April 11, 2013

Why was David Corn offered that secret audio of McConnell and his aides talking about how to attack Ashley Judd?

Corn, who won't reveal his source, says he doesn't know and didn't ask, but he guesses it was because he was the one who leaked the "47%" video that wrecked Romney.
Indeed, in the wake of the Romney revelation, Corn has received a mini-flood of would-be audio and video leaks about Washington figures. Some of these have looked promising, but none have become public — yet. Corn said he hasn’t been able to vet them to his satisfaction or work out terms for making them public. He has “passed” on several of the offers for a variety of reasons.
So then the question becomes: Why did Corn publish the McConnell material? He says he made sure it wasn't "faked, doctored or taken out of context," and he sought a response from McConnell, but that doesn't explain why he put effort into this material rather than all that other material in that "mini-flood" of material that now flows his way.

Corn cites "newsworthiness":
“I think voters and citizens have a tremendous right to know almost as much as possible of the elected officials who come before them and ask for their votes,” he said. “I think people can decide for themselves how outrageous [McConnell’s] behavior is, but it gives you a glimpse inside his campaign’s thinking.”
That quote doesn't explain anything at all about why this particular audio is newsworthy. It's a generic statement that would justify publishing the secret recordings of the planning sessions of every political campaign! 

There is absolutely zero particularity about why McConnell's campaign was the one Corn selected from the mini-flood of audio and video leaks that he hasn't vetted yet. One is forced to conclude that Corn wanted to get McConnell. That's a political standard, not the journalistic standard.

It's not "newsworthiness." It's partisanship.

IN THE COMMENTS: Some commenters react to this post by saying, more or less, duh, Mother Jones is partisan. They are missing the fact that the link goes to a front-page Washington Post story elevating Corn in the journalistic profession.

85 comments:

AprilApple said...

Can we legally bug all the campaign offices of democrats?

phx said...

It's not "newsworthiness." It's partisanship.

Ouch. Mother Jones is partisan.

AprilApple said...

In particular, I'd like to bug David Axelrod's office, Nancy Pelosi's Office, and harry Reid's office. Is that OK?

MadisonMan said...

Michael McConnell tag?

I do think it's newsworthy to see (or hear) the predictable machinations that go on as a campaign starts up. The sausage-making quote is pertinent here. Politics is ugly. People need to be reminded of that.

MadisonMan said...

@April, I think if all offices were bugged, you'd quickly discover that same-y sameness of political operatives. And the utter stupidity of politicians that comes of being wrapped up in the DC bubble.

That would not be a bad outcome.

jacksonjay said...


Damn, David Corn is a partisan?

Who knew?

staycationland said...

If the public has the same right to know everything about Ashley Judd, should she choose to become a candidate just like McConnell, then how does McConnell differ from Corn?

Easy.

Corn doesn't think anybody has a right to know anything negative about a Democrat. That's purely partisan as well.

Original Mike said...

“I think voters and citizens have a tremendous right to know almost as much as possible of the elected officials who come before them and ask for their votes,”

And you'd do the same with a Democrat. Right, David. We believe you. We really do.

MayBee said...

With that line of thinking, MadMan, any private conversation could be deemed newsworthy. Any business meeting or family conversation. Newsworthy if it is a little ugly.

AprilApple said...

I want all democrats under universal surveillance at all times. ...for the common good.


What do they have to hide?

SteveR said...

Its funny that Ann gets the "duh" treatment for pointing out Corn's full on B.S. Maybe you folks haven't been around here very long or you aren't very smart.

Henry said...

It's not "newsworthiness." It's partisanship.

No. It's traffic.

I suspect what set this recording apart was that it wasn't totally boring. Everyone loves a crazy celebrity.

AprilApple said...

It's anything to destroy a Republican even if it's illegal. Because we all know - wink wink - that democrats are above the law.

garage mahal said...

Instapundit encouraged all of us to carry around recording devices and chronicle everything.

Army of Davids!

Marshal said...

Corn cites "newsworthiness":
“I think voters and citizens have a tremendous right to know almost as much as possible of the elected officials who come before them and ask for their votes,” he said. “I think people can decide for themselves how outrageous [McConnell’s] behavior is, but it gives you a glimpse inside his campaign’s thinking.”


The most outrageous circumstance of political conniving made public was the Democratic strategy memo outlining their intent to use the 9-11 commission as a platform to attack Republicans, then when the usefulness waned claim the Republicans were refusing the address the issues. This was written before the commission even started.

Compare these two events. Making a big deal about McConnell's staffers is just ridiculous.

sinz52 said...

Wiretapping the office of the Democratic Party headquarters in 1972 is what the Watergate affair was about. And it led to calls by liberals to have the President removed from office.

Those same liberals have no problem with bugging the offices of Republicans though.

wyo sis said...

Ashley Judd is particularly perfect for this kind of turnaround smear. She's already a celebrity. She's an outspoken kooky liberal with statements on record. She's cute. I don't think it's particularly about McConnell unless her running against him in Kentucky is factored in. Whoever she was contemplating a run against would be a very enticing target.
Notice the illegality of obtaining the recording is never mentioned. McConnell is really the victim of a crime here, but you won't hear anyone say it.
It gets very old to keep mentioning how pointed the double standard has become. I think that's part of the strategy as well. Keep Republicans/conservatives looking like whiny defensive victims.

X said...

what did the Journolisters know and when did they know it?

AllenS said...

It's my understanding that the taping of this conversation without the consent of the individual speaking, is illegal.

Legally, this should be no different than buying something that the seller admitted to you, that it was stolen.

tim maguire said...

In fairness to Corn, given some of what's said here, his article also paints Judd as a loon so unbalanced her own mother probably wouldn't vote for her.

AprilApple said...

Garage - taping people out in public is different than secretly placing a recording device/bug in a private office without consent.


chickelit said...

It's not "newsworthiness." It's partisanship.

My dad taught me a a lesson about the news early on. He worked for Madison Newspapers as paste-up artist--the person who cut and pasted the rows and columns of print before printing in the days before those verbs became metaphors.

He'd bring home both The Capital Times and the Wisconsin State Journal, i.e., the left- and the right-leaning newspapers. I asked him why he did his and he explained that there was always two sides to every story and that he wanted both.

Partisan news is a very old tradition in American media. It fell out of favor when newspapers started declining and people worried about media conglomeration. In a sense, a healthy internet news economy has just revived an old tradition. It's tribal based, I believe.

Big Mike said...

It's not "newsworthiness." It's partisanship.

In the 21st century what's the difference?

Marshal said...

He has “passed” on several of the offers for a variety of reasons. So then the question becomes: Why did Corn publish the McConnell material?

Maybe the better question is: if this is the best Corn has to attack Republicans shouldn't we conclude Republicans are a pretty ethical group?

traditionalguy said...

Corn is now awaiting his reward ceremonies for acts above and beyond the call of duty done for the Obama Cult.

If he gets 1/10th of the awards that were showered upon Tina Fey for getting Palin, it will make him a Hero of the Cult.

edutcher said...

Why, you ask?

Because it's part of the psy op to try to make people think Resistance Is Futile.

Also, because the Lefties think there's a special set of rules for them and they can screw anybody they want because they're so wonderful.

garage mahal said...

Instapundit encouraged all of us to carry around recording devices and chronicle everything.

Scares the Hell out of you, doesn't it?

Your own evil turned against you.

AllenS said...

It's my understanding that the taping of this conversation without the consent of the individual speaking, is illegal.

Funny how Corn's rag, MoJo, bitched all over the place about James O'Keefe.

phx said...

Wiretapping the office of the Democratic Party headquarters in 1972 is what the Watergate affair was about. And it led to calls by liberals to have the President removed from office.


Young people and their history. It was the coverup that led to calls to have the President removed from office.

Erika said...

The issue with journalists and partisanship is that the former so often seem to think, laughably, they are free from the latter. An ex-friend of mine is a journalism professor and an ardent, strident progressive. She will argue with a straight face that NPR is free from bias, and that she herself and her colleagues are to a man totally fair-minded and neutral and it's hardly their fault if every Republican in this country is a racist sexist xenophobic moron.

jr565 said...

The funniest thing in all of this is that corn wrote this to show that Mconnell and company were talking about stuff damaging to Judd with the attempt to destroy her political career (gasp!).
But the were just goin over previously released data. It wasnt as if McConnell bugged her or spie on her.
But more importantly, Corn was the one that released the data! I now know that Aslhey freaked out on seeing pink socks not from Mconnell but from Corn.

Corn essentially outed her as a dingbat to show that Mconnell was discussing how she was a dingbat in the context of the campaign.

If the issue is destroying Ashley Judd Corn did
A far better job than the republicans.

I don't know that Mconnell would have used the fuzzy socks in a campaign. I think he was just discussing examples of her craziness in house.

Corn did use those examples in his story though. And now, because of David Corn we all know that Ashley Judd is crazy. Thanks David Corn.

X said...

phx and its reading comprehension. consider the meaning of led.

Erika said...

It would be better for everyone if the media would stop this neutrality farce and openly declare their allegiances and argue their points.

phx said...

You make a good point, X.

chickelit said...

Young people and their history. It was the coverup that led to calls to have the President removed from office.

That story rhymes with Benghazi.

William said...

If Breitbart had released, in similar circumstances, a story from Harry Reid's office, you can bet that the WP's story would have been all about the troubling implications of such a gross invasion of privacy.........I think that is important to know as much as possible about David Corn and his motivations, If some unscrupulous operator burgled his shrink's office and leaked tapes of his sessions to the Daily Caller, the public would clearly benefit from such knowledge, particularly the gay fantasies involving President Obama.

John said...

Isn't Mother Jones supposed to be a partisan magazine? If we could not figure that out from the name, they certainly make it clear with their mission statements.

What is ludicrous is Corn pretending to be a neutral journalist. Nothing wrong with being a partisan. It is pretty silly to claim not to be, especially given the magazine and the stuff that Corn has done over the years.

“I think voters and citizens have a tremendous right to know almost as much as possible..."

Did the "almost" in there jump out at anyone else the way it did me? I wonder if Corn could explain what that means. What stuff is exempt?

I suspect that it is stuff that might damage a demmie. I also suspect that Corn probably has A 500 word answer that dances all around the question.

John Henry

John said...

I wonder if Mother Jones magazine has permission, and if so, whether they pay any royalties to Marry Harris Jones' descendants.

Not that they have any legal obligation to do so, probably.

But it would be the right thing to do, would it not?

John Henry

Ann Althouse said...

"Michael McConnell tag?"

Fixed. Thanks.

Autocomplete is helpful except when it's not.

jr565 said...

Aqua Buddha? Mitt Romney played mean pranks on people as a kid? Those are ok as news stories?
What's the difference?


Well actually the difference is the Mconnell campaign didn't actually leak the info to try to damage the other candidate.
The media did it to try to paint McConnell as a doody head.
And in so doing damaged the other candidate.

Why did no one in the media renounce the attacks on rand or mitt?

Ann Althouse said...

Let's be clear: The Washington Post has a front-page story about Corn, elevating him in the journalistic profession.

That's why the comments above that say "duh, Mother Jones is partisan" are not an apt response to what I am saying here.

Edward Lunny said...

Newsworthy ? But, apparently, Kermit Gosnell and infanticide isn't newsworthy. Interesting set of morals and ethics.

RichardS said...

By Corn's logic, the LA Time should have released the Khalidi tape ages ago.
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/09/20/in-wake-of-secret-romney-vid-los-angeles-times-reaffirms-it-will-not-publish-mysterious-obama-recording/

jacksonjay said...


Where does the Washington Post stand on Bob Woodward?

CptParlay said...

David Corn is a partisan hack? What was the first clue?

CptParlay said...

David Corn is a partisan hack? What was the first clue?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Ann Althouse said...

Let's be clear:...

Wait, I thought we were still doing Now's the time....

RichardS said...

When did Mother Jones come to be accepted as relatively mainstream? Isn't it the Lefty version of Chronicles?
Historically, The New Republic was roughly as far left of center as National Review was right of center. Meanwhile, Mother Jones and the Nation were radical Left, and Chronicles were radical right.

Isn't that still true, in terms of their ideology, when compared with the ideology of the American citizenry as a whole--perhaps not when compared with the ideology of the academy.

Original Mike said...

"Autocomplete is helpful except when it's not."

I can't stand autocomplete. I know what I want to type. Some Silicon Valley softhead does not.

machine said...

It's too hard defending James O'Keefe...I quit.

S. Palin

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Seems McConnell and folks were doing a public service for low information voters.

It is a GOOD thing, is it not, to learn before hand about the mental instability of those who would represent us?

Especially if the vetting is only using publicly available info.

In any event, these are all bright shiny objects intended to distract.

Hey voters, never mind how big Kim's ass is. THE LIBS ARE TAKING US OVER A FISCAL CLIFF, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE.

Almost nothing else matters.
Hell, it may already be too late.

Marshal said...

Erika said...
It would be better for everyone if the media would stop this neutrality farce and openly declare their allegiances and argue their points.


I think they do, and those that don't are known well enough that it doesn't matter.

The bigger problem is how the partisanship effects their ability to evaluate. People who have the same views differ both in whether they can achieve objectivity and in whether they desire to achieve it. Only people who are both capable and willing to strive for objectivity are worth reading. And to complicate matters the answers for many writers are different depending on the subject or parties involved.

These judgments have to be made on a case by case basis.

Chip S. said...

That's why the comments above that say "duh, Mother Jones is partisan" are not an apt response to what I am saying here.

Fair enough. But then, "Duh, the WaPo is partisan."

furious_a said...

What fun, pelting Ashley Judd at the podium with fuzzy pink socks.

Thanks, David Corn!

jacksonjay said...


Walter Duranty was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1932! The Pulitzer Prize Board embrace that Prize in 2003!

X said...

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

creeley23 said...

It would be better for everyone if the media would stop this neutrality farce and openly declare their allegiances and argue their points.

Erika: It would be better for the country, true, but it's not better for Democrats or the media. They both find it advantageous to continue the neutrality farce.

I have many good, intelligent friends who believe the NYT et al. mostly hit the truth straight down the middle. It's conservatives and Republicans who are crazy, stupid, and evil outside the bounds of civil discourse.

With this framework, liberals don't have to debate. They merely strike self-righteous poses, do their snarking, and feel good about themselves.

Darrell said...

Wasn't McConnell and company just citing from Judd's autobiography? Is any of this story even a little provocative or newsworthy to begin with? I know that Obama got away with the stuff in his autobiography never being quoted for the most part, but was to be expected?

Lem said...

They are missing the fact that the link goes to a front-page Washington Post story elevating Corn in the journalistic profession.

And you are missing the fact that there is hardly any daylight between the left partisans and what you call "the journalistic profession".

C'mon professor.

Jim Treacher said...

Paul Fahri actually calls it a "bombshell." What a Democrat Party hack.

PaulV said...

Corn should get the Judy Miller treatment.

PaulV said...

Corn should get the Judy Miller treatment.

MadisonMan said...

I think they do, and those that don't are known well enough that it doesn't matter.

I don't mind reading about surreptitiously-recorded planning sessions. I DO want to know, however, who leaked them. That is at least as big a part of the story as the conversation that is recorded. Anonymous sources should be ignored.

n.n said...

Isn't there a right to privacy, including murdering your children, spying on your competing interests, etc.? There is a precedent which is selectively recognized. It's somehow fitting that The Washington Post should again be implicated.

creeley23 said...

Fair enough. But then, "Duh, the WaPo is partisan."

Chip S: I don't get Althouse's point either.

I'm reminded of the gay marriage topic in which she shared the top-secret information that her liberal friends thought the conservative commenters here were bigots and Althouse shouldn't give them space to air their views.

phx said...

Let's be clear: The Washington Post has a front-page story about Corn, elevating him in the journalistic profession.

Isn't that on the front page of the STYLE section?

AllenS said...

This is Corn's version of a drone strike.

intentionalinnovation.net said...

Some commenters react to this post by saying, more or less, duh, Mother Jones is partisan. They are missing the fact that the link goes to a front-page Washington Post story elevating Corn in the journalistic profession.

So you're telling us that you didn't--or don't--know the Washington Post is partisan?

Jay Vogt said...

OK then, to the WP article we go. . .

"Corn unearthed [no he didn't - it was apparently sent to him] the audiotape [more likely a digital recording]of a [thought to be]private meeting in which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and his aides mocked a would-be political rival, the actress Ashley Judd, and plotted tactics to undermine her[they did not "plot", they discussed a universe of possibilities]. An unidentified source leaked the surreptitious recording of the February meeting to Corn."

Further on. . .

"Corn, . . guesses that his source on the McConnell recording — whom he won’t reveal [if he won't reveal, presumably he knows]— came to him because of the way he handled the Romney recording and the firestorm it ignited. But that’s just speculation: “I literally don’t know why” the source came to him, he says. “I didn’t ask.” [this suggests that he had the opportunity to ask, but declined - I don't know but it seems like kind of a natural question for a professional journalist to ask]"

Much is opaque here, however the laziness of the WP is clear

CEO-MMP said...

One can read the WaPo piece--as I did, hours before you posted about it, Professor, and still suggest that "duh, MoJo (and Corn) is (are) partisan".

Simply appearing in the WaPo doesn't mean anything, as Corn and MoJo have been elevated into the top tier of media simply by virtue of being barryasskissing fools.

Sometimes you try to be too smart by half. Sometimes you try to be too smart by half again.

You're a smart lady. But you know what? Most of your readers are at least almost as smart as you, and there are those who're smarter. Why do you have to spend so much time playing little games and laying little traps?

My social science and pyschological background finds it quite interesting. But mostly it's just annoying.

You're really good on those occasions when you respect your readers enough to just play it straight--I mean really good, whether I agree or not.

So why play coy and double-coy so much? You're a brilliant, accomplished person. Just go with that.

Please?

Michael said...

This "story" does not reflect well on Corn or the WaPo. It is not a story to rehash, indirectly, sad stories about flaky washed out actresses, sad stories that already have been placed in the public domaine by, among others, the washed out actress herself. Hilarious.

Mike Sigman said...

Corn would be leading the cheerleading for the FBI to get the bugger if it had been against a Democrat. So would the WaPo.

Toby said...

“I think voters and citizens have a tremendous right to know almost as much as possible of the elected officials who come before them and ask for their votes,” Corn said.

I call B.S.

The material discussed by the McConnell staffers -- policy issues, religious views, mental health problems -- is exactly the type of information that Corn says the public has a "tremendous right" to. But Corn was clearly trying to paint the McConnell Campaign as nefarious just for bringing up these topics in private. What a load of crap.

It's fine to be a partisan, but don't try to claim you're doing some sort of higher work at the same time. It just moves you from partisan to hack.

phx said...

You're a smart lady. But you know what? Most of your readers are at least almost as smart as you, and there are those who're smarter. Why do you have to spend so much time playing little games and laying little traps?

Some of your commenters sound ... paranoid ... schizophrenic.

Seeing Red said...

The only thing this did for me since I never pay attention to Ashley Judd is she is one big trainwreck and totally unsuitable for any office elected or appointed.

Now we know why she's against guns, she'd fear she'd shoot the pink sox if she's having an off day.

mccullough said...

Call Corn in front of a grand jury and if he refuses to name his source throw him in jail for contempt.

Nation of laws, not men.

Darrell said...

Call Corn in front of a grand jury and if he refuses to name his source throw him in jail for contempt.

Nah. That's just for FoxNews reporters in Colorado who report a tip on the Aurora shooting. But the Press makes up for it by not reporting that story.

Jay said...

garage mahal said...
Instapundit encouraged all of us to carry around recording devices and chronicle everything.


Which is totally like recording a closed door meeting.

Idiot.

Sam L. said...

"IN THE COMMENTS: Some commenters react to this post by saying, more or less, duh, Mother Jones is partisan. They are missing the fact that the link goes to a front-page Washington Post story elevating Corn in the journalistic profession."

WaPo is just a micro-smidgen less partisan than the NYT (of TASS and PRAVDA in the bad old days).

Rusty said...

phx said...
You're a smart lady. But you know what? Most of your readers are at least almost as smart as you, and there are those who're smarter. Why do you have to spend so much time playing little games and laying little traps?

Some of your commenters sound ... paranoid ... schizophrenic.

And others sound, well, .......not too bright.

paulejb said...

Who would want or need to record Democrat campaigns? It is not as if we don't know what they want. It all begins and ends with tax and spend.

Michael McNeil said...

Corn did use those examples in his story though. And now, because of David Corn we all know that Ashley Judd is crazy. Thanks David Corn.

It's worth recalling that David Corn isn't, or hasn't just been, a left-wing partisan. A little over a decade ago Corn authored a very telling exposé in LA Weekly called “Behind the Placards,” revealing how the Iraq War peace movement was being organized and led by a (literally) communist front organization, known as “International ANSWER” (“Act Now to Stop War and End Racism”) — a façade for the ultra radical left-wing Workers World Party, the WWP. Read the whole thing.

geokstr said...

Apologies if this has already been posted, but Mother Jones altered the transcript to make it appear that the McConnell staffers had done political research on government time, when the real transcript says no such thing. And then of course, all the usual leftlings pick this up as gospel and spread it around, to the point of calling for an ethics investigation of McConnell.
Mother Jones Rewrites McConnell Tape Transcript

Shades of all the disgusting editing in the Trayvon Martin case, the Romney articles, half of what gets "reported" by NBC, MCNBC, and all other leftling media.

Matthew Sablan said...

I'm surprised to; I thought Greg Sargeant was the go-to guy for leaks stuff.

gregq said...

Duh, the Washington Post is a partisan mouthpiece of the Democrat Party. Of COURSE they're holding another such partisan hack up for praise. It's what they do.

ken in sc said...

The Watergate Burglars were looking for proof that the Democrats were getting funds from the Russians--among other dirt. They did not find it, but it came out later when KGB and GRU files were made public, they were. They are traitors and have been for a long time.

John Lynch said...

Too bad there aren't more David Corns. I'd like to hear more.