The argument I really didn’t want to have to make: What I’m reading, April 2-3 (early), 2016 (updated)

Updated for a story on the media obsession with Donald Trump, another story on Hillary Clinton losing her patience (she’s entitled, after all), and an unconfirmed story about Bernie Sanders winning Nevada after all.


I am cancelling my subscription to the New York Times and I have discontinued all my newsletter subscriptions with them. Their extraordinarily biased coverage of the Democratic Party primary contest and of the economy undermines the utility of this so-called “newspaper of record” for me as a scholar.

I addressed the New York Times coverage on so-called “free trade” just a few days ago.[1] It is now celebrating Barack Obama’s legacy on the economy, to which my response can be found in #7 here: “If you’re going to post crap about what a great job Barack Obama has done as president, then where’s my job (figure 1)? I’m not interested in your excuses or his—they won’t pay my rent. Where’s my job?”[2]

Fig. 1. Annual labor force participation and employment as a proportion of population, from Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The newspaper has continued its dismissive tone of Bernie Sanders’ candidacy even after having been called out by its own public editor for it last September,[3] when she memorably wrote,

The Times has not ignored Mr. Sanders’s campaign, but it hasn’t always taken it very seriously. The tone of some stories is regrettably dismissive, even mocking at times. Some of that is focused on the candidate’s age, appearance and style, rather than what he has to say.[4]

Times senior politics editor Carolyn Ryan responded, essentially by dismissing the allegations, especially on tone,[5] and it has since become increasingly clear that the Times has felt no need even to appear unbiased. This is a stark departure from the tradition praised by longtime executive editor Bill Keller, most memorably in his exchange with Glenn Greenwald on advocacy journalism.[6]

I of course respect Greenwald’s work, now mostly with the Intercept, and I continue to subscribe to other, known-to-be biased sources, like the Wall Street Journal. But there’s a difference. I have never heard the Journal described as a “newspaper of record.” It is authoritative only within an extremely limited sphere of finance, not even on the economy as a whole. It is unabashedly partisan and its neoliberal bias is easily discerned. I knew what I was subscribing to when I subscribed to it. And with Greenwald, again, there is no mistaking his advocacy. And in this sense, both Greenwald and the Journal now seem substantially more honest to me than the Times.

But finally, in addition to the biased coverage against Bernie Sanders, the simple truth is that it is getting very hard for me to respect anyone who supports Hillary Clinton. For me, she so thoroughly reeks of corruption and entitlement[7] that it’s just inconceivable to me that anyone can really support her. Wesley Pruden, editor in chief emeritus of the conservative (I’m still not sure which tendency) Washington Times, went overboard in comparing her to Richard Nixon,[8] but I don’t think really by all that much.


Donald Trump

I really didn’t want to have to point something out about Donald Trump’s abortion flub. Thankfully, Katha Pollitt has, and more thoroughly than I could have.[9] As to the damage Trump may have done himself? It’s probably wisest to sit back, wait, and see. Instead, we have a lot of noisy speculation, which I’m desperately trying to ignore.

Katha Pollitt, “Abortion and Punishment,” New York Times, April 1, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/02/opinion/campaign-stops/abortion-and-punishment.html


The Horse Race

So now we get to paranoid-level shit. Is the Clinton campaign really behind voter suppression in Arizona? If not, who is and were they really doing it to try to influence the outcome or as a ‘false flag’ operation to smear her campaign? And now what happens? Will the mainstream media pick up this story or ignore it because it cannot reflect favorably on their preferred candidate?

Or, since we’re doing the paranoia thing, should I be looking at another level?

Oh, and by the way, U.S. Uncut is not a source I’m familiar with, but if this story by Tom Cahill is accurate, what happened in Arizona is nothing compared to what happened in Nevada—where it seems Bernie Sanders may have won after all.[10]

All I really know is that none of this helps me to take any more seriously the argument that I should participate in a fraudulent electoral system.[11]

Emma Niles, “Arizona Secretary of State Confirms Election Fraud During Primary Vote,” Truthdig, April 1, 2016, http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/arizona_secretary_of_state_confirms_fraud_during_primary_vote_20160401

Tom Cahill, “Bernie Sanders Wins the Nevada Caucus After All,” U.S. Uncut, April 3, 2016, http://usuncut.com/politics/bernie-wins-nevada-democratic-caucus/


Bernie Sanders

It would appear that Hillary Clinton distinguishes between an industry and its lobbyists in order to deny that she takes donations from the industry. This from the self-proclaimed ultimate outsider.[12]

Elizabeth Landers, “Sanders says Clinton owes him apology over fossil fuel spat,” CNN, April 1, 2016, http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/01/politics/bernie-sanders-hillary-clinton-apology/index.html


Donald Trump

Allan Chernoff, “All Donald Trump, all the time: How our dumbed-down media creates a dumbed-down electorate,” Salon, April 2, 2016, http://www.salon.com/2016/04/02/all_donald_trump_all_the_time_how_our_dumbed_down_media_creates_a_dumbed_down_electorate/


Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton may be self-destructing in a way I hadn’t foreseen.

Lisa Lerer and Ken Thomas, “Clinton’s frustration grows, as primary race drags on,” Associated Press, April 2, 2016, http://bigstory.ap.org/article/5ba783122da14454b5ef251c53d21f4c/clintons-frustration-grows-primary-race-drags


Footnotes

  1. [1]David Benfell, “The New York Times gets it badly wrong on so-called ‘free’ trade,” Not Housebroken, March 30, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=8836
  2. [2]David Benfell, “If you want me to take you seriously….” n.d. https://parts-unknown.org/drupal7/content/if-you-want-me-take-you-seriously
  3. [3]Margaret Sullivan, “Has The Times Dismissed Bernie Sanders?” New York Times, September 9, 2015, http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/09/09/has-the-times-dismissed-bernie-sanders/
  4. [4]Margaret Sullivan, “Has The Times Dismissed Bernie Sanders?” New York Times, September 9, 2015, http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/09/09/has-the-times-dismissed-bernie-sanders/
  5. [5]Carolyn Ryan, quoted in Margaret Sullivan, “Times Senior Editor Carolyn Ryan on Sanders Coverage,” New York Times, September 9, 2015, http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/09/09/times-senior-editor-carolyn-ryan-on-sanders-coverage/
  6. [6]Bill Keller, “Is Glenn Greenwald the Future of News?” New York Times, October 27, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/28/opinion/a-conversation-in-lieu-of-a-column.html
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Updated (again and again and again): Damnation by faint praise: Sanders claims to be more electable than Clinton,” Not Housebroken, March 6, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=8529; David Benfell, “The art of the intolerable,” Not Housebroken, March 20, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=8823; David Benfell, “Donald Trump and the polls,” Not Housebroken, March 31, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=8849
  8. [8]Wesley Pruden, “Hard times for the Nixon of the Democrats,” Washington Times, March 10, 2016, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/mar/10/wesley-pruden-hillary-clinton-has-as-much-as-nixon/
  9. [9]Katha Pollitt, “Abortion and Punishment,” New York Times, April 1, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/02/opinion/campaign-stops/abortion-and-punishment.html
  10. [10]Tom Cahill, “Bernie Sanders Wins the Nevada Caucus After All,” U.S. Uncut, April 3, 2016, http://usuncut.com/politics/bernie-wins-nevada-democratic-caucus/
  11. [11]David Benfell, “Why I do not vote,” Not Housebroken, February 25, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=8743; David Benfell, “A pox on both your parties,” Not Housebroken, February 27, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/?p=8785
  12. [12]Bradford Richardson, “Hillary: Who’s more of an outsider than a woman?” Hill, September 20, 2015, http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/254315-hillary-whos-more-of-an-outsider-than-a-woman

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