Evidence piles up that the phony Atlantic story about Trump and troops was a slime job to boost Biden
To get a sense of how low the Biden campaign is going to go in its quest to oust President Trump, the Atlantic hit job from Thursday is a pretty good indicator.
The evidence is piling up that the easily refutable, anonymously sourced so-called story, claiming that President Trump disparaged veterans, wasn't really an Atlantic news story at all; it was a coordinated hit job involving the press, Democratic operatives, and associated leftist groups connected to the military, executed with impeccable timing. The Atlantic is building a name for itself for its uncorrected false stories, and this one's not at all different.
First, Jeffrey Goldberg's Atlantic story came out Thursday, claiming that four anonymous sources had told him that Trump, on a visit to France a few years ago, didn't want to go to a U.S. military cemetery there to honor fallen U.S. troops, because they were all "losers" and "suckers." It was raining, see, and he didn't want to get his hair mussed up.
This is solid crap, The official email records, exposed at the time when the media tried to make a flap about it even then, showed that it was indeed bad weather that prevented the trip.
There was a motive, though: to distract attention from Joe Biden's actual bad record with the military. Andrea Widburg has an excellent must-read analysis here.
It comes against a broader picture of the Democrats seeking to divide and disloyalize the military with all their coup talk — see this startling analysis called "The Coming Coup" by Michael Anton, writing in the American Mind here.
The Atlantic's lie was derived from an overheated exchange that Trump had with John McCain, a man he hated for many reasons, in 2016. Trump official after Trump official, including fired former NSC adviser John Bolton, who now has an acrimonious relationship with Trump, say they didn't hear what Goldberg claims was said, or more strongly, adamantly say it never happened. They are going on the record with their own names, and they are unequivocal about it. The first lady, Melania Trump, who rarely speaks about political matters, also says she was there and it never happened.
Not too long after the mendacious report, an ad from a leftist veterans group, "VoteVets," bounced out, featuring six interviews with outraged family members of fallen soldiers. "My son was not a loser," they said.
VoteVets claims they had no idea that the Atlantic story was coming out, and they were just busy beavers who stayed up all night to get the interviews, write the slick script to ad length, edit the interviews, string the interviews together, get the sound and photography edited, put the graphics in, and get the finished product out, not just on the web, but in the hands of the morning television networks, such as Joe Scarborough's MSNBC Morning Joe show, to ensure they could run the ad and wax their outrage.
According to Joel Pollak's excellent writeup in Breitbart:
The article was published Thursday evening. By Friday morning, a left-wing group called Vote Vets had not only produced an ad based on the article, but had aired it on Morning Joe — MSNBC's early-morning flagship news and opinion show.
Meanwhile, the article spread across social media like a brush fire in a derecho. It trended at the top of Twitter; it was shared widely on Facebook, all without any of the "fact checks" that typically accompany disputed news reports on such platforms.
Here's one other thing not noted in any of the excellent national analyses I read: after Scarborough's item ran, follow-on broadcasts featuring "outraged" veterans appeared in countless local news broadcasts. Here in San Diego, the local press moved right on cue. NBC7 of San Diego interviewed one Dave Baril, identified as a retired Marine lieutenant colonel who was furious about the purported statement.
"America has given up its sons and daughters for over 200 years …I would always like to think that deep down the commander in chief have held those folks to the highest of regard and said it was something that needed to be done in the national interest, but now I can see that this gentleman doesn't care at all," said David Baril, a retired San Diego based Lieutenant Colonel in the Marines Corps.
Actually, he's a gun control activist, with an outfit called VetsForGunReform or Vets4GunReform. His Twitter account is private, most likely because his position is unpopular.
Does VetsForGunReform have any connection to VoteVets?
Surprise, it does. Here's a 2018 tweet showing a connection:
That tweet suggests they're either the same group or else closely enough aligned for one to speak for the other — an unlikely thing, actually. More likely, they're the same thing. A little research (coming soon) should tell us more.
It got worse.
Soon as the press was out, Biden came out of his basement to hold a press conference. He hasn't done any of those, but somehow, he was ready for this one.
The reporters were handpicked by staff for questions to ask Biden, and by the wildest of coincidences, a reporter from The Atlantic was the first guy called on.
At the end of his presentation, Biden turned to his campaign staff, who chose which reporters would be allowed to ask questions, and in what order. The first question went to Edward-Isaac Dovere, who writes for — surprise! — The Atlantic.
Dovere asked, "When you hear these remarks — 'suckers,' 'losers,' recoiling from amputees — what does it tell you about President Trump's soul, and the life he leads?" It was a setup for Biden to attack Trump over The Atlantic allegations again.
None of the other questions asked were challenging in any way; all appeared to be setup questions for Biden to attack Trump or to clarify some lingering problem — whether he had been tested for coronavirus (yes), where his running mate was (busy).
No one asked Biden whether it was appropriate to attack Trump based on an unconfirmed report. No one even asked Biden about his economic policies.
What we witnessed Thursday night into Friday morning was the deployment of the Death Star — the full Democrat-media complex on display, coordinating journalists, outside political organizations, tech platforms, and unnamed military sources.
Some characters whose names are coming up in connection to this include the ones Trump said he suspected -- disgruntled generals who got fired in his term. Pollak notes that there's also Gen. Stanley McChrystal in on this.
Goldberg has admitted to being close to, surprise, Ben Rhodes, whom he says protected him from flak about being called a narrative "retailer" earlier in this gripey piece here.
I also called Ben Rhodes. Like many reporters in Washington, I've known Rhodes for years, and have interviewed him repeatedly. (One of Samuels's strangest assertions is that Rhodes is an "invisible" player in Washington; he does not seem invisible here, and he is also among the most frequently quoted senior administration officials in—wait for it—The New York Times, as has been noted to me by several Times reporters who were appalled by the Samuels piece).
I asked Rhodes if he told Samuels that he, or other administration officials, had ever handpicked me to retail their case for the Iran deal. This is what Rhodes said: "I told him that our goal was to try to convince you and a handful of other columnists that the Iran deal wasn't a total catastrophe. I told him I don't think I ever convinced you that it was a good deal." I asked again, "Did you tell him that I was handpicked by you to 'retail' your public relations message?" "Of course not," Rhodes said.
Ben wouldn't do a thing like that, not for his friends, now would he? Ben protects his friends. Pollak says that Goldberg's been carrying Democrats' water for years.
Here's another thing: The Atlantic is owned by Biden mega-donor Laurene Powell Jobs, who devotes her time to promoting leftist causes, and is often on the phone with Goldberg. According to the Daily Caller:
Billionaire philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, obtained a 70% stake in The Atlantic in 2017 through her firm, the Emerson Collective. In November, she further solidified her control over the magazine after its longtime chairman, David Bradley, said he was going to step away from management, according to Politico.
Politico noted in its report that Powell Jobs communicates often with The Atlantic's editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg.
Powell Jobs contributed $2,800 to former Vice President Joe Biden's primary campaign in October, and in June she divvied out an additional $610,600 to the Biden Victory Fund. She's also provided maxed out donations to at least 66 other Democratic politicians since the start of 2019, all the while providing nothing to Republican candidates, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Who else might be involved? I suspect the Lincoln Project, or other NeverTrump groups, particularly if they are associated with former President George W. Bush.
Why would I suspect that? Because of the swift boat ads on John Kerry, dating from 2004, which have a remarkable resemblance in tactics, albeit not merit, to what the Bushies pulled in that year, much to the Democrats' fury. Their campaign people, who are known for their rough play and dirty tricks, are busy at work with their bid to elect Joe Biden, and have pulled out their old template.
By coincidence, this same bid to smear Trump was reportedly used by George McClellan to attack President Lincoln in 1864, a disgusting thing when you think about it. Maybe 'Lincoln Project' to them means 'do a number on Lincoln' or do a number on Trump the way Lincoln's enemies did.
It's well worth watching if this is the modus operandi and these are the characters at work. Because one thing's for sure - this won't be their last dirty smear directed at Trump. If they had anything with truth, they'd use is, but as it is, all they have are lies, and they're comfortable with lies.
Image credit: Screen shot from a camera aimed at a television set, processed with FotoSketcher.