Plus-Delta Analysis: CNN’s New Political Hire Isgur Flores

[NB: Check the byline. /~Rayne]

Let’s make like a cable news management team and assess CNN’s hiring of former GOP operative Sarah Isgur Flores as a Political Editor ahead of the 2020 election using a plus-delta analysis.


Education background includes history, political science, and law; she has a JD from Harvard. History and law degree may be very important should the current administration face mounting investigations and the possibility of impeachment.

With a decade of experience in political campaigns, Flores should understand well how media works campaign cycle from a campaign’s perspective.

Her hiring provides assurance to conservatives that CNN will not exercise a liberal bias covering 2020 campaigns.

Flores’ presence as an openly pro-GOP editor may discourage further attacks on CNN after this past year’s bomb threats.

A woman editor may offer some diversity in perspective as 2020’s field of candidates already includes more women than ever.


Flores has zero journalism experience yet bypasses political analyst position for political editor.

Worked exclusively for Republican Party candidates, revealing a partiality toward a particular political ideology.

She has been extremely open about her conservative ideology which may be off-putting to a moderate audience, ex. her strident anti-choice beliefs, evident in her Twitter feed, may offend women.

Worked for the Trump administration as Jeff Sessions’ spokesperson, revealing a willingness to work for problematic Republicans.

Made a show of loyalty before accepting roll with DOJ by visiting Trump to assure him she was “on board with his agenda and would be honored to serve him.” Not clear when this loyalty and service ends.

It’s not clear whether a non-disclosure agreement was signed by Flores muzzling her from speaking about the Trump administration.

It’s not clear if her loyalties and ideology pose a threat to confidential and anonymous sources CNN’s reporters have relied upon while covering the Trump administration.

MSNBC had also been approached by Flores; she tried to sell them on her inside knowledge of the Special Counsel’s investigation. CNN says she won’t use this knowledge in her role but it’s difficult to see how she can be firewalled off from matters related to the investigation if they affect Republicans in Congress or running in 2020.

Her ambitions may both outstrip her current role before 2020, stepping on her immediate boss’s toes (David Chalian) and they may interfere with CNN’s intentions:

…“She had a detailed idea of what she wanted to do,” someone with knowledge of the discussions told me. “She wanted to do something on-air combined with some sort of quasi-management, behind-the-scenes planning kind of work. I think she looked at Dave Chalian and said, I wanna do that.”…(source)

CNN staff are not happy with this move (though Brian Stelter puts an awfully good face on it).

While Flores’ hiring could be likened to CNN’s hiring of Corey Lewandowski and Jeffrey Lord in terms of balance, the leap to an editorial position combined with strong ideology makes CNN look partisan — lacking neutrality in the public’s perception.

One more critically important factor gives pause about Flores’ new gig: CNN is owned by Warner Media LLC, which in turn is owned by AT&T. Is hiring Flores an attempt to shape policy to benefit ultimate parent AT&T, heading off pressure from the public for Net Neutrality and any changes in regulations affecting telecommunications and internet service providers?

This just doesn’t look good to me, especially after so many good, seasoned news media people without baggage like Flores’ were cut by outlets over the last two weeks.

This is an open thread.

70 replies
  1. Jughead's Head/Spine says:

    The reasoning behind it was pretty obvious, but I sincerely doubt conservatives will be assuaged by this. The Republican base is now evangelicals, and they do cults of personality kind of by definition (mega-churches). They’re the ones giving Trump 80% approval ratings because they think he’s leading us to the apocalypse.

    I mean, just one example, part of the mythos (depending on your flavor) is the attack on and miraculous survival of Jerusalem. Hence the embassy move, and possibly why support didn’t plummet when the news came out that the Trump admin was selling the Saudis nukes. (This is literally what happens in the Left Behind series, except it was Russia that fired the missiles there.)

    CNN has already been declared an enemy, a word that’s dangerous to secular people, but which in the evangelical lingo means “to be stopped at all costs”.

    Huge blow to CNN’s “this is an apple” campaign credibility though. Doubling down didn’t help.

    One thing that I just saw come up: according to the class-action motion against Trump’s governmental NDAs, literally everyone has to sign them. Omarosa said this in her book too. It wouldn’t surprise me either; no one in Trump’s world gets there without an NDA, except perhaps “The Family” itself. His business partners report this fairly frequently, especially when things go south.

    I don’t think she can be fair. Not after that loyalty pledge. You don’t send a defector to “the enemy”, you send a spy. I’m not sure what effect she’ll have since she’s in a team, but nobody gets anywhere on the right without learning dogwhistles to avoid “triggering the libs.”

    • P J Evans says:

      As a longtime reader here and at Slacktivist, my opinion of evangelical fundies is that they’re fairly ignorant of what their bible actually says (and none of it was meant to apply to anyone now living) – and their much-wanted “rapture” is non-biblical in origin.

      • PR says:

        “Dearly beloved, we have gathered here today to get through this thing called life Electric word life it means forever and that’s a mighty long time But I’m here to tell you there’s something else (Go crazy)”

        Time and again, looking for that *PURPLE BANANA” will drive you NUTS as the ELEVATOR tries to “bring you down” so go CRAZY, i.e. BE CRAZY in a crazy world to subvert damage.

        Like A Devin Nunes House investigation, some ONLY look for what you want to find and bury what you wish to HIDE. CRAZY SHADY WORLD. So bury what’s good and expose what’s bad about yourself, so that way you LIVE FREELY knowing ALL your secrets are GOOD.  Go ahead be a Badass.

        JWs focus on rapture for a reason. And it’s Ok. It doesn’t take away from anything. My point is being religious or spiritual doesn’t make one a bad fit, but as MW points out: the new hire is not a journalist and she’s biased on many other fronts. THEY SHOULD DROP THE OFFER. Blame lies w/ Zucker who ALSO fired good people like soledad o’brien. ASSHOLE

        Corey Lewandowski attacked a journalist. His hiring was far worse. Now he’s at Turnberry Solutions with guess who: Ryan FUCKING Zinke.

        Want to talk about SHIT HIRES: Email and Tweet Turnberry Solutions. Fuck Them.

  2. Eureka says:

    Rayne, check out this thread/comments (I didn’t track down what started these Qs (will be clear in thread)), also links to new DB piece:

    Max Tani: “In an email to me, Isgur explained her bizarre involvement in the Seth Rich saga. ”

    CNN in Damage Control Mode With Dems Over GOP Operative Hire

    Adding: she denies any involvement

    • Eureka says:

      Best I can tell from reviewing her timeline, Parker Molloy of Media Matters (linked in thread) had been repeatedly tweeting for CNN to address the allegations, and instead DB did and DB updated their DNC-related piece with Isgur Flores’ statement of denial and non-relevance to her new job.

      • Rayne says:

        Yeah, her proximity to the conspiracy theory crap is unsettling no matter how many denials she issues.

        The other factor I don’t think I conveyed well is that she was pitching herself at these cable outlets. Who else was she pitching? If she’s so good at what she does, why wasn’t she already snapped up?

        Something just doesn’t gel for me about the entire scenario.

        • Eureka says:

          Same here.

          I keep glimpsing the idea of a Trojan horse; Bannonization of all media.

          Also glimpsing CNN being happy to be further “taken over” (passive voice intentional), while throwing open the doors…

          Doesn’t CNN still regularly have Trump-NDA-signee commentators?  Just like how Trump and admin blow past their scandals du jour to ever greater heights, so it seems CNN is just moving right along after the NDA situation was overtly revealed on air, moving windows.

          i.e. we the people are Troy, not CNN.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Isgur reminds me of those Australian beer commercials that riffed off Paul Hogan’s Crocodile Dundee character.  “That’s not a knife, this is a knife,” sort of thing.  She’s out to redefine political coverage.  That is, to make herself the center of it.  Getting her old boss re-elected is probably on her agenda, too, as it may be AT&T’s and others in the corporate purity of essence crowd who are afeared of the AOC pinko-commie-socialist agenda.

    CNN could not have hired her for that job by accident or even in spite of her political biases: she could only have been hired because of them.  Everyone involved would have predicted the shit storm of criticism that would result from her hiring, causing a momentary and potentially long-lasting source of viewership and clickbait.

    Ordinarily, the editor’s job is to guide and oversee the work and presentations of other people.  Doing that right under the time and other pressures of an presidential election cycle would allow little time for on-air performance.  Isgur, however, seems to be a driven performance artist.  She would scream loudly enough to break the studio glass if she were not given on-air time to preen, to sell, and to put the shiv into competing messaging.  Her total lack of journalism training and experience would mean nothing inside her would argue against that self-promotion at all costs.

    That conflicts with actually doing the job for which she was nominally hired.  So, your observation about that causing Isgur to self-destruct before the election campaigns really get going may be exactly right.  But that depends on where her juice comes from: if it’s from AT&T, CNN’s management not liking her work would mean less.

    • Democritus says:

      She has my hackles raised.  The Seth Rich matter in particular.  I’d been getting annoyed by MSNBC morning shows in particular, well except Ruhle who rules, and looking for alternates.  Trumps rise coincides its my having to retire early because of a disability and I’ve filled much of my excess time with news stuff.

      We need a new news network, even if online.  Not just Newsy, people also want anchors.  I would actually ally love an online network stream it on a tablet while using the TV for games etc.

      slightly OT, but if anyone has any good economic, history or news podcasts maybe any suggestions would be welcome :) Stuff I could stream while playing strategy games or whatnot  so my brain does not completely atrophy as I sit around trying not to hurt.

      So far as the report, when are people sort of expecting things to start breaking out?  My stomach is tied up in a knot. Should I be trying to get to the dispensary today?

      • PieIsDamnGood says:

        As a lover of strategy games and podcasts I have a few suggestions, some are more related to news than others.

        -History of Rome

        -Opening Arguments

        -Fresh Air

        -NPR Politics podcast

        -Slow Burn


        -Bag Man

        -Stay Tuned with Preet (plus the paid Cafe Insider)

        I hope you’ve discovered Paradox Grand Strategy games (EU IV in particular) and the Civilization series. You may also enjoy tycoon games like Railway Empire or Parkitect.

        [Rayne – I’ll stick with this user name. Promise!]

        • Democritus says:

          OMG Civ, I love Civ.  This might sound odd, but I still play Civ 2 CTP because I just spent so many afternoons with it back in the good old days. Oh and Alpha Centuri!

          I was trying to get into EU 3 I think?, and I’ve really been looking at trying maybe crusader knights, with the dynastic element?  CK something? I also have a hard time sitting at computers for too long, all my browsing is on a tablet (sorry for typos etc) , so I’ve had to try to migrate to console, but ugh. I’ve gotten a few 4x space games that allow economic trading etc which is fun, but not as deep.

          For regular strategy games on a console though I’ve found the UI is… not good though, lol.

          Thank you! :)  Also for the pod recs!

          • PieIsDamnGood says:

            You’re welcome! Other podcasts on my list:

            -How I Built This

            -On the Media

            -Trump Inc

            Crusader Kings II is the game you’re thinking of, some people absolutely love it and play nothing else but it’s a little intimidating to get into. Stellaris is a space strategy game that (I think) is out on consoles, it’s published by Paradox.

            Strategy games on consoles are tough in general, you could try connecting a PC (or laptop) to your TV and using a wireless mouse/keyboard. An alternative is to use Steam Link, which streams your PC screen to the TV and allows you to use wireless keyboard/mouse. Steam link almost always requires a wired connection from the PC to Steam Link box. Good luck :)

            • Democritus says:

              Thank you!!!!! :)  I do a couple of those as I can, but there are some new ideas and I appreciate your thoughts.

      • Diviz says:

        Pods: KCRW’s Left Right & Center, and their sister pod LRC’s All the President’s Lawyers

        Strategery: there is an open source version of Age of Empires called 0AD (zero AD) that might amuse you

    • Rayne says:

      Interesting comment but I seriously doubt she’s the one to engineer this. Do we feel any better about Sessions’ performance at DOJ while she was there in communications?

  4. Bri2k says:

    While I find CNN’s hiring of Isgur troubling on many levels, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to matter much in the long run. I don’t think anyone will be carrying water for trump by 2020. If he’s not absolutely politically radioactive and paying for his crimes before the election, then our system isn’t functioning the way we were taught it’s supposed to.

    Thanks for a great post Rayne. I always enjoy your writing and glean something new from your work.

    • Rayne says:

      It’s not so much that anyone will be carrying water for Trump. It’s that a swing percentage of voters may continue to vote against their interests if she ensures wedge issues remain at the forefront.

      The same wedge issues foreign actors are surely going to continue to leverage across social media as they did in 2016.

      We need to look at media more comprehensively for this reason. Flores is a piece in a puzzle.

    • Pat says:

      Bri2k, I think you’ve seen the cloud graphs from Nate Silver’s site about the issues covered by the press in 2016.  The most visible word for Hillary Clinton’s campaign was EMAILS, which was a heavily investigated “scandal” in which no laws were broken by Clinton.

      There were people who decided that that non-scandal should be the most covered issue about the entire campaign.  Someone decided that it merited hundreds of articles above the fold for the New York Times.  Other people decided that it was the most important thing to mention every time Clinton’s name was uttered.  It mattered more than the crimes Trump had already committed.  It mattered more than Clinton’s policies or experience.

      Editors matter a lot.  Perhaps that is why conservatives are trying to snap up important editorial positions at mainstream media outfits before the 2020 elections.

      • Rayne says:

        Yes, this. Editors can push back for more information or spike a story. Editors can allow shit to publish at the worst possible time, like Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia at NYT on October 31, 2016.

        And editors with conscious or unconscious bias can miss the relationship between white males unrelenting dogging a female candidate — can work in the inverse as well but too few female editors. I worry CNN selected for improving gender equity at the loss of ideological neutrality.

      • harpie says:

        Yup. See 5:28 AM – 25 Jan 2019

        In the final month of the 2016 campaign Amy Chozick, the reporter the NYT assigned to cover Hillary Clinton, sat in their offices in NY and instead of writing about policy- wrote Email stories from Wikileaks. That’s all she did

        [I would put quotes around the word reporter.]
 5:35 AM – 25 Jan 2019

        Now is a good time to examine the ties between Wikileaks, Roger Stone and the press. The first two couldn’t succeed without media intermediaries

    • Rayne says:

      Trump is really, really good for CNN because Jeff Zucker treats cable news journalism as a different genre of reality TV. Zucker is the link between Trump and The Apprentice at NBC and now CNN.

      Trump and therefore both Jeff Zucker and CNN are really, really bad for our country because they are both key components to manufactured reality infotainment.

      • Cathy says:

        Yes! Zucker provided reasoning back in 2016 (per BF):

        “If we made any mistake last year, it’s that we probably did put on too many of his campaign rallies in those early months and let them run,” [CNN President Jeff ] Zucker said at a talk at the Harvard Kennedy School [on October 14, 2016]. “Listen, because you never knew what he would say, there was an attraction to put those on air.”

        Translation from the Contrite (above) into the Cynical:  What a fabulously low-cost way to boost ratings, right?

        I wouldn’t be surprised if CNN’s prep for the 2020 political cycle betrays a concern that the Trump phenomenon may be waning. This may be a sign they want someone who can point them toward the non-Trump ratings fodder à la Jeff Zucker’s early recognition of Trump’s appeal

        Zucker said he knew The Apprentice would be a hit because Trump was a “publicity magnet.”

        “Trump delivered on PR, he delivered on big ratings,” he said, adding that Trump would often claim the ratings were bigger than they were.

        Apparently CNN signals it isn’t interested in her DOJ experience (per UK’s Independent)

        She will have no involvement in coverage of the justice department, given her previous position, the broadcaster added.

      • BobCon says:

        Funny thing is I just finished listening to a podcast with Conan O’Brien, who was carefully describing his unhappiness with the end of his role as Tonight Show host.

        He never once mentioned Zucker by name, but it was impossible to miss the fact that O’Brien agreed with everyone alive that Zucker’s scheme to give the 10 pm slot to Jay Leno Monday – Friday was arguably the worst programming screwup of a network CEO in the entire history of TV.

        How Zucker got the top job at CNN is inexplicable, and their failure to take on Fox during Zucker’s tenure is another testament to his incompetence. I hope this move finally destroys his career.

  5. Ewan says:

    It’s another lump of this sickening relativism. Everything is really an opinion, including one’s attitude towards truth, so a network shouldn’t have favorites, or exclude anyone because of it. CNN like others has been walking down that path for such a long time, they don’t see it as a problem, after all, it works well for Fox.

  6. Marsi says:

    I’ll take advantage of this being an open thread to share that the emergence overnight of a new player, David Geovanis, has me feeling like we’ve suddenly jumped up to a whole new level. At first blush, he sounds like a linchpin.

    • Rayne says:

      Since other readers may not recognize the name Geovanis:

      Senate investigators want to speak to a Moscow-based American businessman and former Trump associate who could shed light on the president’s dealings with Russia in the ’90s. CNN’s Nina dos Santos reports: “The Senate Intelligence Committee … has been keen to speak with David Geovanis for several months, the sources say. Geovanis helped organize a 1996 trip to Moscow by Trump, who was in the early stages of pursuing what would become a long-held goal of building a Trump Tower in the Russian capital … Years later, Geovanis worked for the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, whose ties to Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort have also been of interest to investigators. … When contacted by CNN via telephone, Geovanis declined to comment on his relationship with the President.”

      (source: WaPo’s The 202)

  7. harpie says:

    Here’s a list of some Sarah Isgur tweets compiled by David Astin Walsh: 5:59 AM – 20 Feb 2019

    10:57 AM – 30 Apr 2014 Trust gap in White House: “They Knew And They Lied About Benghazi”
    6:17 PM – 28 Oct 2015 Hypocritical for @HillaryClinton to pretend her policies don’t hurt women! 92% of jobs lost in Obama’s first term belonged to women.
    7:04 PM – 10 Nov 2015 / @SeanDugan Just like a liberal to think they are smarter than Americans who can no longer see their family doctor. Disgusting, actually.
    5:58 PM – 3 Jun 2016 Dear self righteous liberals: every time u call all Republicans “evil” “stupid” “racist” u are no different than Trump. You are the problem. 
    7:31 PM – 15 Jun 2016 Left refuses 20wk ban on abortion (kills thousands) but demonizes conservatives over standing up for 2nd Amendment bc…guns. Cc @Lawrence
    6:12 AM – 11 Nov 2016 Overweening sense of entitlement and smugness. One of many reasons the progressive Left lost this week.
    8:28 PM – 4 Jan 2017 As a Harvard law grad, I’m simply shocked(!) to learn there are 1,200 leftists law profs who don’t like conservatives/Republicans
    6:16 AM – 5 Jan 2017 ‘Everytime [Sessions] smeared as racist, they might well recall Clinton’s dismissal of Trump voters as deplorables.’ 
    4:57 PM – 16 Jan 2017 This is how weaponized feminism works: You don’t count as a woman unless you fall in line with their list of liberal orthodoxy.
    3:02 PM – 11 Feb 2017 Just remember, Democrats: if you don’t like someone’s politics, call them racist. Sure fire way to lose *again* in 2018!
    3:55 PM – 12 Feb 2017 At least progressives r showing true colors. They aren’t feminists. Just Lefists that don’t believe u count unless u agree w their politics

    The 10/28/15 tweet is from

  8. Badger Robert says:

    It has the appearance of someone trying to teach Fox network a lesson. But Fox may give up on Trump at some point, on business calculations. Fox wants to survive in the post Trump era.

  9. dwfreeman says:

    So, CNN is giving the Trump White House something of a poltical bone, chilling the newsroom in the process, and deciding that the lesson NBC learned in hiring Megyn Kelly, wasn’t a mistake, but a misplaced political metaphor for alternative viewpoints.

    Curious to see how Brian Stelter examines Flores hiring on his Sunday show. He has no problem going after former colleagues and editors at the New York Times who allegedly plaigiarized footnote references. How about those who have engaged in pushing whole-cloth Republican enriched political memes and murder plots to drive Fox clickbate themes of interest?

    If you can’t report  the news, or participate in Democratic candidate debates as the shiny new political editor, maybe you can help make the news. That appears to be Flores and CNN’s primary interest here. That along with satisfying the White House and unexplained corporate interests at some level, while taking a big bite out of the network tagline in the process.

  10. Fred Zlotnick says:

    CNN has a website,, where you can contribute story ideas. My contribution is this: “Documents the mass defection of CNN viewers to MSNBC and other platforms in response to the hiring of a right wing extremist non-journalist to “coordinate” coverage of the 2020 election.” I invite you to consider contributing a story idea of your own.

    • Howamart says:

      Thanks for the link. My proposal:

      A behind the scenes look (think Tom Brady miked on the field at the Super bowl) at how a partisan editor in charge of CNN 2020 presidential campaign coverage assigns stories that attack credible progressive candidates and ignores the criminal activity of her former employer.

  11. KG says:

    I don’t think her hiring is as 4-D chess as some people are making it. Clearly, they want to be able to ask questions during the 2020 election process and if Trump et. al. keep excluding CNN, they won’t have anything to air. So they went fishin’ for someone who is right out of that same camp.

    I think the GOP needs to run an opposition candidate against Trump, though. They won’t, but they absolutely should. Trump isn’t a policy guy, nor a government or “this is how things work” guy, so he doesn’t have some alternate vision of America to sell us on. However, we *do* have 20 Democratic candidates all selling new(ish) ideas on the campaign trail, with just each other to pick at. This means they have over a year and a half to fine-tune policies that *will* take America in a new direction, with little to no resistance from Trump and his team, as they are not interested in doing anything other than Trump’s whim-of-the-day.

    Effectively, the Democrats will take over the narrative on policy and the direction of the country and will have plenty of time to make their messaging effective for the independents and disillusioned Trump voters. They’re going to win the battle (Trump as their nominee) just to lose the ideological war.

  12. viget says:

    @Rayne at 10:20

    Rayne, you forgot the best part. Geovanis was hired by Brooke Group (now Vector Group) for the Trump Tower project back in the 80s. Brooke group’s main prinicpals are Bennet LeBow and Howard Lorber. Lorber is the gentleman with the blocked number that Uday (Trump Jr.) called after setting up the infamous June 9th meeting.

    Can anyone say “cutout?”

  13. silcominc says:

    It has been discussed above, but Jeff Zucker is not a journalist. He views news through an entertainment prism. He is also the one who made (along with Mark Burnett) trump into trump. They did Celeb apprentice and then Zucker carried ALL of trumps rallies on his air non-stop. This is what led to others doing the same. It does not matter what Zucker’s personal beliefs are (if he even has any). What matters is that his desire is to make more and more money for his owners regardless of the consequences. He is no different than Exxon destroying the environment so it can make more money. No different.

    Hiring this nut job Flores is just more of the same. I feel bad for the real journalists who are at CNN and work for this asshole.

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “The minute you have a back-up plan, you’ve admitted you’re not going to succeed.”

    Southpaw comments, “A truly important, top-shelf tweet in the study of business administration,” from self-proclaimed visionary, the now indicted Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos, at a Stanford GSB conference in 2015 (

    Perhaps she learned that from her father, once a VP at Enron. Born in 1984, with looks, brains and the ambition of Steve Job, Elizabeth Holmes thought the world was hers by 2003. She dropped out of Stanford’s chemical engineering program, and “used her tuition money” to seed a start-up. Another bootstrap, did it in my garage origin story that ignores the parental leg-up. (Were she a scholarship student, that would have been impossible; had she borrowed the money, she would have committed fraud in repurposing it.)

    Holmes should have named her blood testing products company Charlatan or Icarus. Its stock soared, then fell disastrously amid a flurry of SEC charges and criminal indictments. Like Bernie Madoff, she snookered the high and mighty for nearly a hundred million dollars and disappointed countless patients before crashing into the sea.

    Her business advice should have been a tip-off. The first casualty of business, like war, is Plan A. Following her advice would mean that no B-school student need ever again run a sensitivity analysis on a planned investment. No sailor would need an extra line, coupling, sail, radio or gps. No plane would need a co-pilot. No sales person would have a life insurance product to sell. And no mountaineer would survive when ice blocked her planned route down.

    Holmes advice for young, smart, tough, entrepreneurs is to follow the lead of First World War generals. Like Holmes, they prized audacity, considering it superior to any mechanical contraption or scheme of warfare. They, too, had one plan: bombard the enemy and throw men into the mud, barbed wire and massed machine gun fire. The fields of Flanders give up the results each Spring. Holmes’s investors and would be patients might feel the same.

    • errant aesthete says:


      “Holmes advice for young, smart, tough, entrepreneurs is to follow the lead of First World War generals. Like Holmes, they prized audacity, considering it superior to any mechanical contraption or scheme of warfare. They, too, had one plan: bombard the enemy and throw men into the mud, barbed wire and massed machine gun fire.”

      Ms. Holmes grasped the key rule of the “con” early on when she assembled her board of directors and trusted advisors who had everything to do with her targeted messaging:

      “The Theranos board was a who’s who of big names. Critics have said it was too heavily weighted to military and intelligence professionals, rather than people from the medical industry or biotech venture capital.
      Former Secretary of States Henry Kissinger and George Schultz, former Secretary of Defense William Perry, Senators Bill Frist and Sam Nunn, and current Secretary of Defense James Mattis were once board members.
      “Secretary Mattis was struck by the promise of technology and was looking for any technology solution to save lives on the battlefield,” said Pentagon spokesperson Dave Eastburn. “He resigned his position on the Theranos board on Dec. 16th prior to his confirmation.”
      Former Wells Fargo CEO Richard Kovacevich served on the board, as well. Litigator David Boies served as outside counsel for the company for a period, as well as a board member.
      William Foege, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, remains a board member, according to Theranos’ website.”

  15. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    Since this is an open thread I would like to direct folks attention to what just happened with regard to the dramady in the Stone hearing. Just as MSNBC was reporting the incredible cross examination of Stone by Judge Jackson they were forced to cut away to the Cook County prosecutor reading the entire narrative of the phony attack on this yahoo from the series “Empire”. The prosecutor didn’t stop until she had consumed the entire block of time. JEEEzus, is this what we’re gunna hafta fight through from now on in the corporate cable news wars for the next 2 years?!!!

    • Rayne says:

      Swear to gods the Smollet case is a deliberate diversion. The case has no affect on how Americans are going to get through this month and make their car payments or afford their insulin. We should be pummeling every single media outlet covering Smollet instead of the opioid crisis or continued efforts to suppress voters.

      • Vinne Gambone says:

        Deliberate or not, Smollett is a diversion. Any shiny bit will do.

        Yes, this is what we are going to have to fight through.

        Suit up.

        • bmaz says:

          Smollet is NOT a “diversion”. It is a separate case that has almost nothing to do with most of the current stuff we do here. Is Smollet overhyped? Sure, But it is an important lesson in many ways. Shining it on because you are concerned about Trump, or whatever, is silly. If you care about the rule and efficacy of law, then you should care about the same on many levels.

          • Rayne says:

            We’ll agree to disagree. I think it’s a diversion by media outlets which are doing a shit job of covering other more important news. If Smollet wasn’t a celebrity this would be a police blotter story.

            • NorskieFlamethrower says:

              Thank you Rayne, the point isn’t that the Smolett thing isn’t newsworthy or important in or with regard to the law on many levels. The point IS that corporate infotainment directors use it to smother other more immediate important breaking national news.

          • NorskieFlamethrower says:

            Bmaz, I appreciate your work on this site and your commitment to educating the great unwashed and those of us ignorant of the sophisticated nuances of the law, however, in this case, you are wrong. Some of us choose not to consider the Smolett thing more important in the moment than the way a federal judge manages attempts to undermine a case in her court that has implications for the very existence of “the rule of law” and the endurance of our government. It’s as simple as that.

            • bmaz says:

              Well, we can walk and chew gum too. I find the Smollet case interesting, and will mention it whenever I feel like it.

  16. fikshun says:

    Maybe it’s an acknowledgement by CNN that they’ve lost the progressive-to-moderate viewership to MSNBC.  Lately, Maddow, O’Donnell, and Brian Williams have been winning their time slots among cable news programs, with Fox coming in second.  Maybe CNN feels like they have a better shot at clawing market share away from Fox than they do from MSNBC.

    • NorskieFlamethrower says:

      It was MSNBC that cut to the Smolett crap and they are still beating this poor pony to death, they even brought Sharpton on and there hasn’t been a single additional word on the Jackson takedown of Stone. Sorry, I meant to address Rayne

  17. viget says:

    Sorry for the paranoia here, but am I the only one thinking that Stone’s lawyers are luring ABJ into a recusal trap?

    From what Zoe Tillman is tweeting, it sounds as if the Gov’t and Jackson are both ganging up on Stone.  I’m afraid his lawyers are going to use that as evidence that ABJ must recuse, because she is too personally involved in this trial now and cannot be impartial to Stone.

    Oooh.. that dirty trickster!!!

    • viget says:

      Ok, good, she did what prosecutors were asking and went no further.   I think if she revoked his bond, his next move would to be demand her recusal.  I mean, would love to see Stone in jail, but this had to have been a trap, pure and simple.  Stone isn’t this stupid.

          • bmaz says:

            Oh, that is very true. But, still, I would like to see such discretion for defendants charged but not yet convicted, even if it is a jerk like Stone. But I fully understand your sentiment.

  18. OldTulsaDude says:

    In my opinion, CNN has been for years the ultimate he/she news organization.  From what I can tell, their idea of news is opposing talking heads spouting opposing talking points.   That, and about 6 weeks too much coverage of whatever the current crisis happens to be.

    What is needed is a genuine news organization.  With all the billionaires on each side of politics, why wouldn’t it be possible for some of them on the left side to establish a news organization that is not profit-driven?  All a group of billionaires would have to do is invest in the start-up and then guarantee the disparity between cost and income, i.e., the operational loss, and spread among many that would be a better use of their money than impeachment polls.

    Without the necessity of ratings and profit, news could make a difference again.

    • Tracy Lynn says:

      When Al Jazeera started, it was a well-funded news org that was given time to try to make a go of it. Ultimately, it wasn’t given much of a chance to succeed here in the States, although it offered an alternative point of view from the usual CNN-MSNBC-FOX suspects.

    • J R in WV says:

      Yes, the gag order now prohibits Stone from saying anything about any portion of the cases against him or anyone related. It also prohibits even a surrogate of Stone’s from saying anything about Stone’s case — yet that portion of the gag order is being broken by RWNJs speaking about the case, the Judge and the gag order all over the Innertubes, while no one is being punished for breaking that portion of the gag order… how is this possible one asks???

  19. Ed Walker says:

    I don’t get the pont of this move. The right loathes CNN, and they never ever change their minds about anything no matter the evidence or the pain they and theirs suffer as a result. This must be aimed elsewhere.

    I think it discourages the left from watching, thus reducing their share. Centrists rarely know these insider things so maybe they won’t defect unless the point is hammered at them; at least most of them are evidence-based. That tends to point at the political goals of the filthy rich who benefit from Republican control.

  20. Jibe-Ho says:

    Spot on, Rayne! Thank you for posting this incredible news the average person would not otherwise know. I gave up on CNN years ago. Only watch MSNBC and check out EW and other clear-minded sites.

  21. Molly Pitcher says:

    Court House News has a very interesting article about a federal racketeering charge filed Tuesday against Turkish businessman Sezgin Baran Korkmaz. “Korkmaz has ties to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but he is known in the United States for giving testimony in the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.”  He is accused of taking over the airline of Turkish American entrepreneur, Yalcin Ayaslim  ” through a campaign of violence, extortion and financial crime.”

    “Late last year, federal prosecutors charged Korkmaz’s associate Ekim Alptekin and Bijan Kian, a member of President Donald Trump’s transition team, with failing to disclose a foreign-influence campaign that snared Michael Flynn, the disgraced ex-national security adviser who admitting to acting as a secret agent for Turkey.  The racketeering complaint against Korkmaz lists Alptekin, who remains a fugitive from U.S. criminal charges, as a nonparty co-conspirator. ”

    Korkmaz’s company SBK Holdings, signed a $850 million agreement with Russia to help build a bridge across the Kerch Strait between Russia and Crimea in 2014.

    This is a very instructive read:

  22. Jockobadger says:

    OldTulsaDude – Actually a great idea but it would require some good old fashioned philanthropy, wouldn’t it. Have anyone in mind in particular? I’d do it if I had a few bil but alas I’m just a poor geologist.

    Until then at least we have EW…and unfortunately damn few other worthy sources of info. I believe we’re still going to win in the end.

    • OldTulsaDude says:

      Tom Steyer is one I had on my mind.  I was in my early twenties during Watergate.  I’m much more pessimistic about our current situation.

  23. Eureka says:

    I posted a formatted comment on the new open thread about the 6 January 2017 declassified ICA report on RU fucking with our elections.
    Am sticking a link to it here because the report has a chart comparing CNN metrics on social media with RT, AJ, and BBC variants.
    excerpt relevant to this page:

    Page 21 of the PDF has a chart: “TV News Broadcasters: Comparative Social Media Footprint.” It compares YT/TW/FB presences/views/likes whatnot for RT/RT America, BBC World, AJ English, and CNN/CNN-I. While it’s a truncated range of media and for limited purposes, it seems interesting anew with CNN then-way ahead on TW and FB (and RT ahead on YT).

    I haven’t thought it through a bunch, but I bet Jeff Zucker has done so.

  24. Keifus says:

    Two stories that seem to connect,


    ” The campaign has hired more than 30 full-time staffers so far and has begun building out a surrogate network devoted exclusively to putting pro-Trump talking heads on TV and radio and in newspaper op-eds — a move that reflects Trump’s fixation with how he’s portrayed in the media.”

    What’s better than curating the content?


    “Weeks before that exchange, Zucker was on the phone talking about why Trump sucks up so much of CNN’s oxygen. “People say all the time, ‘Oh, I don’t want to talk about Trump. I’ve had too much Trump,’ ” he told me. “And yet at the end of the day, all they want to do is talk about Trump. We’ve seen that, anytime you break away from the Trump story and cover other events in this era, the audience goes away. So we know that, right now, Donald Trump* dominates.”

    So sayeth Zucker! So it be.

    [*FYI – link edited to remove possible redirect./~Rayne]

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