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Jeffrey Toobin’s stroke of misfortune

He is not the first journalist to get overexcited about ‘coup porn’

October 20, 2020

4:53 PM

20 October 2020

4:53 PM

Jeffrey Toobin is a man much wronged. On Monday, the New Yorker writer was suspended by the magazine for which he’s written for two decades, and took a leave of absence from CNN, where’s he served as a legal affairs analyst since 2002. What possible sin could he have committed that forced these pillars of the media establishment to sideline a bonafide star with the presidential election less than two weeks away and Team Joe Biden needing every hand on deck?

Toobin masturbated during a Zoom video conference in which he and his colleagues fantasized about forcibly removing Donald Trump from office and throwing him in jail. In other words, Toobin is being punished for having the precise response that the exercise was designed to elicit.

Toobin says he didn’t know his colleagues could see him when he pulled out his penis last week during an ‘election simulation’ held by the New Yorker and WNYC radio. In preparation for November 3, the two media organizations were playing out various scenarios of what’s likely to happen the first Tuesday in November, and after. New Yorker staff writers were cast as principal players. Biden was played by Evan Osnos, Trump by Masha Gessen. Jane Mayer dressed up as ‘establishment Republicans’. Clearly any election role-playing game would have parts for the candidates and their parties. But why fill roles for the US military and ‘the courts’, performed by Toobin himself?

Because it was a coup scenario: what happens if Trump fails to respect the outcome of an election that the New Yorker and other standard-bearers of the liberal order have already decided in favor of Biden? Answer: when the courts rule in favor of Democratic party lawyers litigating every district lost by Biden, and Trump locks himself in a White House bunker, the Pentagon will order the same SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden to frogmarch the Orange Man in an orange jumpsuit out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to the steady applause of a grateful nation.


The New Yorker exercise was part of a subgenre of fantasy fiction that has grown in popularity with the Acela establishment as the election draws nearer. Washington Examiner columnist Byron York coined the phrase ‘coup porn’.

In August, the New York Times reported on a war game conducted by The Transition Integrity Project in which former Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta played Biden and after a Trump win alleged voter suppression. Rather than concede the election, he threatened that California would secede from the Union.  ‘Team Trump,’ according to the scenario, ‘encouraged provocateurs to incite violence, then used the resulting chaos to justify sending federalized Guard units or active-duty military personnel into American cities to “restore order”, leading to still more violence.’ It turns out that every outcome they gamed led to violence, except for a Biden landslide.

A scenario concocted by two retired Army officers assumed a Biden victory and Trump’s refusal to accept the ‘peaceful transfer of power’. That would leave Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Mark Milley to decide between enforcing the Constitution and turning a blind eye to tyranny. ‘Should you remain silent,’ the authors warned Milley, and refuse to order troops to remove Trump, ‘you will be complicit in a coup d’état.’

The New Yorker’s ‘election simulation’ was just the latest release in the ‘coup porn’ series. But give the magazine credit for adding some new spice to the formula. To play Trump, they cast a lesbian — who speaks with a Russian accent! Come on, man. And does the New Yorker really expect anyone to believe that Toobin was the only red-blooded left-wing Trump-Putin collusion conspiracy theorist on that Zoom call who unzipped his pants?

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Sure, it doesn’t help matters that Trump has repeatedly deflected questions about whether he will accept the election results. But it’s worth remembering that his predecessor delegitimized his election, and thereby undermined the peaceful transfer of power.  With the 2017 intelligence community assessment finding that Putin helped Trump win, Barack Obama’s CIA director John Brennan credentialed a conspiracy theory based on the original anti-Trump porno — the dossier authored by disgraced British ex-spy Christopher Steele.

The very first memo, alleging that Trump solicited prostitutes to pee on a bed the Obamas once slept in, suggested that the genre was likely to attract only specialized tastes. And yet it was the New Yorker itself that helped mainstream Steele’s salacious reports with Jane Mayer’s long, glowing profile of him. In the summer of 2016, New Yorker editor David Remnick distinguished himself as an early Trump-Russia advocate, publishing the unverified nonsense fed to him by Steele and Fusion GPS. Toobin’s recently published True Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Investigation of Donald Trump faults Robert Mueller for not finding evidence of the ‘Russia collusion’ that has filled four years of the New Yorker’s fevered wet-dreams.

During that time, the once prestigious magazine has turned into a stroke book for anti-Trump onanists. If the New Yorker had any self-awareness at all, it would replace monocled mascot Eustace Tilley’s face with Toobin’s and stamp it on the cover for election week.


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