Tuesday, May 24, 2016


The D.C. Establishment doesn't love the Clintons, but everyone apart from wingnuts and fringe-dwellers has for years accepted the conclusion that Vince Foster killed himself. The story was laid to rest -- at least until Donald Trump revived it:
One issue on Trump’s radar is the 1993 death of Foster, which has been ruled a suicide by law enforcement officials and a subsequent federal investigation....

When asked in an interview last week about the Foster case, Trump dealt with it as he has with many edgy topics -- raising doubts about the official version of events even as he says he does not plan to talk about it on the campaign trail.

He called theories of possible foul play “very serious” and the circumstances of Foster’s death “very fishy.”

“He had intimate knowledge of what was going on,” Trump said, speaking of Foster’s relationship with the Clintons at the time. “He knew everything that was going on, and then all of a sudden he committed suicide.”

He added, “I don’t bring [Foster’s death] up because I don’t know enough to really discuss it. I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don’t do that because I don’t think it’s fair.”
Trump could have said that he believes what investigators have concluded, but of course he didn't. And now Foster conspiracy theories are a legitimate topic of conversation again:
Haley Barbour Indulges Vince Foster Conspiracy Theory: ‘I Have No Idea’

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) said Tuesday that he has “no idea” whether the Clintons were behind the death of White House staffer Vince Foster, leaving the door open to a decades-old conspiracy theory.

Asked on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" about presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump raising the theory that Foster's 1993 death was the result of foul play, Barbour first tried to blame The Washington Post for asking Trump about the issue.

“You know what question is coming next,” MSNBC's Joe Scarborough responded. “Do you think Vince Foster was murdered by the Clintons?”

“I have no idea and have no suspicion that's the case. But I don't know,” Barbour responded.

“That, sir, is the correct answer!” Scarborough interrupted. “You don’t even have to say you don’t know!”

“But I don’t know,” the former Republican National Committee chairman continued. “Because it’s obvious I don’t know.”
Martin Longman (BooMan) can tell you in detail why the revival of this conspiracy theory is outrageous.

And I've told you on a number of occasions why indulging the fantasies of Ed Klein is outrageous, but Trump told us on Twitter today that he wants us to wallow in the sewer with Klein, too:

So when Trump starts peddling stories cooked up by the guy who tells us that Hillary Clinton is an angry radical lesbian whose only child was conceived via marital rape, I suppose everyone in the media will take the allegations seriously and spread them around by asking other Republicans what they think about them, even though Klein's work has been justifiably dismissed as garbage by the media in recent years.

So isDonald Trump is becoming the new "puke funnel" -- a one-man conduit directing (or redirecting) sleazy stories from the fringe to the legitimate press? "Puke funnel" was James Carville's term for a process that was described this way in a memo from Clinton World in the days of Bill's administration:
The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce refers to the mode of communication employed by the right wing to convey their fringe stories into legitimate subjects of coverage by the mainstream media. This is how the stream works. First, well funded right wing think tanks and individuals underwrite conservative newsletters and newspapers such as the Western Journalism Center, the American Spectator and the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Next, the stories are reprinted on the internet where they are bounced all over the world. From the internet, the stories are bounced into the mainstream media through one of two ways: 1) The story will be picked up by the British tabloids and covered as a major story, from which the American right-of-center mainstream media, (i.e. the Wall Street Journal, Washington Times and New York Post) will then pick the story up; or 2) The story will be bounced directly from the internet to the right-of-center mainstream American media. After the mainstream right-of-center media covers the story, Congressional committees will look into the story. After Congress looks into the story, the story now has the legitimacy to be covered by the remainder of the American mainstream press as a "real" story.
Trump might now be in the process of replacing several of those steps with, well, himself.

But he can do that only if the press allows him to. Are journalists going to let Trump funnel puke into their stories? Are they going to treat any swill he stirs up as legitimate news? It's their choice.


Robert Muir said...

". Are journalists going to let Trump funnel puke into their stories? Are they going to treat any swill he stirs up as legitimate news? "

What are you kidding? Of course they are. The integrity of the DC press corps wouldn't fill a gnat's navel to quote someone.

Victor said...

What Robert said above.

Jeff Ryan said...

Anyone with knowledge would know that the Vince Foster suicide is not questionable. Simply read A Washington Tragedy, by Dan Moldea. (Amazingly enough published by Regnery.)

That Trump would further traumatize the Foster family by JAQing off about this tells anyone all they need to know about this opportunistic piece of detritus. We have passed the end of decency when the press even reports this crap.

Jack Griffin said...

Does anyone know if Joe Scarborough murdered Lori Klausutis, the intern found dead under mysterious (and still unsolved) circumstances, IN HIS DISTRICT OFFICE when he was still a Congresscritter from Florida?

I have no idea if he was responsible. I have no direct evidence to substantiate any such claim. But I don't know. Because it's obvious I don't know.

Do you?

petrilli said...

Jack, It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Jack Griffin, speculate no longer. He did. Joe Scarborough murdered Lori Klausutis. But, the rules of politics came into play, 1st he didn't get caught with her and IOKIYAR.

Ten Bears said...

Scarborough. Isn't he some bottle-blonde bimbo bobble-head multi-millionaire mainstream media personality? And wasn't she like, seventeen years old?

KenRight said...


Have these perhaps more legitimate stories, i.e. Hersh's work on Clinton and Benghazi been covered any here when trending? We need balance.

Jeff Ryan said...

You know, Hersh says lots of things. And I expect that, what with journalism being a competitive occupation, that others have looked into his stories.

And ya know? Apparently no one can find anything to substantiate them. Otherwise, they'd be writing the stories themselves.

So "perhaps" they aren't "more legitimate" after all...

Feud Turgidson said...

This isn't Hersh's fault. He got old. We all got old. I've been lucky to be around a lot of exceptionally talented people, public servants, scientists, advocates and entertainers, for more than half a century. I feel privileged to have met them and even worked with some, and at least some of that work holds up over time.

But MOSTLY it doesn't MOSTLY even the well-intentioned stuff today looks naive, foolish and, out of context, stupid and cruel. Young naive types grow up and finally see that, and experience-grizzled vets eventually get SO BAD at holding it together, it's just embarrassing. Almost every single of the many dozens of great folks I've known and worked with has done some reallty stupid stuff, and MOST of that has come at the two ends to life.

The difference is the stupid stuff you do young, you can still 'learn from' and get past - while what Hersh has been up to since his last Good Peak on Abu Ghraib, man, that crap just lasts and lasts. It's like the cruelty of what happens when we croak, everyone puts up pictures of when we're OLD AND WEAK AND CRAZY AND MOSTLY PAST IT.

It'll happen to all of us, too: baring a sudden accidental death before our old doddering foolish falling apart selves gets to make fools of ALL of us, it's already been happening, all along.

I know I'm still sort of okay, a bit anyway, so long as I can still say I love Verdi's version of Shakespeare's Falstaff above all other human art. Once I run from that, shut me down, please.

Blackstone said...

Did Donald Trump rape Ivanna? Or Jane Harwell?

I have no idea, I have suspicions, but I don't know.

Jeff Ryan said...

@Feud Turgidson: I couldn't have put it better. You are 100% right. That is exactly how it works. It's a bitch, but we are better off realizing it than denying it.

Just really, really well said.

Robert Muir said...

Just to prove that yes they are going to let Trump Puke funnel stories the following question was asked by Chuck Todd (on MSNBC) to Brian Fallon a spokesman for Clinton:

"Do you feel as if Hillary Clinton needs to respond to at least explain why she forgave her husband?"

it's going to be a very very long election.