Deliberate leaking is a time-honored government tactic that Trump doesn't understand


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/02/22/the-leaky-leviathan.html


#2

What is so curious about this(as with various other failings of the Benito of Bronzer) is that his prior life experience suggests that he should get it.

Guy has been, gleefully and intensively, courting the tabloid media for decades; for some mixture of ‘all publicity is good publicity’ and sheer enthusiasm for being the center of attention. He as(one assumes) also encountered plenty of situations in real estate slinging where you have a situation involving asymmetric and imperfect information and a need to cultivate the other party’s beliefs about how much he actually knows.

This doesn’t mean that he has to like what is currently going on(since he seems to, on the whole, be getting crushed at strategic leaking, rather than taking advantage of it); but it boggles my mind that he would fail to understand the mechanisms at play, the logic behind them, etc. given his prior experience.

Is he just getting soft in his old age? Learning the hard way that there are ponds that make him look like a small fish?


#3

…governments also tolerate a certain amount of unscheduled, unsanctioned leaking.

Maybe. Maybe they’re just sophisticated about making it look real. Spies figured out long ago that they had to throw some bad information in with the good, just to maintain cover.


#4

Clearly Trump never watched The West Wing as this was a frequently utilized plot device.


#5

I’m deliberately leaking right now.


#6

Trump doesn’t understand or care about fair. I.E. I used it before so it’s fair that they use it now on me.

Trump evaluates everything with one simple test: Did I get what I want? [Yes | No]

If you pivot to look at the world as he does you will see he is very consistent in following this rule as well as interpreting the actions around him in these terms.


#7

It was Clinton who had the leaks down. He would leak policy ideas and use the reactions for the final release. Like him or not, he was a pretty good politician.


#8

I’m fairly reluctant to attribute any intelligence to the guy, but even if we accept that this is true (and if he does have any intelligence it should be) such understanding hardly makes it seem any better. Traditionally leaks can be used by the government, but they are also symptomatic of dissent. In the lead-up to the Gulf war there were lots of leaks – because the intelligence community was not 100% behind the Bush administration’s goal. That this administration is as leaky as a collander only highlights the lack of support he has. And there’s no way that Trump is good with that!


#9

I think you hit the nail on the head here. Trump has no experience in politics. His experience with media has been entirely under controlled circumstances. He is a small fish in a big pond when it comes to political leadership. Also bear in mind Trump is not much of a manager. He tends to delegate and forget. You can’t do that as president.


#10

I don’t think the United States of America has ever operates a top-down political system. It’s rather embarrassing (fremdschämen) that Trump behaves like he is unaware of the preexisting political culture in DC.


#11

Soooo from this we can conclude that…what, Obama was taking revenge…?


#12

Well that’s the thing. He did so as a celebrity. In the Entertainment, Tabloid and Business press. Where there really isn’t (aside from some edge cases in Business press, largely from major news orgs) a default investigative/report the truth mentality. The stakes are far lower. And access is everything. Business news is the exception. There’s plenty of business coverage in the real news. But much of the business specific press is basically just marketing materials for the investor class.

In that environment most outlets are not going to risk losing access to a major star/organization by printing unauthorized leaks. The much smaller group of people involved can be bound up by NDA. And aren’t going to leak unwanted leaks unless the rewards and stakes outweigh the risks. Venues aren’t going to print unless the rewards and stakes outweigh the potential loss of access. If the stakes are " make Donald Trump look like a fool" for few grand for the leaker and a spike in sales for the paper. VS a risk of cut off access for the paper and a firing with law suit for the leaker. Well that leak ain’t going nowhere.

But things are much different for Trump now. Even his well attested no press is bad press approach doesn’t work so well now. Previously he didn’t seem to care so long as he was in the press. Because even bad stories had little direct effect on his bottom line. But now you got his daughter’s brand crashing. Calls for investigations and charges. And push back and coverage leading directly to the failure/removal of his attempted policies.


#13

He doesn’t realize he isn’t “the boss” of USA inc.


#14

#15

One recalls the estimable Bernard explaining this to the PM approximately thus - “it’s one of those irregular verbs, Prime Minister; I give confidential press briefings, you leak, he is being prosecuted under section 2 of the Official Secrets Act”


#16

What Trump doesn’t understand:


#17

I feel kind of embarrassed that I can think of at least one “Tom Hanks needs to pee” scene they left out from his early career in television comedy. (Oddly topical, in a way.)


#18

https://youtu.be/fmed9rJGJmo?t=19m6s

It’s one of those irregular verbs, isn’t it? I give confidential press briefings/you leak/he’s been charged under section 2a of the Official Secrets Act.


#19

The Trump presidency is turning out to be an extended argument in favor of experts and expertise, in politics as well as in other fields. “See? This is what happens when you have someone with no experience, no education and no expertise in politics as the president.”


#20

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