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The galling thing is that, as you pointed out, we knew in real time that this was happening. A lot of us raised hell. And yet it happened anyway. Anyone writing a book about news-media coverage of the Trump era would have to devote a hefty chapter to this episode. Indeed, it might be worthy of a book on its own.

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oh yes, it’s def Top 5 media failures of Trump era

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“Cover-Up Guy Hired to Cover-Up Covers Up” is not a headline we will ever see, sadly I guess. Thanks for collating these failures, Eric. Great work as slways.

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always.

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Thanks Eric. Yes we knew at the time. Barr actually said, "collusion," at his presser, and Mueller tried to fix the lies in real time.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson is the third Federal Court Judge to call Barr a liar, though these judges use words like "disingenuous" and "misrepresent," and we knew every time what Barr was doing. That's the thing with trumpers--they don't even try to hide the illegality.

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that’s right, three judges...and I hope 5 more do same thing

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It's not just Barr but the whole bunch of crooked lawyers who sold their souls to Trump including Loony Lin Wood, Powell, Screwdy G, Dershowitz, Toensing, DiGenova, Ellis, Sekulow among them. Every last one of them should be indicted and disbarred for life.

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DiGenova and Toensing were right wing stooges back in the Clinton Gore years. The media treated them like legal geniuses. During the Lewinsky uproar they were “...quoted or on the tube more than 300 times in the month since the story broke”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/couple022798.htm

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And who were they working for?

Answer--Richard Mellon Scaife's Arkansas Project!

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Barr’s belief in the absolute power of the presidency was evident long before Trump. His history with Bush Sr. showed that. He’s also devoted to an strict sect of Christianity, along with Pompeo. Anyone who thought he would be ok because he was a traditionalist, a word I heard used often, hadn’t been paying attention. I just hope the John Mitchell cell is still available

That the beltway press was so fooled by him is another problem they have to answer for.

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Several evangelicals in the former guy’s cabinet, Azar being another.

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founding

Barr is not an evangelical, he is a right wing extremist Catholic involved with the Opus Dei cult. Opus Dei has denied he is a member but Barr even sat on the board of Opus Dei’s Catholic Information Center, their powerful DC lobbying outfit. Our Supreme Court is run by right wing Catholic men. That is not the same as being an evangelical but they are just as dangerous to our democracy.

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Thanks for that important distinction. Religiosity seemed to undergird many of the former guy’s policies, think Pomeo and his adoration for Israel. Makes me nuts. As to SCOTUS, OY.

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The last five years have been nothing less than an attempted coup. It almost worked but still has the potential of succeeding. The Big Lie won't go away as Arizona is obviously playing games with the ballots in an attempt to show that the Dems rigged the election. Now we have this Bill Barr memo that will be released based on a federal judge ruling. More and more evidence of corruption is being uncovered and yet the press still treats it all with kid gloves. Coups generally fail on the first attempt. But as the bad actors involved continue to beat down the public, a second attempt will be more successful. This is where the press is failing our democracy. Have they learned their lesson? Will the coverage of this memo get the ink and pixels it deserves? So far, no. It's not on the NY Times digital front page but does appear on the WPO front page but only after the first big ad and in the CNN opinion section. This story should be getting more attention than a Chinese booster rocket crashing back down to earth and the first Baltimore Orioles no hitter since 1969. Here lies the problem when the media is owned by a handful of billionaires who do not see democracy as being in their best interest.

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Bill Barr's audition for the AG post was an unsolicited memo declaring, among other things, that a sitting president could not be indicted...exactly what Trump wanted to hear. Barr's eagerness to get the job (and flatter Trump) was a screaming red flag that the media ignored because it chose to believe that Barr, unlike Sessions and the clown who sat in the chair for a couple of months (Whitaker), was qualified and competent. Instead of political reporters, the "liberal media" should have assigned reporters with law degrees to cover the story. Predictably, the political reporters saw Barr's message as a "win" for Trump, and felt no need to look at the messenger.

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But his tainted history was plain to see. For example, he encouraged Bush I to pardon Reagan administration members who'd been the subjects of independent counsel Lawrence Walsh's probe in the Iran-Contra scandal, a highly controversial move. He signed off on a program called USTO, which allowed the Drug Enforcement Administration to secretly gather records on Americans' international phone calls. The agency would go on to get information about billions of phone calls under the program.

How many Senators missed all this, and much, this during his confirmation?

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founding

Bush’s pardons helped him keep the diary he kept of those Iran Contra planning meetings he had repeatedly claimed to have been “out of the loop on” from coming out at Caspar Weinberger’s trial or the trial. Bush had withheld that diary from investigators but the Independent Counsel was planning to use it as evidence against Weinberger and others who had yet to be tried.

The media has not only given Barr and Bush a pass on those outrageous pardons, they has also given Bush a pass for lying for years about his own involvement in that unconstitutional conspiracy. Remember how Bush attacked Dan Rather when Rather had the temerity to question Bush about his involvement? That attack had been preplanned by Bush’s communication adviser, the odious Roger Ailes. Had Bill or HIllary Clinton ever dared to do anything like the media outcry would have been deafening — and still would be.

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the NYT never apologizes, and almost never issues corrections. As infallible as the Pope.

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ha, to be clear....never apologize to liberals

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point taken - "we promise to speak YES to power."

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Oh when it comes to the Screw York Times Bob Somerby's Daily Howler documented all the lies that propaganda rag told about the Clintons, how they loved kneecapping Al Gore, slandered Wen Ho Lee, colluded with BreitFART to libel Hillary and we saw how they tried to do the same crap with Hunter Biden.

And I will NEVER forgive those presstitutes for putting that liar Judith Miller endlessly on the front page with her endless lies that brainwashed people into supporting two wars we never had any business starting.

And they never apologized for any of those lies.

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founding

The Times and the rest of the media spent the 90s pushing completely bogus, right wing accusations against the Clintons. When investigations of one scandal didn’t seem to be panning out Republicans would just create another one — Watergate, Filegate, Travelgate, Chinagate, Vince Foster, etc. The media willingly played along. Finally Starr discover Monica and all the adulterous Republican leaders used that to try to take down Clinton. Back then Fox News was just getting started so the public was never taken in. Polls routinely showed that they always strongly opposed the investigations and later the impeachment.

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Do not forget the Four Horsemen who led the Clinton Zipper Hunt--Michael Kelly, Tweety Matthews, Tim Russert and Maureen Dowd. All four of them were so full of hatred of Bill they wanted him, Hillary, Chelsea, even Socks and Buddy crucified on the White House lawn.

And Karma so far nailed 3 of them Kelly beat the war drums and wound up killed in Iraq, Russert wound up in the pine condo with a dirt nap, Tweety got fired and is retired...but ol' Maureen still gets to put her snarky arrogant BS on the Screw York Times...Karma is waiting for her...

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and Rukmini Callimachi basically made up a second source for a story last year and after a couple tense high-level meetings she got a pass - because too much effort had already been expended on tie-in podcasts or something to spike the story. They stonewalled.

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As a long time denizen of the blogosphere, the phrase that comes to mind about the way the press covers things like this is “It’s always good news for Republicans.”

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Have you heard "IOKIYAR"? (It's OK If You're A Republican)

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It takes a lot of brass —as Bill Clinton once said— to have only one job and to get it so entirely wrong. If my boss gave me an assignment and I whiffed it as badly as Our Failed Political Press ™ did on this big, public-facing story, I’d be fired at my next review. How the pundits manage to keep their jobs after being so completely and publicly wrong remains a mystery.

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They're not "wrong". They are doing what they are paid to do. They are on a mission. And the mission is not defined as enlightening we the Great Unwashed.

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founding

Nor is their mission protecting our democracy. The media is more willing to protect themselves or corrupt sources who lie to them than they are willing to protect democracy.

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The Corporate Controlled Conservative Press is just another set of cogs in the QAnon Republican 24/7 BS machine along with hate radio, Fox, OANN, Newsmax, right wing sites like Gateway Pundit and the most important component of their BS machine--Right Wing Preachers who insist that JC and his Sonshine Band will put Trump back on the throne to be King 'cause Gawd anointed The Tangsnorter to rule over us.

Right Wing Watch keeps an eye on those right wing pimps pushing the lies and racist hate. Which is why I walked out of a church for the last time in 1986 and I will NEVER step foot in one again!

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Truth!

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This shoddy kowtowing by the press can change and does change the political trajectory of the national narrative. This misinformation/lying? and shallow, inaccurate reporting work against the strong, elemental argument made by msm and belies their cries for press freedom. The NYT et al undercut their own dedication to the truth by short cutting their reporting processes and then make fools of themselves in hindsight and many of its news consumers.

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Great piece. I thought I should say that before answering the question in your headline.

NO.

Once upon a time, there was a great baseball umpire named Silk O'Loughlin who once responded to a player questioning him by saying, "The pope for religion, O'Loughlin for baseball. Both infallible." He left out The Times. Just ask the people who work there, especially those involved in what should not be called political "coverage." Maybe The Habes could get us some gossip on the issue.

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I absolutely love your writing and your spot-on takedowns of the press and its failures. But I can’t be the only person who finds rampant typos, missing words, misspellings, etc. There are several of these in this column, including the misspelling of an NBC reporter’s name. I don’t understand why you can’t proofread. Hell, I’ll do it for free! It’s inexcusable for you to complain about the press being irresponsible when your articles wouldn’t and shouldn’t pass the muster of a high school newspaper editor.

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You haven't read any high school newspapers lately. Like all other textual media, they no longer agonize over typographic errors as once they did. Not that I don't share your frustration over it, but basically you're like someone in the 70s complaining that people wear sneakers in restaurants.

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I’m not that old. I know that my daughter’s editor wouldn’t have found this acceptable and she’s not too far out of high school. I subscribe to 3 newspapers and I rarely see a typo. It is more rare for Eric to have no errors than for him to have several. It’s unprofessional. Period. ESPECIALLY knowing how easy it is to correct. I doubt he’s hammering it out on a typewriter with a bottle of whiteout.

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If you rarely see a typo in newspapers, you aren't looking hard enough. I've seen them, often enough to notice they're far more common than they used to be, and I don't read that many newspapers. Obviously, typos are more rare in print than online, and you're correct that this seems like a paradox. But the reality is that it is the difficulty correcting typos in printed media (or impossibility, once printed) that causes them to be less frequent: the culture and practices established over decades of trying to eradicate them completely has been mostly successful.

I share your concern; I've made similar comments before, elsewhere on the Internet. But I can't agree with your harangue, because Boehlert isn't especially notable in this regard, and this is a "newsletter", not a newspaper. I'll bet if you listened to the audio version, you wouldn't notice the typos at all. 😉

Thanks.for your thyme. Hope'it helps. 😉😉

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Oh I definitely see them in newspapers, but Eric wins the prize. Part of the problem with newspapers is that they’ve done away with copy editors. But if you’re asking for people to pay money for your work and you’re a professional journalist, it should matter. It drives me NUTS. It’s careless. I proofread my text messages. 🤓 Have a nice dei.

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Really????

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Yes, really.

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Years ago, I had my words twisted by a BC newspaper. There was no defamation, just a deliberate slant on the story that insulted me. The BC Press Council heard my complaint and the newspaper had to write an accurate story, not just a third-page correction.

Does the US have a body like the Canadian Press Council?

https://www.mediacouncil.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Board-Governance-Policy-Manual-December-3-2020.pdf

And the Canadian Association of Journalists Ethics Guidelines?

https://caj.ca/ethics-guidelines

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No, it doesn't. The Society of Professional Journalists has ethics guidelines, but they are just that: guidelines. There's no enforcement mechanism.

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founding

The Times and Post used to have ombudsmen but they got rid of them.

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Yeah, I know. Although former Times ombudsman Margaret Sullivan, IMHO the only person worth a damn ever to hold that position, now writes a good media column for the Post.

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founding

The Post’s Jennifer Rubin, Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman have also taken the media to the woodshed a few times.

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Uncle😋former school principal 👌

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Everything this man is saying is total trash . The FISA Warrant was all gotten on a false dossier . He is feeding all listeners a total box of lies and I hope he gets sued .

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Except not. The Steele Dossier was not false at all; much of it has been validated and none of it conclusively disproven. It was also not the basis of the FISA warrant against Carter Page, though it is true reference to it was made (supposedly inappropriately) in an application for renewal, as an alternative to disclosing sources and methods.

Trump knowingly colluded with Russian active measures, and violated campaign finance laws, in order to get elected. He also committed crimes when he obstructed the investigations into these matters. These are established facts. Whining about Eric Boehlert trying to hold the press accountable for refusing to acknowledge these facts is lame.

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Thanks for the FACTS T. Max. So easy to spout off when you don’t have any.

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