Twice have I written previously of Emma Brown:
- Emma Brown of WaPo Gets in Touch (December, 2020)
- EMMA BROWN (WASHPO): FINALLY, A LEFTY WORTH TALKING TO (-ISH)
In those interactions Ms. Brown did nothing intellectually dishonest, which makes her stand out (beyond the obligatory use of “baseless” included in articles sharing her byline: these days I simply disregard these as genuflections among the faithful and I take no offense). Furthermore, she showed manners, which indicates a certain intellectual honesty in a reporter (as opposed to snarkiness, which indicates a substitution of emotion for reason). For these reasons, I have stayed in loose engagement.
Thus, when news of Ms. Powell’s federal investigation matters became public, I believed it was time that the public receive some transparency regarding those events, given that (for a time) the names of myself and others close to me were associated with Sidney’s DTR (however briefly). Because Ms. Brown had previously shown a willingness to practice straightforward journalism, I cooperated with her.
Today Emma has published this account. In general, it is a display of solid old-fashioned journalism that is to be commended.
I have a small number of quibbles I would make with Ms. Brown’s writing:
- Ms. Brown uses the word “lieutenants” with reference to what later proves to be Mike and Joe Flynn, our colleagues, and myself. None of us understood ourselves to be Sidney’s “lieutenants”.
- “…Michael Flynn, the Trump national security adviser who was charged with lying to the FBI in the Russia investigation. Flynn was ultimately pardoned by Trump.” A fuller and more accurate description of that would read: “…Michael Flynn, the Trump national security adviser who was initially cleared by his FBI interviewers (including Peter Strzock) but then later charged with lying to the FBI in a manner that an independent review conducted or the DOJ by a retired judge indicated gross government failure to comply with its legal obligations in fabricating the case, causing the DOJ to withdrew the case, in the Russia investigation (which has recently been revealed to have been cooked up). Flynn was ultimately pardoned (with a Pardon-of-Innocence) by Trump because in an unprecedented move, Judge Emmitt Sullivan decided to dispense with our system of adversarial justice and instead continue on his own authority (which is called “an inquisition”). Those details which Ms. Brown ommited are salient, I would think.
- Ms. Brown claims that 1/3 of Americans – including a majority of Republicans – believe that Trump lost because of fraud. Under separate title, I am going to post some survey results which show the number to be significantly higher (58-60% with another 10% unsure, leaving only 28%-30% with the confidence displayed by Ms. Brown). Yet the Left seems stuck on saying: 1/3 of Americans believe in the Big Lie! As if to say, What rubes! However, they are also fond of saying that 75%-80% of Republicans believe the Big Lie! Here is an assignment for any Lefty who holds both assertions to be true: calculate what percent of Democrats then must believe in the Big Lie. (Hint: It is something like -15%. Does that seem reasonable?)
- In the title, Ms. Brown dismisses the possibility that the election was stolen as a “falsehood”, and declares that assertions to the contrary are “baseless” and “fantastical” in the body, one time each. Ms. Brown is a creature of her environment and such genuflections to orthodoxy are still expected, I am sure. But that is a record low and I applaud heartily the movement backs towards intellectual honesty. However, I will use this moment to correct the public’s understanding of the expression, “begging the question.” People use that expression to mean, “raising the question”. It does not. It means, “to assume your conclusion.” Such as Ms. Brown has done here. She assumes it has been proven that the claims of election fraud are baseless, fantastical, falsehoods.
Other than these minor points, none relevant to the thrust of the story, this article is unobjectionable. It is simply old-fashioned, well-reported, straightforward. Does not draw any conclusions about Ms Powell (as I have not, either). Just the facts.
Which represents real progress, and I like to call it out when I see it. For the Washington Post to cover such matters with only such light spin is a matter for congratulations to the WaPo, and some cheer among ourselves.
Finally, there really is someone there worth talking to. That opens up all kinds of possibilities.