Rebranding the Koch Brothers

In what David Axelrod described as an “extraordinary exercise in rebranding,” the billionaire brothers are now trying to shake their plutocratic image by showcasing a concern for the poor through a variety of initatives.

Author: Jane Mayer
Source: The New Yorker
Published: Jan 25, 2016
Length: 28 minutes (7,114 words)

Schmooze or Lose

President Obama is less skilled than Presidents Clinton and Bush when it comes to buttering up campaign donors. Is this a good thing?

“As the Washington fund-raiser sees it, the White House social secretary must spend the first year of an Administration saying, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’ Instead, the fund-raiser says, Obama’s first social secretary, Desirée Rogers—a stylish Harvard Business School graduate and a friend from Chicago—made some donors feel unwelcome. Anita McBride, the chief of staff to Laura Bush, says, ‘It’s always a very delicate balance at the White House. Do donors think they are buying favors or access? You have to be very conscious of how you use the trappings of the White House. But you can go too far in the other direction, too. Donors are called on to do a lot. It doesn’t take a lot to say thank you.’ One of the simplest ways, she notes, is to provide donors with ‘grip-and-grin’ photographs with the President. ‘It doesn’t require a lot of effort on anyone’s part, but there’s been a reluctance to do it’ in the Obama White House. ‘That can produce some hurt feelings.’

“Big donors were particularly offended by Obama’s reluctance to pose with them for photographs at the first White House Christmas and Hanukkah parties. Obama agreed to pose with members of the White House press corps, but not with donors, because, a former adviser says, ‘he didn’t want to have to stand there for fourteen parties in a row.’ This decision continues to provoke disbelief from some Democratic fund-raisers. ‘It’s as easy as falling off a log!’ one says. ‘They just want a picture of themselves with the President that they can hang on the bathroom wall, so that their friends can see it when they take a piss.’ Another says, ‘Oh, my God—the pictures, the fucking pictures!’ (In 2010, the photograph policy was reversed; Rogers left the Administration that year.)”

Author: Jane Mayer
Source: New Yorker
Published: Aug 20, 2012
Length: 28 minutes (7,190 words)

Bully Pulpit

How rhetoric from an evangelist talk-show host led to the resignation Mitt Romney’s openly gay national-security spokesman:

“Fischer’s attack against Grenell started on Friday, April 20th, with a post on Twitter. ‘Romney picks out & loud gay as a spokesman,’ he tweeted, soon after learning of the hire. ‘If personnel is policy, his message to the pro-family community: drop dead.’ The next Monday, Fischer opened his show—which is broadcast, he likes to say, on ‘the most feared radio network in America!’—by telling his listeners that he had ‘kicked up a dust storm in the Twitterverse.'”

Author: Jane Mayer
Source: The New Yorker
Published: Jun 14, 2012
Length: 32 minutes (8,052 words)

The Secret Sharer

On June 13th, a fifty-four-year-old former government employee named Thomas Drake is scheduled to appear in a courtroom in Baltimore, where he will face some of the gravest charges that can be brought against an American citizen. A former senior executive at the National Security Agency, the government’s electronic-espionage service, he is accused, in essence, of being an enemy of the state.

Author: Jane Mayer
Source: The New Yorker
Published: May 23, 2011
Length: 36 minutes (9,157 words)

Covert Operations

The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.

Author: Jane Mayer
Source: The New Yorker
Published: Aug 30, 2010
Length: 39 minutes (9,962 words)

The Secret History

Can Leon Panetta move the C.I.A. forward without confronting its past?

Author: Jane Mayer
Source: The New Yorker
Published: Jun 22, 2009
Length: 30 minutes (7,595 words)