NOTE TO READER: Notwithstanding the attention the Washington Post has lavished on me of late (e.g., their recent piece “Inside the shadow reality world promoting the lie that the presidential election was stolen”, June 24, 2021, on top of numerous other mentions since the election), the WaPo has declined to practice “right-of-response journalism” and publish this. So I will, here.
I welcome Washington Post’s recent exercise in Election Fraud Denial, “Inside the ‘shadow reality world’ promoting the lie that the presidential election was stolen”. It displays the same fallacy marring legacy media (and for that matter, the education of humanities majors under 40): “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you in trouble, it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so” (as Twain put it). Thus from the headline forward it leaves an honest reader asking, “But why do you assert this?” Yet it is ably-reported and well-written, and has budged the permitted narrative a few inches towards truth. In addition, Emma Brown was courteous, professional, and a pleasure to work with, and that is rare these days.
Here are three places where Emma has inched towards the truth.
· Rather than strictly adhering to the Party Line (≈ Byrne claims the election was stolen but experts dismiss his accusations), Emma distinguishes herself merely by noting that I reply that the experts’ dismissals are “facile bromides” that do not account for the data. For the courageous act of conveying that simple claim, Emma stands head-and-shoulders above her contemporaries in the world of, “investigative journalism”.
· There is information in the article that others have not dared to print. For example, that I did not vote for Trump (and am neither “pro-Trump” nor an “avid Trump supporter” as others have framed it); that the notorious December 18 meeting in the Oval office was about persuading Trump to “investigate voting machines in key counties” (and not about seizing voting machines across the nation as others have written); that the revelation of data that makes me confident the election was stolen has already discretely occurred in Exhibit 12 of Mike Lindell’s recent lawsuit.
· Ms. Brown’s description of me includes the word “journalist”. Given that my anti-corruption writings on DeepCapture from 2005-2008 won global Internet awards for being both the best writing on Corruption and Business Investigative Journalism in the USA, I think it is reasonable. Still, it is a well-received olive branch.
It’s not much, but it’s a start (one has to grade on a curve dealing with legacy media). With little fanfare, Emma has buried such nuggets for those following closely. Someday, these will be seen as small acts of bravery in the midst of the temporary triumph of Orwellianism in America.
Now to the fallacy animating the piece: it practices argument-by-assertion. The claim that the election was rigged is dismissed as a “lie”, a “falsehood”, “baseless” and “disinformation”… and that is just the title plus the first four sentences! (Is this starting to same strange to anyone else who did not grow up on Pravda?) No attempt is made to deal with such issues as November 3’s tabulation pauses, adjudication rates, cellular modems, and so on and so forth. Nor is any attempt made to explain why election integrity is a “right-wing” issue. In that respect, WaPo serves the same weak tea as its competitors.
Rather than deal with these misses individually I will just say, “See the movie” or “Read the book” (also named The Deep Rig, which the WaPo has curiously omitted). And I will remind your readers of some history.
In 2005-2008 I came out criticizing another institution whose rigorous governance was assumed by all proper-thinking people: the settlement system underlying our capital markets. I claimed that fault-tolerances within that system were being exploited by a constellation of hedge funds which (coupled with then little-known “expert networks”) was engaged in a market manipulation-insider trading regime that was corrupting our capital markets and destabilizing the system, and that the SEC was either asleep at the switch or in bed with Wall Street (popularizing the then-arcane terms “regulatory capture” and “deep capture”).
Then as now, the Yuck-yucks went to work chortling, deriding, and obfuscating my claims. For many normal people, their clearest piece of evidence that I was correct was in the way that the mainstream press violated then-existing precepts of journalistic fair play in their efforts to dissuade the public from considering my claims regarding settlement failures, latent derivative risk, and regulatory capture. CNBC’s Jim Cramer and Herb Greenberg spent three consecutive afternoons leading a parade of guests to parrot, Patrick Byrne is crazy yes don’t you think he’s crazy? We think he’s so crazy too. Up next: another guest to tell you that Patrick Byrne is crazy. A columnist at the New York Times “Joe Nocera” went so frothing about me for so long that another journalist there (an honest one with whom I had previously worked) called to tell me, “I want you to know that the word we use these days on the floor is, ‘surreal’. We say that it is ‘surreal’ that we are working for the New York Times while it is publishing these crazy hit pieces on you.”
In fact, the Yuck-yucks got so carried away in their chortling and high-fiving that they forgot that at the end of the day, the cards do the talking. So from 2005-2008 I kept at it, knowing I was correct and thus enjoying the experience of having so much vituperation slung at me, chuckling as I watched the yuck-yucks build the pot at the center of the table. They set aside normal journalist ethics as they slid into the pot all their credibility-chips, then their pocket money, and finally their car keys, by setting aside all conventions of journalistic honesty to dissuade the public from understanding or heeding my claims. NY Post (for folks who move their lips when they read People magazine), Fortune (sort of an Entertainment Weekly! for crony capitalists), Wall Street Journal, New York Times (of course)… As I recall, the only two major news organizations in the USA who sat that hand out were the New Yorker and the Washington Post.
In 2008 things started to unravel, regulators passed emergency measures to stop the settlement issues I had been warning about and that they had claimed were impossible, and on October 23 Greenspan went before Congress to name “settlement” as among the three causes of the crisis, along with fraud and securitization (e.g., Madoff and Mortgage Backed Securities).
Subsequent mainstream media analyses generally focused only on fraud and securitization. Still, the credibility-bet paid off. Much was public: “These days, when people talk of Byrne, the word ‘vindication’ comes up a lot,” wrote the AP in August, 2008. In the last week of 2008 a Wall Street Journal piece appeared in which the writer included me in a list of the five people who deserved credit for seeing it coming (among the other four were Nassim Taleb and Nouriel Rabini): “2008 Lookback: Best Calls of the Year” [WSJ]. Charles Gasparino, a serious and honest financial journalist, both noted my prescience in his subsequent book on the 2008 crisis and later mocked his co-stars on CNBC, saying, “Patrick Byrne was Right All Along [deepcapture.com]”.
For the following decade the yuck-yucks who had slid their chips into the pot had almost nothing to say about me. Herb Greenberg, who had once obsessed publicly about the varying times I took to answer his emails, went silent. Jim Cramer was taunted by colleagues for his refusal even to dare use my name on air. The rest of the financial press fell similarly silent for over a decade. It has only been in the last 24 months that two media organs have gotten engaged on me: the New Yorker and the Washington Post. The two who did not lose their credibility-chips to me in 2008.
So here we are again, with pieces such as this recent article, which notwithstanding the incremental improvements Ms. Brown has brought to the issue, still engages in Election Fraud Denial. It seems that some are forgetting that this hand is not going to be won by seeing who can work the words “false” and “baseless” into an article more times, but by (for example) looking at ballots in Maricopa, Arizona.
So bet big, Yuck-yucks. I’m probably bluffing this time. Bet your new cars, your second homes in Rehobeth, your wife’s jewelry. For that matter, bet your wives, bet your mistresses, bet your girlfriends. Bet your children, and bet your honor as Americans in front of your children.
I can already give you my reply: I call. When this hand is over I will again be shown to have been correct, industrial-scale fraud will be revealed in an institution that the public trusted and the mainstream media blithely defended, and two empty spots on my lodgepole will have their scalps.
Respectfully yet confidently,
Patrick M. Byrne