Jane Mayer revisits “golden showers”

Once upon a time the New Yorker was justly famous for its long-form journalism. In 1946 it published John Hersey’s “Hiroshima.” In 1966 it published Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood.” In 1968 it published Edward Jay Epstein’s “Garrison,” a personal favorite of mine.

The New Yorker’s reputation is not just based on history. It continues to publish distinguished long-form journalism. I think, for example, of John Colapinto’s 2013 article “Giving Voice.” It is a good example of the New Yorker at its best.

And then we have Jane Mayer. As I have tried to demonstrate in the series “Jane Mayer’s Dossiad,” Mayer is something else again. Her celebrated 15,000 word profile of Christopher Steele is an embarrassment. It is laughable. It shows the corrosive effect of politics on Mayer, to be sure, but also on the editorial judgment of David Remnick et al. For more on that point, see Lee Smith here and here. As the adage has it, the fish rots from the head.

In her profile, Mayer covered the Steele dossier’s “golden showers” episode in a few paragraphs and left its credibility an open question. She is, however, easily excited. If she had a wider circle of true friends, they would have staged an intervention by this time. Mayer has now filed an update to her celebrated profile of Steele. It is posted as “A Trump trip to Las Vegas adds intrigue to the Steele dossier.” Better title, Jim Hoft style: “Wow! Golden showers — the inspiration!”

In her update Mayer draws on the nee book by Michael Isikoff and David Corn for a telling “anecdote suggesting that so-called golden showers were a form of entertainment familiar to some in Trump’s circle, even if not necessarily to Trump himself.” And that’s not all! There is this:

According to the authors, both of whom are veteran, Washington-based investigative reporters, in the early-morning hours of June 15, 2013, some five months before the alleged Moscow incident, Trump visited a Las Vegas night club called the Act that was infamous for its sexually explicit theatre shows. Among the skits regularly performed at the Act were two in which semi-nude women would simulate urination onstage. As Isikoff and Corn note, it is unclear whether these skits were performed on the night that Trump visited the club. But court records confirm that they were in the club’s regular repertoire.

To repeat, wow! Truman Capote, call your office!

With the help of Isikoff and Corn, Mayer adds a Russian connection to the Las Vegas episode and puffs up the original “golden showers” episode from the dossier with the citation of Steele’s multiple sources for it. Her concluding words are “pillow talk” — from “golden showers” to “golden slumbers.”

We can appeal from Jane Mayer drunk to Byron York sober. Going over the same ground as Mayer, York reports “Golden shower? Trump dossier authors doubt their most explosive allegation.”

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