October 18, 2016

"If this is standard operating procedure, why call yourself 'a hack' when sending copy for the purposes of fact-checking?"

"Furthermore, why ask Podesta to not 'tell anyone I did this' if this is an innocent fact-check request"?

Asks Larry O'Connor, looking into what  Politico’s Glenn Thrush wrote to John Podesta (which was: "No worries Because I have become a hack I will send u the whole section that pertains to u. Please don’t share or tell anyone I did this Tell me if I fucked up anything.")

The official Politico answer is: "Glenn has a self-deprecating sense of humor, one of the many blessings of being born and raised in Brooklyn."

I can buy that explanation, but it only goes so far. Self-deprecating humor works when it has at least some truth in it. But Thrush's statement makes sense as a way to extract more information from Podesta, reeling him in by making him think that Thrush will serve as his mouthpiece.

That's what journalists do, as Janet Malcolm brilliantly explained in her great book "The Journalist and the Murderer," which begins:
Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible. He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people’s vanity, ignorance, or loneliness, gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse. Like the credulous widow who wakes up one day to find the charming young man and all her savings gone, so the consenting subject of a piece of nonfiction writing learns—when the article or book appears—his hard lesson. Journalists justify their treachery in various ways according to their temperaments. The more pompous talk about freedom of speech and “the public’s right to know”; the least talented talk about Art; the seemliest murmur about earning a living.

The catastrophe suffered by the subject is no simple matter of an unflattering likeness or a misrepresentation of his views; what pains him, what rankles and sometimes drives him to extremes of vengefulness, is the deception that has been practiced on him. On reading the article or book in question, he has to face the fact that the journalist—who seemed so friendly and sympathetic, so keen to understand him fully, so remarkably attuned to his vision of things—never had the slightest intention of collaborating with him on his story but always intended to write a story of his own. The disparity between what seems to be the intention of an interview as it is taking place and what it actually turns out to have been in aid of always comes as a shock to the subject.

54 comments:

Tarrou said...

Ok. Question, did Thrush write his own story? Or is he a byline DNC operative?

To ask the question is to answer it.

David Begley said...

The corruption between the Dems and the Press is deep and everlasting. After Hillary wins, it will continue and expand. Many people are feed up with it, but not enough.

CJ said...

I am so sick of people constantly using the "I'm from New York ;)" defense when they do anything - doesn't even have to be anything bad.

"I acted like an asshole - well, I'm from New York, and you know how we New Yorkers are!"
"I bought a coffee - well, I'm from New York and you know how we New Yorkers are!"

mccullough said...

Malcolm's observation doesn't apply to professional sources like Podesta. Thrush wanted continued access. In order to get it, he had to submit to Podesta. These were Podesta's stories.

Sydney said...

But Thrush's statement makes sense as a way to extract more information from Podesta, reeling him in by making him think that Thrush will serve as his mouthpiece.

Yeah, sure. That's the ticket.

damikesc said...

So, why do you assume "grab them by the pussy" is literal while "I'm a hack" is not?

AprilApple said...

Exactly - You must offer your allegiance to the Clinton Crime family and to the corruptocrat-mob, if you want press access.

The journos are on the left anyway and they sympathize, so it's easy.

sojerofgod said...

Blogger damikesc said...
So, why do you assume "grab them by the pussy" is literal while "I'm a hack" is not?

Because of course it is.
Oh, and Shut Up!

Respectfully,

Your Media betters.

Quayle said...

But Ann, you seem to be missing a very important change in the gound around journalism. When reporters lived connected to a scarce and therefore valuable channel of communicarion - the major TV channel or newspaper - the reporter and channel owner had the power in the relationship. That no longer is true. With the internet, the channel of communication - the pipe - is pretty much worthless. The content creator/owner now has all the power. The content creator/owner has a million choices and one how to get their story out in the way they want it told. If the reporter doesn't go along, the owner/creator goes around them.

The leaked emails, if nothing more, show that dynamic clearly. The power is with those that can grant or freeze-out access to the person and the story. Now the so-called reporters have to lick boots and stay in line to not be left out and ignored.

Aspiring young reporter, Wanna go to the White House BBQ or get that interview with the President? You better play along and not cross us in your writing, or you won't get anything.

sojerofgod said...

I think the psychology of groups is really ignored when it comes to understanding why people affiliate with groups and will literally defend to the death their identity. Press reporters are generally low paid worker bees who would be ignored and anonymous if they worked in any other profession. Since they are who they are, while they are not members of the group they get thrown a bone of getting to feel like they are 'in' if they are useful to the true members of that group. Basking in the reflected glory I believe its called, or something like that.
This is more important to the press pool than money. Tribal affiliation is practically hard wired into humans. Practically no one wants to admit this as truth.

robother said...

"reeling him in by making him think that Thrush will serve as his mouthpiece."

But when you offer your source absolute control over what you say about him, you are serving as his mouthpiece, no? The whole nature of this transaction is the opposite of the journalism Malcolm describes, as the self-applied term "hack" confirms.

rhhardin said...

Spin everything for women, is the rule. They just wanted to verify that it was done that way.

Patrick said...

The charitable explanation would be easier to accept if Thrush had any history at all of writing tough stories about Democrats, or if he could produce a similar offer to a Republican. I'm not overly familiar with his work, so maybe that exists, but I dout it. Unless you're writing stuff people don't want you to write, you're just issuing press releases.

Henry said...

"Let me say for the billionth time: Reporters don't root for a side. Period."

Many of the wikileaks disclosures about journalist-and-politician interactions that the Right has trumpeted as CORRUPTION! definitely fall into the category of fact-checking and opportunity to respond. This one is a little harder to sell.

Henry said...

Patrick said, "Unless you're writing stuff people don't want you to write, you're just issuing press releases."

I once worked next to PR agency. One of their writers had a clipping taped to the wall above his desk. It was a report that verified that a huge quantity of news reports were copied verbatim from PR releases.

rehajm said...

Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible.

And people think bankers are evil...

TreeJoe said...

What's so surprising about today's journalism is that the only way to build a lasting business and journalistic model is through reputation, but major journalism outlets not only scorn their reputations but have decided to pursue a path of partisanship instead. That worked for Fox because they went after an under-served segment, but it won't work for 4-5 TV outlets and 4-5 newspapers - there aren't enough parties.

Thrush isn't building trust or playing on vanity, he's telling the truth which is why he's so casual about it. This should be the death knell of any promising parts of his career, but it won't be.

In the age of Brian Williams, you can outright make up stuff about YOUR own experiences over the course of at least a decade, receive a brief suspension, and return as a chief anchor position at your own network.

rehajm said...

What's so surprising about today's journalism is that the only way to build a lasting business and journalistic model is through reputation

Re: sustainable business models, while the profit model is dead the present and future of sustainability strategy is The Sugar Daddy model. 'Wealthy partisan' or 'football money' variations work equally well.

David Begley said...

Very astute comment by Quayle. Sucking up is the norm.

Gusty Winds said...

Please don't share or tell anyone I did this Ummm....because it might completely wreck my already paper thin credibility.

I can buy that explanation...No. It's a lie. Pure and simple. The email means exactly what it says on its surface. It is corrupt coordination. Thrush claims he does it with everybody, to which Ari Fleischer tweeted "No reporter ever sent me an email like this".

The Wikileaks Podesta email are the biggest exposure of corruption since Toto pulled back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz.



Laslo Spatula said...

At least prostitutes have a good idea of the price at which they will sell themselves.

The members of the Press do it so cheaply.


You never give the rim-jobs away for free.


I am Laslo.

David Begley said...

The people hate the press for their corruption. No trust. And the press rolls on oblivious. Revenues way down. Kids play video games.

Terry said...

Blogger Henry said...

I once worked next to PR agency. One of their writers had a clipping taped to the wall above his desk. It was a report that verified that a huge quantity of news reports were copied verbatim from PR releases.

Back maybe five years ago I looked into a newspaper report that a 'study' had shown that minority homeowners were far more likely to get foreclosed on than non-minority homeowners.
-The study was not peer reviewed.
-The study was carried out by a professor and a couple of grad students at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey center, a far-left social advocacy group.
-The study was a meta study. It used census data from one year to determine percentage of minority homeowners by zip code, and foreclosure data from other years and other sources to get foreclosure data by zip code.
-The data was not fine grained to determine whether it was minority or non-minority homeowners that were actually being foreclosed on.
-The "research" was paid for by a law firm that specialized in class action suits against mortgage lenders who discriminated against minority homeowners.

None of this information was in the newspaper story. It took me less than 20 minutes to find it online.

YoungHegelian said...

He is a kind of confidence man,

The easiest person to con is the guy who's certain that you're an easy mark when he's trying to con you.

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gusty Winds said...

The O'Keefe video released yesterday showing how the Democrats and the Clinton campaign coordinated to incite violence at Trump rallies is real journalism. And it is what Trump supporters already knew to be true. Thrush and all the 'journalists' invited to the Podesta dinner parties won't cover it.

Trump is right. The Democrats and our Media are corrupt, and Paul Ryan is a pussy. I think he is even shocked at its depth. And many of our college educated population buy in to it. They help promote the propaganda. And you can be indoctrinated into its narrative for the mere cost of tuition at a United States University.

On the flip side, you would probably end up with a greater degree of free thought and deductive reasoning after having a lobotomy. It's probably cheaper too.

Trump is also wrong. If Americans are really this fucking stupid, we will never be great again.

LarsPorsena said...

He's a hack. He knows he's a hack. He knows we know he's a hack. We know he knows we know he's a hack........

Henry said...

Since I referenced Chris Cillizza's Carl Sagan tweet above, I think it's worth pointing out that his new WP article on Hillary Clinton's Email Server takes some pretty good shots:

It's hard to square the idea of Kennedy offering a quid pro quo to the FBI regarding a classification decision and Clinton not even knowing that "c" on documents stands for "classified." One suggests deep understanding of how the classification process works. The other, um, doesn't.

Gahrie said...

But Thrush's statement makes sense as a way to extract more information from Podesta, reeling him in by making him think that Thrush will serve as his mouthpiece.

Bull fucking shit.

Quayle said...

[Another post-first-comment edit. Some things - some people - never change, do they Ann.]

TreeJoe said, "What's so surprising about today's journalism is that the only way to build a lasting business and journalistic model is through reputation...."

But the problem is, TreeJoe, that (1) one's reputation can't be owned or controlled, and (2) discussions of reputation beg the question, 'reputation among who?'

Building on what I wrote above, if you look at how the internet has changed the dynamics of "the press" or "reporting", you have to look at both ends of the pipe.

It used to be that the content end of the "pipe" and the consumption end of the pipe had no choice but to go to the pipe. When there was only CBS, ABC, and NBC, and these scarce network bandwidth owners controlled what was said in the nightly news. You either went to them or you went without.

With the advent of cable, Turner saw the potential, and added a 24/7 news channel. Now there were alternatives, but Turner still had to line up the eyeballs on the consumption side. He couldn't do this by running local state stories, as did the local nightly news (which, if you'll remember, got the same 30 minutes as did the national news - and often got another 30 minutes before bed - that's twice the potential coverage of local stories than the national news.)

Anyway, back to Turner. CNN needed eyeballs on the consumer side, so they fixated on national stories, and that boosted the visibility and focus on Washington DC, and took visibility and focus away from the state capitals. That's one reason Washing DC is now so powerful and has tilted the state/nation power balance. CNN was one cause.

Now, with the internet and you-tube, etc., the channel - the pipe - is completely worthless. There are literally a million ways to get information from person A (source) to person B (consumer.)

That means the content source has all the power on one end of the pipe (as I explained above), and on the consumer end of the pipe the content owner or channel owner must dance and cowtow to get eyeballs captured on the consumer side. That has led the channels to need to target certain interest/audience groups which required them to narrow the messages, and stop giving the consumer anything that could cause him or her to turn away.

The impact on our political discourse is obvious. We no longer watch the same stories as a country, nor are we induced to sit through a story we don't like. We watch only things with which we agree, that that is fed to us on a specific channel because we're in the target demographic of the channel's target market.

The point is: journalism as it once was is dead and gone. Those that still pretend to be journalists are the walking dead. The shift in the industry and market dynamics came so suddenly that those journalist who went into the profession after watergate with one set of assumptions of how it works, are working in an industry that doesn't look anything like that on which they were trained. And the young aspiring journalists are just chasing a paycheck.

No longer can a newspaper owner say "the people will think what I tell them to think." The newspaper and media owners now have to say, "our readership/viewership is falling again, our P & L sucks, get out there and find out what our target audience thinks, and feed it back to them in a way that either makes them feel they are better than others or scares them into constant worry, and do it anyway you can so they'll come back tomorrow."

That most definitely is not journalism.

Laslo Spatula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laslo Spatula said...

"I really appreciate you giving me the chance to read this before printing."

"You're welcome! I removed those parts you suggested..."

"I noticed. Very well done."

"It was a pleasure! Shall I start sucking your cock now?"

"What?"

"I'm just trying to develop our professional relationship. I am more than willing to suck your cock."

"Uh, no. That won't be necessary."

"Is it something I did? Did I write something that disappointed you?"

"No, no. I'm just OK as things are."

"You know, I don't do this for all my sources, but you're Special: you can put it in my ass if you want to."

"No, I'm quite fine with the article."

"You don't understand. If I tell my Editor that I didn't suck your cock or let you fuck me in the ass he'll think I'm not committed to my job. He might even fire me."

"Just tell them you sucked my cock, then. Problem solved."

"That is fantastic! Can I add that I gave you a rim-job, too? My boss will be impressed..."

"Let's just leave it at the fictional blow-job."

"I'm VERY grateful, sir."

"Sure, sure. You're a good connection to have. By the way, what story are you working on now?"

"I'm writing a piece about how the Republicans have no scruples..."


I am Laslo.

Quayle said...

Laslo seems to write what I'd probably write if I didn't worry about my Mormon ancestors talking about me negatively in heaven.

(Or wherever you care to believe they are.)

Jim said...

Speaking of "journalists" is it legal for a journalist to trespass when covering a story? I'm thinking of Amy Goodman and the Dakota Access Pipeline case. (note: I own shares of ETP, the pipeline's owner and I think that all of the protesters are either lying, idiots, or terrorists). Does a journalist following a riot of trespassers, get to go on to private property without fear of consequences? I'm an engineer, not a lawyer.

EMD said...

Something something Occam's Razor.

David Begley said...

"I'm writing a piece about how the Republicans have no scruples..."

Can Trump use that line?

Darrell said...

I saw a picture they had up at the Guardian of a Trump rally, at a stadium that looked like it was build to host the rodeo of something. Seven people were pictured--I'm thinking a man, his wife, three daughters and two sons. The men are dressed in overalls and bright plaid--wearing large pointed hats--and the women are dressed in modest paisley dresses and wearing work boots. They look like a farm family and some of the men are chewing straw. They are seated alone in the upper deck of the stadium and all the other seats in that section are empty. It's obvious that the Guardian wants its Lefty readers to think that Trump is wildly unpopular and that he is speaking to a small group of hicks and inbreds.

Darrell said...

As far as I can dig, I think there were 30,000 people there to hear Trump and the farm family arrived early and took their seats in an empty section.

Mike makes right said...

Sure, so he has lots of similar examples of this with Republicans, right?

Michael K said...

Nice analysis Quayle. Still, there are millions who get their news, such as it is, from local TV and they believe what they see.

There are lots who watch Fox or MSNBC but both require cable and some intelligence to find your preferred source of info.

The three old networks still have a lot of influence and are hard left in orientation.

Then, of course, the young get their info from Comedy channels or other sources that openly distort.

It would be interesting to survey a group like Conservative Tree House or Ace of Spades commenters to see where they get news.

Probably like me they read it all on line.

Fabi said...

There aren't many items on my Bucket List, but I've just added "Buy Laslo a beer."

Sebastian said...

@GW: "I can buy that explanation...No. It's a lie. Pure and simple. The email means exactly what it says on its surface. It is corrupt coordination." Exactly.

Law of political parsimony: a prog hack is a prog hack is a prog hack, even when he says so himself.

Get ready for the Podesta/Kendall administration.

Darrell said...

Like Sarah Palin, the first thing I do is check Drudge when I get up.

Darrell said...

Then I go to Althouse and think about leaving Ann a suck-up comment. Instead, I fire up my pipe.

LCB said...

There was a time when Newspapers took sides. That's why you'd have newspapers with names like "The New York Democrat" or "Cincinnati Republican". The whole idea that anyone can report news without bias is absurd. Our problem now is we don't have balanced reporting...a Republican version of CNN or CBS. And no...Fox isn't Republican. The news people (Mike Wallace, Brit Hume, etc.) try danged hard to be "fair and balanced"...to the detriment of the nation.

Michael K said...

"There was a time when Newspapers took sides."

The old days when newspapers took sides was before the "Government Party" was made up of Democrats, government employees and news media people interested in government. They are all interested in "government," meaning fixing people's lives.

Republicans used to be pretty much interested in other things, like making stuff. Running small businesses and even big businesses.

During World War II big business got used to working with government. Read, David Brinkley's "Washington Goes to War," some time. Other books about business in that era gave a preview of crony capitalism which now has shifted until big business is a Democrat, "Government Party" constituency.

The Welfare State has added another constituency to the Democrats. Both social workers and recipients.

What's left ? Not farmers as they are growing corn for ethanol.

The Republicans are the Trump supporters, mostly small business, and the NeverTrumpers are mostly people, I think, who have a connection to either government or big business who are not threatened by Hillary.

There is quite a bit of virtue signaling going on in facebook by supposed conservatives and I wonder why they are not threatened by Hillary. It would be interesting to see how they make their living.

Matthew Sablan said...

I don't see why we're surprised. We know Politico vetted other stories through the Clinton campaign previously.

JaimeRoberto said...

I can accept the "I'm a hack" as self deprecating humor, since hack is slang for a writer. The "don't tell anybody I did this" is harder to explain away.

mockturtle said...

Here is Robert Spencer's take on this issue: https://www.jihadwatch.org/2016/10/politicos-glenn-thrush-sends-story-to-hillary-aide-for-approval-admits-hes-a-hack

mockturtle said...

Beautiful job, Laslo!

tim in vermont said...

Althouse is confusing her rationalization for a ratiocenation one more time. But Trump is uncouth.

tim in vermont said...

Laslo gets all the girls.

mockturtle said...

Laslo gets all the girls.

He has keen insight and an ability to put that insight into words. Probably not someone I would have dated [in my dating days] but someone I admire for his unquestionable talent.

Moneyrunner said...

You know, if I didn't know better I would think that Laslo just came all over Ann's blue dress.