Here’s another slightly edited dispatch from my ongoing off-social-media conversation with some political reporters on the obvious implicit bias I see in coverage of Clinton vs. Trump. The reporters I’ve engaged publicly and privately don’t see it that way — and they are, I firmly believe, sincere and honest in that belief. So the task, as I see it, is to build the argument story by story and (as possible) in analysis of the sum of coverage, that they’re wrong, and to do so in a way that honest and expert reporters can read, analyze, and, I hope, become persuaded by.
What caught my eye today was this article in the Washington Post, “Inside Bill Clinton’s nearly $18 million job as ‘Honorary Chancellor’ of a for-profit university,” by Rosalind S. Hellerman and Michelle Ye Hee Lee. That story has received professional praise as a well reported deep dive — and it is! Really.
By that I mean: it is definitely a long (2604 words) and detailed dissection of Bill Clinton’s involvement with Laureate University, a major international for profit higher-ed company. The reporters play fair by the rules of the craft: they show their work, and a reader can see where each individual fact comes from.
But does that make it a good story, an honest one, or one that within the larger story — that of the 2016 presidential election — meets basic standards of journalism as it serves readers interests?
Not at all.
That’s what I argued below in my note to one of my correspondents. Here, the point is that the elite political press — like any group of people working on the same stuff in substantial isolation from the outside world — has its own professional criteria for excellence. They’ve got a value system and an expectation or understanding of what represents good work or bad. They’re not all wrong in that.
But as far as I can see from the outside, theirs is a bunker-dwelling, mostly technical standard: well reported = good, for example. I don’t think that there is a conspiracy at the Times or the Post, or CNN or what have you simply to shiv the Clintons.
But what I think outside the bunker (and please do recall: a presidential campaign is a mind-and-body deranging experience; these folks really are working without access to a lot of the reality checks that could help) those of us who are looking at the coverage both closely and synoptically see the problem not as one of reporting, but of coverage.
That is, what matters is the way stories are assigned, framed, their narratives interpreted within each piece, how they’re edited and placed (2604 words!) affects the overall message readers and the electorate as a whole receive.
Thus, the ongoing and increasingly inexplicable failure of The New York Times to engage what should be a burgeoning Trump bribery scandal with state attorneys general and Trump U. Thus all the stories on the Clinton foundation which (a) failed to show what was implied and (b) omitted crucial context, like the Bush Foundation headed by a Powell. And thus today’s story, in which two good reporters distill what had to have been a substantial amount of work that taken all-in-all demonstrates that Bill Clinton made a lot of money while there was, in the words of the story itself, “no evidence that Laureate received special favors from the State Department in direct exchange for hiring Bill Clinton…”
What there was, instead, was a reason to ask whether or not such special favors might have taken place. The answer was no.
There the story should have ended. But because this was the Clintons, and this is the elite political press, it was impossible to accept that answer. Hence what is a type specimen for how the press is getting this election wrong — with potentially disastrous consequences.
With that as prologue (I know…logorrhea…), my breakdown of the piece for my journalist-contact. We began by marveling at the size of Bill’s fee — which truly is pretty astonishing:
I agree with you on the sum, though from where I sit, with my full time job in higher education (and a professor’s kid, and w. two professor-siblings and, and, and…) what bothers me most about that clearly outsize wage is that it is less of an outlier than it should be. As I’m sure you know, top academic positions at a lot of places are now paid at seven figure levels. A million or so/year as a college president is different from $3.6 million/year as an honorary chairman, certainly. But it’s also true (and a scandal) that higher ed, both non and for profit has headed down the same path for CEO and senior management compensation that large businesses have. That’s troubling.
But what got me about the story was the contrast between the reporting craft you rightly recognize: meticulous, detailed pursuit of both individual incidents and the financial details…and the lack of any substance to the clear thrust of the story: that this was another example of soft corruption in the Clinton family. You look at the lede and it clearly asserts a pay-off. Clinton invites someone to a working dinner who is an FOB, who later hires Bill for lots of money.
All that’s true, of course — and I’m not disputing it. But the essence of a corruption argument has to be that there is a pay-off for some outcome. And you’ll notice how this long, meticulously reported, deep dive tries to make the case for that pay-off:
* a “much to gain” argument to muffle the acknowledgement that “there is no evidence that Laureate received special favors.”
* the Laureate arrangement reveals how the Clintons mixed charitable work with the rest of their lives. Which seems to add up to that people who donated to political campaigns donated to the foundation and sometimes did business with them, which sounds rather like just about every modern American politician.
(As an aside — there’s a fascinating piece of work by Andrew Eggers and a former MIT colleague, Jens Hainmuller, on how in Britain, Conservative Party MPs benefit financially much more from their political lives after they leave office than ex-Labour MPs do, for pretty simple reasons. It’s nice because of some fine methodological work they did to tease out those numbers.)
*Clinton as honorary chairman added reputational value to Laureate. This is, of course, obvious, but it was a nice quote.
*Clinton gave unpaid speeches at its campuses, and hence became (i.e. saw something that met his own goals) interested in the company.
*Laureate is a big business that is involved in things big businesses do, including going public and experiencing a private buy out.
*Laureate is in a business that has had some contention with regulators and may or may not be one of the major bad-actors in that problematical sector. We don’t know until much further down in the piece what Laureate’s actual reputation is in this sector.
*a brief note to remind us that this story is in part an extension of the Judicial Watch campaign against the Clintons. I’d love as a general rule to see more noting that the sourcing for many of these stories comes from a big axe being ground, but that’s just me.
*Again we learn that the point of hiring Clinton was to burnish Laureate’s reputation by aligning it with what it (and most people see) as the good work of the foundation. We also learn that it wasn’t that effective — the one deal discussed went against Laureate.
*Then we learn what Clinton did: he spoke to students; he was used in company literature; and, most tellingly, Laureate paid to send students to a Clinton Foundation conference, an experience that students apparently found incredibly valuable.
(Another aside — the hint that this might have been improper really got my goat. I’m incredibly fortunate — I went to Harvard and I teach at MIT. Those institutions gave me, and now give me and my students exactly this kind of exceptional access, exposure, and fantastic opportuties for both learning and networking. Almost every university around the world does not have the same power. Seems churlish to begrudge it in this case.)
*Trump lied about alleged corruption at State and Laureate.
*In discussing that lie, we learn that the amount of money State provided Laureate was risible, and devoted to student scholarships.
*One sentence on Trump University facing multiple fraud investigations (and no mention of the AG scandal).
*Praise for Laureate with some caveats. (My question — given that the frame above was that Laureate is a possibly dodgy company in a dodgy sector, why wasn’t this acknowledgement of its generally high rating up near the lede?)
*The last suggestion of a problem with the Clinton-Laureate connection: a guy the Clintons have known for 46 years was invited to a policy dinner.
TL: DR — Clinton got paid a ton of money, and for it, two Laureate executives got invited to working dinners; Laureate got a de-minimis amount of money for scholarships. As far as I can tell, that’s it.
The stuff about Clinton being used on literature and all that — you and I may not like it, but again, there’s no suggestion that it was either improper as a contemporary business practice or terribly effective.
Most important: it had nothing at all to do with Hillary Clinton and her State Department. Not one bit. It’s just a “look, Bill Clinton’s making too much money” story.
And this is what I find both telling (badly) in current campaign coverage, and revealing of the genuine and honest differences between reporters and their audiences in what each thinks of as excellent journalism.
I’ll say again: this is a J-school teachable example of meticulous reporting. With the one exception noted above — inadequately IDing Judicial Watch and their strongly partisan and long-standing campaign against the Clintons — this is exactly as one would wish, a detailed story in which the reporters make clear their evidence, enough so that the careful reader can in this case feel confident of the claims being presented as facts. I can see why reporters would recognize and value that professional accomplishment.
But as a reader, the story is so much of what I’ve hated this campaign season. It’s lede is innuendo: Big Dawg got a pile of money, and so there must be something wrong. Then we get 2,604 words that add up to…no scandal at all; really, nothing there….and a piece that ends, in what reads to me like classic DC pearl-clutching, “it does seem unseemly.”
IOW To me, this story really was a one liner: “There is no evidence….” Everything before and after that is a mass of suggestion and ultimately innocuous incidents presented as indicators of impropriety.
Yes indeed: 17.6 million smackeroons is a ton of money. It’s wrong on its face that anyone should receive that kind of payout for more or less any work one can reasonable do over five years. But Bill Clinton is hardly the only, or the biggest example of income inequality and insane pay rates at the top of the corporate pyramid. As a piece that casts a sidelight on the current campaign — it’s just not there.
All this, of course, in the context of the Trump University scandal that has just advanced a lot as we get more information about Biondi and Abbot contributions that look awfully like bribes — which worked!
So at the tail end of a too-long note: this is what I’m arguing: The failure of the elite political press corps hasn’t been that individual stories are bad or even unreasonable to pursue, from some angle (in this case, not the one the reporters took as suggested above).
It is rather, in constructing the frame in which a story like this one appears before its audience confirming the impression produced by decades of reporting on Clinton scandals that weren’t as described. This works because it fits the things we already know (even if they aren’t true): the Clintons are greedheads who will do anything for enough money.
Meanwhile, again, Donald Trump has a foundation that is implicated now in a bribery scandal, and he owned his own “university” that did genuine harm to its students. Yes, David Farenhthold did important work in breaking that story. I hope there’s much more to come from him and others. But after a summer in which the AP, The New York Times, and many others have hammered what appears to be a nothing-burger of a Foundation pay-to-play story, that Trump counterpoint is, it seems to me, drastically under covered. And that‘s the context in which this Clinton story becomes part of the problem, not part of the solution.
So that’s my take. Over to y’all.
Images: Raphael, School of Athens, 1511.
Salvator Rosa, Self Portrait, (holding up the motto, AUT TACE / AUT LOQVERE MELIORA / SILENTIO, trans: “Be quiet, unless your speech be better than silence.” c. 1645.
Hendrick Heerschop, An alchemist making gold, 1665.
Excellent work! Thanks so much for pursuing this stark (to me!) contrast.
Of course, as someone lacking a Y chromosome, I am highly familiar with the ways something can seem fair on the surface, while in actual practice, it’s is extremely prejudiced. One of the tactics is to crank the lens very very close, and ignoring the big picture.
On the one hand, you have the buried lede in paragraph 26 that the DOS ethics head found no conflict of interest, as Kevin Drum points out. So it’s not a story about Hillary.
But there’s no way Bill looks good. For profit colleges are scum. This is like him joining the board of a company selling rent to own furniture.
Describes a ton of Clinton coverage.
From your social media discussions, have you been able to discern why the framing is so ubiquitous? Do these reporters (and most importantly, their editors) live inside such a bubble of conventional wisdom?
Truly yeoman’s work here, Tom. Keeping journalists honest is something we need a lot more of, and not by thumbs-up or down reports by the likes of Politifact.
A question, though.
Did I miss it or did you also query any editors at NYT or WaPo? It seems that often reporters get their assignments and do them within certain parameters. This has drawbacks and consequences, as you have duly noted. But the largest failure is in the structure of the whole: How decisions get made in terms of coverage happens above their level, among the “management.”
Not sure these people can be made to respond….
Tom, have you seen this from James Fallows?
OT but still kind of on-topic: just hit me (b/c of Obama talking about Laos)…on top of everything else, PBO has been kind of a one-man, multi-issue, truth & reconciliation committee for the country, on matters both domestic (racism, police violence, our drug sentencing laws) and foreign (previous wars, Cuba, Iran, etc).
I had been struggling to put it to words for a while, but that really is the way to put it.
I’m not in touch with editors. But yeah, they’re the key here, more than reporters IMHO.
I’m hoping some are paying attention to the wave of criticism coming from a lot of angles. I know I’m getting some serious engagement. So here’s hoping.
We’ll never actually know if any of this has any effect. As Nate Silver pointed out yesterday, there are waves in coverage that emphasize Trump or Clinton, and we could have a switch to a critical Trump focus over the next week or so that was in teh planning, with reporting ongoing over the last few weeks, that would make it look like there was some effect to all this pressure. Or maybe that could happen and individual reporters could watch how they use language and what constitutes context and so on just a little more because we all keep talking about it. No way to know, and hence we can’t stop making the case.
100% agree of course with your indictment of this kind of article.
But what the fuck is Bill Clinton doing lending his name/cachet to a fucking for-profit school? I know you explained it, but…Jesus Christ.
We don’t need to empower for-profit education. We need to strangle it in its cradle, and here Big Dawg is lending it his pendulous tit full of life-sustaining milk. Ugh.
@otmar: Hadn’t. Reading it now. Fallows is the real deal.
You’re doing God’s work, Tom. And who knows, since you’re a respectable individual with an impressive CV and have approached the reporters in a non-accusatory, empathetic manner, you may stand a chance of actually getting through to them — something those of us with silly internet handles who rail about hacks are unlikely to do.
@Trentrunner: I know. But in the context of the campaign, that’s the get-out-of-jail free card the media hopes we will allow them. Dude makes a bucket of money, legally, but (to many) distastefully, therefore his wife betrayed her office.
Just not acceptable.
Congress spent millions and millions of dollars investigating the Clintons and came up with nothing. Monica might have been a scandal, but certainly not one that required tax payer money to investigate. Now MSM calls everything they touch a scandal.
@WereBear: I agree with everything you said.
Gin & Tonic
@Tom Levenson: The last numbered point in Fallows’ piece is the scary one, to me – the weaponization of disinformation. The tactics of RT in breaking down respect for (broadly) Western democratic instituions of government – and not just RT, what Putin is doing and supporting in Western Europe in general – have chilling precedents for anyone who’s read Timothy Snyder’s Black Earth.
I agree with you, but as far as Hillary Clinton, she hired Rohit Chopra for the transition team. He was at the CFPB and when the US Department of Education wouldn’t act (because Arne Duncan sucks) the CFPB did some clever lawyering to reach for-profit colleges and student loan servicers. They essentially reached over and did what the USDOE should have been doing. They had to broadly define “lender” to do this :)
Chopra was then moved over to the US Department of Education, around the time the odious Duncan left.
Whatever Bill Clinton got from for-profit colleges it hasn’t compromised Hillary Clinton, so far anyway.
Also…Fox apparently just settled w/ Gretchen Carlson for $20M. So let’s see, that’s $60M for Ailes, $20M for Carlson…anyone think we’ll break $200M before they’re done settling with all parties?
Ailes is still advising Trump on debate prep and other campaign matters, right? I’m sure if the reverse were true for Dems/Clinton, it’d be equally quiet in the media, right?
Laureate gets 17% of its revenue from North America.
So, no, the availability of federal student loans is probably not life and death for this company.
(IOW — data is your friend.)
@Tom Levenson: Hmmm…well, if Melanoma Trump’s immigration history is newsworthy because of her husband’s making immigration the centerpiece of his campaign…is Bill’s endorsement of and participation in for-profit education newsworthy because Hillary has made education and student loan reform a centerpiece of her campaign?
I do understand this is an all-hands-on-deck election moment, and I’m fine looking the other way on a lot of this shit, given the Trumpian alternative.
But still…in a normal election year…What The Fuck, Bill?
Meanwhile, CNN has got its beloved horserace back. They’ve been claiming that the race is practically tied, citing….their own CNN poll. What a surprise!
Thanks, Tom. I read this article almost as soon as it came across my twitter, pitchfork in hand. My wife is a 25 year veteran of working in public education, and a union activist and organizer. For-profit education (and it’s sibling: charter schools/privatization) is a topic that raises our blood pressure and hackles.
And yet, as you note, this article is again little more than “where there’s smoke, well, uhh, yeah.” And it looks like Laureate performs better than most of their peers (although, that may not be saying much).
That this is A1 above the fold while New book: Obama’s Education Department and Gates Foundation were closer than you thought largely flew under the radar is more about the Clintons than concern for education policy.
@Tom Levenson: How much are the waves controlled by editors, and how much of it is controlled by the operatives who feed information? I have a feeling that it’s more the latter than journalists care to admit.
@otmar: Fallows item was excellent. Thanks.
@ Tom: good to see you, K-Thug, and Jim Fallows hitting back hard at the media’s coverage of the Clintons. It’s felt like one big disinformation campaign.
Cowardice is what shines through for me: those who own and control what is published/broadcast are afraid of the rightwing wurlitzer. When actually they should just realize they’re up against bullies and show some courage and professionalism and accurate news judgement.
And, I guess, conventional wisdom. Maybe we have too many “elites” from big name schools, and people with connections, hired as reporters, when we should have more courageous and curious souls, with a handle on history.
I don’t feel good about being a New York Times subscriber. And the Washington Post is looking like clickbait, even while they have some good reporters and put out some excellent journalism on occasion.
The most likely candidate for unreported Obama admin scandal. DOE, for profit schools, charter schools bias. Somebody getting rich on those policies.
Correction, or attempted correction, in real time, versus the 2000 campaign is evidence of some learning. By some, but not all, folks.
Um, I thought all that Laureate stuff was years ago. And Bill had dropped them years ago (after collecting $17M for going to Davos and saying nice things about them! Obviously he would not have gone to Davos otherwise. Very nice work if you can get it.)
@Gin & Tonic: Yeah, that last Fallows item was chilling.
Excuse me, that is from an article on Russian disinformation initiatives, and isn’t the content strikingly similar to what is emanating from elected and non-elected Republicans?
They’re tearing this country apart too, for political gain. Polarization is working for them. We don’t have to look across an ocean and many time zones, and point at foreigners, to encounter it.
[Excerpts, chosen by Fallows, are from a New York Times article: A Powerful Russian Weapon: The Spread of False Stories.]
Higher education is a mess. Millions of dollars for admins but peanuts for adjuncts.
Laureate is a bit of a curiosity. They looked like they might be a step up from typical for-profits when they went through their european university mergers. They made a lot of the right moves to position themselves in the way you would want a non-public university to go, and that they were operating in so many countries suggested that they weren’t going to be able to exploit regulatory gaps in the way most for-profits operate, that they’d be forced to run a more traditional program, and to some extent that has held. Laureate was considered the most promising of the for-profits, in large part due to their international reach.
That said, they haven’t really succeeded. They haven’t failed nearly as badly as Phoenix, or DeVry or Corinthians, but they clearly haven’t improved the standings of the universities they acquired nor have they demonstrated a better outcome for students, and they’re losing money suggesting that things are unlikely to get better soon.
The bottom line is that public and non-profit education in the US is in bad shape. The current model is antiquated, out of reach of the people it most needs to serve, unable to change, and it’s inevitable that a new entrant will disrupt the standard model. That is looking more likely to be a non-profit than a for-profit, but a lot of people running the show are now just waiting for that to happen. There was not a great chance that Laureate was going to be that vehicle, but there was a chance. I’d say that more people are now looking to institutions like WGU or Brandman to be that vehicle, but they seem to have missed the window as well.
This is what I never can grasp about the Clintons. They have been subjected to partisan attack dogs masquerading as journalists for almost 3 decades now and the concept of “Suspect Optics” has still not sunken in! Making Debbie Wasserman Schultz an honorary campaign manager was extremely bad optics considering HRC needed too bring as many of the Bernie Voters into the fold following the convention as she possibly could. While DWS was not entirely falsely seen as enemy #1 to the Bernie contingent. 6 Figure speeches to Wall St was bad optics. Taking this kind of money while ceremonially fronting a For Profit higher Ed company is just bad optics.
They don’t get it. The mere appearance of impropriety has been enough to keep the Drudges and Jerome Corsi’s and Judicial watch gainfully employed in trashing the Clinton name for decades now….
They don’t need the money, not anymore they don’t, so why do they do this kind of shit?
Looks like somebody started assembling the stove-pipes, and suddenly figured out they weren’t connecting to anything at either end. But it sure looks unseemly. Not like that nice Donald Trump, who always gives us such interesting stories and great copy. This whole thing with AG Bondi is too complicated, though. Can’t make head or tail of it. And if you insist on following that story, you’re criminalizing political differences, and that’s as bad as Hitler squared!
Well, the Washington Post may not be the best critic. I don’t think anyone did more to promote for-profit schools than them. I think they popularized “private sector” schools, which is what lobbyists call them.
It’s a rare occasion but I don’t think regulators killed the Kaplans of this world- they killed themselves. Their enrollment has dropped 50%. I live in the middle of nowhere and they’re completely discredited among my clients. Word gets around. Slowly, but it happens. The product sucked, they sold it dishonestly, it’s really expensive and can’t be discharged in bankruptcy. People noticed.
Markets worked! :)
Getting paid $3.6M/year for doing nothing. Are going to claim you would turn that down?
Plus it was 2010 until 2015. plus it was in all their tax forms.
For decades reporting was a blue collar profession, valuing scrappy underdogs and newshounds who dug out their own stories. It has devolved into a social contract where they hobnob with their subjects and make nice in exchange for “access.”
Just heard about the Carlson settlement and actual apology. Wowsers, that’s a lot considering she was doubtless pulling down seven figures those many years. The apology seemed unequivocal on its face and you’re probably right, this isn’t the last.
Of course, the corruption inherent in Fox’s mission and makeup will get zero scrutiny and they’ll mostly regret the actions of “a few bad apples” ignoring Murdoch and Ailes having planted a toxic orchard.
When was he involved with this? It is nothing compared to Trump U.
I’d start here: New book: Obama’s Education Department and Gates Foundation were closer than you thought
It’s not like a bad decision on a car or a house, or other things you pay tens of thousands of dollars for- It’s a life sentence on this debt. People got that eventually.
i credit Reddit for letting young people know. They have for-profit college topic threads with thousands of comments. It’s like a nightmare for word of mouth bad advertising for these places.
I know you’re saying it a bit sarcastically and you don’t believe it – but I’m infuriated by the “see, the markets worked” argument when it comes to education. It’s like saying the “markets worked” when the unregulated fast food restaurant went out of business because word got around that their customers all ended up with e-coli. Sure it “worked” for the people who got warned away in time, but only because a whole bunch of other people took the bullet and got sick.
For profit schools that are going out of business now because of the poor education they provided their students are like that. Future students are saved from getting educational e-coli because of all of the people who have now lost a bunch of money and a bunch of time (which can never be recovered) wasted on a grift. These are the kinds of things that regulations should prevent the bulk of and that when they do happen should be compensated. Those students will never be compensated for what they’ve lost and so the market – and the system – has failed them.
I would like to know what the Bushes and Reagan did after their peesidencies. Ofcourse,you won’t find out because they’re private citizens. I also don’t think you would have seen this kind of stuff if Jeb! had won because of Clinton rules.
@otmar: That’s a pretty powerful write-up.
And yet as Fallows correctly points out, the media simply reported that Trump called Secretary Clinton a bigot and moved on from the story instead of focusing on the truths outlined in Secretary Clinton’s alt-right speech.
Can’t argue that adjuncts don’t make a whole lot, but blaming it on admin has been disproved in multiple places. The extremely steep decline in state funding for higher ed and increasing numbers of students are to blame for tuition increases and keeping adjunct salaries low.
You are such a kind man, Tom. But methinks you are being much too charitable here:
I’ll exclude the WaPo here (at least lately), but I absolutely think there is a conspiracy among the Villagers of the NYT, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC and pretty much every other MSM outlet to shiv the Clintons. It may not be one that they get to together to coordinate, but it’s as much a conspiracy as any mean girls bullying in high school. They talk among themselves (because they are the only people they actually ever really talk to — people like themselves) and Hillary is mean to them and Bill is just a hick with a perpetual hard on and so tacky about raising money for this foundation that actually helps poor people and not some art gallery and everyone genuflects in the direction of Broder and Russert and thus we have the shitty “journalism” we have today. They are too insular and too out of touch with anything having to do with real life and real problems. I want them all nuked, personally. And, as I’ve mentioned before, my mother, an actual journalist, would be wishing much harder punishments for them if she was alive to see how they have dishonored a profession she was so proud of achieving. I hate them all for how, if nothing else, they have dishonored her hard work and her pride in it.
@germy: Perhaps so much money is going towards paying for various sexual harassment lawsuits that Fox News can’t keep up with Van Susteren’s salary. Inquiring minds want to know. Not that I care about Ms. Van Susteren given her willingness to sell her soul to the Rightwing bubble demon and peddle lies on her nightly show.
I DO believe it to a certain extent. I’m as surprised as anyone but it was one of those weird things- it was like they reached some massive rip off tipping point and it became something everyone knows. Poor people in rural areas were targeted. It’s distance education. That’s appealing to them. Partly it was how aggressive they were. I heard incredible stories. Sign up for information on a website and get calls from recruiters for years. People wanted to put CPO’s in so these colleges would stop contacting them. They were selling STNA’s for 20,000 dollars. You can get that in 6 weeks for free at a nursing home and get paid while you’re getting it. Outrageous rip-offs.
well its the folks that control the frame that are the ones who have a hard-on for trashing the Clintons. I’m working on the assumption that they’re the ones crafting the headlines and determining how to spin the articles. As Tom mentioned, the headlines sets up expectations. If the headline read “While Clinton was employed by Laureate, no link to favors to State found” well, that wouldn’t have been terribly exciting now, would it? The thing is, its the framing of how the expectations are set and the information is presented is telling. That old saw of who gets to determine what is “news” and what isn’t….
@geg6: Well said.
We need more of your moms in journalism, and less of the careerist Villager parasites out there now, buckraking.
@geg6: I agree. In fact, the most detrimental thing to do is to ascribe to a mistake what is obviously a tactic. I love Tom’s efforts and meticulous research that creates a clear, measured approach that may (may) inspire introspection. However, I believe we’re past the point of hoping for introspection and need strong levels of harsh condemnation.
We have a system whereby when people leave office they get to ash in. It’s our way of holding down public corruption, we rarely have instances of public office holders stealing public funds, they pedal their influence with the expectation that their payday will come when they leave office. Is this the best system, probably not but it’s the one we have. This bullshit of saying that because she was going to run, they should not have cashed in is wrong. Judicial Watch is and the GOP are largely responsible for the Clintons initial need for copious amounts of money. They actually were broke when they left the White House because of the millions they owed in legal fees. If someone offered me millions to sit on boards and give speeches hell I’d take it so long as I felt I was not harming anyone, which is totally subjective. I don’t lke everyone or every entity he/ they have ties to, but it’s legal. The Clintons have broken no laws, the media needs to accept that. Investigate all you want, but if you find nothing, accept it and move on. The optics of bilking small business owner and giving illegal contributions to AG’s who are investigating you are aw hole lot worse that doing business with people you’ve known and been friends with for decades.
If this sis a new day where wrongdoing is no longer the standard, but optics are, then why have I yet to hear about the optics of Trumps campaign?
@Patricia Kayden: That’s true. They made it in to a “Clinton Said, Trump Said” story and went on their merry way.
Cowards. Almost all of them. If they stop to think, are we better for having the alt-right among us? Aren’t they in a profession that could do something about that?
But certainly we can all agree that these for-profit institutions of higher learning have had a checkered history. Therefore the tenure at the head of one of those sketchy joints of any prominent person in any way connected with a presidential campaign should be carefully examined, Right? So we’re good, right?
Maybe WaPo did extensive reporting on Trump University, and being cowardly corporate hacks, they felt the need to do one on Bill Clinton (who, IIRC, is NOT running for president) for the sake of ‘balance’. But I just searched WaPo for stories on the Trump University scam since 2005 and found nothing. Maybe others know how to search miserable rags like the WaPo better than I do and I missed the in-depth reporting. If so, please let me know.
@germy: Van Sustern to Hume. Garbage in, garbage out
Picking a very small nit: since when did “report” come to mean “investigate” rather than “relate”?
This idiom first started to grate on my ear about 20 years ago, when I first heard Bob Woodward use it, as in “I am ruhporting a story right now …”, meaning “I am gathering facts right now”. English being my second language and all, maybe I missed the memo announcing that the word once used to describe the dissemination of facts will henceforth be used to describe the gathering of them.
@Tom Levenson: Tom, have you seen this from yesterday at Booman’s place? I was somewhat pleasantly surprised by Booman’s defense of Hillary and Bill re this very same WP article:
@Jeffro: Oh please, let’s not give deans and Presidents of a college a pass shall we? The priorities of many public universities are fucked up. There is enough money for football and basket ball coaches, to fund a building boom but adjuncts and graduate assistants get poverty level wages.
Villago Delenda Est
Again, my nym.
Wipe them out. All of them.
STNA?? Something something Nurse’s Assistant?
@Gin & Tonic:
I think (looking at e.g. the suffering of Greece) that those institutions are doing a fine job of destroying their reputations, all on their own.
Yes, this, entirely so much this. They’re trying very hard to make it seem like THE SCANDAL is that, via the Clintons, there are American oligarchs cashing in on political favors and influence and lining their own pockets in the process. What they keep finding instead is that the Clintons have rich friends, many of whom want to use their riches to better the world in some way, some of whom are just rich and like to hobnob with famous people. I think you’ll find that with EVERY FUCKING POLITICIAN EVER, up to and including Bernie Sanders.
@Villago Delenda Est: You need to start taking action. Why not get a line of designer Times Tumbrels ready to go. Could sell them at the BJ shop? This blog will finally pay for itself. I haven’t thought of snappy name for a WaPo themed item yet.
Edit: WaPo Winches, for hoisting onto the scaffolds (politically, of course)?
Villago Delenda Est
You are not sane.
Kay notes that today all the kids know this. Did they (and we) know this in 2010 as common knowledge?
I guess we all also ‘all’ knew that the housing bubble would end in tears, and so invested in the big short to profit from that knowledge.
I think that Monica-gate was a problem in two ways, the power dynamic and age difference are troubling. The issue should have been pursued as sexual harassment by Monica and not congress or Starr, if she didn’t do it they had no business there. If Monica hadn’t wanted the exposure of a public accusation and the spectacle that would bring she could have gone the Gretchen Carlson route and sued, but this was never about her, if you believe she was Bill’s victim, they victimized her again, forcing everything out into the public, and she has never recovered. The second way it was a problem was with his wife, as we’ve just seen with Huma, people get to decide when enough is enough in their relationship. Anyone shocked that anyone would lie about an affair their having should buy that bridge in Brooklyn. I know he lied under oath, but it was about a b-job, not the fate of the universe. People who prattle along about him breaking the law are hypocrites, we all do everyday, jaywalking, speeding, we don’t see people arrested for those because it’s a waste of resources, so was this.
Honestly, there’s no excuse for the low adjunct salaries. As for the administrative costs, that’s mostly a function of universities expanding their core mission. There isn’t enough money coming in through the ‘teaching local kids’ vector, so we’re branching out into a zillion other things from research to services to other educational initiatives (K-12, international, online, etc.) Basically, we’re creating a million administrators to try and build new businesses. In 2009 everyone collectively agreed that public funding for education was dead and that we’d have to refocus to replace those lost dollars and find new ways to fund education. A lot of the work I used to do has been replaced with creatively finding ways to pay the staff, hire instructors, build classrooms, etc. And it’s a lot easier to justify a high salary when you have a fundraising dollar amount to compare it to than when you had a graduation rate statistic or a class size statistic to compare it to. It’s just easier to justify paying someone 5% of what they fundraise than to pay an adjunct for teaching x students because there’s almost no money coming from those students. A lot of this is financial malpractice within universities who are struggling (and largely failing) to adapt.
Consider that UCLA built a hotel. Now, that’s not part of the core university mission. They don’t have a hotel management program to run the place, and everyone that works there now shows up as a new administrator. Does the hotel earn enough to cover their salary? Probably. Probably more than that, actually, with some return to the university. And the person running the facility probably earns quite a lot. So, more money to administrators and less to teachers, right? It’s a mess.
Bullshit. It’s fine to say they needed money for that stuff. They’ve pocketed much, much more than is needed for that.
West of the Rockies (been a while)
I agree. Bill and H are very much about the Benjamins, many, many, Bennies. I will happily vote for her. She is qualified and intelligent. But, IMHO, she and Bill are privileged and predatory.
Bravo for this post.
@FlipYrWhig: Exactly. They’re trying to create a scandal from routine, ordinary behavior of the ultra rich, which not only the Clintons engage in. But somehow because the Clintons engage in this behavior, it’s horrible and should disqualify Secretary Clinton from the Presidency. I guess they’re getting their horse race given the tightening in some polls.
Villago Delenda Est
@liberal: You are a idiot.
@catclub: I disagree somewhat. About half my day gig is teaching, and I have seen for-profit education curriculum information product very up close and personal for years, and have long been very suspicious. But the what you quoted was offered as a debatable premise to set up some snark, so I’m glad to agree to disagree on it.
Tilda Swinton's Bald Cap
@srv: Read this Stevie Ray.
@WereBear: Yeah. The “access” is probably poisonous, in many cases. Led astray by opponents with axes to grind, and them with no ethics or judgement.
I think media outlets should rotate their correspondents, regularly. If they are so hot shot, they will thrive on many beats, no? There are not that many good beat reporters, and the White House press corpse is toxic.
Do not get me started on Mrs. Greenspan. I get a headache looking at her. Grateful to not be anywhere near NBC News or MSNBC now. They’ve ruined it.
Oh, I certainly did. I’d been reading Dean Baker’s blog over at CEPR starting in the 1990s. Dean started calling the housing bubble circa 2001.
His methodology was looking at the divergence of rents and prices.
I remember a friend telling me in 2005 that I should consider buying a house. Told him it was a bad idea.
The answer to your question is contained within the question. There is nothing they can do, nothing, that is not ‘suspect optics.’ Aware that they cannot win that game, they are not bothering to play. it is exactly the right strategy. They will be hounded for meaningless bullshit regardless, and it makes not one damned bit of difference whether there’s a grain of sand at the center of bullshit mountain or not.
Bullshit yourself. That’s not for you to decide. That’s not for ANYONE to decide, except the folks whose pocketbook is invovled.
@Tony P.: Reporters jobs are to answer questions, not ask them. The biggest problem that I see now is reporters announcing that something looks improper without actually knowing if it is or not – that perhaps that work will get done 6 weeks from now. It used to be that they’d sit on the story until they had an answer. Now they run it just with the question – it’s turned mostly into a high-brow gossip shop with the occasional bit of reporting just to keep the label. That’s the malpractice.
@liberal: So? They can make as much money as they want to as long as it’s done legally. Who cares? This is a capitalist country after all.
@Villago Delenda Est: The Clintons are worth ~$110M, so shove it up your asshole. They didn’t make that money based on any particular skill set. They made it by influence pedding.
If you want to argue that they’re not nearly as corrupt as the media would have them out to be, or not nearly as corrupt as the Republicans, or as untold number of businessmen, etc etc, that’s fine. But otherwise, in an absolute sense? LOL, and go DIAF.
OT Priorities USA has a new ad… link to youtube
If you can watch, tell me what you think.
I’m sorry is there a law against becoming rich? They started of broke and then built a 100+ million dollar fortune. They’ve released their taxes, so you can see exactly where that money came from. You may not like the sources, but it’s not a scandal that they accepted it. I wasn’t trying to say they only too the money to cover legal fees, that was a jibe at the media for mocking her statement.
@Villago Delenda Est: I imagine srv sees srv-self as hip, with-it, edgy, post-honesty and brand-centric.
@Patricia Kayden: Jesus, I don’t know what I despise more, the fascist Trumpheads or you sickening apologists.
All sorts of influence peddling is legal. (Not to mention a lot of other chicanery involving money, outside of politics itself.) Does that make it OK? No. Does that mean I support Trump? No. Does that mean I’ll sit out the election and not vote for Hillary? No. Do I think we deserve better than Bill and Hillary? No.
This election has brought out all sorts of disgusting shit, and not just from the right.
You people are too fucking stupid to wrap your heads around the idea that while we’re stuck with Clinton, and she’s a lot better than Trump and hence should be supported, that doesn’t make her good in an absolute sense. Truly the lesser of two evils.
Obamas could get $45 million payday from book deals: report
The Obamas could be in for a $45 million payday from book deals after leaving the White House, the New York Times reports.
President Obama, already an accomplished author with a bestselling memoir “Dreams From My Father,” could, together with his wife Michelle, land the biggest post-presidency book contracts in American history.
“His is going to be easily the most valuable presidential memoir ever,” Raphael Sagalyn of the ICM/Sagalyn Literary Agency told the Times.
Sagalyn predicted to the Times that Obama could earn $30 million with a two- or three-book contract and said Michelle Obama “has the opportunity to sell the most valuable first lady memoir in history.”
But the Times report indicated that the real figure for the Obama memoirs might be lower than the dollar signs imagined by enthusiastic literary agents.
Publishers, the ones who actually have to pay the exorbitant sums, quoted much lower figures to the Times, speculating that Obama would do well to get more than $12 million and his wife would be lucky to get more than $10 million.
The result of large amounts of research into that is that, no, they did not make it by influence peddling. That is as proven as you’re ever likely to get at this point.
@Kay: I think you are right that they killed themselves. Apollo/Phoenix is a good example — they started with a really great insight — that there are all sorts of potential students that have demonstrated their tenacity and ability who want to get a degree but may not have access to a regular 4 year college situation. They initially focused on single parents who received associate degrees and veterans. These students were amazing and Apollo offered them the flexible, on-demand education products that were perfectly suited to their work and life lives.
But then the profit margin issues kicked in from investors. The investors demanded more profits and bigger returns. So Phoenix moved from the proven achiever market to accept all comers. And all this backed by federally-guaranteed title-IV student loans. And everyone did enroll and they were not prepared to be self-motivated learners and they dropped out and defaulted on their loans. All the while, Apollo was seeking more students and expanding.
What started as a very smart insight regarding non-traditional degree seekers turned into profit hunger. They killed themselves
” They’ve pocketed much, much more than is needed for that. ”
I agree. I don’t find it admirable, and not a Bill or an HRC fan. But that is my personal opinion. But in terms of supposedly objective factual news, they don’t deserve the kind of imbalanced coverage they’ve been getting, and what amounts to a smear campaign on several fronts. Especially when the GOPers, even the relatively ‘good’ ones like the Bush’s, not to even mention the likes of Trump get off with almost not coverage for worse.
It’s BS. I may not approve of how the Clinton’s conducted themselves, if I were a sniveling corporate hack working for corporate media, I would try to hold myself to some standards, and at least attempting to rise above my personal tastes in choosing important news stories to cover would be one standard.
And, despite my personal tastes, I realize following them too far leads to biased charges of hypocrisy whenever a moderate or liberal does not take a vow of poverty and live in a hole in the ground eating roots and bark. Yeah, maybe I happen to think the Clintons cashed in too much. So what? How much is too much? You need big money to have a certain type of influence. Going to cede that to the Bush clan and the Trumps?
My current theory is that the right wing screaming about political corruption, which is the root cause of Clinton Derangement Syndrome, exists to serve the function of covering up corporate corruption and turning it into a non-issue. Yes, they get the low taxes and lax regulation and feed from the government trough, but more is going on here. Clinton, because of her career in government, is assumed to be corrupt. Businessman Trump’s many illegal activities, don’t read as “corrupt” to the press. Corrupt is a function of government. Business is just following market rules, you see.
You can see it in the way that doctors, hospitals and healthcare companies ripping of Medicare is turned into “Medicare fraud,” which is a government problem, not a private industry problem. Where are the calls for the healthcare industry to start policing itself, so that it doesn’t keep ripping off taxpayers? No, it is all about government “waste” and “fraud.” Those fraudulent claims had to come from somewhere. And they aren’t even disqualifying for a political career (at least in Florida).
It always pays to look at the news through the lens of what isn’t being covered.
Influence peddling brings us back to the whole pat to play bullshit that the media has been searching for the last eight years. They keep digging and coming back empty handed, and then they sniff about optics. The whole point of Tom’s post seems to have eluded you, so I guess there’s no point in continuing this discussion.
EDIT Sorry about the bold, it was accidental, I didn’t mean to yell.
Taking money from people willing to throw obscene amounts of it at you legally is the American way.
For me it’s simply “put up or shut up”. They never found anything with Benghazi or the emails. How many years/months do they get to imply they might find something? Just unlimited? Forever?
They never even found a motive for the emails. They were working backward- when we find the smoking gun email then we’ll have the motive. Okay. Show us. All they have is people asked for things. I don’t even know if that’s ordinary course of business for any sec of state- requests. I imagine it is. There’s not even context. Is she asked for more things than prior sec of state? I don’t know.
18 months. Longer than that for Benghazi. Nothing. That’s why people are skeptical.
I’m sure @liberal: will be along to tell us that they’re influence peddling and corrupt, that”s so what.
@Immanentize: I agree with you and Kay. I found some of the early practices of for-profit colleges admirable. Traditional non-profit academic institutions could learn from their efforts to standardize curriculum and and provide good preparation for instructors. But whenever standards ran up against short-run profits now now now!!, the money won. So what started out as a good idea became dumping shrink wrapped courses dumped on warm bodies who were told to perform like (in these days of ever advancing AI) rather primitive and increasingly underpaid and overworkd robots.
So true. Framing counts.
@? Martin: It is a mess and one not well understood by people who talk a lot about it. As you point out — administrative costs include — security, residence halls, health care professionals, support staff, janitors, etc. My university had a huge 150% increase in administrators over the last fifteen years — because we opened dorms for the first time. Very good for students, but OH NO! so many more administrators. It is entirely true that some presidents at some universities are hugely overpaid, but most are not. In fact, you are likely to see some star faculty member on the institution’s 990 right next to — or above — most senior administrators.
As for contingent faculty (adjuncts) there is a lot of research and interesting work on these questions. Where I work, our adjuncts are unionized but our faculty are not. I was involved in our most recent collective bargaining agreement and the university both rationalized and improved improve adjunct pay across the schools. The end result — which is really good for students — was an increase in full time faculty and a significant reduction in adjunct employment. Is that a big success? Or a huge failure vis a vis adjuncts?
Higher Ed has become serfdom. Adjuncts and Teaching Assistants/Fellows do all the work, have no guarantees, little pay, no benefits or protection, and do the most work for the students. It’s a horrible situation and one of the reasons I do not support free college tuition unless/until we get some major regulations in place.
@Feathers: Thanks. I think those are very good points. Yesterday I attributed the corporate press’ bizarre performance to cowardice of sniveling corporate hacks. Your line of reason leads to the theory that they are corrupt sniveling cowardly hacks. They need to protect our corrupt corporate system. And their corporate masters look deeply into the long run implications of every decision. The influential US neocon supporters of authoritarian regimes back in the Reagan days, eventually threw in the towel to fascism and had to grant that in the end, to keep things ‘nice’, everything was political, and savage sanctions were always appropriate, since anything at all in any way political could get out of hand sooner or later, if it did not clearly signal subservience .
For the corporate masters, everything is economic.
It was more than that. It was deliberately deceptive. You don’t need a criminal justice degree to be a corrections officer. You don’t need a 2 year degree to make 11 dollars an hour at a nursing home. They preyed on people who didn’t know the first thing about college. We don’t have any work for design majors here. That’s why the local community college doesn’t offer a certificate in it. There’s work for things like “plastic molding technology”- it’s regional.
They gave really unsophisticated but hard working and motivated poor people horrible advice. It was a crying shame.
@Kay: I agree what you say is true of some sectors of for-profit college. I think that the for-profit trade schools peddling bogus certificates have been very sleazy from the beginning. Particularly what I have seen in CA, where they have to compete with much better public community colleges, and they basically had no product that was even worth a dime, unless they mislead gullible and desperate people who were just trying to find a way to a better life. Maybe some technical schools offering engineering certificates were not sleazy, I don’t know. But the ones I know about were, and are, messes to be avoided.
Sean Hannity is attacking Gretchen Carlson on Twitter.
He’s the definition of a suck-up, in my view. Smarmy. He even LOOKS like one. The ones I have known… :)
Top of google news just now.
Not hardly. Even with the best editor in the history of the universe, Greenie’s bias and lack of basic understanding of relevant subject matter would shine through.
Go back to 2005-07 and compare what Greenie was writing on civil liberties/law of war topics to what Marty Lederman and Jack Goldsmith were writing. Simply put, Greenie doesn’t know his chosen subjects.
That’s true. Career schools were often rip-offs. Barber, truck driving. I think it took off when big money got involved and then they didn’t regulate student loans. Like a recipe for fraud.
@Kay: Yes, it was the federally backed student loans that allowed the scam/thievery business model to prevail. Basically, the schools got all the cash but had none of the risk. Really horrible for so many students.
@Kay: There was also a void, since trade union style apprenticeship career paths dried up. I don’t know about other states, but public CA community colleges were slow to pick up the slack, though most have developed good programs tailored to local job markets now.
Quality education has suffered in our current corrupt cash-n-carry rip-off as productivity economic ideology that rules us all.
You’re being overly generous to your reporter buddies in accepting that they aren’t deliberately crafting a false narrative, a lie. If it isn’t the reporters themselves, it’s coming from above them, and everyone knows it’s going on. Occam’s razor. It’s too unbelievable that stories like this keep rolling out despite the integrity and best efforts of the reporters to do their jobs and get shit right.
I think that was deliberate by business interests. They shifted the cost and risk of training people to the public and employees themselves. Building trades apprenticeships aren’t just funded by unions- they’re also funded by contractors. It’s expensive to train people and there’s risk- the investment might not pay off. Business just stopped doing it.
Villago Delenda Est
Trollin’ trollin’ trollin’.
Though the lies are swollen
Keep them trolls a trollin’
I lived through the 90s, srv. I remember how much the DC media despised Clinton. I remember Sally Quinn meangirling her way through the Clinton presidency. I remember David Broder saying that Clinton had come in and “trashed the place”. I remember Whitewater – where a gaggle of journalists decided that a land deal that the Clintons took a bath on was evidence of corruption. I remember how they salivated over every nugget of innuendo that came out of Ken Starr’s investigation.
Keep on trollin’ srv – maybe you can fool the younguns with your innanties but those of us who actually lived through the Clinton years remember how much he was hated by the media. And how they wanted to tear him down and never succeeded.
(Hell I was a Republican for much of that and even I could see how much they hated Clinton and how angry so many of them were that he beat out George HW Bush in ’92. Bush was their friend and an elder statesmen and he deserved that job. Clinton was an uncouth upstart who was raised in a trailer park by a single mother – he didn’t deserve the job the way HW Bush did.)
Lawmakers were really reckless, though. Duncan was promoting University of Phoenix as late as 2015. He’s a true free market believer. He’s also not very bright. He’s innumerate- he uses numbers in ways that don’t make sense. He has trouble with simple concepts, like percentages and parts of a whole. Obama’s worst hire, by a mile.
Oh please, let’s not be patronizing, shall we?
And now you’re talking about two different things: administrative costs vs. coaches/sports programs. I agree on the latter being an issue, as the vast majority of college sports (football in particular) are a huge drain on universities. Admin costs have stayed about the same low percentage of overall higher-ed costs for decades.
@Kay: The low status of technical and vocational education in the US is a problem. I suppose it follows form the low status of technical and vocational career paths in the US.
I wasn’t excusing it – I was noting the major reason for it (i.e., a huge drop-off in the state share of funding for public colleges and universities).
Villago Delenda Est
He is one of my go-to guys (along with Rafael Cruz) for the picture next to the dictionary definition of Backpfeifengesicht.
Villago Delenda Est
@nonynony: I’ll never forget the unashamed beaming glee on Sam Donaldson’s face when the Monica story broke. “He’ll have to resign!”.
One of the reasons Donaldson needs to die as painful a death as Broder or Russert should have.
@Jeffro: Sorry, didn’t mean to suggest you were – but even with the drop-off in public funding, adjuncts should never have gotten screwed over as they have. A lot of other decisions could have been made and weren’t.
You seem nice.
Pro tip: with the first “LOL” you reveal yourself as a Konservative fake (not that the nym isn’t the obvious tip). Game ovah; buh-bye.
All of this. From where I’m standing it’s not about Clinton (either) being in any way out of step with morality and ethics in the USA. Indeed, they’re slightly careful about avoiding wrongdoing, which is a lot more than Trump can say.
But they are operating completely within the framework of a neoliberal/neoconservative political and economic system.
And the whole point of that scary ‘neo’ tag (that people around here are so unwilling to even talk about, half the time: remember when it used to be neoconservative?) is that it’s its own framework.
Neo-whatever means: lawless capitalism, full stop. It means the ONLY morality is what makes money. The idea (and I see it echoing even in this comments section, never mind in Washington) is that any human excess, any crime, will be punished by market forces leading to a correction and justice being done by the invisible hand. ‘They killed themselves’ (by ruining countless lives through fraud, thus poisoning the market against them and ending up unable to get customers), in the case of the predatory for-profit schools.
And the assumption is, any further punishment or action is MORALLY WRONG. There can be no justice outside the justice of the market.
This is the ‘neo’ thing, and it’s reasonable to criticize such a curiously religious tone towards questions of justice.
To the extent that Bill ended up believing the whole neoliberal litany (it’s not the only point of view he saw, but when he was President it was the uncontested ruling way of the world and he was expected to adopt it), he did nothing wrong: he was faithful to how the world worked.
It’s fair to demand a broader view now that we’ve seen the damages Republicans caused riding this hobbyhorse. They started it, and they’re the ones who trained the Clintons to believe it.
@nonynony: Indeed. Let’s not forget that for the last couple years of the 90’s Bill Clinton’s penis pretty much dominated the news cycle. Admittedly, there were a few villagers who seemed OK with Bill but peculiarly deranged by Hilary (looking at you Tweety!), but they were pretty rare.
@Kay: Totally agree. Totally. It was wrong and I am fairly certain more than a little corrupt.
@? Martin: I agree that adjuncts shouldn’t have been/shouldn’t be getting screwed over – they do work hard for very little pay.
Here’s some more background on just how impactful those state budget cuts really were, though. It really is the first place state legislatures go to when times get tough fiscally.
Between the cuts and the growth in student enrollment, it explains most of the financial pressures universities have been through this decade. Bigger picture, it demonstrates how the priorities of the old have trumped those of the young – the budget pressures have primarily come from the retirement & health care needs of the aging Boomer cohort.
@West of the Rockies (been a while): Excuse me? Privilege I won’t argue but they have bloody well earned every damn bit of it and more power to them. They were not born with silver spoons in their mouth. But predatory? If your definition of predatory is helping millions of HIV positive people around the world get the medication they need, working to restore ecosystems in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and promoting women-owned businesses in Haiti, I guess they are. But the word doesn’t mean that, exactly.
@liberal: Prove it. Prove it. Prove it.
JR in WV
@Villago Delenda Est:
This… the Villagers were on board with Ken Starr and James Comey with the “Whitewater” investigation, the one that cost $40,000,000 spent on right-wing lawyers, took 6 years, and found a blow-job.
They hated Bill AND Hillary, and accused their white house of vandalizing the executive offices of the White House while leaving it for George W Bush’s people to come in the next work day. Which was a lie, totally false.
Broder, dean of the Village, said “They came in and thought it was their house. Well, it’s not, it’s OUR house!” as if Broder ever won an election for anything. These rural hick hayseeds from Arkansas came to DC and didn’t even know how to hold a teacup at a garden club meeting!
And didn’t invite the Right people (the White people) to their White House cocktail parties. So they spent 7 years doing their best to fuck the Clintons, right up to impeaching Bill. But the Senate wasn’t as far gone then, and Bill wasn’t convicted of his high crimes of blowjob and attempting to defend his family from the consequences of his horny giving in to an approach from an equally horny younger attractive consenting adult female.
What a high crime, fooling around with another person, as if it were the first time any fooling around happened at the White House. What a maroon comedy, and now the same guilty parties are trying to run the same script on Mrs Clinton instead of Mr Clinton~!!
What color is the sky in your world?
JR in WV
And when did wanting to legally make a shit-ton of money become a
problemcrime in America? Because Bill Clinton grew up broke, went to schools on scholarships where that was a big debit on the popularity scales. They worked in public service for 40 years, at what was, for Yale Law grads, poverty level wages.
So after they retired from public service broke from legal bills, they had a chance to make enough money they would never again be bankrupted by legal bills defending themselves from their political enemies, which have never and will never go away. They still need lawyers to defend themselves from political enemies right now, today, and forever.
They should found a law firm, make money at that, and use it to attack the right wing-nuts. The best defence is a good offence, after all.
ETA for clarity, speling, etc.
For anyone laboring under the illusion that the media loved Bill Clinton, I offer Exhibit A:
Maureen Dowd was awarded the Pulitzer in the category of Political Commentary, for a year’s worth of catty articles about Bill Clinton’s prick.
@JR in WV:
“And when did wanting to legally make a shit-ton of money become a problem [nay, a crime] in America?”
When you are not going to use very ounce of you body mind and soul to help the wealthy and powerful make further shit-tons of money by any means necessary, no matter how heinous.
> honest and expert reporters
Well, there’s your first mistake, thinking such creatures are on the Clinton beat.
Lending one’s name and likeness to a for profit college seems tacky. But “heinous” seems a bit over the top.
Considering the source of this reporting (WaPo), was owned by the same parent company as Kaplan Colleges for the better part of 3 decades, with the latter a much bigger money maker for Graham Holdings than the former…
Their complaints about anyone else’s association with a for profit college seems…risible.
@Cacti: I was snarking. I meant that Bill and Hillary Clinton, like Gore, do not plan to use every ounce of their bodies minds and souls to help the wealthy and powerful make further shit-tons of money by any means necessary, no matter how heinous. So, the media (probably from BS fed to them by wingers) churns out farcical BS (than any school child should recognize as farcical BS) examining their every fart and burp.
Actually, they could wander the streets in rags, sleep under bridges, and eat out of dumpsters and discarded fast food garbage in the gutter, and the press would still sniff out problems and clouds and doubts (why sleep under such a fancy freeway overpass, huh?)
While much much worse is done a regular basis by people who can be argued to be little more than white collar criminals, and the media either excuses or ignores. But those are the right kind of people in the eyes of he powerful. Or perhaps more important, they will push for continuation and extension of the current corrupt system.
But, maybe you were snarking too? I am slow on the uptake of the subtleties of blog chit-chat sometimes.
West of the Rockies (been a while)
@Emma: I should have been more precise, Emma. I think they are financial predators in the sense that they snatch cash up by all bins and buckets available. A lot of people do; they’re hardly alone. But I’m not going to confuse them with Robin Hood or Mother Teresa anytime soon. They are gifted politicians who, on the whole, do way more good than harm, but saints they ain’t. That’s my opinion.
I believe the proper term for that is “The Clenis”.
The story goes off the rail from the title: “Inside Bill Clinton’s nearly $18 million job as ‘Honorary Chancellor’ of a for-profit university,”
It wasn’t an $18M job, and framing it that way was dishonest.
Someone making $50k a year isn’t a millionaire simply because they (if they are lucky) have the same job for 20 years. Most people assume that if someone has a “$18M job” then they’re being paid $18M a year.
This is the same kind of sloppy, sensational, “big number bad!!1” reporting that causes people to freak out over pension fund liabilities of $XXB or $YYTover 4-7 decades. It’s rarely enlightening, and only serves to rile people up.
That is all.
@West of the Rockies (been a while): Mother Teresa was no kind of saint. She let the poor in her hospitals go without pain medication (which was available) so their suffering could be an “offering for the Lord.” While in the meantime she hobnobbed with dictators and had her own health care handled in top notch medical facilities. On all those donations.
JR in WV
Well, if this:
happened, then Glenn Greenwald’s Pulitzer takes on a whole ‘nother size and shape, do it not? Speaking of Glenn’s braggadocio at LGM yesterday, his opinions have merit because of his Prize and the docudrama about him and his sources.
I had missed that particular perversion of the idea of journalism prizes, thanks for the information~!!
This is a forest-and-trees sort of thing.
1) They’re meticulously reporting on a bunch of trees.
2) But by their choice of trees, they’re giving their readers a false and misleading picture of the forest.
It seems to me this is the most important part of the pattern Tom has noted in this post and his earlier one to the NYT. In both cases, the story was sourced from Judicial Watch and found to demonstrate no wrongdoing by either Clinton. That’s the story: American newspapers are a cog in the vast right-wing conspiracy of Judicial Watch, feeding their garbage allegations to the public dressed up with commentary by ‘real’ reporters.
Apparently the NYT and WAPO are the reporting department of Judicial Watch. How much does Judicial Watch pay them for doing this contract work?
West of the Rockies (been a while)
Quite so. I was aware, but I was invoking her name to make a broader point. No one is perfect. The sainted Lennon was a terrible father, a shorty husband, physically abusive to his wives. The glorious Garrison K was something of a homophobe. Mother T was no saint.
Like I said, the media are meticulously reporting on a bunch of trees. And by their standards, as long as that’s done properly, it’s all good. But their choice of trees should reveal the forest, and that’s not what’s happening.
But there’s another thing going wrong here. If a medical researcher does a study, and finds none of the significant differences he was hoping to find, his (non-)findings won’t get into the New England Journal of Medicine. Because he didn’t find anything important.
Same with political reporting. If a reporter digs into an investigation, and his diligent work turns up no dirt on anyone, it shouldn’t get put on the front page of a major newspaper like it was a big deal, because it’s not. It deserves to be a three-paragraph story in the back pages: ‘we looked into this, found that Bill Clinton Makes Too Much Money, but otherwise we found no evidence of anything improper.’ Or, ‘found that Doug Band didn’t get a special passport, or anything else of value. He got a meeting, and that was it.’
No front page, no 2600 words, no Raises Questions bullshit. Just the basics, and an editor saying to himself, “boy, was that ever a waste of time and money, digging into this molehill like that.” And maybe if the editor didn’t try to sell the molehill to his readers as if it was a mountain, he’d start to realize that most of these Clinton stories weren’t worth bothering with in the first place.
@West of the Rockies (been a while): Nobody said they were saints. They are human, like the rest of us. Because nobody turns down $18 million over a number of years to make perfectly legal speeches and appearances. Especially since at the time the people offering it to you seemed to be honest.
Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (Formerly Mumphrey, et al.)
@srv: Is this shit the best you can do? You need to get in the game here. This is sad.
3) They are all the right height?
Trump! kind of makes us forget what a profoundly weird candidate was Mittens.
Yeah, seriously. I don’t resent anybody getting rich. I resent people pulling up the ladder after themselves. I don’t mind that Trump is rich or Romney was rich. I minded that they did it by hurting others, then were assholes to anyone poorer than themselves.
@hovercraft: I never saw Monica really claim to be a victim of anything but the media onslaught.
The white house staffers said that they had to keep shooing her away from the oval office, and telling her she wasn’t there to wander around looking for an encounter with the president. I remember the video of her on the rope line grabbing Clinton and hugging him. She never sought victim status and (also based on her conversations with Linda Tripp) was a grown woman and a willing participant.
West of the Rockies (been a while)
I would not turn down such a windfall. I would LIKE to think I’d give away in charity though a substantial chunk. Not 2% or 10, but 20%. That’s what I hope I’d do. Personally, I think money can be damaging to the soul. If I found myself purchasing car elevators and such, I’d figure I’d officially become an asshole. YMMV.
Maybe the Clintons DID give away enough to feel the pinch. Not that they had to. They could have kept every damn cent. I imagine they did throw some towards charity. Was it enough to feel the pinch or just to feel good about themselves and look acceptable to the media and would-be voters?
Maybe you think I’m being a purity pony, and maybe I am. My broad point was that Bill and Hillary ain’t like you and me, not anymore. They may have started from hard scrabble, but they’ve been in the deepest halls of power for almost 25 years. I truly and sincerely hope I am proven wrong, that they are flawless fountains of generosity and goodness. Okay, maybe that’s waaay over the top. But I do hope they aren’t ultimately corporatists who make damn sure they’ve amassed enough wealth for a hundred generations while ignoring people they could help with very little effort.
If it weren’t for Jonah Goldberg’s mamma we’d never have been subjected to the whole mess. They were consenting adults–regardless of how inappropriate his actions may have been–and Hillary was the lone victim.
@liberal: The only candidate who’s not the lesser of evils to me is me, but I’m not running.
Every other candidate is a compromise. What sense does it make to look your gift horse in the mouth?
From one of those clear eyed, practical voters of color, who would appreciate it if you wouldn’t keep going out of the way to suppress the vote so you could say “See!” later. Me and mine have lives to live, and we’d like to live them without a Trump presidency.
I’m tired of those who say “Of course Hillary is better and I’ll vote for her<" then use twelve paragraphs to denounce her and her husband, who, by the way, ISN'T the one running.
@West of the Rockies (been a while): Power don’t mean sh*t if you’re broke. Just ask Donald.
The sexism of the righteous left has no bounds. Hillary MUST be held responsible for everything Bill has ever done. And let’s not discuss their white privilege…
@Miss Bianca: Kind of like Comey’s explanation that the FBI had no reason to pursue her for any crime.
First, they started with twelve paragraphs of how horrible she was. Then, by the way, no reason to indict.
And another thing. I thought Carlson sued Ailes because she could not sue FOX, since she would be under arbitration, but I think I was wrong.
She would only be under arbitration if she sued while employed, and she sued FOX – since that is the deep pockets – after she left.
It is amusing that there are arguments about whether Ailes will be contributing to that $20M payment.
@West of the Rockies (been a while):
You could check. The Clintons have released decades worth of tax returns.
@West of the Rockies (been a while): The Clintons are now quite wealthy. And instead of sitting back and building car elevators or [email protected]!nos, they have set up a charitable foundation that is doing good things — whether the Clintons themselves “feel the pinch” or not. And Hillary, despite walking in the “deep halls of power”, is continuing in a life of public service. You can look at her decades-long record and at her policy proposals and see how she is endeavoring to help people.
The high standards you wish to hold them to smack, quite frankly, of envy. And you don’t seem to know much about Hillary’s actual life work.
Well put! It’s kind of unbelievable that anyone would think the Clintons just happened to ‘luck’ into their various stations in life, or that campaigning and governing require no work, skills, hours, etc. But you know, Clinton Rules and all that…sheesh…
Clintons aside, the older I get, the more I not only respect the institutions we have here in America, but the folks – flawed tho’ they might be – who put. in. the work. to make them work. This includes activists and institutions outside our ‘official’ government at all levels of course, but also includes those on the inside and especially those who put up with nonsense like ‘no particular skill set’ in order to try and get things done for the country.
That’s the point: We have no basis for comparison because the W admin officials have admitted to avoiding communications that they believed to be public records.
The emails are bullshit. The foundation is bullshit. This story is bullshit. Our press corpse refuses to acknowledge their own sunk costs in all these bullshit ‘appearance of impropriety’ narratives because the bullshit gets clicks and clicks pay bills.
Dog Bites Man is my working title for the book I’ll be writing about the coverage of this campaign– from Canada, if these self-interested fools can’t or don’t shape up and cover the real story, which I’ll summarize much less politely than Tom did:
One horse is racing. (“May have been stabled next to a former winner who may have used a banned substance…drug tests are negative but questions remain”.)
The other horse is rampaging through the stands trampling the spectators; if he finds the opening in the fence he’ll spread wreckage and chaos all over town.
Here is your narrative: Trump is never going to pivot; he is an unqualified delusional fraudster and there is a lifetime of material for you to write about in his background. If the election were 5 years away, you couldn’t cover it all. Get to work. The alternative is that we all get to enjoy your ‘raised questions’ about the quality and safety of the sparrows we’re roasting on coat hangers in our bunker under the former freeway. Good night, and good luck.
Let me repeat this for emphasis, Tom (if you’re still reading this useless bickerfest):
No one publishes negative results. You’re chatting with folks who have soap to sell. But the sunk cost fallacy (keep chasing the scandal implied by the existence of the Clintons because to do otherwise would admit that those hours of investigation are gone) and the Sinclair Rule (“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”) are pushing in the same direction: They need a horse race like you need your next paycheck, and for the same reasons.
Hang in there. Maybe if you say it in too many words…
West of the Rockies (been a while)
Oh, dear… Well then, I take it all back. Hillary is a flawless human being. She has not an iota of self-serving interest in her soul. There has never been and will never be a better, kinder, more deserving candidate ever. The fact that I said earlier that I will vote for her, that she is intelligent and will do far more good than harm means absolutely nothing. I have sinned against our fair-haired, definitely not privileged leader.
@West of the Rockies (been a while): Jesus, you people.
Can I get a filter that replaces the candidate whinging (she’s not perfect; oh yes she is; how dare you; no how dare YOU!) with “If you have to move to Canada because Trump wins, I’ll be right over to help you pack as soon as I’ve explained to @______ how WRONG s/he is!”
65 days, folks. We really don’t have time for this crap. If you do, call your local campaign office. Tom asked for ideas on how he can do the lifting he is uniquely positioned to deliver.
@West of the Rockies (been a while): FFS. Here’s a crazy idea…how about just accepting the fact that a). the Clintons made a lot of money, and b), that they’re actually doing a lot of good with it?
In other words…embrace reality?
I admire your patience in dealing with and trying to communicate with those shit head reporters, because I have no patience with their pretense of being journalists at all, let along unbiased ones. The story you site is…pointless fluff. The proof of bias is that anyone chose to write it or print it when they could have been studying Trump’s bribery incidents, his RICO problems, his history of stiffing creditors and employees, his personal profiting from donations….seriously. The bias is obvious. The dishonestly of the reporters you are talking to is obvious as well.
This is a pretty awesome piece of critiquery. I wish I had more confidence that any member of our scandal- and horse-race-obsessed political press corps will actually read it, let alone with with open eyes.
In Hillary Clinton, the press has the kind of dream candidate it can sic its in-the-trenches political reporters on, and grueling hours spent digging up flecks of fool’s gold in the Clinton scandal-mines are well-paid with the kind of public thanks which make underpaid scribes feel self-important. It must feel discouraging for a reporter to cover the Trump campaign, where unceasing scandals are almost self-reported and make barely a dent on the public consciousness. The 2016 presidential campaign is bound to make many kinds of political reporting obsolete, and no one comes off more like a lumbering dinosaur than the New York Times.