DUMBNIFICATION STUDIES: Cable TV's Inspectors Poirot!

FRIDAY, JANUARY 10, 2014

Part 4—On the case for the full hour: Last night, at 11 P.M. Eastern, CNN found its latest way to avoid discussing real news.

For two solid hours in that slot, the so-called news network aired its latest CNN Film, Sole Survivor. At the site devoted to this new group of films, this synopsis appears:
CNN SYNOPSIS: There have been 14 major airplane crashes with a sole survivor in the history of commercial aviation. Most of the lone survivors are dealing with debilitating guilt that few can understand. These survivors have never met each other, until now. "Sole Survivor" premieres on CNN on January 9.
Hurrah! Instead of presenting the boring old news, CNN found a way spend two hours asking plane crash survivors how they feel. In this way, the network increases its search for ways to avoid traditional news.

(Last Thursday night, the adorable film, The March of the Penguins, aired in the same time slot. Other films pimped at the CNN site: “Unreal Dreams: Wrongly imprisoned for wife’s murder.” Also, “Blackfish: Do killer whales belong in captivity?” This is good solid stuff!)

In this instance, CNN’s timing was extremely poor. Damn! Over at MSNBC, a succession of Inspectors Poirot spent the entire evening last night staging their own versions of Masterpiece Mystery programming.

Hurrah! In place of discussing the boring old news, these liberal hosts had spent their full hours exploring the world of Chris Christie. “We are, of course, going to refer to this as Bridgegate,” Gail Collins had correctly announced.

In fact, a few people have started to call it Bridget-gate, a tribute to fired Christie aide Bridget Kelly. She helps the programming succeed by being youngish, blonde and conventionally good looking.

But whatever! You can call the story whatever you like, even Johnson! Within the world of so-called news, this scandal will serve as the three millionth way to avoid discussing an array of substantive but boring topics.

It isn’t that this ridiculous conduct shouldn’t be investigated, since of course it should be. It’s just that the scandal culture infesting our news has served, at least since Watergate, as a way for bored journalists to gossip about personalities and discuss “true crime” instead.

Last night, none of the Inspectors Poirot discussed anything but the new scandal. Just a guess: Their ratings will bump as viewers flock to the story-driven excitement.

Another guess:

Over at CNN, the worried suits were cursing their luck as the evening unfolded. They were stuck with two hours of airplane crashes on a night when the gods of scandal events had granted cable stars a natural reprieve from the fate of discussing traditional news.

As with Watergate and “that woman, Miss Lewinsky,” this detour will last for a very long time. As TV stars kill oodles of time and string out their mystery stories, the following things will occur:

The letters page in the New York Times will fill with highly predictable letters. Joan Walsh will rush into print at Salon. Her piece will include an impressive string of misstatements.

Previously bungled misleading claims will be deftly rolled back. See upcoming post.

More significantly (at least in theory), serious news reports will disappear from the air. Similar reports will be bumped deep inside our major newspapers as front pages fill with analyses of how Christie seemed when he said the things he said.

(This is significant only in theory, for an obvious reason. Our news orgs would have found ways to avoid or downplay such serious topics with or without the new scandal.)

In this morning’s New York Times, a lengthy report about unemployment benefits gets bumped to page A13, inside the National section. And let’s consider that other report, the one which appears on A12.

No one is going to hear about that! For example, it will never be discussed on the “liberal” news channel.

In fairness, that isn’t Bridget-gate’s fault. The liberal channel never discusses such topics, no matter what else has occurred.

But on page A12 of today’s New York Times,
buried beneath the Bridget-gate onslaught, a reader can learn that President Obama has said that “the government w[ill] begin helping five economically hard-hit communities fight poverty and assist children...the five areas w[ill] become ‘Promise Zones,’ where federal agencies will cut through red tape in an effort to give struggling residents a chance at better lives.”

A photograph shows some very impressive-looking kids from the Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy. One of these very good-looking kids is shaking hands with Obama.

We see such impressive-looking kids every day here in Baltimore. On the liberal cable channel, the various millionaire hosts would rather jump off the world’s busiest bridge—top deck!—than discuss such children’s lives and interests.

As a result, low-income schools and low-income children get discussed in highly dumbnified fashion. A quick summation:

Mainstream journalists recite an array of scripts which fly in the face of the most basic data. A rising star writes a ballyhooed book in which she disappears two-thirds of those basic data.

And not only that! Our leading liberal voice on such topics offers an assessment like the one below. It appears right at the start of her new book, Reign of Error.

MSNBC won’t discuss her book because its subject bores the young upper-class elites it is trying to attract, ratings- and ad-rates-wise:
RAVITCH (page 11): Along came the George W. Bush administration in 2001, which proposed sweeping federal legislation called No Child Left Behind (NCLB). On the campaign trail, Bush spoke of “the Texas miracle,” claiming that testing and accountability had led to startling improvements in student performance. He said that test scores and graduation were up, and the achievement gap was narrowing. We now know that there was no such miracle; Texas made some increases on federal tests, like many other states, but its students register at the national average, nowhere near the top. In 2001, no one listened to those who warned that the “Texas miracle” was an illusion. Congress swiftly passed the law, which dramatically changed the federal role in education.
In part, no one listened to those warnings because Ravitch was telling them not to. Setting such snark to the side, let’s consider the claims which appear in that passage:

Using the Nexis archives, we find no sign that Candidate Bush ever referred to “the Texas miracle,” even in the fall of 1999, when he gave three speeches about education. If readers get a different impression from that passage, that impression would seem to be wrong.

Bush did make claims about improvements in Texas schools. But uh-oh! When he referred to those “federal tests,” his claims seemed to be accurate, even understated:
BUSH (9/2/99): In Texas, we are proud of our results. We have more than 7,000 public schools as diverse as any in America. Since 1994, the number of minority children passing our state skills test jumped from 38 percent to 69 percent. Between 1994 and 1999, Hispanic eighth graders posted a 40-point gain on our math exam. African-American fourth graders have better math skills in Texas than in any state in the union.

A lot of people deserve credit for this success. Of course, the students, the parents, the hard-working teachers and the principals and legislatures. And I'm proud of my part.
Bush was understating a tad. On the 1996 NAEP, the most recent federal scores available, white fourth-graders in Texas led the nation in math too!

(On the 2000 NAEP, whose results were released in 2001, black students in Texas finished first in the nation in fourth grade math. White students and Hispanic students each finished second.)

Meanwhile, Ravitch is flatly misleading her readers when she says that Texas students “register at the national average [now], nowhere near the top.” Sorry:

When Ravitch wrote her book, the 2011 NAEP provided the most recent data. On those tests, white students in Texas scored third in the nation in Grade 8 math. Black students and Hispanic students each scored second.

Presumably, Ravitch bases her claim that Texas students score “at the national average” on the aggregate scores for the state, which has a very large number of low-income and minority students. As we suggested yesterday, Ravitch tends to disaggregate scores when it helps the case she wants to make. In cases like this, she tends to mislead and misinform readers by using aggregate scores.

(Her work has much to recommend it. We wish she’d stop doing this.)

If the Fort Lee matter turns out as it seems, it gives us a bridge to the seventh century, when invading armies would sack the towns of infidels. Our dumbnified discourse tends to work in similar primitive ways.

All over the press corps, our “journalists” adopt ludicrous scripts and invent bogus facts, baldly misleading us the rubes in the process. A similar process of dumbnification is involved in CNN’s emerging love for two-hour films about penguins and whales—and in the way cable loves to puzzle about a good mystery story.

What did he do and when did he do it? Your favorite cable TV stars are going to waste a mountain of time pretending to puzzle that out. In their heart of hearts, they will thrill to the way Scandal TV lets them skip all those boring news topics, including the interests of those kids, who they don’t find real impressive.

In fairness, they have ratings to obtain, salaries to justify and increase. As their Masterpiece Mystery programs unfold, other scribes will pound fake facts about the kids on A12.

In fairness, some of those writers have books to sell, ditto-heads to retain.

Still coming: Reliable Sources

77 comments:

  1. OMB

    "MSNBC won’t discuss her book because its subject bores the young upper-class elites it is trying to attract, ratings- and ad-rates-wise:"

    His BOBalmighty, this here post.

    MSNBC did discuss her book. They discussed it with her. She was their guest. You covered it. She was there in October. You mentioned it in December. Commenters noted it just this week.

    Guess you forgot. Happens with age and distance of the subject matter from Al Gore in 1999-2000.

    KZ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've been here before. If the blogger is tiring, you are tiring as well.

      You are referring to the blogger now as BOBalmighty? When so many of your recent contributions have noted accuracy(!) in Somerbys work, we begin to lose sight of your irony, sir.

      Have you a specific beef today, or are you hanging your entire schtick on "MSNBC covered it this on time and Somerby knows that" -- as if that even began to address the issue of media attention to education issues.

      If the blogger is overblown, it is at least clear his own contributions have actual merits.

      Yours, not so much.

      Delete
    2. His "beef" once again is that Somerby accused MSNBC of not discussing at all a book that they had discussed, and a discussion that he had blogged about.

      In other words, Somerby playing his readers for fools again.

      Delete
    3. Today Somerby is complaining because the discussion of Promise Zones got pushed to page A12 by the bridge news. He complains that MSNBC will not be convering the promise zones either.

      When Somerby begins talking about the mistakes in Ravitch's book and says MSNBC won't be discussing her book, it is in the context of those misleading statements and the fact that people are being misled about the state of public education, especially for minority children. Context matters. It is a distortion to widen that into something like "Somerby said MSNBC never discussed Ravitch's book, but they did" in order to attack Somerby, utterly ignoring his main points in this post.

      Delete
    4. Today, Somerby wrote whatever thought crossed his mind on at least a dozen subjects and the Bob Fans think it's brilliant.

      What a surprise!

      Delete
    5. Anonymous 1:13 PM

      Your suggestion that there is context which has been ignored regarding Somerby's fatuous, false, and oft repeated claim about MSNBC ignorning Ravitch's book
      is amusing. No, to borrow a phrase from a stauncher defender of Somerby than even you, it's dumb.

      Delete
  2. I see Bob continues to channel Malala in his tone.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You don't get it KZ. They haven't discussed it EVERY DAY! Instead, they've been sinking deeper in "scandal culture" with the bridge thingy that used to be pointless and worthless, and now at least "of course" should be investigated.

    Here's my wish. Instead of packing everything from reality shows on CNN to Diane Ravitch, to Christie and the Bridge, to MSNBC, to the NYT's reporting on unemployment benefits, to an academy in Harlem, then back to Fort Lee and CNN, why not simply write a concise, focused post on each subject?

    Another wish. For the love of God, please drop the Fort Lee thing. It only reminds me of how horrible your earliest posts on this subject were.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Should've stopped at "You don't get it KZ," something that's abundantly clear.

      Delete
    2. What I "don't get" is the slavish obedience of the Bobinistas, even when their leader is caught in yet another outright lie.

      Does it threaten your sense of smug self-righteousness that every time Bob makes up a reason for you to look down your nose at MSNBC and pretend you are so much smarter, that the reason isn't true?

      Delete
    3. God, I dislike these trolls.

      Delete
  4. I'm not sure why Bob attracts commenters who seem to hate reading his blog. I don't think that his point is that hard to follow at all. I understand it to be that the conflict- and scandal-driven media focus on trivialities in order to entertain the masses, rather than educating the electorate so that people can make informed choices when voting. Bob sees this culture of triviality and conflict as supporting the plutocracy's ability to keep the serious issues from being the subject of public debate.

    You can call Bob naïve for thinking that most people are interested in or capable of having such discussions, but in my view he's absolutely correct in general (even if he sometimes makes mistakes, as everyone does, and even if his writing style is often Socratic in nature).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for this comment.

      Delete
    2. Trivialities like the Christie story, eh?

      Delete
    3. Actually, yes, compared to real problems like unemployment.

      Delete
  5. The blogger's beef about the Media was done much better by Don Henley

    "We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who
    Comes on at five
    She can tell you 'bout the plane crash with a gleam
    In her eye
    It's interesting when people die-
    Give us dirty laundry"

    Nitpicking factual errors by those he hates - yawn.

    WE DON"T WANT TO BE DISCUSSING THE POOR ALL THE TIME - we should elect liberal, compassionate politicians who would help the downtrodden professionally, without a sense of charity and only tell us about the progress from time to time.

    For the blogger everything is a vehicle to express hate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You simplify Bob's intent entirely by calling his outrage "hate." I don't see it as hate. Simpletons like you can't see the forest for the trees.

      Delete
  6. Gotta hand it to the guy for Chutzpah.

    If all reporters had been like him - "Bridget-gate" would not have happened - and Christie's minions would have gotten away with a dangerous act of political vendetta.

    That he comes back with a straight face and goes all Sarah Palin on "the Media" as if nothing has happened - is that something or what?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Was it that long ago that he called Rachel Maddow a bought and paid for partisan hack for daring to report this story? A story that now "of course" should have been investigated? But still must somehow be linked to Lewinsky?

      What is sad to me is that this pioneer of political blogging defines "the media" so narrowly. If it isn't discussed on MSNBC, if its not on the front page of the New York Times, it's not being reported at all.

      Good grief! The guy uses the Internet to tell us this!




      Delete
    2. It was how she reported it, not that she reported it.

      Delete
    3. Try selling that to somebody with a much shorter memory. Somerby repeatedly called the bridge story trivial, and railed against Maddow for not reporting on far more serious subjects.

      Like Christie's "theft" of $12 million. Which, of course, she DID report on. In real time. Repeatedly.

      Delete
    4. Anon12:25pm, don't move so fast.

      There is Maddow's alternative narrative wherein she imagines the scenarios that exculpate Christie.

      This is beyond great journalism! It's stuff of the future!

      Delete
    5. OMB (Your'e breaking my heart)

      Cecelia, we salute you for noting Maddow's use of the BOB imagination narrative. We, of course, prefer the imaginary Oprah street fight to anything involving Christie.

      We wonder if she will dare venture into the BOB Crystal Ball Miracle narrative, where he predicts something will never happen both before and after it happens.

      KZ

      Delete
    6. (I'm shaking your confidence daily)

      So you're saying you prefer you alternative scenarios with imaginary facts from MSNBC?

      Delete
    7. OMB (I'm Down on My Knees)

      No. We wonder if she will fall short again if she attempts to try one of BOB's more dangerous tricks.

      We have no love for Rachel. As Bob has written, she's a "perspiring" cable star who "pleasures herself" on air.
      Plus she's a millionaire. Probably has diamonds in the soles of her shoes.

      KZ

      Delete
    8. Cecelia, please stop pretending that you know a damned thing about what Maddow does.

      And please stop "imagining" what's on her show or any other on MSNBC, simply because it fits the "script" you've been handed and swallow whole.

      Delete
    9. Don't forget, KZ, that she is also younger than Somerby, richer than Somerby. better educated than Somerby, and more female than Somerby.

      Delete
    10. Thanks, Anon 3:59pm, but I"m not Ivy League...

      Delete
    11. Right, KZ. You troll the MSNBC blog on your second shift.

      Delete
    12. OMB (I'm begging you please)

      No, but I once got banned from Jake Tapper's blog for repeating telling the joke McCain made about Chelsea Clinton every time the Tapster suggested someone said something sexist.

      KZ

      Delete
    13. Awww...so you got your junior troll merit badge by plaguing Tapper for not mentioning McCain.

      A young tyrant in bloom.

      Delete
    14. OMB (Making love in the afternoon)

      No. I got that blowing up frogs in the Bush backyard in Midland.

      Delete
  7. Shorter every douchebag troll:

    While the media hardly ever give informed discussion to matters of education, the worse sin by far is this blogger's temerity in saying it's "never"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shorter Bobinista: Since I am too dumb to use "Google" my fearless reader is correct in saying I remain completely stupid and ignorant on important matters because MSNBC and the NYT doesn't devote enough time to them.

      Delete
    2. It ain't about you, and it ain't about me.

      For every one person using "the google" and helping them make contributions to "Americans for the Prosperous" there are probably ten watching MSNBC, and for every person watching MSNBC there are probably ten reading the NYTimes, or stories in other newspapers that basically echo the Times.

      Delete
    3. Anon 1:08, so how dumb are the mindless trolls when they demand that Somerby cover a particular topic, and then call him a stealth conservative?

      Delete
    4. Do you mean are they dumber than those who attack trolls for demanding Somerby cover something then defend Somerby when he attacks the ONE TRUE CHANNNEL for not covering something?

      (Warning, if yes, I may ask if the gap is getting smaller or wider)

      Delete
    5. If the CEO of one of the top five banks in this country were indicted, would you think a cable channel calling itself a news channel would be obligated to cover it? Would this blog be obligated to cover that news? The criteria used for what topics to cover are not the same between these two entities. Now, were you calling someone dumb?

      Delete
    6. I do indeed, Anon 2:58pm.

      I know the difference in demanding that a lone blogger cover certain stories on his blog, from demanding that the majority of the national news media do so.

      Delete
    7. Unfortunately Somerby doesn't demand a majority of the media cover things. He demands one or two people cover them with shows that are on the air for 5 hours a week. If they don't he says they don't care about black kids. If they do he ignores it or lies about it. I know the difference too.
      children. when they do cover the topic he moans about.

      Delete
  8. Oh, I don't know.
    I pay attention to education in politics, state and federal, but I don't (or haven't) given any real thought or done any extensive reading on the NSA data collection issue.
    That doesn't mean I don't "care" about privacy or the 4th Amendment. The main reason I haven't followed it is to make sense of it I'd have to read a whole bunch of federal court opinions, precedent, and I don't want to.
    Maybe Maddow doesn't cover education because she'd do a horrible job and she isn't willing to put the time in to do a better job. That should be celebrated, if it's true.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't that why they invite guests onto their shows?

      Delete
    2. And how many times has Somerby railed against hosts who fail to do research sufficient to his standards before they interview guests?

      I also remember a time some years ago when Somerby publically announced he was through with politics and was going to turn TDH into an "education blog."

      Even he couldn't sustain that very long.

      Delete
    3. Couldn't sustain it? So why did he turn it into the world's longest "selected" education book review blog?

      Delete
    4. Two reasons I can think of.

      1. Since he's got nothing original to say, he can only "review" the work of others and call that "education blogging." And of course, always finding it far short of what he could do.

      2. He can't criticize his favored targets for not paying enough attention to education without throwing something about education out there every now and then. Even if is only criticism of the work of others.


      Delete
  9. Ravitch is a professor of education. That means she is trained to use statistics in research. Academics know that it is dishonest to pick and choose the statistics that suit your argument, leaving out inconvenient facts. They know it is wrong to manipulate statistics (aggregating here, disagregating there) in order to support a favored interpretation or theory. So, she can and should be held to a higher standard -- as Somerby is doing here. When you start believing that achieving a goal is more important than know the truth, you are no longer being a professor or an academic or a researcher. You have become an advocate, activist, or partisan. Continuing to rely on the reputation or authority accorded a professor while behaving like a partisan is dishonest. She is no doubt at the end of her academic career and perhaps doesn't care about her reputation among those who study education. That doesn't make her current approach justified. I too wish she would stop it, because I think it makes her less effective when she distorts truth to support her preferred conclusions.

    Awhile back, liberals began referring to themselves as reality-based, in contrast to conservatives who were buying into fabrications presented by their own set of authors and sources who manufactured facts and theories to fit their preferred world view. There was a sense of superiority in that, a smugness. Now, it seems like a subset of liberals would like to abandon their grounding in reality in order to pursue their political goals more aggressively. They promote their own set of authors and sources who manufacture validation for their preferred views (Ravitch among them), and no longer care whether the things these sources tell them are accurate or not. I find that distressing.

    Some voices here seem to be calling for an end to criticism of the deliberate factual inaccuracy of statements made by liberal sources, whether on MSNBC, in the NY Times, or books. They want their fantasies to be accepted as truth. The problem is that when beliefs do not correspond to reality, the world does not change to suit those beliefs but continues as it is. That leads to some very unpleasant surprises. At the very least, policies based on fantasy are ineffective and waste resources. At worst, they result in injury and death. It is easy to see the impact of this on the right, as for example when women are denied reproductive health care because of conservative fantasies. It can happen too when the left engages in its own fantasies.
    Grounding in reality is essential to effective governance. So we need voices like Somerby's and we do not need to follow conservatives down a path that is destructive to our nation's best interests because it requires ignorance of the way our world works.

    So, trolls, please go away and leave Somerby a chance to express his views without your garbage filling up his comment sections.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only one problem with your plea.

      The people you call "trolls" unfortunately represent a substantial portion of the small audience Somerby has left.

      Should they take your advice and leave, he'd be left preaching to a very small choir.

      Now I know how badly opposing points of view must upset you. But may I offer you a small bit of advice?

      Just soak in the brilliance that is Somberby. Don't bother taking the step to click on the comments and read so much stuff that's got you in such a lather.

      But then, that wouldn't give you anything to whine about.

      Delete
    2. Please, please, please put this to the test. Go away and lets see how many people remain to talk about things. I don't mind opposing views. All I hear here is vitriol and word salad. The problem is that I must read a few words of each garbagey comment in order to determine who is saying something worth reading. Now that the trolls keep repeating themselves over and over (and Cecelia eggs them on), it takes a long time to find the one or two interesting remarks. It is becoming not worth the time.

      Trolls here will probably think they've won some sort of victory by disrupting conversation in the comments. Most of Somerby's readers are probably still reading the blog, as before, just not reading the comments these days. I suspect they will come back when the trolls get tired of talking to each other and leave.

      Delete
  10. [Ravitch wrote]: Bush spoke of...startling improvements... He said that test scores and graduation were up...We now know that there was no such miracle; Texas made some increases on federal tests, like many other states, but its students register at the national average, nowhere near the top (emphasis added)

    One of my pet peeves is refuting a claim about .change, with data about level. The fact that Texas students now perform at an average level in no way refutes the claim of improvement. Texas used to be well below average.

    A similar logical fallacy is popular in the climate change debate. Presented with the fact that there's been no global warming for 16 years, some warmists respond that temperatures are currently at a high level. That response misses the point. Sixteen years of growth in supposed greenhouse gases has not been matched by any warming at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When students are ranked 2nd or 3rd in the nation, they are not at the national average. They are above it. So Ravitch is answering Bush's statement about improvement with a statement about level that is inaccurate -- factually wrong. If you read Somerby's post, you should understand that Texas students do not now perform at an average level -- they are well above average because they rank at the top in all disaggregated groups. They only seem to be average because Texas has a larger number of poor and minority children than other states. David, you are being taken in by misleading aggregation of scores, just as other Ravitch readers. Please go back and re-read Somerby's post and try to understand the point about why disaggregation matters.

      As to climate, I recommend "Storms of my Grandchildren" by James Hansen. It has a very thorough explanation of the science involved in evaluating competing statements about climate change, including the relationship between local measures and long term climate change, flaws of proposed models, and how evidence does or does not support predictions about the impact of warming. There is a chapter about impact of greenhouse gases and temperature and whether or not proposed policies to limit CO2 will be effective. You really need to read something besides conservative websites on this topic.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the advice, Anon. I get my climate stuff from scientific discussions on the web. I have some background in stochastic prediction of time series and statistical forecasting of extreme weather events, so I can follow some of the science, although not all of it. The book you recommend is available in my local library. I'll plan to take a look at it.

      Delete
    3. "I get my climate stuff from scientific discussions on the web."

      BWAAAHAHAHA!

      Delete
    4. Hey Anon @2:28 quit your vicious trolling, I get my porn stuff from scientific discussions on the web.

      Delete
    5. "Presented with the fact that there's been no global warming for 16 years, "

      That's not a fact, it's a lie, told to you by denier propagandists, gullibly accepted by you, and uncritically repeated by you. It simply isn't true, and it takes very little effort to learn that it isn't true.

      Delete
    6. "Sixteen years of growth in supposed greenhouse gases has not been matched by any warming at all"

      Even if that were true, and it's not, it wouldn't be relevant because 16 years is short period in terms of climate, and there several short term cycles that affect surface temperatures and can offset GHG effects, and most of the heat is going into the oceans -- which will eventually affect surface temperatures. GHG effects are BASIC PHYSICS and cannot be eliminated just by not believing in them. 90% of all warming throughout the entire climate record that we have followed rises in CO2.

      As for recent years, see http://skepticalscience.com/global-warming-since-1997-more-than-twice-as-fast.html

      Delete
  11. bob somerby says,

    "No one is going to hear about that! For example, it will never be discussed on the “liberal” news channel. "

    >>> this is from memory, but a number of months ago msnbc head phil griffin said msnbc doesnt do breaking news which really pissed off nbc universal head steve burke. i presume griffin meant, but didnt add, "...during prime time". unless they have had a change lately im unaware of, they program differently during the day, with much less emphasis on pure politics and much more emphasis on policy analysis and news, i assume now using newly merged nbc reporters in addition to their own on the various news locations and in washington. (albeit not to the same extent as cnn does news during the day)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think I speak for more than me by saying that I'm here not because Bob is god or a genius or a brilliant writer, but simply because he says important things that nobody else says. Anywhere.

    For example, this blog might contain the only critique of liberals from the right that isn't completely insane. (Critiques of liberals from the left are a dime a dozen.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "...Bob is god or a genius or a brilliant writer..."

      >>> hes not god. jesus was a liberal. so thats right out.

      genius? they say genius and insanity are very close. so a definite maybe on that one.

      brilliant writer? i wonder what a real world teacher would do with a paper handed in by a student of theirs which was written in somerbys style.

      Delete
    2. You think the fact the Wildstein went to HS with Christie but wasn't actually a HS bud is *important* and that no one else says it?

      Delete
    3. ISomerby doesn't critique from a right perspective. And even a flaming leftist like me recognizes that there's plenty of non-insane critique of liberals from the right, such as Volokh. I don't necessarily agree with those critiques, but they exist.

      Delete
  13. Steevy,

    "For example, this blog might contain the only critique of liberals from the right that isn't completely insane."

    From the right?

    What happened to endless professions of "we liberals" by the blogger?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can you really not conceive of gradations within a category? Obama was to the right of Clinton, but both were nominally liberals and certainly both were Democrats.

      Delete
  14. bob somerby says,

    "We see such impressive-looking kids every day here in Baltimore. On the liberal cable channel, the various millionaire hosts would rather jump off the world’s busiest bridge—top deck!—than discuss such children’s lives and interests."

    >>> i dont know how much they talk about black kids directly, but i presume they advocate for the dem position of more food stamps and unemployment insurance coverage and against voting disenfranchisement, which presumably will help more black kids proportionately than non-black kids.

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    1. Clean air and clean water legislation will help them too. But what about discussing issues more directly relevant to such kids, such as after school care for kids with working parents, access to charter school admissions, increased use of teachers aids, computers, new textbooks, repair of the school infrastructure, fields trips for classes where parents aren't available to take time off as chaperones, and other such specific issues. What has been the impact of zero tolerance rules on inner city kids? How much teacher turnover is there in inner city schools compared to suburban schools?

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    2. that sounds like it has potential as a documentary hitting on all the things you mentioned plus the role local funding plays as a 'separate but equal' type problem.

      then one on the mass incarceration problem here, #1 in the world in actual numbers, not just proportionally. usa!!! usa!!! usa!!!

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  15. OMB (Thanks upward!)

    Without your comment I might have missed the fact that BOB has updated his terminology for analytical mind reading of what he used to call children. He's gone from the Eiffel Tower to the George Washington Bridge.

    "But the children on The One True Channel would rather jump off the Eiffel Tower than stoop to the level of discussing our ratty public school students"

    BOBster (In a French mood)

    KZ

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    1. glad to help . . . even though i dont see how i did exactly. but forget that. you are really blowing the doors off around here! u were easily the mvp in the anti-somerby resistance before. . .but lately. . . youve kicked it into some kind of warp speed. id be jealous except that i know youre not of this world.

      american commander, silly blogs

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  16. I actually learned something useful from the Sole Survivor program last night. It showed that the NTSB has a mandate from congress to make a single cause responsible for an accident, regardless of how serious contributing factors were. After exploring the many contributing factors for the Comair accident in which only the co-pilot survived (just barely), including there being only one person in the control tower (against FAA rules), lights missing from the runways, and much more, they put the entire blame on the pilots and in footage of the results showed the NTSB people completely trashing the pilots (with the dead pilot's wife right there) and ignoring everything else. It was disgusting and reminds me of some of the more ridiculous "hearings" in congress by Issa and others like him. It also made clear that you rarely get all the facts in news coverage and made it clear in a way that was very humanizing. I think that's worth portraying and I'm glad I saw the program.

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    1. That's nothing. I actually learned something from "The Learning Channel" once. Can't remember what it was, though.

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    2. Hey, I'm so old, I remember hearing music on MTV.

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    3. It may be that they did that because the contributing factors are there for a great many flights but only the one plane suffered an accident. It is then fair to say that the main cause was the one that made that plane different from the many others who also encountered lights missing, etc.

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  17. Every time I watch Rachel Maddow I remember how irrelevant Bob is.

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    1. Mongo only pawn in game of life.

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    2. I am afraid every time I watch Rachel I look for sweat.

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    3. So irrelevant that after you watched Maddow you had to rush over here to tell everyone how irrelevant it is over here.

      How does it feel to be immune to irony?

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