HuffPo Clinton/Move On Report Comes Under Fire

By Big Tent Democrat

NOTE: MTP used the story today. This now becomes an issue. I never thought the Move On/Clinton story actually hurt Clinton, but the methods used by the HuffPo poster have come under fire from Paul Lukasiak:

Comments on Fremon Q&A.

1) First off, as should be obvious, what Fremon has represented as a contiunous, anti-Move-On rant is actually two small snippets from two separate answers that were edited together to make it read/sound like one continuous rant.

I think its pretty obvious that Fremon knew exactly what she was doing here -- normal journalistic practice (I believe) would be to use ellipses when quoting in text form from two entirely separate responses. (actually, normal journalistic practice would not, I believe, allow anything like this to be done at all.)

Here' the quote:

"Moveon.org endorsed [Sen. Barack Obama] -- which is like a gusher of money that never seems to slow down," Clinton said to a meeting of donors. "We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party

What you actually hear is the word "so" after "slow down", so there is really no question that this was deliberate.

2) Unlike with the Obama quotes, there is no context. One doesn't know if she praised Move-On.org for its overall activism, etc, etc, because Fremon only wants us to hear what she wants to hear.

3) Fremon's excuse for editing these tapes does not hold water. Somehow, she expects us to believe that it is absolutely essential to hide the time and place where this occurred to prevent retaliation from the Clinton camp -- yet anyone else who was there will probably remember the exchange if they hear the tapes, and if the Clinton camp cam find out who did this merely by knowing the time and place, it should be simple enough to email people who attended private fundraisers to find out when this occurred.

One has to conclude that Fremon is being deliberately dishonest for some reason -- one suspects that its because the full tape is not nearly as "damning" as her highly selective excerpts. Regardless, the 'had to edit THIS way to protect the identity of my source' rationale is pure BS.

3) Fremon spoke to Wolfson after the Texas caucuses. She did not disclose where or when this tape had been made. Fremon then asks Wolfon if he had "evidence they had of intimidation at the caucuses" and he responds with Texas and Nevada. Fremon then goes on to write that Nevada happened before the Move-On.org endorsement, and Texas occurred after Clinton made her remarks, thus making Wolfson look like a liar and an idiot.

But if you are asked about evidence of intimidation in the wake of the Texas caucuses, and you don't know that what the questioner is asking about is the basis for Clinton's post Super Tuesday statement (because you haven't been told when or where the tape was made), your answer is going to be focussed on those cases where the campaign did collect "evidence" -- what can be used in a court, or before a credentials committee.

And while there have been numerous reports of improprieties at various state caucuses, only in Nevada and Texas has there been any suggestion of lawsuits/credentials challenges that would require the gathering of "evidence." In Nevada, Obama threatened to challenge caucus delegates because people who showed up after 11:30 were not allowed in -- or at least they were going to challenge, until (apparently) someone hit them over the head with a clue stick by showing them page 53 of the Caucus Rulebook. So this is one case where the Clinton campaign would have wanted their own "evidence" if Obama had filed a challenge to the Nevada delegation.

And while I assume that I don't have to remind anyone about Texas, I will point out that evidence of intimidation and various other infractions was presented to the credentials committees of the County/State Senate District conventions held on March 29.

So, when you are asked about "evidence", the natural response is going to be about "evidence". If you ask about reports of intimidation in Super Tuesday caucus states, you'd get a whole different answer.

In my book, this is such an egregious, and deliberate ethical lapse that it defies description. The whole thing is obviously a hit piece -- and this woman's "I worked to remove all spin" makes Judith Miller's denials look credible by comparison.

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  • Display: Sort:
    The couldn't find anything else (5.00 / 6) (#1)
    by myiq2xu on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 08:15:06 AM EST
    So they made it up.

    Karl Rove must be proud.

    Making Stuff Up About Hillary Has Become (5.00 / 8) (#3)
    by MO Blue on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 08:25:24 AM EST
    standard operating procedure by his supporters and his 527 blogs. Kos front paging false claims to fuel Hillary Hate is the reason I will not return to his blog.

    the real kitchen sink gang (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by miguelito on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 08:38:39 AM EST
    Classic Rove style.. accuse the opponent of doing something despicable while you are actually doing it.  Keeps the opponent on defense and the masses distracted.  So I guess his dunce-like appearance in the debate is old news already?  

    I find myself questioning (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 08:41:09 AM EST
    who's chucking the buffet at who this morning ;)

    bingo. you're right on the $ here. (none / 0) (#36)
    by kangeroo on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 03:52:11 PM EST
    Well I'm not surprised (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 08:39:47 AM EST
    Someone went through closed door fundraising recordings looking for something to balance bittergate out with.  I suppose that it shouldn't have been a great leap for my brain to then question whether or not some creativity was used in developing this retaliation.  This thing started out with a specific goal in mind and they worked it until they felt they had met that goal.  All I have to say though is that if this is the best they could come up with using creativity it's pretty sad.  I never thought Move-Ongate was going to affect her much either.

    But what about the kerning? (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by ineedalife on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 09:14:49 AM EST
    So will any mainstream media that falls for this get the Dan Rather treatment? No I don't think so either.

    won't affect her, probably help (none / 0) (#9)
    by miguelito on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 08:50:06 AM EST
    I don't think she said anything wrong, even editing the tapes together (classy) couldn't produce a "gotcha".  How low will the Obama campaign sink?

    Think Whale Poop On The Bottom Of The Ocean n/t (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by MO Blue on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 08:54:10 AM EST
    It will keep the Markos of the world... (none / 0) (#17)
    by ineedalife on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 09:20:09 AM EST
    frothing at the mouth. I am sure the average person doesn't even know what MoveOn is. And if they do they have a negative impression.

    In fact association with MoveOn probably makes the average person more apt to believe fantasies like Obama is a Weather Underground sympathizer.


    let's face it (5.00 / 4) (#20)
    by Kathy on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 09:29:32 AM EST
    the average person doesn't know who Markos is, which, I am sure, annoys him more than MoveOn being irrelevant.  

    They are barking up the wrong tree. (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by rooge04 on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 08:41:28 AM EST
    Even though it's made up (or so it seems), they are just being silly.  This "brouhaha", if it can even be called that will do nothing.  Who will it upset? The uber-liberal base that already supports Obama?  The blogosphere that loves moveon...which already are extremely pro-Obama?  It's a serious question.  The voters that Obama has trouble with are working-class whites and Latinos.  I don't see working-class whites suddenly hating Clinton based on a criticism of moveon. If anything, it can only help her.  Most Americans can't stand moveon.  The General Betray Us ad was juvenile, ridiculous and drew eye rolls from pretty much everyone but Kos.  I think it's great that moveon is trying to make hay of it! Please do.

    yeah Please! (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by miguelito on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 08:52:46 AM EST
    Move On, please cast  yourselves as upset with Clinton.  Talk about the fringe of the party, all it does is make her look better.  Leave it to some hack at HuffPo to think MoveOn is the mainstream of the party.  

    Well it will be the mainstream... (5.00 / 6) (#15)
    by Maria Garcia on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 09:14:13 AM EST
    ...if they get their wish and expel all the Clinton supporters out of the party.

    If They Get Their Wish And Expel All Of The (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by MO Blue on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 09:24:00 AM EST
    Clinton supporters out of the party, the Democratic Party becomes a very weak third party.

    exactly. this is my issue-- (none / 0) (#37)
    by kangeroo on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 04:00:39 PM EST
    who should be the third party here?  the ones who have a diverse coalition of people long committed to the DEMOCRATIC party and its underlying principles--or the ones who are full of johnny-come-latelys from the republican party, electoral losers, opportunistic turncoats, and ideologically noncommittal thugs?  hmmmm...

    I wish them luck with that. (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by rooge04 on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 09:27:36 AM EST
    I hope that if they do manage to alienate millions of voters the Clintons together will start the first viable Third Party in the history of our country.  However, unlike Obama, I think Hillary *(and Bill) are entirely too loyal to the Democratic Party.  I wish they would if this happened.

    Arriana Huffington is no (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by BevD on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 09:33:17 AM EST
    friend to democrats or liberals.  It's a real shame that she is now embraced as a "friend" when she spent years castigating, lying and materially damaging democrats and the democratic party.  Encouraging readers of her blog to secretly record and then edit and publish remarks made by democratic candidates demonstrates her lack of ethics and her trivial, contrived approach to politics in this country.

    Way Before HuffPo Became An Obama 527 (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by MO Blue on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 09:54:40 AM EST
    I eliminated HuffPo from my list of reliable blogs and rarely went to the site. Too many headlines saying one thing when the actual article did not reflect the headline at all. Poor journalism by the editors at the site at best. I'm one of those people who thinks truth is important whether it supports my position or not.

    I can't agree more (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by BevD on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 11:13:38 AM EST
    and I wish more dems would think that way.  People forget that Huffington, Sullivan and those so called journalists who now appear to be supporting dems are the reason that Bush made it to the White House in the first place.  They're not liberals/dems and they're no friends to liberals/dems.  The only thing that unites them now is their hatred of any thing Clinton.  

    Judge a person by the company they keep (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by nellre on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 11:52:55 AM EST
    I'm afraid I have gone from thinking we had two wonderful candidates, but I liked HRC for her experience... to thinking we have one wonderful candidate, and one that if he should make it to the Whitehouse, might prove to be an unmitigated disaster.

    His pretense to be above the fray and the actions of his supporters are not just unsettling, they are appalling.

    The Clinton Campain Knows Fremon is Right (1.00 / 1) (#40)
    by AdrianLesher on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 04:44:29 PM EST
    Only the blind acolytes don't. See this new Huffpo piece quoting Guerin on Meet the Press.

    im new to blogs (none / 0) (#2)
    by boredmpa on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 08:21:42 AM EST
    and actually still hate the term "blog."  Hell, I remember when you had to finger someone for their plan/journal.

    Anyway, I found this site through krugman somehow and had seen dailykos, drudge, and huffpost and quickly and easily decided I wanted web 1.0 back.

    I mean dailykos, drudge, and huffpost have zero integrity based on what i've seen.  And their bias wasn't as apparent as the nytimes op-eds.  But what really gets me as that they don't f'n care about their integrity, they don't apologize, they don't correct.  Even this site failed with the fingergate report imho, but compared to the others...

    I feel like the net blogs (no surprise to me, since they are low-moderation editorials) are basically like reading the national enquirer.  So what's the point in huffpost?  What differentiates it from MSM infotainment?  Nothing imho.  Sure, it may provide some new perspectives, but those new perspectives are outweighed by the lack of integrity.  And so there is no great contribution to democracy or social discourse or journalism, because huffpost and others are overall about as useful, honest, and insightful as "Dr" John Gray's mars and venus series.

    It's all about perception. (5.00 / 6) (#13)
    by Fabian on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 09:03:12 AM EST
    Blogs used to have some aura of integrity - up until about ten weeks ago, when they went first partisan and then hyperpsrtisan.

    Now many blogs are rapidly sliding towards Tabloid/Limbaugh status and a good many are obviously at Propaganda/527 status.  

    It takes work separate out the bias and the outright BS, and most people don't do that.  Lazy media, lazy consumers.  I'm not sure if there is any reward for real journalism any more.


    Not entirely so... (none / 0) (#25)
    by Virginian on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 10:19:54 AM EST
    SOME blogs had integrity, and many of them threw it out the window when they believed Obama was their self-sufficiency gravy train (and too look at his web advertising expenditures, he actually may be just that)...

    HoffPo is Repulsive! (none / 0) (#4)
    by awang on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 08:35:04 AM EST
    The democratic party has clearly been hijacked by the extreme leftwing. For left-leaning independents, this is very frustrating. The extreme righwing nuts of the Republican party took control of the party and they gave us George W. Bush. The democratic party is in danger of repeating the same mistake---not electing the most capable person into the white house. Our country needs Clinton NOW. There is no time for the empty "hope" talks. In Wednesday debate, it was obvious that while Hillary has provided detailed and substantive proposals, Obama spent most of his time describing this country's problems that we already know. He provided little insight on the solutions to these problems. Obama, I am afraid, is quite hollow in terms of his plan to lead this country to a better future. We need to alarm the democratic party that many independent voters could turn to McCain if Obama is nominated. I think this scenario is quite real and it has not been talked about enough in the main stream media. Take a look. http://ivotemccainifobamaisnominated.blogspot.com/ (I vote for McCain if Obama is nominated)

    I Agree That HuffPost Is Bad (5.00 / 6) (#11)
    by MO Blue on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 08:53:11 AM EST
    but neither Huffington or Kos are particularly left wing let alone extreme left wing. They both are former Republicans who have brought their ring wing Republican tactics into the blogs and the Democratic Party.

    IMO the left is being unfairly tarred and feathered for actions promoted by people who are not left wing at all.


    You are responding to spam. (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Fabian on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 09:04:21 AM EST
    Please ignore this user's repetitive posts.



    Yikes.... (none / 0) (#27)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 10:59:33 AM EST
    This is the new RNC rant, that the extreme left wing has taken over the Democratic party.  It's everywhere.  We get it.  

    Clinton did trash Moveon (none / 0) (#23)
    by AdrianLesher on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 10:03:25 AM EST
    So why try to act like this shows she didn't?

    Lukasiak's comment is not sourced, and is highly speculative and conclusory.

    Fremon nowhere explicitly stated that this was a contiguous rant. Ellipses in the text might have been better, but the lack of them doesn't seem to change the essence of the piece. The abrupt gaps in the tape serve the same function as the ellipses Lukasiak would have liked to have seen in the text, and show no signs of slick editing. There is no "so" at the end of "slow down" but there is a clear truncation of the start of another sentence. Anyone listening to this tape who thought it was an unedited recording would have to be an idiot. Lukasiak is engaging in a tinfoil hat reading here.

    Lukasiak goes on to suggest that the elsewhere during the same event Clinton went on to praise Moveon extensively, apparently canceling out this:

    We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that's what we're dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it's primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don't agree with them. They know I don't agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me

    This appears to be speculation and wishful thinking, and is supported by no extraneous evidence.

    In short, this seems to be nothing more than damage control by a Clinton supporter. I see that Lukasiak did some good work on Bush's AWOL record, but this is just sloppy.

    Incidentally, a more comprehensive Lukasiak trashing of Fremon is at the rabidly pro-Clinton site Taylormarsh.com. This piece actually contains an interview with Fremon.

    Edited and idiots (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 11:02:28 AM EST
    Adrian you say

    Anyone listening to this tape who thought it was an unedited recording would have to be an idiot. Lukasiak is engaging in a tinfoil hat reading here

    That is why I did not believe a bit of it when I heard it.  I don't trust something that appears out of the ether at the end of a campaign that sounds highly edited.  Get it.


    Gosh (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by Steve M on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 11:28:39 AM EST
    Those of us who thought we could trust the written quote without listening to the tape were certainly misled, right?

    I don't find the excuse that it's an obviously edited recording nearly as interesting as the fact that no one is permitted to hear the unedited recording.  That should make anyone suspicious about what's being hidden from us.


    I am not acting like anything (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 10:14:05 AM EST
    The tactics used in the Huff Po report have been challenged. Perhaps you will address the challenges presented to it.

    Personally, I detest Move On so an attack on it is good in my book.


    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by americanincanada on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 10:27:55 AM EST
    As a member, I lost most of my respect for Moveon a long time ago. The lost my and my membership completely when they endorsed one candidate over another in a democratic primary.

    Especially after all Hillary has done for them.


    moveon/war (none / 0) (#30)
    by CHDmom on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 11:17:28 AM EST
    This was posted in the comments at TM with a link to a petition sponsored by Moveon
    "I went back in Internet archives and found this...does this mean MoveOn wasn't against the war still but he had their organization name on the petition?

    (look at the footer, also the petition say Justice NOT War)"



    I am boycotting (none / 0) (#33)
    by facta non verba on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 12:08:23 PM EST
    the Huffington Post until after the Democratic Convention. That piece was a hack piece, an attempt at gotcha politics that was transparent and pathetic. Its only purpose was to stir up hatred of Clinton and to try to dilute Obama's gaffe in San Francisco. It was an act of sheer desperation.

    seriously. who in their right mind who (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by kangeroo on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 04:12:40 PM EST
    is a democrat would refuse to take a picture with gavin newsom?  that's just one of a loooooong list of reasons i think obama is an independence party imposter leeching off of democratic party goodwill.

    oops, sorry--i just realized you (none / 0) (#39)
    by kangeroo on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 04:14:02 PM EST
    must be referring to clinggate.  the newsom thing has been bothering me for a while, though.

    Was the coverage on MTP (none / 0) (#34)
    by Iphie on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 12:22:39 PM EST
    about the original "Clinton Trashes Move-On" or was it about Paul Lukasiak's reporting on the questionable journalism of the original HuffPo post? With all of the rending of garments about the ABC debate, I keep wondering when HuffPo will start to receive scrutiny about their rabid Clinton coverage.

    hahahaha (none / 0) (#35)
    by blogtopus on Sun Apr 20, 2008 at 12:37:57 PM EST
    It's obviously a heavily edited piece of fiction. Those words were indeed spoken by Hillary... but unfortunately for Puffho(st) and Fremon, the only way they're going to have any significant impact is if they 1) Explain who Moveon.org IS to the PA voters and 2) Explain how Hillary is wrong.

    Both of those actions just put more focus on two things that Obama should not be mentioning: That he is the annointed one for the 'General Betray-us' gang at the far left of reason (as seen by midwest values voters), and that his campaign has a cloud of intimidation techniques following it like a dark cloud. He shouldn't want to bring those up, but if Fremon etc don't, then the 'quote' is an empty one.

    And the fact that Fremon refuses to have the whole quote? Well, I'm sure the person who released the Obama recording has likely been deduced by the folks with the Obama campaign; why won't the Fremon mole offer up enough recording to make their claim credible in context? Unless they believe that Hillary shot Vince Foster, they have more reason to be afraid of the Obama folks, who tend to bullying and character assassination.

    No biscuit for you Fremon. Thank you for playing.