Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Sure Reuters, MSNBC, CNN, Stephen Colbert, and many others are beating the NYT to the biggest political payoff of the 21st century, but I'm sure the gray lady will convince people it broke the story


(Anyone else remember Pam Bondi?)

In case you haven't heard, Donald Trump's net worth just got much bigger.

Nothing quid pro quo-y going on here.

Here's a good overview of the backstory.

Reuters had a good write-up right out of the gate.

Yass, 65, was thrust into the spotlight this month after Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, reversed course on his preference for banning TikTok, saying that a ban would hurt some children and only strengthen Meta Platforms'

Trump made the comments days after he met Yass at a gathering of the conservative Club for Growth donor group in Florida.

The U-turn on TikTok amid a major cash crunch led to speculation that Trump may be trying to court Yass.

Trump says the pair only met for "a few minutes," and did not discuss TikTok but instead talked about education.

If you can't trust Donald Trump...

CNN also had a good analysis.

In the case of Trump, the stock could be inflated by his supporters, although the inverse could also true. If Trump unloaded his stock, it could plunge in value because his brand would no longer be associated with it.

The top institutional investor in the company is Susquehanna International Group. Its founder, Jeff Yass, is a major donor to Republican causes and also a major investor in ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok.

Yass and Trump actually met recently, just before Trump reversed his previous position in favor of requiring ByteDance to spin off TikTok. Trump said the subject of TikTok did not come up in his conversation with Yass. Susquehanna International Group did not return a request for comment about the company’s stake in Trump Media & Technology Group.

Jordan Libowitz is the communications director for the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and in a phone conversation, he wondered what might happen if foreign wealth funds that have interests in the US, like those associated with Saudi Arabia or Qatar, started buying large amounts of DJT stock.

Since so much of Trump’s wealth is now tied up in the company, those countries could theoretically have a direct impact on his bottom line.

“The value isn’t really in the company,” Libowitz argued, pointing to the company’s lackluster revenue. “It’s in the Trump name.”

 If you like your news concise and snarky...

 [queued up to the relevant section.]


What about our paper of record? Since the news of Trump's windfall broke, The NYT has run three stories mentioning Yass, only one of which (three days after Reuters and on page B4) focused on the main issue of quid pro quo...

 ... and then buries the lede eleven paragraphs in.

Mr. Trump had supported banning TikTok in the United States, but he recently reversed his stance. A few weeks ago, he acknowledged having a brief meeting with Mr. Yass — identified in a 2022 Wall Street Journal column as a “never Trumper” — but said the two men never discussed TikTok.

A person close to Mr. Trump’s campaign said that Mr. Yass was expected to give a large donation to a group supporting the former president’s political campaign. Mr. Yass said through a spokesman that he had never given to Mr. Trump and had no plans to do so.

If this story has the legs it deserves, the NYT will play catch-up with a big story and far too many people will be fooled into forgetting that others were there first when it mattered, but some of us will remember that, as with Bondi, the New York Times hesitated when it counted. 

 P.S. On the subject of the NYT jumping on the bandwagon. 5:00 today.

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