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Westlake Legal Group > New York Times

The Future of BuzzFeed: Win or LOL?

Westlake Legal Group 31BUZZFEED-01-facebookJumbo The Future of BuzzFeed: Win or LOL? Venture Capital Smith, Ben E Peretti, Jonah H Newspapers News and News Media New York Times Lerer, Ben BuzzFeed Inc

On June 17, five months after BuzzFeed’s newsroom was devastated by layoffs, a large inflatable rat appeared on the doorstep of the company’s Manhattan headquarters.

Scores of staff members, including those at its offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, staged a walkout that day as part of an effort to force Jonah Peretti, the site’s founder and chief executive, to recognize a newly formed union. His position was well known at the time: collective bargaining was not a good idea for BuzzFeed.

His employees, known for generating infinitely shareable bits of digital culture (what color is this dress?), feared for the site’s future. The layoffs had claimed 15 percent of the staff, and an internal survey at the time revealed that only 56 percent of those still standing expected to be working at BuzzFeed in a year’s time.

On Tuesday, another bombshell: Ben Smith, the founding editor of BuzzFeed News, who expanded the editorial mission to include serious fare amid the meme-worthy material, announced that he would be leaving after eight years on the job to become the media columnist for The New York Times.

The news of his departure hit the staff at a time when BuzzFeed was on better financial footing than it was during the season of the rat. The site booked a profit for the second half of 2019, according to three people with knowledge of the business. They did not specify how large it was. For the year, the company generated around $320 million in revenue, or 6.6 percent above the previous year, the people said.

There’s an ironic twist to BuzzFeed’s newfound financial health: The closer the company gets to achieving a year’s worth of profit, the more its backers are likely to agitate for a return on their investments, either through a sale or a public offering.

Mr. Peretti acknowledged the possibility of a change in an interview on Thursday. “The most important thing is to do what’s right for the company,” he said. “And if being part of a larger company allowed us to grow our mission, I would be open to that.”

He also noted the recent “difficult period,” adding, “Our plan this year is for BuzzFeed as a whole to be profitable.”

The company’s financial boon underscores how BuzzFeed has changed from the internet laboratory Mr. Peretti hatched out of a small Chinatown office in 2006. The site once eschewed banner ads. Now it is filled with banner advertising and sells cookware at discount retailers.

“Our model evolved,” Mr. Peretti said.

An emphasis on native advertising — listicles and such sponsored by brands — eroded once Facebook opened its channels to companies, allowing them to post marketing messages on the site.

“We had to shift, and our team was able to adjust,” Mr. Peretti said.

BuzzFeed now has a growing commerce business that includes branded cookware at Walmart and an affiliate division that brings in money any time a reader buys something from an online store when coming from a link in a BuzzFeed article. Last year, those two businesses drove nearly $68 million in revenue, almost double that of the previous year, the people with knowledge of the company said.

Mr. Peretti thinks that model can be expanded. Readers, for example, who come across a story about a particular hotel might end up booking a stay there. BuzzFeed wants a commission for that transaction. He also has plans to create subscription revenue from events, what Mr. Peretti calls “paid social.”

Now that he has matured as an executive, Mr. Peretti, who in BuzzFeed’s early days seemed driven by a mad scientist’s interest in sussing out what people like to share online, has gotten more interested in translating his knowledge of digital culture into dollars.

At a company of roughly 1,100 people, the news division employs 200 journalists and costs about $18 million a year, according to two executives with knowledge of the company’s finances. Mr. Smith, who oversaw the layoff of dozens of journalists during what he described as “a tough week” last January, was given a mandate to find new ways to subsidize the newsroom, only to express frustration that BuzzFeed’s sales team rarely, if ever, sold ads against news articles, these people said. BuzzFeed News was eventually allotted two sales people of its own.

“I’ve been really pleased over the last year to see BuzzFeed investing in the business side of news,” Mr. Smith said in an interview.

Mr. Smith’s departure will not change the company’s identity, Mr. Peretti said.

“We want to do everything possible to continue Ben’s legacy,” he said. “We want to break news and be fearless and stand up to power to do all the things that define what BuzzFeed News is.”

The addition of a robust news division lent BuzzFeed prestige, but questions swirled around the effort as it got started in 2011, about five years after the site went live. Reporting is expensive, and investors questioned the cost. Other journalists were skeptical that a company known for memes could compete with established news organizations. But under Mr. Smith, BuzzFeed News was a two-time Pulitzer finalist and a winner of a National Magazine Award, a George Polk Prize and several other prizes.

Readers have sometimes confused the whimsical posts that BuzzFeed is known for with the news operation. BuzzFeed appeared to acknowledge the mixed brand message in 2018, when it moved the news articles to a new web address, BuzzFeedNews.com.

Despite questions from early BuzzFeed backers, Mr. Peretti saw the news division as vital. “There is a long tradition of media companies subsidizing or partially subsidizing news,” he said.

He said he sees the potential for its journalism to make enough money to pay for itself — though he didn’t specify how it could achieve that goal. “We want to operate as a whole in a responsible way that will allow it to grow,” Mr. Peretti said. “Sometimes to grow things you need to get costs in line and find operating efficiencies.”

A lot will depend, he said, on how Mr. Smith’s successor plans to manage the group.

Venture capitalists typically look for an exit at about the 10-year mark, when their funds usually close, and some early BuzzFeed investors have either passed that period or are hitting it this year. They can also get their money back by selling shares to another investor, known as a secondary offering. BuzzFeed’s current investors include the venture firms Andreessen Horowitz, Lerer Hippeau and NEA. NBCUniversal is also an investor.

But any sale or public offering would require Mr. Peretti’s endorsement. He has great influence over the board. The company’s recent growth, he said, “means we have the choice and freedom to stay independent. And we don’t need to raise more capital.”

BuzzFeed has so far raised $500 million at a valuation of $1.7 billion. Its investors are aware that, even as the company continues to grow, it is unlikely to attract buyout offers near that price, three people with knowledge of the matter said. They added that BuzzFeed could enhance its financial profile by merging with a competitor.

The picture they paint is one in which BuzzFeed combines with a business that would boost the total revenue to over $400 million, with about 15 or 20 percent of that accounting for profits before tax. The resulting company could then be more attractive to a big company, or make for a public offering.

In a 2018 interview with The Times, Mr. Peretti discussed the possibility of such deals. Last year, BuzzFeed was in talks with Group Nine, the publisher of sites like The Dodo and Now This, according to several people familiar with the matter. (Recode first reported on the discussions.) Complicating matters was that both businesses shared a board director, the venture capitalist Kenneth Lerer, who bowed out of discussions because of the conflict of interest. Around that time, he also stepped down as BuzzFeed’s chairman.

Group Nine is also helmed by Mr. Lerer’s son Benjamin Lerer, a friend of Mr. Peretti’s. The discussions about a deal went far enough that cost savings were analyzed. Group Nine and BuzzFeed have sizable video operations, and a tie-up would have meant cuts in that area, the people said.

Later in the summer, the talks ended, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions. One issue was who would manage the new business. Scenarios included either Mr. Lerer or Mr. Peretti as chief executive, with the other as chairman of the board. That question was never resolved.

“I’ve known Ben Lerer a long time,” Mr. Peretti said in the Thursday interview. “I had a conversation with him, and I’ve had conversations with C.E.O.s of a lot of other companies, and I think there’s value to being in the mix and talking to people and being open for the right deal at the right time.”

Mr. Lerer said the timing of the talks was not right, adding, “or else we would have done something.” Last year, Group Nine acquired PopSugar, a digital publisher focused on millennial women. He left open the possibility that a BuzzFeed deal could still take place. “I have immense respect for Jonah, and I will always have an open dialogue with him and others,” Mr. Lerer said.

A month after the June walkout, BuzzFeed recognized the union, the News Guild of New York, which also represents Times employees. Mr. Smith was charged with handling the matter from the management side, and he was keen to come to an agreement with the staff.

He was also growing restless. In the past few months, he wrote more than a dozen articles, a change from the recent past, when his byline appeared a few times a year. In November he wrote a column analyzing the succession planning at The Times. Dean Baquet, the executive editor, will retire in a few years, and Mr. Smith offered a lengthy exegesis on who might succeed him.

In December, at the Lambs Club, a restaurant on West 44th Street, Mr. Smith met with Mr. Baquet and Sam Dolnick, an assistant managing editor of The Times and a member of the Ochs-Sulzberger family that controls the paper. They discussed the media-columnist job over lunch.

“I thought, ‘Wow that would be a lot of fun,’” Mr. Smith said. “I had been eager to get back to reporting for a while. This made sense.”

Mr. Smith, who starts March 2, won’t be a part of The Times union.

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Justice Dept. Investigating Years-Old Leaks and Appears Focused on Comey

Westlake Legal Group 07dc-comey-facebookJumbo Justice Dept. Investigating Years-Old Leaks and Appears Focused on Comey Washington Post United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Russia Presidential Election of 2016 Newspapers News and News Media New York Times Netherlands Liu, Jessie Kong Justice Department Federal Bureau of Investigation Espionage and Intelligence Services Comey, James B Classified Information and State Secrets

WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors in Washington are investigating a years-old leak of classified information about a Russian intelligence document, and they appear to be focusing on whether the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey illegally provided details to reporters, according to people familiar with the inquiry.

The case is the second time the Justice Department has investigated leaks potentially involving Mr. Comey, a frequent target of President Trump, who has repeatedly called him a “leaker.” Mr. Trump recently suggested without evidence that Mr. Comey should be prosecuted for “unlawful conduct” and spend years in prison.

The timing of the investigation could raise questions about whether it was motivated at least in part by politics. Prosecutors and F.B.I. agents typically investigate leaks of classified information around the time they appear in the news media, not years later. And the inquiry is the latest politically sensitive matter undertaken by the United States attorney’s office in Washington, which is also conducting an investigation of Mr. Comey’s former deputy, Andrew G. McCabe, that has been plagued by problems.

Law enforcement officials are scrutinizing at least two news articles about the F.B.I. and Mr. Comey, published in The New York Times and The Washington Post in 2017, that mentioned the Russian government document, according to the people familiar with the investigation. Hackers working for Dutch intelligence officials obtained the document and provided it to the F.B.I., and both its existence and the collection of it were highly classified secrets, the people said.

The document played a key role in Mr. Comey’s decision to sideline the Justice Department and announce in July 2016 that the F.B.I. would not recommend that Hillary Clinton face charges in her use of a private email server to conduct government business while secretary of state.

The investigation into the leaks began in recent months, the people said, but it is not clear whether prosecutors have impaneled a grand jury or how many witnesses they have interviewed. What prompted the inquiry is also unclear, but the Russian document was mentioned in a book published last fall, “Deep State: Trump, the F.B.I., and the Rule of Law” by James B. Stewart, a Times reporter.

A lawyer for Mr. Comey declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for the United States attorney’s office in Washington.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly pressured the Justice Department to investigate his perceived enemies. In 2018, he told the White House counsel at the time, Donald F. McGahn II, to prosecute Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Comey. Mr. McGahn refused, telling the president that he did not have the authority to order investigations and that doing so could prompt abuse-of-power accusations. Mr. Trump had also discussed the appointment of a second special counsel to conduct the investigations he sought.

Previously, federal prosecutors in New York scrutinized Mr. Comey after his personal lawyer and friend, Daniel C. Richman, provided the contents of a memo about Mr. Comey’s interactions with Mr. Trump to a Times reporter at Mr. Comey’s request. Though officials retroactively determined that the memo contained classified information, prosecutors declined to charge Mr. Comey with illegally disclosing the material. The Justice Department’s inspector general, who had examined Mr. Comey’s conduct and referred his findings to prosecutors in New York, concluded that Mr. Comey violated F.B.I. policy.

The latest investigation involves material that Dutch intelligence operatives siphoned off Russian computers and provided to the United States government. The information included a Russian analysis of what appeared to be an email exchange during the 2016 presidential campaign between Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida who was also the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee at the time, and Leonard Benardo, an official with the Open Society Foundations, a democracy-promoting organization whose founder, George Soros, has long been a target of the far right.

In the email, Ms. Wasserman Schultz suggested that then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch would make sure that Mrs. Clinton would not be prosecuted in the email case. Both Ms. Wasserman Schultz and Mr. Benardo have denied being in contact, suggesting the document was meant to be Russian disinformation.

That document was one of the key factors that drove Mr. Comey to hold a news conference in July 2016 announcing that investigators would recommend no charges against Mrs. Clinton. Typically, senior Justice Department officials would decide how to proceed in such a high-profile case, but Mr. Comey was concerned that if Ms. Lynch played a central role in deciding whether to charge Mrs. Clinton, Russia could leak the email.

Whether the document was fake remains an open question. But American officials at the time did not believe that Ms. Lynch would hinder the Clinton email investigation, and neither Ms. Wasserman Schultz nor Mr. Benardo had any inside information about it. Still, if the Russians had released the information after the inquiry was closed, it could have tainted the outcome, hurt public confidence in the Justice Department and sowed discord.

Prosecutors are also looking at whether Mr. Richman might have played a role in providing the information to reporters about the Russia document and how it figured into Mr. Comey’s rationale about the news conference, according to the people familiar with the investigation. Mr. Comey hired Mr. Richman at one point to consult for the F.B.I. about encryption and other complex legal issues, and investigators have expressed interest in how he operated.

Mr. Richman was quoted in the April 2017 article in The Times that revealed the document’s existence. A month later, The Post named Ms. Wasserman Schultz and Mr. Benardo as subjects of the document in a detailed article. A lawyer for Mr. Richman declined to comment.

Typically, prosecutors would decline to open investigations into older leaks of classified information because the passage of time makes such cases much harder to pursue as the memories of witnesses fade. Also, the initial leaks can generate more leaks as more officials feel comfortable discussing the information with journalists because it has become public.

Multiple news stories about the classified disclosures also make it harder to determine whether one person was speaking to reporters or several people, according to former law enforcement officials. And the larger the universe of government officials who have been briefed on classified information, the more difficult it is to find the leaker, former officials said. In this case, lawmakers were briefed on the Russian document in addition to executive branch officials.

In inquiries where investigators determine that a leak is coming from members of Congress or their staff, political sensitivities make those cases difficult to investigate. Most of the time, former officials said, such inquiries are dead on arrival.

Additionally, investigators could also decline to open an investigation into an older leak because it might further harm national security if the information once again made headlines, as in this inquiry.

“Leak cases are incredibly difficult to prosecute,” said Brian J. Fleming, a former lawyer with the Justice Department who worked on many such cases in his work on national security issues. “They are very challenging to present to a jury both as an evidentiary matter and in terms of presenting a compelling, coherent narrative. That is a big reason so few leak cases get charged and even fewer ever go to trial.”

Still, if a government agency is determined to hunt down the source of a leak, as the C.I.A. was in the case of Jeffrey A. Sterling, a former C.I.A. officer who was convicted of leaking details about an anti-Iran operation to a Times reporter, Justice Department officials generally will pursue the case aggressively.

Federal prosecutors in the District of Columbia have embraced politically fraught cases under the United States attorney, Jessie K. Liu, an ambitious prosecutor who has angled for bigger jobs in the Trump administration.

She aggressively pushed for the prosecution of Mr. McCabe on suspicion of lying to investigators about sensitive law enforcement information provided to a reporter. Mr. McCabe was accused of misleading investigators conducting an administrative review, not a criminal inquiry; typically, such cases are not referred for prosecution.

The relatively straightforward case against Mr. McCabe has dragged on for more than 20 months. Prosecutors have refused to tell Mr. McCabe’s lawyers whether they intend to bring charges.

Ms. Liu’s office also charged Gregory B. Craig, a onetime White House counsel in the Obama administration, after prosecutors in New York passed on the case. Mr. Craig was charged with lying to the F.B.I. about his work for the Ukrainian government, but a jury last year quickly acquitted him, handing Ms. Liu an embarrassing defeat.

Mr. Trump nominated Ms. Liu last month to be the Treasury Department’s under secretary for terrorism and financial crimes. He had previously tapped her to be the No. 3 spot in the Justice Department, but she withdrew from consideration after Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, raised concerns about her conservative credentials.

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What the Year in Business News Looked Like

Not all business news happens in the boardroom.

Over the last year, photographers at The New York Times have chased business stories across the world, from oil fields to garbage dumps, from Silicon Valley to Kazakhstan. They have captured the struggles of electric rickshaw drivers in India, ventured into China’s national meat reserve and documented the flooding in the Mississippi Delta.

Here are our picks for the best photographs and graphic illustrations that we produced in 2019.

Image<img alt="

Workers spooling undersea cable in cavernous tanks aboard the Durable, a 456-foot ship carrying 4,000 miles of the cable to lay down a new Google link between the United States and Chile.

Related article: “How the Internet Travels Across Oceans”

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Workers spooling undersea cable in cavernous tanks aboard the Durable, a 456-foot ship carrying 4,000 miles of the cable to lay down a new Google link between the United States and Chile.

Related article: “How the Internet Travels Across Oceans”

Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

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NBC: Say, guess who “advised” a Romanian suspect while Biden demanded a crackdown on corruption?

Westlake Legal Group abc-hunter-biden NBC: Say, guess who “advised” a Romanian suspect while Biden demanded a crackdown on corruption? The Blog Rudy Giuliani Romania New York Times NBC News Louis Freeh Joe Biden hunter biden Gabriel Popoviciu corruption

Stop us if you’ve heard this before, although perhaps not from NBC News. The Obama administration sends Joe Biden to a foreign country to press for corruption reform and prosecution. One of the obvious targets for that reform then hires an American lawyer to “advise” on his operations, and the lawyer just so happens to have the same last name as the Vice President.

Total coinky-dink, right? Gotta be a coinky-dink, although three times looks a little more like a pattern (via Jeff Dunetz)

The businessman was Gabriel “Puiu” Popoviciu, a wealthy Romanian real estate tycoon. The lawyer brought in to advise him was Hunter Biden, the son of then-Vice President Joe Biden, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Hunter Biden’s work for Popoviciu in 2016 went unreported at the time, but Joe Biden’s involvement in Romania was very much public. The vice president was among the leading voices pushing the government to crack down on corruption. …

“We don’t know what [Hunter Biden] was paid or what he was paid for but it does raise questions of whether this Romanian individual facing criminal charges was actually paying for a connection to the American vice president,” said Kathleen Clark, a Washington University law professor who specializes in government ethics.

It’s not the first time this has gotten flagged, as Jeff notes in his analysis. The New York Times, in a May 2019 report about criticism over Donald Trump’s demands to have the Bidens investigated, mentioned this Hunter Biden relationship briefly, albeit somewhat buried:

During his father’s second term as vice president, Hunter Biden increased his international business efforts, including with individuals and entities viewed warily by the United States government and its allies.

In addition to his work in Ukraine for the energy company Burisma, Hunter Biden advised a Romanian businessman with ties to the United States, Gabriel Popoviciu, whose real estate dealings had come under investigation, according to people familiar with the arrangement, which has not been previously reported. The investigation, which came as the United States and its allies were pushing Romania to clamp down on corruption, led to Mr. Popoviciu’s conviction and a prison sentence.

Why did this not get much attention in the latest round of questions about influence-peddling among the Bidens? The NBC News report hints at one potential explanation. As it turns out, there were more than one now-famous lawyer working for Popoviciu. During his legal woes, the Romanian mogul hired former FBI director Louis Freeh to do some actual legal work, and Freeh has continued with the case ever since, even after Popoviciu briefly absconded and was captured in London.

But guess who Freeh brought on as a consultant? Gulp:

Freeh continued working on behalf of Popoviciu. Last year, he tapped Giuliani, his longtime friend, to assist in his Romanian work.

Giuliani’s hiring created what appears in hindsight a strange-bedfellows arrangement. Giuliani, who has been the loudest critic of Hunter Biden’s work in the Ukraine, was working on the same side as the younger Biden in Romania.

In August 2018, Giuliani wrote a letter to Romania’s president and prime minister criticizing the country’s recent efforts to rein in corruption as overly aggressive. Giuliani’s position contradicted the U.S. stance on anti-corruption efforts in Romania.

At one point, Giuliani briefly threatened to spill the beans about Hunter Biden’s work in Romania too, but apparently thought better of it. As Popoviciu’s counsel, such a disclosure would likely be seen as a violation of attorney-client privilege unless Popoviciu explicitly waived it. NBC notes that Giuliani later backed down from his threat, saying that he only had heard “rumors” of what Biden did in Romania — and hasn’t had much to say about it since, at least not openly and on the record.

One has to wonder whether Giuliani wasn’t directly or indirectly the source for NBC on this story, but if so, he’s playing with fire. There is plenty of potential for backfire on Giuliani and Trump, especially with Giuliani’s attempted intervention there just before or at the same time as he was ramping up his focus on Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine. Still, Giuliani isn’t Trump’s son and has long had his own practice separate from the Trumps. He didn’t get hired directly by Popoviciu either, but by Louis Freeh.

In contrast, Hunter Biden got hired by Popoviciu while his dad was VP and intervening in Romania where Hunter developed a financial interest. That sure sounds a lot like what happened in Ukraine, and similar to what happened with Hunter’s investment career in China, too.

The post NBC: Say, guess who “advised” a Romanian suspect while Biden demanded a crackdown on corruption? appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group abc-hunter-biden-300x161 NBC: Say, guess who “advised” a Romanian suspect while Biden demanded a crackdown on corruption? The Blog Rudy Giuliani Romania New York Times NBC News Louis Freeh Joe Biden hunter biden Gabriel Popoviciu corruption   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Cancels Subscriptions to The New York Times and The Washington Post

Westlake Legal Group 24TRUMPSUBSCRIPTIONS-01-facebookJumbo Trump Cancels Subscriptions to The New York Times and The Washington Post Washington Post United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Newspapers News and News Media New York Times Freedom of the Press

President Trump has called members of the press “enemies of the people,” deemed critical coverage “fake,” accused news organizations of treason and threatened to make it easier to sue journalists for libel.

But not until this week had Mr. Trump turned to the ultimate recourse of the unhappy reader: He canceled his subscription.

Officials in the West Wing on Thursday announced that copies of The Washington Post and The New York Times would no longer be delivered to the White House. The administration is moving to force other federal agencies to end their subscriptions to the papers, as well.

“Not renewing subscriptions across all federal agencies will be a significant cost saving — hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars will be saved,” the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement.

Representatives for The Post and The Times declined to comment.

The White House remains a significant customer of print journalism: Copies of The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Financial Times and other publications are delivered to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue every morning, along with Mr. Trump’s preferred first read, The New York Post.

And the president remains a rabid absorber of the wider media landscape, frequently commenting on what he sees on cable news and sending handwritten notes to journalists, often scrawled on printouts of their articles.

Mr. Trump previewed his cancellation plans during an interview on Monday on Fox News, during which he called The Times “a fake newspaper” and told Sean Hannity that “we don’t even want it in the White House anymore.”

“We’re going to probably terminate that and The Washington Post,” Mr. Trump said in the interview. “They’re fake.”

Jonathan Karl, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said on Thursday, “I have no doubt the hardworking reporters of The New York Times and Washington Post will continue to do quality journalism, regardless of whether the president acknowledges he reads them. Pretending to ignore the work of a free press won’t make the news go away or stop reporters from informing the public and holding those in power accountable.”

There is some precedent for a presidential cancellation.

In 1962, John F. Kennedy, apparently fed up with the coverage of The New York Herald Tribune, decreed that copies of that newspaper would no longer be delivered to the White House. His press secretary, Pierre Salinger, after initially ignoring the president’s repeated requests to cancel the paper, eventually acquiesced and announced that Kennedy would instead read The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The move was met with mockery. A New Jersey lawmaker ordered a year’s gift subscription to The Herald Tribune sent to Kennedy. On the floor of Congress, Representative Steven Derounian, Republican of New York, called the decision “childlike.”

“If all members of Congress followed the president’s lead, we would find that we were reading no newspapers at all,” Mr. Derounian said, according to an account in The Congressional Record. “It might be well to remind President Kennedy that on Jan. 20, 1961, he was inaugurated as president, not coronated as king.”

Kennedy, it turned out, could not get along without his daily copy of The Herald Tribune. In his memoir, Mr. Salinger wrote that the staff was forced to “bootleg” copies of the paper to the president until it was formally allowed back in the White House.

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Caught: NY Times Conveniently Runs Interference for Hillary Clinton in Her Battle With Tulsi Gabbard

Westlake Legal Group hillary-clinton-pointing-harvard-620x317 Caught: NY Times Conveniently Runs Interference for Hillary Clinton in Her Battle With Tulsi Gabbard tulsi gabbard Social Media Politics NY Times North Carolina New York Times New York Media journalism Hillary Clinton Hawaii Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post elections democrats Culture Congress Campaigns Allow Media Exception 2020 Elections 2020

Hillary Clinton points to the audience as she is introduced at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Friday, May 25, 2018. Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute honored Clinton with the 2018 Radcliffe Medal. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Last week, Bonchie wrote about about how failed 2016 Democratic nominee for president Hillary Clinton told former Obama adviser David Plouffe in a podcast last week that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and 2016 Green party nominee Jill Stein were both “Russian assets.”

Prior to making that claim, Clinton also asserted that “I’m not making any predictions but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” which was a clear reference to Gabbard even though she did not mention the 2020 presidential candidate by name during the podcast.

It was widely reported Friday morning by multiple journalists on Twitter, including the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake, that the “they” Hillary referred to were the Russians. Here’s what Blake and others tweeted:

Clinton’s spokesman Nick Merrill was even asked about her comments to confirm it was Gabbard who she was referring to. He did:

In addition to an opinion piece on Hillary vs. Tulsi, the New York Times also published a straight news (heh) report about Clinton’s remarks and initially reported that Hillary was referring to the Russians as being the ones who were “grooming” Gabbard to be a third party candidate.

But sometime between last Friday and Tuesday, they changed their story, and now report it was “Republicans” Hillary meant, not the Russians. How do we know this? Through Merrill, in a series of tweets, the first two of which note the so-called error and correction:

Because I don’t trust anything that comes from Merrill or anyone else on Team Clinton, I searched for a transcript so I could read what she said in context. Politifact, thankfully, had it:

Plouffe: “But one of the reasons [Trump] was able to win is the third party vote.”

Clinton: “Right.”

Plouffe: “And what’s clear to me, you mentioned, you know, he’s going to just lie. … He’s going to say, whoever our nominee is, ‘will ban hamburgers and steaks and you can’t fly and infanticide’ and people believe this. So, how concerned are you about that? For me, so much of this does come down to the win number. If he has to get 49 or even 49.5 in a bunch of…”

Clinton: “He can’t do that.”

Plouffe: “…which I don’t think he can… So he’s going to try and drive the people not to vote for him but just to say, ‘you know, you can’t vote for them either.’ And that seems to be, I think, to the extent that I can define a strategy, their key strategy right now.”

Clinton: “Well, I think there’s going to be two parts and I think it’s going to be the same as 2016: ‘Don’t vote for the other guy. You don’t like me? Don’t vote for the other guy because the other guy is going to do X, Y and Z or the other guy did such terrible things and I’m going to show you in these, you know, flashing videos that appear and then disappear and they’re on the dark web, and nobody can find them, but you’re going to see them and you’re going to see that person doing these horrible things.’”

“They’re also going to do third party again. And I’m not making any predictions but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far, and that’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up. Which she might not, ’cause she’s also a Russian asset.”

Plouffe: (Inaudible)

Clinton: “Yeah, she’s a Russian asset, I mean, totally.

“And so, they know they can’t win without a third party candidate and, so, I don’t know who it’s going to be it but I will guarantee you they’ll have a vigorous third party challenge in the key states that they most need it.”

Understandably, it’s hard to tell whether Hillary is talking about Trump and Republicans or the Russians when she refers to “they” because she uses the terms interchangeably often, but it simply does not make sense that Merrill confirmed Friday she was talking about Russians grooming Gabbard but then rushed to Twitter a few days later to correct the record.

In fact, the “correction” is just a little too convenient for my liking. It’s almost as though it was a coordinated effort. Considering how closely the Clinton camp monitors the media, it is not outside the realm of possibility at all that they pitched a fit to the NYT to the point the paper changed it on their behalf.

Just for purposes of discussion, let’s say Hillary Clinton really was referring to Republicans as “grooming” Gabbard.

1) It’s still highly insulting to Gabbard. Even though she doesn’t view Republicans as the enemy, she’s also a proud Democrat and by suggesting Republicans were “grooming” her to be a third party candidate means Clinton thinks Gabbard, who served her country in Iraq, would sell out her party and what she stands for in order to give Trump the advantage in the general election.

2) Plus, Clinton, who is delusional enough to think Trump and Republicans colluded with the Russians in 2016, thinks they are still “working together” now to “steal” 2020. So by saying Republicans are “grooming” Gabbard, she’s saying Gabbard is working with people who allegedly are getting assistance from a foreign country to “steal” our elections.

The “correction” the paper made does not change the despicable nature of what she said.

3) Hillary Clinton unquestionably called Gabbbard a “Russian asset.” That’s just as disgusting.

The bottom line is that Democrats including Hillary Clinton have banged the “Russia” drum since 2016. The only difference now is that she’s implicating members of her own party in some supposed new Republican scheme to steal 2020.

Someone needs to stage an intervention with her. Seriously. This is just nuts.

— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 16+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

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AP: Ukraine’s president knew as early as May that Trump was interested in the Biden probe

Westlake Legal Group z AP: Ukraine’s president knew as early as May that Trump was interested in the Biden probe zelensky Ukraine The Blog quid pro quo New York Times giuliani Burisma biden ap

One of the chief arguments in Trump’s defense on the Ukraine matter was that the Ukrainians might not have even understood that there was a quid pro quo involving the military aid with Ukraine. And if one of the parties to a quid pro quo doesn’t know they’re a party to it, then how the hell can a quid pro quo be said to exist? If Zelensky knows he’s getting aid and then Trump says, “We’d like you to investigate Biden,” and Zelensky says, “Sure,” and only later does he figure out that the aid is held up, well, then, his willingness to open the Biden probe can’t be linked to the aid. After all, he didn’t realize until after the fact that the aid was contingent upon him opening the probe! Trump himself has made this point as recently as this morning:

I’ve never understood the argument about why the timing of the aid is important, though, I confess. Obviously Zelensky realized at some point that the aid had been held up, and he had every reason to deduce from his dealings with Trump, Giuliani, Sondland, Mulvaney, etc, that his lack of concrete action on the “corruption” investigations that the president was interested might be the cause. Whether or not he knew that Trump wanted a quid pro quo at the time of their July 25th phone call, he surely grew suspicious later, once the aid was delayed. But ultimately, what Zelensky knew or wanted is secondary to the impeachment inquiry. The question is what Trump intended, and when. If Zelensky didn’t realize until later that the aid had been held up, so what? What Congress needs to know is why Trump held up the aid. If he was trying to arrange a quid pro quo and Zelensky was a little slow in grasping the arrangement, that doesn’t refute the charge that he was abusing his power.

But the media is engaged with Trump’s argument and is sniffing around today in light of his tweet, trying to pin down when exactly the Ukrainians figured out that the aid they were expecting had been blocked. The NYT published a scoop a few hours ago: According to sources, they had reason to believe there was a mysterious delay as far back as the first week of August, just a week or two after Trump and Zelensky had their famous phone call.

The problem was not a bureaucratic glitch, the Ukrainians were told then. To address it, they were advised, they should reach out to Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, according to the interviews and records…

[T]t means that the Ukrainian government was aware of the freeze during most of the period in August when Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, and two American diplomats were pressing President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to make a public commitment to the investigations being sought by Mr. Trump.

The communications did not explicitly link the assistance freeze to the push by Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani for the investigations. But in the communications, officials from the United States and Ukraine discuss the need to bring in the same senior aide to Mr. Zelensky who had been dealing with Mr. Giuliani about Mr. Trump’s demands for the investigations, signaling a possible link between the matters.

“Ukrainian officials had grown suspicious that the assistance was in jeopardy because formal talks with the Pentagon on its release had concluded by June without any apparent problem,” the Times went on to say. So: In June they think they’re getting the money; in July Trump mentions to Zelensky on the call that he’s interested in CrowdStrike and Burisma; and within two weeks the aid has been frozen for reasons no one can or will explain to them except Mick Mulvaney, who told reporters last week that Trump had specifically mentioned the DNC server to him as part of the reason the money was being withheld. If — if — Zelensky hadn’t already realized a quid pro quo was on the table when he and Trump spoke, he likely figured it out pretty soon afterward as Sondland was pressing him about issuing a statement about reopening the Burisma probe.

The Associated Press has its own scoop today, though, which pushes the timeline back much further:

Volodymyr Zelenskiy gathered a small group of advisers on May 7 in Kyiv for a meeting that was supposed to be about his nation’s energy needs. Instead, the group spent most of the three-hour discussion talking about how to navigate the insistence from Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, for a probe and how to avoid becoming entangled in the American elections, according to three people familiar with the details of the meeting…

The three people’s recollections differ on whether Zelenskiy specifically cited that first call with Trump [on April 21] as the source of his unease. But their accounts all show the Ukrainian president-elect was wary of Trump’s push for an investigation into the former vice president and his son Hunter’s business dealings.

Either way, the newly elected leader of a country wedged between Russia and the U.S.-aligned NATO democracies knew early on that vital military support might depend on whether he was willing to choose a side in an American political tussle.

That makes sense. Rudy Giuliani was speaking openly to American media about Trump’s interest in Ukraine’s Biden and DNC investigations by early May; the Times’s much-cited interview with him on the topic was published on May 9. Presumably Rudy and/or Trump were already in contact with Zelensky’s team by that point to impress upon them the importance of reopening the probes, and so it stands to reason that the Ukrainians would have realized that cooperation on Burisma and the DNC might be “helpful” in securing the military aid they were expecting as it made its way through the U.S. bureaucracy. With all of that as background, it becomes very hard to believe that Zelensky didn’t know or strongly suspect at the time of his July 25th phone call with Trump that the president thought the two had an understanding. Imagine Zelensky’s surprise when the aid was mysteriously delayed afterwards anyway, apparently because the Ukrainian was reluctant to issue a public statement that he was reopening the Burisma and DNC matters. In the end, it seems, Trump wanted more than an empty promise on a phone call that the probes would resume. He wanted Zelensky locked in, on the record, that they were happening.

Which itself is interesting. If Trump is telling the truth when he says that he’s only ever been interested in “fighting corruption” here, why was the White House apparently so insistent on Zelensky issuing a statement that he was reopening the probes? Why not just let him quietly investigate and then announce his findings in due time? The White House’s interest in a public declaration from Ukraine was so great that Sondland and Kurt Volker took to preparing a written statement for Zelensky involving Burisma and the DNC which they hoped/expected the Ukrainian would deliver. That doesn’t make sense from the standpoint of “fighting corruption,” which would be in America’s national interest. It does make sense from the standpoint of Trump wanting to wound a political rival by having Zelensky alert Americans to the fact that the Bidens were in trouble in Ukraine, which would be in Trump’s personal electoral interest. And ultimately that’s what the quid pro quo inquiry is all about: If, as it appears, military aid was held up to extract something from Ukraine, was it a legit demand made on behalf of the American public or was it an illicit one made on behalf of Trump personally? The emphasis on Zelensky issuing a formal statements seems to answer it.

Either way, if the AP story is correct, Ukraine was worried about its military aid being linked to the Biden and DNC probes in some sort of quid pro quo as far back as May. The “transcript” of Trump’s call with Zelensky on July 25th can only be understood in that context.

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Hillary telling friends: If I thought there was an opening in the primary, I’d consider jumping in

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A tantalizing detail from this NYT piece about establishment Dems wringing their hands over the primary. If you’re a Wall Street liberal, you’re in a bad place nowadays. After all, the Republican nominee is very much anti-liberal and two of the top three candidates on the Democratic side are very much anti-Wall Street. And even if those two can be pacified, it’s very much in doubt whether they can beat Trump head to head. Your only hope is smilin’ Joe Biden, who has yet to impress anyone on the trail or at the debates in six months of trying and who may not have the money to win a hard-fought race. He has less than half the cash on hand that some of his rivals do, notes the Times. And since he’s dependent on rich donors, he’s already maxed out much of his potential source of revenue.

That is to say (and as others have already noted this morning), this story about rich Dems asking each other “Is there anybody else?’” is really a story about them asking each other “Is there anybody else besides Biden who can get in, hold off Warren and Sanders, and beat Trump — and not end up confiscating half our wealth to fund their new programs when they do?” Klobuchar and Buttigieg have been plugging away, offering themselves as a potential cure for Biden anxiety to moderate Democratic voters, but it just isn’t happening for. (Except maybe in Iowa?) Who can save Wall Street liberals from their terrible predicament?

There may be … one person.

Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Bloomberg have both told people privately in recent weeks that if they thought they could win, they would consider entering the primary — but that they were skeptical there would be an opening, according to Democrats who have spoken with them…

The chances that another major contender decides to run are remote: While Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Bloomberg have both been encouraged to enter the race, Democrats close to them believe the only scenario under which they’d consider running is if Mr. Biden drops out or is badly weakened

Democrats who have recently spoken with Mrs. Clinton say she shares the same concerns other party elites have about the field — worried about Mr. Biden’s durability, Ms. Warren’s liberal politics and unsure of who else can emerge to take on Mr. Trump. But these people, who spoke anonymously to discuss private conversations, say she enjoys the freedom that comes with not being on the ballot.

She’s not the only Democrat who’s reportedly watching Biden wobble and worrying that something must be done. There’s Bloomberg, who’s several months older than Biden; there’s another former presidential loser, John Kerry; there’s even Eric Holder, who seems convinced that there’s some sort of constituency out there for him for reasons that completely escape me. Not coincidentally, these are all people linked to the neoliberal wing of the party. Progressives seem perfectly happy with their choices thanks to the one-two punch of Warren and Sanders:

It’s the bad luck of centrists that Biden has stayed aloft in the polls to date but without gaining the sort of altitude that would inspire confidence in his ability to put Warren away. Either a very good or a very bad showing by Grandpa Joe would have been tolerable to the party’s Hillary wing. If he had gotten in and quickly began to sink, that’s fine. Plenty of time for a Bloomberg-type to jump in and fill the vacuum. If instead he had gotten in and begun to soar in the polls, putting, say, 20 points between him and the progressives, that would be fine too. Obviously a candidate in that position is a strong favorite to win. But to get in, limp along through multiple debates, and enter the fall basically tied with Warren and only 10 points or so ahead of Sanders leaves moderate Dems paralyzed. If they try to push a big-name neoliberal into the race now, won’t that help Warren by splitting the moderate vote? But if they don’t push someone into the race, Biden might falter and Warren or Bernie might win the race in a walkover next spring.

Let me ask this, though: If Hillary Clinton is the answer, what’s the question? Nate Silver wonders that too.

There’s no reason to think Clinton would do any better head to head against Trump than one of the progressive candidates would. In fact, I’d guess that her favorable rating nationally and even within the party is much worse than Warren’s or Bernie’s is. I don’t think she’d neatly fill the vacuum left by Biden either. Hillary has more diehard fans than Biden does so there’d be *some* insta-support for her, but she’s literally the one person in America who’s a proven failure at performing the core duty of this year’s nominee, which is, purely and simply, defeating Donald Trump. She’s Biden except with less of an electability argument. Progressives hate her already and would hate her even more for jumping in to try their thwart their Warren/Sanders bid for presidential power once again. Neoliberals may sympathize with her over 2016 but would also naturally look for an alternative, someone like Klobuchar with one one-thousandth as much baggage.

Her terrible political instincts haven’t gotten better over time either. If it’s true that Hillary is mulling a candidacy, even as just an emergency thing in case something happens to Biden, why would she do something as reckless as accuse Tulsi Gabbard of being a Russian asset? Nominating Hillary again would make Democratic party unity in 2020 nearly impossible even under the best circumstances but smearing a progressive candidate as some sort of Russian operative makes it that much harder. That’s piss-poor politics for someone who’s entertaining even the smallest chance of running herself and poor politics even if she isn’t considering running. After all, as I said last night, attacking Gabbard will only serve to raise Tulsi’s profile in the primary and give lefties new reason to disdain the neoliberal wing of the party.

All of which is to say that there’s no room for Hillary in the primary even if Biden quits tomorrow. Moderate Dems are right to worry about a Warren or Sanders nomination; read this shrewd Sean Trende piece about how far-left candidates risk alienating the Democrats’ secret weapon in last year’s primaries, the well-heeled suburbanites who are pretty happy with their health insurance right now. But if Biden quit, they’d have a perfectly solid option in Klobuchar to rally around — or, if they’re willing to overlook the fact that she’s an awful retail politician, they could always give Kamala Harris a second look. The age of Hillary is done. Not even the coked-up writers of the “President Trump” reality show we now inhabit could invent a plot arc that restores her to political viability. I think.

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Poll of six key swing states: 53% oppose removing Trump over his handling of Ukraine

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Some of the best polling news Trump has received in awhile, and ironically it comes from his friends at the New York Times.

Compounding the irony, some of the worst polling news he’s received this year came last week from … Fox News. Impeachment makes for strange bedfellows.

Some polls, like Fox’s, will tell you that Americans support impeaching and removing the president on balance. That’s noteworthy but the leadership of both parties will pay closer attention to what swing states think for obvious reasons. The Times wanted to know how the Democrats’ impeachment push was doing in the six states most likely to decide the next election — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, North Carolina, and Arizona. They discovered that voters there do support the impeachment inquiry, by a 50/45 margin.

But when you ask how many are ready to take the fateful next step and remove Trump based on what’s currently known, a small but significant minority of seven percent switches sides. Impeachment/removal polls at just 43/53. Wha’ happened?

The Times’s Nate Cohn dug into the numbers to find out who those seven percent are.

This 7 percent slice of respondents tends to be younger — 33 percent are 18 to 34 — and nearly half are self-identified independents. They could prove tough for Democrats to convince: 51 percent say that the president’s conduct is typical of most politicians, perhaps suggesting that they hold a jaded view of politics that would tend to minimize the seriousness of the allegations against him.

I would not have guessed that some younger adults, a famously left-leaning group, would be more hesitant to remove Trump than others in the contingent that supports an impeachment inquiry. Another interesting bit of data from Cohn:

Westlake Legal Group t-18 Poll of six key swing states: 53% oppose removing Trump over his handling of Ukraine upshot Trump The Blog swing states removal poll pelosi New York Times impeachment cohn battleground Abuse of Power

That trend is also true among Democrats specifically, a group that otherwise favors impeachment and removal overwhelmingly. Among Dems overall, 83 percent want Trump out. But among Dems who are following the Ukraine story “not very closely,” 21 percent oppose impeachment.

Which way does all of that cut for Pelosi? Before you answer, read this NBC piece about how House Democrats are preparing to present their impeachment case to the public. The key words are “abuse of power.”

House Democrats are zeroing in on a framework for their impeachment case against President Donald Trump that will center on a simple “abuse of power” narrative involving the president’s actions regarding Ukraine, according to multiple people familiar with the deliberations…

[O]ne person familiar with the strategy said “abuse of power” when it comes to Ukraine is the “big point that Pelosi has been hammering home” and the umbrella under which “this all fits to connect it and help the public understand.”…

Pelosi is also considering a separate article on obstruction or contempt of Congress related to the administration’s blanket rejection of subpoena requests for documents and witnesses related to its inquiry into Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, according to multiple sources involved in the deliberations.

The Ukraine quid pro quo and the White House’s refusal to comply with Democratic demands for evidence will all go under the “abuse of power” heading. Looking again at Cohn’s data, though, I wonder if “abuse of power” might be especially unpersuasive to that stubborn seven percent that’s so jaded about politics that they’re inclined to see Trump’s behavior as business as usual in Washington. Seems to me that that group might logically demand something more — probable cause of an actual federal statutory crime, for instance, or strong evidence that Trump himself was sufficiently aware that the Ukraine business was shady that he took steps to conceal his motives — in order to distinguish what he did from normal Beltway scumbaggery. Think of all the ways the average politician abuses his power, man. Isn’t Pelosi abusing her power when she serves special interests and lobbyists instead of the public?

As others have noted, the sheer cynicism of a political culture capable of electing Trump as a sort of purgative might also be what rescues him from impeachment in the end.

In fact, peek into the crosstabs and you’ll find that a plurality of all Americans agrees that what Trump did was “typical” of politicians, not something extraordinary. How do you sell an “abuse of power” narrative in those circumstances?

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On the other hand, the fact that the people who are following the impeachment saga the least closely right now are also the people who are least likely to support it suggests that there may be room for Democrats to grow their support here. Cohn notes elsewhere that impeachment polling lately has been flat after an initial burst of enthusiasm when the first bombshells about Trump and Ukraine began being reported. But maybe that’s because the news itself has plateaued; right now there’s little to report apart from the secretive questioning of witnesses being conducted by Adam Schiff’s committee. That is, the “not following closely” group has had no compelling reason to start following the story closely over the last weeks. But obviously that will change once the articles of impeachment pass, and it will change in a big, big way once the trial of Donald J. Trump is being held on C-SPAN for hours each day in December. Many more Americans will soon be following the Ukraine matter more closely than they have been, whether they want to or not. What happens to the numbers on removal once they are?

You could turn that question around, though. Instead of assuming that following the story closely is leading people towards support for removing Trump, it may be that preexisting support for removing Trump is leading people to follow the story closely. If you’re a Trump fan, it stands to reason that you wouldn’t be eager to follow the Ukraine story closely to this point. If you’re already predisposed to ignore unflattering news about the president because you like him and think his enemies are out to get him, how likely is your opinion to change after an impeachment trial realistically? We may be looking at the same 43/53 swing-state split two months from now that we’re looking at today.

And look: For impeachment purposes, there’s arguably no difference between 53/43 in favor of removal and 43/53 against. Senate Republicans aren’t going to remove the president based on a margin as slim as that either way. The significance of Cohn’s results is that impeachment may not be much of a club for Democrats in next fall’s election either. At a minimum, what they want from this process is an effective talking point they can use to beat Trump at the polls. “Republicans in the Senate didn’t have the guts to oust the president, but the polls show that swing-state voters disagree with them and fully intend to correct that mistake in November.” Per the Times, swing-state voters do not disagree. If this really does settle as a 43/53 issue in places like Michigan, we may not hear the Democratic nominee hammering impeachment on the trail much next year. In which case, what will Dems have gained from this?

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8.3 Million Watched Ohio Democratic Debate on Television

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WESTERVILLE, Ohio — The Democratic debate stage is getting bigger, but television ratings are getting smaller.

The primary debate on Tuesday night in Ohio, co-sponsored by CNN and The New York Times, drew about 8.3 million live television viewers on CNN, Nielsen said on Wednesday. The event featured 12 candidates, up from the 10 who debated last month in Houston at an event seen by about 14 million people on ABC News and Univision.

Interest in the 2020 presidential race is clearly strong. The 8.3 million people who watched on Tuesday roughly equaled the number of viewers for a 2008 matchup between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, days before the so-called Super Tuesday primary night.

But the three-hour Ohio event — which featured a cavalcade of candidates attacking Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — did not perform much better than this year’s lowest-rated primary debate, a CNN forum in late July in Detroit with 8.2 million viewers.

Some viewers may be growing tired of watching an oversize Democratic field. A dozen candidates qualified for Tuesday’s debate, based on criteria set by Democratic officials, who are keen to avoid any suggestion of skewing their party’s presidential contest.

This was also the first debate to be held since the start of the fall TV season, when viewers flock to new episodes of their favorite shows. Over all, the Ohio debate — which was also competing with Game 4 of the National League Championship Series — was the third-most-viewed program on television on Tuesday, behind episodes of “N.C.I.S.” and “F.B.I.” on CBS.

Online viewership is not included in Nielsen numbers, and many people most likely watched via Facebook and other streaming venues. CNN said that at any given minute of Tuesday’s debate, an average of 450,000 people were watching on CNN.com or nytimes.com.

Held in a converted gymnasium at Otterbein University in Ohio, the event featured the most candidates ever assembled on a primary debate stage. Producers faced a difficult task in choreographing the stage, but for the most part, the night went smoothly.

The moderating team — Erin Burnett and Anderson Cooper, of CNN, and a television newcomer, Marc Lacey, the national editor of The Times — kept outbursts and interruptions to a minimum. The journalists also stepped back at times to allow the candidates to engage one another directly. Organizers granted 75 seconds for each candidate to respond to questions, up from 60 seconds for the last round of CNN debates.

Candidates were at their lecterns for the 8 p.m. start time, and the questions began immediately. It was a more restrained approach than CNN’s debates in Detroit, which featured a singing of the national anthem in prime time and a Hollywood-style introductory video that some mocked as hyperbolic.

This was also the year’s first Democratic debate to start with questions about President Trump and his behavior in the White House. Earlier debates began with a detailed policy discussion about health care.

The next Democratic debate, on Nov. 20 in Georgia, will be broadcast on MSNBC, with The Washington Post as a co-sponsor.

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