I have never been a fan of Donna Brazile, seeing her as a career political hack who was comfortably well-ensconced in the Democratic neoliberal party establishment (as represented by the Democratic National Committee) and a spokesperson for those policies in the media. She was the very definition of a party apparatchik. Hence I was surprised at the furor that her book has generated and the way that the party establishment has turned against her.
To be quite honest, I am not going to read her book. These tell-all or tell-something-titillating books by political and media hacks have little appeal for me, consisting as they usually do of inside-baseball machinations and intrigue with some juicy bits of gossip thrown in to boost sales. They rarely provide any worthwhile insights or deep analyses.
So what to make of this loud controversy? Glenn Greenwald says that the way that the media has portrayed this dispute is telling because four of the main charges are false. He says that this episode is illustrative of how online journalism, with its heavy dependence on Twitter, can mislead to protect the party establishment and Hillary Clinton, by putting out a version of the story that undermines Brazile.
Viral Falsehood #1: The Clinton/DNC agreement cited by Brazile only applied to the general election, not the primary.
Viral Falsehood #2: Sanders signed the same agreement with the DNC that Clinton did.
Viral Falsehood #3: Brazile stupidly thought she could unilaterally remove Clinton as the nominee.
Viral Falsehood #4: Evidence has emerged proving that the content of WikiLeaks documents and emails was doctored.
Greenwald proceeds to document why each of those claims could have been easily seen to be false if the journalists had bothered with minimum due diligence instead of running off their mouths on Twitter. But that is the point, isn’t it? Get the false, self-serving story out quickly because that is what gets people’s attention. The later corrections will be seen by only a few. The goal of this attack swarm was to portray Brazile, “the chair of Al Gore’s 2000 campaign, last year’s interim head of the DNC, and a long-time Democratic Party operative — as a deluded, insane, dishonest, profiteering, ignorant fabulist who lacks all credibility.”
Just because Brazile was a long-standing faithful Democratic party hack does not mean that she should not be treated fairly just because she strays off script.
Once again, the lesson is clear: Treat initial reports of anything with a huge grain of salt unless they are supported by a heavy weight of documentary evidence.