What were Jeffrey Toobin and New Yorker friends doing on their Zoom call?

The righteous Trump-haters at New Yorker magazine have been in the news lately, but not for their four years of anti-Trump journalism. The story that has excited public interest is mostly about Jeffrey Toobin’s unscripted appearance on camera. What I’m more curious about is the original purpose of the call. From the same VICE article:

Two people who were on the call told VICE separately that the call was an election simulation featuring many of the New Yorker’s biggest stars: Jane Mayer was playing establishment Republicans; Evan Osnos was Joe Biden, Jelani Cobb was establishment Democrats, Masha Gessen played Donald Trump, Andrew Marantz was the far right, Sue Halpern was left wing democrats, Dexter Filkins was the military, and Jeffrey Toobin playing the courts. There were also a handful of other producers on the call from the New Yorker and WNYC.

How was this supposed to be productive? A bunch of Democrats get together and half of them pretend to be Republicans for an hour or two? If you’re a journalist, what is the point of this? Why not simply wait for stuff to happen and then report on it?

(See also “Who is Casey Greenfield and when did she have a child with Jeffrey Toobin?” (The Sun, regarding a Yale Law School graduate who discovered that the real gold was in “Child Support Litigation without a Marriage”); see also a NYT story about this successful plaintiff.)

Let me sample the at-least-daily New Yorker emails that I get. I deleted a bunch of these, but Gmail says that there are 1,394 left that contain the word “Trump”!

From October 23, 2020:

From January 25, 2020, a Letter from Trump’s Washington (he owns the whole city now, not just the lease on one hotel!)…

Immigrants were our last best hope on November 24, 2019:

If only there were some way to replace or dilute the natives with these wonderful people! In the meantime, Trump was going to impeach himself on October 4, 2019:

(Little did Hunter Biden realize at the time that his most formidable enemy was the stripper with whom he’d had sex.)

May 26, 2019:

April 19, 2019:

January 18, 2019:

It was the Russians on October 8, 2018:

Trump mocks a terrified-to-fly survivor on October 3, 2018:

Admittedly, he wasn’t nearly as harsh on Christine Blasey Ford as this Canadian literature professor:

This is a professional career woman? With that little-girl croaky voice and poor-me face and the trembly “I’m going to cry at any moment” narration supposedly because of the trauma of reading out a prepared script about something discussed in therapy and rehearsed dozens, if not hundreds, of times with a legal team and other advisors. A trauma that required putting two doors on a big costly house. Yes, this is the elite professional woman that feminism has created after 50 years of nonstop grievance-mongering.

It was the Russians on July 20, 2018:

On May 1, 2018, we were running short of low-skill Syrians:

Trump was hated by “most of the population” on January 30, 2018:

It was the Russians on September 22, 2017:

On August 18, 2017, shortly before Congress cooperated with Trump to pass the most substantial changes to the U.S. tax code in 20 years(?):

It was the Russians on February 15, 2017:

On February 4, 2017, the magazine was concerned that Americans would stop thinking about “race-related history” and all things LGBTQIA+:

December 29, 2015:

New York was anti-fascist long before it was fashionable!

The passionate curiosity regarding Donald Trump’s net worth goes back at least to July 29, 2015:

Trump won’t win, but he will get in some peoples’ heads… Also, the Greeks need some more of that sweet German cash! July 8, 2015:


16 thoughts on “What were Jeffrey Toobin and New Yorker friends doing on their Zoom call?

  1. The question is: if Biden wins, will their be large cuts at many media outlets because the market for resistance porn goes away? It’s a huge percentage of coverage for some.

  2. Tim touches on something very important. This entire cast of Trump Administration characters – Bannon, Kellyanne, the President himself, and everyone else, have been a bunch of amateurs when it comes to reality manipulation. They are almost laughably incompetent in every way imaginable, from the bullshit about Foxconn building the world’s largest LCD factory in Wisconsin to everything the President says that directly contradicts objectively verifiable facts, QAnon, Bannon’s Warcraft Army of Goldman Sachs Deplorables, and now the Hunter Biden laptop, and much more. They make Doc Brown and his shoddy bomb casing filled with old pinball machine parts for the Libyans and his mind-reading helmet look like the Oracle of Delphi.



    The Biden Administration is going to be packed with people who ***really*** know how to lie – Harvard law professors like Elizabeth Warren, and of course Joe himself, a 47-year Washington insider with 8 years of Obama in his back pocket. Undetectable lies. Enormous waves of malfeasances that pass right through everyone like neutrinos. The media is going to be 100% supportive of everything they say. So we’ll go back to “normal” in the sense that the Resistance won’t be operating at full-tilt everyday, but the actual number and severity of real lies is going to go up dramatically.

    This Administration has been a bunch of complete Keystone-cops amateurs compared to what’s coming next.

    • I mean, c’mon. Brad Parscale ran much of his online campaign this cycle by turning off senior citizens by casting Biden as senile – in Florida! Then he gets hauled away by cops armed with assault rifles because he realized too late that his wife really just wants all his money and his houses. If it wasn’t for the wall-to-wall coverage, these people would eventually all out themselves because they’re just totally incompetent.

      The next Crew coming to the White House and Administration are professional reality engineers. People who lie so well and so seamlessly because they really have all the bases covered, including making sure that the coverage of their lies is seamless and favorable. I’ve known people like this. America may be tired of Trump Co.’s chaos, but believe me, they’re going back to “normal” where “normal” means – lied to every day in so many ways you will never even know.

  3. What some enterprising Ph.D. candidate in Political Science should do is conduct a study that examines how long it takes for political lies to be uncovered by the press and the public at large throughout the years. The lag time between the truth and the lies, and the consequences for the lies, is what gives politicians all their “wiggle room.” With all of the profound changes in the media landscape of past two decades, and all of the potential for misinformation and subterfuge, my guess is that the picture is very bleak going forward for the idea of a democratic Republic based on informed citizens.

  4. One of my favorite sad songs:

    “Because in a village a poor lad has stolen one egg
    He swings in the sun and another gets away with a thousand crimes”

  5. They don’t have anything better to do but simulate an election and jerk off. This is why they’re the New Yorker.

  6. Crying here because nobody has answered my question. What does it mean to “simulate” an election? How can this be a productive activity for people who are in the news/Trump-hatred business?

    • @philg: I should think it’s obvious for folks at the New Yorker. The basic idea is that they understand everyone very well, including people they don’t like or agree with, that they can figure out how they’ll vote. So it’s the Department of Mind Reading. Get your crystal ball out.

      It’s also “wargaming” the election – those who they deem to understand better than everyone else the whims and wills of The People have to put it to the test occasionally to keep track of their errors.

      It could be productive because a few weeks after the election, they’ll write articles about it. This is pretty standard stuff. You get the smartest people you know together and bounce ideas off each other and then, when the outcome occurs, you congratulate each other for figuring it all out. The most important thing is to have stuff to talk about after the apocalypse. They get paid for this!

      It’s scenarios.


    • @Philg: How could anyone at the New Yorker maintain their reputation for understanding America if they didn’t have their answers to the election already gamed out in advance? No matter how it turns out, they don’t want to sound like a bunch of jerkoffs!

    • @Philg: Our system of government is inherently adversarial and, as you’ve said before, we spend most of our time and energy fighting ourselves. Why should the New Yorker be any different when they try to talk with each other’s experts about the election?

    • By the way, one thing I don’t agree with in this thermonuclear war we find ourselves in is that the New York Times doesn’t care to shed any light on the people who have allegedly supplied them with the information – until after the election, possibly?

      So they have had access to a great deal of information and used it as a weapon to influence public opinion, but will not say who gave it to them. This strikes me as fundamentally unfair, regardless of whose side you’re on.

Comments are closed.