Russia and the stolen  emails

Again, we don’t know it’s Russia, but if this was a civil case, the preponderance of the evidence would almost surely find them liable.  And, you know what, even if it was not the Russian government, some foreign entity or person stole DNC emails and intentionally released them in a way to cause maximum damage.  How is that not more of a story than that DWS doesn’t like Bernie?!

Franklin Foer with the best on this I’ve read so far:

And when the stolen information arrived, it was dressed in the ideology of WikiLeaks, which presents its exploits as possessing a kind of journalistic bravery the traditional media lacks.

But this document dump wasn’t a high-minded act of transparency. To state the obvious, only one political party has been exposed. (Selectively exposed: Many emails were culled from the abridged dump.) And it’s not really even the inner workings of the Democrats that have been revealed; the documents don’t suggest new layers of corruption or detail any new conspiracies. They’re something closer to the embarrassing emails that fly across every office in America—griping, the testing of stupid ideas, the banal musings that take place in private correspondence. The emails don’t get us much beyond a fact every sentient political observer could already see: Officials at the DNC, hired to work hand in glove with a seemingly inevitable nominee, were actively making life easier for Hillary Clinton. It didn’t take these leaks to understand that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a hack and that the DNC should be far more neutral in presidential primaries.

What’s galling about the WikiLeaks dump is the way in which the organization has blurred the distinction between leaks and hacks. Leaks are an important tool of journalism and accountability. When an insider uncovers malfeasance, he brings information to the public in order to stop the wrongdoing. That’s not what happened here. The better analogy for these hacks is Watergate. To help win an election, the Russians broke into the virtual headquarters of the Democratic Party. The hackers installed the cyber-version of the bugging equipment that Nixon’s goons used—sitting on the DNC computers for a year, eavesdropping on everything, collecting as many scraps as possible. This is trespassing, it’s thievery, it’s a breathtaking transgression of privacy. It falls into that classic genre, the dirty trick. Yet that term feels too innocent to describe the offense. Nixon’s dirty tricksters didn’t mindlessly expose the private data of low-level staff.

We should be appalled at the public broadcast of this minutiae. [emphasis mine] It will have a chilling effect—campaign staffers will now assume they no longer have the space to communicate honestly. This honest communication—even if it’s often trivial or dumb—is important for the process of arriving at sound strategy and sound ideas.

And, a great column from Anne Applebaum, who sure knows Russia:

The motives of the hacker, the leaker or the person in possession of the secret tapes are rarely examined. But what to do when that person has an ulterior motive quite far from “the public’s right to know”? And what if that person’s motive is to help throw an American election?

I am not asking this question in a vacuum. All available evidence now points to direct Russian involvement in the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s email system. The evidence has been described by Eli Lake  (he quotes Trump campaign adviser Mike Flynn saying he “wouldn’t be surprised” if Russia were responsible) and laid out in meticulous detail by Thomas Rid of Motherboard

Nevertheless, with the exception of a few people on Twitter and a handful of print journalists, most of those covering this story, especially on television, are not interested in the nature of the hackers, and they are not asking why the Russians apparently chose to pass the emails on to WikiLeaks at this particular moment, on the eve of the Democratic National Convention. They are focusing instead on the content of what were meant to be private emails…

In Poland, hundreds of hours of tapings of political figures were arranged by a businessman who traded coal with Russia; to make them, he used waiters, one of whom later testified that he was explicitly promised a reward when a new government came to power. They were published by a magazine run by an ex-con who spent five years hiding from police in Russia in the 1990s. And yet just as in the United States, the Polish media focused almost exclusively on the details of the conversations, the bad language and jokes — none of which revealed any genuine corruption — rather than the motivations of the people who had taped and released them. Believe me, I know this story well: My husband was one of the politicians on the tapes.

Why would the Russians do this in the United States? That’s easier: You do not need to think conspiratorially in order to understand why the Russian government badly wants Trump to win this election. His deep business connections to Russia have been documented. As I wrote last week, his stated policy positions — temper U.S. support for NATO, stop advocating democracy, withdraw support for Ukraine — are exactly what Russia wants. Russia’s primary foreign policy goals are to weaken the European Union, soften up NATO and make the European continent safe for corrupt Russian money. President Trump would make all of those things possible.

Of course, Hillary Clinton might win anyway. But since vastly more attention will be paid to Debbie Wasserman Schultz than to Vladimir Putin, there doesn’t seem to be a downside to this leak. It might not work — but if you were Putin, wouldn’t you try?

Paul Waldman tries to explain the media’s failure:

But there’s something utterly bizarre about the kind of coverage this story is getting. Evidence currently suggests that the Russian government may have attempted to sway the results of the U.S. presidential election. I put that in italics, because it ought to be in screaming 72-point headlines on every front page in America. And yet, it’s being treated like just one more odd story in a wacky election year, not much more important than the latest fundraising numbers or which ethnic group Donald Trump has insulted most recently.

So what’s going on? Let me offer some thoughts about why the story isn’t bigger than it is. First, the political reporters covering it have gotten distracted by the content of the emails, in which DNC staffers complain to each other about Bernie Sanders and detail the various forms of butt-kissing they have to do for big party donors. There’s always something compelling about seeing private communications that become public, and it also helps that Sanders supporters were quick to say, “See? See? They were plotting against us!”

But the truth is that the emails didn’t show that the DNC “rigged” the primaries in Hillary Clinton’s favor. Yes, DNC staffers plainly preferred that Clinton become the nominee. The DNC did appear to give more weight to the Clinton campaign’s desire for fewer debates. But there was nothing that the DNC did that seriously harmed his chances or meaningfully impacted the outcome of the nomination contest. The emails showed that some staffers talked about undermining Sanders — and that there was real hostility between the DNC and the Sanders campaign — but those DNC staffers never followed through.

And so, the emails didn’t reveal truly scandalous behavior on the part of any American political actors, which would be required to really get political reporters’ juices flowing — and get them eager to investigate and write story after story about it. Since the wrongdoing here may have been committed by Russian hackers, that makes it more interesting to foreign affairs and national security reporters (who are the ones writing most of the stories about the hack itself) than to the political reporters whose stories are given the most prominent play at the moment.

The next reason why it isn’t a bigger deal is that the aggrieved party, the Democrats, aren’t pushing the story forward as much as they might, first because they don’t want to attract more attention to the content of the emails, and second because they aren’t making the kind of vicious accusations Republicans would if the tables were turned — the kind of accusations we in the media eat up. Instead, they’re saying milquetoasty things like this from Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook: “When you put all this together, it’s a disturbing picture. I think voters need to reflect on that.”

Consider what would happen if the shoe was on the other foot. Imagine if the Republican Party’s emails had been hacked by the Russian government, and then those emails had been publicly released on the eve of the GOP convention in a fairly obvious attempt to embarrass the party, and it just so happened that the Democratic nominee and the Russian president had been blowing kisses to one another, and it just so happened that the Democratic nominee had been proposing a series of radical transformations to American foreign policy that could practically have been written by the Russian president in order to advance his aims. How would Republicans have reacted?

We all know the answer: They would be screaming their heads off, saying this just proves that the Democratic nominee hates America and is trying to destroy our position in the world. They’d be calling her a commie and a flag-burner and dirty unpatriotic hippie. And the media would duly pass along those criticisms. [emphasis mine]

Dana Milbank takes this idea and nicely runs with it (it’s great, though, I’ve pasted enough here).

And, lastly, no matter who stole these emails, a foreign-national, Julian Assange, has basically admitted that he released them for maximum damage because he wants Hillary Clinton to lose.  And, seriously, only the NYT even seems to care!  The “liberal” CNN has no mention whatsoever on their front page, just a not-so-friendly, headline about the DNC, “Truths, half-truths, and lies.”

Honestly, I think someday people will look back and see this as, among other things, an absolutely massive failure of political journalism.  Oh, and maybe Democrats should take a page from Trump’s book and push this harder.

The Bernie Backlash

Number 1.  The media is making a way bigger deal out of this than it actually is.  The media has a built-in bias for conflict and negativity.  And they hate, carefully orchestrated PR events like conventions with no real news.  Hey, look, the nominee is official and a bunch of people gave speeches.  Therefore, whatever conflict there is, will always be dramatically magnified.

Number 2.  The Bernie delegates are not a representative sample of Bernie supporters.  In many cases, they are the most committed.  And many of them are not your typical Democratic party pols.  So, they are more likely to make a fuss as we’ve seen.  Add number 1 and number 2 = media catnip and blowing this out of proportion.

The actual Bernie supporters?  Jamelle Bouie:

Yes, there are angry and discontented delegates who supported Bernie Sanders in the primaries. Some are avowedly anti-Hillary and believe Sanders was sabotaged by the DNC in an effort to subvert the will of Democratic voters. There is no evidence that this is true. If, in January, you looked at nothing but the demographics of Clinton and Sanders support, you could have predicted the outcome. Here’s what I wrote at the beginning of the year. “If Sanders can break or subvert Clinton’s relationship with black Democrats, he can win. If he can’t, he won’t.”

More important than the mechanics of the primary, however, is the simple fact that these delegates—these vehemently anti-Clinton voters—are an unrepresentative minority of all Bernie supporters. Of the voters who backed Sanders throughout the course of the Democratic primary, 90 percent support Clinton, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center. [emphasis mine] Of those who switched from Clinton to Sanders or from Sanders to Clinton, 88 percent now back Clinton. Even with a third-party candidate in the mix, as noted by Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight, the picture is one of general unity, with around a third of Sanders’ primary voters rejecting the Clinton ticket. And those voters are neither regular voters nor consistent Democrats. Many are voters who normally support third-party candidates, but who signed on to Bernie’s campaign because of its distance from the Democratic establishment.

Yglesias:

The problem: Sanders had little control over his delegates, who seemed unwilling to get behind his endorsement of Clinton. This was in part a matter of sloppiness on the part of Sanders’s team in selecting delegates. But as one operative told me, there was another reason Sanders’s delegation was so unruly: Everyone was so afraid to cross Clinton by serving as a Sanders delegate that he couldn’t convince the kind of party loyalists who normally take the job to do it.

Instead, many Sanders delegates come from the world of left-wing protest culture rather than party politics. And on the floor of the Wells Fargo Center, they acted like it.

This may be one reason Silverman’s speech resonated with these boisterous delegates whereas earlier politicians’ speeches tended to alienate: She’s an outsider too.

And another Yglesias post:

Every modern political convention features thousands of delegates. And traditionally, a candidate’s slate of delegates from a given state will draw heavily from the ranks of local politicians and politician-aligned interest groups.

For example, in Washington, DC, Hillary Clinton’s delegates include the mayor, a couple of members of the DC council, an ex-council member currently serving in the mayor’s Cabinet, and so forth.

As a website for Sanders supporters explains: “Delegates are often party activists, local political leaders, or early supporters of a given candidate. … Delegates can also include members of a campaign’s steering committee. In some cases, delegates are long-time active members of their local party organization.”

But while this is an excellent description of Clinton’s delegates, it does not describe Sanders’s delegates at all. As one longtime Massachusetts Democratic Party hack observed, Clinton’s delegates were almost all people he recognized from party politics. Sanders’s were not.

Drum on Bernie’s responsibility for this:

Our reporters say that Sanders “looked a bit surprised by the intensity of the Clinton opposition.” I can’t imagine why. This is one of the big problems I had with him back during the primary. It’s one thing to fight on policy grounds, as he originally said he would, but when you start promising the moon and explicitly accusing Hillary Clinton of being a corrupt shill for Wall Street—well, there are some bells that can be unrung. He convinced his followers that Hillary was a corporate warmonger more concerned with lining her own pockets than with progressive principles, and they still believe it. And why wouldn’t they? Their hero told them it was true.

Hillary is no saint. But her reputation as dishonest and untrustworthy is about 90 percent invention. Republicans have been throwing mud against the wall forever in an attempt to smear her, and the press has played along eagerly the entire time. When Bernie went down that road, he was taking advantage of decades of Republican lies in the hopes of winning an unwinnable battle. He was also playing directly into Donald Trump’s hands.

And, finally, Seth Masket on the nothingburger that is the emails the Bernie supporters are so freaked out about:

The disclosed e-mails have been depicted as showing a rigged system that systematically undermined Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

But even if you believe the worst interpretations of these e-mails, the evidence is pretty mild. What we see is DNC staffers trying to spin the media in favor ofHillary Clinton and to complain to each other about Sanders. One certainly does not get the impression that the DNC staff was impartial between Clinton and Sanders — they appear biased and unprofessional — but there’s hardly evidence they materially manipulated the contest.

If one wants evidence of that, look to the overwhelming numbers of Democratic governors, senators, representatives, and state legislators who endorsed Clinton last year. Look at the Barack Obama-leaning super PAC thatannounced its support for herback in 2014. All these things had the effect of scaring off qualified Democratic candidates. Arguably, sure, they limited voters’ choices, they tilted the contest toward Clinton, and they weren’t fair. But they’re a pretty far cry from corruption or criminality. And to expect Democratic Party staffers to be impartial in their internal correspondence about a contest between Clinton and someone who arguably isn’t even a Democrat just seems unrealistic.

I’m certainly not claiming that anything is permissible as long as it’s better than what Nixon did. But we need to recognize the challenges of expecting a party to impartially manage a contest in which it clearly has preferred outcomes.

And it’s really hard to find evidence that Sanders’ voice was in any meaningful way squelched. He had nine debates with Clinton to make his case. He kept pace with her in fundraising. He was competitive in basically every state contest and had no trouble recruiting many dedicated volunteers, caucus-goers, and voters. He simply came up short. If this is a rigged system, then basically every contest is.

So, short version.  Hillary voters: relax, but be annoyed at the media (but accept that this is simply the media reality).

The surrogate gap

Very interesting take from Greg Sargent based on the Day 1 speakers at the Democratic and Republican (e.g., Elizabeth Warren vs. Scott Baio!) conventions:

What last night really showed is that there will be a profound, fundamental imbalance between the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump campaigns when it comes to the wattage of surrogates out there making the case this fall.

The biggest speeches of the night, from New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders, projected a tone that seemed designed to contrast sharply with the hate-and-rage-fest otherwise known as the GOP convention. All of them, in one way or another, sought to align the Democratic Party, optimistically and aspirationally, with culturally and demographically changing America. They explicitly called out Trumpism — the rendition of it featured at the GOP convention — as brimming over with reactionary hostility towards the evolving and diversifying America of the 21st century.

All of this is driven in part by the fact that the voter groups out of which Democrats hope to assemble a winning national coalition — college educated whites, nonwhites, women, young voters — appear to rejectthe xenophobia and ethno-nationalism at the core of Trumpism’s appeal. But there’s a key nuance here. There is a direct link between Trump’s alienation of key demographics and the lack of high profile surrogates that will be there for him this fall. Senior Republicans are keeping Trump at arm’s length in part precisely because he’s putting off those voter groups, which many top Republicans know the party must improve among for the sake of its future. [emphases mine]

This is a dynamic that both Republican and Democratic strategists are taking note of this morning.

“Hillary will have Bernie Sanders, the Obamas, Elizabeth Warren, who has been elevated to star status by Donald Trump, and Joe Biden,” Stuart Stevens, the chief strategist for Mitt Romney in 2012, tells me. “Who will be campaigning with Donald Trump that has a large constituency?” Stevens adds that many Republicans who do have large constituencies — such as Mitt Romney, George W. Bush, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio — will likely be M.I.A. once the campaign kicks into high gear.

Stevens also noted a connection between the disparity in high wattage surrogates and Trump’s alienation of key demographics. “The essence of politics is about addition, not subtraction,” Stevens said. “Donald Trump finds it very hard for any given moment not to be about Donald Trump, which makes coalition building and the blocking and tackling of politics more difficult. If you’re in a fight with the Republican governor of Ohio and the Hispanic governor of New Mexico, how can you expect to build a broader coalition?”

“Trump’s fight with Susana Martinez is a perfect illustrator,” Stevens concluded, referring to the governor of New Mexico. “He desperately needs women and Hispanics.” …

Obviously there is no telling whether all of this will matter enough to prevent a Trump win, which of course remains very possible. Clinton still has serious weaknesses, and it remains to be seen how, or whether, the rest of the convention will successfully address them. But the point is, Day One revealed that Clinton has a very clear structural advantage that very well may assert itself this fall, when voters are really paying attention. And this is also another way in which there is simply no equivalence between the degree of disunity that is afflicting the two parties.

Why do sane Republicans support Trump?

In a hyphenated word… self-delusion:-).  Really good piece by Fred Hiatt last week that gets at the psychology of otherwise reasonable Republicans supporting this fabulously unqualified charlatan:

For every Gov. John Kasich (who stayed away) or Sen. Ted Cruz (who came but did not endorse), there are a dozen Republican bigwigs in Cleveland who believe Donald Trump is unfit to be president but have endorsed him anyway.

How do they live with their decisions? These are politicians who are privately persuaded that Trump is too ignorant, too narcissistic, too potentially tyrannical, not genuinely conservative—or some combination of the above. So how to justify an endorsement?

I’ve had a chance to ask some of them on the sidelines of the convention this week. The most common answer is: We know Hillary Clinton will be terrible, whereas we might be wrong about Trump, so let’s take a chance.  [emphases in original]

But I’ve also heard: Donald Trump doesn’t care about policy or understand how it is shaped, so Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will set the agenda. In this fantasy, Trump would be satisfied with the trappings of the office, while a Republican Congress finally gets to work its will.

Then there’s the vision of Trump as empty vessel: Donald Trump has no fixed beliefs, but he will surround himself with genuine conservatives who will gradually shape his ideology.

Or this variation: Donald Trump has despotic tendencies, but the people around him in the White House and the Cabinet will rein in his worst instincts.

If that fails, there is this: If necessary he can be impeached.

And finally, from an ardent free-trader whom I pressed about supporting someone who would impose tariffs, spark trade wars and potentially trigger a global depression: It’s okay — he can’t win.

I’m sure it is more difficult politically than most of us can imagine for a Republican to stay aloof from the Republican candidate for president. The one genuine, uniting sentiment in the party this year is a visceral, almost frenzied hatred of Hillary Clinton. One congressman who has yet to endorse told me the blowback from constituents is intense and constant.

But I’m also pretty sure that most of these people know the stories they tell themselves are fiction. Donald Trump is not going to win the most powerful job in the world only to let some uncharismatic wannabes down Pennsylvania Avenue dictate his agenda. A man who wins the presidency by taking advice only from himself, and maybe his adult children, is not going to suddenly learn to govern by committee. As to impeachment: it is beyond far-fetched to think that Republican legislators who cannot stand up to Trump while he is a private citizen will find new courage to resist him once he has the power of the presidency.

The way I see it, if you are a Republican who believes we should have a minimally-qualified president who is not a literal threat to democracy and our Constitutional order, the Republican Party already lost this election in the primaries when it chose Trump.  To pretend otherwise is simply to lie to oneself about the epic horribleness that is Trump.  Understandable, yes, but complete self delusion nonetheless.

Russia, damnit!

So, I was watching Fox in the gym this morning as they were speculating on violent riots at the Democratic convention.  Nothing, of course, about Russia.  And thinking that imagine if there were any evidence whatsoever that the Russian government was working to help Clinton.  That would be literally wall-to-wall coverage.  Is there an open and shut case?  Of course not.  But again, plenty of independent experts on such matters think is is plenty plausible that the Russian government is behind this leak.  That should be a huge story. This is not some Clinton fantasy, but a genuinely reasonable and plausible explanation given the evidence.  So, where’s the media?  NYT front page is on it.  Washington Post has a link buried way down.  CNN has a piece under “opinion.”  And the current Foxnews.com only comes up with Olympic news on the front when you search for Russia.  Pathetic!

Oh, and as for the emails, I did a quick skim of the Post’s “Here are the latest, most damaging things in the DNC’s leaked emails.”  And good Lord, talk about a mountain out of a mole hill.  There’s just so little that is truly surprising or damaging here.  I mean seriously, one of the top 10 is that Wasserman Schulz called a Sanders aide a “damn liar.”  Oh, the horror.  And this is what is dominating media coverage?!  Next month in my Media class I’ll talk about the media’s bias for conflict and negativity (remember this whole event next time somebody complains about “liberal media bias”).  You are seeing it in spades here.

Trump’s gonna win!

Ahhhhh!  Or, more likely, he got a convention bounce.  And then Hillary Clinton will get one.  And we’ll be back where we were.  Nate Silver on the bounce:

The now-cast also suggests that Trump has gained a net of about 4 percentage points on Clinton in national polls from a week ago, turning a deficit of about 3 points into a 1-point lead. If so, Trump would turn out to have a fairly typical convention bounce. Over the past few cycles, convention bounces have been 3 to 4 percentage points, on average. As is also typical of convention bounces, Trump appears to have gained in the polls (taking votes from undecided and third-party candidates) more than Clinton has declined…

On the opposite side of the spectrum from the now-cast is our polls-plus forecast, which builds in a convention bounce adjustment. Because Trump’s convention bounce is broadly in line with its expectations, the polls-plus forecast hasn’t moved very much: It gives Trump a 42 percent chance of winning the Electoral College, up only slightly from last week.

And, here’s the Upshot post I was planning on linking before all today’s polls started coming in.

Donald Trump officially became the Republican party’s nominee Thursday night, and on Monday, the Democratic convention begins in Philadelphia. In the coming weeks, you can expect lots of polls — and headlines — suggesting new insight into the state of the presidential race.

With some caveats, our advice is: Don’t pay too much attention to them.

You can see what we mean in the chart above. It shows how much the polling average at each point of a presidential election cycle has differed from the final result. Each gray line represents a presidential election since 1980; the bright green line represents the average difference. In general, as the election nears, the polling average comes closer and closer to the election’s final result — but not for the next few weeks.

History suggests that in the short periods after the conventions, the polling average can often move away from the final result, not toward it. That’s because polls taken in the middle of the convention are often unreliable: Gains made by the party’s nominee can often be short-lived.
And here’s the chart:
polls
So, as much as you want to obsess about the polls now, really, wait another few weeks to obsess.

Wasserman and the email link (and Russia!)

Oh, boy, I’m shocked, shocked that the institutional elites of the Democratic Party supported Hillary Clinton and not Bernie Sanders.  Yes, the DNC is supposed to be officially neutral, but of course people who spent years working with Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party as an institution are going to support her over somebody who is not even really a member of the Democratic Party.

But, I get it, Wasserman Schultz’s got to go so Democrats can put this in the rear-view mirror as fast as possible.  I did an interview on this today with questions as if it is actually some huge thing.  How many Democrats even know who the hell Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is?  Like her emails are going to affect the election.  This is not exactly Hillary Clinton’s emails saying, “how can we smear Bernie Sanders?!”  But, boy, does the media love conflict in the face of a convention (Ted Cruz, anybody).

Now, it hurts, because this is not what Democrats want to be talking about, but again, the idea that this actually matters in the big scope of the election is the conflict-driven media fantasy.

And, while we’re at it, the best evidence is that the Russian government is truly behind this because Putin truly wants Trump to be President.  That should sure as hell give people pause and be getting way more prominent coverage that the Democratic party disunity.  This Post article seemed like it almost had to feel bad that not just Clinton’s campaign, but actual cyber-security experts and Russia experts think the Russians are behind the email leak:

We’ve been looking at this very closely from both the technical and non-technical spheres,” said Rich Barger, chief information officer for ThreatConnect, a cyber intelligence software firm. “Based on our analysis, we strongly feel Guccifer 2 is linked to a Russian information operations campaign and is not the independent Romanian hacker that he claims to be.” …

The apparent link to Russian intelligence raises troubling implications for U.S. foreign relations and national security. Russia has not to date tried to interfere in U.S. elections, analysts say. But if this is a deliberate effort by the Kremlin to meddle, it is worrisome, they say.

Fiona Hill, a former Russia expert on the National Intelligence Council, said putting the emails out on WikiLeaks for the world to see is consistent with her view of the modus operandi of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian intelligence.

“They’re doing what they do best,” said Hill, now a Brookings senior fellow. “They would not be doing their jobs as intelligence officers if they were not trying to outsmart their main opponent and to have influence on their politics.”

But, Rid points out, “what we don’t know is whether this is a top-down order or not.”

Meanwhile, this CNN report is a classic case of the worst sort of journalism.  Clinton’s campaign manager lays out the case for the Russian’s being behind this (and it’s a compelling one) and then we get Trump’s campaign saying this is just laughable and Clinton will say anything to win.

Horrible!  Talk to some actual experts instead of just the most lazy, he said, she said.  Do we know the Russians are behind this.  Nope.  But do many uninvolved experts thing it is entirely plausible?  Indeed.  And that sure as hell matters.  Shame on any news organization that reports the story this way.  Now that I think about it, I’ll think I’ll save these two stories for my media class this coming semester.

Oh, and Trump and the Russians, Josh Marshall was all over it even before the leak:

To put this all into perspective, if Vladimir Putin were simply the CEO of a major American corporation and there was this much money flowing in Trump’s direction, combined withthis much solicitousness [emphases in original] of Putin’s policy agenda, it would set off alarm bells galore. That is not hyperbole or exaggeration. And yet Putin is not the CEO of an American corporation. He’s the autocrat who rules a foreign state, with an increasingly hostile posture towards the United States and a substantial stockpile of nuclear weapons. The stakes involved in finding out ‘what’s going on’ as Trump might put it are quite a bit higher.

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