Zernike keeps saying the case has been solved!


Nobody else seems to care: In yesterday’s New York Times, Michael Powell published an intriguing column about Kim Guadagno, New Jersey’s embattled lieutenant governor.

The piece involves an attack Guadagno launched against a New Jersey artist, an attack which turned out to be unfounded. As Powell began, this is the way he framed the story:
POWELL (1/28/14): In her first year in office, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno opened a frontal attack on an unlikely target, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Its contracting was “inexcusably” flawed, she said. Its practices were “unethical” and too cozy. Its director had to go.

Ms. Guadagno went on like this for months in 2010, and no one knew what to make of it. She wanted more control over the Arts Council, which distributed $16 million a year all over the state and was broadly respected.

In spring 2011, she began a new offensive. She went before legislative committees and pilloried a man doing work on an Arts Council contract, building a 9/11 timeline at Liberty State Park in Jersey City. His contract was no-bid, she said, the money unclear.
The story gets ugly from there. The charges against the man with the contract turned out to be unfounded. But the man was badly harassed in the process.

Why did Guadagno stage these jihads? The highlighted passage makes it sound like she wanted more control over New Jersey state money. This would be a familiar type of motive, though it could of course never excuse the conduct Powell describes.

Later in the piece, though, Powell seems to say that Guadagno had had control of the money all along. This leaves us somewhat puzzled about that opening framework:
POWELL: The Star-Ledger of Newark, which did a fine job of scratching at this tale, examined the state’s claims: that the Arts Council had “engaged in an inexcusable breach of the public trust” and that the three contracts had been improperly awarded to Mr. Aubrey.

“None of it was true,” the newspaper noted in a December 2011 editorial. “The state could find no evidence of wrongdoing.”

It was, in fact, worse than that. The lieutenant governor and Department of State, it turns out, had control of the Arts Council’s spending all along. Her divisions signed off on every payment.
Whatever! New Jersey scandals have come center stage, and there will be lots of reporting.

Next example:

This morning, Kate Zernike reports in detail, and perhaps in nothing but detail, about the way the Christie regime pursued endorsements and votes across the state in his bid for re-election.

In the realm of gonzo detail, the Times includes floor plans for the governor’s suite in the New Jersey State House. By the time Zernike gets through with this case, the story line for Oceans 14 may get pulled off there.

On the other hand, there isn’t much in this report that directly relates to the question at hand: What explains the traffic lane closings which occurred in Fort Lee?

The drift of the piece seems somewhat clear—of course Christie would have known about that kind of conduct! Meanwhile, we were struck by the way Zernike continues to claim that the basic riddle surrounding this case has been solved:
ZERNIKE: Officially known as “intergovernmental affairs,” the operation was a key element of the permanent campaign that allowed Mr. Christie to win twice in a largely Democratic state. It was led by Bill Stepien, his two-time campaign manager and deputy chief of staff, and then by Bridget Anne Kelly, who succeeded him in his role in the governor’s office.

They were part of what one high-ranking Republican called “the crew” around Mr. Christie: friends who strategized at Mr. Christie’s kitchen table in Mendham and socialized with him in the governor’s box at MetLife Stadium.

Now this operation is at the heart of the growing scandal over the closing of lanes at the George Washington Bridge in an act of political retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J.
Zernike persists with her claim, which she first made on January 9. According to Zernike, it has been “revealed” that the lane closings were “an act of political retribution” against the Fort Lee mayor.

No one else seems to believe that the question of motive has been established. In a rare break with normal practice, Rachel Maddow has correctly noted that none of the documents released in this case establish the motive for the lane closings.

No one except the perpetrators know why they did it, Maddow has said.

Unless you read the New York Times! According to the Times, the motive became clear on January 8, with the release of just the first 22 pages of emails. Again today, Zernike has reported the motive as an established fact.

Please note the silence which obtains about the work of the Times.

No one else seems to think that the motive has been established. For that reason, Maddow has advanced a second theory concerning Christie’s supposed fury about Democratic opposition to a New Jersey Supreme Court Justice.

Steve Kornacki has floated a third speculation—a billion dollar development in Fort Lee may have been the real target of the lane closings, he has suggested, for reasons which haven’t been fully developed.

Meanwhile, the New York Times just keeps reporting that the motive has been established—“revealed.”

No one else seems to think that's true, and the Times has never detailed its reasoning. But so what? It’s the New York Times! We’ve seen no one say a word about Zernike’s repeated assertion.

If you’re planning a heist at New Jersey’s State House, Zernike’s the person with the floor plans. Aside from that, she keeps asserting a basic claim which no one else thinks is true.

The Times keeps making this unproven claim to its poorly served readers. No one else seems to notice or care.


  1. Just another douchebagJanuary 29, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    You say Maddow disagrees with the NYT. But you are awful, so Maddow is right, the NYT is wrong. But you say the NYT is awful, so it can't be right, so you are wrong: Maddow agrees with the NYTimes. So she is wrong, meaning you are right. Oh, KZ please don't help us solve this conundrum!

    1. People are not awful by essence but awful in particular behaviors. Somerby opposes wrongdoing not wrongbeing.

    2. So when he called her "morally ill" yesterday, that had nothing to do with "being"? Who Maddow is?

      I guess that depends of what "is" is.

    3. I am certain that Bob appreciates having his loyal fans handy to explain what he really, really means.

      So the next time he says, "Maddow is a clown" I will know that what he really, really means is "Maddow does a clown."

    4. Good thing. Otherwise you might think that TDH was claiming Maddow works for Ringling Bros.

    5. NYT is a newspaper and thus cannot be ill except as a metaphor. Those who write things deliberately in ways that suggest their own moral failure can be considered morally ill but their behavior is still being described. It is careless of Bob to describe Maddow as "morally ill" when he means that her behavior is reprehensible because there is no such thing as moral illness. However, he still is not describing her essence because illness is by definition a transitory state different than normal health, implying a possible return to fitness at some point. If he said Maddow were evil that would be different, both essential and beyond redemption.

      Your specious comparison above is just to try to make Bob sound silly when he is making an unrelated point. You aren't even bothering to engage the substance of his post. You think that by commenting like that you may make people stop reading or dislike Somerby but you are just annoying other readers by wasting their time.

      You might as well just post repeatedly "Bob is a poopy-face" because that's all your words amount to.

    6. Let me repeat it on the off chance you can be others.

      Lecturing others about loving your enemies like Malala, King and Mandela, while being unable to air your disagreements with Maddow except in the vilest terms makes Somerby a damned hypocrite. And a liar.

      Silly? No.

      Plain enough?

    7. Damn, I am now convinced that Somerby not only reads his comments, but contributes about half the commentary here.

      There can't be this many willfully ignorant people in the world, can there?

    8. You think these are the vilest terms? Not even close.

      Here is your point of confusion. Maddow is not Somerby's enemy. He is not posting here to attack her. He is trying to change her behavior (if possible, but also affect the behavior of others who might want to emulate her) by using it to illustrate how they might become better journalists. You don't make people change by praising them for their mistakes.

      I suspect he is also offended that she is using an institution with an important responsibility in our democratic form of government for her own financial gain. She has become a millionaire while failing to help her audience understand what they need to know to participate in our system of government. She is working against the people and for the plutocrats who pay her salary, subverting the values she pretends to hold herself as a "liberal."

      I suspect she offends him because she is trampling on things that are important to him, as someone who has worked hard to advance the welfare of underprivileged children. I suspect this because I feel that way about her myself. If he feels anything like I do about Maddow, he is showing great restraint in the language he has used.

    9. Anonymous @7:12P

      Plain, but still wrong. Even assuming that TDH's seeming inability to live up to saintly ideals makes him a hypocrite, and even if his descriptions are really the vilest, that doesn't make him a liar. He's judgment about Maddow stands or falls on the facts. Feel free to disagree with his recitation, but whether he's right or not is independent of either his hypocrisy or his language.

    10. Maddow sucks. That's a fact.

    11. deadrat, Somerby's "judgements" about Maddow have been shown here by others to be quite often fact free in substance. His admirers, yourself included,
      respond with fierce denials.

      More often he says things which are true but misleading.

      In a way, his desire to mislead seems more clear when he implies something that isn’t true, but seems to avoid flatly saying it. It becomes harder to believe that he just doesn’t know that the statement in question is bogus.

      Why does someone like BOB feel the need to do that? In all such instances, from any blogger, our first guess would be the obvious:

      He choses to make the misleading statement because he knew it would lead to cheers and applause from his followers. Also, because he doesn’t have truthful things to say about Maddow which would fit his meme.

      "To our physician’s eye, Maddow is morally ill."

      BOB said it. His tribe cheered and applauded.

      The claim isn’t true, as everyone knows. Except BOBfans when the evil surrounding tribe they call "trolls" points out the obvious, rally to his defense.


    12. KZ,

      I don't profess to know why TDH seems to have an allergic reaction to Maddow. I suspect it's because she's everything TDH hates about journalists -- they're tribal, lazy, ignorant, script-driven, and scandal-addicted. In short, what Anonymous at 12:33A said. I base my suspicions on TDH's constant repetition of these sins.

      You, on the other hand, not only know why TDH does what he does, you know what he knows. That his jeremiad would gain him "cheers and applause from his followers." In his 15 years of blogging, I doubt you can find a single instance of TDH even acknowledging that he has followers. Although he once thanked me for pointing out a typo in an entry in his old blog.

      The fact is that many of TDH's more hyperbolic statements aren't really claims amenable to measurement on the scales of truth. Is Maddow "morally ill"? Is there a test for that? Or is that just a way of restating the opinion of Anonymous @12:33A? If so, it's futile to argue the truth of falsity of the statement.

      Let's take one example, Darlin' Rachel's 20 minute, hyped-in-advance report on another possible reason for the shutdown, namely as retribution, not against the mayor of Fort Lee but against the majority leader in the New Jersey Senate. Go back and check off my list, starting with "tribal," and you'll find that she covered them all. But, to be fair, she did say it was just a theory!

    13. Let's take a look deadrat

      1 Rachel did a 20 munite report on a theory. Bob has done a number of posts on his theories and those of others. He has also castigated some in the media for not covering some theories while castigating others for covering the one you mention of Maddow's. True?

      2) Is Maddow's theory journalistically proven false?
      You may have already cast doubt on whether there is such a critter as journalistic proof.

      3) If many of TDH's more hyperbolic statements aren't really amenable to measurement on the scales of truth, how on your measley water covered orb can
      you say "He's judgment about Maddow stands or falls on the facts." How can anyone tell the difference between "factualizing" BOB and "hyperbolizing" BOB?

      I am glad you recognized the weakness in my argument about why BOB misleads. It does requitre a bit of mind reading doesn't it. You will be happy to know that was not my work. IT was BOB's. I just took out Obama and added BOB in its place and made other appropriate substitutions.

      Oh, and here is another point of comparison:

      Yesteday I said this in discussing how you, and other BOB defenders, react when confronted with the truth about BOB. I paraphrased his comments about WMD in Iraq back in 2003.

      "It was similar to his prediction that unnamed liberals, or were they antiwar types, who "crowed" over the early failure to find WMD in Iraq were headed for a fall because Somerby would be "surprised" if they were not there."

      Your response was this:

      "TDH didn't predict anything about premature claims of absent WMDs. It was a warning: one month isn't long enough. This is in the context of criticizing Judith Miller's "scoop" about evidence for WMDs and praise for her "reporting."

      In fact Bob's comment was a stand alone statement separate, apart, and before his coverage of Miller. These are his exact words:

      "Here at THE HOWLER, we’ve never doubted that Saddam had WMDs. In fact, we’d be surprised if he didn’t. We think antiwar types set themselves up for a fall when they crow about the lack of quick discovery." Somerby, Oct. 2003

      I won't rehash BOB's record. I offer this to point out the difficulty one has when attempting to confront some Bob defenders with facts in his own words.


      PS. Liked your Pole joke. Almost as funny as the one BOB made up about how many tests Americans have to combine to outscore the Poles on one.

    14. 1. What TDH criticizes is the failure to lay out all the facts. The first fact is that no one knows which if any of the theories are correct. The second fact is that there are three theories (revenge against the mayor, revenge against a state senator, muscling in on a major real estate project). Note that these aren't TDH's claims. They come from a NJ assemblyman investigating the scandal.

      TDH can't stand Maddow for her breathless 20 minute report on one theory; he can't stand Zernike for her claims that the choice of theories has been made.

      2. Is Maddow's theory [the second one in the list] proven false? No. It's the emphasis, the hype, and the context.

      3. Oh, well played! You set a trap, but whose foot did you catch? TDH is a blogger; Obama is a politician. Politicians routinely say things to please their supporters, whom we actually know not only exist but about whom we know quite a bit. Bloggers, not so much. Are these things even in dispute? In this case TDH has parsed the $.77 trope to within a inch of its life, and he, erroneously, I think, figures that Obama has done so as well. So what?

      In this part of the universe, we can tell the difference between factual matters and metaphoric descriptions by their measurability. If the assemblyman investigating Bridgegate says there are three unproven theories and Zernike says there is one proven theory, we can examine the evidence to determine who's right. If TDH says that Maddow is "a piece of work," in this part of the universe, we know these pieces aren't measured in square units of length.

      I still have no idea what you're on about with the WMDs. TDH issued a warning that it was too early to declare that WMDs hadn't been found. That's not because TDH thought they would be; that's because regardless of their existence or anyone's expectations about their existence, one month is too short a time to know. This seems a completely unremarkable statement to make. Unremarkable and an aside of no importance in the Iraq part of the blog entry, which was about Judith Miller's execrable reporting on administration propaganda.

      What do you find so interesting about TDH's aside and my reaction to it? Do you think the aside was important? Do you think this is some revelation about TDH? Do you think I'm defending an opinion that turned out to be erroneous? (Whatever "defending" means here.) Is the word "crowed" the key?

    15. "Here at THE HOWLER, we’ve never doubted that Saddam had WMDs. In fact, we’d be surprised if he didn’t."

      And here in a nutshell, in two sentences, is why Somerby is just as bad as the media he criticizes.

      You don't take anybody's word at face value, not even the word of the President of the United States.

      You demand absolute proof of the claims he is making before you commit the nation and our troops to war.

    16. "Here at THE HOWLER, we’ve never doubted that Saddam had WMDs. In fact, we’d be surprised if he didn’t."

      And here in a nutshell, in two sentences, is why Somerby is just as bad as the media he criticizes.

      You don't take anybody's word at face value, not even the word of the President of the United States.

      You demand absolute proof of the claims he is making before you commit the nation and our troops to war.

    17. This is confusing. The president committed our troops to war. Not us. Certainly not Somerby. Not the media. Why is Somerby not permitted to have an opinion about whether Saddam had WMDs? Like us, he didn't have a vote on whether we would go to war. We were taken to war by the President.

    18. Somerby can hold any opinion he wants. Where he crosses the line is in his smarter-than-thow lecturing other people who hold different opinions, and his accusations that they are "crowing" when proven right.

      Speaking for myself, I find that offensive. I did not "crow" when no WMDs were found. I mourned the loss of thousands of lives, American and Iraqi, for no good reason.

    19. So you mourned "for no good reason"? The lives of those thousands weren't reason enough? And please, you mourned people you didn't know? Where you've crossed the line is in suggesting that you suffered as much as the families of the dead.

      Absurd? Of course. Just like your manufactured outrage at TDH's use of the word "crowing." TDH was warning about people who were anti-war staking out a premature claim that they had been proved correct about WMDs. In imagining offense at a word, you have missed this minor point, one made in passing on the way to criticizing a sloppy journalist whose coverage helped feed the war fever before the invasion.

      TDH is about people, mainly journalists, getting their facts wrong, not their opinions.

  2. It's funny, because I don't believe it was revenge for the lack of an endorsement. I don't believe Christie didn't know about it, either, but the "motive" strikes me as ludicrous.
    It reminds me a little of the botched reporting on Benghazi by Jake Tapper. Tapper seized on Rice's statement as proof of a cover-up. I know where he was headed there, but he got too far ahead.
    They have to stop doing this. They're almost to the point of "obstructing justice" or "impeding an investigation".
    If I wanted to hide something, I'd just have to let them create the "motive" and run with it. By the time they back up, it's too late.
    They have to stop jumping in front. You'd think that would be Rule One in their profession- they can't be out ahead.

  3. "In a rare break with normal practice, Rachel Maddow . . . "

    Snark 'R Us.

    Bob, this is what we've been telling you for over a month as you regurgitated your "Maddow runs ahead of the evidence" script and your toadies have lapped it up.

    Since she started reporting on the bridge story, she has consistently said, "This is where the evidence seems be leading, but we don't know that yet." (And no, Bobettes, that is a paraphrase, not a direct quote. So go find another nit to pick.)

    Finally, you admit it. But in true "Monty Hall Problem" moment, even when you are wrong, you still find a way to say that you are right.

    What an ass.

    1. Or maybe the blogger could just shut up and not say anything.

    2. Maddow's modus is to say something cautious like that once, then repeat her unfounded assumptions and conclusions over and over in increasingly strong terms, as if one caveat gave her license to say whatever she wants. You cannot do that and still be considered fair-minded.

    3. Well then, it's a good thing she doesn't do that, and you just made all that up to cover Bob's increasingly bare and red ass.

    4. She does do that. Unless you are claiming that the transcripts and links posted here are wrong. If they are wrong, correct them or stop fixating on Bob's ass.

    5. Which transcripts, Anonymous 7:12? Which links?
      I can just as easily state links and transcripts have been posted here which prove Somerby is as, if not more, disingenuos on this story than Maddow. I'll be more detaile dthan you and suggest to several such transcripts and linsk were posted in comments about Somerby's post with the theme that Maddow should be taken away from her desk yesterday.

    6. Anonymous @ 7:12

      It was obvious from the comments last night that there is no transcript which can be put before some of you which, when it directly contradicts a false belief Somery has placed in your heads, can move your faith one wit.

    7. And you know, even if this thing winds up in a perp walk with Christie in chains, Bob's fans will insist he was right and Maddow and Zernicke were wrong all along because it still could have been a legitimate study up until the point of Christie's conviction.

      Or maybe they will go on and on for years about how the entire case against Christie was ginned up and invented by MSNBC and NYT, that it still could be a legitimate study gone wrong and Christie was wrongfully charged and convicted.

    8. Bob will be right because he isn't making statements about Christie's guilt, one way or the other. He is talking about the press coverage. Maddow and Zernicke will be wrong because they are covering this event poorly, regardless of what turns out to be true. The job of a journalist is not to print speculation in the hope that their thoughts will be confirmed later on, with the best guesser winning. Ginning up a case that later is shown to be true is NOT good journalism.

    9. Nobody is saying Christie is guilty, so get off that soapbox.

      What they are saying is that they don't know how high up this goes, and that is why they will keep pursuing it.

      In sharp contrast to Bob and his faithful tribe who thinks journalistic sins are committed when journalists dare to ask tough questions.

    10. You think TDH decries journalists who dare to ask tough questions? Do you actually read the blog?

      His target is journalists who dare to give the answers when they don't have the evidence. If you'd like to make the case that he's doing a bad job of that, fine, but at least take him to task for what he's done poorly instead of making up things you think he's done.

  4. Someone such as a reporter could read all the evidence developed in the case and conclude that political retribution has been "established." That doesn't mean another explanation isn't possible, but there is more evidence for that than for any of the other proposed theories. It does mean the person who reaches that conclusion does not qualify for "other life form" designation.

    1. You can also describe the crime without stating the motive. For example, "this was no traffic study, this was an act of political retribution" could be the same as "this was no accident, it was homicide."

      That still leaves the motive wide open. Why would so many people so close to Chris Christie perform such an act of political revenge?

    2. You cannot say that something was an act of political retribution without dealing with motive. You could instead say, "this was no proper traffic study but an attempt to manipulate traffic for other purposes." The term retribution assumes you know what those purposes were, retribution. We don't know that. For example, the purposes could be extortion, financial gain, embarrassment of some key figure, making someone lose their job, demonstrating power, sabotaging someone you dislike, and so on. Add and subtract facts and different motives seem more likely.

    3. Here's the problem though. Four people so far have lost their jobs over this -- Christie's two top appointees to the Port Authority, Christie's deputy chief of staff and head of "intergovernmental affairs," and Christie's campaign manager.

      On top of that, this was done in the middle of Christie's re-election campaign in which winning big wasn't good enough. He wanted to win historically big to position himself for a run at the presidency.

      Let's call it what it is, an act of political retribution, and stop pretending it still could be a legitimate study done in good faith with a good purpose in mind that simply went wrong.

      Once we identify the "crime" so to speak, then we can investigate the motives.

      Was this done to retaliate against Sokolich for not endorsing Christie?

      Was this done to mess with the billion-dollar development?

      Was he trying to shake down money either for his gubernatorial campaign or his presidential campaign from the developers?

      We don't know, and there is not a single reporter, including and especially Maddow, who has claimed they do know.

      But I do know that at this late date with the mountain of evidence already compiled, that it is ridiculous to propose that this still could have been a legit "traffic study" seeking good answers to good questions that was merely "bungled."

      But that's the only bone Somerby has, so he will continue to chew it.

    4. People lose their jobs for being an embarrassment to their bosses. They don't have to be guilty of anything to lose their jobs. It doesn't give you evidence for the rest of your speculation. Someone has to go after a major screwup or voters will think Christie doesn't care about it or them. Sometimes those people are guilty of something but sometimes they are just thrown under the bus.

    5. I would prefer a skeptical media who continues to ask hard questions to people in power even when perfectly innocent explanations are still "possible."

    6. Once we identify the "crime" so to speak, then we an investigate the motives.

      Love the scare quotes almost as much as the phrase "so to speak." Heck, once we've manufactured the "crime," can we not simply proceed to the penalty phase?

      Legitimate studies are designed by engineers using professional standards, approved through the proper channels, and coordinated with the people who will be affected. No one is pretending the study was legitimate. "Good faith" is harder to define as it depends on knowing the mental processes of the people responsible. At the very least, Wildstein had good reason to know his plans would lead to a debacle because experts told him that beforehand.

      What we don't know is why anyone would proceed in such a fashion. Stop pretending that people who point that out are waiting for the results of a properly-planned study.

      Zernike claims to know. Maddow is more careful. She has hyped one view, spending time blowing smoke up your ass. But at least she's pointed out that there may be no fire.

    7. Anonymous @8:55,

      Enough with the false dichotomy. Reporters may ask hard questions and still get their facts straight.

  5. What Would Malala Do?

    1. She would say go away trolls.

    2. She would say go away trolls but I love you.

      And then *plonk*

    3. I think she would ask why nobody covered the fact Sokolich changed his story after she left town.

    4. How did you know that Sokolich "changed his story" if "nobody covered the fact"?

  6. It is time for people whom claim to read and like Somerby to cease calling people trolls, and do undemocratic bullying things like calling for people you disgree with to be banned. Like many of you I strongly disagree with many or their words, but not their motives.

    Here is your point of confusion. "Trolls" are not Somerby's enemy. They are not posting here to attack him. They are trying to change his behavior (if possible, but also affect the behavior of others who might want to emulate him) by using it to illustrate how they might become better jbloggers. You don't make people change by praising them for their mistakes.

    I suspect they're also offended that he is using an institution with an important responsibility in the reality based community for his own personal grudges. He has lost readers while failing to help his audience get beyond campaigns long lost and over. He is working against the people and for the plutocrats who like our diversion and wallowing in the past, subverting the values he pretends to hold himself as a "liberal."

    I suspect he offends them because he is trampling on things that are important to them, as people who have worked hard to advance the progressive cause. I suspect this because I feel that way about him myself. If they feel anything like I do about Somerby, they are showing great restraint in the language they use.

    1. Anonymous @1:18A,

      I agree that there are few real trolls here. I also agree that it's unwise to ban people for expressing opposition.

      But you're reading your own views into the words of others. Some of the comments have no interpretation other than as an attack on an enemy. And there's no possible evidence that anyone is trying to change TDH's behavior, let alone the mythical hordes who might want to emulate him. Certainly, I have found no instruction on how to become a better blogger. A different blogger, perhaps.

      You may be offended by TDH's use of an institution. But don't project that onto others. In the first place, this isn't an institution; it's a blog and it belongs to TDH. And to call anything in cyberspace part of "the reality based community" is risible. Has he lost readers? Has be been tasked with helping people get over past losing campaigns? Who are "the people," and how do you know he's working against them? How do you figure TDH is subverting values? And where do you get off claiming these values are ones he only pretends to hold? How do we know that anyone complaining here has worked at all to "advance the progressive cause"?

      This is all you and none of TDH.

      There seem to be two types of complaints: that TDH is a hypocrite and that TDH writes about the wrong topics (i.e., he doesn't spend enough time attacking right-wingers or discussing important issues directly).

      My personal belief is that the emotion generated by the opposition in the commentariat arises from TDH's refusal to respond to or even acknowledge his commenters. But that's just a guess. TDH is about bad journalism, particularly that committed by people who should know better.

      There's enough to complain about in what TDH writes without projecting yourself onto his offerings.

    2. Deadrat, you are replying seriously to a troll who merely paraphrased my post about Somerby's intentions and applied it back to Somerby. It is a great example of why the trolls here are so disruptive of real communication.

      I suppose their point is that any complaint Somerby might make about Maddow and others can be turned back on him as a criticism of his posting. That continues to miss the point that Somerby is not a journalist, not a millionaire and has a different role in the blogosphere than those he criticizes.

      I think the trolls are being paid by someone. Their purpose is to make casual readers think Somerby is discredited and/or not worth reading any more. I think they are a measure of his success in getting under someone's skin. I wish they didn't make it so hard to find and read the few interesting comments that still appear here from time to time.

    3. Anonymous January 30, @8:50 am,

      That a particular someone is being paid to be here first out of the gate in comments to criticize nearly every post seems like the most likely explanation for what's going on. That or someone is fixated in a not entirely healthy way on Bob Somerby or an MSNBC personality or some Democratic party politician.

    4. Anonymous,

      I find nothing trollish about the opinion that TDH is wrong-headed and unhelpful to the progressive cause. Even if the argument is made in bad faith, it's still worthwhile practice to knock it down. In any case, the sentiment shows up on other lefty blogs.

      Are those bloggers being paid too? The google reports about 150 hits in the last year for "bob somerby" outside his own blog. It hardly seems he's well-enough known to warrant a paid campaign of disruption. If your claim is true, you can always take comfort in the fact that the paymasters aren't getting their money's worth.

      If you really find it hard to find the interesting comments from among the chaff, here's a helpful hint: just read my comments.