Backstory of the Rashida Tlaib Controversy

Rashida Tlaib
May 31, 2019 12:29 p.m.

We just recorded a new episode of the podcast with Mike Isikoff and Dan Klaidman of Yahoo News and the Skullduggery podcast. (Should drop late this afternoon or early evening.) We mainly talked about the Russia probe, looking back to the second half of 2016, what was known then, how reporting on the dossier looks in retrospect. But we also talked about the recent faux-controversy with Rashida Tlaib because it was based on comments she made on their podcast. And we got some interesting backstory on how it unfolded and how and why it exploded as a story.

One was that Tlaib’s press secretary apparently tried (unsuccessfully) to halt the interview right after that exchange. Not terribly surprising. He or she certainly knows the microscope everything Tlaib says is under. But we also learned something new about how the story propagated. I looked into this at the time. It was Philip Klein of The Washington Examiner who did the first write up with a willfully dishonest headline: “Rashida Tlaib says thinking of the Holocaust provides her a ‘calming feeling.'” But how did it get on to his radar?

According to podcast cohost and Yahoo News Editor in Chief Dan Klaidman, after the podcast they weren’t sure whether they’d made news or not and wrote up a story based on another part of the conversation. But they distributed the clip of the one-state solution/Holocaust exchange to the Israeli media. So it seems like that was the vector: Israeli media to US right wing media.

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