Tuesday, April 16, 2013

NBC's Luke Russert: I'm Just "Speculating on Possible Link" Between Boston and Waco [UPDATED!]

NBC's Luke Russert: I'm Just "Speculating on Possible Link" Between Boston and Waco [UPDATED!]:


SEE UPDATE BELOW
If anyone still wonders why network news and its close analogues
on cable are losing market share
and credibility
, the above tweet by NBC News employee Luke
Russert
provides some useful information. He posted it at
1.10pm[*] on April 15, when essentially no
information about the Boston Marathon bombing was known.
[*]: Note that the bombing took place around
2.50pm ET, so Russert must be tweeting from a non-ET zone.
It combines the worst elements of a humblebrag - look at me, at
Fenway Park with a
well-known recidivist plagiarist
! - while tossing out an
unsubstantiated suggestion that can only stoke paranoia all around.
Well done, Little
Russ
, well done.
This sort of loaded free association is hardly the province of
the MSM, of course. Over at Pajamas Media a couple of days back,
former American Enterprise Institute big-wig Michael Ledeen
published a blissfully fact-free rumination titled, "Was
Benghazi a Honey Pot Trap?
," which posits - in a fake
conversation with the spirit of James Jesus Angleton of all
paranoiacs to choose from - that U.S. Amb. Chris Stevens was lured
to to Benghazi by a gay lover.
One almost expects such awfulness from a character like Ledeen,
who has a long history of
meringue-based theories
.
But is it too much to ask for folks - especially those in the
fabled "real news" world - to kinda-sorta withhold every goddamn
thought that crosses the mind, especially as crises are playing
out? Apparently.
A note on Twitter timestamps related to Russert's email
account.
When I click through on the tweet image above, I am brought
Russert's Twitter account where the timestamp reads "1:10 PM - 15
Apr 13." Sitting across a desk from me in Reason's DC HQ, Mike
Riggs finds the time to be 4.10pm:

Here's a third timestamp - for 8.10pm - when I try to embed the
tweet:

If in fact Russert made the original tweet at 1.10pm ET, that
would have been an hour-plus before the bombs exploded, suggesting
that Russert had foreknowledge of the attack (hey, I don't believe
that, but I'm just "speculating on possible link.") If the tweet
went up at 4.10pm, then it is merely an irresponsible and
uninformed spitball, which is probably the best you can say about
it. If it actually went up at 8.10pm, then it's four hours later
(and lamer) than whatever went up at 4.10pm.
Another theory, which presumes the 1.10pm timestamp is in fact
correct, comes from reader Josh Z, who writes:
I can’t stand Russert either but you fucked up on your story on
his Twitter feed.
He posted that Twitter handle almost two hours BEFORE the
bombing occurred. He was reminiscing remembering a day 20
years earlier when he was at a Patriots’ Day game with his dad and
Barnicle at Fenway when Waco occurred. 
As the three of them first heard of Waco at the ballgame, they
were speculating if there was a link between the timing of Waco and
Patriots’ Day.
That is what he was saying.  He was not making any
link to the Boston bombing as it would not occur for two more
hours.
I can’t stand the kid.  I don’t like his hair and the
fact he got a job handed to him with no credentials but you missed
the mark here and should make a correction.
That letter prompted me to take a closer look at the timestamps,
which yielded at least three distinct results. But note too that
while April 19, 1993 was in fact both Patriots' Day in Boston and
the day that the Waco stand-off ended, it's not clear what
connection the two might have had. The Waco standoff
started on February 28, 1993 and ended only when U.S. Attorney
General Janet Reno gave a greenlight to a final assault on the
Branch Davidians' compound on April 19. Leaving aside questions of
whether anybody outside of Massachusetts really knows about or
cares about Patriots' Day, it was the U.S. government that was
responsible for any coincidental timing between that regional
holiday and the final clonflagration at Waco. So if Tim Russert,
Luke Russert, and Mike Barnicle were in fact puzzling over a
connection between Waco and Patriots' Day, they should have been
asking Janet Reno why she picked that particular day to attack a
building that was fully surrounded by federal agents.