Nick Confessore Doesn't Understand Why Everybody Hates The New York Times. Let's Help Him Out!
Sorry for the mean screenshot, Confessore, but in our defense, we wanted to do one.
The other day, the New York Times published a piece by NYT reporter Amy Chozick, a self-reflective look at how NYT boned a goat in its obsessive coverage of the emails stolen from the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC by Russian hackers and laundered through Russian intelligence front WikiLeaks, none of which were particularly newsworthy (except probably for the hacking and stealing!). When we learned Hillary Clinton had a public and a private position on certain issues, it confirmed she is a common politician who, like all common politicians, sometimes publicly advocates for things she feels are realistically achievable, or that the public is ready for, while privately believing in something much bigger or radical, or that in an ideal world, the result would be a bit different.
In other emails, we learned that Clinton campaign chair John Podesta has some OPINIONS on how risotto is most properly prepared, and that some longtime DNC insiders were weirdly all supporting the one candidate in the Democratic primary who had been a Democrat the whole time HASHTAG RIGGED.
In her piece, Chozick grapples with realizing that she and her paper literally helped Russia in its attack on our election, by breathlessly reporting every little tiny detail of the Clinton campaign/DNC emails as front page news, instead of reserving those column inches to analyze how a hostile foreign power was trying to hijack the election. (Or maybe giving similar column inches to the ONE MILLION TRUMP SCANDALS that came out every day during that time period.)
It’s dizzying to realize that without even knowing it, you’ve ended up on the
wrong side of history. Months after the election, every time I heard the words
“Russia” and “collude,” this realization swirled in my head, enveloping everything. [...]
Editors and reporters huddled to discuss how to handle the emails. Everyone agreed that since the emails were already out there — and of importance to voters — it was The Times’s job to “confirm” and “contextualize” them. I didn’t argue that it appeared the emails were stolen by a hostile foreign government that had staged an attack on our electoral system. I didn’t push to hold off on publishing them until we could have a less harried discussion. I didn’t raise the possibility that we’d become puppets in Vladimir Putin’s master plan. I chose the byline.
In December, after the election, my colleagues in Washington wrote a Pulitzer-winning
article about how the Russians had pulled off the perfect hack. [...] I must’ve read this line 15 times: “Every major publication, including The Times, published multiple stories citing the D.N.C. and Podesta emails posted by WikiLeaks, becoming a de facto instrument of Russian intelligence.”
The Bernie Bros and Mr. Trump’s Twitter trolls had called me a donkey-faced whore and a Hillary shill, but nothing hurt worse than my own colleagues calling me a de facto instrument of Russian intelligence. The worst part was, they were right.
This is honest, and it is gut-wrenching, and it is admirable to see Chozick wrestle with it publicly, in her own paper.
Chozick's NYT colleague Nick Confessore has a different opinion, and it is "NUH UH." He expounds on that thesis in a long thread, which you may read by clicking on this tweet:
As a former cubicle-mate of @amychozick and an author or co-author on some of the @nytimes coverage of the hacked Podesta and DNC e-mails, I have a different view of our paper's decision to publish stories based on those e-mails.
— Nick Confessore (@nickconfessore) April 22, 2018
Confessore thinks NYT did the right thing by beating its meat constantly over Hillary/DNC email stories, presenting them in a way that did little to educate the public, but gave screeching right-wing howler monkeys things to screech and howl about, and also helped keep some disaffected Bernie supporters at home. It would have been one thing if NYT had led the reporting -- because to be clear, NYT was at the front of the pack and everyone else followed -- by saying "Fox News is going to have a shitfit about this public/private position thing, so here's a reality check of how actually all politicians do that, therefore it is unfair to cite it as further evidence that Hillary is a scheming gargoyle." But in order to do that, NYT would have to be a newspaper that hasn't had a thorny stick up its ass about the Clintons since the 1990s.
Truly, the only purpose served by the NYT's obsession over the contents of the hacked Hillary emails -- and its constant breathless reporting on the Clinton Foundation and the erstwhile Hillary emails investigation, articles which took 14 paragraphs to get to the point, which was THAT THERE WASN'T A POINT, combined with the paper's extremely slow on the uptake approach to reporting on Trump -- was to present a false "two very flawed candidates!" narrative that confused many voters in the end. That may not have been NYT's goal, but it was Russia's goal! And it was most certainly the end result, so MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, FOR RUSSIA. Thanks, NYT!
Confessore makes some salient points -- sometimes it's in the public's interest to publish "stolen or classified information" (agree!); it's not always important why a source is providing secret information, if the information is important (also agree!); all you damned lefties loved it back when we published Chelsea Manning's shit from WikiLeaks (some lefties did!); and so on and so forth.
He also makes non-salient points:
Yep, intra-party squabbling definitely rises to the same level as maybe the Trump campaign is conspiring with a foreign power right before our eyes to steal an election.
Confessore is getting yelled at a lot on Twitter right now. James Fallows tweeted him the infamous NYT cover from when James Comey suddenly reopened the Hillary emails investigation 11 DAYS BEFORE THE FUCKING ELECTION, and Confessore was like WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE STOLEN WIKILEAKS EMAILS NYT IS OBSESSED WITH, NOT THE HILLARY SERVER STUFF NYT IS OBSESSED WITH, thus proving that the New York Times is able to be obsessed with two mostly irrelevant Hillary Clinton email stories at the same time. Confessore does have a point there!
Look, we like to kick the New York Times. It is one of our favorite athletic sports! But at the end of the day, NYT employs some good reporters who do some really good, invaluable work that's second only to the Washington Post (at least if we are looking at this as a competition between only the two biggest papers).
But at some point, NYT is going to have to come to Jesus and reckon with what happened in 2016, and how the paper's truly weird preoccupation with trying to find a criminal motive every time somebody named Clinton has a bowel movement may have definitely 100% for sure been a factor in how things turned out in that election.
For Christ's sake, NYT Executive Editor Dean Baquet is still out there with his bellyaching excuses about how NYT did too get it right when on October 31, 2016, it reported that according to "FBI source" there was DEFINITELY no "there" there with Trump and Russia, which was just obviously true because ... OH WAIT HOLY SHIT, WHAT DID SLATE AND MOTHER JONES JUST PUBLISH? Oh well, probably doesn't matter because NYT is the official Grey Lady and what are Slate and Mother Jones? Are those like Tumblr blogs or something?
Every major publication, including the Times, published multiple stories citing the D.N.C. and Podesta emails posted by WikiLeaks, becoming a de facto instrument of Russian intelligence.
That's just the historical record right there, printed in the so-called paper of record. Maybe Nick Confessore should read that whole article tonight, and then do a new Twitter thread where he talks about how his old Twitter thread was pretty dumb and he is sorry for wasting all our time.
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