NY Mag Writer says Biden Nominee Saule Omarova ‘Smeared’ by One Joke

  • Sen. John Kennedy from Louisiana made one joke about whether to call Biden nominee Saule Omarova “comrade” and left-wing reporters claim that is a ‘smear’
  • Media suspiciously silent when actual smears happen, such as when conservatives called racists, bigots, and hate hoaxes advanced
  • No evidence that Sen. Kennedy’s joke, or even Omarova’s Communist upbringing, shifted the votes that sank her nomination. Dems were the ones opposing her nomination in the end.

OUR RATING: Major Negligence. MSNBC-level basic journalistic negligence

Indicted Outlet: Matt Stieb | New York Magazine | Link | Archive | 12/7/21

The headline at New York Magazine says it all:

Saule Omarova, Smeared As a Communist, Withdraws Nomination

We should examine whether there was a smear, and whether that smear led to the withdrawal of her nomination. Was the information in the purported ‘smear’ accurate or inaccurate? Was it relevant to the position she was pursuing, or was it a personal attack?

Major Violations:

  • Lying Headline
  • No Evidence to Support
  • Exaggeration
  • Misrepresentation

So were Democrat Senators so won over by Sen. John Kennedy’s joke that they changed their overall position on the candidate?

Did these Democrat Senators: Hickenlooper, Kelly, Sinema, guffaw so loudly at the joke that they felt compelled to vote in line with their funny bone and oppose the nomination of their own party, and Democrat President, for this position?

Clearly not.

But that doesn’t stop author Stieb from trying to shoehorn a connection between the two. Look at this sophistry, trying to connect Sen. Kennedy’s comments with the nomination’s defeat:

While the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Sherrod Brown, described Kennedy’s comments as “character assassination,” her record did not appear to be enough to convince moderate Democrats to vote in her favor.

So was it the joke or was it her record? Did a clumsy Republican Senator’s joke ‘smear’ the nominee forcing her to withdraw, or was she simply too radical and extreme for the position?

The only evidence provided by the author is that one awkward joke was made.

The brief, 427 word accompanying article, starts with this sentence:

Weeks after a Republican senator joked about whether to call her “professor or comrade,” Saule Omarova has withdrawn her nomination for the comptroller of the currency, a key federal regulator for all national banks.

Yet Omarova’s nomination stalled in the 50-50 Senate, split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, because she lost support from several Democrat Senators.

The article shamelessly admits to that in its last sentence:

Three more Democrats — John Hickenlooper, Mark Kelly, and Kyrsten Sinema — also reportedly stated late last month they would not support her nomination.

It turns out there were five Democrat Senators who announced their opposition to Omarova. [1] Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen also announced her opposition.

It wasn’t too hard to find serious and significant opposition to her nomination. Reading the substance makes clear that it wasn’t the location of her birth or her matriculation at Moscow State that doomed her nomination, it was her history of extreme-left positions related to the industry she was about to oversee. Breitbart did a nice job laying out the substantive objections to her: [1]

The far-left law professor has advocated for eliminating private-sector banking and treating all businesses as franchises of the U.S. government. She has said that bankrupting small oil and gas companies should be welcomed, a statement she later recanted. [2]

Republicans, led by ranking member Pat Toomey (R-PA), were severely critical of the nominee at a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee last week. Senator Toomey took her to task for her papers and statements that advocated forcibly transferring all bank accounts to the Federal Reserve and other far-left schemes. Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) said he wasn’t sure if he should call Omarova “comrade or professor.”

“There’s a lot that’s extraordinary and radical here—but maybe the heart of it is that Ms. Omarova doesn’t just want tightened regulation of banks. What she wants to, and I quote—this is her words—‘effectively end banking as we know it.’ Those are words she wrote just last year,” Toomey said in a speech on the Senate floor.

Although she claimed to be a defender of community banks and a critic of Wall Street, the Independent Community Bankers of America and 41 state banking associations, which represent thousands of community banks, urged Senate Banking members to oppose Saule Omarova’s confirmation.

Omarova was being considered for, in Steib’s own words, “comptroller of the currency, a key federal regulator for all national banks.”

These objections seem entirely substantive criticisms for that work.

The practice of the political smear typically means a false accusation. Nothing here has proven false. Steib didn’t even try to ‘debunk’ any of the claims, he didn’t even mention the substantive claims. Just saying it was a smear when your only point of reference is one joke is pathetic-tier journalism.

The use of a political smear could also be understood if spreading true information that is clearly not relevant to the target. If the nominee had some personal eccentricity or peculiar hobby or passion, spreading that needlessly would also be smear for what it could potentially imply. But again none of that is present here.

You could argue that by saying she was born under Communism it implies she’s a Communist. But it’s difficult to separate that kind of dislike of foreign-born with legitimate concern that a nominee was trained during impressionable college years in a competing economic system and had repeatedly expressed admiration for that system. The legitimacy of the latter concern is completely ignored by this sloppy New York Magazine article.

So the idea that one clumsy joke derailed her nomination and ‘smeared’ her was itself a deflection from the substantive issues. It’s fundamental dishonesty from the publication and the author.

The Breitbart article then does a nice job summarizing Sherrod Brown’s opposition to John Kennedy’s comments, as a way to deflect from her record by focusing on allegations of name-calling, aka ‘smearing’, instead:

Other Democrats, including Brown, attempted to tar opposition to the Soviet-born Omarova as xenophobic “red-baiting.” Brown said GOP opposition was what it looks like when “McCarthyism meets Trumpism.”

OUR RATING: Major Negligence. MSNBC-level basic journalistic negligence

1 ] https://www.breitbart.com/economy/2021/11/25/omarova-nomination-opposed-by-5-dems/
2 ] https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2021/11/18/biden-nominee-runs-away-from-her-own-words-to-bankrupt-oil-companies-poor-phrasing/

Join the conversation

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.


TGP FactCheck