Vanity Fair: New York Times Blocking Reporters From Going On Certain MSNBC and CNN Shows As ‘Too Partisan”

For two years, I have written about the declining journalistic values in this age of rage with both reporters and legal analysts becoming open partisans for or against Donald Trump. I recently spoke on this decline in objective and neutral reporting. It appears that the situation has become a threat to the journalistic principles of The New York Times. According to Vanity Fair, the newspaper is barring its reporters from appearing on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon as too biased and one-sided.

Vanity Fair reports that Times’ executive editor Dean Baquet is concerned that NYT reporters would be “perceived as being aligned” with the hosts in raw advocacy against the Republicans and Trump.

I have in past defended the Times against attacks from Trump and his supporters. This is an example of why the “Old Grey Lady” remains a icon for journalism. It is not clear if the bar does or should apply to columnists or commentators. Presumably it does not. The concern that many of us have raised is how hosts and reporters at CNN and MSNBC openly mocked or counter Trump and the Republicans. Fox has been accused of the same bias in favor of the Administration. However, Fox often runs tough interviews and pieces against Trump, who has complained about the coverage. There are also excellent journalists and hosts at CNN. One of my favorite is Michael Smercomish who often transcends politics and popular positions.

I often play a game in watching these networks. When breaking news happens I ask myself what is the worst possible spin that you could put on the story. The spin inevitably seems to follow. It is formula coverage and executives like Jeff Zucker have admitted that their exhaustive Trump coverage is a ratings play.

I have a great deal of affection and respect for many people at CNN and MSNBC as well as Fox. The loss of objectivity is the result of executives seeking to lock in an audience with echo-journalism. They want to appeal to people who do not want to hear alternative views or scenarios in controversies. CNN has been far less successful in that strategy after MSNBC occupied the field as the go-to anti-Trump channel.

239 thoughts on “Vanity Fair: New York Times Blocking Reporters From Going On Certain MSNBC and CNN Shows As ‘Too Partisan””

  1. Forgive me for being cynical, but Dean Baquet doesn’t seem to have concerned himself with whether or not the New York Times has picked a dog in the fight between the two major national political parties, or between disputes between the House of Representatives under Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump.

    If I were him, I”d have given those orders because CNN and MSNBC jumped the shark on their coverage of Washington, and lost any plausibility they may have had. The last thing I’d want my paper’s readers to see is one of my reporters on the Washington beat nodding sagely as Joe Scarborough or Rachel Maddow went on a partisan tear.

    If I were executive editor of any major newspaper, I’d think very hard about forbidding my reporters from appearing on any television, internet or radio show dealing with national politics at all. My reasoning would be that reporters ought to investigate and report on news, not make news themselves.

    But I’m not Dean Baquet, and I don’t work for anyone named Sulzberger.

  2. The trouble began when the journalism tribe decreed that objectivity is impossible, because they all read Socrates and Hume and know how to deconstruct reality. This was peachy for journalists—call it their Gonzo moment—since, no longer constrained by obsolete objectivity and, being supreme narcissists, their own emotions, opinions, biases were free to inform the story.

    There was a time when a byline was not a default part of a news story. Now it is, because news is about the reporter, who wants to say, “See me! I’m the one who broke this story!” That’s the hallmark of the gossip, and that’s where journalism has devolved—common gossip posing as “information necessary for a free people” or some such piety. “Fake News” is not just an epithet, nor a thing, but human individuals, who make a living as liars, gossips and prostitutes. That’s what you should presume about a journalist unless he or she can prove otherwise, and I’ve yet to encounter one who can.

  3. https://howtheyplay.com/team-sports/Eddie-Feigner-The-King-of-Softball
    A little more baseball trivia. Feigner was from my hometown where I lived and worked for over 40 years.
    My cousin ( and godfather) was a good athlete when he was younger, played a lot softball with organized teams.
    He mentioned being at bat when Feigner was pitching. ( Feigner and his 4-man team were like The Harlem Globetrotters in that nobody really had a chance of beating them).
    Even just connecting with the ball was a major triumph. I asked my cousin if he was able to do any good against Feigner.
    He shook his head and said, “Tom, he struck me out BLINDFOLED!”.😃😄

  4. I am not an attorney but I wonder what some of the lawyers on this forum think about the points in this WSJ article, copied and pasted since it is behind a pay wall

    ———-

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/congress-cant-outsource-impeachment-11559341259

    Congress Can’t Outsource Impeachment

    Democrats want to use Mueller’s probe as cover to oust Trump. They need to bring their own facts and charges so the public can hold them accountable.

    By David B. Rivkin Jr. and Elizabeth Price Foley May 31, 2019 6:20 p.m. ET

    It’s as if nothing happened. Special counsel Robert Mueller and the Justice Department found no wrongdoing by President Trump, so House Democrats stepped up their calls for impeachment. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler issued a subpoena for millions of pages of evidence gathered by Mr. Mueller, including grand-jury material, which is secret under the law. When the department didn’t comply, Democrats said there was a “constitutional crisis,” and the committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt.

    Yet if there is a constitutional crisis, its source is the Democrats. They are abusing the powers of investigation and impeachment in an illegitimate effort to unseat a president they despise.

    Congressional Democrats claim they have the power to investigate the president to conduct “oversight” and hold him “accountable.” That elides an important constitutional distinction. As the Supreme Court said in Watkins v. U.S. (1957), Congress may “inquire into and publicize corruption, maladministration or inefficiency in agencies of the Government.” Executive departments and agencies are created by Congress and therefore accountable to it. The president, by contrast, is not a creature of lawmakers. He is Congress’s coequal, accountable to Congress only via impeachment.

    To commence impeachment, the House has a constitutional obligation to articulate clear evidence of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” A two-year Justice Department investigation did not find that Mr. Trump had committed crimes. On the Russian collusion issue, Mr. Mueller reported that his investigation “did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

    Regarding obstruction of justice, Mr. Mueller “did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President’s conduct,” so the duty to do so fell on his boss, Mr. Barr—who, with senior Justice Department officials, concluded that the evidence was “not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

    House Democrats claim they’re entitled to see Mr. Mueller’s underlying materials. But Congress may not use its subpoena power for a prosecutorial do-over. The Constitution gives law-enforcement authority to the executive, not the legislative, branch. In Quinn v. U.S. (1955), the Supreme Court said that Congress’s “power to investigate must not be confused with any of the powers of law enforcement; those powers are assigned under our Constitution to the Executive and the Judiciary.”

    Impeachment isn’t a law-enforcement function, but demanding Mr. Mueller’s documents to search for impeachable offenses is still unconstitutional. The Constitution gives the House the “sole power” of impeachment. Outsourcing aspects of the process to the other branches of government violates separation of powers.

    Unfortunately, there is a precedent for such outsourcing, though it is one that ought to give Democrats pause: the impeachment of President Clinton. The offenses for which Mr. Clinton was impeached—perjury before a grand jury and obstruction of independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s investigation—were established by Mr. Starr, who informed Congress that “the evidence of wrongdoing is substantial and credible, and that the wrongdoing is of sufficient gravity that it warrants referral to Congress.” Mr. Starr issued a report and turned his materials over to the House because the now-defunct statute under which he operated required it. The Justice Department’s special-counsel regulations, which govern Mr. Mueller’s investigation, do not.

    The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the independent counsel in Morrison v. Olson (1988). It did not address the constitutionality of the requirement that independent counsels turn over evidence of impeachable offenses to the House. If it had, there would be deep concerns about separation of powers. In addition to the textual declaration that the House has the “sole power” of impeachment, the debate over impeachment at the Constitutional Convention supports an outsourcing prohibition.

    Delegates were deeply divided on whether the president should be subject to impeachment at all—and if so, which institution should have this great power. They considered vesting the impeachment power in state legislatures but rejected the idea. The concern was that it would make the president too dependent on the states, endangering the vertical separation of powers. They also pondered entrusting impeachment authority to the judiciary—essentially, to the Supreme Court—but concluded that would give the judiciary too much power and enable it to impeach its own members.

    Eventually and with misgivings, the Framers settled on vesting impeachment authority in the House, with trial by the Senate. Their greatest fear was that this arrangement would destroy separation of powers by rendering the president perpetually dependent on legislative approval. Charles Pinckney believed congressional impeachment power would chill the president’s exercise of his core constitutional powers (such as vetoing legislation) and encourage Congress to hold impeachment “as a rod over the Executive and by that means effectually destroy his independence.” Rufus King opined that “under no circumstances ought [the president] to be impeachable by the Legislature,” because such power would be “destructive of his independence.”

    The Framers took pains to devise meaningful limits on the impeachment power. When George Mason proposed to add “maladministration” to treason and bribery as a basis for impeachment, James Madison demurred: “So vague a term will be equivalent to a tenure during the pleasure of the Senate.” In Federalist No. 65, Alexander Hamilton argued that “the greatest danger” of giving Congress the impeachment power is that its “decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of the parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.” To allay these concerns, the Framers limited impeachment to “high crimes and misdemeanors”—not mere political disagreements.

    In addition, by resting the entire impeachment power in Congress, the Framers constrained it. Congress was to have limited investigatory power and to conduct its proceedings in a transparent, politically accountable manner. That effectively meant presidential misconduct would have to be open and notorious to be impeachable.

    In that regard, at least, the 1868 impeachment of Andrew Johnson was exemplary. His firing of War Secretary Edwin Stanton was in open defiance of the Tenure in Office Act, although the Supreme Court eventually concluded the law itself was unconstitutional. Republicans who pushed Johnson’s impeachment were held politically accountable, with Democrats gaining 20 House seats out of 243 in the 1868 elections.

    If the House can outsource impeachment, the deepest concerns of the Framers will become reality. Impeachment would have few limits and no political accountability. As a federal prosecutor, Mr. Mueller legitimately obtained information from a grand jury, wiretaps and other forms of surveillance unavailable to Congress. If Congress can secure these materials by simply commanding the executive branch to turn them over, it would tremendously augment its power.

    Turnover of prosecutorial materials would allow Congress to hide behind the fact-finding and legal determinations of the other branches, thereby diminishing its own political accountability. Because the nation’s law-enforcement officials have concluded Mr. Trump has not committed any crimes, Democratic representatives cannot legitimately draft articles of impeachment accusing him of criminal conduct involving the same offenses of which he was cleared by the Mueller investigation. The House could impeach him for misconduct that doesn’t violate criminal statutes—say, abuse of power or inappropriate behavior. But lawmakers must be candid about what exactly the charge is.

    Proceeding in such a fashion—not hiding behind criminal accusations that prosecutors have rejected—would require House Democrats to assume the full political risk for their impeachment efforts. Instead, they are pressing Mr. Mueller to testify, hoping he will say something beyond what is contained in his report, and to obtain his investigatory materials. By second-guessing the prosecutors and recasting Mr. Trump’s conduct as criminal-law violations, Democrats seek cover for their raw political push to unseat a president.

    Outsourcing impeachment also fundamentally deforms the executive branch. In Federalist No. 51, Madison explained that each branch must possess “the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. . . . The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place.” When executive-branch officials see themselves as working for Congress, there is severe constitutional dislocation.

    Mr. Mueller’s team, for example, embraced the proposition that a president can obstruct justice by exercising his constitutional powers, such as firing the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, if his decisions have a corrupt motive. That position runs roughshod over opinions of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which has consistently concluded that, to protect separation of powers, laws should not be construed to apply to the president’s performance of his official duties, absent a clear statement otherwise.

    The obstruction statutes contain no such clear statement. And while Mr. Mueller refrained from ascribing corrupt motives to Mr. Trump, his legal view that the president can obstruct justice while discharging his constitutional powers is at odds with constitutional principles and would have never been adopted by the Justice Department in the normal course of business.

    Allowing executive branch officials to investigate a sitting president all but invites a coup. Former Justice Department attorney Neal Katyal recently admitted that “the special counsel regulations I had the privilege of drafting in 1998-99 say that such inquiries have one ultimate destination: Congress.” Mr. Mueller hinted at the same idea in a public statement Wednesday: “The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal-justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.”

    To Mr. Katyal and others now proclaiming a “constitutional crisis,” the special counsel works for Congress, not the president. Similarly, House Democrats claim it was illegitimate for Mr. Barr and other senior Justice Department officials to reach a prosecutorial judgment on obstruction of justice. In their view, that determination should have been made by Congress—which has no power to make prosecutorial judgments.

    These views reflect a deep constitutional rot. While executive-branch officials must abide by legitimate oversight requests from lawmakers, they work for the president, not for Congress. Investigations of a sitting president by the executive branch threaten the separation of powers by encouraging insubordination to the president. Executive officials may be willing to help grease the wheels of impeachment. That’s no way to run a government of separated powers.

    America’s experience with special prosecutors, independent counsels and special counsels has left a trail of partisan-fueled destruction. These investigations are inherently harmful to national unity and a stain on the constitutional fabric. The only way to restore the separation of powers and prevent further damage is to ensure that Congress cannot outsource any aspect of its impeachment powers.

    Existing opinions from the Office of Legal Counsel already hold that no sitting president should be indicted or criminally prosecuted, because such actions would debilitate the presidency. The same is true of criminal or counterintelligence investigations. Thus the OLC logic should extend those opinions and conclude formally that a sitting president cannot be investigated by the executive branch.

    If the U.S. is led one day by a truly corrupt president, the proposed cure of executive-branch investigation to aid impeachment would still be far worse than the disease. A president who openly violates the law or otherwise betrays the public trust can be voted out of office or impeached by Congress—using, as the OLC has noted, “its own investigative powers” in an open, politically accountable way.

    Mr. Rivkin and Ms. Foley practice appellate and constitutional law in Washington. He served at the Justice Department and the White House Counsel’s Office during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. She is a professor of constitutional law at Florida International University College of Law.

    1. Trump’s removal from office is either fantasy or the equivalent of firing on Ft. Sumter, so why impeach? That’s the question the Dims have to ask. If they proceed, they reap the electoral whirlwind or worse.

        1. L4D says–Excerpted from the article to which Ptom Gnash linked above:

          “Finally, as applied to the special case of the President, the majority argument merely points out that, were the Senate to convict the President without any kind of trial, a Constitutional crisis might well result,” former Supreme Court Justice Byron White said.

          “It hardly follows that the Court ought to refrain from upholding the Constitution in all impeachment cases. Nor does it follow that, in cases of presidential impeachment, the Justices ought to abandon their constitutional responsibility because the Senate has precipitated a crisis.”

          [repeated for emphasis]

          “. . . [W]ere the Senate to convict the President without any kind of trial, a Constitutional crisis might well result,” former Supreme Court Justice Byron White said.

          [end excerpt]

          So Dershowitz is pretending that McConnell can muster the votes to convict Trump. And Dershowitz is pretending that McConnell will do just that without a trial in The Senate. And Dershowitz is “channeling” the ghost of Byron White from beyond the grave for the sake of pretending the previous two hypotheticals.

          You know what? I’d say that one of the surest ways completely to abrogate The Constitution would be to have The Supreme Court of the United States overturn the conviction of anyone who had been impeached and convicted in The Senate. And I say that on the theory that the words, “Congress shall have the sole power of impeachment,” preclude SCOTUS from even hearing a case to challenge an impeachment and conviction in The Senate. Talk about “legislating from the bench!” Are you all sure that you want the Rule of Trump to supplant the Rule of Law? Are you really sure that you want Dershowitz to show you the way?

          1. I actually missed that part of the quotation from Justice White.
            “If the Senate we’re to convict the President WITHOUT ANY KIND OF A TRIAL”.
            It’s difficult to imagine any Senate being stupid enough to “convict without a trial”, but under those circumstances, I think it would go to the Supreme Court.

        1. L4D asks–Did you know that it’s possible to conduct impeachment hearings without impeaching anyone?

          1. I knew that “impeachment hearings” could be held without proceeding to impeachment.
            There’s been at least one vote so far on impeahment; I think Wolfman Al Green sponsored it.
            As I remember, the vote fell about 150- 200 votes short of the necessary margin to proceed.
            Maybe Democrats will revive actual impeachment hearing if they think the hearings will give them beneficial, free campaign ads for 2020.
            When they wrap up the hearings, Pelosi could make a Mueller- style announcement that they “did not conclude that the President did not commit a crime”.

        2. L4D says–Did you also know that there is no “Impeachment Clock”? I mean, sure, if Trump fails to get re-elected in 2020, and if Trump agrees to go peacefully out of office, then “The [So-Called] Impeachment Clock” would have been “run out.” Otherwise, there is no damned “Impeachment Clock.” Trump could be Impeached at any time while Trump holds The Office of the President.

          P. S. Does Dershowitz seriously think that Supreme Court Justices are somehow immune for Impeachment? Or is that just what Dershowitz wants Trump and Trump’s cult worshippers to think?

          1. ” and if Trump agrees to go peacefully out of office”

            Trump has followed the law along with the spirit of the law. When he came to office the Democrats did not peacefully permit him to assume the legal duties that he was provided when he legally won the Presidency. So far the only ones that have broken the spirit of the law if not the law itself are Democrats because they cannot peacefully go out of office. That is part of their nature. Deep doesn the Democrats of today are dictators.

            1. The people at Correct-the-Record appear to have told Diane to use a ‘jamming’ strategy where you just produce an ocean of verbiage and don’t bother if none of it makes any sense.

              1. DSS, Diane has diarrhea of the brain. That is why when she unloads everything oozes out and lacks any structure. There should be a tab under all of Diane’s postings that remind her to FLUSH.

    2. Checks and balances ceased to be a valid tool in 1913 with the 16th and 17th amendments.

      Another overlooked part of Con Law is the absolute guarantee of a Republic form of government to the States routinely violated in two ways. Denying what is guaranteed and forcing upon the States and Citizens a foreign ideology previously rejected nine times.

      Too many times the Constitution is cherry picked piecemeal and all the relevant portions to a question are not considered.

      The Money as Free Speech decision is a prime example of creating a new but unapproved by the States ‘right’ at the cost of some ‘five’ existing’ rights and never once was the destruction of existing rights mentioned.

      1. Oky1,
        Some Kurt Russell trivia; he had a batting average of about .550 in AAA baseball, probably was on his way to the major leagues.
        I think he broke his leg in one of the games and the injury was severe enough that it ended his career.
        His Dad, actor Bing Russell, owned a farm team. I think it was the Portland ( Oregon) Beavers.

        1. Tom Nash,

          That’s interesting.

          In some ways that’s to bad, but ended with a great actor.

          He seems like a regular American guy, nice wife, pro 2nd Amendment & many in entertainment biz hates to hang out the creepy types out in Hollyweird.

          One of the reasons I posted that clip is that a lot of the voices I’m hearing, high & low, all believe the Deep State isn’t backing off one bit & they will continue trying to take Trump out .

          So far , knock wood, Trump’s security has stopped over a dozen attempts to take him out.

          And that’s an old number that leaked out of loyal wh staff to outside news outlets.

          It’s touched on a bit in this about 10 min vid. Which makes me wonder, I wonder what the gambling odds are?

          https://www.brighteon.com/6043391833001

    3. Look, Trump will be the Prez for 6 more years, just all those that hate Trump just need to refocus their negative vibes, (Turley much?) on to positive things in life.

      1. Ok, maybe you don’t like cool cars, how about cool trucks to cool your burning hatred of us deplorable American Patriot Trump supporters?

    1. While your preceding commenter drifted eventually into death of interest through boredom without possibly getting to a point much less credibility by the time it got to yours …. currently second in the list…it became what has this to do with…..????

      On the other hand Orwelll is nonsensical only to illiteratti. But it was short, to the point, easy to understand and pithy.

    1. Five Questions About the Paul Manafort Investigation – The Atlantic

      https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/09/five-questions-about-the-manafort-investigation/540270/

      Sep 19, 2017 … Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Paul Manafort, the … Trump campaign official revealed to be the target of a FISA warrant …

      L4D says–Looks like Smith is busy blocking comments again. Or not. It is a Saturday. Isn’t it? Poor Smith.

      1. “L4D says–Looks like Smith is busy blocking comments again. Or not.”

        Thanks for the heads up.

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