The emperor's new clowns

When do journalists keep giving respect to the unrespectable?

I watched as much as my cott-damn job allowed time for today of the Periscope of Jacob Wohl's and Jack Burkman's absurd press conference. If you've read press accounts of the ordeal — in which the Glimmer Twins did not produce, as they had promised, the alleged victim of Robert Mueller's alleged depredations, but gave a variously-spelled name for her and praised themselves and each other for their investigative skills — you will know the event was not propitious for their exposé. (The low point for me was when they said while their absent “client” had to be trusted outright, Christine Blasey Ford was obviously lying because “she doesn’t remember… who it happened with” (?) and she had accused a "teenager.")

You also may have intuited from the coverage that the reporters present at the event didn't take the pair seriously. There were times when they loudly pointed out that Wohl and Burkman had conned them before, and times when they straight-up just laughed at them.

But Wohl and Burkman brassed it out, even soberly warning at one point that this was no laughing matter, given the gravity of the (ludicrous) accusation. And the reporters just sat for it. Oh, sure, they giggled when Burkman compared the junior-grade shitheel Wohl to Mozart, but when Burkman barked that the press was making it all about them — when if anyone was making it all about them, it was them — the scribes yielded and were docile.

In other words, even though their case was ridiculous, their neuro-linguistic alpha-dork bullshit was working — not enough to convince the reporters to parrot Burkman's and Wohl's line in their coverage, of course, but enough to make them retreat from their righteous ridicule into respectable silence when cued to do so, and to make me embarrassed on their behalf. Every time Wohl and Burkman said something like, “Alright, we'll take one more question, and then you can gaggle afterward,” I thought: Who are you to give instructions to any decent person?

But they sat for it. I even saw some of the pressies trailing Wohl and Burkman after the press conference, angling to get a solo follow-up later. You know how you know access journalism has gone too far? It's not when Maggie Haberman sucks up to Trump — gross as that is, he's the President and her job is entirely based on her gets. No, it's when some young J-schooler tries to cultivate a pair of proven frauds as if they might be useful to them later on — why, maybe later they'll have an even bigger con and they’ll let her have an exclusive!

It's gone way too far when respectable journalists treat two incredibly transparent conmen like — well, like anything other than incredibly transparent conmen. The reporters should have fallen upon them like the mob does at the end of the 1925 The Phantom of The Opera. But they instead acted the way the mob did when the Phantom pretended he had a weapon — they pulled back fearfully. Only they kept pulling back fearfully even when it was clear Wohl and Burkman had no better weapon than the harrumph-harrumph with which grifters usually get over on dumb audiences but should not be able to do with the ladies and gentlemen of the Fourth Estate.

Maybe the journos would say that it was important to get the coverage, because the coverage showed up the fraud. But once you've courted a fraudster a dozen times, no matter how stridently you've mocked his bullshit about — oh, say, how the President of the United States was really born in Africa, there's always a danger that people will take him seriously just because you fools keep showing up.

Good weekend, guys! See you Monday, Good Lord willing and the gorge don't rise.