Spygate Spin: “How Can Honest People Still Deny That The News Media Is Spreading Anti-Trump Propaganda As Fact?” Exhibit A

My New York Times headline this morning: “Trump Embraces Shadowy Plots, Eroding Trust..Theories from Fringes…Agencies Undermined By Claims of ‘Spygate” and ‘Deep State’

This is no better than, and no less than, actively perpetuating a Big Lie.

I won’t get into the murk of the Deep State for now. However, denying “Spygate” and claiming it is a “fringe” conspiracy theory is flagrantly dishonest, and a low even by the Times’ recent standards. The entire “Obama’s administration didn’t spy on the Trump campaign, like so many examples of political spin and denial, rests on Clintonesque rhetorical deceit” “It depends on what the meaning of spy is.” Really, New York Times? Really, CNN? Really, my furious, Trump-hating, echo-chamber bolstered Facebook friends? Really? That’s your argument?


Two definitely non-fringe, non-conspiracy theorist, non-Trump flacks clarified this issue for anyone who doesn’t want to be brainwashed by the Times and its chums, who are now especially desperate because they are covering for Obama, whose administration—scandal free, you know!—looks sleezier and more incompetent in the rear view mirror by the day.

Here is Michael Barone, a Republican pundit but no Trump fan:

F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims,” read the headline on a lengthy New York Times story May 18. “The Justice Department used a suspected informant to probe whether Trump campaign aides were making improper contacts with Russia in 2016,” read a story in the May 21 edition of the Wall Street Journal.

So much for those who dismissed charges of Obama administration infiltration of Donald Trump’s campaign as paranoid fantasy. Defenders of the Obama intelligence and law enforcement apparat have had to fall back on the argument that this infiltration was for Trump’s — and the nation’s — own good.

It’s an argument that evidently didn’t occur to Richard Nixon’s defenders when it became clear that Nixon operatives had burglarized and wiretapped the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters in June 1972.

Until 2016, just about everyone agreed that it was a bad thing for government intelligence or law enforcement agencies to spy — er, use informants — on a political campaign, especially one of the opposition party. Liberals were especially suspicious of the FBI and the CIA. Nowadays they say that anyone questioning their good faith is unpatriotic.

The crime at the root of Watergate was an attempt at surveillance of the DNC after George McGovern seemed about to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, just as the government misconduct in Russiagate was an attempt at surveillance of the Republican Party’s national campaign after Trump clinched its nomination.

…Both the Watergate wiretap and the Obama appointees’ investigator/spy infiltration were initially inspired amid fears that the upstart opposition might win. The Watergate burglary was planned when Nixon’s re-election was far from assured. A May 1972 Harris Poll showed him with only 48 percent against McGovern. It was only after the Haiphong harbor bombing and Moscow summit in early June made clear that US involvement in Vietnam was ending that Nixon’s numbers surged — just before the June 17 burglary.

In March 2016, it was conventional wisdom that Trump couldn’t be elected president. But his surprising and persistent strength in the Republican primaries left some doubtful, including the FBI lovebirds who instant messaged their desire for an “insurance policy” against that dreaded eventuality.

Their unease may have owed something to their knowledge of how the Obama Justice Department and FBI had fixed the Hillary Clinton emails case. Clinton wasn’t indicted but was left with a disastrously low 32 percent of voters confident of her honesty and trustworthiness.

There are two obvious differences between Watergate and the Obama administration’s infiltration. The Watergate burglars were arrested in flagrante delicto, and their wiretaps never functioned. And neither the FBI nor the CIA fully cooperated with the post-election cover-up.

That’s quite a contrast with the Obama law enforcement and intelligence appointees’ promotion of Christopher Steele’s Clinton campaign-financed dodgy dossier and feeding the mainstream media’s insatiable hunger for Russia collusion stories.

Has an outgoing administration ever worked to delegitimize and dislodge its successor like this? We hear many complaints, some justified, about Donald Trump’s departure from standard political norms. But the greater and more dangerous departure from norms may be that of the Obama officials seeking to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

Come on…this is all made up! It didn’t happen! It’s a conspiracy theory from the fringes! The New York Times says so!

Here was prominent White House advisor David Plouffe’s tweet in June of 2016:

Nah, that’s a fake tweet, right? Nothing sinister like this was really being discussed in Obama’s scandal-free White House! It all a paranoid conspiracy theory!

Now here is Andrew McCarthy—a conservative, but apparently there are no liberal journalists with any integrity where Trump is involved–in his article, “The Obama Administration’s Hypocritical Pretext for Spying on the Trump Campaign.” McCarthy is hardly Alex Jones. He is a rigorous analyst who was previously assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. He led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others ultimately convicted of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He knows how to construct a damning case, and wrote in part:

As I argued in my weekend column, it is hard to imagine a more idle question than whether the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign. Of course it did. If you want to argue the point, imagine what the professors, pundits, and pols would have said had the Bush administration run an informant against three Obama 2008 campaign officials, including the campaign co-chairman; any hair-splitting about whether that technically constituted “spying” would be met by ostracism from polite society.

Verdict: true. Continue reading

Now THAT’S An Ad Hominem Attack

"How do I rebut your argument? Here's how, you, brain-damaged Hell-spawn!"

“How do I rebut your argument? Here’s how, you, brain-damaged Hell-spawn!”

David Plouffe at least has done something useful, if not ethical.

We get a lot of accusations here—aimed at me and also between warring commenters—of using ad hominem attacks. Ad hominem attacks are indeed unethical, not because of the negative descriptions of the target they involve, which may well be accurate and fair, but because they are a dishonest and unfair debate tactic. The motive behind a true ad hominem attack is to avoid dealing with the substance of what an adversary claims, argues or asserts by attacking the person, character or background of the adversary.  The intention is to avoid the implications of a fact or illuminating opinion by asserting: “This person is bad, so don’t listen to what he has to say.”  It is a logical fallacy, of course. Whether an individual is bad or not doesn’t change the facts; a bad person may have performed a brilliant analysis, uncovered the wisdom of the ages, or uncovered the key perception that solves enduring mysteries. It is unethical for one seeking to rebut the argument to attack the arguer as if it’s the same thing. When successful, ad hominem attacks deflect the real debate and turn it into a debate about something else, focusing on the original speaker, now feeling the need to defend his honor rather than his position. Continue reading

The White House Is Lying To Us. Again. Why?

David Plouffe...or Dan Pfeiffer...it doesn't matter, really...the voice is the same.

David Plouffe…or Dan Pfeiffer…it doesn’t matter, really…the voice is the same.

Nobody of sound mind who listened to top White House advisor (he’s the current David Axelrod) David Plouffe spin like the Wheel of Fortune on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos could continue to deny that the White House, a.k.a Barack Obama, is determined to obscure every thing and anything it can that might help us assign accountability for the Administration’s negligent oversight and management, if not outright abuse of power. The smoking gun was that this pre-programmed, trained and paid mouthpiece said this:

PLOUFFE: Well, I’d say first of all, you know back in the previous — or the prior administration, the NAACP was investigated after Republican members of Congress asked for it. But there’s been no suggestion — the independent — the prosecutor looked at this — excuse me, the inspector general, and said there was no politics involved in this. No one has indicated at all that the White House is involved. The IRS director was appointed at — under President Bush, served under both presidents attested. No one from — so, this was not a political pursuit.

I don’t know if it was “a political pursuit” or not, but I do know that when the people in power desperately don’t want their fingerprints to be found on something potentially sinister like this, I am more suspicious than I would be if they just let the facts out: Continue reading

Unethical Quote of the Week, Sequester Ethics Train Wreck Division: Senior White House Advisor David Plouffe

“Watching Woodward the last 2 days is like watching my idol Mike Schmidt face live pitching again. Perfection gained once is rarely repeated.”

—  Senior White House Advisor David Plouffe, in a tweet contributing to the White House effort to undermine the credibility of journalist Bob Woodward for the crime of calling attention to some of its more unsavory maneuvers regarding the sequestration crisis.


“I think you will regret staking out that claim.”

He owes Mike an apology too.

He owes Mike an apology too.

Maybe this is what Gene Sperling meant.  Now the White House gang is suggesting that Woodward has lost it, can’t get around on the fast ball, that his time has passed, that he is, in short, an old geezer who should be put out to pasture, like 1970’s baseball great Mike Schmidt.

Democrats are quick on the trigger to accuse adversaries of coded racism, sexism, and homophobia, but appear to have no compunction at all when it comes to denigrating opponents as old, or fat. This is bigotry, you know, from a White House that has benefited mightily from planting the myth that any criticism of its primary occupant is subject to legitimate suspicion of being motivated by prejudice. Let’s see—Woodward is 68, almost 69. Harry Reid is 74. Nancy Pelosi is 72.  Justice Ginsberg and Justice Breyer, two liberal stalwarts protecting the Presidents legal flanks, are 79 and 74 respectively. Hillary Clinton, who is being pumped up for a Presidential run in 2016, will be 66 this year, and 70 by the time she runs, if she runs.  Joe Biden is older than Woodward; so is newly appointed Secretary of State John Kerry. Plouffe tweet is a slur and a cheap shot, rank hypocrisy, and really stupid.

His message is that if a journalist dares to challenge this administration’s Machiavellian tactics, it must be because of creeping senility. Perfection is, naturally, holding Republican administrations to standards of integrity and honesty. Doing so with Democrats, however, is proof that a journalist has stayed to long at his desk.

He is a bigot, an ass, and I fear, an in-house assassin.

You know, I wouldn’t bet against Mike Schmidt still being able to hit one out.


Source: Instapundit

Proposing “The Bachmann-Plouffe Rule”

My new rule could stop this from happening to me in the very near future, and perhaps you as well!

I am ready to bestow my ever-lasting loyalty and admiration, not to mention a lifetime Ethics Hero award and maybe even a monthly stipend upon the first broadcast journalist who pledges to employ henceforward what I will call “The Bachmann-Plouffe Rule.”  ABC’s George Stephanopoulos emphatically did NOT employ the rule this morning in his back-to-back interviews of White House advisor David Plouffe and Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, inspiring me 1) to name the rule and 2) throw my newspaper at the TV screen. Twice.

I don’t have the transcript, but I can fairly describe the exchanges. Plouffe was routinely mouthing Obama re-election talking points, when Stephanopoulos pressed him on the issue of gay marriage, specifically regarding the fact that the Democrats are talking about having a national campaign platform plank that explicitly endorses it, while the President has notably declined to give a clear endorsement of same-sex marriage. George asked why Obama doesn’t just declare that he supports it, and, if he does not do so, whether his ambivalence will place him at odds with his party’s position.

Plouffe didn’t answer the question. Continue reading