Monday, June 6, 2016

Last Call For Donald The Buzz Kill

News and entertainment site BuzzFeed has pulled out of a $1.3 million advertising deal with the RNC over Donald Trump's racist rhetoric, which is pretty much unprecedented for a political news site to do.

In an email to staff on Monday, BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti explained that in April, the RNC and BuzzFeed signed an agreement to "spend a significant amount on political advertisements slated to run during the Fall election cycle." But since Trump became the nominee his campaign has proven themselves to be "directly opposed to the freedoms of our employees in the United States," because of proposed bans on Muslim immigration and comments about descendants of immigrants, among other policies.

"We don't need to and do not expect to agree with the positions or values of all our advertisers. And as you know, there is a wall between our business and editorial operations. This decision to cancel this ad buy will have no influence on our continuing coverage of the campaign," Peretti said in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO.

"We certainly don't like to turn away revenue that funds all the important work we do across the company," Peretti wrote. "However, in some cases we must make business exceptions: we don't run cigarette ads because they are hazardous to our health, and we won't accept Trump ads for the exact same reason."

In a follow up email, BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith said the decision was from the business side and would not affect coverage of the Trump campaign "This was Jonah’s call, and the prerogative of a publisher,” Smith wrote.

BuzzFeed has had an at times contentious relationship with the Trump campaign, with their reporters being denied credentials or general entry to Trump rallies and being directly targeted by the campaign and Trump himself. Reporters at the site told POLITICO that the decision likely won't change their relationships with the campaign, which they described as already strained.

It's also far from the first time the site has taken a position on a topic. In early 2012, BuzzFeed blacked out parts of their site in solidarity with the protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act. Following the Supreme Court ruling in 2015 which legalized same sex marriage, the site changed its logo to the rainbow flag colors, which are a symbol of the gay pride movement. Smith said at the time: "We firmly believe that for a number of issues, including civil rights, women’s rights, anti-racism, and LGBT equality, there are not two sides."

Let's understand that political ad money is basically free cash for news outlets, and those pockets get deeper and deeper every election cycle.  Given the precarious state of digital news sites in 2016, turning down a cool million plus seems suicidal, but BuzzFeed apparently says they can turn down the RNC's ad money.

But let's face it, what BuzzFeed is really risking is the wrath of the Republican Party for their news and editorial division, and I'm pretty sure that if it was difficult for BuzzFeed to get news from the Trump camp before, it's going to be impossible now.

On the other hand, good for BuzzFeed for not taking money directly from the scuzzballs.

The Day Bernie Faces The Music

The Sanders campaign faces a tough decision tomorrow: all indications are that Clinton will win New Jersey handily, and take enough delegates in California to clinch the nomination. The real question then becomes "does Bernie stay in?"

A split is emerging inside the Bernie Sanders campaign over whether the senator should stand down after Tuesday’s election contests and unite behind Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, or take the fight all the way to the July party convention and try to pry the nomination from her… 
Tad Devine, a senior Sanders strategist who advised Democratic nominees Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004, among others, suggested the “path forward” is uncertain, hinging on the outcome in California and other states that have yet to vote. He voiced a conciliatory note, describing how the two campaigns might set aside differences that have grown more pronounced in the heat of the year-long campaign… 
Campaign manager Jeff Weaver, who has worked in Mr. Sanders’s congressional offices and Vermont-based campaigns dating to the mid-1980s, takes a more aggressive approach… 
“The plan is as the senator has described it: to go forward after Tuesday and keep the campaign going to the convention and make the case to superdelegates that Sen. Sanders is the best chance that Democrats have to beat Trump,” Mr. Weaver said. “The trajectory is the same regardless of the outcome in California.”

As Nancy LeTourneau points out:

Ultimately, the candidate himself will have to make the call. It will be up to Bernie Sanders to decide whether he continues to be a progressive voice within the Democratic Party or sidelines both himself and his supporters as disrupters.

Frankly, I don't see the Sanders camp throwing in the towel until the convention.  It's only a matter of how much damage Sanders does and is rightfully blamed for heading into the Clinton v. Trump general election matchup.

We'll see very soon.  But the notion that Sanders is somehow "winning" ends Tuesday night.

The French Disconnection, Con't

So it turns out that National Review contributor David French really doesn't want to be president after all, and that his boss Bill Kristol really is the most idiotically wrong pundit on Earth.

Here is a sentence I never thought I’d type: After days of prayer, reflection, and serious study of the possibilities, I am not going to run as an independent candidate for president of the United States.

I gave it serious thought — as a pretty darn obscure lawyer, writer, and veteran — only because we live in historic times. Never before have both parties failed so spectacularly, producing two dishonest, deceitful candidates who should be disqualified from running for town council, much less leader of the free world.

Hillary Clinton lies habitually and changes position on virtually every public issue except for her pro-abortion extremism, and she has a suspicious record of making public decisions that favor donors to the Clinton Foundation. Her signal foreign-policy “achievement” was helping launch a war in Libya that not only cost American lives in Benghazi but also helped transform the nation into ISIS’s latest playpen.

To add to all that, she’s in the middle of an active FBI investigation. If I had handled classified information the way we know she handled classified information, my career would already be over, and the single goal of my life would be persuading the prosecutor to reach a lenient plea bargain.

Donald Trump also lies habitually (sometimes minute by minute), and changes position based on his moods. In one breath he claims to support working men and women, and then with the next breath he threatens to destroy our economy through trade wars or by playing games with the full faith and credit of the United States. He believes an American judge — a man born in Indiana who spent months hiding from drug cartels after they’d put a “hit” on him – can’t rule on a case involving Trump University because the judge’s parents emigrated from Mexico.

His supporters believe it demonstrates “strength” when he mocks the disabled and bullies women. He has attracted an online racist following that viciously attacks his opponents and their families — including my wife and youngest daughter.

Given this reality, it would be tempting to say that when it comes to confronting this national moment, “somebody” stepping up is better than nobody. But somebody is not always better than nobody. I’m on record saying that Mitt Romney could win. I believe others could run and win, and would make excellent presidents.

It's amazing that these National Review clowns can see Trump so clearly for who he is, but have to habitually lie about Hillary Clinton "being investigated by the FBI" when she isn't. The reality is "e-mailgate" was cleared up months ago. Even David French can't help himself.

The false equivalence of "If I handled my classified info the way she did, I'd be in jail" is something I see a lot from the right, and yet none of them batted an eye when the Bushies did the same thing and unlike Hillary failed to produce millions of emails to the FBI, so I don't particularly want to hear it.

Still, David French lasted all of a week or so.  Shame, would have been funny to see him not get a single vote on his own.


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