Tuesday September 25, 2018
I Just Wasn't Made for These Times
Dark days. When I feel myself get down, I remind myself that's what Mitch McConnell wants.
Last Friday, the New York Times ran a story about how, during other recent dark days, in the aftermath of Trump firing FBI director James Comey, deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein suggested wearing a wire around Trump. Here's how it looked as the lede on their website:
How do they know this? Somebody said it. Who? They‘re not saying. Does he/she have an agenda? Who knows? All I can think of is Judith Miller in 2002. Her deep source on Iraq was Dick Cheney, she printed what he said without attribution, then he held up the Times and said, “Look, even the New York Times is saying so.” Was Miller obligated at that point to say, “Wait, that was you”? Obligated as a citizen, I mean. As someone who cares about truth, the country, where it’s going.
It feels like the Times got played again. Feels like, instead of getting us deeper into war, they‘re getting us deeper into a constitutional crisis. What I particularly dislike is the certainty in the above. This happened. This way. Not: According to an unnamed source... who may have an agenda... “ No, they planted their feet; they went provocative. They went third-person omniscient.
Rosenstein immediately denied the substance of the piece, and subsequent reports say that in the conversation Rosenstein was being sarcastic, joking. As in: ”What do you want me to do—wear a wire?“ But the above is the story. It will always be the story. I don’t know how you make it not the story.
Anyone who doesn't see where this is going didn't see Trump winning in the wake of Comey's 11th-hour reopening of the Hillary email case. The New York Times make it sound like there's partisan hackery in the DOJ. They make it sound like Rosenstein has an agenda, and that's why he hired Mueller. So it gives justification to fire Rosenstein, and for the new appointee to fire Mueller. And then where are we?
Read your David Simon. I like this graf in particular:
Given all this, I fear a good newspaper, and at times a great newspaper, has in this instance performed disastrously. The newspaper encountered a rational and inevitable process by which professionals, while balanced on a very real ethical precipice, are meeting and spitballing their status and options — as say a bunch of reporters or editors might contemplate all manner of option, express all possible concerns, evaluate all possible risk, and likely employ all forms of sarcasm or wit when addressing their ethical role and a complicated task at hand. And then, given some available shards of information about that process by interested parties — as all sources are interested parties — the Times foolishly made itself party to what amounts to a first-news-cycle justification for an authoritarian administration to fire a torpedo into the very idea that we are a nation of laws. Because this kind of journalistic malpractice isn't happening in a vacuum: These are perilous times. Much is no longer normal in our governance. The stakes are high.
No one mention ”liberal media" to me ever fucking again.