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But note that the other propaganda pattern that's operating here: the headlines, not the outcome, are the point. That was the essence of the Ukraine conspiracy: the wanted the ANNOUNCEMENT that Biden was being investigated; it didn't matter whether there WAS an investigation. And it is not remotely a new tactic. The real roll out, and demonstration that it worked, was Whitewater. It doesn't matter if there's no there there, all you want is the relentless atmosphere of suspicion, and the beauty part is that the bothsiderists have no alternative but treat it as if it were a real thing. Same with Bengazi, same with Her Emails. Once you have the echo machine set up, this is how you deploy it. Headlines, not results, are the point. It operates on the "where there's smoke there must be fire" principle, even though the reality is actually "where there's smoke, there's an exceedingly well funded 24/7 smoke machine."

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author

Good pt….just look at how Trump claimed at rally that ‘audit’ proved he won

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And often these headlines have nothing to do with the content of the piece, yelling ‘fire’ when there is barely a smolder. Great response, William Bennett.

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I second your kudos of William Bennett.

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I third the kudos. Brilliant summary.

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founding

You are right that Whitewater and all the other fake scandals ginned up against Clinton were the proof that right wing operatives could manipulate the media into playing along. I still don’t understand how the NY Times got suckered into doing that. Because it was the august NY Times that printed the accusations against Clinton the rest of the media followed its lead.

A similar thing happened with the investigation into the Clinton Foundation but what made it so much worse was the fact that the smears came directly from the FBI. From what I have read FBI agents from the NY field office went to DOJ to get permission to open an investigation. They were rejected because atheir “evidence” came from the book Clinton Cash which was written by Steve Bannon’s henchman Peter Schweitzer. (Schweitzer also wrote “Secret Empires” which was the origin of the Biden-Ukraine “scandal”). After that rejection the NY FBI office opened a lower level investigation anyway. Then they started pressuring Andrew McCabe to leak the fact that the CF was being investigated, saying he had a conflict of interest because his wife had taken campaign money from a group associated with Terry McAuliffe. McCabe eventually caved and told the WSJ that the Clinton Foundation was under investigation by the FBI. The IG report said that McCabe had lied to investigators when he said Comey had approved that leak which is why McCabe got fired.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/04/comey-mccabe-fbi-clinton/558200/

The DOJ’s IG opened an investigation into the actions of those NY FBI agents. The last I saw — almost a year ago — he was still investigating them. Funny how the mainstream media refuses to cover this story but then why would they burn their sources? The NY field office is notorious for leaking to them.

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Howell Raines ran the New York Times during the 90s and he HATED the Clintons with a passion. His hatred of them seeped into every facet of that paper. There was no lie about the Clintons he wouldn't gladly print. And his hatred seeped over to the Times endless character assassination of Al Gore in 2000.

For a refresher course on how the Times endlessly slimed them check out Bob Somerby's Daily Howler.

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I remember Axis Maggie Haberman's gleeful tweet when Amy Chozick "got her hands on Clinton Cash y'all" in 2016. Signal boosting a minion of an self admitted white nationalist chaos agent. NYT is poison.

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Bingo! The goal is being able to point to an "investigation" and the implication of wrong doing. Hence the 9th "investigation" of Benghazi after the first 8 could find no wrongdoing. The whole point was to give GOP candidates something to shriek about.

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founding

I wish the media would make it clear just how much of our tax dollars Republicans have wasted on these investigations. At least back in the day we were told how much the pedophiles best friend, Ken Starr, wasted on Whitewater, Filegate, Travelgate, Vince Foster’s suicide, etc., etc., etc. Then there are the audits. I know some were paid for by private groups but as I understand it not all of them have been. And Maricopa County will now have to replace those machines that were allowed to be put in the hands of right wing nut jobs.

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But why aren't there more headlines about the Republican scandals and grifting? There's plenty of material there...but much more effort is given to gin up and sustain an atmosphere of suspicion around anything Democrats do rather than reporting on the actual misbehavior of Republicans. Any negative reporting on Republicans is a flash in the pan. Why is that?

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The MAGA dead enders will be told that the "audit" showed flaws in the system - even though one of the flaws held back 99 votes for Biden - and so the integrity of the election system should be doubted. AZ wasted money on the "audit" and now has to spend some $3-million to replace the voting machines that were compromised by the Ninjas. And of course the Former Guy immediately claimed the "audit" showed he won, and given Fox's silence, the dead enders will swallow that whole.

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author

zero consequences, indeed

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Also too bingo!

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Looking at today's Washington Post and seeing how they are enjoying sticking the shivs in Joe's back. True to form they are also pumping up the Trump clown running for Governor in Virginia.

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author

Oh press desperate for a close VA race

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At some point we stopped expecting that news would inform us and demanded it entertain us instead. We wanted "olds" instead of "news" - things that would reinforce what we wanted to believe rather than challenge our assumptions. Fox takes this to extremes, but what Jacob confesses is how easy it is to fall into that both-sides trap out of laziness and unwillingness to self-examine - or upset the audience.

This has always been the case to some extent; the Press wants to be free, but it also has to make money.

We can talk about social media and the quest for eyeballs, likes, and clicks - but you can go back even further than the rise of Fox or the internet to see the dynamics at work. When Roone Arledge was made head of ABC News and kept his job as head of ABC Sports in 1977, he had no real experience in journalism - but a lot in sports coverage. From the wikipedia entry on him:

"...Arledge's first major creation for ABC was 20/20, which premiered in June 1978. The first iteration of this program fared badly, and resulted in the firing of the original hosts, with Hugh Downs chosen as the new anchor beginning the second week of the program, with the above-mentioned Barbara Walters joining Downs the following year, eventually becoming Downs' co-anchor by 1981.

Shortly thereafter, Arledge reformatted the network's evening newscast with many of the splashy graphics he had developed at Wide World of Sports, and created World News Tonight..."

These days, you know a news story is 'important" when they design a special logo for it and crank up the dramatic music. We have this confession from Les Moonves at CBS in 2016:

"...Not that the CBS executive chairman and CEO might vote for the Republican presidential frontrunner, but he likes the ad money Trump and his competitors are bringing to the network.

“It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” he said of the presidential race.

Moonves called the campaign for president a “circus” full of “bomb throwing,” and he hopes it continues.

“Most of the ads are not about issues. They’re sort of like the debates,” he said.

“Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now? … The money’s rolling in and this is fun,” he said.

“I’ve never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going,” said Moonves.

“Donald’s place in this election is a good thing,” he said Monday at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco.

“There’s a lot of money in the marketplace,” the exec said of political advertising so far this presidential season."

It says something that this quote comes from the Hollywood Reporter... (https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/general-news/leslie-moonves-donald-trump-may-871464/

Trump could get wall to wall coverage of his White House lying sessions: Biden nope. Infotainment is the rule of the day: breathless coverage a mile wide and an inch deep, full of stock narratives and shiny objects. But as long as the money keeps rolling in, everything is fine.

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Pravda, Tass and them others, right here in the US of A, complete with front row seats in the Whitehouse press briefing room. Jen Psaki is altogether too polite to these clowns to suit me.

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author

My hunch is even Pravda would’ve tried to spin AZ

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I wouldn't be surprised if RT was doing that right now. Just another reason why I got rid of my cable box.

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Kind of hard to cover it now that the results are in, without undermining the “credibility” of their handpicked lackeys on the ground. It’s just so insane anybody takes Fox “News” seriously anymore or defends them when anybody tries to reign them in. America really needs anti-propaganda laws, The Fairness Doctrine, or some kind of legislation to put a stop to this. This problem has gotten so bad, there was an attempted coup because of it. In America, ffs. Free speech and a free press doesn’t mean lying to the public, endangering their lives and acting as the propaganda arm of one political party.

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Mr. Boehlert, If you go back to the 2009 business reporting; you'll find a breathtaking change of view on the state of the economy. The change occurs on 1/21/09.

Off topic but good for a laugh. Your bete noir, Chris Cillizza, has an article stating how Texas Gov. Greg Abbot faces disaster since his approval rate has gone from 46-48 to 43-51. Cillizza doesn't cite the MOE of the polls but 3% seems fair. The polls remain w/in the MOE. Yet Abbot faces disaster?

My question is if the point of a "Beltway Pundit" is to write something about nothing?

Another off topic annoyance for me. The RW Media is, again, up in arms over President Biden's "lie" about the advice he received about Afghanistan. The best I can tell it goes to the difference among, "suggest", "recommend", and "urge".

My questions is whether the words are interchangeable enough that this is another pseudo-scandal created by the RW?

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EVERYTHING is a crisis, pseudo scandal according to the msm, Rs. Whatever works .....

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Have you noticed they've called such things Biden lies?

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My point exactly Ms. Rose. “Swiftly” is a lie if it’s not swift enough. The difference between “urge” and “suggest” is a lie.

But, to pick only one, Trump’s claims about his inaugural attendance isn’t.

I think Mr. Boehlert has it. The Punditocracy is bored and trying to find something to justify their salaries.

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Fox News (Pravda’s North American competitor) proudly practices George Orwell’s 1984 maxim:

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

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Fox's new slogan, courtesy of Press Run: "North Korea-level of propaganda."

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For the record, that Jacob thread is way too little far too late. And in the embedded tweet, that "unintentionally", well, the closest that comes to becoming unintentional is failing or choosing to ignore the effects of getting both sides when side has no merit and let's say is completely dishonest.

And even if one were to give Jacob credit, people in his position by and by are producing the reporting their employers want, unintentionally or otherwise.

Too, there's a subtext that editors for the most part don't let's say appreciate what they're doing and, well, I like to think that journalists by the nature of the beast have to understand what they're doing. I could of course be wrong on that -- maybe I'm giving the members of the press excessive, undue credit -- but I'm somewhat disturbed by the idea that maybe I'm overestimating them.

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author

I agree that we need more editors speaking out

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FOX is like toddlers who close their eyes and think the thing in front of them has disappeared ie everything that is awful about FG, and now the AZ fraudit. I pity their fans and believers. They’re being used and fooled in order to fill the FOX coffers. Despicable and traitorous group of people leading the R lemmings to the cliff and then waving ‘good luck’ as they push them over.

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author

Traitorous is certainly accurate…the fifth column

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There just has to be some case law that challenges the fox defense that "no reasonable person would believe tucker carlson" etc. The channel is complicit in the destruction of democracy through their action and inaction in the public forum. Where are the lawyers?

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Read the Mark Jacob thread, got stuck on the comment "Hillary Clinton mishandled emails". Perhaps I was misinformed, but some research, including locating historical rules for handling emails, led me to believe that Hillary Clinton's handling of her emails was labelled as mishandling because it did not precisely follow the rules put in place two years after she was SOS. There was also a lot of debate about whether she could be held liable for quoting snippets from documents that became classified after she used the quotes.

What did I miss?

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