One of the most stunning Wikileak revelations is this email exchange inside the Democratic National Committee. Eric Walker, deputy communications director of the DNC, relays a “research request” to “RRResearch_D,” the “Rapid Response Research” department at the DNC. The subject heading is “research request: top 10 worst Trump quotes?” Walker explains: “Milbank doing a Passover-themed 10 plagues of Trump.” “Milbank” is Dana Milbank of the Washington Post. Apparently Walker assumes that the people at Rapid Response Research know who “Milbank” is and will not be surprised that they are being called on to help write a column in the Washington Post.
The emails follow, with commentary. First, Walker’s email of April 21, 2016. I have truncated Walker’s list, but you can view the full email at the link:
The reply comes from Tyler Lykins of Rapid Response Research. He brings other RRR employees into the loop:
Walker says that he wants RRR’s response as soon as possible. I suppose Dana Milbank was on deadline.
Lauren Dillon then weighs in. She suggests asking “Kelly/Trump team” if they have more. So the DNC Rapid Response unit had a team dedicated to Trump:
By 6:38 on April 21, one hour and one minute after Walker sent his initial request, Lykins had the research product in Walker’s hands:
To which Walker responded: “Awesome. thank you.”
To my knowledge, the Wikileaks emails do not include any communications between Eric Walker and Dana Milbank. But we can read Milbank’s column, “The Ten Plagues of Trump,” which appeared the next day. By my count, seven of Milbank’s ten “plagues” duplicate the DNC’s list.
Glenn Reynolds has long argued that “mainstream” reporters are mostly Democratic Party operatives with bylines. With what we now know from Wikileaks–consider, too, Wolf Blitzer’s apparently asking the DNC to suggest questions he can pose to Trump in an interview–we can see that in some cases, at least, Glenn’s characterization isn’t hyperbole, but plain fact.