Michael Wolff: Trump Win Exposes Media’s Smug Failures

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Ads don’t work, polls don’t work, celebrities don’t work, media endorsements don’t work and ground games don’t work.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

The media turned itself into the opposition and, accordingly, was voted down as the new political reality emerged: Ads don’t work, polls don’t work, celebrities don’t work, media endorsements don’t work, ground games don’t work.

Not only did the media get almost everything about this presidential election wrong, but it became the central issue, or the stand-in for all those issues, that the great new American Trump Party voted against.

The transmutation of political identities has arguably devolved into two parties: the Trump one, the angry retro people, and the Media Party, representing the smug modern people, each anathema to and uncomprehending of the other. Certainly, there was no moment in the campaign where the Media Party did not see itself as a virtuous and, most often, determinative factor in the race. Given this, the chants of “CNN sucks” at Trump rallies should not have been entirely surprising.

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But they were. The media took this as a comment about press freedom rather than its own failure to read the zeitgeist. In fact, it largely failed to tell any story other than its own…

It all washed away. Beyonce. The tax returns. The theoretical blue wall. Trump as sexual predator. Putin. His shambolic debate performances. Hispanics. Indeed, every aspect of the media narrative, dust. This narrative not only did not diminish him, it fortified him. The criticism of Trump defined the people who were criticizing him, reliably giving the counter-puncher something to punch. It was a juicy target. The Media Party not only fashioned the takedown narrative and demanded a special sort of allegiance to it — Twitter serving as the orthodoxy echo chamber — but, suspending most ordinary conflict rules, according to the Center for Public Integrity, gave lots of cash to Hillary. The media turned itself into the opposition and, accordingly, was voted down… Read the rest of this entry »


Clinton Campaign and Democrat Media Complex Enjoy Unique Mutual Benefits

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New Yorker television critic Emily Nussbaum, a newly minted Pulitzer Prize winner, spent the Republican National Convention pen-pricking presidential nominee Donald Trump as a misogynist shyster running an “ugly and xenophobic campaign.”

What Nussbaum didn’t disclose in her dispatches: she contributed $250 to Democrat Hillary Clinton in April.

On the nation’s left coast, Les Waldron, an Emmy Award-winning assignment editor at television station KFMB, the CBS affiliate in San Diego, swung right in July, shooting $28 to Trump.

And Carole Simpson, a former ABC “World News Tonight” anchor who in 1992 became the first African-American woman to moderate a presidential debate, is not moderate about her personal politics: the current Emerson College distinguished journalist-in-residence and regular TV news guest has given Clinton $2,800.

Conventional journalistic wisdom holds that reporters and editors are referees on politics’ playing field — bastions of neutrality who mustn’t root for Team Red or Team Blue, either in word or deed.

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But during this decidedly unconventional election season, during which “the media” has itself become a prominent storyline, several hundred news professionals have aligned themselves with Clinton or Trump by personally donating money to one or the other.

In all, people identified in federal campaign finance filings as journalists, reporters, news editors or television news anchors — as well as other donors known to be working in journalism — have combined to give more than $396,000 to the presidential campaigns of Clinton and Trump, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis.

Nearly all of that money — more than 96 percent — has benefited Clinton: About 430 people who work in journalism have, through August, combined to give about $382,000 to the Democratic nominee, the Center for Public Integrity’s analysis indicates.

About 50 identifiable journalists have combined to give about $14,000 to Trump. (Talk radio ideologues, paid TV pundits and the like — think former Trump campaign manager-turned-CNN commentator Corey Lewandowski — are not included in the tally.)

Read the rest of this entry »


A Subversive Message in Hong Kong Goes Up in Lights 

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The city has gone to great lengths to contain protests during Mr. Zhang’s visit, but pro-democracy messages have slipped through.

BEIJING — Jason Lam reports: For more than a minute on Tuesday night, nine-digit numbers were displayed across the facade of Hong Kong’s tallest skyscraper, the International Commerce Center. Towering above Victoria Harbor, the glowing white digits blinked against the night sky: 979,012,493… 979,012,492… 979,012,491…

“Due to the high level of security, there’s almost no channel for the Hong Kong people to voice and protest.”

The seemingly innocuous numbers contained a subversive statement. The animation is a countdown of the seconds until when the “one country, two systems” framework — a guarantee that Hong Kong, a former British colony, would keep its civil liberties and a high degree of autonomy for 50 years after its return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 — is set to expire.

[Watch in Times Video »]

“We hope to deliver this work to illustrate the biggest anxiety of the Hong Kong people,” Sampson Wong, who created the animation with the artist Jason Lam, said before the lights first went up.

“Most of the animations shown on the I.C.C. are ad-like, meaningless videos. We wanted to show something relevant to the social situation of Hong Kong.”

–Sampson Wong

The artists planned the display to coincide with a three-day visit to Hong Kong by Zhang Dejiang, a member of China’s governing Politburo Standing Committee, which began on Tuesday. Mr. Zhang is the highest-ranking official from mainland China to visit Hong Kong since the pro-democracy demonstrations in 2014 known as the Umbrella Movement.

Zhang Dejiang

Zhang Dejiang

[Read the full text here, at The New York Times]

The city has gone to great lengths to contain protests during Mr. Zhang’s visit, but pro-democracy messages have slipped through. At least seven members of the League of Social Democrats party were arrested on Tuesday in connection with at least two banners appearing in public — one on a hillside, the other along the route taken by Mr. Zhang’s motorcade — reading “I Want Genuine Universal Suffrage” and “End Chinese Communist Party Dictatorship.”

“Due to the high level of security, there’s almost no channel for the Hong Kong people to voice and protest,” Mr. Wong said. Read the rest of this entry »


Matt Bevin Elected Governor of Kentucky, Only the 2nd Republican Governor in 4 Decades

Matt Bevin of Louisville, Ky., waits to speak during the 133rd Annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013. Bevin, a Louisville businessman, will face off against Sen. Mitch McConnell in the primary election for the Republican party ticket. (AP Photo/Stephen Lance Dennee)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) UPDATED at 8:09: Matt Bevin elected governor of Kentucky, only the 2nd Republican governor in four decades.

The campaign for Kentucky governor concludes Tuesday as voters elect someone to replace a two-term Democrat in a race that has turned on health insurance for 500,000 people, marriage licenses for same-sex couples and public education for preschool children.

Republican Matt Bevin, Democrat Jack Conway and Independent Drew Curtis have contrasted sharply in a race watched closely for its proximity to the 2016 presidential election and for its competitiveness in one of the nation’s last two-party states.

The two major-party candidates and their allies have spent more than $14 million to air more than 41,000 TV ads in Kentucky, according to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity. That does not include direct mail or ads on radio or local cable systems.

The governor’s race is considered to be one of the top tickets in the country. The race was featured Tuesday in the New York Times. The paper said the victor will largely be determined by who actually goes to the polls. There are more registered Democrats than Republicans in Kentucky, so Bevin could “eke out” a victory if he persuaded enough Christian conservatives to go to the polls. Read the rest of this entry »


Senator Feinstein Pimps Semi-Automatic Rifle Import Ban Based on 45-Year-Old Law

Getty Images

Getty Images

The Daily Caller‘s Mike Piccione reports:  California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein is circulating a letter on Capitol Hill calling once again for a ban on semi-automatic rifles and asking for President Barack Obama to keep his State of the Union promise to make 2014 a “year of action.”

Citing the Gun Control Act of 1968, Feinstein states, “In recent years… importers of firearms have taken advantage of ATF’s interpretation of the ‘sporting purposes’ test to evade the import ban.”

The phrase contained in The Gun Control Act of 1968 Feinstein is referencing prohibits the importation of firearms that are not “generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes.”  She claims that in recent years firearms importers have taken advantage of ATF’s interpretation of “sporting purposes” to circumvent the ban.

Although Feinstein recognizes that the firearms are designed for civilian use and never manufactured or used by any standing army, she maintained that “many semiautomatic firearms on the market today do not have a military origin but are modeled closely after military firearms.”

To justify the ban, Feinstein cited a study by The Center for Public Integrity and expressed concern regarding international gun-running. Read the rest of this entry »


NYT reporter: Obama admin “most closed, control-freak administration I’ve ever covered”

Ed Morrissey writes: Remember when the media rushed to talk about transparency in the Barack Obama “Hope and Change” era? Good times, good times.  Leonard Downie, who once worked as the executive editor of the Washington Post and wrote a novel about Washington corruption and the Iraq War, finds a bigger and non-fictional problem in the successor to George W. Bush.  Downie gives the Post a preview of his report from the Committee to Protect Journalists which outlines the Obama war on reporters and their sources:

“A memo went out from the chief of staff a year ago to White House employees and the intelligence agencies that told people to freeze and retain any e-mail, and presumably phone logs, of communications with me,” Sanger said. As a result, longtime sources no longer talk to him. “They tell me: ‘David, I love you, but don’t e-mail me. Let’s don’t chat until this blows over.’ ”

Sanger, who has worked for the Times in Washington for two decades, said, “This is most closed, control-freak administration I’ve ever covered.”

Many leak investigations include lie-detector tests for government officials with access to the information at issue. “Reporters are interviewing sources through intermediaries now,” Barr told me, “so the sources can truthfully answer on polygraphs that they didn’t talk to reporters.”

The investigations have been “a kind of slap in the face” for reporters and their sources, said Smith of the Center for Public Integrity. “It means you have to use extraordinary measures for contacts with officials speaking without authorization.” Read the rest of this entry »