First, they censored star liberal columnist Paul Krugman, whose piece trashing Senator John McCain was posted almost simultaneously with John McCain becoming the deciding vote to kill TrumpCare, or as it's more commonly known, Skinny Bill. Krugman's column suddenly and mysteriously disappeared from its usual prominent spot on the top right home page.*
No matter that Krugman's observation that McCain is a fraud is true, or that the vote was obviously made to give cover to another misanthropic GOP senator whose reelection chances in his miserable state would be endangered if he gave his donors even the appearance of liking poor people. The narrative of today is John the Maverick and John the Brave Dying Warrior. And Krugman's opus simply didn't fit.
So the next chapter in The Narrative will probably be another righteous call for bipartisan "moderates" to make Obamacare even more friendly to those who stand to make continuing profits from it. More efficient and subtler legislation to punish regular people will, no doubt, have Fighting John McCain's name on it somewhere, and a signing ceremony might even be orchestrated to coincide with the funeral. Because let's face it, had John McCain voted for Skinny, his chances for a banal, interminable, bipartisan Reagan-esque sendoff in the Capitol would be skinny to none.
This is not to say I don't still think that Paul Krugman is an opportunistic shill for the corporate wing of the Democratic Party, and a boring one at that. Despite his professed zombie horror of Republican antics, he has studiously and callously ignored the overwhelming popular clamor for Medicare For All. He really boxed himself into a corner last year when he lambasted single payer proponents as a bunch of unicorn-seeking, jammy-wearing Berniebros who wouldn't know a cost-benefit analysis from a hole in the wall.
On to the second thing that made the New York Times flinch today: the FBI arrest of Debbie Wasserman Schultz's (D-FL) IT guy as he tried to flee the country with millions of dollars in ill-gotten cash. The very fact that this story is mainly being covered by right-wing and/or independent media and ignored by the mainstream is cause enough to doubt its importance and veracity, says the mainstream media.
The Times is no exception, and right in the headline it announces that the only reason it's touching this nothing-burger at all is because Donald Trump is making a big deal over it. And despite its horror of all things Trump, the Gray Lady is never so flinch-ridden as to wantonly ignore the advances of Donald Trump!
Granted, I don't know the facts of this story myself - nobody seems to - so I'll just take the opportunity to make fun of how reporter Nicholas Fandos bends over backwards to defend DWS. Even though Imram Aman was arrested and charged with bank fraud, the case linking him to cyber-spying is still ongoing - therefore, according to the Gray Lady's little gray cells, it naturally follows that it has to be built solely on alt-right fantasy. Really, people! If the savvy Times has no evidence, how can there be any evidence?
The newspaper is treating it as a kind of inverted RussiaGate, where of course no evidence is ever needed and where no arrests or indictments need ever come to pass in order for it to qualify as unfake news.
Anybody involved in a crime who has access to or works for either DWS or Hillary Clinton is simply all the proof you need that the vast right wing conspiracy is still out to get them. If a crime or investigation is even so much as reported by a right-leaning outlet, Fandos implies, it cannot by definition even be a crime:
To hear some commentators tell it, with the help of his family and a cushy job on Capitol Hill, Mr. Awan, a Pakistani-American, had managed to steal computer hardware, congressional data and even — just maybe — a trove of internal Democratic National Committee emails that eventually surfaced last summer on WikiLeaks. It helped that the story seems to involve, if only tangentially, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman who is the former chairwoman of the committee and an ally of Hillary Clinton’s.Something's happening here, but what it is ain't exactly clear, so Fandos muddles on:
Debbie is such a kind and beneficent employer that she didn't fire Awan until the FBI had him in cuffs. She was forced to do it. Wasserman Schultz, who has previously had no qualms about the government's targeted assassination program, mass deportations and incarceration of immigrants in private prisons in her own state, is suddenly concerned about due process for an employee with access to sensitive data having been under active FBI investigation for months.Some basic facts appear to be clear. Mr. Awan had been employed by the House of Representatives as an I.T. specialist since 2004 and his wife, two brothers and a friend began similar work in subsequent years. Over the years, he contracted to work part time for more than a dozen Democratic members of Congress, including Ms. Wasserman Schultz. The work, Mr. Gowen and congressional staff members said, was mostly run of the mill: setting up new phones and computers, fixing printers, helping aides and members reset passwords.After the authorities briefed lawmakers about the investigation this spring, the legislators began to cut ties one by one, citing concerns about appearances or an abundance of caution.Ms. Wasserman Schultz held out, arguing that until there was credible evidence, she saw no reason to terminate a longstanding work arrangement.
Fandos describes Debbie as the poster child for right/left conspiracy theory victimhood. He even implies that despite solid evidence to the contrary, she did not really manipulate the primaries to favor Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders.
And just because Awan worked for the chairperson of the DNC doesn't mean he crossed the line from his official job in Congress:
Case closed. Minds slammed shut. All the intelligence you'll ever need comes to you courtesy of the CIA, the NSA, and the FBI. And if you say otherwise, you're a Russian stooge if not a Kremlin collaborator.Xochitl Hinojosa, a spokeswoman for the Democratic committee, called the suggestion “laughable.”“He was never employed by the D.N.C.,” she said. “The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia was behind the D.N.C. hack.”
And now, third and last, but not least: how can the Gray Lady cover Trump's new potty-mouthed communications jerk without making foul language the centerpiece of its actual story?
Delicately and flinchingly, of course.
Although the headline of the article by gossip columnists Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman teasingly intimates an "uncensored rant," all we initially get is more censorship. You'll have to use your imagination (or click on the link in the lede) if you want to know exactly what the Gray Lady considers to be "vulgarity-laced language." Either that, or plod through a lot of moralizing before finally getting to the rant itself.
To delay the inevitable and give their squeamish piece that exalted Times flavor, the writers insert some gratuitous Biblical imagery as a form of proper foreplay. Before being informed that the Mooch brags about masturbatory gymnastics, we are asked to delay our titillation and ponder this: Is Scaramucci Cain, or is he Abel?
Do we care? Because if the Times can't blast out dirty words with the same gusto and at the same frenzied rate that it dishes its standard Trumpian dirt, what journalistic good are they? Their click-bait cred will only suffer if they censor.
*Update: Krugman, after several hours M.I.A., revised his column in a way that doesn't clash too severely with The Official Narrative, and it has been duly restored to its original pride of place on the home page. As long as crusty old McCain "did the right thing in the end," all is right - and I do mean right - with the Media-Political Complex.