journalists

The Pruitt Watch (Peat Fire)

#DrainTheSwamp | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Detail of 'Lucifer', by Franz von Stuck, 1890.

While the idea of a rioting dumpster fire experienced brief vogue among media commentators trying to describe the Donald Trump presidency, the slowburning, filthy corruption of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt seems to describe something akin to a peat fire. The lede from the New York Times:

Since moving to Washington, Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, has attracted the attention of federal investigators because of his unusual association with lobbyists, including his rental of a condominium last year owned by the wife of a lobbyist with business before the E.P.A.

As a state senator in Oklahoma 15 years ago, Mr. Pruitt went even further: He bought a home in the state capital with a registered lobbyist who was pushing for changes to the state’s workers’ compensation rules—changes that Mr. Pruitt championed in the legislature.

And as with the condominium rental in Washington, Mr. Pruitt never publicly disclosed his financial relationship with the lobbyist, who, like Mr. Pruitt, lived in the home when in Oklahoma City on business.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, on Capitol Hill, 26 April 2018, in Washington D.C. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)But if for some reason the Pruitt Watch seems frustrating, or even verges toward incomprehensible, perhaps the striking report from The Atlantic suggests a flashpoint:

As Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt faces a seemingly endless stream of scandal, his team is scrambling to divert the spotlight to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. And the White House isn’t happy about it.:

In the last week, a member of Pruitt’s press team, Michael Abboud, has been shopping negative stories about Zinke to multiple outlets, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the efforts, as well as correspondence reviewed by The Atlantic.

“This did not happen, and it’s categorically false,” EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said.

To the other, an unnamed White House official claiming knowledge of the situation explained: “Absolutely nothing Scott Pruitt did would surprise me.” And, yes, that last might as well include, the prospect of the EPA Administrator simply persisting and enduring, though the article did not.

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Not Really Worth Your Time

[#nevermind]

Detail of video for "You Tell 'Em", by Zebra Katz x Leila

Two and a half not-quite random notes on blogging:

(1) While This Is has seen, in recent months, an apparent increase in readership, it is, as near as anyone can tell, all bots and spiders and whatever else. The pattern is clear, though: When posting daily, it is true the blog sees greater readership than, say, this time last year. Longer periods between posts can trigger a swell in readership; it really does appear some manner of Scooby-Snack behavioral econ, trying to get attention so someone will be encouraged to use the product more.

This Is weird: Top Searches for This Is, ca. 19 February 2018.(2) While this would seem to point back to WordPress and Automattic, neither can I explain the weird phenomenon about “Top Searches”. Then again, this has been going on longer than the increased reader statistics that never really do add up. Still, the constant inquiries about journalists are ridiculous.   (more…)

A President Stupid Enough to Invite War with the Press

#AlternativeFacts | #WhatTheyVotedFor

The headline from the New York Times comes with its own implications: “News Media, Target of Trump’s Declaration of War, Expresses Alarm”. Meanwhile, on the west coast, the Seattle Times ran the article on the right column of the front page―

Trump’s war with journalists boils over

CREDIBILITY UNDER ATTACK

White House blasts media for challenging falsehoods; defends ‘alternative facts’

"Trump's war with journalists boils over" (Seattle Times, 23 January 2017)and we might, again, say something about implications. Locally, people tend to view the Seattle Times as tending more toward the conservative, but this is President Donald Trump, and this is what happens, to the one, when one is actually the President of the United States, and, to the other, goes out of his way to pick a fight with the Press.

How do you like them apples, Mr. President?

Yeah … we know. You don’t give a damn. You are, after all, President Donald Trump, and this is #WhatTheyVotedFor.

____________________

Image note: Detail of front page for the Seattle Times, 23 January 2017.

Ember, Sydney and Michael W. Grynbaum. “News Media, Target of Trump’s Declaration of War, Expresses Alarm”. The New York Times. 22 January 2017.

————. “Trump’s war with journalists boils over”. The Seattle Times. 23 January 2017.