Thanks to my friends at Wonkette, it appears this whole smear started in the most predictable of places: the lying liar Frank Luntz:
Well, nobody could’ve anticipated ….
This almost seems too petty to be believed, except it’s such a classic example of how the right-wing smear machine works that I just had to share it.
Our travel through the conservative cesspool begins at The New York Times, where we have this innocuous little story about the White House executive pastry chef leaving his position in June. Here’s the tantalizing lede:
WASHINGTON — The first lady, Michelle Obama, is soon to lose her executive pastry chef, Bill Yosses. And she is partly to blame.
Ooh, yummy! What did that wretched woman do now? Ah, it’s all fun and games, as the story goes on to say that FLOTUS has inspired Chef Yosses’ newfound interest in healthy food. Oh, okay! They were joshing us. Indeed, Yosses was originally famous for his rich desserts, but he changed his ways at the direction of Mrs. Obama and has a new culinary calling. Not only has he changed his own diet, he’s found a new passion for creating healthier yet still delicious dessert treats:
She has piqued his interest in the relationship between food and health, he said in a recent telephone interview, so the man who made the Hawaiian chocolate-malted ganache for the White House state dinner for France is now headed to New York with an aim to teach children and adults about eating better. In the meantime, he has given up his usual breakfast doughnuts for a smoothie made with apple, kale, spinach and ginger — from time to time.
Oh! So the Times was just using a time-honored literary device to pull readers into the story. Nicely done. The chef further tells the Times,
The result — oatmeal bars, baked apples and pear-quince cobblers, among many others — will have a lasting impact on his eating habits, as will Mrs. Obama.
“She has done it with humor and good will, without preaching, just the way you would hope the ‘Mom in chief’ would do,” Mr. Yosses said. He called her “definitely an inspiring boss, a combination of spontaneity and seriousness.”
Hugs and kisses all around! The openly gay chef will get to finally live with his husband of three years — they’ve been separated for their entire 11-year-relationship — and Chef Yosses has found a new career direction. So, a nice little (dare I say it?) fluff piece, yes? Nothing to see here, move along.
Unless you’re The Daily Caller, of course! Over at Tucker Carlson’s Little Conservative Lie Machine, a nothing little story about the White House pastry chef is given a complete 180 and turned into a major smear of FLOTUS.
Here’s the screen shot:
Nice way to take quotes out of context there, guys! See how they mashed up the Times piece to put an entirely new spin on what Chef Yosses actually said:
White House executive pastry chef Bill Yosses is resigning after First Lady Michelle Obama fundamentally changed his job duties to focus on healthier food.
Yosses is leaving the White House in June to work on a new project focusing on “food literacy” and The New York Times says Michelle is “partly to blame.” The openly gay chef was hired by Laura Bush in 2007 to make his trademark cookie plates and sugar sculptures. Mrs. Obama took over in 2009 and ordered Yosses to make healthier plates in smaller portions.
Yosses began replacing butter with fruit puree and sugar with honey and agave. But Yosses was never fully committed to the new policy.
“I don’t want to demonize cream, butter, sugar and eggs,” Yosses said, noting that his departure from the White House is a “bittersweet decision.”
Oh, I see what you did there! That nice twisting of facts and quotes to give them an entirely new context is what we in the business call “fundamentally true but essentially bullshit.” Just enough plausible deniability to prevent a lawsuit in these United States — but don’t try that shit in Britain, Patrick Howley! You’d get your ass sued.
Oh, and give them extra points for actually linking to the original New York Times story. That takes balls. It appears the business model of The Daily Failure is to assume nobody follows links. Considering how lazy the right wing readership is, I’d say that’s a pretty good gamble.
But our little story isn’t finished, kids. Nope: along come the usual rabble of right-wing idiots like Tennessee’s own Marsha Blackburn to post the “smear” version of the Chef Yosses story on Facebook, with a snarkly little anti-Obama quip to feed her brain-dead followers:
This takes talent, it really does. This is how the conservative bubble operates. None of this would work if just one person followed the links from a Daily Caller story and actually compared the two versions. But they don’t. Clearly Marsha Blackburn didn’t — she didn’t need to. Because what matters to them is not what’s actually true, but what they want to be true. And they want to believe that even the White House pastry chef hates Michelle Obama. The entire right-wing spin machine is created to make a fringe minority believe they are a persecuted majority. It’s how the outrage stays alive.
This is not something Democrats need to aspire to in any way, shape or form, but it is something we need to be aware of the next time someone tries to launch another Swift Boat attack on a war hero or tries to sell death panels and FEMA camps to the masses.