown false scandal, but take his word for it that that steaming heap of bullshit was nonetheless more real than the Russian allegations.

Oh?

No.

I don’t think I have to go into detail for this crowd about the depth and range of the Trump-Russia nexus. It may be that Brooks is trying to be clever here, and define the scandal purely as a question of whether Trump himself (and or his campaign) directly conspired with agents of Putin’s government to affect the election.

That would make that sentence yet more carefully parsed to give him cover as things like money laundering and influence peddling details accumulate.  In that, we may be seeing a preview of the approach Republican opinion-framers will attempt later on: Trump’s corrupt, but not a traitor.  But even allowing for such fine dissection of the growing scandal, there’s plenty of confirmed evidence of interaction between Trump’s campaign and significant Russian folks (see, e.g., Sessions and Kislyak).  In other words: Whitewater ended as it began with no evidence of Clinton wrongdoing.  Trump-Russia already has on public record significant and troubling revelations.

There’s a pattern here. The New York Times has given prime opinion acreage to now two partisan hack/WSJ refugees in Brooks and Bret Stephens. Both employ a more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger voice to construct in the language of rueful reason narratives that directly bolster Republican positions and personalities. Both use that seeming reasonableness, the above-the-fray tone of impartial and unchallenged judgment, to say things that are clearly not true.  Those lies directly undercut reporting happening within the Grey Lady’s newsroom put out.  Op-ed editor Bennett, executive editor Baquet and publisher Sulzberger are all OK with that, it seems.

David Brooks tells plausible falsehoods in defense of some of the worst people in the history of American politics. The Times lets him; more, it has done so for decades promoting a career hack/flack to a position of influence far beyond anything his lack of rigor and intellectual dishonesty should ever have earned.

This is a big problem.

Update: I just trashed a comment on how Brook’ wife  should interact with his wife. Using the term the comment did for a woman one may dislike or disapprove of is unacceptable, for all the obvious reasons.  No banhammer yet, but a repeat will earn a time out.

Update 2: Charles Pierce, on much the same passage, with much the same reaction, only more so.

Image: Frits van den Berghe, The Idiot By The Pond1926



Rest in Peace Adam West

Adam West has passed away at the age of 88.

From the BBC:

West died peacefully in Los Angeles after a brief battle with leukaemia, a family spokesperson said.

His tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Batman and the superhero’s alter ego Bruce Wayne won a cult following.

He later struggled to find big acting roles, but won a new generation of fans in more recent times after joining the cast of Family Guy.

First appearing in season two in 2002, he voiced Quahog’s eccentric Mayor Adam West, described by series creator Seth McFarlane as an “alternate universe”, satirised version of the actor.

“Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight, and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans’ lives. He was and always will be our hero,” the actor’s family said in a statement, reported in Variety.

The Hollywood Reporter:

Adam West, the ardent actor who managed to keep his tongue in cheek while wearing the iconic cowl of the Caped Crusader on the classic 1960s series Batman, has died. He was 88.

West, who was at the pinnacle of pop culture after Batman debuted in January 1966, only to see his career fall victim to typecasting after the ABC show flamed out, died Friday night in Los Angeles after a short battle with leukemia, a family spokesperson said.

West died peacefully surrounded by his family and is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

West had recently returned to his best known role in a DC animated movie rejoining costars Burt Ward and Julie Newmar in voicing their characters.

A sequel was planned.

Ready to move out!



Late Night Open Thread: Repubs Ginning Up Their War on the First Amendment

I feel like I should add “again”

Conservative radio hosts mock a physical assault on a reporter. A GOP governor blasts a reporter on Twitter as “a sick man.” The president accuses the media of being an “enemy of the people.”

This is not run-of-the-mill Republican criticism of the press anymore. It is now a deliberate strategy to help GOP candidates win elections fueled by public hatred of reporters…

A party that traditionally has had a fraught relationship with the media has become outright hostile, led by a president who picks more fights with journalists than any GOP leader since Richard Nixon.

But interviews with Republican strategists and party leaders across the country reveal that what started as genuine anger at allegedly unfair coverage — or an effort to deflect criticism — is now an integral part of next year’s congressional campaigns.

The hope, say these officials, is to convince Trump die-hards that these mid-term races are as much a referendum on the media as they are on President Trump. That means embracing conflict with local and national journalists, taking them on to show Republicans voters that they, just like the president, are battling a biased press corps out to destroy them…

The strategy still has limits. Motivating core Republican support is an important part of the campaign, but many of them also need to persuade middle-of-the-road voters to pull the lever.

Karen Handel, the Republican running against Jon Ossoff in Georgia, for example, has avoided antagonizing the media in a very close race in a suburban district that narrowly voted for Trump in November…

That’s the point: Demonizing the press was an excellent weapon for Richard Nixon, who was desperate to hide his own crimes and those of his minions, because his ‘Southern strategy’ could agitate a whole bloc of dissatisfied Democratic racists into switching parties. But the voters who were going to be swayed by such appeals to their basest instincts have been voting Repub for forty years now — there’s no juice left in that lemon.

Also, it’s pretty clear that the Trump Crime Cartel is now as desperate as Nixon was in 1972, and they’ve only had a few months to sink that low.

WHAT DID THE PRESIDENT KNOW, AND WHY IS THE GOP TRYING TO KEEP US FROM FINDING OUT ABOUT IT?



Something Strange is Happening on Twitter

Or as we call it around here it is a day ending in day!

More seriously Twitter seems to be deluged by bots signing up to follow the President’s personal and/or official accounts and, at least for now doing nothing. There are also widespread reports of people who are not following the President being signed up to follow the President’s personal and/or official accounts without their permission. They are also apparently following other elites and notables like Secretary Clinton, President Obama, even Ellen Degeneres.

From the white hat hacker known as the Jester.

No one is quite sure what it means or what is going on (after the jump). Read more