THE NEW SAM-AND-COKIES: Horrible work!

MONDAY, JANUARY 20, 2014

Part 1—The Times and The One True Channel: Inexorably, your Daily Howler keeps banging out those results.

For years, we have said that it ought to be front-page news when cable news channels mislead or misinform the public.

This morning, the New York Times runs a front-page report about one of the cable news channels—the channel the Times doesn’t fear.

The Times report about MSNBC is absurdly misleading in at least one major respect. Still, its front-page placement sets a useful precedent.

We’ll examine that profile in our next post.

For now, let’s start with an email we received from a long-time reader. We’ve long admired this reader for her feist, but we found her email a bit frustrating:
EMAIL: I do not know why you are always trashing Maddow and giving a free ride to that low life scumbag Chris Christie—who will never run for president and may be forced to resign.
Why the differential treatment of Maddow and Christie? We’ll offer two reasons:

First, Maddow is a journalist—Christie isn’t—and this site is about journalists. This has been the case for almost sixteen years, though some readers are still a bit unclear on this point.

Many sites tell us liberals exactly what we want to hear about Christie. They’re experts at saying the things we like. We focus on journalists here.

Here’s our second reason: we don’t yet know what Christie did in this puzzling fandango.

For the record, we’ve postulated a worse possibility than the theories Maddow has presented. We've imagined the possibility that he was trying to strong-arm money away from that billion-dollar development in Fort Lee.

That said, we don’t yet know what Christie has done. By way of contrast, we see Maddow’s work on TV every weekday night.

Quite often, her work is insultingly bad. And it’s bad right out in the open.

In our view, Maddow has become a clown in several major ways. This involves a trend which can be seen in the coverage of Fort Lee.

The coverage of the Fort Lee matter has often been appallingly poor. This has been true in the New York Times, a tremendously unprofessional newspaper. It has also been true on MSNBC, except for the superlative work being done by Steve Kornacki.

Front-page reporting in the Times has been astoundingly bad. In many ways, it follows the patterns described by Gene Lyons in Fools for Scandal.

In that 1995 book, Lyons dissected the front-page reporting which invented the Whitewater scandal. The practices Lyons described in that book continue to this very day.

Tomorrow, we’ll take another look at some of the New York Times’ front-page reporting of the Fort Lee matter. (For amusement purposes, this episode is described as “Bridgegate.”)

In our view, little has changed since 1992, except the targets about whom the Times is picking and choosing its facts.

(Please note: That is a comment about the New York Times. It isn’t a comment about Christie, one way or the other.)

Front-page reporting in the Times has been amazingly bad. That said, the work on MSNBC has often been horrible too. Concerning that fact, it’s time to notice the changing of an old guard.

In the mid 1990’s, MSNBC and Fox News came on the air. They joined CNN, thereby creating a trio of cable “news channels.”

Fox didn’t pass CNN in the ratings until 2002. But by the time of Campaign 2000, a generation of mainstream broadcast pundits had been created.

ABC News had already given us Sam and Cokie. By the time of Campaign 2000, other pundits had joined them among our leading mainstream oracles.

CNN had given us Al and Margaret and Mark and Bob and also Pat Buchanan. Also: Jeff Greenfield, Kate O’Beirne and the emerging Tucker Carlson.

At MSNBC, we had been given Howard Fineman, who repeated whatever Chris said on Hardball. We also got Jonathan Alter.

We’re leaving out the conservative faction being developed at Fox. We’re also omitting the Sunday anchors—Schieffer and Russert and them.

Sometimes, these people did decent work. Much more often, their work was horrendous. For our money, Sam and Cokie’s clowning performance in late October 2000 stands out as one marker of an inane, broken age.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! “Dingell-Norwood” just sounded really funny!

We complained about this in real time. Your liberal heroes just sat there and watched this clowning—when they weren’t taking part.

For many people, Sam and Cokie came to be emblems of a certain kind of fatuous pseudo-punditry. But that whole generation of pundits is now largely gone from the air.

They’re being replaced by a new generation. On a career basis, a great deal has been at stake as these lifetime sinecures have been nailed down. If you don’t understand this fact, you don’t understand press culture.

As many other people have noted, Kornacki has stood out in his handling of the Fort Lee matter. When he discusses New Jersey politics, he rather plainly seems to know what he’s talking about.

You rarely see that on cable news channels—a person who knows what he’s talking about! Instead, we’d have to say that you’re seeing the rise of a new gang of Sam and Cokies.

On MSNBC, these new pseudo-journalists will often be taking your side. They won’t be mocking Big Democrats, as was the norm in the Clinton/Gore years, when Matthews set the standard for a repellent style of dishonest attack pseudo-journalism.

Instead of attacking the Clintons and Gore, this new group will be attacking Christie. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t Sam-and-Cokies. More specifically, it doesn’t mean that their journalism is any good.

At the New York Times, a new generation of fatuous scribes is replacing the founders of the newspaper's famous Dowdism. On the TV machine thingy, we’re seeing the rise of the new Sam and Cokies.

Their targets have changed, but their work is still poor. To cite that one example again, we’d say that Maddow plays the fool pretty much every night now.

Our impression? As long as she plays the fool our way, some of us simply can’t tell.

Tomorrow: New York Times front-page reporting

77 comments:

  1. And it should be added that Bob has been pretty clear to criticize Christie for what he has done, which was blow 12 million on a special election to prevent the voter turnout in that race from hurting his own re-election effort. I think the word "steal" has been used.

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    1. In what context did Bob mention the $12 million "theft"? To criticize Christie or Maddow?

      I think the record speaks for itself.

      Delete
    2. Clearly you didn't read the post above. Somerby states that THIS blog is about media, not about Christie or politics. These things get mentioned in the context of media issues. So he wouldn't bring it up to criticize Christie as a political blog would, but Maddow because she is part of the media and this is a media criticism blog. Your misunderstanding of this is the point of today's post.

      Delete
    3. Clearly, you didn't read the comment to which I was replying.

      But that's some pretzel you've twisted yourself into in defense of Somerby. He would be proud.

      Delete
    4. So, what was your point? He criticizes Maddow. That is his purpose here.

      Delete
    5. From January 15th,

      "Imagine a party which lets someone like Christie get away with that two-election solution! In effect, he stole $12 million from the state treasury to run a pair of separate-but-equal elections last fall. "

      Delete
  2. From Neal Gabler: "And it is the liberal politicians who continue to pay the price for the liberal journalists' self-promotion cum self-preservation. Beating up on well-educated, well-spoken liberals is probably the surest means of proving one's Everyman credentials and protecting one's personal brand without also, by the way, losing one's Beltway bona fides. Going on about faith and religion is another."

    http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jun/29/opinion/op-gabler29

    Paul Krugman had this to say. (8/07):
    "What I mean, instead, is that know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: 'Real men don’t think things through.'”

    www.nytimes.com/2008/08/08/opinion/08krugman.html?th&emc=th

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  3. "As long as she plays the fool our way, some of us simply can’t tell."

    Can't tell or don't care? During the 2008 primaries a whole group of liberals explicitly decided to adopt the tactics of the right -- because they seemed to be working. They employed them against Hillary Clinton. Now they want to use those despicable tactics against anyone they dislike. One of their targets appears to be Somerby -- because he isn't willing to join them. I am glad this blog is willing to deplore corrupt journalism wherever it appears. I wish liberals would deplore corrupt politics too -- but it seems to want to excuse whatever benefits its own purposes. That is the essence of lack of integrity, in my opinion. I like this blog because whatever else happens, there is integrity here.

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    1. Ah yes. The great "whole group of liberals" media conspiracy theory. The legacy of Spiro Agnew lives.

      Look, media folks said mean things about Hillary. They also said mean things about Barack Obama, or have you forgotten Rev. Wright?

      This notion that there is a "whole group of liberals" in the media capable of planning a Sunday School picnic, let alone a candidate otherwise certain to be elected president, was laughable when Agnew first said it more than 40 years ago.

      As far as liberals "excusing" corruption, remind me of all the liberal pundits who rushed to Bloggo's defense.

      Despite your game of false equivalance, if there is one thing that both "liberals" and "conservatives" agree on, it's corruption in politics. Which is why Christie is in boiling hot water.

      Delete
    2. Neither liberal nor conservative politicians care about corruption but voters do. There have been machine politics involving both parties and Christie's mess sounds like old fashioned NE machine-style politics. But the way liberals turned on Hillary is not standard politics as usual. It was shoot-yourself-in-the-foot with voters politics enacted because the powers-that-be wanted Obama but he wasn't qualified enough so they had to get rid of his opponent (by any means necessary). The media helped because the media and the people who wanted Obama elected share the same interests. For convenience lets call them the plutocrats.

      Obama's involvement with Rev. Wright was true. Clinton's supposed support for the Iraq war was not true, nor were any number of other things said about her by liberals and the media.

      Delete
    3. Clinton very clearly DID vote for the resolution that authorized the use of military force in Iraq. I accept her reasons -- that the threat of force was necessary to bring Saddam to the table, and would negate the need for an invasion. But her big mistake was miscalculating the neo-cons in the Bush Adminstration and their hunger for war.

      And that was a serious miscalculation.

      Delete
    4. "Ah yes. The great "whole group of liberals" media conspiracy theory. The legacy of Spiro Agnew lives."

      Um, say what? That the media DID gang up on Hillary in 2008, as they did against Gore in 2000, doesn't require a "liberal media conspiracy theory" only the recognition that the media often falls victim to groupthink on many issues and personalities. Jon Stewart gives proof of this on virtually a daily basis.

      Delete
    5. Yes. Jon Stewart is a success as media critic and comic.
      That is why he is a cable millionaire.

      Delete
  4. I don't like Hillary Clinton, or Al Gore -- that is, they don't represent my ideas. I have nothing against them personally, but I don't like Welfare Reform, Reinventing Government, NAFTA, or the Iraq War, which Hillary supported over the objections of 99.9 of her constituents, of whom I am one. I am willing to accept they are decent people in private and possibly in good faith in public (despite their disastrously misguided, opportunistic policies). But I have never heard any of them repudiate the terrible things they stood for, despite their manifest failures, and I find this shocking.

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    1. Clinton and Obama voted identically on all votes concerning the Iraq war. Their pledges concerning ending the war were identical except that Clinton said she would end it sooner. The only difference between the two was Obama's supposed speech early on, of which there is no video and no evidence he ever expressed the views he later claimed to have stated. NAFTA and Welfare Reform happened during Bill Clinton's terms, not Hillary's. Recall that Clinton had an intransigent Republican majority in congress at the time and that many of the things passed were not to his personal liking but were compromises. I personally didn't like the repeal of Glass-Steagal, but that was not Clinton's idea. It is an example of one of many pieces of legislation that Clinton didn't veto because congress had a veto-proof majority (so it wouldn't have done any good). Remember the shutdown of the govt? They were as much responsible for this crappy legislation as Obama is today for the situation in congress.

      Delete
    2. Neither Clinton or Obama defended Susan Rice against the horrible script thrown against her by the media.

      Delete
    3. Except for one teensey vote, 2:19. The one that authorized military force and the invasion. Obama wasn't even in the U.S. Senate when that went down.

      I thought Hillary explained her vote quite well -- that the use of military force was tied to the exhaustion of all diplomatic efforts. But to other voters, that wasn't enough. And they can make up their own minds.

      I supported Hillary over Obama because of her experience and expertise, particularly in the area of foreign policy, and her heroic efforts, though failed, to cobble together a national health plan.

      But I saw that primary campaign as a battle between two very evenly matched and good candidates. And to some, perhaps many, Hillary's vote to authorize military force against Saddam was a deal-breaker.

      Delete
    4. Thanks for reliving the 2008 primary, guys. I am too young to remember 2000, so I appreciate your rehash better than the repeats of 2000 TDH seems to focus on.

      Delete
    5. Thank you (I think). But in every presidential election cycle, we get silly stories. And this happened long before 2000.

      I happen to have greater faith in the American people in general than our host in their ability to base their votes for president of the United States on far more serious matters than whether one guy actually said he "invented the Internet."

      I still scratch my head over what so many people saw in George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004, but I am willing to concede that they saw something.

      Delete
    6. I ... have greater faith in the American people [but] ... I still scratch my head over what so many people saw in George W. Bush....

      You can still scratch your head? I'm surprised it hasn't exploded.

      Delete
    7. They thought he was an easy-going moderate who would not do much harm if elected. They thought this because the press didn't cover Bush accurately and because Bush actively lied to the voting public. I cannot account for 2004 except to note that Kerry was "swift-boated" from the beginning of his campaign, didn't know how to fight that effectively and generally ran a poor campaign. Bush was probably given the benefit of a "don't switch presidents in the midst of a war" sentiment too. I disliked Bush intensely but never could whip up much enthusiasm for Kerry, despite wanting Bush out of office. Dan Rather was set up and then not supported over the Bush documents and that didn't help Kerry much. Liberals didn't know how to deal with the right's noise machine and lying. One thing I like about Hillary Clinton is that she and her husband did know how to effectively fight the conservative attempts to smear them. I think she showed too much restraint during the primaries but she didn't want to hurt Dem chances in the general election. I think that was a big mistake, just as Gore's refusing to fight for the presidency was in 2000.

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    8. I'm scratching my head over the Sam and Cokie reference.

      Did they have a show on ABC? Or did they have an act which appeared on one of those variety shows you study about in RTF history? Did Sam and Cokie do the song Bob quoted a couple of months back. I know he likes to dote on real old tunes before most of our time. I am sure they are funny to the PBS set but they don't make sense to me.

      Delete
    9. 4:22, in addition to all that, i dont think it helped that kerry was catholic and he was from massachusetts and he had an irish surname.

      Delete
    10. quickly adding...kerry is not in fact of irish extraction. his grandfather took the name kerry, if i remember correctly.

      Delete
    11. when you extract irish from someone is it called mining
      or harvesting?

      Delete
  5. So Bob "imagined" that Chris Christie was trying to extort money out of the billion-dollar development, while admitted he had no evidence to support it.

    And that is somehow exculpatory.

    Meanwhile, he has spent quite sometime excorciating Maddow for "imagining" that Chris Christie himself was somehow tied directly to the Fort Lee traffic mess, while she admitted there was no direct evidence to support that.

    One can only imagine Bob's reaction had Maddow been the first to go so far as to "imagine" that Christie was guilty of the very specific and serious crime of extortion.

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    1. Do you even know what the words "imagine" means?

      Delete
    2. Yes, I do. And it is a word Bob himself throws around AGAINST Maddow and others he hates, i.e., she has no evidence, she only "imagines" it.

      Just a few short weeks ago, "imagining" things before the evidence was in was a mortal sin.

      You heard of the old Internet acronym "IOKIYAR" -- It's OK If You Are Republican" Well, I guess around here "IOKIYAB."

      Delete
    3. What part of "we don’t yet know what Christie did in this puzzling fandango. " don't you understand?

      Delete
    4. What part did Bob fail to understand when Maddow said it. Repeatedly. In every report she has done?

      Did that stop Bob from working himself into a lather about her?

      Delete
    5. By the way, I don't even think Kornacki went so far as to "imagine" that Christie might be trying to extort the developers.

      His theory was that if you really wanted to get to Sokolich, then mess with the billion-dollar investment in his city.

      Delete
    6. "So Bob 'imagined' that Chris Christie was trying to extort money out of the billion-dollar development, while admitted he had no evidence to support it."

      Actually, his phrasing is even more suggestive than that. Bob wrote: "For the record, we’ve postulated a worse possibility than the theories Maddow has presented. We've imagined the possibility that he was trying to strong-arm money away from that billion-dollar development in Fort Lee."

      It may be that Bob Somerby was the first person to publicly state that possibility. But if not, then to claim that Bob Somerby, using the royal we "postulated" a particular claim and "imagined the possibility" is using weasel words to imply that he came up with the idea while maintaining a plausible deniability should he ever be called on it.

      But hey, let me not sink to Bob Somerby's level on this. I'll retract my statement and apologize if he can demonstrate that he, in fact, was the first person to suggest a possible Fort Lee connection.

      -- Anonymous37

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    7. Maddow habitually makes one weak disclaimer about nothing being proven, no smoking gun, then she goes on at length using definite language. That is misleading and dishonest. That one small disclaimer doesn't absolve her of the responsibility for maintaining an open mind about what may or may not be true in this situation. Talking as if the hypotheticals are true is not OK, if she truly understands that nothing has been proven about Christie.

      Delete
    8. Want to note another phenomenon around here, Anon37?

      Whenever Bob's actual words are quoted, his loyal tribe rushes to explain what their prophet "really" meant.

      Delete
    9. 3:19

      You have not given a single example of this. And if you should reply with one you did not provide the context.

      Delete
    10. I stand corrected. In addition to explaining what their prophet "really" meant, they will also add "You have not given a single example of this" to his many critics.

      Delete
    11. the above block of comments is so boring and banal and stupid. it is such a total waste of everyone's time. you don't like bob. so what? get a life. stop wasting your time and being stupid.

      Delete
    12. Correction, whenever his words are misquoted or misread, people may try to correct troll garbage.

      Delete
  6. Shoter Somerby.

    I get results, just not good ones.

    Even my long time readers don't understand me or my work.

    I too can speculate.

    I, like Boxcar Willie and Maureen Dowd, can endless replay my greatest "hits." I am more like Dowd than Willie. I am not dead.

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  7. Your Rachel gets results

    http://dailyhowler.blogspot.com/2013/12/maddow-proves-it-all-night-long.html

    Note the similarity between this post and the Maddow show linked above. Somerby even teases his readers like Rachel.

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  8. Bob on Bob

    "this site is about journalists. This has been the case for almost sixteen years, though some readers are still a bit unclear on this point." BS 1/20/14

    "We were amazed to see a liberal journalist who knew an actual fact!"
    BS 1/14/14

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    1. More honest Bob:

      "This site is about Rachel Maddow. Every chance I get. And when it's not, it's about Maureen Dowd. Or Lawrence O'Donnell. Or Chris Matthews. Unless some youngish female with an elite college pedigree writes a book about education. Then it's about them. Did I mention how bad they were to Al Gore, Susan Rice and George Zimmerman?"




      Delete
    2. 3:52

      Please take your strawberry stained fingers off of the keyboard and give the messroom keys to the Captain, now!

      Delete
    3. Yes, indeed. Bob's got Maddow this time. They laughed at and made jokes! But Bob proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt and with geometic logic, that Rachel Maddow is the source of all that is wrong in America today! And he would have got Olbermann too, if they hadn't of pulled Countdown out of action!

      Delete
  9. bob somerby says,

    "Why the differential treatment of Maddow and Christie? We’ll offer two reasons:

    First, Maddow is a journalist—Christie isn’t—and this site is about journalists.
    Here’s our second reason: we don’t yet know what Christie did in this puzzling fandango."

    >>> i reject this basic premise somerby uses to get away with his politicking on behalf of the right. it reminds me of businesses who put up signs which inform their customers that the business has no liability...when the law states otherwise. similarly, somerby says he is immune to common sense when he says he is not really bashing liberals -- as he bashes liberals...because he has stated that his blog is only about analyzing the faults of the left oriented media.

    he is a part of the public discourse and the **practical takeaway** for his readers would be that the (so-called) liberal media is equivalent to the right wing media in the intensity of their respective ideological bias.

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    1. So back when Somerby was trying to pummel Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, and losing about 75 percent of his audience as a result, who was that about? I don't recall Wilson and Plame being journalists.

      What happened here is that Bob thought he could fashion the whole Fort Lee thing into yet another club to beat Maddow with. But instead of a club, it was a stick of dynamite that blew up in his face.

      Delete
    2. OK, I'm gonna say this one more time. TDH went after the reporting on Wilson/Plame. For instance, go here:

      www.dailyhowler.com/dh070307.html

      where he takes to task not a liberal but the oxymoronic "thinking man's conservative" David Brooks. What's so hard about this?

      And while I'm asking rhetorical questions, why do commenters who don't like TDH and don't understand what he's doing feel the need to tell everyone that no one reads TDH, that his blog is finished, that he's been discredited, and that he's probably broke? What's up with that?

      Delete
    3. TDH is probably broke? I hadn't heard that before. I knew Somerby admitted mental health problems. He told us our intellectual culture was broke. Didn't know about him personally though. Too damn bad.

      Delete
    4. How much horse manure can dance from the head of a deadrat?

      http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh072304.shtml

      Delete
    5. Hey, congratulations, deadrat. You have now earned your Master's Degree from the Bob Somerby University of Cherry and Nit Picking.

      Wow! One column, which is supposed to negate everything else he wrote about Wilson and Plame over weeks and months, if not years.

      Do you ever get the feeling that the only other person besides yourself who thinks you aren't a total idiot is CeceliaMc?

      Delete
    6. And I am sure you want your second question to be "rhetorical" because my answer is obvious -- Because it's still a free country and a free Internet and a free blog, and as long as he has a combox for clickbait (since his audience all but vanished without it), I'll say anything I damned well please.

      And I am so sorry that puts your panties in such a wad.

      Delete
    7. Anon 6:46pm, you've managed to give an utterly accurate answer and the fact that it doesn't address the tenor of the question, is what makes it so dead-on.

      Delete
    8. Anonymous @5:36, The blog entry you quote is about Woodward's book and Wilson's own contributions to the story in The Los Angeles Times.

      How embarrassing for you.

      Delete
    9. Anonymous @6:38P, Oh, I'm sorry. Was I supposed to do all your homework for you? I didn't realize. How many blog entries would you like me to cite?

      How much sleep do you think I'm losing over the fact that you think I'm an idiot? Take a guess.

      Delete
    10. I thought we were not supposed to take an interest in your sleep habits, deadrat.

      Let's go back to your misrepresentation of what can be found in Somerby's attack on Joe Wilson in the post I linked from July 2004.

      First, like much of Somerby's work at the time and continuing to a lesser degree today (though this post is a throwback) Somerby rambles from topic to topic.

      He start's with Woodward's book then launches into his own Rachel like specualtion of why the uranium purchase claim made it into Bush's speech. Leave it to Somerby, from afar he improves Woodward's book for his readers.

      Then he moves on to Wilson. His starting concern with Wilson is that his readers don't like what he has been writing about the former Ambassador, He then launches
      into a "Joe Wilson has changed his story" rant that sounds very much like the "Mayor Sokolich has changed his story" rant of late. Only in Sokolich's case Somerby has asked why the change in story hasn't been covered. In Wilson's it is a lengthy effort to prove Wilson is a liar. Journalists are not mentioned.

      I'm hardly embarassed that your misrepresent in defense of a blogger who does the same. I'm not surprised either. My link works. I invite any who care to follow it for themselves.

      Delete
    11. I thought we were not supposed to take an interest in your sleep habits, deadrat.

      What if there were no rhetorical questions?

      OK, let's go to the 2004 videotape. Here's how TDH starts his "attack" on Wilson:

      <quote>
      … [R]eaders continue defending Joe Wilson, often saying, quite correctly, that his original New York Times op-ed was balanced, nuanced and fair. We agree with that proposition.
      </quote>

      Absolutely brutal.

      The beating continued though. In 2003, reports -- yeah, it's a first-hand report in an actual newspaper -- that he's concluded that Hussein didn't buy Uranium from Niger. "Highly doubtful" are his words. But the WPE didn't claim that's what Hussein had done; the WPE claimed that Hussein had tried to buy Uranium. One year later, Wilson takes to the news pages once again, but this time to claim that Hussein hadn't tried either. "Report unfounded" are his new words.

      Did this distinction matter? Not to me. I always figured that the WPE was told what to say and had no idea what he was talking about. TDH says it did matter because it allowed Republicans to distract from the WPE's lies by pointing to Wilson's overstatements and inconsistencies.

      TDH anticipated your outrage. He writes that partisans will defend Wilson: "Nit-pickers of the world, unite! You will now start parsing hard, proving that Wilson’s claims are consistent." And that they will insist that the distinctions are nugatory: "Furious partisans will shake their fists and insist that none of this really matters."

      In this, TDH vastly overestimated his critics, who like you, don't bother with analysis of Wilson's statements or their importance, but just claim that TDH is "misrepresenting."

      Your link works better than your criticism. Anyone who cares to follow it for themselves will be embarrassed for you.

      Delete
    12. So at least you are admitting that Somerby went after Joe Wilson, contrary to his new claim that this blog is about journalists.

      Way to go, deadrat. Keep it up and maybe the blinders will come all the way off.

      Delete
    13. deadrat seems to paraphrase in his retelling. So will I.
      Somerby goes on to say:

      "Wilson was careful and accurate—back at the start. Now, he’s often disingenuous. Here he is again in the LATimes, spinning one of the charges against him:
      .......

      Yes, Wilson’s statement above, if carefully parsed, can be defended as technically accurate. But it’s also self-serving and plainly misleading. So was this prior paragraph:

      .......

      (Wilson now seems to say that the Post misquoted him.) But L. A. Times readers won’t have to know that. Instead, Wilson shoots down a less serious claim, one made by unspecified “enemies.”

      Wilson was measured and fair—at the start. Now, he often seems to misstate."
      .........

      Now deadrat, we all know Somerby is more interested in the lying and/or lazy press, not the politicians. Like Professor Parker at Colby, for a more recent example.
      And thank heavens for saving us from those misleading press accounts with all those Malala-Mandela-Mahatma
      posts.

      But to claim this is the exclusive focus is disingenuos, spinning, self serving , and plainly misleading.

      Delete
    14. Certainly, the primary criticism was directed toward Wilson's claims and the way those claims changed. It just isn't about journalism. it wasn't then and it isn't now.

      And, no, it wouldn't make a difference if Bush had said, "to the best of our knowledge, the British government...."
      Further, just so we are using the same language, here is the second listed definition of "lie" from thefreedictionary.com:

      Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.



      Delete
    15. Wilson injected himself into the reporting on Uranium issue by writing Op-Eds. He was the story and he reported on his story. OK, so he doesn't hold a guild card and he wasn't a professional journalist. "NIt-pickers of the world unite!" TDH predicted, and so it came to pass.

      Christopher Colby wrote a book about the teahadists called Change They Can't Believe In: The Tea Party and Reactionary Politics in America" Does TDH have your permission to discuss the professor's contribution to political analysis?

      Another TDH theme is the tribal nature of our politics. Much of the focus is on the cheerleaders of the press, but it's a more general topic. That's what the whole Malala thing was about.

      But you knew that, right?

      Delete
  10. I so wish we conservatives had a Bob Somerby.

    Scripture says, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend."

    Conservatives aren't confident enough to tolerate such needed insight and self-analysis of our role in coarsening and intellectually debasing the culture.

    Thanks so much for your work and courage, Somerby.

    Yours, Cecelia

    ReplyDelete
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    1. No liberal who doesn't have an authoritarian streak and a desire for journalism to be controlled by The Party criticizes what Bob does. We appreciate it, and the local trolls merely underscore what we already know regarding what many in our tribe would like to do if they could get away with it. Bob isn't helping.

      Delete
    2. CeceliaMc appears courtesy of a grant from Gepetto's.
      Gepetto's featuring fine wood carving since 1883. Now known for its fine knitted products.

      Delete
    3. It's not that I don't hope you'll some day be a "real boy", Anon 5:27pm.

      I just ain't optimistic about it.

      Delete
    4. Anything is possible. Everything is possible. Well, we just don't know. Maybe Malala will visit and it will happen.

      Delete
  11. since ive often criticized somerbys writing style, i think its only fair to say that this column was well written. it didn't meander about and it wasnt unnecessarily long. I disagree in substance, see my above comment, but credit where credit is due.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Gee, reading this combox, I see once again that the Bobinistas are reduced to name-calling, crying, and whining "Why are you here?"

    Time for another victory cigar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous @6:56P, I suppose you're including me because I often ask why some commenters are here. I'm not whining. I'd just like to know why people people stay when they don't understand what TDH does, think he should be doing something different, but take pains to note the utter worthlessness of the blog. Why haven't they sought out all those significant writers whose topics they approve?

      Stay or go. Smoke cigars or don't. It doesn't matter to me. I'm just curious.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous @ 6:56.

      Red lit cigars when the Celtics he coached won. You couldn't play for the Trolls much less coach them.

      Delete
  13. I'll take issue with Bob's theory that "little has changed" since Gene Lyons wrote Fools for Scandal back in 1995.

    Whitewater was a land deal that the Clintons lost money on, and somehow that morphed into blow jobs in the White House.

    How many similarly phony scandals has the right wing tried to gin up against Obama? How far have they gone?

    I'd say a lot has changed. And just to name a small thing -- all those hosts on MSNBC knocking down Benghazi, IRS, "death panels", and all sorts of things --- you know, the job Bob expected the press to do for his buddy, Al, so Al wouldn't have to dirty his hands and fight back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somerby doesn't complain when the press does its job. He complains when it fails.

      Delete
    2. Because of Bob's work the last sixteen years, Chris Christie won't have to worry about his comments about moving the cones being distorted like Al Gore's creative internet initiative.

      Delete
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