In another awesome benchmark for journalists respecting the code of “off the record” (seriously, didn’t Judy Miller go to jail rather than do something like this?), the video during which Barack Obama called Kanye West a “jackass” for his behavior at this weekend’s VMAs has been leaked. Politico’s Ben Smith briefly posted the footage, then took it down when, in his words, “wiser heads” prevailed. But CNN had already scooped up the clip, seen here. It matches the audio footage that leaked yesterday, the provenance of which Intel Chris wrongly questioned. What’s handy about this clip is that you can now actually see the look on his face when Barack Obama realizes that even though the conversation was “off the record,” the tape would swiftly and irrevocably get leaked.
Facebook didn’t tiptoe to avoid poking the bear on the left. They went right up to the bear and stabbed it repeatedly. And then goaded the right’s bear to join in the stabbing.
The power of leftist outrage mobs has been well-discussed. The power of conservative outrage mobs to affect corporate and political policy, even from left-leaning organizations, is arguably less acknowledged.
In no small part to placate the right, the liberal company Facebook misled the nation again and again about the nature of Russian interference in the election. They repeatedly fed right wing conspiracies while waving away criticism from the left. It’s hard to see how an ardently Trumpist company could do much better.