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Monday, November 20, 2017

Glenn Thrush, the perfect NY Times reporter

Business Insider reported today that the NY Times has suspended its prominent White House correspondent Glenn Thrush today because of allegations of sexual harassment against him by four separate women in a Vox article. 

The most revealing excerpt from the BI article: 

Laura McGann, the author of Vox's article, said Thrush put his hand on her thigh and suddenly started kissing her when the two were at a bar in Washington, DC, five years ago. At the time, both worked for Politico.

McGann said she rejected his advances and left the bar. She said a male Politico colleague recently told her about a conversation he had with Thrush the next day in which Thrush said McGann had come onto him at the bar and that he had "gently shut it down."

The colleague told McGann, she said, that Thrush often told that same story with different female colleagues as the subject and that Thrush painted himself as the "grown-up" who stopped things from escalating.

This story reveals the character of Thrush perfectly: what kind of guy gets turned down by a woman, then tells all their colleagues the next day that he turned her down? 

One who is willing to take the truth and twist it 180 degrees in an effort to make himself look good. Note that Thrush not only falsely paints himself as the object of desire, but gives himself credit for tact as well: he didn't just shut McGann down, he did so "gently."

What a gentleman!

It's sort of hard to miss the parallel here. The New York Times, too, covers the news by twisting the truth around till it's unrecognizable, all the while disingenuously claiming the moral high ground. 

You can say that at this point the Thrush scandal is merely a "he said she said" situation. But really, with four different women coming forward, it's a "he said they said" situation. And I believe them.  

Especially since Thrush evidently told that same story several times, each time trying to impress his colleagues with tales of how these women lusted after him. 

It would be bad enough if he regaled his colleagues with these tall tales if he were telling them about anonymous women he met at a bar. But he was telling them about one of their fellow reporters, who'd have to work with them afterwards. 

As the original article in Vox pointed out, when the Mark Halperin/MSNBC scandal broke last month, Thrush wrote:

“Young people who come into a newsroom deserve to be taught our trade, given our support and enlisted in our calling — not betrayed by little men who believe they are bigger than the mission.”

Vox quoted a young woman who'd met him:

“He kept saying he’s an advocate for women and women journalists,” a 23-year-old woman told me, recounting an incident with Thrush from this past June. “That’s how he presented himself to me. He tried to make himself seem like an ally and a mentor.”

She paused. “Kind of ironic now.”

Actually, it's not all that ironic, if you're familiar with the Times.


Anonymous said...

Have you seen this interview he gave to 'Fatherly' (Itself almost parody.) it's like an alt-right parody. A select few snips below.

Are they named after anyone in particular?
Nathaniel’s middle name is Grayson which is a family name on my wife’s side. But Charles is named after my deceased mother Carol, in the Jewish fashion after someone who died.

*I was unaware this was a specifically Jewish tradition, it seems common in many Western cultures and common among all kinds in the US. But got to get that mention of being Jewish in! I'm sure that will be the last time...

What is your favorite activity to do with your children, that is, your special father-kid thing?
Talking. Actually, rather than talking I’d use the word arguing.

*Did I mention I was Jewish?

What has been the moment you were most proud as a parent? Why?
Their bar mitzvahs. I had no idea that they were working as hard as they did and they nailed the Torah portion and their speeches, their D’var Torahs were exceptional. It was a real moment when I had one of those great parental surprises where your kids far exceed what your expectations of them were.

*I don't I mention I don't believe in god and reject most religious teachings but am so ethnocentric that I attend synagogue?

What heirloom did your father give to you, if any?
Skepticism, and my anti-authoritarian impulse. My father was a guy who ran his own business, he repaired his own television, he thought his own thoughts, he was entirely independent and he was suspicious of anybody who imposed any authority on him. That has had an indelible stamp on me throughout my career and also just the way I deal with the world.

*What did your father do to you that you'd drag him into any responsibility for your career? Also it sounds like he is dancing around his father being the Judd Hirsch character from the Goldbergs.

What heirloom do you want to leave for your children, if anything?
Nothing physical, I mean there’s really nothing physical. And Lord knows I’m gonna leave them nothing physical. A capacity to think independently. To take kind of this blizzard of inputs that we have and synthesize it into something that’s uniquely their own, and to give them enough sense of themselves as thinking machines that they never allow someone to tell them what to think.

*This was posted in July this year. Long after the whole 'I'm a hack' episode. The man couldn't have less individually if he tried, I don't think he's ever had a unique thought. He even dresses like Josh Whedon, he also of 'I am an advocate for young naive women in my industry, come into my office and let's discuss your career', hmm.

Anonymous said...

Describe the “Dad Special” for dinner?
It’s not really dinner, but to double down on the Jewish theme, matzoh brei.

*I know I've got red hair and am from New York but I'm Jewish not Irish. I don't know if I made this clear before.

Are you religious and are you raising your children in that tradition?
It’s funny, I wouldn’t say we’re super religious but we are raising them in the tradition. There’s a lot of skepticism and we have debates about it but yes, having an understanding that Judaism is our tradition and having them grounded in that is important.

*Alt-right Russian hackers didn't put that line there, it's real.

What is a mistake you made growing up that you want to ensure your child does not repeat?
Not to rebel for the sake of rebelling, and to be able to read situations with an eye towards what you are attempting to achieve. Don’t take cheap and easy satisfaction out of telling people you disagree with off.

*Jewish stereotypes intensifying. Also admitting he's a prick.

How do you make sure you kid knows you love him or her?
The truth of the matter is I don’t think I have to. I mean I tell them all the time, but the way I tell them I love them is by actually wanting to be around them. If you met them you would understand why. They’re a blast, they’re wonderful companions. Mind you, they’re a massive pain in the ass. But I’d rather spend time with them than anybody else.

*Admitting at least one of his sons is a prick. (My money is the one without the glasses with the psycho face.)

John Craig said...

Anon --
Just read the interview, thanks. Yes, there seems to be a certain amount of signaling that he's one of the "good people" with those constant references to his ethnicity.

I"m actually wondering if he's not a sociopath. What he's done is, in a way, far worse than what most of those accused have done. Once you separate actual rapists like Weinstein and Westwick and maybe Ratner from the rest of those accused, and maybe separate the public masturbators like Louis CK and Helperin, most of the guys have just been a little piggish, or made awkward, aggressive passes, or talked dirty. But Thrush has taken it to a whole new level of perfidy, claiming that these women made a pass at him but he let them down gently, when just the opposite happened. And he did it to his coworkers, while pretending to be an advocate for women's rights. Just a complete scumbag.

I've been thinking about writing a post called "The revenge of the shiksas."

Anonymous said...

I think the signalling is a general New York Jewish thing. The old line about two producers/directors talking and immediately playing 'Jewish geography' with each other in a way that would be unknown to other western urban populations. The other part is intense ethnocentrism that is obviously totally at odds with every other element of his presented identity. When he spoke about raising his children in line with their 'roots', while dismissing their gentile ancestry. The father-in-law was a special forces soldier from a poor Appalachian background.

The same thing with Wieseltier (Who really did seem to be sociopathic and who'se ethnocentrism was staggering to behold) and I almost wonder. Could it be that we're projecting western ideas of sociopathy (Ie, a western sociopath is unfair to everyone) when in reality we're dealing with highly clannish people. (Unfair only to outgroups, though the level of civic development in Israel calls this into question, though the presence of Sephardim and Ashkenazim who really aren't the same ethnicity may provide some of the explanation or perhaps that a sense of Jewish nationhood is highly illusionary and the ingroup is very parochial like all similar cultures, Arab, Southern Italian etc and the high degree of Jewish affinity in the US to due to the context of them being a small minority surrounded by non-Jews.)

It's hard for me to get into their mind-set. Imagine being fully integrated and being white in America and yet being unable to identify with the country despite wealth and respect. Imagine being afraid of the countryside. It’s the mindset of a colonist in their pale of settlement. Maybe he can't get over how the grandchild of any Western European immigrants would identify completely as American but even after 5 or 6 generations they seemingly can't do it despite plenty of them being able to 'pass'. Even the guy who writes Mondo Weiss once wrote of how he sometimes felt like a trespasser, particularly in the countryside.

The lying about it is something you'd expect a teenage girl bully to do. It's bizarre to see a middle-age man with a family do it with work colleagues. Like you said it's almost worse. He had his way with them and he is going to bad-mouth them to their superiors in a work environment. Another question, how did his wife not hear about these rumours? Did she find the stories plausible? How does the etiquette of this work? You're telling me a 23/24 year old is seen (This was a work function) exchanging a kiss, willingly or not from a highly unattractive middle-aged man with a family and none of these journalists talk about it in the office? Nobody mentions it to his wife? There must effectively be unwritten rules for dealing with these things.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Harvey Weinstein did the same thing in his initial statement where he talked about going after Trump and the NRA. He mentioned the place where his Bar Mitzvah was held, thinking that that signal would be enough to call off the wolves. Unfortunately for him, it wasn't enough.

I've actually been amazed that all of these powerful Jewish men are being taken down as a result of this #Metoo movement. They've always seemed like such a protected species.

You're right about the difference between sociopath and in group/out group ethics. If your tribal ethos is such that it's considered okay to harm outsiders but not insiders, that's different from regular sociopathy, although the levels of hypocrisy and dishonesty can resemble each other. The Gypsies are another group with a very strong in group/out group distinction. They, too, have a five letter word beginning with the letter "g" to refer to outsiders ("gadje"), and they consider it acceptable to steal from outsiders.

The mindset you describe is very much reflected in a lot of Hollywood output, where Southerners or other rural whites are frequently depicted with exaggerated accents, and in gothic, almost grotesque ways, almost as a different species.

Anonymous said...

Creepy, but he might have thought that the girl was going to talk so why not get a different story out there before anything hits the fan. Actually, shows good future time orientation and someone who has been covering politics too long. All these guys, Rose, Thrush and O'Reilly seem like workaholics(not that they are that productive) so their interactions are going to be with people at work. Amazed that Rose, in particular, hadn't slowed down a little bit being that he is 75 but I guess, the workplace can be very exciting.

John Craig said...

Anon --
If Thrush was worried about the girl talking,he shouldn't have made a pass at her in the first place.

And actually, yes, impressive in a way about Rose. He -- and some of these other guys who were famous -- were probably used to getting a lot of women, so got sloppy in their approaches. Parading around naked in front of girls who aren't interested in you isn't the way to go.

LBD said...

What is remarkable in all the accounts I have read regarding Thrush, is that they seem to have taken place in bars. His normal routine was to go out with a group of colleagues, and as they peeled off one by one, he would remain with the solitary young woman who was left.

The question I have to ask, is why these women don't understand that going drinking in a bar with guys from work is not a professional thing to do, and invites unprofessional behavior. If the work group is going out for a drink, fine, have "a drink", not "8 drinks", and when the party starts to break up, get out the door with the first ones going. Staying until you're the only person with a married guy is open to several interpretations, none of them positive.

Why do young women seem to think that they can or should knock back drink for drink with men? Disaster is sure to follow.

Don't these women have mothers who tell them these things? I know when I was young, in the Jurassic era, we always took "mad money" with us, to be able to call home or take transportation if things got iffy.

The normal standards for female conduct are so eroded now as to be nonexistent. Thrush was a creep, but the women seem to be taking no responsibility for having gotten themselves into dangerous situations. This is not to "blame the victim". If a guy is flashing money around in a dive bar and then gets robbed, we scold him for his lack of caution. Not to say it's right to rob him, but it's not victim blaming to expect people to use common sense.

John Craig said...

LBD --
All good points. And in a way, that mentality, that women can do anything men can do -- like hang out in a bar and knock 'em back with no regard for consequences -- is what feminism has wrought. The only problem is, feminism has thus far been unable to turn back four million years worth of evolution, and the instincts, both male and female, which have resulted from that.

One small -- very small -- argument in these women's defense is that reporting has always been, from what I understand, a hard-drinking culture, and some people get caught up in some of the sillier aspects of a culture.

What made Thrush such a creep, in my book, is not the fact that he made passes at these women. He tried to kiss them, he puts his hand on their legs, etc. Big deal. (How else is a pass made? Are we supposed to go with that widely laughed-at Antioch model from 15 or so years ago and ask permission before every single action?) What made him a creep was that he basically tried to ruin their careers afterward by claiming they made passes at him, when the opposite occurred -- all the while presenting himself as a champion of women in journalism. Yecch.

Anonymous said...

No doubt all these guys are creeps, who thought they could get away with obnoxious
behavior because of their power and money.

However, as a woman I am all with LBD who again nails the current culture of women
blaming men for their own lapses of judgement. All of us have an in-built alarm system
that signals us potential danger and by the time one hits the job market (in our twenties)
one has enough experience of the creeps and predators lurking around. The sensible
course of action would be to leave when it is time. Not linger, hoping to further your
career without the guy having ulterior motives. It is "Quid pro quo'. My mother always
told me "There's no such thing as a free lunch'.


Anonymous said...

GLENN THRUSH blocked me from his Twitter account, I read now he has deleted the whole thing.

Every day I used to try to leave him some little nugget of hate, it was like I was conditioning myself for some OLYMPIC EVENT, a new sport consisting of looking at pictures of Glenn and going RAAWWWWR RAWWWR RAWWR GRRRR GRRRR GRRRR GRRRR.

I so disliked his fancy little bitch airs of moral superiority when I watched them White House press room briefings...he has (like so many of these journalists apparently) very little self-insight, no sense of irony, he was just a non-manly slug...I would be ashamed to be his relative, truly


John Craig said...

Sherie --
I basically agree with you and LBD, but it's not quite "blaming the men for their own lapses of judgment." An analogy would be if a woman decides to go for a 2AM stroll through the South Bronx by herself. If she gets raped, yes, it's due to her lack of judgment/naivete/stupidity, but the guy is still to blame, and should be dealt with as the rapist he is.

None of which is to say that I see Thrush as a rapist. He just got drunk and made some awkward, maybe aggressive passes at various young women. What made him particularly creepy was the way he lied about everything, and tried to ruin the reputations of these young women, even as he presented himself as a supporter of women in journalism.

And the larger point I was trying to make in the post, which no one seems interested in commenting on, was the parallel with the way the NY Times presents the news.

John Craig said...

That's sort of scary, actually: evidently I think exactly like a psychopath.

Either that or you're not the psychopath you portray yourself as. (Thrush DOES have a bad case of punchable face though; and it IS amazing how often that goes hand in hand with punchable personality.)

BTW, I've read the first case history in the Cleckley book, the one about "Max." Quite entertaining. Have started on "Roberta."

mark said...

Sorry about that John Craig, I didn't intend to be the anonymous above. Thrush makes his move and after it was rejected, possibly with very strong and negative body language, he then decides to make up a story to cover his tracks. No rejection, no story or need to protect himself. Also, being drunk allegedly, in a bar serves as a ready made excuse for him or possibly, her. Now, my impression of the past was that reporters drank with politicians to learn something. Today, reporters talk with each other while politicians cruise the malls looking for excitement. Society in collapse.

John Craig said...

Mark --
No problem. Thrush said in his statement that he'd be resuming treatment for alcoholism; I have to wonder if that's a cover, as you suggest.