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Monday, December 09, 2019

Tag: new york times

Trump Wanted To Play 'Superman' On Release From Hospital

This Tuesday, October 4 is the official release date for New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman’s new book, Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America. Excerpts from the book have been widely reported, and one of the anecdotes being reported by Axios involves Trump’s desire to display the Superman logo when he was discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland in October 2020.

During his 2020 campaign, Trump downplayed the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic — as he feared it would hurt his chances of being reelected. But in October 2020, Trump tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalized at Reed.

In “Confidence Man,” Haberman describes Trump’s idea, reporting, “(He) would be wheeled out of Walter Reed in a chair and, once outdoors, he would dramatically stand up, then open his button-down dress shirt to reveal (a) Superman logo beneath it. Trump was so serious about it that he called the campaign headquarters to instruct an aide, Max Miller, to procure the Superman shirts; Miller was sent to a Virginia big-box store.”

According to Haberman, Trump’s idea was inspired by the King of Soul, James Brown, as well as professional wrestling. But Trump ended up abandoning the idea.

After being discharged from Reed, Trump returned to the White House.

COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan, China in late 2019. According to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, the pandemic has since killed more than 6.5 million people worldwide — including over 1 million in the United States.

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

'Master Class': A One-Act Play


Donald Trump is poolside at Mar-a-Lago, waving to guests as they go by.

GUEST #1: Mr. President!

TRUMP: See you at the fundraiser for J.D. Vance tonight. Have the steak.

GUEST #2: Stop the steal!

TRUMP: Have the steak!

An aide walks up to inform him he has a telephone call and hands him a cell phone.

AIDE: It’s Kevin McCarthy.

TRUMP: Again? Should I tape it?

He takes the phone.

TRUMP: My Kevin! You should call more.

McCARTHY: So, Mr. President, now they’ve subpoenaed me.

TRUMP: The Academy Award.

McCARTHY: I’m not accepting it.

TRUMP: Don’t go up there and slap them. You tell me, which is worse and which is more dishonest, the Oscars or the Emmys? Should have won the Emmy. A con game. An irrelevant show. Can you believe that The Apprentice lost to The Amazing Race? No credibility. Low ratings. A joke. Should have gotten it. Stolen.

McCARTHY: They want to ask me about what I said on that tape.

TRUMP: Just say it’s fake.

McCARTHY: I did already. When it came out, I said, “The New York Times’ reporting on me is totally false and wrong.”

TRUMP: You’re on the tape saying, “What Trump did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that and nobody should defend it.” And you told Liz Cheney you were going to tell me to resign. It’s on the tape.

McCARTHY: I told Fox News, “I never told the president to resign.”

TRUMP: And what else?

McCARTHY: I told Fox, “It was a conversation that we had about scenarios going forward.”

TRUMP: Kevin, you know what your problem is?

McCARTHY: But I told Fox, “What was brought to me, it said I called the president to say that – to resign. I never called the president to say ‘resign.’” Now they say I’m a liar.

TRUMP: They only believe you’re telling the truth if you’re lying.

McCARTHY: But I said I never told you to resign.

TRUMP: Don’t kid a kidder. You couldn’t lie your way out of a traffic ticket.

McCARTHY: So, what do you suggest?

TRUMP: You want some lessons, my Kevin? Let’s go to the tape. First thing, you say the New York Times reporting is wrong. Right?

McCARTHY: It’s two New York Times reporters with a tape.

TRUMP: That’s your first mistake. The tape is a phony, it’s fake, it’s made up, somebody forged it, it’s a counterfeit.

McCARTHY: Deny the tape? With my voice on it?

TRUMP: Until they’re willing to say who gave it to them, it’s a fake. And, guess what, they’ll never say where they got it, never name their source. You win, it’s a fake.

McCARTHY: And resign, asking you to resign?

TRUMP: Resign? Nobody was on that call but you and me. You tell me what you said. So, you’re not lying if I say you’re not lying. What do you think I should say? I’m your friend, aren’t I, Kevin? But there are others who are not your friends.

McCARTHY: Liz says she didn’t leak the tape.

TRUMP: Listen, Pollyanna, it’s someone else who wants to put a knife in your back, wants to shove your corpse to the gutter so they can be Speaker. It’s replacement theory. Liz can’t be Speaker. Didn’t you love it when Elise Stefanik blamed the Democrats as “pedo grifters” for the baby formula shortage? A gift for words. A girl after my own heart.

McCARTHY: Are you suggesting Stefanik leaked that tape?

TRUMP: She’s got purity of heart. Not a dropout, like, well, not personal. You know, I like Matt Gaetz. I like Marjorie Taylor Greene. Don’t forget Jim Jordan. He’s subpoenaed, too. No tapes with him so far. But Elise, she went to Harvard. If I were you, Kevin, when I sit down, I’d make sure my back is against the wall. Make sure you can see who’s coming and going.

A guest walks by.

GUEST #3: Let’s go Brandon!

Trump gives a thumbs up.

TRUMP: Get the steak!

McCARTHY: Yeah, I’ll have a steak tonight, rare.

TRUMP: Well done.

McCARTHY: Thanks.

TRUMP: I mean the steak.

McCARTHY: And I’m not going to testify.

TRUMP: If you do, they’ll refer you for perjury.

McCARTHY: Not if I tell the truth—not that I’m testifying.

TRUMP: Nobody believes you’re telling the truth unless you lie all the time. When you lie all the time, that becomes the truth. Then people will believe you. But if you tell the truth and then lie, nobody will ever believe you if you tell the truth, or believe you when you lie. And for the people who don’t believe you, if you lie all the time, they have to say that you think that you’re telling the truth—“on the one hand, on the other hand.” If you get to be “on the other hand,” that’s the truth. The pundits can say “on the one hand,” but if you’re “on the other” you’re just as true. If it’s two truths, you’re still the truth. If you lie all the time, you’re “on the other hand” at the worst, which means that it’s true. Maybe “on the one hand” is true, but maybe it’s a lie, but because of “the other hand” is true. If you lie all the time, that’s the reality, and reality is true, it’s reality, so that’s the truth, but only if you’re lying, that is, all the time.

McCARTHY: I’m trying to follow.

TRUMP: On the one hand, you said something on that tape, and on the other hand you said it’s false. Might be too late for you, my Kevin. Flunked acting. The problem is you have to lie all the time.

McCARTHY: But I am subpoenaed. If I talk and I lie, they’ll say I’m lying. What do I do now?

TRUMP: Don’t talk.

Sidney Blumenthal, former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, has published three books of a projected five-volume political life of Abraham Lincoln: A Self-Made Man, Wrestling With His Angel ,and All the Powers of Earth. His play This Town, about a scandalous White House dog, was produced in 1995 by LA TheatreWorks. This is the fourteenth in his "Trump Cycle" series of one-act plays published in The National Memo, including The Pardon, Epstein's Ghost, Ivanka's Choice, Sunset Boulevard, The Exclusive, The Role Model, A Modest Proposal, The Exit Interview, The Hitler Gospel, Father Knows Best, The Gold Medal Winner, All I Want For Christmas Is Melania’s Non-Fungible Token, and Puppet Theater.

Why Did Major Newspapers Chase Hunter Biden And Airbrush Jared Kushner?

Several of the nation’s leading newspapers failed to thoroughly scrutinize a potentially major scandal involving a president’s close family member using influence in the White House to establish lucrative international business deals.

In this case, the person trying to enrich himself s is none other than former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, whose multibillion-dollar sweetheart deal with Saudi Arabia has gotten just a fraction of the attention devoted to baseless stories about Hunter Biden.

The contrast could not be clearer. President Joe Biden’s son Hunter never held any official role in the Obama or Biden administrations, but Republicans and their media allies are investigating his business dealings — including those conducted during a period in which it appeared as if his father had permanently retired from politics.

Jared Kushner, on the other hand, had an “unrealistically broad policy portfolio” in his father-in-law’s administration, ranging from health care to foreign policy. Kushner, who served as one of Trump’s closest White House advisers, even reportedly led the administration to its early determination to ignore the COVID-19 pandemic in Democratic-leaning states. And, contrary to Hunter Biden’s private sector work, Kushner’s current business ventures are happening as his father-in-law tries to lay the groundwork for a political comeback in 2024.

Saudi Arabia’s $2 Billion Investment In Kushner’s Firm Raises Serious Questions

Last Sunday, The New York Times reported that, just six months after leaving the White House in 2021, Kushner had secured a $2 billion investment from the Saudi Arabian government to capitalize his newly formed private equity firm Affinity Partners. In addition to comprising the majority of the firm’s initial portfolio, the deal will also pay $25 million in annual fees to Affinity.

Professional Saudi investment analysts had internally questioned the decision to inject capital into the Kushner-led venture, citing Kushner’s inexperience in private equity and the financial risks involved — only for the fund’s board headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the despotic heir apparent in Riyadh and a political ally of Kushner and Trump, to order that the deal should go ahead.

Documents also show Saudi investment fund staff explaining that the deal was made “to form a strategic relationship” with Kushner, rather than on the basis of its financial merit — an outright admission of a political relationship.

During the Trump administration, Kushner helped broker $110 billion in arms sales to the Saudi government, to assist in the ruthless Saudi military intervention in Yemen, while he also provided political cover to the regime after the brutal murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Times reported that ethics experts argue the deal “creates the appearance of potential payback for Mr. Kushner’s actions in the White House — or of a bid for future favor if Mr. Trump seeks and wins another presidential term in 2024.”

USA Today Rewrites Recent History To Scandalize Biden Family

By an eerie coincidence, USA Today also published last Sunday a profile of Valerie Biden Owens, the president’s sister, which appeared on the front page of Monday’s print edition under the headline “President's sister defends 'Joey,' Hunter.”

“Not since John F. Kennedy has a president been surrounded by such a large and close-knit clan, one that has been a source of both emotional support and political trouble for the commander in chief,” wrote the paper’s Washington bureau chief Susan Page. She further asserted, without a hint of irony, “For years, Donald Trump has hammered Joe Biden with accusations of corruption involving multimillion-dollar contracts that son Hunter and brother James won in China and Ukraine when Biden was vice president.”

Even if the Times hadn’t just published the story about Kushner’s deal with the Saudi regime, it would be simply astonishing that Page could write such dramatic statements about the perception of impropriety in the Biden family without acknowledging the well-known history of Trump’s children making millions in overseas business deals during his presidency.

Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner worked in the White House with direct access to sweeping policy portfolios, and Trump’s adult sons were involved with his political campaign while also ostensibly managing his business as his proxies. And, of course, Trump himself used the presidency to routinely patronize his hotels and resorts at government expense, siphoning millions in taxpayer dollars through his properties in Florida, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and even Scotland.

If Page wanted to tell a story about the president’s family serving as a source of “political trouble for the commander in chief,” her fixation on President Biden’s sister is a perplexing choice.

In the past five days, USA Today still has not published anything in its print edition about Kushner’s deal with the Saudi government.

Washington Post Pushes Republican Talking Points About Hunter Biden

Also last Sunday, The Washington Post’s print edition ran a story about Republican accusations against Hunter Biden, titled “Unraveling the tale of Hunter Biden and $3.5 million from Russia.” The story, which first appeared online two days earlier, made the mistake of prioritizing the misleading Republican attacks over explaining the truth of the matter.

For example, after opening with two accusatory quotes from Trump and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who had every reason to launder their political smear through the press, the article waited until seven paragraphs later to actually declare, “We found no evidence that Hunter Biden was part of those transactions.” So, what exactly was the news value of reprinting these Republican lies?

Two articles the Post published in response to the Times story about Kushner’s actual deal with the Saudis could have been useful counterweights to the Republican smear campaign currently targeting the president’s son.

Post staff writer Aaron Blake wrote an article titled, “After Trump’s contentious courtship of the Saudis, $2B for Jared Kushner,” which detailed how Kushner may have secured his financial backers through political favors. Furthermore, national correspondent Philip Bump also wrote a piece titled “You say a president’s relative is part of iffy international deals?” which confronted the right-wing fixation with Hunter Biden by juxtaposing it with the seemingly obvious corruption inherent in Kushner’s investment firm.

But, unfortunately, these articles appeared only online and not in the paper’s print edition, where prime real estate was reserved for rehashing attacks on Biden.

The Wall Street Journal Hammers “Hunter’s Laptop,” But Remains Silent On Jared

The Wall Street Journal, the quasi-respectable news operation of the Murdoch media empire, has not run any articles on Kushner’s business deals. However, opinion writer Holman W. Jenkins Jr. ran a column in Thursday’s print edition titled “Media Bias and Hunter’s Laptop,” with the somewhat ironic declaration, “The press won’t claw back its credibility until it admits why it buried the story.”

In the past, the Journal’s news side actually helped to debunk Republican accusations against Joe Biden regarding his son’s business deals, during the controversy over Trump’s attempted extortion of the Ukrainian government in an effort to create political dirt against the Biden family. However, the opinion side summarily ignored it at the time.

Methodology

Media Matters searched articles in the Factiva database for The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and USA Today for the term “Kushner” and any of the terms “Saudi,” “crown prince,” “Salman,” “billion,” or “fund” within the headline or lead paragraph from April 8, 2022, through April 13, 2022. We also searched articles in the Factiva database for the same newspapers for the term “Hunter” in the headline or lead paragraph during the same time period.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters. Research contributions from Rob Savillo.

Judge Will Dismiss Palin Lawsuit Against N.Y. Times Regardless Of Jury Verdict

By Jody Godoy and Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) -A U.S. judge on Monday said he will throw out Sarah Palin's defamation lawsuit against the New York Times after concluding that the newspaper did not in an editorial maliciously link the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican U.S. vice presidential candidate to a mass murder.

In an abrupt twist in a trial seen as a test of longstanding protections for American media, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan said Palin's lawsuit must be dismissed because she failed to show the Times acted with "actual malice," the established standard in such cases.

The judge, however, allowed jurors to continue their deliberations in the case despite his intention to dismiss it and did not inform them of his plans. Rakoff said he plans to enter a formal dismissal only after jurors reach their own verdict.

"If you see anything in the media about this case, just turn away," the judge told jurors before dismissing them for the day.

Rakoff said he expected Palin to appeal, and that the appeals court "would greatly benefit from knowing how the jury would decide it."

The judge's action effectively takes the case out of the hands of jurors, in a trial that began on February 3.

Lawyers for the Times and Palin were not immediately available for comment.

Rakoff, an appointee of Democratic former President Bill Clinton, said he was "not altogether happy" about ordering a dismissal, calling the original editorial "an example of very unfortunate editorializing on the part of the Times."

But the judge went on: "My job is to apply the law. The law here sets a very high standard for actual malice, and in this case the court finds that that standard has not been met."

Gautam Hans, a Vanderbilt University law professor, said Rakoff's order, while unusual, is reasonable and will likely hold up on appeal.

"It is very difficult for plaintiffs to prevail in defamation cases," Hans said. "That's one reason you see some antipathy toward the current state of the law, including from some Supreme Court justices."

Palin, 58, had sued the newspaper - one of America's most prominent media organizations - and its former editorial page editor James Bennet.

She contended that a June 14, 2017, editorial incorrectly linked her to a mass shooting six years earlier that wounded Democratic U.S. congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

Supreme Court Precedent

Palin had said that if she lost at trial, her appeal might challenge New York Times v. Sullivan, the 1964 U.S. Supreme Court decision establishing the "actual malice" standard for public figures to prove defamation.

Headlined "America's Lethal Politics," that addressed gun control and lamented the rise of incendiary political rhetoric.

It was written the same day as a shooting at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia where Republican U.S. congressman Steve Scalise was wounded.

One of Bennet's colleagues prepared a draft that referred to the January 2011 shooting in a Tucson, Arizona, parking lot where six people were killed and Giffords was wounded.

Bennet inserted language that said "the link to political incitement was clear" between the Giffords shooting and a map previously circulated by Palin's political action committee that the draft editorial said put Giffords and 19 other Democrats under crosshairs.

The Times corrected the editorial about 14 hours later. Bennet testified that he made the additions too quickly under deadline pressure, and intended no harm to Palin.

It is rare for a major media outlet to defend its editorial practices in court, as the Times had to do in this case.

Palin had sought unspecified monetary damages.

On the witness stand, Palin compared herself, a celebrated conservative politician with a national following, to the biblical underdog David against the Times' Goliath, while accusing the newspaper of trying to "score political points."

Palin testified that the editorial left her feeling "powerless" and "mortified," and that the correction issued by the newspaper the morning after publication was accurate but insufficient and did not mention her by name.

She maintained that the Times undermined her reputation by falsely linking her to a mass murder and by not being fast or thorough enough in correcting its error.

Palin, who no longer commands as much public attention as she once did, struggled under cross-examination to provide specific examples about how the editorial harmed her reputation and cost her opportunities.

Times lawyer David Axelrod in closing arguments on Friday told jurors the editorial amounted to an "honest mistake" and was not meant as a "political hit piece."

The case placed renewed attention on Palin, the late Senator John McCain's running mate in the 2008 presidential election.

That campaign made Palin a Republican Party star and hero to many conservatives who viewed her as an outsider willing to take on liberals and established institutions including the news media. She served as Alaska's governor from 2006 to 2009.

(Reporting by Jody Godoy and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Additional reporting by Jan Wolfe in Washington, D.C.Editing by Will Dunham and Noeleen Walder)

Investigating Trump's White House Document Scandal, Without Fear Or Favor

The world-historical carnage inflicted by the singularly misreported story of the 2016 presidential election has been forever captured in a pithy, ironic cliche: "But her emails..."

While every politically aware American understands that baneful phrase, it gained a far deeper significance this week with revelations of how former President Donald J. Trump "mishandled" — in fact stole, flushed, ripped up and perhaps even ate — White House documents he didn't want archivists, historians, or criminal investigators to obtain. That includes some unknown but undoubtedly large volume of classified material, from "Confidential" to "Top Secret," including information pertinent to the investigation of his attempted coup and insurrection.

Trump's outraged bellowing about Hillary Clinton's alleged mishandling of her emails and other State Department documents was of course utter fakery. Subsequently, not only Trump but nearly everyone around him — notably Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, Steve Bannon and many others — regularly used unsecured private communication devices to discuss government business. "Lock her up!" was nothing but the usual Trumpian cynicism and should have been a predictive sign that he was projecting his own real and rampant misconduct.

The stunning truth about Trump's unlawful and bizarre treatment of presidential documents is just beginning to emerge in full, yet certain mainstream media outlets appear determined to minimize his potential criminal exposure. No less an authority than the New York Times informed its readers last week that "if Mr. Trump was found to have taken materials with him that were still classified at the time he left the White House, prosecuting him would be extremely difficult and it would pit the Justice Department against Mr. Trump at a time when Attorney General Merrick B. Garland is trying to depoliticize the department."

That statement appeared in a news article, although it clearly expressed the unsupported opinion of Times journalists, hiding behind a characterization of Garland's current state of mind regarding Trump — in short, punditry and soothsaying. And that report stands in stark contrast to the weight the Times put in the balance in 2016 — influencing the reporting of every major American news outlet — by obsessively insisting that Hillary Clinton was vulnerable to criminal prosecution. From that coverage, which pervaded American political media, innocent voters could only surmise that she had probably committed felonies and that her alleged misdeeds were the most important fact of the election.

So obsessive, in fact, was the paper's coverage that "in just six days, the New York Times ran as many cover stories about Hillary Clinton's emails as they did about all policy issues combined in the 69 days leading up to the election," according to analysis published by the Columbia Journalism Review. One editorial, published on May 26, 2016, after the State Department inspector general exonerated her, was headlined "Hillary Clinton, Drowning in Email," noting that "the email controversy" amplified by the Times was "likely to make her seem less personable to many voters."

Washington journalists may attempt to justify that distorted focus, much as they once sought to justify the Whitewater non-scandal two decades earlier, but it's still a disgrace. The judicious James Fallows, writing in The Atlantic, described the Times' coverage of Hillary's emails as "imbalanced and credulous" and "a legitimizing and enabling factor" in Trump's election.

The FBI and the Justice Department ultimately found no crimes committed by Secretary Clinton, despite FBI director James Comey's glaring and sanctimonious violations of Justice Department policy in bandying about claims of potential criminality, before pronouncing her innocent.

At this moment, we know no such thing about Trump or his gang — who appear to have both enabled and warned him many times about his violations of the Presidential Records Act as well as various classification statutes. We don't know what was in the dozen or more boxes with which he absconded from the White House, except that he appears to have taken classified material and that somehow the records of his telephone communications during the January 6 insurrection appear to have been deleted.

The National Archives and Records Administration has asked the Justice Department to investigate these matters. We must hope that Attorney General Merrick Garland will do his duty in enforcing the rule of law and pursue the facts wherever they may lead. No longer president, Trump is subject to criminal prosecution if he broke the law as president — and there is plenty of reason to believe he did so. Given his unbroken record of lies, subterfuges and brazen obstruction of justice — 10 instances of obstruction memorialized by Robert Mueller in his report on Russian influence on the 2016 election alone.

So, reporters and analysts should take a very long step back before offering any assumptions or predictions that Trump cannot be prosecuted or implying he did not commit crimes. The same people telling us that he can't be prosecuted once led us to expect that Hillary Clinton would be locked up.

Let the investigation proceed, and let justice be done.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.


Will Palin Succeed In Restricting Press Freedom In New York Times Trial?

By Jonathan Stempel and Helen Coster

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, has spent 4-1/2 years battling the New York Times over an editorial she said falsely linked her to a deadly Arizona mass shooting that left a U.S. congresswoman seriously wounded.

On Monday, Palin is poised to try to begin convincing jurors in a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court that the newspaper and its former editorial page editor James Bennet defamed her.

The trial before U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff marks a rare instance of a major media company defending its editorial practices before an American jury. Opening statements could take place as soon as Monday, following jury selection.

Palin bears the high burden of showing by clear and convincing evidence that there was "actual malice" involved in the newspaper's editorial writing process.

"This is a lawsuit over an editorial, essentially an opinion. This is a potentially dangerous area," said Roy Gutterman, a Syracuse University law and communications professor. "If we give public officials a green light to litigate on editorials they disagree with, where's the end?"

Palin, 57, has accused the Times of defaming her in a June 14, 2017, editorial linking her political action committee (PAC) to the 2011 mass shooting in an Arizona parking lot that left six people dead and then-U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) wounded. Palin is seeking unspecified damages, but according to court papers has estimated $421,000 in damage to her reputation.

The editorial said "the link to political incitement was clear" in the 2011 shooting, and that the incident came after Palin's PAC circulated a map putting 20 Democrats including Giffords under "stylized cross hairs."

It was published after a shooting in Alexandria, Virginia in which Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), a member of the House of Representatives Republican leadership, was wounded.

Palin objected to language that Bennet had added to a draft prepared by a Times colleague. She said the added material fit Bennet's "preconceived narrative," and as an "experienced editor" he knew and understood the meaning of his words.

The Times quickly corrected the editorial to disclaim any connection between political rhetoric and the Arizona shooting, and Bennet has said he did not intend to blame Palin.

Bennet's "immediate sort of emergency mode or panic mode" upon learning what happened strongly suggests he had been unaware of any mistake, said Benjamin Zipursky, a Fordham University law professor.

"Negligence or carelessness - even gross negligence - is clearly not good enough for Palin to win," Zipursky said.

Supreme Court Precedent

It has been 58 years since the U.S. Supreme Court adopted the "actual malice" standard in the landmark decision called New York Times v. Sullivan, which made it difficult for public figures to win libel lawsuits.

Two current justices, conservatives Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, have suggested revisiting that standard.

Palin has signaled in court papers she would challenge the Sullivan case precedent on appeal if she loses at trial.

Don Herzog, a University of Michigan law professor, said Palin would have trouble showing that the Times "subjectively doubted or disbelieved" the truth of what it presented as fact.

"In context, and given the kind of publication it was, this is a matter of opinion and so simply not actionable in defamation," Herzog said.

While the trial could spotlight office politics at the Times, the newspaper could argue that mistakes do happen under deadline pressure.

It has said that despite Palin's efforts to demonstrate its "liberal bias" and views on gun control, the editorial was never about her and did not undermine her reputation.

"Gov. Palin already was viewed as a controversial figure with a complicated history and reputation, and in the time since the editorial was published, Gov. Palin has prospered," the Times said in a January 17 court filing.

The trial is expected to last five days.

Gutterman said he expects the Times to prevail.

"It's unfortunate that this happened at one of the most prominent newspapers in the county, on deadline, but even a mistake does not rise to actual malice," Gutterman said.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Helen Coster in New York; Editing by Will Dunham and Noeleen Walder)

Inflation Is A Global Dilemma -- So Why Does Press Blame Biden?

Reprinted with permission from PressRun

News that U.S. inflation inched up 0.5 percent last month set off another round of excited media reports, as news outlets pounded one of their favorite themes in recent months. Convinced that rising prices are the defining economic issue of the day — not huge job gains, record-setting GDP predictions, or boosted wages — the press continues to portray inflation as a uniquely American problem that’s hounding Democrats.

“President Joe Biden suffered a new blow to his economic agenda this week,” Politico announced, pointing to the new inflation figures. “That prompted the Biden White House to scramble to do damage control in the face of attacks by Republicans.” The Associated Press on Wednesday stressed that inflation is “heaping pressure on President Joe Biden and the Federal Reserve to address what has become the biggest threat to the U.S. economy.”

The New York Times: “A troubling development for President Biden.” The Washington Post headline: “Democrats Worry Biden Could Pay the Political Price For Rising Inflation.” (The first person quoted in the piece was a GOP pollster.)

What’s missing from the inflation coverage is the consistent acknowledgement that the trend of rising prices is a global phenomenon, fueled by the pandemic. The Politico report made no mention of worldwide inflation, neither did the Times or Post dispatches; the AP included just one sentence.

Dismissed or downplayed is the fact that systemic, record-setting inflation has taken hold in virtually every major economy:

• “Germany: Annual Inflation Hits Highest Rate Since 1993

• “Italian Inflation Hits Highest In More Than A Decade On Energy

• “Mexico Ends Year With Inflation At 7.36%, Most In 20 Years

• “Russian 2021 Inflation Accelerates To 8.39%, Preliminary Data Shows

• “Spain's Annual Inflation Jumps To 6.7% At End Of 2021, Highest Since 1989

“UK Inflation Hits 10-Year High Ahead Of Key Bank Of England Meeting

• “Canada's Annual Inflation Rate Matches 18-Year High, Set to Keep Rising"

Thanks to international reporting, we know inflation is on the rise around the world. But news consumers here have to search that information out because it’s rarely included in coverage of the U.S. economy. Most often, domestic inflation is presented in a silo, independent from the global economic trend that has been sparked by a worldwide virus.

Meanwhile, the press eagerly trumpets Republican claims that Biden’s agenda is responsible for inflation, while failing to point out that it wasn’t the infrastructure bill or Covid relief legislation that prompted inflation to jump to 4.7 percent in Canada, 5.1 percent in the U.K and and 6.7 percent in Spain. Inflation is occurring everywhere, so it’s not Biden’s policies that are to blame. The press prefers a more linear narrative, and seems to deliberately leave out the international context. That allows journalists to frame the story as a Dem vs. GOP one, as if policy adjustments from Biden would cure inflation.

Today’s unfortunate economic trend is clearly caused by the pandemic, which warped global supply and demand patterns, creating a mismatch that has driven prices higher. Energy costs and shipping bottlenecks are two major, driving factors. One reason inflation sprouted so quickly in the U.S. is that consumer demand is booming as the economy has recovered from Covid faster and stronger under Biden than most people ever thought possible.

Still, Republicans claim Biden is driving up prices by passing large spending bills. Government spending is bad because it fuels inflation, the GOP claims over and over in the press.

Yet eager Republicans just helped pass a $768 billion defense budget. When Trump was president, Senate Republicans supported pumping trillions of dollars into the economy in order to battle the effects of the pandemic shutdown. The GOP, with help from the press, is still able to frame inflation as a problem Biden created and must be penalized for. The Post: “Republicans argued the new inflation numbers were another sign that Biden’s policies are not working.”

There’s nothing subtle about what the GOP is doing. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) last year told the Wall Street Journal that rising prices were a “gold mine” for Republicans, suggesting the party hopes consumers will continue to have to pay higher prices this year.

The press trumpets that GOP message. Inflation is a “political nightmare for Biden,” CNN recently stressed. The Associated Press, while conceding that consumer spending is way up, claimed inflation was “casting a pall” and that upward prices, not plummeting unemployment, dominated water cooler talk in the U.S. When weekly jobless claims recently fell to a 52-year low, the New York Times ran yet another excited Biden inflation piece on the following day’s front page. News of the historic jobless numbers ran on page B3.

It was no surprise that a recent AP poll found consumers fixated on inflation: “Income Is Up, But Americans Focus on Inflation.” Why is that? Americans are inundated with the media’s constant inflation coverage, most of which omits the fact the trend is now happening all around the world.

Reprinted with permission from PressRun

Economy Soars While Media Repeats Jobs 'Expectations' Narrative

Reprinted with permission from PressRun

The U.S. economy just set the record for the most jobs created in one year, but you’d never know it from the continuing doomsday economic coverage under President Joe Biden.

The new jobs report, released last Friday, offered the latest evidence of the purposeful disconnect the media maintain, and specifically how journalists rely on consistently unreliable “expectations” for job report numbers in order to portray the results as “disappointing,” and to paint a picture of a faltering U.S. economy even as it shatters growth records.

The U.S. economy just posted 199,000 new jobs in December, during a pandemic surge. That sounds like a good thing, right? Especially considering that in December 2020, under Trump and during another wintertime pandemic surge, the U.S. lost 140,000 jobs. Instead, the press was uniformly pessimistic about Friday’s news.

It was a “major disappointment,” CNN announced, despite the fact employee wages hit record heights and the unemployment rate tumbled to 3.9 percent. (Last winter, the CBO predicted it would take five years for the U.S. to reach an unemployment rate that low.) NPR stressed the US added “only” 199,000 jobs. Hiring had “faltered” the New York Times reported. All because the key number failed to meet estimates.

The expectations game is set by economists and banks which publish their estimates on the eve of each job survey. It’s an easy-to-use model the press has employed for decades to analyze monthly results. But economists’ expectations no longer work during the pandemic. They’ve been wildly inaccurate during the Biden recovery and should no longer serve as the determining factor in how jobs reports are presented by the press.

“During one of the most volatile periods in recent memory, private and public-sector economists have a less firm grasp of what the labor market is doing,” the Wall Street Journal recently conceded. During 2021, economists cumulatively missed the jobs mark by well over 1 million jobs. And that’s in a year when the U.S. created more than 6 million jobs, the most since records began in 1939.

The expectations model often produces dubious journalism. When last November’s job report was released, NPR quickly announced it was a “bust” because just 210,000 jobs had been created. But back in January of 2020, NPR cheered that the U.S. economy was “revved up” because 225,000 positions had been added.

Why the drastically different NPR spin for the Biden and Trump years? Expectations. Trump’s 225,000 job gains surpassed that month’s modest expectations, while Biden’s 210,000 fell short of estimates.

Another key hurdle is that the government has shown for the last year that it chronically undercounts, by large margins, the job gains data that are released to the public, and when it goes back and quietly post revisions they’re mostly ignored by the media.

August was a perfect example. That month’s initial jobs report claimed 235,000 jobs were added, which prompted lots of “disappointing” news coverage based on the established expectations. That total was soon revised all the way up to 483,000 new jobs, a development that received little press attention. Look at last September. The initial report announced 194,000 jobs. (“Lackluster,” announced NBC News.) After two revisions, the job total nearly doubled to 379,000.

Why the big revisions lately? Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys 145,000 employers, extrapolates data, and produces an initial estimate of monthly job gains or losses. Lots of employers don’t initially reply, so the BLS goes back a second time, which produces the revised number. The problem is that during the pandemic, the percentage of employers who are responding to the survey has dropped dramatically, which means the initial numbers are less reliable. Yet those numbers are still the ones the press blasts out in headlines the first Friday of every month, when the unemployment figures are released.

It’s a one-two combo: The BLS is regularly undercounting jobs, which is bad news for the White House, and economists are regularly overestimating what the monthly BLS jobs number will be, which is also bad news for the White House. Then when the BLS revises the monthly gains, the media are nowhere to be found.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

That means Biden just oversaw a stunning jobs-creation year, while consumers were constantly fed headlines about “disappointing” jobs reports because the initial reports didn’t align with skewed “expectations.”

There’s also the lingering suspicion that the press simply likes to tell bad economic news — and hide upbeat newsflashes — during the Biden years. Just look at this pretzel-logic headline from the Washington Post on January 9, “2021 Shattered Job Market Records, But It’s Not as Good as it Looks.”

When last summer’s blockbuster July jobs report showed a jaw-dropping gain of nearly one million jobs, “NBC Nightly News” completely ignored the development. NBC did the same thing for the October survey, which announced a robust 531,000 jobs. It certainly feels like there’s a preferred media narrative in play.

The current approach for how the press handles monthly jobs reports isn’t functioning as it should. So why do journalists stick to the broken model?