Wednesday April 12, 2017
Wintrich of Our Discontent
Lucian Wintrich is a name worthy of Dickens—or maybe George Lucas. He's one of the least-qualified journalists to ever attend White House briefings. Which fits with this White House since it's least-qualified in everything else.
Last month, The New Yorker's Andrew Marantz wrote about him, and the outfit he does whatever he does for, Gateway Pundit, a site for right-wing idiots who find Breitbart too staid. They're a fake news org that propeled the “Hillary is near death” narrative last fall. If you care at all about journalism, and truth, and facts, if you still hope we live in something vaguely resembling a meritocracy, it's an infuriating read:
Wintrich, who is twenty-eight and has no professional training in journalism, was on his way to Washington to join the White House press corps. “I can only imagine what they're going to make of me,” he said, smiling impishly and rolling his eyes. A few weeks earlier, at a pre-Inauguration party called the DeploraBall, I had spent a portion of the evening chatting with Wintrich, one of several far-right social-media stars in attendance. At one point, he excused himself to make an announcement from the stage: “We've had eight miserable years of people in the White House press corps—CNN, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post—writing articles” about President Obama, such as “'The Best 80 Times That I Wanted to Jerk Off to Our President.'” This bias would soon be rectified. “We've been in contact with people in the new Administration, and . . . I'm going to be . . . the youngest, gayest correspondent in the White House in history!” A cheer went up from the crowd as the announcement was made, followed by a chant: “Real news! Real news!”
Gateway Pundit's creator is a dude called Jim Hoft, and near the end of the piece, after a briefing in which a different right-wing blogger didn't ask about the potential resignation of Michael Flynn, the big news story that day, Hoft is having a lemonade at a politico bar called Off the Record. Marantz writes:
That night, Flynn resigned, resulting in a blizzard of banner headlines. Neither Hoft nor Wintrich noticed right away—Hoft was on a flight back to St. Louis, and Wintrich was engaged in a social-media battle with a progressive blogger. Before Hoft left for the airport, I told him that he should expect to hear from a member of The New Yorker's fact-checking staff. “Oh yeah, just like at the Gateway Pundit,” Hoft said. “We've got a huge department of full-time fact-checkers.” He laughed so hard that he nearly spilled his lemonade.
The piece is called “Trolls of Trump,” which may be all that Trump has left these days. Since the piece was published, Wintrich has claimed he was assaulted by White House correspondent Jon Decker of Fox News. If so, it's the best thing Fox News has ever done.