The NYT’s Peter Baker is the ultimate establishment journalist. He’s been the guardian of the reputation of many establishment figures. In 2020, he published a worshipful biography of the ultimate GOP fixer, James Baker, no relation. He wrote an account of the Bush-Cheney administration, Days of Fire, which was softer on beltway insider Cheney than W. I think they suck equally.
I don’t think Baker sets out to launder the reputation of Republican insiders, it just turns out that way. He gravitates to the powerful and seems susceptible to flattery. Slumlord Jared must have really turned on the rich boy charm with Baker.
In an article in the NYT, Baker declares Kushner’s hands clean in regard to the Dipshit Insurrection. Why? Because Kushner told him so. The notion that Kushner could be lying to him seems not to occur to the credulous Timesman. Jared comes from a family of liars and married into a family of even bigger liars. Would such a person lie? Invariably. Constantly.
Baker even buys Kushner’s line that he was too busy “securing” Middle East peace to bother with the Big Lie. Baker plays down the possibility that Jared was jetting around the Gulf on the taxpayer’s dime to line up investors for his new venture. Anwar Sadat was a peacemaker. Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres were peacemakers. Jared Kushner is a greasy little hustler with a talent for spinning gullible reporters.
Then there’s the whole notion of Slumlord Jared as a counterweight to the nuts surrounding the Impeached Insult Comedian:
“Mr. Kushner’s decision to withdraw from the most consequential moment of the Trump presidency left few effective counterweights to the plotters seeking to subvert the will of the voters to hang on to power. While the president’s son-in-law had arguably been the most influential adviser to the president through four years, weighing in at times and carefully cultivating his reputation, he chose at that pivotal moment to focus instead on his personal project of Middle East diplomacy. It was the final act in the myth that Mr. Kushner would be the moderating force on a president who resisted moderation.”
Baker calls it a myth while furthering that myth in other parts of the article. The only evidence that Kushner moderated anything is in the stories he leaked to the media. He was the biggest leaker in the leakiest White House ever.
Baker undermines his “don’t blame Jared” shtick by describing Kushner’s method for sucking up to the boss:
“Mr. Kushner developed his own techniques for handling Mr. Trump. One key, he told others, was feeding the president good news, even if it was in short supply. In fact, Mr. Kushner came up with a specific mathematical formula for his peculiar brand of Trump management: two to one. Any phone call, any meeting should include this good-news-to-bad-news ratio. He would give twice as much upbeat information as grim updates. He similarly made a habit of telling Mr. Trump to add five points to any bad poll, rationalizing that traditional surveys missed many Trump voters anyway, part of a common White House practice of telling the president what he wanted to hear regardless of the facts.”
This is the guy who restrained Trump? He was too busy brown nosing to do any such thing. A reporter with Baker’s experience should have a bullshit detector set on maximum for creeps like Kushner. Instead, Baker falls back on his specialty, reputation laundering.
Like Maggie Haberman and other access journalists, Peter Baker feasts on the table scraps provided to him by White House insiders. The scraps from Kushner must have been tasty for Baker to roll over and beg for more like a good
I chose the pictures for the side-by-side featured image carefully. Jared could be on the phone with Baker and that could be his hand on Baker’s shoulder. He’s certainly got Baker in his pocket. A good reputation launderer is a terrible thing to waste.
The last word goes to Don Henley: