Frankly, this is Rich again!

FRIDAY, JULY 19, 2013

Fake facts never die: In mid-March 2012, the story of Trayvon Martin’s death went national.

A large array of fake facts were quickly invented and spread. And, as we’ve often told you, false facts never die!

Yesterday, Frank Rich proved this point in his weekly Q-and-A at New York magazine. Even by Rich’s ridiculous standards, this is a towering howler:
QUESTION (7/18/13): George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the killing of Trayvon Martin enraged more than it surprised, prompting a lot of commentary on racial profiling and the elusiveness of equality in America. You tackled these issues last year in an essay on the Tony-winning play Clybourne Park, concluding that, even with major legislative victories for civil rights and a black president in the White House, there was "no solution in sight." How has the Martin verdict affected your thinking on race relations, and how we can improve?

RICH: This entire story is both a tragedy and a travesty. Coming in the immediate aftermath of the Supreme Court’s maiming of the Voting Rights Act, it is another indicator that something is rotten at the heart of American justice. The fault here is not with a jury that may have been behaving rationally within the legal parameters of the case. The fault is with a system that didn’t even investigate the death of an unarmed black teenager or make an arrest until weeks after the fact—and then only after national public and media outcry...
Say what? The system “didn’t even investigate the death of [Martin] until weeks after the fact?”

This was an egregious howler on March 26, 2012, when Joan Walsh offered a variant of the claim in a piece at Salon. Sixteen months later, it’s astounding to see Rich say it.

With that howler, Rich becomes the latest pundit to make an apparent admission. He hasn’t paid a bit of attention to this case, although he’s willing to pontificate about what the case shows us.

What could Rich possibly mean by that statement? As everyone but Rich would know, the investigation of Martin’s death began on the night of the shooting, when Zimmerman was taken to the Sanford police station in handcuffs. The recent trial spilled with videotape of Zimmerman’s lengthy reenactment of the evening’s events, which took place the next day. Also, with videotape of the various sit-down interrogations of Zimmerman.

The prosecution submitted those videotapes in their part of the trial. Their decision to do so has been widely discussed. The tapes show the investigation which started the night of the shooting.

Rich says there was no investigation for weeks. Where does that idea come from?

Back in March 2012, a long list of false charges were suddenly being made wherever pseudo-liberalism was sold. This general claim was one of those false charge. Here’s the way Walsh murdered sleep:
WALSH (3/26/12): The fact is, whatever turns out to be true, the president was right: This case looks like too many others where a young black man was gunned down for being a young black man. A 17-year-old was shot to death, and no one was taken to a police station to be questioned about it. It then took police three days to locate the dead boy’s family.
It was a twofer! Zimmerman was taken to the police station, in handcuffs, on the night of the shooting. Martin’s family was informed by the Sanford police the morning after his death.

Walsh’s howlers were inexcusable even in March of 2012. But at that time, a string of misstatements were spewing forth from some undisclosed location.

People like Walsh were buying these claims. Rich is still buying today.

Some of the misstatements were truly egregious. It was frequently said and implied that the Sanford police were so racist that they didn’t inform the Martin family for a week. It was also widely said that the Sanford police let Zimmerman keep his gun, and that they didn’t take his clothing for testing.

False, and also false. Other false claims abounded—about Zimmerman’s weight, about his injuries, about the number of times he had called police in the past.

A blizzard of falsehoods covered the land. On MSNBC, these falsehoods were peddled night after night in one of the most egregious performances in cable news history.

False facts never die! Last week, Salon said it again—the Sanford police let Zimmerman keep his gun! Today, Rich claims there was no investigation for weeks after Martin’s death.

Rich has always been like this. No one made dumber misstatements about President Clinton and Candidate Gore. Indeed, Rich was still trashing Gore when his Oscar-winning film came out in 2006.

On the Imus program, he derided An Inconvenient Truth thusly: “It’s like at the high end of those good-for-you movies that you used to have to watch in high school.”

Rich didn’t stop the bullshit concerning Gore until he won the Nobel Prize in 2007. Needless to say, Rich did a 180 at that point. Many, many years too late, the world’s biggest pompadour fawned.

Incredibly, we liberals look to Rich as one of our “intellectual leaders.” The dumbness we display at such moments shows why we’ll never succeed.

Big and Rich and dumb and Gore: In June 2006, we published our award-winning, 6-part series on Rich's ridiculous. long-time treatment of Gore.

For links to all parts of our series, click here.

One year later, Gore went Norwegian. Frankly, Rich started to fawn.


  1. Obama just said he could see himself deciding to beat the shit out of a stranger at 17.

    1. Crazed lying in every word. What an insane wretched person you are.

    2. Anonymous on 7/19/13 @ 2:50P,

      Make sure your irony meter is plugged in (if it's not a battery-only model), the power switch is turned to the on position, and the leads are attached to TDH blog. If that's not the problem, tap the housing over the needle gently. Sometimes the things get stuck and don't register, especially if you bought one of those cheap Chinese models. I'm partial to the mil-spec models built in the good 'ol USA, but they are pricey.

    3. "Irony?" B-b-b-b-but-but this is The Internet!!

    4. Anonymous on 7/19/13 @ 2:50P,

      Your meter should have pegged on the comment by your namesake @ 3:57P. If it did, congratulations! You're back in business. If not, you'll need a new meter.

  2. He said we should "do a better job helping young African-American men feel that they're a full part of the society and that they've got pathways and avenues to succeed."

    He slammed Sharpton! Excellent.

  3. Said he could see himself having 4 minutes to go find something else to do, but deciding to smash the head of a small-sized stranger he thought was probably gay against concrete.

    That took guts to admit, but it's a start in the healing process.

    1. Vile hat-ridden lying, so stop the vile hate-ridden lying if you are capable of stopping.

    2. "Trayvon could have been me"

    3. Yes, and your low IQ, and your fuzzy filter, results in a bizarre interpretation.

    4. Lol or if your IQ wasn't so low you'd realize Anon is just pointing out what technically Obama is saying instead of the BS and lies he's actually saying.

  4. The Daily Howler has become Michael Corleone. The Zimmerman Case
    means the Don is dead. He will now settle all family business.

  5. Jonny Scrum-halfJuly 19, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    It wasn't Frank Rich who made the mis-statement. Rich asked the question, and the person he was interviewing made the mis-statement.

    1. J. S-h, I'm not sure how you can tell that for sure, but it's possible you are right. I clicked through and read the piece.

      It's not described as an interview, but as "Frank Rich talks with contributor Eric Benson." It is not made clear whether the bold font is Rich and the non-bold Benson or vice-versa.

      That the false statement is uncorrected doesn't look good for either Rich, Benson, or New York Magazine.

      The rest is the sort-of happy-sounding and unhelpful stuff along the lines of "The fault is with laws that allowed Zimmerman to carry a concealed weapon and take “justice” into his own hands."

      I'm against concealed-carry myself. But anyone please tell me how a gun law would have worked to prevent Zimmerman carrying but that would let others do so.

      If you can't, and so you just say "take them all away," I guess I'm down with that, but we aren't going to win that political battle. Which is why I call it happy talk.

    2. It seems clear to me from the comments section, and the fact that most of the bloviating takes place in the answers to the questions that the non-boldfaced sections are Frank Rich. I could be wrong.

  6. This is a situation where Obama's race could have been an enormous benefit to the nation. Suppose Obama had expressed sympathy for the Zimmerman family and noted that the evidence showed that Martin was pummeling Zimmerman when he was shot. For a black President to say that would do wonders for the nation IMHO.

    However, I think Obama's comments today added fuel to the fire, because:
    -- No mention of Martin's dubious background: suspensions, thefts, violence, drugs, etc.
    -- No acknowledgment that Martin almost surely was pounding Zimmerman's head on the sidewalk and more likely than not struck the first blow.
    -- Elevated Martin's status by comparing Martin to himself. Of course, there's no comparison. Obama was an outstanding student; Martin was a delinquent.
    -- No word of sympathy for Zimmerman and his family.
    -- Ignorantly raised the possibility that Martin had a SYG right, implying that Zimmerman attacked or threatened him, although there's no evidence that this happened.

    Obama's comment seemed to me to treat the black Martin family as people and the non-black Zimmerman family as non-people.

    1. Wow, David! Who could expect you, of all people, to reach such a stunningly unpredictable and original conclusion?

      (snark alert)

    2. Gotta call BS on your first point D in C:

      Obviously Obama was not going to get into the details of the case, but he made it a point to say that the African-American community was not "naive about the fact that African-American young men are disproportionately involved in the criminal justice system, that they're disproportionately both victims and perpetrators of violence."

      (Oh, and I love the way conservatives call Obama a pot-smoking subversive when it serves one argument they want to make, and an "outstanding student" when it serves another. Bravo!)

    3. Arianna Huffington, of all people, agreed that it was inappropriate for Mr. Obama to compare himself to Trayvon Martin, except she was snarkier. She tweeted:

      Obama: Trayvon "could have been me." True, and so could many still behind bars for drug possession.

    4. You know what else was missing from Obama's statement David?

      Any mention that millions of Americans are "like you" and thus could not understand or hear anything he did
      say because you were too busy listening for things he didn't say so you could criticize their absence.


  7. The "liberal world" went nuts for a few weeks about this, but have been slowly coming back to earth since. Bob will, however, look for every mis-statement, every error, and thunder on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on ad infinitum. Bob himself started out on planet earth, but is now describing Zimmerman as being persecuted for "taking a walk through his neighborhood." As the "liberal world" has become saner, Bob has become unhinged.

    If Bob's loyal readers are lucky, though, in the future he'll put this in his basket as something he ties every event to. That will give him two things, Martin and Gore (sounds like a bad comedy duo), to talk about endlessly, which is much better than one. On the downside, having two things to obsess over will reduce the amount of useful content even further, to the point where his blog will become unreadable. It may already have done so, outside of trainwreck appeal, and that only lasts so long.

    1. So by your own admission, Somerby once again was right before everyone else. He's so ahead of the curve that his lessons from over a decade ago still haven't been learned. When a lesson isn't learned, it has to be retaught.

      To this day almost no liberals will tell you that by far the main reason Gore lost is because the entire mainstream media ordered you to vote for someone else.

      If you're aware of any other site that manages to criticize liberals without being a conservative nutcase, feel free to say so. If not, reflect on the usefulness of this blog.

    2. I'm not clear on what made Bob "right before everyone else" "once again" but really, who cares at this point. As for being a conservative nutcase vs any other kind, a nutcase is still a nutcase, even when they aren't a conservative. So I'll give you Bob "being right before everyone else once again," and take in return, "Bob has become a nutcase." It's hardly an even trade.

    3. "The 'liberal world' went nuts for a few weeks about this, but have been slowly coming back to" what Somerby was saying from the beginning.

      Being a nutcase should imply being wrong. Making you annoyed without being wrong is not being a nutcase.

    4. til is a goddamn liar:

      "Bob is now describing Zimmerman as being persecuted for "taking a walk through his neighborhood.""

      That hasn't ever happened, you liar.
      Fuck off, til.

    5. "Being a nutcase should imply being wrong."

      Bob is the One True Pundit" who, however ... happens to say batshit crazy things:

      "According to the Standard Story, Zimmerman became responsible for what occurred when he got out of his truck. This represents a remarkable judgment:

      If a black teen has been seen in the neighborhood, you have to stay behind locked doors! With that kind of obvious danger around, you can’t walk through your own neighborhood!

      That is a stunning precept. Newsflash: People are allowed to walk through their neighborhoods! People are even allowed to walk through other people’s neighborhoods."

      So no, I won't "fuck off," although the standards of this blog have become so low, and Bob such a crazed crank, that I now visit only every couple of days (all his posts have become essentially identical, so I won't miss anything, anyway), and will probably reduce even that.

    6. til, I notice, but am not at all surprised, that you don't provide any evidence that Somerby said "Zimmerman is being persecuted for taking a walk through his neighborhood."

      It may be your preferred shorthand, but the quote you provided doesn't say that.

    7. Bob's passionate defense of the right of Americans to walk around their neighborhoods, in response to an (alleged) position taken by "the media" about what Zimmerman ought to have done (not done), must have just been some random typing. Why, it's not connected to any event at all -- certainly, it wasn't related to the Zimmerman affair, because Bob defending *Zimmerman's* right to walk around a neighborhood, when Martin was the one who actually did do the walking (and dying), would make Bob batshit crazy. And we know Bob isn't batshit crazy, because he was right about what happened to Al Gore almost 15 years ago (and has continued being right about that one fact about 4 times a week, ever since).

      Or something like that. But that's just my "preferred shorthand."

    8. "*Zimmerman's* right to walk around a neighborhood, when Martin was the one who actually did do the walking"

      Now, Zimmerman didn't "actually" do any walking around, til?

      Now, supposedly, Somerby is implying *Martin* has no right to walk around?

      What the "actual" fuck is wrong with you, til?

  8. Please. Gore winning a Nobel is just another reminder of what a worthless pile of bunk the Nobel prize has become. I bet you think the Oscars have a meaningful value too!

  9. Another leftist agrees with my view of Mr. Obama's comments.