2016 Post Mortem: How Associated Press Reporter Lina Lerer Repeatedly Sandbagged Sanders

By Naked Capitalism reader aliteralmind, aka Jeff Epstein. Jeff, a progressive activist and journalist, was one of only around forty candidates in the county to be personally endorsed by Bernie Sanders, and was a pledged delegate for him at the DNC. Jeff is also currently starring in Feel The Bern-The Musical, which will very soon be performed in New York. Originally posted on Proud Sanders Democrat

An in-depth study of Associated Press reporter Lina Lerer’s work during the 2016 Democratic primary. A remembrance of how badly much of the “left wing” media treated Bernie Sanders and his supporters.

I discuss this entire article in this video:

On February 1, the Associated Press published an article announcing former Vice President Joe Biden’s endorsement of DNC Chair candidate, Tom Perez. Buried in paragraph nine of the article, 24 days before the election, is a declaration that establishment favorite Perez has an unassailable lead:

Perez, who was quietly urged by the White House to jump into the race, faces his stiffest competition from Ellison.

Democratic strategists with knowledge of the chairman selection process say Perez has as much as a 66-member lead among the 447 members of the party who will vote on the next chairman at the party convention in late February. In total, 304 members have indicated who they’re backing.

The strategists spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the vote counting.

I was made aware of this story by The Young Turks newest correspondent, Nomiki Konst, who is covering the DNC chair candidate forums. Konst reports that no AP reporter has been present at any of the forums. (This is her analysis of the AP article.)

As Konst suggests, there are currently 14 candidates, each with their own group of supporters. As candidates drop out, their supporters will shift to different candidates. Calling the race at this moment is premature, which is a charitable interpretation, given that the only sources are “anonymous Democratic strategists.”

Perez, former Labor Secretary under the Obama administration, entered the race on December 15, and has raised 73% of his donations from small contributions. In a video shown on the Jimmy Dore Show, Perez is solidly in support of big donations to the DNC, no matter how veiled his statements are (“You don’t go to a knife fight with a spoon.”). Despite a vision speaking of unification, progressive values, and grassroots, Perez can claim no strong progressive endorsements. As described by Glenn Greenwald:

It’s not hard to see why the Obama and Clinton circles want him to run the party instead of Ellison. He’s acceptable to big donors. He has proven himself loyal to the party establishment’s agenda. He is a reliable party operative. And, most importantly of all, he will change nothing of substance: ensuring that the same policies, rhetoric, and factions that have prevailed continue to do so, all while protecting the power base of the same people who have run the party into the ground.

According to Konst, Perez is also the only candidate who refuses to talk with TYT, and she and her network are the target of rumors being spread by Perez’s campaign. Update 2/11: Konst got an eight minute interview with Perez on the final day of the DNC forums, where he confirms everything stated by Greenwald above.

The most prominent progressive candidate, Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison, entered the race on November 15, raising 98% of his donations from small contributions. Distinguishing himself from Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, Ellison is the only candidate who can claim both prominent establishment and progressive endorsements, including progressive leaders Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and establishment stalwarts Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, and John Lewis.

As elaborated in the Baltimore Sun’s endorsement:

Keith Ellison, a Democratic Congressman from Minnesota and front runner in the DNC chair race, has impressive credentials. He is an avowed progressive, championing worker rights, a minimum wage increase, Wall Street reform, immigration reform, and LGBT rights during his decade in Congress. He knows the issues of rural and working class communities who feel left behind by politicians in D.C., and will work to serve them. And as the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, Mr. Ellison has a personal understanding of the effect of today’s attacks on minorities.

Ellison has, however, made moves disappointing to some progressives. He endorsed a decidedly establishmentcongressional candidate in Florida over the progressive alternative, and as potential chair, would not rule out big money donations to the DNC, stating that he would put the decision to a vote…likely resulting in big money donations.

After hearing the Perez-Ellison story, I was immediately reminded of a similar Associated Press story about Clinton and Sanders from June 6, 2016. Like the above article, this one, written by four co-authors, unequivocally states:

Striding into history, Hillary Clinton will become the first woman to top the presidential ticket of a major U.S. political party, capturing commitments Monday from the number of delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination….

[Clinton became] the presumptive Democratic nominee on Monday with a decisive weekend victory in Puerto Rico and a burst of last-minute support from superdelegates. Those are party officials and officeholders, many of them eager to wrap up the primary amid preference polls showing her in a tightening race with presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

Clinton has 1,812 pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses. She also has the support of 571 superdelegates, according to an Associated Press count.

The AP surveyed all 714 superdelegates repeatedly in the past seven months, and only 95 remain publicly uncommitted…. While superdelegates can change their minds, those counted in Clinton’s tally have unequivocally told the AP they will support her at the party’s summer convention.

Once again, anonymous Democratic insiders “eager to wrap up the primary” decided the election was over, and the Associated Press obediently trumpeted it as truth. This time, only twenty four hours before six states, having a population of more than 50 million people, including two of the largest (California and New Jersey) were to vote in the Democratic primary, the AP said that finally, once and for all, Hillary Clinton is truly inevitable.

(Interestingly, according to Zero Hedge, the original wordingof the final quoted sentence was, “While superdelegates will not formally cast their votes for Clinton until the party’s July convention in Philadelphia, all those counted in her tally have unequivocally told the AP they will do so.”)

The AP is just doing their job. They’re just reporting the news. Right? They’re not blatantly corrupt. But it sure does seem like they’re allowing themselves to be used by those who are.

Downplaying the announcement and its potential effect on voters, Clinton said,

“According to the news, we are on the brink of a historic, historic, unprecedented moment. But we still have work to do, don’t we? We have six elections tomorrow and we’re going to fight hard for every single vote, especially right here in California.”


Where did this “burst of last-minute support from superdelegates” come from? According to Benchmark Poltics, CNN’s John King reported that the Clinton campaign had around forty superdelegates ready and waiting to declare their support, but were urged by the campaign to hold off.

In the email sent out to supporters bragging about this announcement, this image was displayed:

The file name of this image file is secret-win-V2-060416c_02.png, implying it was created two days before the article was published. It will likely never be known if the Clinton campaign conspired with the Associated Press, but at the very least, it is a spit in the eye of every Sanders supporter.

Within hours, this one story exploded into hundreds around the globe (because, according to the Associated Press, “More than half of the world’s population sees our articles every day.”). Despite California’s record breaking 2.3 million new voter registrations, 1.4 million fewer people voted in comparison to 2012 levels.

Similar to the difference between Perez and Ellison, Clinton received around 19% of her contributions from small donations, compared to Bernie Sanders’ 70%. Importantly, these figures completely disregard money from super PACs and the unethical-but-technically-legal money funneled through state Democratic Party coffers, both of which Bernie Sanders refused to take advantage of.

As summarized by Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept:

This is the perfect symbolic ending to the Democratic Party primary: The nomination is consecrated by a media organization, on a day when nobody voted, based on secret discussions with anonymous establishment insiders and donors whose identities the media organization — incredibly — conceals. The decisive edifice of superdelegates is itself anti-democratic and inherently corrupt: designed to prevent actual voters from making choices that the party establishment dislikes. But for a party run by insiders and funded by corporate interests, it’s only fitting that its nomination process ends with such an ignominious, awkward, and undemocratic sputter.

That the Democratic Party nominating process is declared to be over in such an uninspiring, secretive, and elite-driven manner is perfectly symbolic of what the party, and its likely nominee, actually is.

(Here is further analysis of the AP Clinton article by Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks.)

Lisa Lerer, Journalist for the Associated Press

While I knew both stories were published by the Associated Press, it was Jane Sanders who alerted me that both were written by the same author, Lisa Lerer.

Like many left-leaning journalists, Lerer’s writing during the 2016 Democratic primaries is consistently suspect. Direct statements by often-anonymous Democratic insiders are uncritically presented as truth; Hillary Clinton is unrealistically lifted up and both Bernie Sanders and his supporters are unfairly criticized and minimized; reports of Clinton’s primary victories at first impression seem balanced, but in actuality entirely ignore the difficulties faced by voters and the existence of confusing, questionable, unethical, and blatantly illegal practices, let alone the influence those practices may have had on the outcome.

(Coincidentally or not, according to Wikileaks, Lisa Lerer was one of many prominent mainstream media journalists to attend a private, off-the-record dinner at John Podesta’s house, soon before Clinton announced her candidacy. Breitbart elaborates.)

All articles that follow are written or co-authored by Lisa Lerer. “The author” means Lerer. “The authors” means Lerer and one or more co-authors.

Omission: Pretending Primary Wins by Clinton Were Exclusively Because of Her Strengths. Pretending That Voting Was Smooth and Timely for All Voters.

Clinton defeated Sanders by less than three-tenths of 1 percent, the closest in Iowa Democratic caucus history, the state party said. Sanders said his campaign was still reviewing the results and did not concede….

Democrats spent much of the day wrestling over the Iowa results. Sanders’ campaign declared victory even in defeat…

Setting aside the title that gives no indication of how close the race was, hidden in these vague suggestions of unresolved results are serious discrepancies, any one of which could have influenced the historically thin margin of a quarter percentage point. According to the Des Moines Register,

There have been widespread questions in Iowa and nationally about the accuracy of the counts reported on caucus night, which saw the second-highest number of participants and the closest result in Democrats’ caucus history.

Even with the updated numbers, it remains unclear which candidate won the popular vote. Party officials, following tradition, declined to release the raw vote numbers.

Party Chairwoman Andy McGuire told The Des Moines Register the day after last week’s caucuses that no review would be conducted, and that Clinton’s narrow victory over Sanders was final.

Several discrepancies were reported in Hillary Clinton’s favor.

It also doesn’t help the optics that the state party chairwoman drove around for years in a car with “HRC2016” license plates.

Coin tosses decided the winner in at least a dozen precincts, and the Register declared,

What happened Monday night at the Democratic caucuses was a debacle, period. [T]he refusal [of the Iowa Democratic Party] to undergo scrutiny or allow for an appeal reeks of autocracy….

[T]oo many questions have been raised. Too many accounts have arisen of inconsistent counts, untrained and overwhelmed volunteers, confused voters, cramped precinct locations, a lack of voter registration forms and other problems. Too many of us, including members of the Register editorial board who were observing caucuses, saw opportunities for error amid Monday night’s chaos.

In an article that looks once again more towards upcoming primaries than at what happened in Nevada, the authors give no hints of the difficulties faced by caucus-goers. They do say this:

The 57,000-member Culinary Workers Union didn’t endorse in the election, but it circulated literature ensuring its members knew where and when to caucus and had staff ensure they were able to get to their sites Saturday.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called casino bosses to ensure that workers would get paid time off to caucus. He also reached out to the union to try to encourage the group to push their members to caucus, even without a formal endorsement, according to aides.

Harry Reid’s “encouraging” phone call to the head of Nevada’s most powerful union contributed to Clinton overwhelmingly winning all six of the state casino caucuses, a significant factor in winning the state.

The Democratic Party was scrambling for volunteers only ten days out, increasing the chances for chaos, and despite turnout being a third less than it was in 2008, chaos was indeed a reality, as if turnout were record shattering.

There was no anticipation for the large turnout, nor was there sufficient equipment to register people in a timely manner. We had five laptop computers for hundreds of people and were short staffed. As a result, the caucus meeting started an hour late.

As a precinct captain, I was given minimal training through a photocopied information guide. I wasn’t given a copy of the detailed procedures until the week leading up to the caucus, and there was no one present at the caucus to answer questions that might arise, except for other volunteers who weren’t sure of procedures themselves. When the first vote was taken after the initial instructions were given and letters were read, many wanted to leave. Some had been already been there for nearly four hours.

There were an enormous number of illegal, inappropriate, and confusing occurrences reported by Nevada caucus-goers on sites such as RedditUS UncutThe Reno Gazzette, and Attn.

From the article:

Hillary Clinton overwhelmed Bernie Sanders in Puerto Rico’s Democratic presidential primary on Sunday, putting her within striking distance of capturing her party’s nomination… Clinton is now less than 30 delegates short of the 2,383 needed to win the nomination, according to an Associated Press count.

Beyond the purposefully misleading count including superdelegates, this short article leaves out any hint of the incredible hardships endured by Puerto Rico voters.

There were 2,300 polling stations in 2008. In May of 2016, the number of stations was scheduled to be 1,500. On primary day, June 5, the actual number was 440. Funding for administering the elections was halved from 2012 levels, polls were open only for seven hours, and voters had to go to two different locations to vote in the national and local elections. While all or most poll workers for Clinton were properly certified, many for Sanders were not. Finally, an inmates’ rights group reportedly threatened prisoners to vote for Hillary Clinton or they would be killed.

On primary day, only 90,000 ballots were cast, despite, as reported by Metro PR,

…in principle, about 700,000 voters were expected to participate in the Democratic primary on the island. However, following the reduction of schools and colleges, the new Projection is around 300 thousand.

There were 92% fewer voters than expected “in principle” and 70% fewer than the updated projection.

Minimizing Sanders and His Supporters

Bernie Sanders scored three wins in Western caucus contests, giving a powerful psychological boost to his supporters but doing little to move him closer to securing the Democratic nomination.

[The] results in Washington, Alaska and Hawaii barely dented Hillary Clinton’s significant delegate lead…

Clinton anticipated the losses: She barely campaigned in the three states, making just one day of stops in Washington state, and was spending the Easter weekend with her family.

This was one of the more successful days of his campaign, where Sanders won all three states, gaining 104 pledged delegates; doubling Clinton’s 53. The author minimizes these wins to nothing, suggesting Sanders won only because Clinton let him, and that the victories were fruitless.

He’s lagging in delegates and votes, but Bernie Sanders is still on one excellent campaign adventure.

In the past few months the Vermont senator and his wife, Jane, have traveled to Rome to attend a conference and met Pope Francis, toured Mount Rushmore and rallied supporters in sunny Puerto Rico. He’s scored seats for the Broadway musical sensation “Hamilton” and hobnobbed with celebrities at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Earlier this week, he dropped in on the final game of the NBA’s Western Conference finals….

Of course, Sanders is far from the first candidate to enjoy the perks of the trail [but f]ew candidates have taken as many side excursions as Sanders. In part that’s because they fear looking like they’re focused on activities other than winning voters….

Some of the activities do not seem like standard fare for a Vermont senator known for his workaholic ways. In his decades in Congress, Sanders has rarely attended the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, a star-studded annual Washington affair. This year, he was seated at a front-row table with his wife, where he mingled with Morgan Freeman and Aretha Franklin….

To date, former Secretary of State Clinton has spent considerably less time on this kind of entertainment or travel. She has not made a foreign trip since starting her campaign. Presumptive Republican front-runner Donald Trump has not done as many side activities, though he has used his campaign to promote his products, including a Trump hotel under construction in Washington and a newly renovated golf course in Scotland, which he will visit later this month….

Clinton backers say they don’t begrudge Sanders his fun. “Great, he wants to have his YOLO moments, go ahead,” said Democratic strategist Mary Ann Marsh, using the acronym for the expression “you only live once.”

Clinton, Marsh added, “actually is trying to be president of the United States.”

Sanders, an unusually earnest and genuine politician, is painted as someone only on the campaign trail “for the perks.” His choosing to travel 40 hours to Italy for a five minute meeting with the pope, days before the critical New York primary, was not a spiritual journey, but just “a perk.”

It is strongly suggested that the only adult in the room, the only one actually “trying to be president” (despite spending Easter vacation with her family, instead of campaigning in those three states) is Hillary Clinton.

This is the work of an “unbiased journalist.” This is the story that the Associated Press decides to call “The Big Story.”

Outright hit piece

 

Sanders’ path to the nomination has narrowed to the nearly impossible and campaign donations have plummeted.

But that reality hasn’t swayed Sanders, whose heavy emphasis on party functionaries and arcane political rules is a notable change for a candidate who’s long focused on curbing income inequality, regulating Wall Street and eradicating the influence of corporate money in politics.

Sanders and Trump have both seen themselves as victims of a system stacked against them by the establishment [and while Trump is over it because he’s now winning] Sanders and his supporters are simmering, if not boiling over, with that grievance now.

“I’ve been receiving phone calls from all over the U.S. — profane, sexist, they threatened my life, they’ve threatened my family,” said Nevada Democratic Party chairwoman Roberta Lange. “I feel threatened everywhere I go.”

In Nevada [at the Nevada Democratic State Convention], chair throwing, shouted profanities and even death threats to party leaders marked a meeting of the state party on Saturday. Sanders supporters accused Lange of stacking the rules against them. But those rules were approved by the state party’s full board weeks ago, party officials said.

Setting aside Nevada for a moment, this article portrays Bernie Sanders as someone who has abandoned his principles in a desperate attempt to grasp onto “arcane political rules” to do whatever it takes to beat Hillary Clinton. Yet in the previous article, it’s suggested that he’s not trying to win at all.

In Nevada, despite the best efforts of John Ralston, a chair was lifted and immediately put down. None were thrown. Death threats were indeed delivered to Roberta Lange by at least some Bernie Sanders supporters (as reported by Rolling Stone and Jezebel), but there is no proof that any attendees of the convention perpetrated these threats. Even granting that there were thousands of threats, Lange’s suggestion that the Sanders campaign incited them, let alone the nonexistent violence at the convention, is a tendentious stretch.

According to multiple first person accounts (herehereherehere) and unedited videos of the event (HeavyRedditAdryenn Ashley, the latter listed under “Nevada Democratic Convention livestream”), there was no violence and every voice vote went questionably against Sanders supporters. Rules that were indeed approved weeks before the convention we’re not voted on until the convention, a full half hour before the scheduled start time, when unsurprisingly, Clinton supporters were all seated. Finally, the results of the convention itself were affected by the 64 Bernie Sanders delegates whose credentials were challenged (compared to the 8 challenged Clinton delegates), resulting in a Clinton margin of victory of 30.

(To address one more important point not brought up in the article: The “vandalism” charge at the protest the following day, was sidewalk chalk, written on both the sidewalk and the side of the Nevada Democrats building. According to Nevada state law, this is considered “graffiti,” not vandalism. This and many other articles leave out the detail of sidewalk chalk, allowing the reader to assume that a stronger form of destruction and criminality was committed by Sanders supporters.)

Of Bernie Sanders’ tens of millions of supporters, an extremely small percentage threatened Roberta Lange (potentially criminal), wrote grafitti with sidewalk chalk (barely if at all criminal), and arguably acted inappropriately such as by shouting and cursing (not criminal). Conversely, in order to win at any cost, a large percentage, if not all, of the Nevada State Democratic Party leaders who support Hillary Clinton preemptively used their positions of power to take advantage of and abuse the entirety of the Nevada Bernie Sanders delegation for twelve straight hours.

Citizens’ Media TV

The Nevada State Democratic Convention is the reason Citizens’ Media TV exists. Adryenn Ashley and I met because I was watching her live broadcasts that day, that she and other state delegates were filming at the convention. Adryenn has a large following on Facebook and Twitter, and she shared her own (and everyone else’s) livestreams to millions of people. She is a major reason that the rumors of violence and vandalism of that day did not take hold as strongly as they could have. She filmed the chair being lifted (it occurs at around 4min:30secs). It is her footage that John Ralston tried to twist into violence. Not only did she broadcast that day, she continued reporting on the event, using the raw footage as evidence to tell the truth.

After witnessing how powerfully Adryenn used social media, I contacted her to see if we could take what she did that day to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Myself and a handful of other correspondents both in (Bernie Sanders delegates) and out (supporters and protestors) of the convention hall did the reporting with Facebook Live-streams, and she, in her home in Nevada, personally assisted all of the correspondents, and used her reach to show the world what really happened, from our points of view. Not the narrative. Our coverage reached 1.4 million people.

Excusing and apologizing for Clinton’s health and odd behavior

The author has twice notably excused and apologized for Clinton’s behavior and health. First, after a remarkably odd encounter in a coffee shop, where Clinton, in the midst of answering softball questions by Lerer and other reporters, jerked her head suddenly and repeatedly for a few seconds. Lerer, who was caught on camera as taken by surprise, explained the encounter as “an innocuous exchange.”

Perhaps eager to avoid answering or maybe just taken aback by our volume, Clinton responded with an exaggerated motion, shaking her head vigorously for a few seconds…. Where I saw evasiveness, they see seizures.

Pretending that Clinton’s behavior was not, at the very least, really strange, is strange. This is what you expect from campaigns, not journalists.

Second, referring to Clinton’s stumbling into a van after a September 11 event, the authors write:

At least part of the blame goes to a simple cause: Clinton’s stubborn unwillingness to follow the advice of doctors, family and friends.

“This is just who she is. She is a workhorse. No matter who tells her, her husband can tell her. It doesn’t matter. Chelsea can tell her,” said Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat who served as chairman of her 2008 presidential campaign. “You’re not going to change her at this point in her life.”

After her Friday pneumonia diagnosis, Clinton was determined to “power through,” she told CNN late Monday.

Becoming almost amusingly self-aware, it continues,

Her supporters now are trying to turn the episode into a badge of honor — and a credential for the White House.

“This is a woman who works 20 hours a day and comes into contact with tens of thousands of people and you pick up germs and viruses and things like that and you get exhausted,” said Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy of Connecticut. “If you don’t get a cold or a virus or the flu or pneumonia in a campaign, you weren’t working hard enough.”

In other words, Hillary Clinton’s only fault is that she just cares too much.

(Is there something wrong with Hillary Clinton’s health, that she could not handle being the president? Probably not. I have no idea. And neither does she.)

Conclusion

The day after Clinton lost the presidency to Donald Trump, the authors described the loss as “stunning,” further confirming how out of touch they and the Democratic Party are, or pretend to be, about the sentiments of the electorate.

Many left-leaning journalists behave more like public relations, crisis management, and hit-piece writers than impartial journalists. Their true employers seem to be the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party. which really means that they’re true bosses are the donors. Certainly not the Associated Press, an organization that describes itself as “the definitive source for news.”

That journalists like this are employed by supposedly reputable news organizations, demonstrates how compromised they have become and how far astray the public has been led. While there is plenty of real journalism done by these individuals and their employers, it is fatally undermined by the Democratic stenography and apologism that is consistently featured as the top story of the day, which in turn is treated as incontrovertible fact.

With each passing day, these “news” organizations seem less and less interested in furthering the art of journalism, and instead are slowly and permanently transforming into unthinking tools for their powerful, nearly omnipotent owners, whose only goal is to crush dissent and win at any cost.

With thanks to Ben Szioli for the editorial guidance.

Print Friendly
Tweet about this on TwitterDigg thisShare on Reddit0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Facebook0Share on LinkedIn0Share on Google+0Buffer this pageEmail this to someone

45 comments

  1. RMO

    I think that in retrospect the 2016 election (and associated fallout) are going to mark a personal landmark event for me. I think it will prove as significant as when I found out the truth about the war in Afghanistan that started in 1979. At the time I fell for the establishment media story hook line and sinker. I was angry about how the evil U.S.S.R. invaded the helpless little country for no good reason. I desperately hoped for the freedom fighters in the Taliban to prevail. OK, I was nine years old so I have perhaps more excuse than others for my naivete… When I found out that the U.S. had deliberately provoked the U.S.S.R. by funneling arms and money to a bunch of vicious fanatics whose main beef was that the Afghan government was trying to send girls to school and it was all done with the motive of bogging the U.S.S.R. down in a protracted war with no concern whatsoever of the misery that the Afghani population would suffer it produced a huge shift in how I viewed the world.

    Despite the increased cynicism and skepticism I gained from that experience the 2016 election still managed to astonish me. The press was quite obviously biased and outright hostile to Sanders to an extent that I would not have believed possible. Even before the leaks it seemed easy to see that the Democrats were fixing their primary, but I was still surprised at the extent of the unethical things that were happening. I saw Krugman continuously denouncing and demeaning Sanders despite Bernie’s platform being clearly most in accord with policy opinions he had been promoting for years. I saw the Republican party, a party I find repugnant be the one that actually ran their primary democratically with the result that the party members choice prevailed. This despite the party elite being opposed to that choice. I’ve seen vast numbers of people on the left fervently believing the “Putin hacked the election” story in the same way that so many right wingers are convinced that Iraq really did have “weapons of mass destruction.” The same people who would strongly agree that democracy and the will of the people should determine who the leaders of the nation now seem open to the idea that the CIA should have effective veto power over this question or that there should be a coup now that someone they despise won the presidential election.

    Whenever I think things can’t get any crazier or that I can’t get anymore cynical the world shows me that I was sadly mistaken.

    1. Carl

      I entirely agree. 2016 was one of the most interesting and depressing years I can remember. Interesting because a huge number of people showed themselves to be sick and tired of business as usual; depressing because of all the lying, cheating and general skullduggery which was all out in the open for everyone to see. The loss of credibility of major institutions (both political parties, the MSM, FBI, the “Blob,” take your pick) had already started, but somehow went nuclear.
      And now the “national conversation” has become hysterical and unhinged. Good thing I have a taste for (homemade) popcorn. As Lambert says, 2017 is already great!

    2. johnnygl

      Yep, i’ve learned that radicals don’t get radical for no reason. They get radicalized by events. 2003, 2008-9, and 2016 loom large, don’t they?

      1. johnnygl

        Also, regarding your point about afghanistan, it dawned on me a couple years ago that the cia sees that as among their finest achievements, and is trying to use syria to do it again.

    3. aliteralmind

      I was never politically active until Bernie Sanders. Which is an understatement, because I never did anything before him except blindly vote for Democrats. I’m one of the people Bernie woke up.

      I’ve had a sense for a while (we’re almost the same age) that there was something wrong with the news, but it was CNN’s coverage of the first Democratic primary, where an exuberant “Hillary won!” article was posted as the top story, seemingly three seconds after the debate ended, along with all of the unscientific online polls showing Bernie won by ridiculous margins. This is what opened my eyes to the depth of corruption in media. That there really is no “depth,” because there is no bottom.

      That peoples eyes are open to this, is, in my opinion, the reason that the concept of “fake news” exists. People talk about the term respectfully, like they’re genuinely is fake news out there somewhere that we need to be concerned about, outside of mainstream media’s spin. But what it really boils down to is crushing dissent, especially on the internet. And with Trump in the White House and Ajit Pai at (I think) the FCC, and the blank check we’ve given the Republicans, and that Facebook has selected ABC News as one of the arbiters of truth behind their automated “fake news detector”, I expect dissent and truth to be significantly more difficult in the upcoming few years.

      I’m glad to be able to now truly understand this bias, after having gone through all the research. My next little project is how Republicans are now trying to avoid town halls, with the excuse that they don’t want to be confronted by “outside agitators who are being bussed in just to harass them”. How do you even fight that? So I’m planning on attending some of these town halls and arriving more than an hour before the start time, with the express purpose of debunking this nonsense. Get it on film that there are no buses. Ask people that are angry to prove their identity, to prevent them from being smeared in this way. Show blurred out licenses. Ask them a question only someone from the area could know the answer to.

      it may seem odd to connect this to media bias, but it’s really the same thing. If you treat the nonsense that’s shoveled to us with respect, you can more effectively respond to it.

      1. UserFriendly

        By far the greater part of the news which the American
        people absorb about the outside world comes through the
        Associated Press, and the news they get is, of course, the
        raw material of their thought. If the news is colored or
        doctored, then public opinion is betrayed and the national
        life is corrupted at its source. There is no more important
        question to be considered by the American people than the
        question, Is the Associated Press fair? Does it transmit the
        news?

        -Upton Sinclair p.130
        https://msuweb.montclair.edu/~furrg/hj/sinclairtbc.pdf

        1. UserFriendly

          Many times, in the course of my experiences as a muckraker,
          I have had great captains of privilege endeavor to impose
          upon my intelligence; but I cannot recall having ever been
          offered so childish a pretext as I am here offered by Mr.
          Stone. I am asked to believe that in the nineteen years of
          its history, this enormous concern has been able to pay off
          less than twenty thousand dollars of the debt incurred for
          its office furniture! I am asked to believe that these bondholders
          have votes because the law requires them to have
          votes; and that never once has it occurred to the shrewd
          gentlemen who manage the Associated Press that by the simple
          device of remaining in debt for their office furniture, they
          can keep their organization permanently and irrevocably in
          the control of the big reactionary newspapers of the
          country!

          p.245

          1. UserFriendly

            Let us return to Monday evening, and to our main theme, the
            Associated Press. I saw here my long-awaited chance to put
            this organization on record. I believed, and still believe,
            that this was a perfect case of news-suppression. Here was
            the closest approach yet made to social revolution in
            America; here was the class-war, naked and undisguised–on
            the one side the lives of thirty or forty thousand wage slaves, on the other side a hundred million dollars of
            invested capital, controlling the government of an entire
            state, and using this control to suppress every legal and
            constitutional right of American citizens, and to drive them
            to armed revolt. To this conspiracy the Associated Press had
            lent itself; it was being used, precisely as the BaldwinFelts
            Detective Agency, precisely as the puppets of the
            State government. The directors and managers of the
            Associated Press were as directly responsible for the
            subsequent starvation of these thousands of Colorado mineslaves
            as if they had taken them and strangled them with
            their naked fingers. If it had been such individual crimes
            of strangling, all society would have agreed on the need of
            publicity. I have made it my task in life to force the same
            kind of publicity for the economic crimes of predatory
            social classes.

            p.143

  2. I Have Strange Dreams

    “Left-leaning Journalists”. Please call them what they are – neoliberal, corporatist shills. The only way these “journalists” are left-leaning is if the have one leg shorter than the other.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      Yeah. This gross misidentification should be corrected. Mainstream Democratic Party partisans are not left of center. The incessant accusations of “leftism” that pour out of the mouths of our far right demagogues don’t count as proof of leftism. The Fox, Breitbart, Clear Channel, etc. megaphones pushing this Newspeak narrative do not need Epstein’s assistance.

      If he was being arch or ironic in referring to Lerer as “of the left”, it was not apparent to the reader. I can’t see his eyebrows waggling on the internet.

      1. aliteralmind

        I used the term left leaning because I didn’t think of calling them anything else. Do they consider themselves this? They also consider themselves journalists and clearly are not that either. As I hope is clear from the rest of the article, it is certainly not my intention to validate them.

        It would be fair to put the term either in quotes, or proceeded with “so called.” Or perhaps remove it altogether if I’m just misunderstanding it.

        1. steelhead23

          Jeff, I very much enjoyed your piece, but I think the subject – biased journalist and journalism – could use a more immediate focus. As you know, the “Russians hacked the election” meme has morphed into “Trump is in bed with the Russians.” Much like Iraq’s WMDs this meme is being used to create fear and anger – to undermine Trump’s legitimacy. Even Sanders, whom I like and voted for, has succumbed. It appears that an individual, or individuals, within the nation’s intelligence apparatus leaked information to the press regarding intercepted conversations between Michael Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, indicating that he misled VP Pence about what they discussed. The press treated this leak like a lollipop – who could blame them? – but the disclosure was in fact a crime and it appears to have been done with political intent. The only notable Dem that appears to understand the threat such political meddling by the U.S. intelligence apparatus (Deep State) is Dennis Kucinich. I recognize that I have strayed from your topic, but I see even broader threats from a co opted media and I encourage the alt-news to look at this carefully. Something stinks here – and the stench is more dangerous than the outrageous coziness between mainstream media and the elite pols, much more.

          1. TheCatSaid

            The only notable Dem that appears to understand the threat such political meddling by the U.S. intelligence apparatus (Deep State) is Dennis Kucinich.

            And Cynthia McKinney.

        2. aab

          I don’t think it matters what they consider themselves; it’s false. Whether they are lying to themselves, ignorant, or just lying to the public is irrelevant.

          Anyone writing for the New York Times or the AP is working for corporate media, which means neoliberal, plutocratically captured media. Anyone writing to inaccurately assist Hillary Clinton, portraying her as honest, honorable, progressive, worker or citizen-friendly, or left in any way is acting as a propagandist for corporate, neoliberal forces.

          I usually refer to such people as corporatists, only because many still don’t really understand what “neoliberal” means, and it’s getting thrown around sloppily (like “progressive”).

          If one supports corporate rule, they are not any flavor of left. This is really important to drive home, because the way the corporatists have gained power is by covering themselves in the mantle of the left, even as — once hidden by the mantle — they do nothing but punch the left and undermine its positions, power, goals, and policies. There are people who currently identify with the right who want many of the same goals as the left. Many would have voted for Bernie. I know, because I actually talk to them. When you explain that Clinton and Obama are not of the left at all, but share the same ruling ideology as the Bushes, a light goes on and you can have a productive conversation.

          Like everything else with the Clintonians and neoliberals, what they say — about themselves or anything else — is irrelevant. Look at what they do. “Journalists” who deceitfully protected Hillary Clinton in the primary are not left-leaning. They are left-beating.

          1. aliteralmind

            I’m convinced. I don’t have access to change the above NC version, but I’ve changed the original on my blog.

            It may still need tweaking, as I’m learning from these comments, but likely closer.

            1. aab

              This was a great piece, by the way — albeit a little hard to read, since it brought back a lot of painful memories.

  3. twisted

    An excellent article. It was clear to even a mild follower of US politics such as myself that there was an attempt to rig the election in Ms Clinton’s favour. There seemed to be large tracts of the media abandoning any kind of professional objectivity, choosing to act as cheerleaders for the Clinton campaign. They called first the primaries and then the general election for Ms Clinton before the votes had been cast… seemingly with the intent of giving the impression that the game is already over so don’t bother voting for anyone else.

    I an not an astute enough observer to know whether it was premeditated, or wishful thinking, or just hubris (I suspect some measures of each). However I like to think it is, at least in part, the blowback from this incredibly cynical behaviour – American voters recognising an attempted rail-roading – which cost Ms Clinton the election.

    @RMO: I don’t know about you but whenever I hear about WMDs from the right or “the Rushins did it” from the left, I’m reminded of the “I Want to Believe” poster from the X-Files. Maybe there really is truth to the WMDs in Iraq or to perfidy in Moscow. Maybe there are flying saucers in Area 51 too. And just maybe President Trump will build a wall around Nevada to keep those aliens out.. err in… or something! :)

    1. j84ustin

      FWIW I started rewatching the entire X Files series in 2016 because I figured it couldn’t be any stranger than what was going on around me.

  4. Divadab

    Sad to say I read the US media the way Russians used to read Pravda- assuming it is propaganda but useful to know the party line. I don’t watch teevee at all.

    When the country’s “leaders” are bought and paid for liars, shills for their paymasters, Houston we have a problem. A filthy scummy corrupt evil problem.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Indeed. I read a number of sites grouped in category “The Blob”, then come to NC, Intercept, among others to parse the BS.

      Appetizer of fluff to get my appetite for truth awake, then protein to nourish.

      Repeat daily.

  5. Light a Candle

    Really excellent article! Good to have the spotlight focused on Lerer’s so-called “reporting”.

    I think though that the “Blob” over reached in the 2016 election. So many Bernie supporters clearly saw the rampant cheating and voter manipulation that a significantly large group of people are now wide awake. And that is a very good thing.

    1. aliteralmind

      Thank you, Light a Candle. The more the people are wide-awake, the more prevalent the concept of “fake news” will become. See my above comment.

  6. Fool

    The on-camera twitch/seizure is truly bizarre, even disturbing. What’s truly strange to me is how I’m just seeing it for the first time (and I followed the horse race pretty closely). It’s like, the media just ignored it or would describe skepticism about her health as “conspiracy”.

    And in the end, would it have hurt her? I highly doubt it; people disliked her for her dishonesty, not her (obvious) poor health.

    1. aliteralmind

      The only thing more bizarre than what Clinton did is what Lerer did. The title of her article is “Did Clinton have a seizure? No. I was there.” As if being there and witnessing it firsthand grants her some medical or psychological authority to diagnose.

      My suspicion is that Clinton just had a sugar rush with what she was drinking, and just chose to react really weird to it. Partially trying to be humorous. At the end of it she laughs it off by saying “you should really try this tea!” Or something like that.

      I never heard of the incident until burying into Lerer’s history.

      Whether she had his health issues or not, I don’t think they reach the level of not being able to handle the presidency. And even if they did, she’d have plenty of people underneath her doing the puppeting…as if she doesn’t already. Reminds me of the wonderful movie Dave :)

      1. reslez

        I believe your suspicion is disproved by the evidence, because there were several other episodes that had nothing to do with sugary tea. One was the balloon drop during the convention where she had a strikingly similar event, the other that comes to mind is a lengthy and noticeable freeze up at a podium where an aide had to snap her out of it. There’s also footage of her on the campaign plane taking questions and going into yet another “freeze”. It’s clearly some sort of neurological issue. As for seriousness, who knows, but the lock up and collapsing spell on 9/11 isn’t exactly evidence in her favor. My mother has a progressive illness and is barely able to walk, and she has many of the same mannerisms — I recognized them immediately in Hillary — such as constantly leaning on an aide when walking, avoiding steps and uneven terrain, etc.

        My own suspicion is that members of the media are fully aware of this (look at how much time they spent with her on the campaign trail, they were close eyewitnesses). But they believed themselves to be doing their patriotic duty to the country by concealing it, something like the press downplaying FDR’s paralysis 80 years ago. In reality the main beneficiaries were Hillary’s billionaire donors, and while that’s convenient for journalists who want to remain employed by said billionaires, it’s not at all helpful to citizens of the country trying to make an honest decision based on facts.

        1. Fool

          Agreed. The irony I think is that acknowledgement of her health issues would have probably helped. (One could argue that historically Hillary’s benefited from being the object of sympathy — however much that conflicted with her self-styled “muscularity”.) Speaking for myself, the height of my sympathy for Hillary — who I’m embarrassed to say I voted for — was watching her stumble at the 9/11 event. I don’t think anyone deserves to have such a moment of personal frailty and vulnerability be so exposed and scrutinized; for a moment, even, I felt guilty about the deep schadenfreude that I have for #her.

  7. Altandmain

    The media is literally the plutocratic Goebbel’s or Deep State Ministry of Propaganda.

    The one thing that they fear the most is that a politician that is principled, that serves the people rather than their advertising and revenue interests takes power. I hope for that reason that their advertising revenues continue to decline. I suspect that as Yves has noted before as well that the reason why the MSM has seen declines is not just due to the Internet, but because they have chosen to be stenographers for the plutocracy. Ultimately, that is because the corporate media cares about profits, not providing a public service.

    Thomas Frank has a great article on the coverage of Bernie as well:
    http://harpers.org/archive/2016/11/swat-team-2/?single=1

    The overwhelming coverage was negative for Sanders, while for Clinton it was more positive and outright slanted in her favor.

  8. baaadmoon

    Our only hope now? Trump nominates Henry Kissinger NatSec advisor and then we can get that Syrian War-4-Israel going, which will satisfy our rulers & destroy what’s left of the Amerikan economy.

    IsKissingerDeadYet.com

    1. 1 kings

      That is GOLD baaadmoon, GOLD!

      Where is the party going to be when ol’ Henry meets his maker?
      Or just Party Where You Stand.

  9. KurtisMayfield

    The Democratic primary process is designed not to allow anyone not approved by the inner workings of the party to succeed. The superdelegates guaranteed a Clinton win.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      To Clintonites, a Sanders presidency is much worse than a Trump presidency: No going back.

      This way, they get to play at #Restoration, er, um, I mean #Resistance…

  10. Adams

    Yes! We all knew that l’il Debbie, Harry, Nancy, Chuck and other Dem regulars had their thumb on the scale. However, media bias, both organic and directly DNC inspired, was even more corrupt because it was hidden behind a veil of journalistic objectivity and integrity.

  11. Erelis

    Great article. But got me to thinking that there was a local version of what Lerer was doing with her pronouncement that Clinton had it wrapped up. It happened in Oregon.. The Oregonian several days before the Oregon primary published a poll done by some consultant group along with television station and Oregon Public Broadcasting that had Clinton winning the Oregon primary by over double digits.

    Notice the snark against Sanders in the article. This poll seems to be the only one quoted by all local media.

    http://www.opb.org/news/series/election-2016/bernie-sanders-hillary-clinton-donald-trump-oregon-poll/

    http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/05/hillary_clinton_and_donald_tru.html

    If everything goes to plan Tuesday night, Bernie Sanders will have been in Oregon four times — drawing thousands of people to his speeches and talk of a massive win in the state’s Democratic presidential primary next Tuesday, May 17.

    But new polling released Tuesday by Oregon Public Broadcasting and KPTV shows Sanders’ rival, Hillary Clinton, with a significant lead over the Vermont senator: 48 percent to 33 percent.

    So much for face time.

    Clinton has yet to appear in Oregon this year, sending her husband, former President Bill Clinton, twice to stump in her place.

    ….

    The poll of more than 900 likely voters was conducted by local firm DHM Research May 6 through May 9. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points in the Clinton-Trump result, and 5.6 percent when surveying Democrats.

    Additional details about the poll and the makeup of the respondents chosen were not immediately available.

    Bernie won the primary with 56% of the votes. Hillary won one county and it was by one vote. The poll had an incredible 15 point win for Hillary!! And again, it seems to be the only poll mentioned by local (big) media.

    When I read the article my reaction was WTF!!! Anybody from the Portland area had to be scratching their heads over this one as Bernie had for the longest time his biggest rally in Portland. The campaign if memory serves put speakers outside the arena so all the people who couldn’t get in could hear his speech. This can’t be true I thought. And it wasn’t true–not even close.

    So I wonder if local media and the democratic party establishment tried to pull the same bullshit in other areas?

  12. rod

    aliteralmind I thank you for tracking the signs and showing me the game.

    So many linguistic nuances and subtleties-so much revision and editing, omission and collusion to make it all possible. You did so well stringing it all together.

    I had been searching really hard for a very very simple example to describe this type of media collusion and subterfuge that has been plaguing my information gathering for years. Something simpler than your excellent expose to slip into conversation to see where it goes…

    And in a Feb 1 Charlotte Observer Letter to the Editor titled “To get Truth, we need news without Spin” by Lambros Balatsias:
    “Truth: The glass is holding water at 50% of its capacity. Alternative fact #1: the glass is half full. Alternative fact #2: The glass is half empty. All three statements are true and factual, but they can suggest very different viewpoints. This is the danger we face from both parties and the media spin cycles. The Institution that can successfully show all three facts stripped of the noise that precedes or follows it will ultimately “serve, protect, and advance the public welfare” the best.”

    This has been a useful tool for me to advance into a discussion like you have presented.

  13. none

    I wonder if Lisa Lerer is related to the hedge fund/Huffpo Lerers, Ken and Ben. I spent a while trying to figure this out with search engines, without success.

Comments are closed.