The D.C. Establishment doesn't love the Clintons, but everyone apart from wingnuts and fringe-dwellers has for years accepted the conclusion that Vince Foster killed himself. The story was laid to rest -- at least until Donald Trump revived it:
One issue on Trump’s radar is the 1993 death of Foster, which has been ruled a suicide by law enforcement officials and a subsequent federal investigation....
When asked in an interview last week about the Foster case, Trump dealt with it as he has with many edgy topics -- raising doubts about the official version of events even as he says he does not plan to talk about it on the campaign trail.
He called theories of possible foul play “very serious” and the circumstances of Foster’s death “very fishy.”
“He had intimate knowledge of what was going on,” Trump said, speaking of Foster’s relationship with the Clintons at the time. “He knew everything that was going on, and then all of a sudden he committed suicide.”
He added, “I don’t bring [Foster’s death] up because I don’t know enough to really discuss it. I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder. I don’t do that because I don’t think it’s fair.”
Trump could have said that he believes what investigators have concluded, but of course he didn't. And now Foster conspiracy theories are a legitimate topic of conversation again:
Haley Barbour Indulges Vince Foster Conspiracy Theory: ‘I Have No Idea’
Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) said Tuesday that he has “no idea” whether the Clintons were behind the death of White House staffer Vince Foster, leaving the door open to a decades-old conspiracy theory.
Asked on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" about presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump raising the theory that Foster's 1993 death was the result of foul play, Barbour first tried to blame The Washington Post for asking Trump about the issue.
“You know what question is coming next,” MSNBC's Joe Scarborough responded. “Do you think Vince Foster was murdered by the Clintons?”↓ Story continues below ↓
“I have no idea and have no suspicion that's the case. But I don't know,” Barbour responded.
“That, sir, is the correct answer!” Scarborough interrupted. “You don’t even have to say you don’t know!”
“But I don’t know,” the former Republican National Committee chairman continued. “Because it’s obvious I don’t know.”
Martin Longman (BooMan) can tell you in detail why the revival of this conspiracy theory is outrageous.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2016
So when Trump starts peddling stories cooked up by the guy who tells us that Hillary Clinton is an angry radical lesbian whose only child was conceived via marital rape, I suppose everyone in the media will take the allegations seriously and spread them around by asking other Republicans what they think about them, even though Klein's work has been justifiably dismissed as garbage by the media in recent years.
So is Donald Trump is becoming the new "puke funnel" -- a one-man conduit directing (or redirecting) sleazy stories from the fringe to the legitimate press? "Puke funnel" was James Carville's term for a process that was described this way in a memo from Clinton World in the days of Bill's administration:
The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce refers to the mode of communication employed by the right wing to convey their fringe stories into legitimate subjects of coverage by the mainstream media. This is how the stream works. First, well funded right wing think tanks and individuals underwrite conservative newsletters and newspapers such as the Western Journalism Center, theAmerican Spectator and the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Next, the stories are reprinted on the internet where they are bounced all over the world. From the internet, the stories are bounced into the mainstream media through one of two ways: 1) The story will be picked up by the British tabloids and covered as a major story, from which the American right-of-center mainstream media, (i.e. the Wall Street Journal, Washington Times and New York Post) will then pick the story up; or 2) The story will be bounced directly from the internet to the right-of-center mainstream American media. After the mainstream right-of-center media covers the story, Congressional committees will look into the story. After Congress looks into the story, the story now has the legitimacy to be covered by the remainder of the American mainstream press as a "real" story.
Trump might now be in the process of replacing several of those steps with, well, himself.
But he can do that only if the press allows him to. Are journalists going to let Trump funnel puke into their stories? Are they going to treat any swill he stirs up as legitimate news? It's their choice.
Originally posted at No More Mr. Nice Blog