Last week, Hillary Clinton dropped a bomb by heavily insinuating that Tulsi Gabbard is a Russian asset, or more specifically, the potential Jill Stein of the 2020 election. Except dropping a bomb maybe isn’t the correct term, because what Hillary actually did is lend her voice and authority to an observation that astute political observers have noticed for months if not years now. Highlighting the fact that Gabbard has goals that all too conveniently align with Putin’s is not exactly brand new information, but it does make headlines when the woman who should be our president starts saying it out loud.
Naturally, the blowback against Hillary started immediately and from the far-left and right because Tulsi is a horseshoe politics unicorn. There’s a reason she’s barely breaking one percent in the Democratic primaries, and it’s because she’s basically a Republican. (Or if you’re a leftist contrarian wang, she’s “aNtI-eSTabLisHmENt,” man.) One of the major salvos that started being hurled at Hillary is Ronan Farrow’s new book “Catch and Kill,” which covers his groundbreaking investigation into Harvey Weinstein and the powerful forces that protected the rapey Hollywood mogul at every turn. To be clear, and I know this part is going to be completely glossed over because nuance went bye-bye a long time ago, I’m in no way defending the actions of Hillary Clinton’s team. What Farrow writes in his book clearly isn’t a profile in courage, but by no means is the Clinton excerpt any sort of smoking gun or evidence that her publicist Nick Merrill attempted to “kill” the Weinstein story, which is an accusation that is ricocheting across Twitter as we speak. For starters, Clinton’s team wasn’t even in the position to exert that sort of pull, and I’ll break down why.
Right off the bat, here’s the Buzzfeed article that’s being wielded as a silver bullet against Hillary’s Russian asset remarks even though the two topics couldn’t be more unrelated. It’s like comparing apples and Ford Broncos. One has goddamn nothing to do with the other.
Hillary Clinton was an asset of Harvey Weinstein. (That's not a conspiracy theory.) https://t.co/eAYQ0oLJ11— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) October 19, 2019
In a nutshell, while working on a previous book on foreign policy, Farrow was meeting with former secretaries of state and had an interview scheduled with Hillary. At the same time, he was working on his Weinstein exposé, which Clinton’s team caught wind of possibly through Weinstein himself who was freaking the hell out. At one point, he even tried to enlist Woody Allen to help him kill Farrow’s story, but he knew better than to mess with Frank Sinatra’s son. (That’s clearly Frank’s kid. C’mon.) Before Farrow could meet with Clinton, her publicist Nick Merrill rescheduled the interview and expressed that there were “concerns.” In fact, here’s the verbatim excerpt from the book:
Here’s Clinton’s spokesperson telling Farrow his reporting is a “concern” for them pic.twitter.com/rKvsx0zIJc— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) October 20, 2019
Does that look great? Nope, not at all. Granted, Farrow eventually secured the interview with Clinton for his foreign policy book, but his characterization of the encounter to Buzzfeed is extremely fair and an accurate assessment. He had every reason in the world to feel deflated.
“It was a personal moment of gut punch to me,” Farrow said. “People that I thought would support that kind of reporting were actually very leery of it.”
If you’re expecting more to this story, that’s literally all of it. Farrow was trying to interview Clinton for an entirely separate book, but her team caught wind of the Weinstein story and momentarily clenched up in a self-serving spat of damage control. Which is some bullshit, no arguments here. Farrow incorrectly assumed that Clinton would leap at the chance to bring down an (alleged) serial predator, but instead, her team threw up their deflector shields before eventually letting Farrow near her. That’s not “trying to kill a story.” That’s covering asses. Again, a shitty move, but not the nefarious plot it’s being touted as to discredit Clinton’s accusations against Gabbard.
Also, to Merrill’s limited credit, he tweeted out THR’s reporting of his encounter with Farrow and made it clear that Weinstein tried to bribe Clinton’s team with a glowing documentary, which he rejected.
I genuinely respect Ronan’s work, but have no idea what Weinstein was saying to people to save himself. What I do know is simple: I’d already rejected a Weinstein Co proposed doc about the election before talking to Ronan. If HW misrepresented facts, it wouldn’t be the 1st time. https://t.co/SAI4yieHxZ— Nick Merrill (@NickMerrill) October 9, 2019
So, let’s say Hillary Clinton’s team did try to kill the Weinstein story that they were in no position to kill, unlike, oh I dunno, NBC News president Noah Oppenheim as a random example. How does that change the fact that everything Clinton said about Tulsi Gabbard has already been observed and reported numerous times? It’s almost like there’s a specific word for this type of argument…
'Whataboutism' is considered a form of the logical fallacy 'tu quoque' ("you too"), with an added twist that tries to establish an equivalence between two or more disparate actions. https://t.co/N1P5g8XvYN— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) January 26, 2019
Yup, that’s the one.
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