Politics

How the journalistic sausage gets made, LA Times edition

The LA Times ran a front-page story today about Elliott Broidy. The article reads more like a press release from Broidy’s PR firm than an actual piece of independent reportage.

The only people quoted in the story are Broidy himself and a few of his friends, who were obviously sent the reporter’s way by Broidy himself.  (The fact that the reporter does not even mention attempting to get any comments from anyone else, in particular Shera Bechard or her attorney Peter Stris, suggests that this yet another example of journalistic laziness entering into an invidious synergy with the manipulative aims of the journalist’s sources).

Broidy was embarrassed, though, when his emails with [George] Nader and others were hacked and leaked anonymously to news outlets. The correspondence exposed Broidy’s efforts to trade on his access to Trump as he sought foreign government contracts for Circinus, the global security firm he now owns.

Nothing unusual there, his friends say.

“You think he’s the first major donor to basically ask the president or the White House for help for a commercial interest?” said Gohd, an investment banker who has known Broidy for 30 years. “Oh my God, he’s the 10,430th guy who’s done this.”

Among many other things, the article fails to mention that in December of 2017 Circinus got a $600 million contract with the U.A.E., a few days after Broidy met with Trump in the Oval Office: a meeting that took place the day after Shera Bechard signed a non-disclosure agreement regarding her purported affair with Broidy.  (This contract was, by orders of magnitude, the largest deal that Circinus had ever signed: the most recent financial information about the firm indicated it had thirty employees and $4.6 million in annual revenues).

Broidy’s friends are also quick to minimize the significance of his conviction for bribing New York State officials:

One of his main interests was Israel. When he set up Markstone, the firm’s strategy was to invest in companies there. Broidy met with Ariel Sharon, then prime minister, and Benjamin Netanyahu, then finance minister; they welcomed Markstone’s arrival.

To raise the investment firm’s $800 million, Broidy sought out elected officials who oversaw the pension funds of government workers in New York, California and other states. His biggest success was a $250-million commitment from the state of New York. Broidy would later admit that he paid nearly $1 million in payoffs to Comptroller Alan Hevesi and his top aides.

“I have never made any excuses for my actions,” Broidy said.

He pleaded guilty to a felony, which was reduced to a misdemeanor after he cooperated with prosecutors. His testimony was crucial to the conviction of Hevesi, who went to prison for 20 months.

To Broidy’s friends, it was no coincidence that Democrat Andrew Cuomo, now New York governor, was the state attorney general who prosecuted the case after Broidy led GOP fundraising for the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, John McCain, and running mate Sarah Palin.

“The money guy for McCain and Palin and Bush — and if you’re a politically crusading attorney general, this is a pretty good target to have,” Gohd said.

Although I’m no fan of Andrew Cuomo, the suggestion that Broidy’s prosecution was politically motivated is pretty outrageous, given that it’s supported by zero evidence. It also gets zero pushback from the Times’ stenographer reporter.  Note that Hevesi — the big fish in the prosecution, politically speaking — was an elected Democratic official, and that Broidy walked away with slap on the wrist: he got no jail time, and his conviction was reduced to a mere misdemeanor, in exchange for ratting out Hevesi and his underlings.

Broidy also appears to be someone who has all the friends money can buy: during his sentencing process he “received letters of support from Kenneth Langone, co-founder of Home Depot, and former New York Governor George Pataki.”

Speaking of friends in high places:

Former Sen. Bob Kerrey, a Circinus advisor who has known Broidy for years, said the publicity was devastating to the father of three.

“He spends a lot of time trying to hold his family together, which is not easy to do when you make a mistake like that,” Kerrey said.

This brings us to an interesting question raised by the existence of this egregious puff piece, which is, if Broidy is so “devastated” about the publicity generated by his supposed galavanting with Miss November 2010, why is he doing what he can to put that story back on the front page of the biggest newspaper in his home town?

The story’s last graph implies one possible reason:

Bechard’s lawsuit includes what Broidy’s lawyers describe as “sensational allegations” about his sex life. A judge has let Broidy keep that part of the complaint under seal, but only temporarily. If the court rejects his request to block the disclosure permanently, those details will soon become public.

Is this blatant PR effort an attempt to sway the judge in regard to the question of whether the public will be allowed to see the very large portion of Bechard’s complaint against Broidy that remains redacted? Those redactions include nine entire sections of the complaint, and it’s difficult to believe that all or perhaps any of them are actually about Broidy’s sex life.

I’ll be publishing a lot more on this matter soon.

 

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