Archive for Media Bias

Bonkers or Believers?

I’ve seen references in news headlines to the “motivations” of the Paris terrorists. Round up the usual suspects: Israel, Bush, Abu Ghraib, Two Broke Girls. But wait: we were told the killers were madmen, irrational actors driven to slaughter by a screwed-up pituitary gland or something. Now, they are depicted as making rational (if overreactive) decisions. Something (Israel, Bush, etc. ad nauseam) offended their sensibilities (Muslim sensibilities, as they say, since we’re now taking what they said as gospel, pardon the pun), and they reacted. Violently.

I don’t see how the Left can have it both ways. Israel and Bush (etc. ad nauseam) were either triggers for this carnage, and the killers made calculated choices to respond (against Jews and those “insulted” the prophet); or their minds were warped by hate and blood lust, pay no attention to what they said (about avenging Islam).

The same goes for the Left: don’t listen. And for the same reason: their minds are warped by hate. David Berkowitz was mad as a hatter, but if the Son of Sam had told the police that he went on a killing spree because the neighbor’s dog had told him that the rise of Reagan could be stopped only by pumping bullets into the brain pans of couples making out in cars, the Left and the media (a distinction without a difference) would have given him his own show on whatever the radio equivalent of MSNBC was at the time.

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We Are All Shoppers In A Kosher Grocery In Paris

Expect to see thousands on the streets of Paris and NY waving signs saying: I am a French Jew!

But don’t hold your breath:

PARIS – Several people were taken hostage at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris on Friday after a shootout involving a man armed with two guns, a police source said. Two people were killed, according to police sources quoted by AFP.

There were unconfirmed local media reports that the man was the same as the one suspected of killing a policewoman in a southern suburb of Paris on Thursday.

A police source had told Reuters earlier he was a member of the same jihadist group as the two suspects in Wednesday’s attack at weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

The exact number of hostages was unclear. Local media spoke of at least five. The police source said the man was equipped with automatic weapons.

And in the US, a CNN anchor blames… wait for it… Israel!!

A CNN anchor claimed that Israeli propagandists are distorting the truth behind the terrorist attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and trying to sow anti-Muslim sentiment on Wednesday evening.

Repeatedly stating that it was his “Friday night” and he just wanted to relax, CNN anchor Jim Clancy argued on Twitter that the Charlie Hebdo cartoons did not actually mock the Islamic prophet Muhammad and claimed that those who disagreed with him were part of a pro-Israel propaganda campaign.

Clancy appears to have removed some of the more inflammatory tweets, but several still remain on his Twitter page. A spokesperson for CNN did not respond to request for comment.

“The cartoons NEVER mocked the Prophet,” wrote Clancy on Wednesday night. “They mocked how the COWARDS tried to distort his word.”

When this claim was disputed by some of his followers, Clancy suggested they were engaging in “hasbara,” an Israeli PR effort.

“Get a grip junior,” Clancy wrote to @HumanRights2K, a Belgium-based human rights news feed. “It’s my Friday night. You and the Hasbara team need to pick on some cripple at the edge of the herd.”

Clancy also tweeted “hasbara” in response to a comment from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Oren Kessler, and added, “The Hasbara (Israeli explaining the inconsistencies of Human Rights) team has declared victory over [me]. Next up, [International Criminal Court].” The second tweet appears to have been removed.

Clancy went on to accuse pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon and a Twitter user called @JewsMakingNews of being “part of a campaign to do PR for Israel.” The tweet has also been removed.

Jews Making News is an anti-Semitic Twitter feed devoted to “exposing” alleged Jewish global domination and promoting Holocaust-denial. It is unclear why Clancy named either of the Twitter users as Israeli PR agents.

Clancy’s followers appeared baffled by his allegations, with one asking “Are you drunk right now or something?”

This was not the first time Clancy, who covers foreign affairs, made controversial comments related to Israel. He was criticized last April after he asked former Israeli ambassador Dore Gold whether Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu “personally order[ed]” airstrikes on Gaza as a response to a unity deal between Fatah and Hamas. Clancy also praised the deal as a way to bring “fresh blood” into the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

To get the extremely offensive tweets that are deleted in the above article, check out the Israeli media

– Aggie

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Strike While the Irony’s Hot

Scorching!

The director of BBC Television said rising anti-Semitism has made him question the long-term future for Jews in the UK.

Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem on Sunday, Danny Cohen said the past year had been the most difficult for him as a Jew living in the United Kingdom.

“I’ve never felt so uncomfortable being a Jew in the UK as I’ve felt in the last 12 months. And it’s made me think about, you know, is it our long-term home, actually. Because you feel it. I’ve felt it in a way I’ve never felt before actually,” he said in a conversation with Channel 2’s anchor Yonit Levi.

Cheer up, things could be worse. You could be French.

Cohen went on: “And you’ve seen the number of attacks rise. You’ve seen murders in France. You’ve seen murders in Belgium. It’s been pretty grim actually. And having lived all my life in the UK, I’ve never felt as I do now about anti-Semitism in Europe.”

Cohen, who grew up and went to school in London — including to a Jewish elementary school — is a TV whiz kid. Still only 40, he was previously the controller of BBC1 TV, the youngest appointee to that post, before taking over a director of BBC Television last year.

Last month, Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, who is also Jewish, decried the rise of anti-Semitism in Great Britain and called for “a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism in the UK.”

Miliband, the son of Holocaust refugees, cited figures from the Jewish Community Security Trust that indicate a sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents. He praised Britain’s tradition of tolerance but warned that “the recent spate of incidents should serve as a wake-up call for anyone who thought the scourge of anti-Semitism had been defeated and that the idea of Jewish families fearful of living here in Britain was unthinkable.”

The summer’s Israel-Hamas war saw a striking increase in anti-Semitic incidents, with more than 100 hate crimes reported in July alone — more than double the usual number. Among the reported incidents were the physical assault of a rabbi in Gateshead, attacks on synagogues and an attack by an Arab woman wearing a niqab on a Jewish boy riding his bicycle in northern London.

The irony? Read for yourself:

CAMERA: BBC.

Why do people associate antisemitism solely with the far right when the left, near and far, is absolutely awash in the muck? Jew-hatred is interwoven in their socio-political DNA.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

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Good Luck, What’s-Your-Name

The Grand Duchy of Bloodthirstan wishes to join the throngs, the multitudes, lining the streets to wish Stephen Colbert well.

Maybe we’ll finally watch him for once:

Stephen Colbert’s ratings might have been half those of late-night cable reruns of the “The Family Guy,” but he was adored by our objective, unbiased, not-at-all-liberal media for being a leftist who protected Central Government and savaged anyone who disagreed. And now the media is in universal mourning over the loss of one of their most powerful weapons.

After nine years of protecting The State, the final episode of “The Colbert Report” aired last night, and it should come as no surprise that the media coverage has not only been excessive but a sad spectacle of monolithic gushing.

Time Magazine: The Colbert Report Is Dead. Long Live Stephen Colbert!

Washington Post: The show was so good and so meticulously performed that you could, in fact, not watch it.

Time Magazine (again): Stephen Colbert: A Great Talk-Show Host? No, the Greatest!

You get the idea.

Despite the fact that fewer than 1% of the American people ever watched “The Colbert Report,” because he made himself a useful tool against the political right, the mainstream media artificially inflated his influence (Jon Stewart, Lena Dunham, and Tina Fey are fellow travelers in this regard), and in turn used his clips during “objective” newscasts to undermine the GOP with ridicule.

Not “despite the fact”—due to the fact. Who wrote this, Fox Butterfield?

For not only did Colbert finish behind re-runs of The Family Guy, he finished behind four different re-runs of The Big Bang Theory. Scads more people know Sheldon Cooper than know Stephen Colbert, to the relief of a great republic.

I would also point out that in total numbers (not just 18-49 yos), Robot Chicken, iCarly, Sponge Bob (3 episodes), something called Down East Dickering, and WWE’s Tribute to the Troops all kicked Colbert’s bony ass—the last by about a 50% margin.

I missed the Washington Post’s tribute to Down East Dickering.

The next time we watch Colbert will be the first, so we are no expert. But his shtick reminds us of a typical SNL skit: clever in concept; shaky in execution; clueless on how and when to end. His appeal ran the gamut from A to B: if you hated George Bush and Dick Cheney, you loved Stephen Colbert. We’re sorry for your loss.

PS: It should be noted that he picked up his game as he left it:

“The Colbert Report” signed off on Comedy Central with series-high ratings on Thursday night, roughly doubling its recent averages.

According to Nielsen estimates, the half-hour finale of the long-running fake-news program averaged 2.48 million viewers overall and a 1.0 rating in adults 18-49 — building on its “Daily Show With Jon Stewart” lead-in (2.03 million, 0.8) by more than 20% in both categories.

The only cable program to rate higher than “Colbert Report” on Thursday was an NFL game on NFL Network.

Of course, that NFL game was an epic battle between two 2-11 teams, Tennessee and Jacksonville. And in total numbers, Pawn Stars beat Colbert Thursday night—twice.

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Heard On NPR [Update: Apparently The Islamic Terrorist That NPR Didn’t Know About Killed A Couple Folks

I was gobsmacked this morning during drive time when I heard the NPR news report on the Islamist hostage situation in Sydney. The NPR reporter said, approximately, that there was a hostage situation in Sydney and that the Australian PM says it is probably political in motive. That’s all. Every other news source that I checked correctly noted that there was something resembling an ISIS flag in the window, being held up by the hostages. NPR tried to shield its listeners from the unpleasant fact that the Religion of Peace (or a minority thereof) was carrying out a terror attack in Sydney. What in the world does NPR have to gain by covering this up? And no matter what the answer is, why do I have to pay for it?

And here’s the latest, which you can share with your NPR-disabled friends:

Sydney siege live: Loud explosions heard as police storm Lindt cafe
Updated 14 minutes agoMon 15 Dec 2014, 10:38am

Police have stormed the Lindt cafe in Sydney after an intense period of loud explosions or gunshots and flashes of lights.

Several ambulances are on the scene.

Earlier, police identified the man behind the siege as Iranian cleric Man Haron Monis.

Monis has been holding an unknown number of people hostage at the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place since Monday morning.

Three people emerged from the building about 4:00pm (AEDT) and they were followed by another two an hour later.

Hostages were earlier seen pressing a black flag with Arabic text against the cafe’s windows.

Monis is on bail for a string of violent offences and has a conviction for sending offensive letters to the families of deceased soldiers.

And this is from CNN

Chilling images from Australian media on Monday showed people, believed to be hostages, with their hands pressed against the cafe’s windows. They were holding up a black flag with Arabic writing on it reading, “There is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God.”

Sounds like angry Congregationalists to me. Again, why are we spending tax money on NPR? They couldn’t find the news if it was handed to them in a brown paper bag.

Update: Two or three dead.

– Aggie

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Why Isn’t This News?

George Bush and Dick Cheney made headlines for calling NY Times reporter, Adam Clymer, a major league a-hole.

This?

Crickets.

According to retired ABC News journalist Ann Compton, Barack Obama launches into “profanity-laced” tirades against the press in off-the-record meetings with reporters. In a C-SPAN interview, Compton also derided the President for leading “the most opaque” administration of “any I have covered.”

The journalist, who retired in August after a 40-year career, revealed to C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb: “I have seen in the last year Barack Obama really angry twice. Both were off-the-record times. One, profanity-laced where he thought the press was making too much of scandals that he did not think were scandals.”

She explained, “And I don’t find him apologetic. But I find him willing to stand up to the press and look them in the eye, even though it was off the record and just give us hell.”

After Lamb wondered if the President had a point, she chided, “We cover what we are allowed to cover. And when policy decisions and presidents are inaccessible and don’t take questions from the press on a regular basis, I think they reap what they sow.”

Earlier in the hour-long C-SPAN interview, which aired on Sunday night, but was recorded in October, Compton slammed the “opaque” administration:

ANN COMPTON: Before I walked out the door on September 10, I was a strong voice for complaining that this particular administration has been more opaque than any I have covered about what the President does in the Oval Office everyday. He is far less accessible on photo-ops with meetings. Even some meetings on the record, meeting in the Roosevelt room with financial leaders from, from Wall Street or on issues with environmental groups, or with issues with environmental groups, with public opinion leaders, I think most presidents have been far more forthcoming than the second Obama term, in terms of what the President is doing every day and we almost never get photo-ops.

She added that it’s fine for the White House to take its own photographs, but “those same elements should not be blocked from the White House press corps.”

Since when does the president get to dictate what is and is not a scandal? And why do these guys cover up for this guy? Especially when he’s such a major league a-hole himself?

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Mr. Tingle-Down-My-Leg Comments: Hope ‘N Change Baby!

He must be worried about the MSNBC ratings…

– Aggie

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Rolling Stone Apologizes For Accusing Frat House Of Rape

This reminds me of the Duke lacrosse scandal.

To Our Readers:

Last month, Rolling Stone published a story titled “A Rape on Campus” by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, which described a brutal gang rape of a woman named Jackie at a University of Virginia fraternity house; the university’s failure to respond to this alleged assault – and the school’s troubling history of indifference to many other instances of alleged sexual assaults. The story generated worldwide headlines and much soul-searching at UVA. University president Teresa Sullivan promised a full investigation and also to examine the way the school responds to sexual assault allegations.

Because of the sensitive nature of Jackie’s story, we decided to honor her request not to contact the man she claimed orchestrated the attack on her nor any of the men she claimed participated in the attack for fear of retaliation against her. In the months Erdely spent reporting the story, Jackie neither said nor did anything that made Erdely, or Rolling Stone’s editors and fact-checkers, question Jackie’s credibility. Her friends and rape activists on campus strongly supported Jackie’s account. She had spoken of the assault in campus forums. We reached out to both the local branch and the national leadership of the fraternity where Jackie said she was attacked. They responded that they couldn’t confirm or deny her story but had concerns about the evidence.

In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced. We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account. We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.

Will Dana
Managing Editor

That’s OK, Mr. Dana. This is just another example of journalists being journalists.

– Aggie

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Left Wing Civility Watch

I knew I had used this post title before, but this is the 22nd time:

The real haters are in the media, some of them the openly left-leaning media and some of them claiming to be mainstream. But oh, how vilely they spew their hatred.

They accuse us of being “haters.” They, by contrast, are rational, fair-minded, and kindly. Really, they are. Consider, for example, the gentlemanly Chris Matthews on Hardball on October 27, speaking of the Republican nominee for Senate from North Carolina: “What’s worse: Thom Tillis, or Ebola?”

Here’s Andrea Mitchell reporting on MSNBC on Election Night about why Republicans were winning: “It was a scare tactic by the Republican opponents of Democratic incumbents, who tried to focus on ISIS and Ebola in the scariest, most nonfactual ways.”

Here’s Alan Pyke, deputy economic policy editor for the far-left Think Progress blog in reaction to the Fox News Channel’s coverage of the unrest in Ferguson: “I hope Roger Ailes dies slow, painful, and soon. The evil that man has done to the American tapestry is unprecedented for an individual.”

Matthews (again), with regard to conservative support for voter-ID laws: “Believing they can’t convert the African-American vote, they’ve decided to slaughter it. . . . This is murder in broad daylight.”

But at least our economics aren’t lethal — merely bigoted. Just ask MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, who on April 30 discerned our real motives: “I think not raising the minimum wage is a racist policy. . . . Not raising the wage, the minimum wage, is every bit as racist as comments made by Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling. It’s just displayed in a different way.”

Charles Pierce, who wrote this blog post about Palin’s speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference: “[Senator John] McCain should pay a heavy price for unleashing this ignorant, two-wheeled bilewagon [Sarah Palin] on the country’s politics. If you think she’s a legitimate political leader, you’re an idiot and a sucker, and I feel sorry for you. . . . She is the living representation of the infantilization of American politics, a poisonous Grimm Sister telling toxic fairy tales to audiences drunk on fear and hate and nonsense. . . . It was the address of a malignant child delivered to an audience of malignant children. If you applauded, you’re an idiot and I feel sorry for you.”

Compared with that, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski was quite kind to Palin, calling her merely “a multimillion-dollar moron selling a message.”

Max Brooks on HBO with Bill Maher pretended to be a Deep Thinker delivering a sober analysis. The rise of the Tea Party “has happened before in history,” he sagely intoned. “In Germany in the ’20s and ’30s…

Gawker’s staff writer Adam Weinstein shared this bit of policy advice:

Man-made climate change happens. Man-made climate change kills a lot of people. It’s going to kill a lot more. We have laws on the books to punish anyone whose lies contribute to people’s deaths. It’s time to punish the climate-change liars. . . . Denialists should face jail. They should face fines. . . . I’m talking about Rush and his multimillion-dollar ilk in the disinformation business. I’m talking about Americans for Prosperity and the businesses and billionaires who back its obfuscatory propaganda. . . . Those malcontents must be punished and stopped.

In case anybody missed the point, the blog post’s headline was “Arrest Climate-Change Deniers.”

These are talking heads, but are they any different from our co-workers, our acquaintances, our family members? We called it Bush Derangement Syndrome back when Bush was president. But Bush hasn’t been president for almost six years. It should have been called Liberal Hate Syndrome, and there is still no known cure. (Of course, the first step is wanting to be cured.)

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Lifting the Veil on Media Bias

If it’s the right guy, it takes only one:

During the Gaza war this summer, it became clear that one of the most important aspects of the media-saturated conflict between Jews and Arabs is also the least covered: the press itself. The Western press has become less an observer of this conflict than an actor in it, a role with consequences for the millions of people trying to comprehend current events, including policymakers who depend on journalistic accounts to understand a region where they consistently seek, and fail, to productively intervene.

Using staffing numbers, I illustrated the disproportionate media attention devoted to this conflict relative to other stories, and gave examples of editorial decisions that appeared to be driven by ideological considerations rather than journalistic ones. I suggested that the cumulative effect has been to create a grossly oversimplified story—a kind of modern morality play in which the Jews of Israel are displayed more than any other people on earth as examples of moral failure. This is a thought pattern with deep roots in Western civilization.

BOOM!

I should highlight every word. In the media, “the Jews of Israel are displayed more than any other people on earth as examples of moral failure.” Absolute killer.

Here’s one example he gives:

A rally in support of Islamic Jihad at Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem, in November 2013 (Courtesy of Matti Friedman)

The images from the demonstration were, as photo editors like to say, “strong.” The rally had, in other words, all the necessary elements of a powerful news story.

The event took place a short drive from the homes and offices of the hundreds of international journalists who are based in Jerusalem. Journalists were aware of it: The sizable Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press, for example, which can produce several stories on an average day, was in possession of photos of the event, including the one above, a day later. (The photographs were taken by someone I know who was on campus that day, and I sent them to the bureau myself.) Jerusalem editors decided that the images, and the rally, were not newsworthy, and the demonstration was only mentioned by the AP weeks later when the organization’s Boston bureau reported that Brandeis University had cut ties with Al-Quds over the incident. On the day that the AP decided to ignore the rally, November 6, 2013, the same bureau published a report about a pledge from the U.S. State Department to provide a minor funding increase for the Palestinian Authority; that was newsworthy. This is standard. To offer another illustration, the construction of 100 apartments in a Jewish settlement is always news; the smuggling of 100 rockets into Gaza by Hamas is, with rare exceptions, not news at all.

It’s a long piece—one I haven’t finished myself—but let me leave you with one more taste:

There are banal explanations for problems with coverage—reporters are in a hurry, editors are overloaded and distracted. These are realities, and can explain small errors and mishaps like ill-conceived headlines, which is why such details don’t typically strike me as important or worth much analysis. Some say inflations and omissions are the inevitable results of an honest attempt to cover events in a challenging and occasionally dangerous reporting environment, which is what I initially believed myself. A few years on the job changed my mind. Such excuses can’t explain why the same inflations and omissions recur again and again, why they are common to so many news outlets, and why the simple “Israel story” of the international media is so foreign to people aware of the historical and regional context of events in this place. The explanation lies elsewhere.

Aggie and I have covered this ourselves. We’ve highlighted “Pallywood”, the tendency of Arabs to stage scenes of carnage with healthy people walking around in other images; with people who died elsewhere, their corpses transported for the photo op; even with shots of other victims of other wars relabeled as victims of the Israeli military.

But even we let the press off the hook as merely ignorant and lazy. Complicity in a conspiracy to slander and libel a nation and its people was something we suspected, but lacked the hard evidence to prove.

Not anymore.

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Blecch!

Why does this sound familiar?

NBC’s Chuck Todd on Thursday night found a new way to compliment Barack Obama. Politicking host Larry King asked the Meet the Press anchor if he “liked” the President.

KING: Do you like him?

TODD: Oh, he’s a very likable guy. Yes.

KING: I agree.

TODD: He’s very friendly. I mean, he’s very easy to talk to – You do – you sit there and have these off-the-record sessions with him. You’ve had them. And – They’re just very nourishing conversations.

Edward R. Murrow is rolling over in his grave.

Remember this?

JEFF ZELENY, NEW YORK TIMES: During his [sic] first one 100 days, what has surprised you the most about this office, enchanted you the most about serving in this office, humbled you the most and troubled you the most?

OBAMA: Now, let me write this down.

(LAUGHTER)

I’ve got…

ZELENY: Surprised, troubled.

OBAMA: What was the first one, surprise?

ZELENY: Surprise, troubled.

OBAMA: Troubled.

ZELENY: Enchanted.

OBAMA: Enchanted. Nice.

(LAUGHTER)

ZELENY: And humbled.

OBAMA: And what was last one, humbled?

ZELENY: Humbled. thank you, sir.

OBAMA: All right.

I don’t know what acts Marilyn Monroe performed on President Kennedy, but they couldn’t have been more lewd and lascivious than that.

And then there’s Tingles:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Yeah, well, you know what? I want to do everything I can to make this thing work, this new presidency work, and I think that —

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Is that your job? You just talked about being a journalist!

MATTHEWS: Yeah, it is my job. My job is to help this country.

SCARBOROUGH: Your job is the make this presidency work?

MATTHEWS: To make this work successfully. This country needs a successful presidency.

Chuck Todd is in good company—well, company.

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Shameless

Scoot down, would ya Jay Carney? Make room, David Axelrod. Chris Matthews, Laurence O’Donnell, where are your manners?

C’mon Stephanopoulos, give the lady a seat!

MSNBC announced Friday morning that it hired the White House’s associate communications director to head up the network’s press shop.

Starting December 8, Rachel Racusen will be the cable news outlet’s vice president of communications. “I’m thrilled to add Rachel to our senior team. She has great experience, she’s creative, strategic and passionate about our brand,” said network chief Phil Griffin. “She’ll be a tremendous asset to the network.”

Who are we kidding? She already was.

As an associate communications director at the White House, Racusen works long days and nights promoting the White House’s messaging. On a typical day, Racusen arrives at the office around 7 a.m. for a flurry of meetings, prep sessions and events related to amplifying presidential initiatives.

On any given day, Racusen may help staff an interview for senior presidential advisers or oversee the press coverage of a policy rollout event. After 12- or 13-hour clock-ins at the office, she’ll return home only to log online and continue answering emails into the night.

She’s perfect for the “brand”! Thanks at least for not insulting us by calling it a “news” organization.

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