It’s not personal, it’s strictly business

The right-wing talking points around the Flynn-Trump-Russia-Peepee story are coalescing around this “it’s not Flynn’s actions that are illegal, it’s the leaking about them from anti-Trump forces that’s illegal”. It won’t surprise you to learn that this is Glenn Greenwald’s take on it:

I have nothing special against Glenn Greenwald, and I read and enjoy The Intercept. A few years ago, he posted a spittle-flecked screed against me and against this blog. You can read it for yourself, if you have the time, but the TL;DR is that he’s a rageaholic. And that’s cool. Anger can be power. But it can lead you to funny places. Like hating Hillary Clinton so much that you become a stooge for Trump, and, by extension, a stooge for Vladimir Putin.

Likewise, it wasn’t so long ago that Eli Lake was leading the #NeverTrump charge. Then, after Obama let the UN Resolution criticizing West Bank settlements go through, Lake started frothing at the mouth and also became a stooge for Trump, and, by extension, a stooge for Vladimir Putin.

When Wikileaks was dumping boring minutiae from Hillary Clinton’s emails, most of which were of course secured by Russian hackers, Greenwald thought that leaks were great, sunlight was the best disinfectant, and so on. Now, any leaks against Dear Leader Trump are the work of Deep State traitors who belong in jail. Likewise, when Saint Petraeus was being prosecuted for mishandling intel, Lake thought unauthorized disclosures were nothing less than the “fabric of the national security state”. Now, they’re apparently a threat against the Republic that should be prosecuted under the full extent of the law.

The inconsistency here is so laughable that it’s not worth elaborating on, so I won’t.

I’ve seen this before with a lot of national journalists and pseudo-journalists. For all the lecturing they give people like me about being unserious partisans, you think they might, just for a minute, think about how much of their own agenda is driven by personal hatred and grievances.



Splodey Mammal Open Thread

Axios, an online media outlet founded by Politico alums Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, manages to outdo its founders’ former employer in vapidity on a regular basis, and by God, that’s saying something. But sometimes, they publish something unintentionally amusing, such as this dramatic lede:

It made me laugh not because I give a shit about whether Bannon and Priebus are really friends despite reports to the contrary but rather because it reminded me of an exploding whale incident brought to my attention many months ago by valued commenter Aimai. The explosion occurred in 1970, and there is grainy footage:

It would have reminded me of this incident even if Priebus had been described as the exploder, BTW, so I am NOT fat-shaming anyone. Anyhoo, open thread.



Late Night Open Thread: While Everybody Was Distracted…


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… “President” Bannon was busy elsewhere:



The four people you meet in hell

A few years ago I did a post about the three different kinds of conservatives in the media. I decided they were:

  1. “Atlas Shrugged” conservatives: Megan McArdle, the Reasonoids, Larry Kudlow, etc.
  2. “Chronicles Of Narnia” conservatives: Ross Douthat, Peggy Noonan, many other Catholic conservatives.
  3. “300” conservatives: Victor David Hanson, war bloggers, any neoconservatives.

I thought it might be time to revisit this classification in the age of Trump. Enough media conservatives have come out against Trump (and, not surprisingly, many even-the-liberals are busily enabling Trump) that I don’t want to make this about conservatives per se but about Trump supporters and enablers. The front page of Reason was almost all anti-Trump today, and Jen Rubin’s column these days could double as a Daily Kos diary, so to start, I’m not putting neoconservatives or Reasonoids on the list…but Megan McArdle will remain, in a different category. And Narnians will also stay in the classification.

Here we go:

  1. Narnians: Peggy Noonan, Rod Dreher (supporters); Ross Douthat (enabler). These are folks who believe that the United States is first and foremost a magical Christian nation. Therefore, Trump is at best Aslan and at worst a boob who was brought to power by left-wing excesses.
  2. Narcissists: Megan McArdle, Charles Lane, Frank Bruni, Nick Kristof. These self-styled centrists can’t let their beautiful minds be consumed by partisanship, so they have to spend as much or more criticizing impolite protesters and the Oberlin student council as they do criticizing Trump. Show business kids making movies of themself, you know they don’t give a fuck about anybody else. It pains me to leave Ron Fournier off this list, but he’s been very tough on Trump.
  3. Nihilists: Bob Woodward, most Republican elected officials, everyone who works at Axios. The nihilists have no political convictions, they only care about access and power. If you haven’t noticed, B Dub is all the way in the tank for Trump. Republican elected officials would give Satan a rim job if it killed the Great Society. Axios has already run a great deal of Satan-sponsored content.
  4. Neo-Nazis: Marc Thiessen, everyone at Breitbart. Needs no explanation. Say what you want about their tenets…


The Reichstag fire next time

We’ve all seen this movie before — an unpopular and ill-prepared president takes office after a disputed election — so we know what happens next. There will be some sort of international event, perhaps a terrorist attack, perhaps something else. It doesn’t have to be anything all that large-scale this time around. Although the event will have been caused at least in part by the ineptitude of the sitting president, the media will attempt to blame Democrats and to get the country to rally around its steely-eyed missile man-in-chief

I don’t honestly know if it will get off the ground this time, in terms of getting the public to rally round Dear Leader. The media doesn’t have its tongue as far up Trump’s ass as it did up Bush’s, even before 9/11. But we need to think about what we can do to keep it from getting off the ground.



One more thing

As the American Resistance builds, establishment media (who gave us Donald Trump in the first place) will attack us for being rude, vitriolic, smelly hippies. Rude would be if we sent every last one of them to the guillotines they richly deserve. I’d say a little profanity here and there is pretty fucking polite under the circumstances.



The last thing they’ll ever do is act in your interest

Trump didn’t win because he’s a political genius or because the voters are dumb. He won because our institutions failed:

These same institutions can still stop Trump from destroying our country if they do their jobs? How can we pressure them to do their jobs? That’s what we have to figure out, and of course there isn’t just one answer.

In the meantime, another example of how our media fucked up and gave us a potential Hitler, in this case by deciding not to run stories about connections between Russia and the Trump campaign:

I have spoken privately with several journalists involved in the reporting last fall, and I believe a strong case can be made that The Times was too timid in its decisions not to publish the material it had.

[….]

There were disagreements about whether to hold back. There was even an actual draft of a story. But it never saw daylight. The deciding vote was Baquet’s, who was adamant, then and now, that they made the right call.

“We heard about the back-channel communications between the Russians and Trump,” he said. “We reported it, and found no evidence that it was true. We wrote everything we knew — and we wrote a lot. Anybody that thinks we sat on stuff is outrageous. It’s just false.”

I don’t believe anyone suppressed information for ignoble reasons, and indeed The Times produced strong work on former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. But the idea that you only publish once every piece of information is in and fully vetted is a false construct.