Posts Tagged ‘The New York Times’

New York Times

The New York Times har huvudrubriken ”Trump in Charge, Republicans Have Day of Reckoning” på sin framsida den 5 maj. Läs artiklarna ”Nominee-to-Be talks of First 100 Days” och ”Calls for Unity Clash With Deep Anxiety”.

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IMAGE | Även den som är ointresserad av amerikansk politik minns att president Bill Clinton hade en otrolig förmåga att bli förknippad med skandaler.

The Plain Dealer den 20 december 1998

Det räcker t.ex. att nämna Monica Lewinsky för att minnena skall komma tillbaka. I många av dessa skandaler var Hillary Clinton direkt eller indirekt involverad.

Frågan alla ställer sig är om dessa skandaler – många nu tjugo år gamla – kommer att påverka Hillary Clinton negativt i valrörelsen.

Hillary Clinton är idag en välkänd person som väljarna redan har bildat sig en uppfattning om. Just av den anledningen skall det mycket till för att man skall ändra uppfattning om henne baserat bara på gamla skandaler som ingen längre minns detaljerna kring.

Så det behövs nog nya skandaler – som förstärker eventuella negativa misstankar om henne – för att väljarna idag skall börja ifrågasätta henne för vad som hände under president Clintons tid.

Med tanke på att många har en positiv bild av henne som utrikesminister så kommer kanske inte ens nya skandaler hjälpa hennes politiska motståndare.

En som borde veta när det gäller skandaler och krishanering är Chris Lehane, politisk rådgivare för demokraterna, som bl.a. jobbat för president Clinton.

Adam Nagourney, The New York Times, kallade en gång Lehane för en “fervent advocate of the dark arts of politics: the cutthroat, destroy-your-enemies, do-what-it-takes-to win approach to political campaigns”.

Eric Benson, på New York, frågade Lehane om han tror att dessa gamla skandaler kan komma att påverka synen på Clinton.

Do you see Republican attacks as potentially backfiring?

I think that the fact that she’s embracing the idea of being the first woman to become president serves as both a sword and a shield. It’s a shield because if you get down to it some of the attacks really are misogynist, and it’s a sword because this becomes part of her vision.

But Hillary already ran to become the first woman president, and Barack Obama still beat her with his “same old politics” attacks.

First of all, I’m not sure, at least in the first part of her campaign in 2008, that she really embraced the historic nature of the candidacy. In fact, if you look back, there was a real effort to not highlight that. And obviously 2008 was still only eight years removed from the Clinton presidency. When you’re running in 2016, that offers a different historical perspective. I’m doing polling all the time on campaigns across the country, and if you ask people how they voted in the Clinton years, you get 65, 70 percent of the public that say they voted for Bill Clinton even though he never, obviously, got close to those numbers.

You advocated getting in front of scandals when you were an aide in the Clinton White House. Do you think Hillary should respond when people like Rand Paul and Reince Priebus dredge up Whitewater and the impeachment?

To use a boxing analogy, I think you can sidestep those punches. I just don’t think they really connect, because they were just so long ago and they’ve been regurgitated any number of times. You’re talking about stuff, in some cases, that goes back to the mid-1980s. I mean, there’s some not-­insignificant percent of the population that wasn’t even born then!

Läs mer: ”Yeah, I Wrote the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy Memo” av Chris Lehane, PoliticoMagazine.

Bild: The Plain Dealer den 20 december 1998.

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KAMPANJ | Vad kan en spin doctor lära av barockmålaren Caravaggio? Tydligen en hel del om man heter Kristina Schake och jobbar för Hillary Clinton.

Tempus 17-24 april 2015

Svenska tidskriften Tempus, som översätter artiklar från en rad olika utländska publikationer, publicerade i april en artikel om Schake.

Här är Amy Chozicks originaltext från The New York Times.

To get a brief reprieve from the pressures of working in the White House, Kristina Schake, a former aide to the first lady, Michelle Obama, took a class about her favorite painter, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

She noticed that the Italian painter often showed Christ with bare feet, portraying his subject as a common man.

It was a lesson that informed Ms. Schake’s job in the East Wing when, as Mrs. Obama’s communications chief, she encouraged the first lady to take an undercover shopping trip to a Target in suburban Alexandria, Va., to showcase her dance moves on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” and to make a cameo at the Oscars.


Mrs. Clinton […] has brought Ms. Schake, 45, to her 2016 communications team to try to tackle an issue that dogged the 2008 Clinton campaign.

Back then, Mrs. Clinton’s advisers argued she should emphasize strength and experience, rather than her softer side, a strategic decision that Ann Lewis, a senior adviser in that race, has called the “biggest missed opportunity” in the failed 2008 primary contest against Barack Obama.

Now, after two decades in the public eye, Mrs. Clinton must try to show voters a self-effacing, warm and funny side that her friends say reflects who she really is. In short, she must counteract an impression that she is just “likeable enough,” as Mr. Obama famously quipped in 2008.

As the campaign’s presumptive deputy communications director, Ms. Schake will be behind the effort to transport the Hillary Brand beyond paid campaign television ads, policy discussions and the requisite sit-down with a nightly news anchor.


The proliferation of new ways to reach voters through multiple devices means “it’s not the same formula in politics that it was even just four years ago or eight years ago,” said Stephanie Cutter, a Democratic strategist and a deputy campaign manager for the Obama reelection campaign. “It’s about understanding people who are just living their lives and figuring out ways to fit a candidate into that, rather than vice versa.”


It remains to be seen whether veteran Clinton aides will empower newcomers like Ms. Schake and whether Mrs. Clinton will be open to trying new things that could prove risky. Ms. Schake will work under her friend Jennifer Palmieri, a former White House communications director who also worked in the Clinton Administration. Other veteran Clinton aides, including Mandy Grunwald, will also advise, particularly about Mrs. Clinton’s backstory.

Tidskriftsomslag: Tempus, 17-24 april 2015.

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A. O. Scott skrev så här i The New York Times om Errol Morris och hans dokumentär om försvarsminister Donald Rumsfeld.

Clips from press briefings during the Iraq war illustrate his penchant for using semantics as a weapon, one he wields with undiminished glee against Mr. Morris. When the filmmaker presses him on the “torture memos” authorizing harsh treatment of suspected terrorists, Mr. Rumsfeld rephrases the question in such a way as to minimize any moral stigma and also any hint of his own responsibility. “Little different cast I just put on it than the one you did,” he says, breaking into a smile and raising a finger of triumph. “I’ll chalk that one up.”

And “The Unknown Known,” which draws its title from one of Mr. Rumsfeld’s most famous rhetorical flights, is very much a battle of wits and words. Yes, it is a probing and unsettling inquiry into the recent political and military history of the United States, but it is also a bracing and invigorating philosophical skirmish. The tension between those two registers — between hard facts about state violence and devilish abstractions about causes and consequences — is what gives the film some of its energy and suspense. It is clear enough that an ideological chasm separates the unseen interviewer from his crisply dressed subject, but the real drama between them arises from a clash of epistemologies.

While it is unlikely that Mr. Rumsfeld would describe himself as a postmodernist, he does seem to be invested in the obscurity of truth and the indeterminacy of meaning, and to believe that what we know is constructed by language rather than reflected in it. An important figure in a political faction famously committed to creating its own reality, he patiently explains the role that “imagination” plays in world affairs. Mr. Morris, an ardent old-school positivist, suggests the word “intelligence” as a substitute.

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FILM | I ”No” berättar regissören Pablo Larraín hur chilenska Mad Men hjälpte oppositionen vinna valet mot general Augusto Pinochet.

Mattias Oscarsson beskriver bakgrunden i en recension i Sydsvenskan:

1988 anordnades en folkomröstning i Chile där befolkningen fick rösta ”ja” eller ”nej” till diktatorn Augusto Pinochet, som hade tagit makten vid en blodig, USA-stödd, kupp 1973. Ganska storstilat för en diktator, kan man tycka – men valet var mest en formsak för att legitimera regimen, inte minst i omvärldens ögon. Att Pinochet skulle förlora fanns inte på kartan: landets ekonomi var urstark, hans anhängare i klar majoritet.

Också som en formsak, för att tillfredsställa världsopinionen, tilläts nej-sidan sända tv-reklam varje dag under en månad. Det var första gången som den mörbultade socialistiska oppositionen fick göra sin röst hörd och kunde ge sin bild av Pinochets skräckvälde. Vilken chans! Äntligen kunde de visa chilenarna dokumentära filmbilder på övergrepp och dödskjutningar. Bombardera tittarna med hårda fakta om hur många som hade dödats, fängslats, torterats och flytt ur landet.

”Det säljer inte” fnyser nej-sidans inhyrde reklamman René Saavedra (Gael García Bernal) i ”No”. Han tänker tvärtom: ge folket ett positivt budskap. Kräng demokratin som vore den Coca-Cola – med leenden, popmusik, dansande ungdomar, humor och en klatschig regnbåge som kampanjsymbol. Han får igenom sina förslag. Den buttre Pinochet har inte en chans mot glädjechocken.

Läs mer: “Try Freedom: Less Filling! Tastes Great!” av Manohla Dargis i The New York Times.

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LEDARSKAP | President Abraham Lincolns syn på demokratiska val påverkades av hans ledarskapsstil. Men vad för typ av ledare var han?

Disunion, en blogg på The New York Times om USA under inbördeskriget, skriver professor Steven B. Smith:

To understand Lincoln’s leadership properly, one must understand it as a feature of constitutional government.


Constitutions are devices for controlling the uses of power. Governing in a constitutional manner meansFlygblad med republikanernas valsedel i USA inför valet 1860 (Kentucky Historical Society Collections) governing with respect to forms by which is meant certain formal procedures (rule of law, due process, trial by jury). In some respects constitutional government cares more about the forms than about the outcomes. What is important is that certain formal procedures be followed, and following these procedures confers legitimacy on the outcome.

The very term — constitutional leadership — involves a paradox. Leadership involves boldness, decisiveness and action, even a willingness to go it alone; constitutions work in the opposite direction, imposing forms and rules, checks on power and limits on executive initiative. How can one both lead and accept the limitations of constitutional restraint?


A […] case of Lincoln’s exercise of constitutional restraint concerned the principle of election. His rejection of the secessionist thesis was that it made the operation of free government impossible. If a minority could secede every time it disapproved of the outcome of the vote of the majority, the result would be a swift descent into anarchy. To be sure, the vote of the majority does not confer an absolute power to do what it wanted. But the principle of regular election, Lincoln believed, could provide a check on what popular majorities would be prepared to do. In any case, to give to the minority a permanent veto over the majority was the negation of self-government. “A majority, held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people,” Lincoln told his audience in the First Inaugural Address


To his infinite credit, Lincoln realized that free elections should not, even in principle, be sacrificed even if the cost might be the end of constitutional government. For constitutional leadership, the ends do not justify the means. Constitutional leadership is necessarily limited or bounded leadership. It is in this possibility of a leader operating within the limits of constitutional restraint that the hope of our republic rests.

Bild: Flygblad med republikanernas valsedel inför valet 1860 (Kentucky Historical Society Collections).

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USA | Någon som minns den mandarintalande, motorcykelåkande, (relativt) liberala presidentkandidaten Jon Huntsman?

Henry Payne 17 januari 2012

Vem vet om han funderar över att göra ett nytt försök att bli republikanernas presidentkandidat. Svaret han ger när Andrew Goldman intervjuade honom för The New York Times är alltför vagt för att indikerat någonting överhuvudtaget.

So if you’re running for president in 2016, you probably have to start laying the groundwork now, right?

Can you imagine we’re even talking about this? It’s mind-numbing that within 24 hours, people want to start talking about 2016.


All along, it was speculated that you would have been a formidable opponent for Obama, but you didn’t have a prayer in the primaries. Do you think the Republican primary system is broken?

People aren’t turning out for primaries because they work for a living, and those who do turn out are professional activists. Today, if you have somebody who ultimately gets through the obstacle course, they’re going to lack the one ingredient in such need today: authenticity.


Obviously you’ve thought a lot about it. What went wrong?

When the decision was made to refuse any pandering — because my wife would have left me if I had done any of that — you pretty much disarm yourself. On top of that you have people like Michael Moore, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter coming out and giving you kudos as a sane Republican. That doesn’t play so well in the primary phase of Iowa or South Carolina.

The New York Times referred to you during the campaign as “an early favorite of the pundit classes.” Did you read that and think, I’m toast?

That’s the first dagger to the heart.

You also cooperated with a big Vogue profile with photographs by Annie Leibovitz. Didn’t you anticipate that might smack too much of the cultural elite?

But who’s going to turn down Annie Leibovitz? When she comes knocking, of course you’re going to invite her in, and we did pay a price for that.

Läs mer: Jacob Weisbergs omtalade ”Jon Huntsman: The Outsider i Vogue (med foton av Annie Leibovitz).

Bild: En “editorial cartoon” av Henry Payne (17 januari 2012). Fler på GoComics.com.

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TRAILER | Tv-serien ”Boss” har nu även börjat visas i public service i TV2.

Så här skev Alessandra Stanley 2011 i The New York Times:

“Boss,” a series on Starz about a crooked Chicago mayor, is almost good, and it falls short for the same reason that the George Clooney movie “Ides of March” isn’t good enough. Both are political thrillers that romanticize malfeasance, imbuing corruption with a sinister melodrama that defies common sense and cheapens the thrill of bad behavior.

Voters don’t trust elected officials, but Hollywood doesn’t trust itself to do politicians justice; screenwriters keep piling operatic misdeeds onto characters whose strength lies in their huge capacity for pettiness.


There are movies and TV shows about politics that tempt viewers to fast forward through the details of governing to get to the juicy parts. “Boss” is the opposite, a smart look at political power brokers that gets silly on the subjects of sex and violence.

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STRATEGI | Medan seriös media ägnar allt mer tid åt att kontrollera politikers utsagor spelar sanningen en allt mindre roll i valkampanjerna.

En förklaring till denna paradox är att väljarna i allt större utsträckning hämtar information från källor som bara överrensstämmer med deras egna åsikter (och fördomar).

Är man höger i USA tittar man på Fox News, läser The Wall Street Journal och surfar på Drudge Report. Är man vänster blir det istället MSNBC, ledarsidan i The New York Times och The Huffington Post på nätet.

“We don’t collect news to inform us. We collect news to affirm us,” säger t.ex. Frank Luntz som är opinionsanalytiker för republikanerna. “It used to be that we disagreed on the solution but agreed on the problem. Now we don’t even agree on the problem.”

Och det gäller säkert även här i Sverige. Skulle man göra en opinionsmätning här för att ta reda på vem av de två presidentkandidaterna man anser är  mest sanningsenlig skulle med största sannolikhet Barack Obama vinna med hästlängder över Mitt Romney .

Michael Scherer och Alex Altman på tidskriften Time har tittat på hur presidentkandidaterna använder och förvränger fakta om varandra. Och de kan konstatera att verkligheten är mer komplex än så.

Obama har t.ex. medvetet och kontinuerligt misstolkat Romneys åsikter om immigration och aborter. Romney däremot har på motsvarande sätt förvridit Obamas politik när det gäller välfärdsfrågor, immigration och presidentens ekonomiska stimulansåtgärder.

En annan skillnad: Obamakampanjen har varit betydligt subtilare i sitt sätt att måla sin motståndare i mörka färger. Romneykampanjen däremot har varit betydligt mer uppenbara i sitt sätt att agera.

Så vem ljuger mest? Obama eller Romney? Alex Altman skriver:

Compared with the Obama campaign’s, the Romney operation’s misstatements are frequently more brazen. But sometimes the most effective lie is the one that is closest to the truth, and Obama’s team has often outdone Romney’s in the dark art of subtle distortion. On both sides, the dishonesty is “about as bad as I’ve seen,” says veteran journalist Brooks Jackson, director of FactCheck.org.

The lying game unfolds on many –levels. Campaigns obfuscate, twist the truth and exaggerate. They exploit complexity. Most of all, they look for details—real or unreal—that validate our suspicions.


Even for the most open-minded and informed voters, truth is often subjective. Discerning it is that much harder when the campaigns cater to two different groups of voters who seem to prefer two very different sets of facts.

Michael Scherer har några talande exempel från den pågående valkampanjen.

“The truth of the matter is you can’t just make stuff up,” [Obama] told the scribblers who get paid to check his facts. “That’s one thing you learn as President of the United States. You get called in to account.” It was just what reporters wanted to hear, even if it was not exactly true.

At the time, Obama was speaking about a campaign ad from Mitt Romney that falsely claimed that the President had eliminated the work requirement for welfare. The ad was unmistakably deceptive. But just five minutes earlier in the very same press conference, Obama had offered some misdirection of his own. “Nobody accused Mr. Romney of being a felon,” he said. In fact, one of the President’s senior strategists, Stephanie Cutter, told reporters a month earlier that Romney was misrepresenting himself either to the American people or to securities regulators — “which is a felony,” she said.

Cutter’s was a conditional accusation but an accusation nonetheless, and at the time it allowed the Romney campaign to take its turn playing truth teller. “A reckless and unsubstantiated charge,” protested Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades, who asked Obama to apologize. Of course, no apology was forthcoming. So the posturing got worse.


Indeed, the 2012 campaign has witnessed a historic increase in fact-checking efforts by the media, with dozens of reporters now focused full time on sniffing out falsehood. Clear examples of deception fill websites, appear on nightly newscasts and run on the front pages of newspapers. But the truth squads have had only marginal success in changing the behavior of the campaigns and almost no impact on the outside groups that peddle unvarnished falsehoods with even less accountability. “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers,” explained Neil Newhouse, Romney’s pollster, echoing his industry’s conventional wisdom.

Similarly, the so-called Truth Team for the Obama campaign has found itself in recurring spats with journalists brandishing facts. One of the most galling Obama deceptions, embedded in two television ads, asserts that Romney backed a bill outlawing “all abortion even in cases of rape and incest.” This is not true. Romney has consistently maintained, since becoming a pro-life politician in 2005, that he supports exceptions for rape and incest and to protect the life of the mother.

Bild: Tidskriftsomslaget, den amerikanska utgåvan av Time den 15 oktober 2012, illustrerades av Dylan Roscover.

(Inlägget publiceras parallellt på Makthavare.se)

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HISTORIA | Bildekaler för stötfångare – ”bumper stickers” – är lika typiska för amerikanska valrörelser som valplakat nerstuckna i gräsmattan i villakvarter.

Pagan Kennedy, The New York Times, om dess historia:

One day in the mid-1940s, Forest Gill, the owner of a print shop, knelt down in a Kansas City parking lot and measured a car’s bumper. Ever since the automobile age began, drivers had advertised their opinions with handmade placards tied to their cars with bits of twine. Gill realized that he could make “bumper signs” forever obsolete.


Gill seized on two new technologies ­ — self-adhesive paper and Day-Glo paint — and combined them into a novelty item perfectly adapted for America’s highways. By the 1960 presidential election, bumper stickers were everywhere, rivaling buttons as a favorite way for voters to declare their intentions. Gilman, who now runs the family print shop, said that national elections create a frenzy in the bumper-sticker business. […] An election that’s a real squeaker is best for a bumper-sticker man.

Bild: John F. Kennedy ”bumper sticker från valkampanjen 1960. Texten lyder: ”Kennedy For President” och med adressen “Produced by Citizens for Kennedy and Johnson, 261 Constitution Avenue N.W., Washington D.C.”

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