Wednesday, October 25, 2017

So much to blog, so little time

I hadn't meant to start something continuous about NYT reporting standards, but Josh Marshall's observations (edited here for brevity) drag me back in:

* The fact that it has been publicly known for more than a year that the Fusion GPS investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia began with funding from Republicans and was later funded by Democrats. This has been known since David Corn’s report in October 2016 and reported in numerous other reports since. This is never mentioned in the Times article.

* The fact that the Fusion GPS’s investigation into Russia began as a project funded by Republicans. This is never mentioned in the Times report, although it’s alluded to in the letter from Perkins Coie Managing Partner Matthew J. Gehringer.....

* The Times report can be read to suggest that the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid $12.4 million for the Fusion GPS research. But as the Post notes, these tabulations date back to June and November 2015, fully a year before Elias signed up Fusion GPS. So by definition, it can’t all be for that research.

* Leaving out the first two points makes the Times piece seem quite misleading to me. In a different category is another detail left out. As the Post notes, the Democrats stopped funding the Fusion GPS the day before the election. But Steele had already shared his findings with the FBI because he was so alarmed by what he had found. The FBI was sufficiently disturbed and confident in Steele’s work that they agreed to continue funding his work. (They eventually stopped once Steele’s name became public.) This is highly relevant information for determining the quality and credibility of Steele’s findings. But it doesn’t appear in the Times report even though the lede of the Times report focuses squarely on Republican accusations about Steele and Fusion GPS.

Let me quote the third and fourth paragraphs of the Times piece …

"The revelation, which emerged from a letter filed in court on Tuesday, is likely to fuel new partisan attacks over federal and congressional investigations into Russia’s attempts to disrupt last year’s election and whether any of Mr. Trump’s associates assisted in the effort.

"The president and his allies have argued for months that the investigations are politically motivated. They have challenged the information contained in the dossier, which was compiled by a former British spy who had been contracted by the Washington research firm Fusion GPS."

The FBI’s confidence in Steele’s work and going so far as to agree to keep funding it seems highly relevant information in evaluating those attacks. At the end of the day, what seems relevant to me is that the funding behind the Steele/Fusion GPS effort has been known since last year. It had details about at least the outlines of the Russian subversion campaign long before they were publicly known. How there’s anything bad about money from the campaign and the DNC helping to fund it is a complete mystery. The only problem is why they didn’t do more with it since this was critical information for the public to know. But the public was left in the dark.

So Jeff Gerth and Judith Miller weren't flukes, huh?  Not aberrations in the grand history of the Grey Lady, but absolutely foundational?  Here it is less what was said:

Ms. Wilson’s decision to go public with her criticism of the president, even as Ms. Johnson was at her husband’s coffin to receive his body, was a reflection of the unbridled anger and frustration among many Democrats, black Americans and others as Mr. Trump tries to dismantle Barack Obama’s legacy.
The congresswoman’s actions were consistent with those of a member of the “resistance” to Mr. Trump, primed to react harshly to whatever he says. 

than what was left out.  Marshall details what we've known for a year about this dossier and who paid for it, and NYT reporters Maggie Haberman and Ken Vogel challenge that we've known Marc Elias, the DNC's top election lawyer, paid for this research.   Well, maybe; but why the silence on so many salient points?  Who does the Times write for?  Posterity:  "All the truth that's fit to print"?  Or the powers-that-be:  "All the truth that's fitting"?

On a separate note:  the stupidity of the assaults on this "news" are highlighted by the perpetually clueless Ari Fleischer:

It's funny because the bulk of the dossier is about Russian interference in the 2016 election, especially by using the e-mails stolen from John Podesta's account.  Well, that and meetings between Russians and Trump campaign officials.  I'm not sure how that proves the DNC colluded with Russia to interfere against their candidate, but I'm sure Mr. Fleischer can explain (and no, he's not alone; that argument is trending among conservatives on Twitter, apparently).

But maybe not so separate a note, since this is precisely what the NYT is feeding with its incomplete reporting.

1 comment:

  1. The "liberal" New York Times and the Arthur Sulzberger family deserve to be listed as the major creators of our cultural and political disaster due to their dedication to the promotion of lying with impunity and its role in getting similar "liberals" on the Supreme Court to do that. Like so many media "liberals" their liberality is dedicated, first and, in the end, foremost to what is in the financial interest of the media and those who make a living in it and a fortune from it.

    The reason that liberalism is in the wilderness is because of such "liberals". Liberalism won't arise again until it dumps them and their deceptions. In the end, they will always enable the George W. Bushes and the Donald Trumps.