Last week, Nick Parker of The Sun exposed the shoddy security standards at Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheik International Airport, from which Metrojet Flight 9268 departed on October 31 before mysteriously crashing on the Sinai Peninsula. The airport’s security is so lax, Parker reported, that British tourists have been able to circumvent the airport’s standard security protocols by slipping airport personnel as little as 15 pounds. If you’re inclined to believe an explosive device took down Flight 9268 (as the U.S. government allegedly does), Parker’s story explains how such a device could have made its way onboard. It’s an undeniably juicy scoop.
On Sunday, The New York Times Magazine published a 7,500-word essay in which the reporter Jonathan Mahler attempts to untangle the knotty controversy surrounding the May 2011 execution of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. It’s primarily pegged to a May 2015 report by the investigative journalist Seymour Hersh that purported to expose the Obama administration’s preferred narrative of bin Laden’s death as a hoax—alleging, for example, that the U.S. government discovered the al Qaeda leader’s whereabouts not by tracking one of his couriers but from an agent-turned-informant of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI. While Mahler questions some of Hersh’s sourcing, he also replicates one of his subject’s more egregious errors: Failing to note that Hersh’s most explosive claims were first floated over four years ago, by a blogger named R.J. Hillhouse.
Pitchfork, the music website that was purchased by Condé Nast this week, has a tormenter. His name is Chris Ott, and he wrote for the site at an earlier point in its history, though you can’t read any of his reviews anymore because on Wednesday Pitchfork decided to completely erase him from its site.
A note to our readers: In the process of assigning this post, we were informed that its author, historian Greg Grandin, was having his own Kissinger biography reviewed by the New York Times Book Review. While we were not informed of the date that the review would be appearing, it turns out to be in the same edition of the New York Times Book Review in which Roberts’ essay appears. In its review, the Times described Grandin’s work as a “fresh argument that, although more provocative than convincing, amounts to one of the most innovative attacks on Kissinger’s record and legacy.” This was relevant information that should have been included in the post, especially in a discussion of the ethics around writers’ conflicts of interest. We should have inquired with Grandin as to the timing of the review of his book and reported that fact in the post, and we apologize for failing to do so.
The Politico today introduces us to a few (potential) Donald Trump protest voters who are motivated not by actual affection for the nativist cartoon plutocrat, but by contempt for the entire institution of electoral politics. These “Haters For Trump,” as The Politico dubs them, consider Trump to be a grotesque, racist oaf. But they are voting for him all the same, they say, in order to send a message of disgust with the entire political process, or to help him blow up the revanchist and money-captured Republican party.
Jonah Peretti, the founder and CEO of BuzzFeed, is a big fan of labor unions—as long as they come nowhere near BuzzFeed. According to BuzzFeed reporter Cora Lewis, Peretti told employees this week that “I don’t think a union is right for BuzzFeed,” citing the fact that BuzzFeed is structured more like a tech startup than a traditional media company and his own belief that unionization would negatively affect the salaries of BuzzFeed’s writers and reporters (in whom the company has invested tens of millions of dollars).
On July 23, The New York Times reported that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was facing a “criminal inquiry” from the Department of Justice regarding the way she handled sensitive government correspondence with her private email account. The story, as you might have heard, has since imploded—Clinton was not specifically targeted; there was no criminal inquiry in the first place—and required two serious corrections, a lengthy editors’ note, and an entire column from Public Editor Margaret Sullivan. “We got it wrong,” deputy executive editor Matt Purdy told Sullivan, “because our very good sources had it wrong.”
Thursday night, BuzzFeed news editor Rachel Zarrell reacted to a deadly shooting at a Louisiana movie theater by tweeting, “Don’t pray. Push for gun control” and “If this were someone in my family I’d want every person alive screaming about gun control to anyone who would listen.” Within an hour, however, Zarrell suddenly reversed course by tweeting an apology of sorts to the conservative activist Stephen Miller:
Media trend alert: New York City’s destitute are gross and ruining our fun with their general existence and bad odor. The New York Post has been humping this story in spectacular fashion this week, sticking 16 reporters on one homeless man who pissed in the street like they found JonBenét’s killer. But in their latest issue, New York decided to get in on the hating, too.
Vox sent your dad to review a Taylor Swift concert. Did you know that that pop music makes him feel insecure? I hope the world doesn’t spin off its axis. Unfortunately, your dad did not just write about his fluctuating testosterone levels in his review. He also said that Miley Cyrus and Madonna don’t value themselves and, well, that requires some extra post-publication editing.
Why has the New York Post marshaled at least 16 reporters to bedevil a single homeless man named John Tucker? According to a current Post employee, the person directing the paper’s unbelievably vicious coverage is none other than alleged pig-fucker, proven sink-pisser, and sitting editor-in-chief Col Allan, who is apparently motivated by the fact that Tucker lives in his own neighborhood, the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
A decent way of evaluating a newspaper’s priorities is simply glancing at its front page, where editors typically place the stories they deem most important or newsworthy. Judging from the Saturday and Sunday editions of the New York Post, the most important and newsworthy event in New York City is the existence, and micturition schedule, of a 49-year-old homeless man named John Tucker.
Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, who is currently pursuing the Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination, released a policy paper today laying out specific proposals to better regulate America’s financial industry (e.g., reinstating Glass-Steagall legislation). Good stuff! One problem, though. On his paper’s second page, O’Malley cites a satirical news website—and not just any satirical news website, but probably the worst one.