December 2, 2017

"The tape, without question, is real."

Writes NYT reporter Daniel Victor in the NYT, about the "Access Hollywood" tape, which I assume is "real," but I still wonder how a reporter can say "The tape, without question, is real." It's an assertion, and what locks it down as beyond question (other than the desire to put an end to questioning)? I understand the reason to assert that the time for questioning is over. I'm practical. Life is short. We need to move on. We're sure enough.

But it just bugs me when a reporter makes a flat assertion like this, with no attribution: "The tape, without question, is real." How can he do that? To my mind, he opens the question up by writing like that.

At the time the recording emerged — October surprise time — Trump rushed into damage control and said "I said it, I was wrong and I apologize." And that, it seems, is the only basis for Victor's strong pronouncement.

But Trump's response doesn't prove that the tape is real. It only shows that Trump decided that under the circumstances that the best tactic was apology, and perhaps that an effective apology included owning the remarks that he was apologizing for. But it doesn't prove beyond question that the tape is real. Trump could have been lying. It's also possible that he didn't remember saying it, but hearing the tape convinced him at the time that he must have said it, but now he thinks maybe somehow he was fooled.

A more subtle point is that he may have been admitting that he said the words that we all heard, but not that the words were true. I assumed, the day I heard the "Access Hollywood" remarks, that "Trump's statement — which is itself only words — is a confession to behavior. Criminal behavior. Sexual assault."

But it wasn't a confession under oath — and even confessions under oath can be false — but a "confession" in a context where he might be joking and exaggerating or just lying. He'd still be on the hook for portraying himself as entitled to "just kiss" a beautiful woman, but he was posturing in the presence of another man. Who knows the real context of Trump encounters with beautiful women that involved "just kissing"? Was it "social kissing" (a short kiss hello) or putting his hand on the back of her head, mashing his lips against hers and aggressively sticking his tongue in her mouth?

Was it a Hollywood kiss?



As for the more vivid "grab them by the pussy," Trump didn't say that about himself, but about "you" — if "you're a star." That was a critique of women, their indiscriminate susceptibility to stars, but it wasn't a confession.

My point is, there's a lot going on in the "Access Hollywood" remarks, and I don't know precisely what the issue is when I'm hearing that there is some questioning (from Trump, allegedly) that the remarks are not "real."

Is it that the tape that we heard doesn't exist? (That would be absurd.)

Is it that the voice on the tape isn't Trump's or that the tape is doctored or edited in a way that makes it inauthentic? (In that case, Trump, with more time to reflect, might want to retract his earlier "I said it." If that's the issue, is there any evidence?)

Or is it that the words that he really did say speak of things that are not real — that he doesn't "just kiss women" and that stars can't grab women "by the pussy"?

I don't know! What is the real question about the unreality of the tapes?

See? I've got questions galore now. I wasn't even going to talk about Trump's alleged questioning of the "Access Hollywood" tape, but Victor's "The tape, without question, is real" has set me off.

61 comments:

Ann Althouse said...

Questions Galore, the little-known sister of Pussy Galore.

Hagar said...

I don't see how the tape can "not be real"; it is Trump's voice we hear, but what we Althousians hear and what the MSM think they hear apparently is quite different things.
Considering Trump's generally eccentric use of the English language, I think he means to say that the MSM version is not real.

Ann Althouse said...

"it is Trump's voice we hear"

How do you know?

We can see Trump emerge from the bus, and there's seeming continuity between the audio and the video, but manipulation isn't that hard to do. The stakes were so high.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm not trying to be a conspiracy theorist here, just balking at the absolute assertion made by Victor.

Nyamujal said...

Who would you rather believe, Trump or your own lying ears?

Matthew Sablan said...

I think Trump said it, but the interpretation that the media pushed that it was a confession of behavior is where the disconnect is. Trump is a bore yes. This is like deplorable 47% and clinging to guns and religion. A look at what the politician really thinks.

rcocean said...

I never saw what was so wrong with Trump's statement, made 12 years ago as a private citizen in a PRIVATE conversation. Its not the way I or anyone I know talks, but whatever.

Anyway, we have the NYT and WaPo SAYING Trump supposedly told someone the "Tapes weren't real". Why should we believe them? How many times in the last year have the MSM claimed that Trump said or did something based on "White House Sources" that turned out to be wrong?

We just had the MSM telling us that "Rex Tillerson is out" - and its #Fakenews. We just had ABC "clarify" their reporting which caused a 300 pt drop in the Dow Jones.

Its easy to see why they're dredging it up. Too many Democrats are being accused of Sexual Harassment. Time to deflect.

Darrell said...

When this first broke, there was a much longer audio portion out there. It started off (or it was near the beginning) with the cameraman talking about his technique for picking up girls in a bar. When the girl's interest lagged, he would show her the selfie file he had on his cellphone or iPad--pictures of himself with female movie, TV, and music stars. Stars that had been on Access Hollywood or other projects he had worked on. That was always a game changer--said he. They immediately became more interested in him. That led to a long discussion between Trump, Bush and the other guys in the crew about picking up girls. It became a NY pissing contest, each guy trying to top the others. Lots of laughing and "bullshits!" after stories. The point is that the portion the NYT provided the transcript to was highly condensed. Edited.

traditionalguy said...

The real question is whether Trump grabbed a Russian by the pussy. Everyone knows they would let him. The proved that when they let Hillary grab them by 140 million dollars worth of pussy.

Inga said...

“But no matter how much Trump may be trying to convince others — or even himself — that the video isn't him, if there's one person who knows the truth, it's Billy Bush.

A littler over a week after the Post published the tape, Bush was fired by NBC from his job at The Today Show. And though it would take months for Bush to publicly address the incident, he gave no indication that the conversation is, in any way, fake.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in May 2017, Bush said:

"Looking back upon what was said on that bus, I wish I had changed the topic. [Trump] liked TV and competition. I could've said, 'Can you believe the ratings on whatever?' But I didn't have the strength of character to do it."


When considering he was fired for his part in the conversation but Trump was elected president, Bush noted, "the irony was glaring."

And if there's a guy who you think would try to claim the "tape is fake" card, it's the guy who actually lost his job because of it.

The conversation was recorded in 2005 and one can forgive a fuzzy memory, especially from a man who has spewed so much vitriol just in the last 2.5 years, let alone the last decade. But even Trump can't possibly be this delusional, right?“

http://mashable.com/2017/11/28/trump-access-hollywood-tape-billy-bush/#3X3p6D_j7mq3

rcocean said...

As for faking the tape. You're absolutely right. Calling it a fake in Oct 2016 would've been political suicide.

Could it be fake? Of course. There's nothing easier to fake then audio, especially when Trump has been recorded on TV and Radio a million times.

james james said...

A lot of the guys at the bar brag, from time-to-time, about their luck with the ladies. Their luck is that the ladies like them. The ladies are drawn to them. The ladies have sex with them. According to them.

Sometimes this is told in an obviously self-effacing manner: it is obvious the teller has no luck with the ladies, and therein lies the joke. Others: well, they believe what they are saying. Or -- more importantly -- they want you to believe what they are saying.

These often are stories that don't tell of what actually happened, but of how they want to be perceived. You can pretty much tell at face value the integrity of their statements: some faces just don't have value to the ladies. You can usually tell the real Ladies' Men: they are the ones chatting up the ladies. And then leaving with them.

Guys: just because you have a photo of a woman on your phone doesn't prove you had sex with her. There are a lot of photos of pretty girls on the internet: you can pretend that one of them is your girlfriend, but realize that you are pretending. And: taking the pretty girl's face at face value, she -- whoever she is -- is not going to be the one who chooses you for a one-night-stand. She most likely knows her own value. And understands that value in relation to yours. If she were to ever meet you. Which isn't going to happen. Oh: and she probably already has a boyfriend. Who is good-looking.

One guy at the bar tried to pass off a photo of Aggressive Cameltoe Girl as proof that he fucked her. The photo was taken at the bar. She eventually caught wind of his claim and verbally emasculated him in front of his friends. Brutal. Eviscerated. Her basic point: there is no way in hell I would ever have sex with a loser like you. It didn't help his case that he, in fact, looks like a loser.

- james james

rcocean said...

I wouldn't put it past anyone in the MSM to "edit" a tape to make trump look bad. How many times did they take Trump out-of-context during the Campaign?

They even "edit" his Tweets!

Michael K said...

I never saw what was so wrong with Trump's statement, made 12 years ago as a private citizen in a PRIVATE conversation. Its not the way I or anyone I know talks, but whatever.

I agree but the question of whether it was edited is interesting.

Ann Althouse said...

"I never saw what was so wrong with Trump's statement..."

I suspect that's Trump's reason for questioning the reality of the tape (if indeed that's what he's doing). It gets us rethinking it and maybe (some of us) getting to the idea that it was way overblown.

I know, I've personally experienced getting used to it and seeing it more as humor (noticing and even appreciating his comic timing).

Some people might think the remarks seem even worse in the context of all the revelations in the time of Reckoning, but I think perhaps his remarks, listened to now, feel like they come from an innocent time, when things were so much simpler.

Jupiter said...

Here is what the lying liars at the New York Lies have to say about this;

"He sees the calls for Mr. Moore to step aside as a version of the response to the now-famous “Access Hollywood” tape, in which he boasted about grabbing women’s genitalia, and the flood of groping accusations against him that followed soon after."

As Althouse pointed out, Trump did not say he had grabbed women's genitals, he said that they would allow "you" to do so if you were a star.

Unknown said...

Since when does anyone ever believe locker room talk? When Trump mouths it, of course. Did all the critics who claimed Trump to be a pathological liar believe this was the one time he was saying something honest?

tcrosse said...

Isn't the release of the tapes a form of Revenge Porn ?

Matthew Sablan said...

Koi Fish and baseball caps. Two times the media edited video to make Trump's actions look bad. So even if I think he said it, it isn't crazy to wonder if it has been tampered with.

Hagar said...

He may also have meant it was not the "real" him. We have seen quite a lot of Trump by now, and I tend to believe that if Trump was to come on to a woman used to dealing with the Weinsteins and Lauers in her world in a way that bothered her - or perhaps just for the hell of it - she might respond with behavior that would send The Donald blushing and stammering into disorderly retreat.

Jupiter said...

Then we have this;

"But Mr. Trump suggested to a senator earlier this year that the tape was not authentic, The Times reported on Saturday, and he recently repeated that contention to an adviser."

Oh, the Times reported that on Saturday? Let's just check that link, shall we?

"He suggested to a senator earlier this year that it was not authentic, and repeated that claim to an adviser more recently."

Which senator? When? Which adviser? What exactly did he say? I guess those details weren't fit to print. Possibly because Maggie Haberman hasn't invented them yet.

To quote a once-respected American fishwrap, "The claim does not hold up to scrutiny."

rhhardin said...

Questions galore about pussy galore.

Postnominal adjective.

The original Althouse reaction showed that women should not be allowed to vote. Women can't read the situation even slightly well. It's the hot button override of everything.

rhhardin said...

It's a casette tape, not real to real.

Daniel Richwine said...

At the time, I heard there were even more damaging tapes to be released, but none ever were.

Gahrie said...

I wasn't even going to talk about Trump's alleged questioning of the "Access Hollywood" tape,

Wait...so now we are arguing about whether or not Trump is questioning the tape? Either he did or he didn't. Unless there is credible evidence that he did...like a statement from him, it must be presumed that he didn't. Among people of good faith at least.

Oh yeah..we're talking about The Democrats, the Establishment and the MSM....my bad.

rhhardin said...

Do not question the tape.

Gahrie said...

But even Trump can't possibly be this delusional, right?“

Sure he might be. But the people who are alleging he questioned the tape, with no actual evidence that he questioned the tape, are even more delusional.

rhhardin said...

You have touched her perfect pussy with your mind

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3WOAqtRRvQ Judy Collins

eddie willers said...

Since when does anyone ever believe locker room talk?

Those of us that have been in those locker rooms know that if someone quits bragging about "getting some", it means he is now actually getting some.

Yancey Ward said...

Darrell,

Yes, the frequently played clip was only the pussy grabbing statement- the full context was never played in the mainstream media, though you could find it on Youtube the last time I actually looked which was over a year ago.

It is possible the recording has been doctored in some way. Online versions would be versions duped from the original. The original, however, could be examined to determine whether or not it was doctored (i.e. isn't original itself).

If I today were Trump, I probably would remember the conversation and the general tone and subject of it 12 years later if you played me the recording- in other words, I would have no real doubt it was me saying all that unless it were actually doctored. I would probably be able to tell you with nearly 100% accuracy what parts were doctored if there significant differences from what was really said, but then I have particularly acute memory. What will my memory be like at age 70 for events occurring at age 58? Probably not as good as at 39 and 51 years old.

Yancey Ward said...

Ah, I see this is a 3rd person hearsay story right from the first point. I will just assume the story about Trump questioning this is actually an untruth.

Narayanan Subramanian said...

Of course the physical tape is real. But, can we separate the tapist from the tape content?

mezzrow said...

Victor's "The tape, without question, is real" has set me off.

What we have here, in context, is a platonic example of a superfluous phrase.

tcrosse said...

Is it real tape, like tape-tape ?

Ken B said...

So now, now, you recognize his comment as an observation, akin to "if you have them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow" or "power is the greatest aphrodisiac". Jeez Louise, took long enough. You called for him to withdraw! God hell ambrose bierce if he ever ran in your district.

Earnest Prole said...

Who apologizes for something fake?

rhhardin said...

A tactician.

dda6ga dda6ga said...

Inquiring minds want to know: Duck, Duct, packing, electrical, cloth, masking, radiator repair, adhesive, cellophane, adhesive medical, hair removal, gaffers??? What was/is the
tape???

Earnest Prole said...

Sounds beta.

MayBee said...

Poor Billy Bush. Can you imagine what it was like to walk past Matt Lauer's door on the way out of the studios after being fired?

MayBee said...

I have to say this about the "They let you do it" part of the tape.

It's quite obvious many of these women did "let them do it". Some complained decades later, but it sounds like it has indeed been very easy for famous men to get away with grabbing the women who surround them.

Unknown said...

'Those of us that have been in those locker rooms know that if someone quits bragging about "getting some", it means he is now actually getting some.'

Very true, Eddie, very true.

Bob said...

> he was posturing in the presence of another man

I think 90% of the men who heard Trump's comments saw this as the main thing going on.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I wasn't even going to talk about Trump's alleged questioning of the "Access Hollywood" tape, but Victor's "The tape, without question, is real" has set me off.

So the NYT is now using the art of pursuation.

Bad Lieutenant said...


Earnest Prole said...
Who apologizes for something fake?
12/2/17, 12:40 PM


Oh shit, Ernie, let me get my hands on you (to avoid macho posturing, let's fiat that you are strapped to a chair and that I have paid the electric bill), and you'll be apologizing for setting the Chicago fire.

On a lesser scale, people make apologies all the time as social lubricant. Were you born in a vat? Dopey, forsooth.

Darrell said...

Who even knows what Trump was referring to? Since the story broke, there have been hundreds of retellings all across the Web, that ended with Trump saying that he grabbed pussies. You read them here, as well. You read that at supposedly reputable sources like the NYT, New Yorker, and WaPo embedded in opinion pieces and features. Trump speaks in shorthand as we all do at times. The longhand version might be--If you heard me saying that I grabbed pussies that is not my voice.

John said...

"When you are a celebrity they'll let you stick a cigar up their snatch and your dick down their throat.

Then they'll save the splooged on blue dress as a souvenir. "

That's what Trump actually said.

John Henry

John said...

Speaking of women letting celebrities grab them by the pussy.

I read yesterday, atAce? That in Geraldos 1992 book he describes being blown "by the estranged wife of a Canadian prime minister"

Geraldo is apparently too much of a gentleman to name her.

John Henry

Ralph L said...

Trump didn't say that about himself, but about "you" — if "you're a star."

I was paying very little attention last October, but what I took from the MSM was that Trump had done the grabbing.

It was the reporting that wasn't real--it was dishonest.

Bill Peschel said...

This is actually a little weird -- Althouse questioning Victor by name -- because I worked with him at the Patriot-News. He even covered Hershey news (where I live). He had a good reputation among us as a good, careful reporter. If he had any ideological bent, he didn't show it around me, unlike several reporters and editors I've known in my two decades behind the copy desk.

Ralph L said...

Bush was fired for getting Trump to say really damaging things which no other reporter was able to do.

Or Bush was fired for not bringing the tape to the attention of his superiors at NBC?

Or Bush was fired because the female audience of the Today Show wouldn't watch any male who was in the presence of another man saying "pussy" and exposing their silly subservience to stars AKA starstruckness.

Earnest Prole said...

people make apologies all the time as social lubricant

I was reliably told Trump's alpha peacocking was the only lubricant he needed. Seriously, what real man apologizes for pussy grabbing?

On a related note your bondage fantasies sound fabulously campy, not that there's anything wrong with that.

George Spix said...

A Scott Adam's "who is going to, is able to believe the truth persuasion challenge? Now what do I do? T is a jujitsu master at this. And lives to play whenever someone throws a low hanging curve. Turn what others think is a death blow to his advantage. Which is where the apology lies. He wins either way. A skill great leaders and grifters have. We envy those with groupies. Those who adore without coercion. Pick the truth you want and your admiration for him goes up.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Seriously, what real man apologizes for pussy grabbing?


Moving target lamesauce, but I respect that you tried.

Now I Know! said...


Want to know how to know when Ann is full of it? Imagine if Bill Clinton was the one claiming such evidence was faked. Ann would do twenty posts taking him to task for it.

Want to know the obvious proof that the Trump tape was not faked? Billy Bush, who actually lost his job over it, is not making any such wild claim.

Ann knows that but she is always willing to intellectually contort herself to find a way to excuse Trump.

Ann always doubles down on Trump.

You further embarrass yourself Ann.

Michael K said...

"I further embarrass myself Ann."

FIFY.

narciso said...

Where was the intro to the tape, which would have included billy's promoting and why that part edited out for eleven years. In light of Matt layers subsequent behavior one should ask that question.

Earnest Prole said...

If you want to trace the intellectual pedigree of Althouse’s newfound philosophy, it runs through an academic deconstructionist named Stanley Fish, who twenty years ago stated flatly that the trouble with principles is that they don’t guarantee the left will win every time. Fish advocated the abandonment of principles in favor of “just win, baby,” and if that means selling out your soul and your integrity, fine, because only fools care about those things. The left bought it, and no longer bothers even to pretend to appeal to the idea of truth and the common good; it is now simply a pit of warring racial, tribal, and sexual grievances. Not coincidentally, the left is now less popular in America than in many, many years. And since Fish’s ideas have worked out so well for them, it only makes sense that supporters of Donald Trump would advocate their use on the right. What is truth, really, but a social construct? How do we know if Trump actually said what he is purported to have said about pussy grabbing? Isn’t it the left that says Barack Obama was born in Hawaii of an American mother? If so, isn’t that in itself proof that he was really born in Kenya? Hey, did you hear a bunch of Jews didn’t go to work the morning of September 11, 2001?

Leigh said...

Thanks, @Darrell and @Althouse. I always thought it had been edited, and I wish I'd heard the FULL version.

It was also funny because it's well nigh impossible to grab an internal body part. Try grabbing someone's uvula. It's damn near impossible. Even grabbing someone's frenulum is difficult. When media grossly overplayed it and recharacterized the entire thing as a "confession" that Trump is a "sexual assaulter" I knew he'd win. HRC is still claiming, to this day, that we have an "admitted" sexual harasser in the White House. We did, Hillary. We did. But not any more.

Chris said...

Perhaps when he says it's not real, he means its like mugging for the cameras. It's not real in that sense. It's not the real trump.

Joe Veenstra said...

Really? It is real. I'm glad a reporter is willing to say what is obviously true - the tape is real. He apologized to everyone and his family, and Billy Bush quit/was fired for it. Trump's belated waffling on its veracity notwithstanding, there is zero evidence to support the claim it is not real or accurate. There is plenty of evidence that the president is simply a disgusting liar and bloviator of the highest order.