Patterico's Pontifications

9/3/2019

Mocking the Alt Right Now Apparently a Fireable Offense in the Trump Administration

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:33 am



Philip Klein writes the post so I don’t have to: Shameful: Trump Labor appointee forced to resign after Bloomberg portrays sarcastic Facebook post as anti-Semitic.

In one of the most shameful, egregious media failures of the year, a Trump appointee to the Department of Labor was forced to resign after a Bloomberg reporter started asking officials about a Facebook post spun as anti-Semitic, even though it was a clearly satirical post mocking the alt-right.

Earlier this morning, Bloomberg reporter Ben Penn proudly tweeted out a “scoop” about Leif Olson, who recently started as an adviser in the department’s Wage and Hour Division:

In reality, the Facebook post in question was the opposite of anti-Semitic. It was a clearly sarcastic post from 2016 about Paul Ryan crushing alt-right challenger Paul Nehlen. If the over the top language isn’t a tip off, it’s a fairly dead giveaway that Olson refers to Ryan having “suffered a massive, historic, emasculating 70-point victory.”

When one of the commenters suggests Ryan must be a “neocon” and a Jew, Olson, clearly joking, responded, “It must be true because I’ve never heard the Lamestream Media report it, and you know they protect their own.”

It’s very simple, what happened here. A guy mocked the alt right as anti-Semitic. Now some brainless twit of a reporter is calling his posts anti-Semitic. And now the Trump administration is accepting his resignation.

Why isn’t Trump fighting for this guy? My guess: because he’s mocking Trump’s people. It doesn’t matter to Trump that it’s unfair. It doesn’t matter to Trump that it’s a smear.

Maybe this will be reversed as the day goes on and it becomes widely known what a hit job this was. As the dumbass in chief says: “We’ll see what happens.” But nobody has covered themselves in glory so far, other than arguably the guy who was forced to resign for mocking the alt right.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

31 Responses to “Mocking the Alt Right Now Apparently a Fireable Offense in the Trump Administration”

  1. Outrageous.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  2. But I thought Trump wasn’t alt-right. That’s what I’ve been hearing for the last five-and-a-half years. Huh.

    Gryph (08c844)

  3. Must have been the sarcastic use of “Lamestream Media” that got under Trump’s skin, because he has used the term in a spirit of high seriousness.

    Radegunda (e6c209)

  4. Or it’s more likely that because the dirtbag media is portraying this as anti-Semitic, Trump doesn’t want to take the heat for that hatred because people have decided to link him to the anti-Semitic parts of the alt-right.

    So it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    NJRob (4d595c)

  5. My guess: because he’s mocking Trump’s people.

    No, I think it is simpler than that. Someone accused him of anti-semitism, he resigns, so the Trump Administration just takes it at face value that it is true.

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  6. Trump would see Olson mocking the “primary them” threat as a direct swipe at him.

    nk (dbc370)

  7. Florida oranges have thinner skins than the same variety grown in California. It’s a scientific fact.

    nk (dbc370)

  8. Too bad. So Sad. Man who mocks Alt-right antisemitism gets fired for antisemitism. Satire not only is a comedy “where no one laughs”. It will also get you fired. BTW, isn’t it interesting that the Press has nothing better to do than comb through the social media of every Trump Administration official looking for stuff that would embarrass them or get them fired. Looks like the Trump plan to do the same to the media is a good one. tit for tat.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  9. Wait a minute. I thought the Never-trumper rule was to ALWAYS throw fellow conservatives under the Bus? Of course, the Press will run with this, and never say its satire, but present it as straight-forward antisemitism. So Trump had to cave. Fighting and saying “But it was satire” will get him nowhere.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  10. Hopefully this story will follow the path of the Roger Scruton smear:

    “In the initial controversial report from the interview published in April, Scruton, 75, was quoted as saying there was a “[George] Soros empire in Hungary” but the report did not include that he continued: “It’s not necessarily an empire of Jews, that’s such nonsense.”

    He was also quoted as saying “each Chinese person is a kind of replica of the next one,” but it was later accepted he was criticizing the Chinese Communist Party rather than Chinese people themselves.”

    https://www.christianpost.com/news/british-politician-apologizes-for-firing-prominent-conservative-roger-scruton-over-distorted-interview.html
    _

    Which prompted a great piece about Twitter mobs.

    “Scruton was sacked from his unpaid position in April. The root cause was a doctored and false interview carried out by George Eaton. The New Statesman subsequently apologised for misleading its readers. But what was most shocking was not that one left-wing hack doctored his quotes, nor that by publishing them on Twitter Eaton temporarily managed to ‘scalp’ (as another journalist excitedly put it) one of the most distinguished thinkers of the age. The most shocking thing was that government ministers, Conservative MPs and others so unthinkingly jumped on the bandwagon. The Conservative Housing Secretary James Brokenshire sacked Scruton within hours. Other Tory MPs, former ministers and party figures (including George Osborne and Daniel Finkelstein) called for Scruton’s sacking. Not one first requested to see the quotes or a transcript of the interview, let alone asked Scruton for his version of events.”

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/2019/07/society-cannot-be-run-by-twitter-mobs/amp/?__twitter_impression=true
    _

    harkin (d58e4f)

  11. I thought the Never-trumper rule was to ALWAYS throw fellow conservatives under the Bus?

    No, that’s the Trumpkin rule.

    nk (dbc370)

  12. The Ian Faith Effect takes hold…

    Colonel Haiku (33b771)

  13. oh,well

    https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/09/antitrump_crusader_dishonestly_reports_antisemitic_scoop_
    and_runs_young_trump_appointee_out_of_his_job.html

    narciso (147951)

  14. Now some brainless twit of a reporter is calling his posts anti-Semitic

    I disagree that the reporter was a twit. I think this was intentional. There are comments in the FB thread that show it was satire.

    Not highlighting it as such has to be intentional and not an honest mistake.

    Here is the opening paragraph

    A recently appointed Trump Labor Department official with a history of advancing controversial conservative and faith-based causes in court has resigned after revelations that he wrote a 2016 Facebook post suggesting the Jewish-controlled media “protects their own.”

    Ben Penn chacterized the FB post as suggesting the Jewish controlled media protect their own.

    That is not a good faith reading of the post, or consistent with Olsen’s comments about it at a later date.

    Basically i think you’re being overly charitable to this reporter. I think it’s clear this wasn’t a mistake, it’s an intentional distortion.

    Time123 (b4d075)

  15. 14… “Basically i think you’re being overly charitable to this reporter. I think it’s clear this wasn’t a mistake, it’s an intentional distortion.”

    But did the reporter have a gun pointed at him… did he really mean it?

    Colonel Haiku (33b771)

  16. rcocean (1a839e) — 9/3/2019 @ 9:03 am

    Looks like the Trump plan to do the same to the media is a good one.

    Not Trump. Some people who support him – for now.

    Someone named Arthur Schwartz, who is close to Donald Trump’s oldest son, is a principal.. Schwartz has previously worked with Stephen K. Bannon.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/25/us/politics/trump-allies-news-media.html

    The White House press office said that neither the president nor anyone in the White House was involved in or aware of the operation, and that neither the White House nor the Republican National Committee was involved in funding it.

    The Trump campaign said it was unaware of, and not involved in, the effort, but suggested that it served a worthy purpose. “We know nothing about this, but it’s clear that the media has a lot of work to do to clean up its own house,” said Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s communications director.

    This idea probably indeed did not originate with the Trump campaign,

    And what Schwartz et al are doing, is finding things, and then putting it in the bank for possible future use. The idea is to collect any number of writers whom they can get fired when they want.

    So long as this job death penalty for wrongthink, or wrongwrite, no matter how long ago, continues (with new ex post facto “crimes” being added periodically) , this could even be used for blackmail, but things probably haven’t advanced to that stage.

    Of course they know that, in the future, any connection with Trump could get somebody fired., so it may be exaggerate this tendency until the whole thing stops.

    Sammy Finkelman (8dcc71)

  17. Yair Rosenberg has a great summary showing how Bloomberg selectively edited the FB post. It’s possible that they just got it wrong, but so far they haven’t retracted or corrected the story.

    Now, it’s true that this sarcasm is a little opaque if one doesn’t know the Nehlen context. But it’s made considerably more opaque by the fact that Bloomberg’s reporter selectively cropped (or simply missed) the rest of Olson’s Facebook thread to leave out the comments which make clear that everyone involved knows that it’s sarcasm–and where Olson himself names and shames Breitbart. Here’s more of the thread, with the relevant omitted portions highlighted:

    Time123 (80b471)

  18. Sammy, if someone wants to dig into this guys old social media have it. But digging into some other reporters because of what he did isn’t right.

    Time123 (80b471)

  19. What;s going to happen (may have already happened) in the truncated session of the British Parliament:

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/03/brexit-vote-time-mps-tonight-what-rebel-bill-article-50-mean

    Here’s anoter story:

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/02/eu-could-declare-no-deal-brexit-as-major-natural-disaster

    Boris Johnson has said that the UK will not pay its 39 billion pound divorce bill in hhe event of hard Brexit. (crashing out of the EU with no deal)

    We’re seeing, with regard both to Great Britain and the EU, how good peole are at writing constitutions or contracts.

    Sammy Finkelman (8dcc71)

  20. “I assume Olson’s resignation will be belatedly unaccepted as this becomes a conservative cause celebre online today. Maybe even you-know-who will weigh in with a tweet or two; a case of the media falsely accusing someone on his side as bigoted to serve its own agenda is political gold for him, a smoking gun that they’re cutthroat and can’t be trusted in their commentary on Trump himself. Coincidentally, this episode is playing out on the same day that Axios is reporting that allies of Trump are raising money to investigate the social-media (and personal?) histories of members of the media, a process that’s already resulted in embarrassment for the New York Times… Good luck finding anyone in conservative activism who has a problem with those tactics after episodes like this. Turnabout is fair play.”

    https://hotair.com/archives/allahpundit/2019/09/03/trump-appointee-pushed-department-labor-bloomberg-news-smears-alt-right/

    Colonel Haiku (33b771)

  21. …And now the Trump administration is accepting his resignation.

    Why isn’t Trump fighting for this guy? 

    They guy shows no backbone so its Trump’s fault. Sure.

    I am pleased that Trump has no sympathy for such a lightweight.

    BuDuh (4ae4af)

  22. Col Haiku: axios claims to have a scoop. The New York Times scooped Axios back on August 25. It broke the story. See link at #19.

    Maybe the only news is that they;re out raising money – or rather using that as a hook to raise money.

    Axios also links to a story they published Sept 1, which gves no hat tip or anything to the New York Times.

    The Axios stor(ies) or the HotAir link or some otehr link may explain why rcocean was so familiar with it. It was published again.

    Sammy Finkelman (8dcc71)

  23. Another good take:

    Bloomberg’s Ben Penn just slimed a government employee for his hilarious joke at Paul Nehlen’s expense

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/bloombergs-ben-penn-just-slimed-a-government-employee-for-his-hilarious-joke-at-paul-nehlens-expense
    _

    harkin (58d012)

  24. 25… I am a-ok with journalists being journalismed.

    Colonel Haiku (33b771)

  25. The dirtbag reporter is bragging on Twitter about his success at getting rid of an administration official because the cause is what matters:

    Lost in all of this is that Olson was part of a team of political appointees tasked with the heavy lift of drafting wage-hour regulations that are high priorities for Trump White House, business community. They’re now down one adviser.

    NJRob (4d8a06)

  26. “But nobody has covered themselves in glory so far, other than arguably the guy who was forced to resign for mocking the alt right.”

    The only way to NOT cover yourself in glory by mocking the alt-right is doing so in support of Paul freakin’ Ryan!

    Both Paul Ryan and Paul Nehlen were examples of the very worst traitors of the GOP from the far left and right of it, supporting either of those distilled electoral poison cases full-throatedly is a very bad look.

    Bad Paul (b4bdd8)

  27. Not going to jump on this bandwagon. I read both articles and nowhere does it say Mr. Olsen was “forced” to resign. For all we know the DoL was willing to fight but wouldn’t unless it was what Mr. Olsen also wanted. Or, it could be that the DoL is so pussified that he was told to resign or be fired. All we do know is that when asked Mr. Olsen said “no comment”.

    Colliente (05736f)

  28. Like I said above, the defense is worse than the accusation.
    — Leif, are you an anti-Semite?
    — Heavens no, Mr. President!
    — Then what was that Facebook post all about?
    — I was making fun of your “primary them” threat to recalcitrant Republicans, sir.
    — I see.

    nk (dbc370)


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