Somehow, “I’m sorry” Just Doesn’t Cut it Here

November 25, 2016


Anytime you questioned the election coverage priorities, media elites would retreat to their default position, “Since everyone hates us, we must be doing the right thing.”

It’s a perfectly seamless, impenetrable logic loop.

Sometimes people hate you because you are destroying humanity’s last, best hope.

Liz Spayd, Public Editor, NYTimes:

LAST winter, as primary voters in Iowa and New Hampshire headed to the polls, a covert and cunning Russian plot was underway to disrupt the American political process. With aliases like Guccifer 2.0and Fancy Bear, Russian hackers were targeting critical computer systems.

In June, they struck, hitting the Democratic Party, and by July its chairman was ousted in the fallout. Soon embarrassing emails were spilling from the computers of Hillary Clinton and her staff. Republican officials were hit, too. So was the National Security Agency. Now, hackers are meddling with the voting systems in several states, leaving local officials on high alert. Come Election Day, they’ll find out what, if anything, the cyberspies have in store.

This is an act of foreign interference in an American election on a scale we’ve never seen, yet on most days it has been the also-ran of media coverage, including at The New York Times.

The emails themselves — exposing the underside of the Democratic political machinery, and the conflicts, misjudgments and embarrassing communications of its top ranks — have received bountiful attention. What rarely makes the main narrative is the spy-versus-spy cyberwarfare: the tactics, the players and the government efforts to tame it. In a calamitous campaign unlike any in memory, it’s not surprising that other story lines get squeezed out. But one of the most chilling chapters of this election is the role of Russian intelligence and the growing threat of digital espionage. With days to go, readers have been shortchanged on this part of history.

History will judge The Times’s institutional commitment to reporting on the actual foreign intervention less favorably, I suspect. The team in Washington produced commendable, competitive work on an exceptionally difficult reporting target. Led by David Sanger, The Times was first to link the Russians to the hacks, to examine the baffling role of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and to smartly explore the options that the Obama administration could use to retaliate. I have no substantive complaints about the stories The Times has done.

What was missing is a sense that this coverage is actually important. After The Washington Post broke the story that the Democratic National Committee had been hacked, The Times came back with its own solid piece, but it didn’t crack the front page and it earned only a modest mention on the home page. A piece laying out evidence that the Russians may be trying to falsify voting results in state databases ran on A15 and got minimal play digitally. Another on Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. signaling that the White House was prepared to order a rare covert cyberattack against Russian found a home on page A19.


15 Responses to “Somehow, “I’m sorry” Just Doesn’t Cut it Here”

  1. florasforum Says:

    It seems like the real news would be the corruption, cheating, collusion with the mass media, etc., between the DNC and the Clinton campaign that these hacks exposed! But that’s not as comfortable as focusing on the Russians, “the other,” the convenient enemy – even though there is no definitive proof that the hackers were Russian – in fact, Wikileaks, who published these documents, said there were no ties to the Russians in evidence.

    • Oh my! John Podesta is a politician, working to get his candidate elected. Never before in the history of American politics have we seen politicians trying to sway the public and the media in this way. Oh no, colluding! Bernie’s people were all so clean, so pure, as were Trump’s. We can be sure that there was no collusion of any kind in those campaigns. Of course, no one leaked their emails, but we know a priori that that they would never have done anything like that. On the other hand, you might stop and read a history book. You can start with T. Jefferson’s campaign. Learn about this slaver’s moral purity and those of his opponents. Read up on the A. Jackson, the 19th century Trump-like simpleton. You will find so many examples in the 19th Century that your head will spin. Skip forward into the 20th century. For example, how in the world did Eisenhower get to be the nominee for the 52 election? And on and on.

      The real news is not corruption, cheating, collusion. It is the one-sided interference in elections by non-U.S. citizens with an agenda. It is unprecedented, as far as we know. And you ask us to take Julius A.’s word on the source of the hack. It is doubtful he even knows the source. Please Flora, get you head on straight and stop the silly talk.

      And since this is a climate change website. The issue is what will be the effects of this interference. I (along with many others) predict catastrophe. Unfortunately, Trump and Putin and Assagne will not be around to suffer the consequence of their actions.

    • in fact, Wikileaks, who published these documents, said there were no ties to the Russians in evidence


      Wikileaks and Russia are quite friendly. Which naturally leads one to contemplate their connection and the real meaning of Assange-the-rapist’s trips to Russia during this election season.

      The need of some to blame Hillary Clinton for every. damn. thing, especially, and including, Sanders’ loss, is quite offensive.

    • andrewfez Says:

      The Republicans at least had a moment of self reflection after Romney lost, where they vowed to change their rhetoric up. The Corporate Democrats are refusing to do the selfsame autopsy report, but instead are busy weaving the narrative that ‘it ain’t their fault – it’s the fault of everybody else,’ because they want politics as usual – where they take exorbitant bribes in return for letting corporations impoverish the middle class then rotate in and out of million dollar lobbying jobs offered by those selfsame corporations – to continue.

      If the media did its job properly and actually held politicians’ feet to the fire, we wouldn’t need Wikileaks – they would be Wikileaks. But the media is just as corrupt as the politicos; all they do is corporate propaganda to keep the oligarchy chugging along; and people are sick of both. I keep saying we’re at a critical mass here – an awakening: 2008 was the greatest single-event wealth transfer from the middle class to the rich in all of human history; followed up by the slow moving Reaganomics train that is just now arriving at Wake the Hell Up and Fight Back station. We’re repeating the post Great Depression era once again, where Labor strengthens up and fights the 1%. The establishment can shoot the messenger all it wants, but people aren’t going back to drinking the Kool-aid.

      Cenk Uger over at TYT, an outlet with 3M subs, when he heard about Chelsea trying to keep the Clinton business model going by threatening to take over Schumer’s seat when he leaves (to continue to garner the pay to play $250,000 talks), said, ‘Okay we’re done with the Clintons…’

      The Wikileaks stuff isn’t just embarrassing dirty politics. It’s showing direct pay to play: Citi Bank gave Obama their picks for his cabinet and he said ‘yes sir, thank you sir’ and let this bank pick his cabinet members. It showed Debby Wasserman Schultz, a politician working for the government, calling up heads of the media corps to get certain journalists to stop being critical of Clinton – that’s not how journalism is supposed to work, at all. It showed the media leaking debate questions to Clinton – again, not how the press is supposed to work.

      • greenman3610 Says:

        so you voted for Trump?
        enjoy your Supreme Court.

        anyone that did not vote for Clinton voted to put Neo nazis in the White House.
        Plain and simple. Own it.

        • socio Says:

          Well greenman3610, seems like you’re ignoring everything that was said; partly, the purpose of engaging in a discussion is trying to understand the other’s arguments.

          I can’t vote, since I don’t live in the United States. However, I do sympathise with the protests in North Dakota. Trump doesn’t because of his financial ties, Clinton didn’t back them up either for who knows what reason. Clinton isn’t your ideal candidate on environment in general: Therefore, I’m not in favour of either candidate. From an environmental standpoint the Green Party had the best agenda.

          I understand your frustration when it comes to Trump. In Europe where I live we see the same trend. I think you’re missing the point by focussing on whether or not Russia was involved, fake news etc. These nazi/ultra right movements are very scary but my take is that this is because of economics. The Democrats didn’t address this in their campaign, ran an establishment candidate who didn’t respond to the economic hardship a lot of people live in, but instead chose to focus on Trump’s character.

          • greenman3610 Says:

            No argument that Dems could have emphasized different issues, but since media was not covering issues, only nonsense and horserace, not clear how that was going to break thru.
            It is clear that grassroots organizing effort was deficient, but equally clear that media was focused on boosting ratings, not understanding.

        • andrewfez Says:

          I voted the same way I do every 4 years – Green Party – Jill Stein – Green New Deal – put everybody back to work decarbonizing our energy infrastructure. I voted Sanders in the primary, who also had a Green New Deal in his platform, and also consistently polled 10+ points higher than Trump on general election polls and would have crushed Trump had he been given a fair shake by the media and by the DNC. (That’s another thing wikileaks showed: the DNC feigned their obligatory neutrality in public but was basically working for Clinton under the hood. One DNC memo contained a proposal to atheist-shame Sanders in WV to garner the religious vote there for Clinton).

          But even if all Stein voters would have voted for Clinton, she still would have lost. Clinton actually won a few states – like CO – because Gary Johnson voters stole enough votes from Trump for her to pull ahead, so if it weren’t for third party voters, the carnage would have been worse. And we have to remember 9% of Democrats voted for Trump.

          Indeed it was the Rust Belt that turned on her – OH, MI, WI – not really neo-nazi country, but more so factory worker country, which watched as Obama tried his best to push the TPP through and were convinced that Clinton would have done so if he could not have (again backed up by wikileaks which showed Clinton operatives trying to figure out how to spin Clinton’s pro-TPP stance). TPP and NAFTA was one place Trump was to the left of Clinton. Another was where Trump was against cutting Social Security whilst Clinton was on record last election cycle as wanting to ‘work’ with Republicans to make cuts. That’s something that too could’ve played out in WV – an aged state now heavily reliant on SS payments to keep the economy going.

          As far as the Nazis go, I’ve heard the head count on the alt-right clocks in around 50,000. The number of people that voted Trump was over 60,000,000, and I’m sure the majority did so because they just habitually vote Republican time and time again, as it’s part of their cultural identification, which is a function of geographical determinism; though I would not discount the historical watermark of the Southern Strategy lingering onward.

          Incidentally I don’t think having a strict immigration program is inherently racist – Bill Clinton got a standing ovation by Congress when he vowed to ramp up boarder security and deportation during a State of the Union address – and at its heart it’s an economic issue (perhaps even a climate issue as the US, having the highest per capita carbon footprint in the world, really shouldn’t be encouraging population growth) – but it seems to attract a lot of these Nazi idiots that think the white race is dying out due to long term demographic shifts – kind of a hyper-paranoid collectivist mindset drowning out individualism. Where Trump goes wrong is 1) trying to ban immigration on the basis of religion which is unconstitutional and 2) wanting to deport millions of people in a short period of time which is a civil liberties problem as it requires giving huge amounts of authoritarian power to the police state.

          As far as judges goes, more than likely Clinton was just going to put a center right republican and a corporatist on the bench. There wouldn’t be much difference between Clinton’s pick or Trump’s regarding letting Exxon run rough-shot over the country. The main difference probably would have been on social issues but not even Scalia could fight the rising tide of social progress at this point. It’s something I considered when voting Stein…

  2. Amen, Nicole.

    Incidentally, while I did not vote for Jill Stein and thought it was immoral do so, as Noam Chomsky just said (, I just gave her a contribution. She is raising money for a recount in PA, WI and MI. Go to her site and contribute:

    This is so reminiscent of the years following the theft of Gore’s presidency when we were all looking at vote machine tampering.

    A funny one: A friend of mine just told me that he read recently that Trump’s election is a test of the question “Can anyone be President of the US?” He said, “Wrong, we already tested that in 2000 and the answer was NO!”

    • webej Says:

      Actually Pierre Trudeau (4th term prime minister of Canada) was asked by the press what his reaction was to the election of Ronald Reagan, in 1980 (who was considered an impossibly ignorant and unserious political cowboy by the serious press in the run up to the election). Trudeau’s answer then: Well, this proves that it is true what they say: Anybody can indeed become president of the USA.

  3. patricklinsley Says:

    Off topic but incredibly on topic:

    Perils of Climate Change Could Swamp Coast Real Estate

  4. russellseitz Says:

    “The emails themselves — exposing the underside of the Democratic political machinery, and the conflicts, misjudgments and embarrassing communications of its top ranks — have received bountiful attention.”

    Anyone you know?

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