• False Media Reporting on Trump’s Request to State Dept for Info on Gender Equality Programs

    December 27, 2016

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Embassy/State, Trump



    The Washington Post, quickly followed by the New York Times and NPR and many others, headlined a story that Trump’s transition team asked the State Department for a list of programs and jobs aimed at promoting gender equality.



    Rattled and Freaked Out!

    The Times, citing anonymous sources, claimed the request “rattled State Department employees concerned that the incoming administration will roll back a cornerstone project of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”

    The Los Angeles Times quoted an anonymous senior State Department official as saying “People are freaked out.”

    The Washington Post reported another anonymous source (as these all the same person?) as saying the request is “stoking fears of another witch hunt.” The Post did not detail where the earlier witchhunt had taken place to make this one “another.”



    Reality: It’s Routine, Folks

    The tone of the articles was bombastic, and implied something unique and insidious was going on. By itself, the request means nothing. But in reality, the request is normal and routine.

    Every party transition in Washington includes information gathering; how else would the incoming staff know what they have ahead of them? Offices across the State Department (as well as every other cabinet agency) are flooded with demands for program and budget information, position lists, endless emails asking “Who handles this issue?” and “Where do things stand on Programs X and Y?”

    It is thus absolutely no surprise, and certainly not news, that an email went out to relevant offices in State asking about “existing programs and activities to promote gender equality, such as ending gender-based violence, promoting women’s participation in economic and political spheres, entrepreneurship, etc.”

    The email also requested a list of positions “whose primary functions are to promote such issues,” though not the names of people in those positions.

    There are likely hundreds of identical requests, on different subjects, now circulating within State. I joined the State Department in 1988 and was employed through the transitions from Reagan to Bush to Clinton to Another Bush to Obama, and helped respond to such requests for information myself. In well-prepared offices, knowing such requests are routine and expected, the basic information would have been gathered even as the election was taking place. Somebody was going to ask.



    So Why is the Media Reporting Inaccurately?

    Assuming the anonymous sources cited by the media include someone other than a former intern’s roommate a reporter met on Tinder, why might the State Department people be “rattled and freaked out” by something so routine?

    The simplest answer is about half of the Foreign Service Officer corps has been with State for less than eight years, meaning they have never experienced a party transition, and have served only under the Obama administration. They have no experience with any of this, and likely have bosses with at best one transitional experience. Most of these people have never had their commitment to serving the executive branch, no matter who is in the White House, tested. And senior management not communicating with the lower ranks is a long-standing State Department issue.

    But the deeper explanation touches on the levels of hysteria across America following the failure of Hillary Clinton to get herself elected president.

    As an organization, the State Department went all-in supporting Hillary Clinton, slow-walking the release of her emails, using Freedom of Information Act and classification games to redact significant content, and generally doing everything it could to protect the former Secretary of State. Many of State’s gender-based program were signature initiatives of Clinton, and track with the personal politics of many State employees. They are (correctly) certain they and these programs are unlikely to find many new friends in the incoming administration.



    Bad Reporting With an Impact Far Beyond the State Department

    Nonetheless, the impact of the sadly low-level of mainstream reporting on details of the transition is serious.

    The seasoned reporters and editors at places like the New York Times know damn well what is and is not routine in a transition. Yet they reported inaccurately and bombastically nonetheless.

    The media is speaking to an audience predisposed to believe every panicky story that can be shoveled out (remember the apocalyptic tales from early November that Trump would never be able to fill his political appointee positions, or that the transition was fatally behind schedule? The unfounded rumors of mass resignations inside the Federal government?)

    The media’s near-obsession with inaccurate reporting on all things Trump, seeking to paint every detail of the president elect as not only negative, but pernicious, is in part what lead to the breakdown of accurate predictions right into election evening, and loss of credibilty by the media.

    More significantly, some notable portion of those who voted for Trump did so out of a sense of disenfranchisement, a disconnection between themselves and Washington DC. In the Internet age, debunking of inaccurate and/or misleading reporting, such as with the routine request for information above, are more widely available than ever.

    Thus, outside the Clinging-to-Clinton bubble, more people than ever have such resources available to them, and can thus more readily see through stories whose purpose is to tell “deplorables” that they voted wrong.

    For those Democrats and Progressives hoping not to repeat the election disaster of 2016 in the 2018 midterms, or heaven forbid, in 2020, such media coverage is excessively harmful. Like full fat ice cream, it sure tastes good now, but boy is it bad for you in the long run.



    Don’t believe me about the routine nature of the Trump administration’s request for information out of State? Believe this site instead.



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    Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!

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  • Recent Comments

    • Rich Bauer said...

      1

      Peter,

      SERIOUSLY, Trump should put you in a senior State Dept political position to drain the swamp at Foggy Bottom.

      12/27/16 10:22 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...

      2

      Give me two scoops of TRUTH.

      12/27/16 10:22 AM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...

      3

      Transition always brings the worst in female patients; and the last witch-hunt successfully documented Despicable she’s discriminately underpaying her Ninny0ns !

      12/27/16 10:23 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...

      4

      Obomber xmas eve signs propaganda ndaa stuff. Hope 2017

      12/27/16 10:24 AM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      5

      Yeah, it’s SOP and was interesting the lengths the “coordinated” media went to misportray this. I remember the Clinton team asking for program info when they came on board. Guess they conveniently forgot

      12/27/16 10:39 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...

      6

      cnbc pushing Russia DNC, Iran, N.Korea, Fear… THIS JUST IN… Holiday spirit is over ? Peace…

      12/27/16 10:40 AM | Comment Link

    • chuck said...

      7

      Is the amount of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$’s the Govt. pays to the Big Media (State T.V.) Classified ? Do you think they are not payed? Imagine when you have to have a cell phone or be chipped. Happy 2017 ! Moving Forward…

      12/27/16 10:45 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      8

      Extra! Extra! NYTimes is now into Fantasy Elections! Who would have won- Trump or Obama? Vote now and have a chance to win a ouija board made of teak. CNN news break! Who would have made a better Princess Leia than Carrie Fischer?
      Enter the name of your favorite actress from those days. If your card is drawn you will go out on a date with Ariana Grande!

      Anyone else here thinking maybe printed MSM newspapers for home and stand delivery are as endangered as the land line phone?

      12/27/16 3:38 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      9

      Peter said”

      “It is thus absolutely no surprise, and certainly not news, that an email went out to relevant offices in State asking about “existing programs and activities to promote gender equality, such as ending gender-based violence, promoting women’s participation in economic and political spheres, entrepreneurship, etc.””

      Whew!! There for a moment I was convinced President Summer Squash’s transition team was conspiring to browbeat every agency into acquiescing to a Forth Reich witch hunt of those employees of every agency in order to determine who are working on each issue the Forth Reich wants exterminated. Thankfully, you’ve renewed my faith in the coming administration, by showing the normalcy of this tradition.

      In that light, I look forward to their same methodology, to ferret out every single scumsucking torturers at the CIA, the rubber stamp maggots of the FISA, those who enable world wide DEA drug running, the connections of Congress to insider trading and Defense contractor stock holdings/ State Department authorizations for Arms deals/ how your income tax payments end up at the BDC, … wait..wait.. I have to open my file on government corruption..

      No matter, I feel relieved now, knowing the Trump transition inquiry into agency data, will ultimately prove their intent to drain the swamp.

      Thanks Peter. I always knew your insight would prove valuable.

      note to self.. hahahahahahahahahahaha.. you must think we are all fucking idiots Peter.

      12/27/16 7:30 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      10

      Note to self.. check IP address of this site to make sure my bookmark hasn’t been hacked to send me to some propaganda bullshit site. Not that I’m suspicious or anything.. naw. But something is telling me this site has changed.

      12/27/16 7:37 PM | Comment Link

    • Mitch said...

      11

      Peter,

      I think the whole point of the media mis-reporting the stories, is to cause the fear and panic that is occurring.

      They clearly have a “we hate Trump ” agenda…. So…. They see it as helping their girl, Hillary, by spreading the false sroryline…

      And fear and panic increases their readers.

      M

      12/29/16 5:20 PM | Comment Link

    • Mark said...

      12

      I still acn’t believe the Mr.Putin (Russian president) won this elections.

      12/30/16 5:45 PM | Comment Link

    • Helen Neller said...

      13

      The key question here is whether or not the original source(s) is a Senior staff member with many transitions under his or her belt or a less credible source as you so skillfully assert without a shred of evidence to support that claim.

      01/8/17 8:30 AM | Comment Link

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