Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

[ed.note: I wrote this post last night, prior to Paul Manafort's resignation from the Trump campaign. His departure doesn't change the story, if anything it tends to confirm it. But the rapidity and totality of his departure looks to me much more tied to his mounting legal trouble and efforts to protect Trump from those troubles than anything tied to the 'pivot' to Breitbartism or last night's regrets speech. There's also a big store of new information in this tour de force piece by Ken Vogel out this morning from Politico - particularly Manafort's connection to a man named Konstantin Kilimnik, with an apparent background in Russian intelligence, and Manafort's on-going and quite recent effort to get paid money he believes he's owed by the party of ouster pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. All the new information tends to confirm me in my belief that Manafort's 'business' in Ukraine is hardly unprecedented for a US political operative on the make. But it's the kind of stuff that seldom gets bright light investigative media attention or the kind of sustained legal attention it's now getting. That will likely end badly for at least Manafort.]

I wanted to provide some context for this new AP report outlining Manafort and company's influence campaign in the US on behalf of a now-deposed pro-Russian President of Ukraine. It's both more and less than it seems.

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Okay, I was up pretty late last night working on a post about Manafort, Ukraine, efforts to launder pilfered money out of Ukraine and into US real estate. But it's all pretty incendiary and I was trying to piece it all together and figured ... you know, I need to sleep on this and go over it again in the morning. Now, alas, probably seeming a lot less prescient and ahead of the news since we just heard a few minutes ago that Manafort has resigned from the Trump campaign. So thanks, dude. Thanks a lot. You could have waited a few more hours.

Journalists of all ideological stripes, from all places on the journalistic firmament, can be irredeemable sleaze balls. Bad behavior knows no political complexion or business model complexion. Believe me, I've seen a lot. But this story from Hunter Walker, one-time TPMer now with Yahoo Politics, illustrates something rather deep into the Breitbartian stream of right-wing journalism. It's journalism not as journalism but a sort of cartoonish ideological info-warfare, intermixed with various personal vendettas and generalized nonsense. If that sounds like a good match for the Trump campaign it is. But let's stick to the matter at hand, the topic of Hunter's article.

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I knew I remembered the name ...

You've now heard about Joseph Schmitz, the Trump foreign policy advisor - one of five - who is now accused of making anti-Semitic remarks as a Pentagon employee a decade ago. Well, these claims are fairly credible since Schmitz grew up in a household of a notorious anti-Semite and racist. McClatchy lightly references some off color remarks about Jews from Schmitz's father. But the full force of the background isn't really noted. Rep. John G. Schmitz had the rare and almost comical distinction of being expelled from the John Birch Society for being too extreme, racist and anti-semitic. Yes, you read that right.

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You may have seen the news that just two days after the auction sale of Gawker Media in bankruptcy, the company's flagship site itself announced it will cease operations next week. That's jarring news on many fronts. I discussed some of them here in Tuesday's post about the importance of independent media. But there's another aspect of this that's worth addressing.

First, let me say I don't know really anything about Gawker's internal revenue data. So as it applies to Gawker, what I'm about to write is just an educated hunch. But in general terms what I'm going to describe is definitely true. I know it from long experience in the industry. And it's worth knowing as a reader as you think about media, why publications you read do what they do and so forth.

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A few days ago the Trump camp started pushing the idea that Hillary Clinton was "America's Merkel", a reference to longserving German Chancellor Angela Merkel, by many measures one of the more successful European politicians of the post-war era. Trump even personally started pushing the Twitter hashtag "#AmericasMerkel. When I started seeing this my first thought was, "How many Americans do they think have even heard of Angela Merkel, let alone see her as some awful figure in a way that tying her to Clinton would send chills down people's spines?" For better or worse, Putin is super high profile. Netanyahu is high profile. For your average American? Merkel is not high profile.

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This morning I had a bit of time before I read the news about the latest surreal turn in the Trump campaign. And in that bit of time, I had one of those moments when I was completely wrapped and thankful for the never-ending stream of insight, humor, tips and more we all get here from TPM Readers. Particularly it was this email from TPM Reader ME, a childhood immigrant from the USSR/Russia. ME much more artfully and ably discusses something I was trying to capture in my post yesterday on Russian defense doctrine and Fox News, specifically how in trying to duplicate or capture things we don't really understand we can create caricature cartoon versions of them which bare a superficial similarity, capture the most visible elements but yet miss the real picture entirely. From ME ...

Through the years I've written numerous e-mails to this address, most of them likely less insightful than I thought at the time. However as a Russian immigrant (I'm sure one of many who has written to you) I felt inspired to throw more on the pile.

I want to draw some parallels between the modern Russian propaganda that you liken to Fox News, and the Soviet propaganda of yesteryear.

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