Thursday Reads: Enraged Media Strives to Prevent Glass Ceiling from Shattering

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Good Afternoon!!

Once again I’m struggling with a feeling of shock as I look at today’s headlines and listen to the useless TV talkers. I wonder if this sense of unreality will ever pass?

Donald Trump, a blatant racist, nativist, and pathological liar with literally no qualifications to hold any public office is actually running for President of the United States, and he’s getting very little real pushback from the mainstream media. He refuses to release his tax returns, provides only a ludicrous doctor’s letter, and says he’ll let his children take over his business dealing rather than divest himself of financial conflicts of interest. Can this really be happening here? Unfortunately, it is.

Meanwhile the press spends most of its energy running a witch hunt against Hillary Clinton, an eminently qualified candidate with a long history of public service. We’ve heard about her emails every single day for more than a year, and now we’re weathering a storm of attacks on the Clinton Global Initiative and charges that Clinton may have had contact with some donors to the charity while she was Secretary of State, although there’s no evidence of any wrongdoing on her part.

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What is going on here? Once again, the only answer I can come up with is that a women is on the verge of becoming POTUS. Once again, Peter Daou has a great explanation: IT’S HAPPENING: The Fury Crashing Down on Hillary Is the Glass Ceiling Starting to Shatter.

America has never heard this crashing noise before. It’s the sound of the gender barrier breaking, of the highest glass ceiling shattering, of institutional gender bias resisting conquest — and losing.

November 8th will be the culminating moment, but the process is happening now: With each passing day, Hillary is powering forward in the face of a furious assault on her lifesaving foundation, her private email communications, her health, her family, her integrity. She is wrestling the monumental forces of misogyny and gaining the upper hand.

America has never been here before. We’ve never heard these thunderous noises. We’ve never navigated this terrain.

And we’ve never witnessed a candidate endure such a vicious double standard, such unrestrained attacks by the establishment media.

This is the process of smashing the ultimate gender barrier, this intense grind forward, this fury raining down on Hillary, this uncontrolled maligning of a powerful, dignified woman.

The conquest of institutional bias doesn’t happen in one day. Election Day is the climactic moment, but now is the time the glass is beginning to shatter and the shards are crashing down.

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He’s right. Although the gender bias is often unconscious to those in media who are expressing it, we women can see it. We can hear the dog-whistles and the overt sexism followed by denials. It’s ugly and despicable, but we have to get through it. Hillary has been fighting for us for most of her life, and now we need to be strong for her.

At the Democratic Convention, President Obama said, “Carry her the same way you carried me.” That is what we will do. We will carry her across the finish line on November 8 and we will stand strong for her for the next four years. We must do this for ourselves, for our daughters and granddaughters and for our foremothers who fought for the vote, for the ERA, for reproductive rights, for protection from rape, incest, and domestic violence.

As we’ve seen with the first black President, the battle won’t be won just because we have a woman President, but it will be huge step toward real gender equality. We can tell how huge it is by the way the media is ignoring the historic nature of Hillary’s candidacy and their ravening attacks on her using anything thing think can be twisted somehow to hurt her in hopes of making her break down. They can’t beat her and they are getting angrier and angrier about their failure to destroy her.

And what of those politicians and media people who are enabling Donald Trump? Jorge Ramos writes at Time Magazine: Judgment Day Is Coming For Those Who Stay Silent on Donald Trump.

It doesn’t matter who you are—a journalist, a politician or a voter—we’ll all be judged by how we responded to Donald Trump. Like it or not, this election is a plebiscite on the most divisive, polarizing and disrupting figure in American politics in decades. And neutrality is not an option.

The day after the election will be too late. It was too late when we realized that there were no weapons of mass destruction after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. That horrible error of judgment by the Bush administration—and the lack of strength by those opposing the war—cost thousands of American and Iraqi lives. And nobody can even say that we won the war. But hopefully we can learn something from it.

Regardless of whether Donald Trump wins or loses, we will be asked on November 9th: What did you do? Did you support him? Were you brave enough, ethical enough, to challenge him when he insulted immigrants, Muslims, women, war heroes and people with disabilities? Are you on the record correcting his lies? Did you discuss with your friends and family that in a democracy like ours there is no room for racism and discrimination? Or did you just seat idly, silently, allowing others to decide the future of the United States?

Because you will be asked.

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Trump has forced journalists to revisit rules of objectivity and fairness. Just providing both points of view is not enough in the current presidential campaign. If a candidate is making racist and sexist remarks, we cannot hide in the principle of neutrality. That’s a false equivalence.

Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite were right; sometimes you have to take a stand. They did it against the dangerous persecutions of Senator Joe McCarthy and in denouncing the pernicious official spin during the worst years of the Vietnam War.

Please read the rest at the link.

For the past couple of days, both big media and social media have been obsessed with a disgraceful story by the Associated Press about supposed conflicts of interest between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department. (The story has now been updated with reports on yesterday’s reactions.) The AP also sent two completely inaccurate tweets to promote an article that essentially found nothing. Here are some responses to the AP’s claims and their embarrassing refusal to correct their false tweets.

Matthew Yglesias: The AP’s big exposé on Hillary meeting with Clinton Foundation donors is a mess.

Tuesday afternoon, Stephen Braun and Eileen Sullivan of the Associated Press released the results of a review of State Department appointment data that they used to make some striking claims about Hillary Clinton’s schedule as secretary of state.

According to their reporting, Clinton spent a remarkably large share of her time as America’s chief diplomat talking to people who had donated money to the Clinton Foundation. She went out of her way to help these Clinton Foundation donors, and her decision to do so raises important concerns about the ethics of her conduct as secretary and potentially as president. It’s a striking piece of reporting that made immediate waves in my social media feed, as political journalists of all stripes retweeted the story’s headline conclusions.

Except it turns out not to be true. The nut fact that the AP uses to lead its coverage is wrong, and Braun and Sullivan’s reporting reveals absolutely no unethical conduct. In fact, they found so little unethical conduct that an enormous amount of space is taken up by a detailed recounting of the time Clinton tried to help a former Nobel Peace Prize winner who’s also the recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Here’s the bottom line: Serving as secretary of state while your husband raises millions of dollars for a charitable foundation that is also a vehicle for your family’s political ambitions really does create a lot of space for potential conflicts of interest. Journalists have, rightly, scrutinized the situation closely. And however many times they take a run at it, they don’t come up with anything more scandalous than the revelation that maybe billionaire philanthropists have an easier time getting the State Department to look into their visa problems than an ordinary person would.

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The AP spent quite a long time attacking Clinton for meeting with Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, whom they failed to note has been close friends with Hillary since 1983.

…the most extensively discussed case the AP could come up with is this:

Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi economist who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering low-interest “microcredit” for poor business owners, met with Clinton three times and talked with her by phone during a period when Bangladeshi government authorities investigated his oversight of a nonprofit bank and ultimately pressured him to resign from the bank’s board. Throughout the process, he pleaded for help in messages routed to Clinton, and she ordered aides to find ways to assist him.

I have no particular knowledge of Yunus, Grameen Bank, or the general prospects of microcredit as a philanthropic venture. I can tell you, however, that Yunus not only won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize but has also been honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Congressional Gold Medal. In 2008 he was No. 2 on Foreign Policy’s list of the “top 100 global thinkers,” and Ted Turner put him on the board of the UN Foundation. He’s received the World Food Prize, the International Simon Bolivar Prize, and thePrince of Asturias Award for Concord.

In other words, he’s a renowned and beloved figure throughout the West, not some moneybags getting help from the State Department in exchange for cash. On the level of pure politics, of course, this is exactly the problem with the Clinton Foundation. Its existence turns the banal into a potential conflict of interest, and shutting it down is the right call. But the fact remains that this is a fantastically banal anecdote.

Read much more at the link.

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More negative reactions to the AP reporting:

Matthew Yglesias: The AP’s defense of its bad Clinton Foundation story is also bad.

Washington Monthly: How the AP Spun the Story About the Clinton Foundation.

Inside Philanthropy: Once Again, the Media Gets It Wrong on the Clinton Foundation.

Tommy Christopher: Here’s Why Clinton Foundation Must Restrict Donations if Hillary Is Elected.

This is only going to get worse. Many “journalists” seems to have turned into ravening wolves, hoping for an opportunity to tear Hillary Clinton into bloody bits of flesh. We can’t let them win. We must standing with Hillary. #ImWithHer

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread, and have a nice Thursday.

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Suddenly Mainstream Reporters are Outraged at Government Surveillance

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We’ve known for years that the Feds are tapping phones, reading e-mails, checking on which site we go to on the internet, all without warrants. This afternoon the news broke that the DOJ subpoenaed two months

of phone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative’s top executive called a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into how news organizations gather the news.

The records obtained by the Justice Department listed incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.

In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.

Naturally AP reporters and executives are outraged and President and CEO Gary Pruitt has sent a letter of protest to Attorney General Holder.

The government would not say why it sought the records. U.S. officials have previously said in public testimony that the U.S. attorney in Washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have leaked information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot. The story disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al-Qaida plot in the spring of 2012 to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States.

The story in question was about the successful foiling of the so-called underwear bombing plot. There’s much more at the AP link. So the feds are enraged because of a leak about a successful counterterror operation. Imagine if it had been unsuccessful? Maybe those reporters would be headed to re-education camps by now.

But that’s not the whole story, according to Think Progress. The reason the feds were so nervous about that AP story was that the CIA stopped the underwear bomber rather than the FBI.

Why that drew the attention of the Justice Department, however, is that the CIA was the one who foiled the plot, which the AP report made clear:

The FBI is examining the latest bomb to see whether it could have passed through airport security and brought down an airplane, officials said. They said the device did not contain metal, meaning it probably could have passed through an airport metal detector. But it was not clear whether new body scanners used in many airports would have detected it. You can check out the price of precious metals here.

The would-be suicide bomber, based in Yemen, had not yet picked a target or bought a plane ticket when the CIA stepped in and seized the bomb, officials said. It’s not immediately clear what happened to the alleged bomber.

AP learned of the plot a week before publishing, but “agreed to White House and CIA requests not to publish it immediately” due to national security concerns. But, by reporting the CIA’s involvement in foiling the plot, they put AQAP on notice that the CIA had a window into their activities. The AP’s reporting also led to other stories involving an operative in place within AQAP, and details of the operations he was involved in. That operative, it was feared, would be exposed and targeted by AQAP as retribution for siding with the United States.

John Brennan, who is now the head of the CIA, said at his confirmation hearing that the release of information to AP was an “unauthorized and dangerous disclosure of classified information.”

The AP knew they were being investigated–the shock came when they realized the breathtaking extent of the federal intrusion.

The DOJ issued a statement claiming that “because we value the freedom of the press, we are always careful and deliberative in seeking to strike the right balance between the free flow of information and the public interest”

Okay, if you say so….

So now what? Will mainstream reporters who have been accepting of government surveillance as long as it was directed at us “little people” now begin a real pushback? We shall see.