Glenn Thrush | Media Matters for America

Glenn Thrush

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  • Daily Caller publishes, then deletes anti-Semitic video

    Blog ››› ››› BRENDAN KARET

    Right-wing website the Daily Caller posted a video titled “New York Times’ Glenn Thrush Has KHOUTSPA” set to the Jewish folk song Hava Nagila.

    The Daily Caller’s video received immediate backlash for its anti-Semitic theme. Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted, “Calling out @dailycaller for this anti-Semitic video/attack on a Jewish journalist. Take it down. Apologize to @glennthrush,” and The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin wrote, “The Daily Caller is lower than Breitbart these days.” The video was eventually deleted after the backlash, but not before the Daily Caller editor-in-chief, Geoffrey Ingersoll, defended the video.

    The Daily Caller has a long history of publishing content with anti-Semitic undertones, including headlines like “Kill All The Jews And When That Is Done Kill Those That Refused To Defend Them,” and “FINALLY! The First Poop Swastika Of 2017 Appears On An American College Campus,” as well as using a Holocaust denier to falsely smear former President Bill Clinton.

  • NY Times brings the Trump pivot nonsense to Harvey

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

    How long will journalists continue to do this?

    The New York Times reports today that the disaster caused by Harvey offers President Donald Trump “an opportunity to recapture some of the unifying power of his office he has squandered in recent weeks.” His planned trips to Texas and Louisiana this week demonstrate that he “is behaving like a man whose future depends on getting this right.” He “used the dulcet, reassuring and uplifting language of prior presidents” in announcing the trips, in a manner “strikingly different” from his near-defense of white supremacists and neo-Nazis earlier this month. At a news conference yesterday, he “repeatedly praised the joint response of federal officials, echoing his upbeat tweets over the weekend.”

    All Trump has to do is the absolute minimum expected of a president -- say he’ll show up at a disaster site, and manage to discuss the disaster without insulting anyone -- and visions of “the pivot” dance in the heads of White House political reporters. That’s how low the bar is now being set.

    We’ve seen this before, over and over again. The pivot isn’t coming. Inevitably, Trump will revert to form.

    And indeed, Times reporter Glenn Thrush, an experienced journalist who is extremely familiar with the president’s faults, knows this, warning of the “unpredictable element of Mr. Trump’s emotional weather, which can shatter the prevailing harmony in an instant, through a tweet or a taunt.” In fact, Thrush writes, that’s already happening -- “the storm has done little to diminish Mr. Trump’s propensity for muddying moments of presidential leadership by picking fights with the news media or his political opponents,” as seen at yesterday’s press conference. And yet, Thrush continues:

    But this time is different, people around Mr. Trump insist.

    The president, who prefers to skim rather than delve, has seldom been more engaged in the details of any issue as he is with Harvey, according to several people involved in disaster response.

    Left unanswered is why we should believe those sources, who likely have every interest in promoting the image of an engaged chief executive. Or whether those sources differ from the “many of those in the president’s orbit” who Thrush reports “are worried Mr. Trump will not be self-controlled enough to maximize the moment.” Or how Trump could be “behaving like a man whose future depends on getting this right” while simultaneously “picking fights with the news media or his political opponents.”

    The Times is crafting a narrative, assembling a series of facts in a way that suggests Trump is making great progress toward seizing the opportunity that Harvey presents to him. But there’s another way to write a story based on the same facts Thrush assembles -- a story focused on how, at a moment of crisis, the president can’t stop feuding with his enemies or watching cable news, a story of a man consumed by his appetites and struggling to maintain focus, surrounded by aides who worry that he could explode at any moment.

    That’s at least as well supported by the evidence as the Times’ narrative. And given Trump’s past performance, it’s also much less likely to blow up in their faces.

  • Cable Networks Were "Played Like A Fiddle" By Donald Trump’s “20-Second” Birther Statement

    ››› ››› BOBBY LEWIS

    A slew of media critics and commentators shamed cable news networks for being “played” into providing free live coverage of a campaign event for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. After Trump teased a “major announcement,” cable news networks provided wall-to-wall coverage in anticipation that Trump would address criticism over his role in pushing conspiracy theories that President Obama was not born in the U.S. Trump’s mere seconds-long statement “came only after a lengthy campaign event featuring military officers and award winners who have endorsed him,” turning it into “a de facto commercial for the GOP candidate.”

  • Journalists Ridicule Lack Of Economic Policy During Trump’s “Make America Work Again” Convention Night

    Day Two Of The Republican National Convention Focused On Emails, Benghazi, And Clinton-Bashing

    ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    The second day of the Republican National Convention (RNC) was billed as an opportunity to highlight Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s proposals to boost job creation and economic growth. Journalists blasted the RNC and Trump campaign after the speakers ignored the economy and instead attacked Hillary Clinton over issues like the Benghazi attacks and her use of a private email server.

  • The NY Times' Shoddy And Sexist Attacks On Hillary Clinton

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Following former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson's acknowledgment that The New York Times gives an unfair "level of scrutiny" to Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, Media Matters takes a look back at some of the Times' most ludicrous, false, and sexist attacks on Clinton.

  • Journalists still perplexed by popular music

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    What is it about reporters that makes them so obsessed with politicians' iPods, and whether they're telling the truth about liking more than one musician? First, Slate's Jacob Weisberg made the improbable suggestion that Hillary Clinton was insincere in saying she liked the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and Aretha Franklin. Then, Politico's Glenn Thrush followed up on this line of reporting a few years later by purporting to fact-check Clinton's professed fondness for the Beatles and the Stones.

    Now comes the Los Angeles Times' Mark Milian:

    So if Obama doesn't know how to use Apple's portable music player -- a product hailed for its ease-of-use, even for a Harvard Law graduate -- was the preelection Rolling Stone magazine article about what's on his iPod a farce?
    Come to think of it, his picks did seem a little too varied, uncontroversial and universally respectable to be the real deal. Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Sheryl Crow and Ludacris? Give me a break.

    What, exactly, is so hard to believe about having Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Sheryl Crow and Ludacris on an iPod? Songs by all four artists can be found on my iPod.

    The assumption by Weisberg, Thrush and Milian that everyone has narrow musical tastes is obnoxious -- and suggests that the three of them don't really like music. In my experience, people who do really like music tend to have diverse tastes -- and don't tend to see an iPod containing Dylan, Davis & Crow as a particularly eclectic collection. It also reveals a fundamental lack of understanding of one of the key the benefits of MP3 players like iPods -- they make it easy to own and access a "varied" music library.

    But most of all it's a nasty little effort to portray Obama, like Clinton before him, as a phony, no matter how thin the evidence.

  • Politico reporter forgets Politico's role in pushing Michelle-Obama-as-liability storyline

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Politico's Jeanne Cummings on MSNBC about half an hour ago, discussing Michelle Obama's popularity:

    She's doing much better than what people thought. There was a time during the campaign in 2008 when lots of Republicans thought that Michelle Obama could become some sort of liability.

    Hmmmm. I don't remember that sentiment being limited to Republicans; I remember a lot of reporters expressing it as well. Reporters like ... Jeanne Cummings Politico colleagues. Let's fire up The Nexis, shall we?

    Jim VandeHei & John Harris, Politico, 3/17/08:

    The GOP has proven skilled at questioning the patriotism of Democratic candidates. Just ask John F. Kerry, defeated presidential candidate, and Max Cleland, defeated senator, if such attacks work in the post-Sept. 11 political environment.

    They will blend together Wright's fulminations with quotes of Michelle Obama saying her husband's candidacy has made her finally proud of America with pictures of Obama himself sans the American flag on his lapel (the latter a point that has thrived in conservative precincts of the Web and talk radio).

    In isolation, any of these might be innocuous. But in the totality of a campaign ad or brochure, the attacks could be brutal, replete with an unmistakable racial subtext.

    Glenn Thrush, Politico, 8/25/08:

    Plastic bags stuffed with big M-I-C-H-E-L-L-E signs are being loaded into the Pepsi Center for a prime-time speech by would-be first lady Michelle Obama. Her tasks are twofold: to introduce herself to the convention as a strong-willed, nonthreatening surrogate who has always been proud of her country - while portraying her Barack as a messy, absent-minded, regular dad who likes playing with his daughters when he's not out inspiring the millions. How she is received could determine how much she is used on the road this fall.

    Mike Allen, Politico, 8/25/08:

    Michelle Obama set out to reassure voters Monday that she would leave the governing to her husband and would not be a domineering White House presence.

    Nia-Malika Henderson, Politico, 3/28/09:

    Traditional? Hardly. In fact, Obama's approach so far is decidedly different from the usual model of the modern first lady - pick a platform of two or three issues and stick to it, by and large, for four years.

    ...

    Yet in the midst of all those themes, it isn't yet clear whether her self-described core messages - about military families, volunteerism, and helping working women balance work and family life - are truly breaking through. Some wonder if she's spreading herself too thin to emerge in the public mind as a leading voice on those topics.

    ...

    [F]or some, Obama's multi-tasking approach to the job raises the specter of Rosalynn Carter, who was dogged early on by questions of whether she was taking on too much and trying to be all things to all people. Ironically, some are raising the same "too much, too fast?" question about Michelle that they're raising about her husband, the president.

    ...

    As for her more official three-issue platform, branding expert Hodgkinson said that for Obama, "the broader mission is to install herself in the psyche of the country and then after that take a look at what does she then wants to advance and can reasonably advance. "

    Military family issues might not be the right fit, she said.

    "When you think about military families it's not a connection you first make with the first lady," she said. "Without that natural pull, it's going to be a harder campaign especially if people's ears are turned elsewhere."

    But now that Mrs. Obama has proven to be quite popular, Politico's Jeanne Cummings wants you to think it was just the Republicans who thought she'd be a liability -- just forget all about what Politico wrote about her.

  • Infighting at Politico!

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Politico's Glenn Thrush:

    Conservatives are right to trumpet the Brown-Coakley race as a referendum on health care reform -- but it turned out to be a referendum with no decisive victor on the defining issue, according to a postgame analysis by pollster Scott Rasmussen.

    ... versus Politico's David Catanese:

    Scott Brown's opposition to congressional health care legislation was the most important issue that fueled his U.S. Senate victory in Massachusetts, according to exit poll data collected following the Tuesday special election.

    One possible reason for the disagreement? The exit poll Catanese relied on was conducted by Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio, though Catanese doesn't tell readers who commissioned the poll.

  • Journalism in the politicians' interest

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    I've been arguing for months that the media should pin down members of congress on how they'll vote on health care reform. More specifically, how Senators will vote on cloture. That, after all, is what the media has said all along is the key vote. As I've explained, the media has failed in not making clear which members are and are not willing to filibuster reform -- and in doing so, they essentially enable Senators to anonymously kill reform in the equivalent of a smoke-filled back room.

    Today, Politico does its job exactly wrong:

    Several Democratic moderates told POLITICO that they most likely will be with their party on most procedural votes but could hold out on the last one - to end debate and cut off a filibuster - if they wanted to demand changes to the final product.

    "Not vote for cloture? I wouldn't rule that possibility out - not at all," said Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who caucuses with the Democrats.

    Other than Lieberman, none of the "Democratic moderates" were named. So the effect of the Politico report is to help those "moderates" anonymously kill reform. The report advances the perception that a strong reform bill can't get cloture, which makes it less likely that such a bill ever comes to a vote, which means those "moderates" never have to reveal themselves.

    This is the exact opposite of what journalism should be. Politico is working on behalf of elected officials rather than the public. They're helping politicians operate in secret, free from accountability. They're providing the smoke, and the back room.