If it’s Sunday, they must have books to sell!

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2013

The monetization of everything in the post-journalistic guild: David Gregory had his hands full with Sunday’s Meet the Press panel.

He was hosting a four-member panel, but three of his guests were peddling books! Here’s how the segment started:
ANNOUNCER (11/10/13): Meet the Press is back with our political roundtable. Here this morning, Mark Halperin, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Donna Edwards and Joe Scarborough.

Now, David Gregory.

GREGORY: And welcome all! A lot to get to, including Chris Christie and the future of the Republican Party.

Joe, your book is coming out at an ideal time because the Republican Party is looking at the future. Do they see Chris Christie in the center of it?
Poor Gregory! He also had to waste some time letting Goodwin connect her book to the present. Question: Does she always have to peddle her books like this?
GOODWIN: Well, the man I just lived with, Theodore Roosevelt, was in a similar position. I mean, he was more progressive—I mean, maybe a different kind of ideology, than his party at the time. And through the force of his personality, he dragged the Republican Party to deal with the issues that were created by the industrial age.

Similar in a certain way to some of the traits that Chris Christie has...
Stop it right now! If we’re counting correctly, this is the third straight book Goodwin has peddled this way—with constant, cloying references to “the man I’ve been living with.”

Halperin, Scarborough and Goodwin are all selling books. But then, so is everyone else in D.C.’s money-mad Punditsylvania. In the Outlook section of Sunday’s Washington Post, Eric Wemple fought his way through the profusion of current titles, making just one small mistake (see below). But the most intriguing passage about a pundit-wrought book came from a separate review of Chris Matthews’ newest effort.

Like everyone else in his cohort, Matthews has a new book. We were struck by the way Howell Raines zeroed in on Matthews’ “Hiberian” framework:
RAINES (11/10/13): Given the reverence for all things Hibernian in Chris Matthews’s “Tip and the Gipper,” a reader might conclude that the current legislative crises are due to a shortage of Irish Americans in the capital. Matthews, the host of MSNBC’s show “Hardball” and a former aide to O’Neill, feels that his monocausal ethnic analysis—replete with Irish stories, Irish jokes, donnybrooks and shamrocks—needs defending. “It’s easy,” he writes, “from the vantage point of today, to mock all those Irish jokes and the swapping of stories between the president and the Speaker. But I was there, and the plain truth is, they kept the conversation going when no other progress seemed possible otherwise.”

In fact, Matthews builds a solid, multi-sourced case that the leaders’ publicly embraced obsessions with a shared heritage did facilitate a civil tone in the historic battles over Reagan’s austerity budget and his 1981 income tax cuts. Of course, the chief exhibits attesting to the value of compromise were their grand bargains on Social Security in 1983 and on the tax reform bill of 1986. Matthews had plenty of company in believing that Irishness was a universal legislative emollient. Indeed, from the start, Reagan aides, O’Neill aides and journalists, including David Broder and James Reston, rallied to what Broder called the “stubborn Irishmen” theory. This book conjures the mood of “The Quiet Man,” in which John Wayne and Ward Bond buddy up after a bar brawl.
According to Raines, “Matthews cites approvingly Reagan’s diary entry about O’Neill giving him a shamrock tie on St. Patrick’s Day. ‘Tip is a true pol. He can really like you personally & be a friend while politically trying to beat your head in.’ ”

Matthews may be right about the role played by the Irish-American bond between O’Neill and O’Reagan. For our money, the role of Irish Catholic cultural bonding in modern politics has been vastly under-discussed and under-reported.

We Irish! In the decade after Tip and Ronnie, Our Own Jack Welch rebuilt NBC News in the image of an East Coast Irish Catholic boys’ club. Matthews was one the fellows recruited to join this peculiar guild, which summered on Nantucket.

How Irish did NBC News become? By the time Bush and Gore stages their three debates, this was the pundit lineup debating their battles on MSNBC:

Brian Williams, moderator
Chris Matthews
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Peggy Noonan
Mike Barnicle

All five were East Coast Irish Catholics. So was their first non-panelist guest, the late Tim Russert.

Go ahead! Work out the odds.

Welch’s Irish Catholic club worked hard to take down Candidate Gore, just as Jack must have wanted. Welch made people rich in the process. The guild agreed not to notice.

Joe Klein once noted the preponderance of Irish Catholics in the ranks of the top Clinton-haters in the 1990s. Beyond that, we’ve rarely seen anyone willing to comment on the peculiar role We Irish played in that grotesque political decade, what with our Hibernian ties and our throwback mid-century culture.

(Current primetime lineup on Fox: O’Reilly, Kelly and Hannity. People, we’re just saying!)

Speaking of We Irish, Brian Kilmeade (Fox & Friends) has co-written an alleged book about the American revolution! But then, the successor to the American press corps is all about monetization and of course career.

In an imitation of journalism, children from the finest schools are hired to write about education even if they know nothing about it. Similarly, everyone and his Fox & Friends anchor has an imitation book he is trying to sell.

Wemple’s lone mistake: As he fought his way through those books, we thought Wemple made one misstep. You can possibly guess who fooled him:
WEMPLE (11/10/13): Though grafting cable formats onto books is generally a bad idea, it works for [Rachel] Maddow, who’s famous for churning out towering monologues on her MSNBC show...

The first line of Maddow’s acknowledgments hints at one secret to her success, a pointer that Bill “Ten Books in a Decade” O’Reilly might consider: “I’m the slowest writer on earth.”
Wemple! For crying out loud! That statement wasn’t meant to be true. It was a humblebrag!

34 comments:

  1. somerby has been flamboyantly prejudiced against americans-who-happen-to-have-irish-catholic-heritage on this site for many years, despite himself apparently having some of that same background on his mother's side. he only singles out this 'group', (as though it really is a socially coherent group).

    he has used both techniques of the bigot. he has explicitly espoused that americans with iriish-catholic heritage have various bad characteristics. . . . second, he has repeatedly named people who have or appear to have irish-catholic heritage as the culprit of some misdeed, real or not, all out of proportion to their numbers in some group (such as the media); in the second method without mentioning their heritage.

    google his old site (no comment box), which lasted into 2011, in order to get the strongest bigotry:

    site:dailyhowler.com irish catholic (the old site)


    the new site has its share of bigotry as well, although not usually as raw. heres a couple of additional examples from the new site. in the first one, note particularly the responses of “lonely eyes” and “quickdraw” to somerbys column and to some of his more outspokenly bigoted readers, or somerby himself perhaps:

    http://dailyhowler.blogspot.com/2012/05/gail-collins-cares-and-wastes-time-and.html


    ---second example, note particularly the comments of “hugh mann”:

    http://dailyhowler.blogspot.com/2012/06/collins-rules-bit-of-regional-bigot.html

    site:dailyhowler.blogspot.com irish catholic (new site)

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    1. The group of Irish Catholic individuals in the media who he has been discussing do have some bad characteristics, and they themselves talk about their Irish heritage. I don't recall Somerby attributed any of that to all Irish or all Irish-Americans. Having lived in Boston and NY recently, I have seen the emphasis placed on that ethnicity by members who share Irish heritage. It is a subculture that members care about and it does provide a core of shared values. Not everyone who is of Irish heritage wishes to assimilate the way you seem to. But this isn't something Bob Somerby is making up or superimposing on past history. It is real and it is there.

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    3. I take it that's talking about a confluence of ethnic heritage, religious ethos, and cultural social-climbing.

      I always think "so what" to the first, understand the intellectual and professional compromises that Somerby refers to with the last, and think "whoa", on the second.

      I'm a Presbyterian Celt, rather than Catholic, but I don't think it's old-fashioned to have been shocked at Pres. Clinton's behavior, and to think that son-of-a-bitch should have resigned.

      VP Gore would have been president in 2000 that way too.

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    4. ceceliamc, i dont have access to the book which quotes the figure right now, but the percentage of 'celtic' genes found ( in the huge study headed up by bryan sykes) of the irish, scottish, welsh and english is uniform but relatively low. i want to say around 10%. the original population of the isles is what, to do this day, predominates. i dont know if it has been given a name. i think of them as the 'solutreans'. . . just as a mental bookmarker.

      so just as the english are actually very little (6%) anglo-saxon or germanic, the welsh and scots and irish are not very 'celtic'. all four groups (english and irish and welsh and scotts) are all mostly descended from the ancient population which first occupied the british isles.

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    5. See, and those of us without much Catholic influence were not shocked at all and even empathized with Clinton when he was under attack. That the mainstream media was dominated by the prudish Catholic influence instead of the more tolerant (perhaps Western) attitude resulted in a split between the outrage expressed daily in the press and the FACT (based on poll after poll) that the broader public didn't care at all about Clinton's behavior. So, the media not only affected Gore's chances with their ridiculous outrage, but tried to bring down Clinton (someone they always disliked) along with the conservative impeach effort. When does a liberal Irish Catholic heritage that is supposed a bit left of center attack a strong, sitting president of their own party that way? Wouldn't play out that way if Bill Board's claims about the Irish being lefties uninfluenced by centuries of Catholic dogma were actually true.

      I'm glad Clinton didn't resign. I don't want to live in the kind of world where a president cannot behave any way he wants in his personal life in matters of sex, as long as consenting adults are involved. And I didn't get all upset when I found out Kennedy had an itch either.

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    6. "...the mainstream media was dominated by the prudish Catholic influence."

      your premise is wrong. even if i were to concede msnbc and even nbc, what about abc, cbs, cnn, fox, associated press, the big news weeklies, etc. etc.? were they dominated by management or front people who were americans who happened to be catholic or have catholic heritage?

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  2. I guess you cannot use the R-word to object to Somerby's analysis. The B-word will have to do for name-calling purposes. Do you have any substantive arguments?

    If you are going to calculate the odds, you have to figure in the culture of literacy, access to the blarney-stone, and the tight-knit immigrant community that supported the Irish political machines in Boston, NYC and Chicago, and the contribution of media to power (pre-internet).

    If someone were writing about the influence of the mafia would you be claiming they are biased against Italian-Americans? Wait, you probably would be. Would it change anything about the existence of that organization to pretend it didn't exist?

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  3. "Beyond that, we’ve rarely seen anyone willing to comment on the peculiar role **We Irish** played in that grotesque political decade, what with our Hibernian ties and our throwback mid-century culture." - lord robert somerby 

    >>> its implicit bigotry to label *any* american born citizen as something other than american. if a real englishman immigrated to america and had children here, would you refer to his kids as "english"?

    the fact that hustlers like mathews and other media hacks and political hacks continue to marginalize 'us' ('us' as though we are a coherent social group) by referring to 'us' as "irish" doesnt make it right. my parents were born and raised in ireland. they were irish. I was born here and am as american as anybody else except perhaps the native american indians.

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    1. btw, the use of 'redskins' as a team name is disgusting.

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  4. Have enjoyed reading you for years. . . Especially picking up on the "beltway media club" which never criticizes "themselves" while - these days - becoming very wealthy thanks to the TV money available for both hosts and "contributors". . . Monday evening - a day after CBS "apology" over Lara Logan's Benghazi segment - I watched the 4 MSNBC shows to see how they treated it. . .

    Matthews said: "I am NOT a media critic" . . . Hayes went after CBS, very hard hitting and well done . . . Maddow - Virginia voting and the typhoon - Bush speaking to group which promotes converting Jews to Christianity . . . O'Donnell - 2016 Democratic Party POTUS nominee race. . .

    Easy to see who the club members are. . .

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  5. "Beyond that, we’ve rarely seen anyone willing to comment on the peculiar role We Irish played in that grotesque political decade, what with our Hibernian ties and **our throwback mid-century culture**." - lord robert somerby

    >>> (last sentence from below report): "Irish Catholics, incidentally, are the most politically liberal Gentile ethnic group in the country; they are the most pro-integration of any Gentile group."


    >>> from page 96 of annual review of sociology, volume 5,1979:

    Four NORC articles monitoring racial integration (Hyman & Sheatsley 1964; Greeley & Sheatsley 1971; Greeley & Sheatsley 1974; Taylor, Sheatsley & Greeley 1978) have demonstrated that Catholics are more likely to support racial integration than other white groups, even outside the South. Taylor, Sheatsley & Greeley (1978) could find no evidence of the alleged white ethnic backlash against racial integration. They also found that Irish, German, and Italian Catholics outside the South continued to be above the Anglo-Saxon Protestant average in their support for racial integration. Indeed, Irish Catholics were even more likely than Jews to be willing to accept for their children a school where most of the students were black. More than 70% of the Catholic parents in the country, according to Greeley, McCready & McCourt (1976), report their children are in integrated schools. A positive correlation exists between Catholic school attendance and support for racial integration, as well as opposition to anti-Semitism. 

    Reviewing the present state of the literature, Greeley (1978b) concluded that on the average Catholics remain where they were a quarter of a century ago-slightly to the left of center in the Democratic coalition, less leftist on most issues than blacks and Jews but more leftist than white Protestants, even white Protestants of the North who describe themselves as Democrats. Nie, Petrocik & Verba (1976) reported the same findings. 

    In summary, despite conviction to the contrary in many quarters, Catholics continue to be moderate Democrats; more strongly than other than other Democrats and other white northern Americans, they support racial integra-tion. Irish Catholics, incidentally, are the most politically liberal Gentile ethnic group in the country; they are the most pro-integration of any Gentile group.

    >>> i have no link to above. can be found thru libraries which subscribe to the jstor database.

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    1. Is this the Bill who is am American, but not an Irish American?? Hahahsha. Weak Bill. Real weak. Get your own blog.

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  6. Brian Williams, moderator
    Chris Matthews
    Doris Kearns Goodwin
    Peggy Noonan
    Mike Barnicle

    All five were East Coast Irish Catholics. So was their first non-panelist guest, the late Tim Russert. - lord robert somerby

    >>> mathews "father was a Protestant of English and Northern Irish ancestry" see his wiki page. Russert was part german. goodwin was of irish ancestry on her fathers side and in interviews ive seen she went out of her way to show she identified predominately with her mother. peggy noonan is a convert to catholicism which is a clue that she other ancestries besides irish. people heavily stress the last name in determining ancestry, so with that in mind, barnicle is an english name and williams can be any of the four main ethnicities of the british isles..

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    1. Although Williams can be "any of the four main ethnicities of the British Isles," in fact Brian Williams is Irish-Catholic.

      Also, Peggy Noonan was raised Catholic, left the church, but was re-converted to Catholicism.

      Matthews is, in fact, an Irish Catholic.

      Not sure what point you're making here.

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    2. for the record,

      the latest gene-based research shows that not only are the irish orange and green identical genetically, so are the welsh and scots genetically identical to the irish and each other. and also, the english only show a minimal genetic legacy from the germanic invasions (6%) and roman occupation (2%). the english are mostly irish, so to speak. see the results of a huge gene based study expanded on in “Saxons, Vikings and Celts: the Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland” by Bryan Sykes or “Origins of the British” by Stephen Oppenheimer.

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    3. bill board -- Just so I'm clear about your viewpoint. On the previous thread you posted a number of articles that (based on their titles) appear to argue that conservatives think differently than liberals. But on this thread you appear to insist that there's no such thing as an "East Coast Irish Catholic" culture.

      Am I accurately stating your views?

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    4. >>> (last sentence from below report): "Irish Catholics, incidentally, are the most politically liberal Gentile ethnic group in the country; they are the most pro-integration of any Gentile group."


      >>> from page 96 of annual review of sociology, volume 5,1979:

      Four NORC articles monitoring racial integration (Hyman & Sheatsley 1964; Greeley & Sheatsley 1971; Greeley & Sheatsley 1974; Taylor, Sheatsley & Greeley 1978) have demonstrated that Catholics are more likely to support racial integration than other white groups, even outside the South. Taylor, Sheatsley & Greeley (1978) could find no evidence of the alleged white ethnic backlash against racial integration. They also found that Irish, German, and Italian Catholics outside the South continued to be above the Anglo-Saxon Protestant average in their support for racial integration. Indeed, Irish Catholics were even more likely than Jews to be willing to accept for their children a school where most of the students were black. More than 70% of the Catholic parents in the country, according to Greeley, McCready & McCourt (1976), report their children are in integrated schools. A positive correlation exists between Catholic school attendance and support for racial integration, as well as opposition to anti-Semitism.

      Reviewing the present state of the literature, Greeley (1978b) concluded that on the average Catholics remain where they were a quarter of a century ago-slightly to the left of center in the Democratic coalition, less leftist on most issues than blacks and Jews but more leftist than white Protestants, even white Protestants of the North who describe themselves as Democrats. Nie, Petrocik & Verba (1976) reported the same findings.

      In summary, despite conviction to the contrary in many quarters, Catholics continue to be moderate Democrats; more strongly than other than other Democrats and other white northern Americans, they support racial integra-tion. Irish Catholics, incidentally, are the most politically liberal Gentile ethnic group in the country; they are the most pro-integration of any Gentile group.

      >>> i have no link to above. can be found thru libraries which subscribe to the jstor database.

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    5. read them. then comment on the substance.

      dont thank me. we all need help at times.

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    6. You seem confused about the difference between culture and race and genetics.

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    7. billboard, you are way too thin-skinned (to the point of obsession), the Irish in the US are no longer a minority subject to ethnic prejudice, almost, but not quite, the same as WASPS feeling victimized by prejudice, by pejoriative references to WASPS

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    8. ac/ma, youre wrong. the very identity of the so called wasps is that they are not the irish (in fact the english could be categorized as mostly irish genetically and only 6% germanic or anglo-saxon.)

      the english came to this country with the false confidence that at least they didnt have tails like the irish.

      and the english were the founding fathers and mothers and so it is patriotic to be for them and therefore against their enemies embodied by the americans of irish catholic heritage whose ancestors they genocided in ireland. this creates good order by establishing a pecking order with so called wasps at the top and americans of irish catholic heritage at the bottom, at least among whites.

      it has always been this way and it is this way now despite the fact that americans of irish-catholic heritage no longer form a coherent social group. and it will always be this way even if hypothetically 'we' all disappeared. the forces of order, thru their tools in the media, would pretend were still around, othering about.

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  7. (Current primetime lineup on Fox: O’Reilly, Kelly and Hannity. People, we’re just saying!) - lord robert somerby

    >>> yer just sayin what? that they somehow commandeered their jobs?

    murdoch is some kind of a 'sir' in the british commonwealth like his father before him. its a two-fer. he uses individuals descended from one of the historical mainstay 'groups' of the dem party to propagandize for the republicans for the gop political purposes . . . and to have a laugh when he meets the queen.

    and for the record megyn kellys mother was not of irish descent and kelly named her son thatcher.

    u really will use anything.

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  8. where are all the rest of the bigots today? stormfront?

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    1. Nasty single-issue troll

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    2. "where are all the rest of the bigots today? stormfront?"

      YOU are the bigot, fuckwad.

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    3. Anonymouses 543 and 1110:

      Leave now. Your "contributions" are worthless.

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    4. But that "bill board"

      MAN he is a fine contributor. MOAR plz!

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    5. Kidding!

      He's awful. An ethnic troll who has never contributed a thing.

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  9. Bob, lots of Jews work in finance. Lots of Irish-Americans work in communications/media. So what?

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    1. So what -- Chris Matthews makes a big deal about being Irish in his new book. It matters to the guys in his clique.

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