A few of the downsides to Scandal Culture!

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2014

Excitement and misinformation reign, all other topics get lost: Kate Zernike was excited.

One unreliable person had made a rather fuzzy charge against another. It wasn’t clear what was being charged. No evidence had been presented.

But in this case, the second unreliable figure was a preferred journalistic target. So, in her initial report about the charge, Zernike fired up a previously abandoned misstatement:
ZERNIKE (1/31/14): The Port Authority official who personally oversaw the lane closings on the George Washington Bridge in the scandal now swirling around Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said on Friday that the governor knew about the lane closings when they were happening, and that he had the evidence to prove it.

In a letter released by his lawyer, the official, David Wildstein, a high school friend of Mr. Christie’s who was appointed with the governor’s blessing at the Port Authority, which controls the bridge, described the order to close the lanes as “the Christie administration’s order” and said “evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the Governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference” three weeks ago.
Those were the first two paragraphs of Zernike’s “Breaking News” report. It appeared on line yesterday at 3:42 P.M.

Pitifully but predictably, David Wildstein was reinstated, in paragraph 2, as “a high school friend of Mr. Christie’s.”

It had been quite a while since anyone ran with that description. Tacitly, the journalistic world had acknowledged the fact that the pleasing claim had been wrong.

Excitedly, Zernike reinstated the bogus claim as her basic description of Wildstein. And yes, these things do matter.

In this morning’s hard-copy Times, the bogus description has been bumped back to “high school classmate.” In context, even that claim is irrelevant—and even it isn’t exactly accurate.

(Wildstein and Christie did attend Livingston High School at the same time. But they weren’t in the same graduating class.)

Whatever! At moments like this, the thrill of the hunt overtakes “journalists” like Zernike. And make no mistake—readers are affected by the inaccurate claims they choose to reinstate.

After Zernike’s report appeared yesterday, the second commenter quoted the part about Wildstein being a “high school friend.” The seventh commenter said this:
COMMENTER FROM CALIFORNIA (1/31/14): So, Mr. Christie's disgraceful behavior has now been corroborated by an old high school friend. His denial of his misdeeds only makes his behavior that more egregious. Is he the best that the Republican Party can come up with?
Other commenters pondered the dynamics between the high school friends. When reporters publish bogus claims, people believe the bogus claims and form their notions accordingly.

As a quick overview, let’s consider the nature of Wildstein’s fuzzy charge. On the brighter side, let’s note a plainly inaccurate claim Zernike has finally dropped.

Wildstein’s central charge is rather fuzzy. In today’s hard-copy Times, Zernike describes Christie’s past claims concerning when he learned about the lane closings:

“He has repeatedly said that he did not know about the lane closings until they were first reported by The Record, a North Jersey newspaper, on Sept. 13, the day a senior Port Authority official ordered the lanes reopened.”

We’re not sure that’s accurate, but we’ll offer a warning. The lane closings were still in place early in the morning of Friday, September 13. Despite all the statements you have heard about the lane closings being “all over the news that week,” that seems to have been the first day that the topic reached a New York or New Jersey newspaper.

Warning! If we assume that Christie said he learned from The Record on September 13, a person could possibly claim that he thereby had knowledge about the lane closings while they were still in place.

That would be a rather stupid charge, of course. It would also be unwise to assume that isn’t what Wildstein means. That may not be what Wildstein means, but Wildstein is an unreliable person. It’s silly to draw conclusions from his claim until he clarifies the claim and presents his evidence.

People will jump to conclusions, of course, especially when they’re helped along by big newspapers and by cable news channels. In the comments to Zernike’s report, you will see many people who think Wildstein’s rather fuzzy charge has pretty much closed the case.

Christie's past statements aren’t entirely clear; Wildstein’s charge is fuzzy and unproven. Sensible people will wait for more clarity, the kind of clarity you may not find in some parts of cable news.

There are other problems with Zernike’s report. For example, when she evaluates the past relationship between Christie and Wildstein in a way which actually is relevant to yesterday’s events, she is extremely selective in the information she cites.

That said, Zernike has finally backed away from one of her most absurd journalistic mistakes. At long last, this is the way she’s now describing the motive behind the lane closings:
ZERNIKE (2/1/14): Mr. Christie’s office responded late in the day with a statement that backed away somewhat from the governor’s previous assertions that he had not known about the closings in September, which appeared to have been carried out as political retaliation against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, until they were reported in the news media. Instead, it focused on what the letter did not suggest—that Mr. Christie knew of the closings before they occurred.
Ever since January 9, Zernike has been saying the lanes were closed in retribution against the mayor. She has been presenting this claim as an established fact.

Her new formulation is still lousy journalism. But she has finally stopped asserting that the motive for the lane closings has been established, “revealed.”

It only took her three weeks.

Scandal culture had Zernike excited yesterday. It led her to reinstate a high school friend and to make other misstatements.

On cable last night, the thrill of scandal had a different effect. Rachel Maddow’s entire program was given over to this topic.

This is the problem with scandal culture. Everything else gets blown away when the hustlers chase after the thrill.

You’re right—nothing else of value was likely to have occurred on Maddow’s show last night, unless you enjoy classic cocktails. But will liberals ever start discussing the interests of low-income kids?

Will TV liberals ever widen their range of topics? Not so long as they can enjoy the thrill, and the ratings boost, that comes along with the chase.

The thrill of the chase: Yesterday, this was an early comment to Zernike’s report:
COMMENTER FROM UNDISCLOSED PLACE (1/31/14): This is definitely gonna be better than the Super Bowl.
That commenter has settled in for the entertainment, the fun, the thrill of the hunt and the chase.

The New York Times not only posted that comment. It actually designated the comment as an NYT PICK!

Out of Zernike’s 932 comments, some lost soul at the New York Times thinks that comment was one of the best. That said, the Times is full of lost souls who bring back their lost high school friends.

115 comments:

  1. And speaking of NYT PICKS, let's ignore the fact that Zernike broke the story that Wildstein's attorney says Wildstein is getting ready to talk and bring evidence that Christie is lying.

    Let's instead concentrate on the all-important fact that Zernike again called Wildstein and Christie high school friends.

    And let us also support our argument by picking the one comment out of 932 (count 'em) that best supports Bob's narrative.


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    1. There is no evidence Wildstein is going to talk about anything. The letter was an attempt to get the Port Authority to pick up his legal fees. There is an implied threat that all will be revealed otherwise. That doesn't mean Wildstein actually has evidence, that he will reveal it if it has it, or that he is telling the truth about anything. He just wants his fees paid. Nothing new has been revealed in this latest NY Times article. The way Maddow and others are pretending this means Christie is imploding reminds me strongly of the way every Benghazi story was hyped as a major revelation, even when it was all ginned up and nothing new was being said. I really hate to see our side behaving like the conservative noise machine, but that is all this is. You, of course, are uninterested in Christie and are here to beat up on Somerby.

      Delete
    2. And you, of course, are uninterested in Christie and are here to defend Somerby, lest you are left with no one to do your thinking for you.

      Yes, go ahead and pretend that this letter is another nothingburger which tells us nothing new about this whole "massively ginned-up controversy." It's the only thing you got that fits Bob's pleasing tale to his rubes.

      But don't be surprised when the rest of the world laughs at Bob for continuing to pick nits, and his dwindling base of fans for believing to his every word as if it were Gospel.

      My word, if you can't see by now how he has been playing you for an utter fool, nothing ever will.

      Delete
    3. The hatefulness of this troll automatically makes me support any other person or side or conclusion. This troll drips with hatefulness that is truly scary.

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    4. "The hatefulness of this troll automatically makes me support any other person or side or conclusion."

      Right. Easier than thinking for yourself.

      Delete
    5. And we would demonstrate thinking for ourselves by being influenced by you?

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    6. You would demonstrate thinking for yourself by examining the evidence and reaching your own logical conclusions without being "influenced" by anyone.

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    7. Without being influenced by anything except the facts, you mean. Reasoning in a vacuum doesn't work.

      So, bottom line, it is OK to ignore you unless you come up with some new facts about this situation.

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    8. Aside from the nonsensical nature of this post (unsurprisingly consistent with all previous Christie scandal posts), Bob acts like it's just Zernike and the NYTimes who are covering this scandal with this "angle." The coverage from the WSJ and Bloomberg News has been just the same. Granted, that doesn't make the coverage correct, but it's not just the Times and Maddow who are reporting this stuff.

      Doesn't Bob live around Baltimore? Couldn't he write about scandal culture there?

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    9. Sort of like when you get stopped for speeding and ask the cop why he didn't stop all the other cars going as fast as you. Remember what the cop said?

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    10. Trollmes -- The New York Times is regarded as the leading news source in the USA, and arguably the best in the world. When they're no more accurate than Rush Limbaugh, attention must be paid.

      Delete
    11. Regarded such by who?

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    12. DinC,

      WSJ's news dep't and Bloomberg are generally very well regarded as straight news reporters. Neither is known as a New Jersey scandal sheet. Zernike's reporting on Christie's scandal has been correct in every significant respect. Given that the nature of such a scandal is that the facts are being kept from the public by some participants, it is not meaningful or important that some minor details are unreliable.

      Delete
    13. DinC: the king of passive voice.

      Delete
  2. 1:20,

    He is now claiming that Wildstein could have meant that although Christie only knew about the lane closures from the Media, that had happened while the traffic problems were ongoing.

    In other words, blogger thinks Wildstein's evidence may be whats in the public media (and even says that thats a stupid thing to claim) - the date when the traffic snarl was first reported.

    As predicted, predictable hysteria about "high school friend".

    Maddow is going to win a pulitzer for this - and blogger would froth at the mouth and become institutionalizable and thats how this is going to end.

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    Replies
    1. Maddow is going to win a pulitzer...

      [ Really funny but the hatefulness is what matters and are you ever hateful. ]

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    2. It is in Wildstein's interest to strongly imply that he has something to reveal, otherwise the Port Authority will not be motivated to pay his expenses.

      Maddow is unlikely to win a Pulitzer because there is no investigative reporting involved in her broadcasts, entertaining as they might be to you. Speculation without supporting facts doesn't win anyone an award.

      Delete
    3. re 2:32 if you were smart, you'd know that the Pulitzer is awarded only to published work. RM is broadcast. I guess you also post things that doesn't support facts.

      Delete
    4. "Speculation without supporting facts . . ."

      Yet another oft-regurgitated Bob meme that doesn't hold up to scrutiny.

      Delete
    5. Good lord, do you think Somerby invented the idea of wanting to have claims substantiated by evidence!! Isn't this the basis for reason and scientific method that got us into the Englightenment and out of the Dark Ages? Is this a meme? I kind of thought it was a core principle of modern epistemology.

      If Somerby had been the one to invent that notion we should all be following him slavishly and worshipping his shadow.

      Delete
    6. 2:46

      I stand corrected.

      Replace "Pulitzer" with "Pulitzer-equivalent for broadcasting".

      Delete
    7. Good lordy, 3:10. This is why a discussion with a Bob fan is as useful as giving my cat a lecture on algebra.

      You will never admit that there was already a mountain of evidence before us all when Bob started lecturing about all her alleged speculation.

      Here's another inconvenient truth: All that alleged "speculation" by Maddow? She has never gotten anything wrong yet.

      And we're supposed to listen to a crackpot who thinks, to this day, there isn't enough evidence to even speculate that Christie is in this up to his eyeballs? That this was all conjured up by some phony "scandal culture"?

      Again, head so far up Somerby's ass that the lack of oxygen has caused severe brain damage.

      Delete
    8. "Maddow? She has never gotten anything wrong yet."

      You are the guy telling others we need someone to do our thinking for us?

      Delete
    9. Right. Saying Maddow hasn't been wrong in anything she has "speculated" about is the same as her doing my thinking.

      Continuing to defend Somerby who makes more of an ass out of himself with every post about those damned kids in the media is thinking for yourself.

      Delete
    10. At the heart of this is your assertion that Maddow's speculations were accompanied by evidence. It seems to me the problem is that you don't know what is evidence and what is innuendo. Not sure how to teach you that via blog comments, but you should go back and think about what is an objective, corroborated fact versus what you believe to be true about people you dislike (such as Christie). Basically, you don't get to put the worst possible spin on a set of circumstances, think the worst of people, because they are in the wrong political party or are someone you don't want to run for President in 2016. There needs to be enough objectively verifiable facts to convince an unbiased observer that Christie ordered his minions to disrupt traffic in Ft. Lee as an act of retribution against Sokolich because he (1) refused to endorse Christie, (2) is mixed up on a conflict over some big development, (3) is Mayor of a town where someone who refused to approve Christie's nomination for judge happens to reside (Maddow's pet theory), (4) some other reason yet undisclosed.

      I think Christie is an ass, but that doesn't make him guilty of everything you or Maddow are capable of fantasizing.

      Delete
    11. Maddow? Maddow is? MADDOW IS? Are you nuts?

      Ever hear of a guy named Steve Kornacki? You may adore Maddow, but she hasn't done squat to actually advance this story. The Bergen Record has and Steve Kornacki has, and the Times has provided some interesting background.

      Good God.

      Delete
  3. Oh my God,

    he worked in "low income kids" too.

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    Replies
    1. OMB

      Did Christie have any low-income high school friends?

      KZ (wants to know)

      Delete
  4. As long as Somerby persists that this whole Fort Lee thing is merely the product of a "scandal culture," he will continue to look like a fool.

    Yes, Bob, we do live in a "scandal culture." But, Bob, this particular case -- and the case of the McDonnells in Virginia -- are terrible examples to use to bolster your argument.

    Sometimes, even in a "scandal culture," there are actual, real scandals.



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    1. The question is whether such a scandal should preoccupy everyone's attention when there are also important issues of consequence to all of us to be discussed.

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    2. And that oft-repeated Somerby meme is no more true the first time it was written than it is on the 23,943rd time.

      The media is NOT ignoring important issues. Go to the Google news and type in whatever issue you want. Discount the hits from blogs if you don't want to count them as "media" and see how many hits you have on any given issue, including poverty, in the past week from "mainstream media" however you want to define that.

      It isn't a case of "either-or". The media is covering important issues. You just don't to admit that because it ruins Bob's "wasting time on this" meme.

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    3. Bob didn't say "media" was ignoring important issues. He said Maddow was.

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    4. Were they classmate? Let's talk about journalism.

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    5. Bob is talking about an entire scandal culture in which all media gloms onto scandal at the expense of news he deems more important.

      But I'll play your game. Maddow has also covered some very important topics, and very well in my opinion, including poverty while she was also covering this.

      Delete
    6. Is Bob incorrect that she devoted her entire show to this yesterday?

      Delete
    7. No, Bob is incorrect in saying this is the only thing Maddow covers, and his crude, vile "conclusion" that she doesn't care about low-income kids. And that she shouldn't be covering the developing scandal in New Jersey at all. Just like she shouldn't have covered the scandal in Virginia at all.

      But I am sure that Maddow appreciates all the advice she can get from a minor league blogger about what she should and should not be covering.

      Delete
    8. But he didn't make that kind of blanket statement, did he? He said she spent all yesterday's show talking about this newest tidbit (which amounts to very little) when she could have been talking about something more important. Isn't that obvious and uncontestable?

      I think Maddow takes orders from her handlers and wouldn't listen to any of her audience about what they might prefer to hear, even if they also have blogs.

      On Virginia, what action do you think viewers should take in their local communities to address the wrongs she pointed out in VA? What are the implications for me as an activist? What can or should I do to improve the world, given the stuff she reported about the McDonnell's? And if there are none, what was the value of her report to any of us?

      Delete
    9. 2:33 PM
      thumbs up

      Delete
    10. Anonymous 8:08

      Bully for you, Bravo for 2:33, and long live Bob.

      Were it not for this Somerby could focus on things the President clearly didn't say in his State of the Union speech. things he carefully didn't say, and why that implies he said them.

      Delete
    11. Why didn't he cover the President's SOTU address? Because the president's speech isn't about media? This blog is about: "Musings on the mainstream 'press corps' and American discourse" not politics or "things trolls care most about". Sorry. I suppose he could have talked about how the press covered the SOTU but that seemed to be business as usual. Why didn't Rachel talk about it on Friday?

      Delete
    12. You have to be one of the dimmer bulbs among satellites basking in the orbit of the Somerby sun.
      He did cover the SOTU address. Repeatedly.

      Delete
  5. To me, the part of all these revelations that is most damaging to Christie (assuming he did nothing wrong and was completely in the dark about all the shenanigans going on around him) is that these people were HIS appointees and HIS close personal advisors. What does this say about his judgment and ability to prioritize his activities? Each fact that comes out seems to suggest a criminal enterprise much more than a political operation. Is he such a poor judge of people and so ingenuous about their use of authority that such activities could go on WITHOUT his ok? If we are to believe his press releases, the answer to that question is 'yes', and that alone disqualifies him to be president.

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    1. Everyone who works for the state is technically his appointee, but there is no evidence that Christie selected Wildstein or Baroni. Only Kelly and her role in this seems kind of minor, although there was an attempt to puff it up by implying that the Intergovernmental Communications team was running all the graft behind the scenes. I really don't see how Wildstein in particular tracks back to Christie as an appointee. He seems to have largely OK'd other people's recommendations and that is something all governors do, without anyone expecting that they will have thoroughly vetted all appointments, patronage or not.

      These reports dribbling out do tend to suggest criminal enterprises. I think they are working very hard to do so. But, they also do not provide any substantiation for what they have been implying. They seem to want us to remember past scandals are assume that if the same atmosphere can be created, then we will believe the same level of corruption must exist. I prefer to wait until the investigation has been done and we know for certain what has been going on.

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    2. r: 2:38 you're so tedious.

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    3. "there is no evidence that Christie selected Wildstein or Baroni."

      Oh boy!

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    4. The hews reports are saying that while Christie approved these appointments he didn't select them.

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  6. Governor Christie has taken delight in playing the role of bully, that we know for sure from episode after episode. That the bullying of Christie would set an example for other administration figures or appointees seems a simple conclusion. I know no more, but as for bullying I am sure Christie has been a bully and was proud to be so.

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    1. Some people exposed to a bully emulate him. Others try to be the opposite. But this reasoning is guilt by association. Are his staff to be presumed to be acting as bullies because that is Christie's personal style? Doesn't seem fair to me. Is he to be presumed to be guilty of corruption because his staff acted wrongly? Also doesn't seem fair, if no collusion can be demonstrated. And there is circularity in reasoning that these theories must be true because Christie is a bully and Christie is a bully because his staff misbehaves (bullies people).

      I think we just have to wait until we know more about this situation. That said, you shouldn't vote for Christie if you suspect he might be a bully, but perhaps you weren't going to anyway.

      Delete
  7. I sure wish all you "anonymouses" would take the minimal effort, finally, to pick a goddamned name so the rest of us can follow the frickin' discussion. It's real, real easy, or are you too stupid or lazy to figure out how it's done. I'll give KZ half-credit for sticking his initials in there at the end, but I (and I'm betting almost everyone else who reads the comments) would strongly, strongly prefer that he use them as his posting name.

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    Replies
    1. When you choose a name it forces you to create a persona. It happens automatically. Some of us don't want to be pressured by consistency with past comments.

      Delete
  8. TDH, 1972: Maybe it WAS just a two-bit burglary. The press should leave it alone until there is overwhelming proof it wasn't.

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    1. The press should investigate and report facts not baseless speculation as if it were fact.

      Delete
    2. urban legend,

      Does that look like a sock puppet reply to you?
      I guess we'll never know, because it' s "anonymous."

      Delete
    3. Even if it weren't anonymous you wouldn't know.

      Delete
    4. Well now, if the commenter was to take the handle
      Argyle B. Sockerby III, maybe Trollmes could hazard a guess.

      Delete
  9. I read the New York Times article with care, and as far as I can tell we still do not know what happened with the lane closings. The may be evidence that Governor Christie knew at the time that lanes had been closed, a point which Christie "seems" to have denied, but we still cannot know. Bob is right as far as I can tell, and the story is important and warrants following closely.

    LTR

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    1. Right. Wildstein's lawyer calls Christie a liar. In writing. Where's the news there? Where is the story? What is there to report?

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    2. Right, where's the news, where is the story. It is "he said, he said," because there are no other facts besides two people who are making conflicting stories and no added outside info about who is right or wrong. It is useless.

      Delete
  10. The neglect of black kids precipitated by this distraction is truly tragic

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    Replies
    1. Clearly, you care a lot about black kids.

      Delete
  11. 5:13

    We have no way of knowing that.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I suggest a name change for this blog.

    Those Damned Kids!

    musings on how to get these rich, privileged girly-girls off my newspaper and out of my TV

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rachel Maddow is a girly girl? Not so much.

      Delete
  13. http://abcnews.go.com/US/george-zimmerman-entering-boxing-ring/story?id=22307945

    Why is he doing this?

    We have no way of knowing - but most likely because librulz lied about him.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Does the Daily Howler have any influence? Some of the commenters who are so appalled by him also talk about how small his audience is. If that is true, why would it matter? I don't know how these things are measured. I always assumed it was small audience with no impact. But obviously there is some sort of impact -- or else why would people spend so much time and effort writing these bitter remonstrations? It's interesting how deeply he gets under their skin for a free blog with no readers. I just see it as a free blog with really, really crazy and long posts. I'm really shocked that anyone cares.

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    1. As a one-time fan of many years standing, I can tell you why I still read this blog from time to time. It's for the same reason one stops to gawk at a traffic accident.

      Delete
    2. I have always been fascinated with the fable of "The Emperor's New Clothes."

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  15. A few observations from a distance:

    This whole blog, as least to the people who are interested in it, seem
    to be coming down to Rachel Maddow.

    If the High School thing matters, as Bob rather sheepishly insists, then we might point out some other possibilities like:

    Even though they were not in the same class, it doesn't mean they couldn't have been friends.

    Or

    The fact that they went to the same High School might have been used to start or augment a latter friendship.

    But

    Christie says they were not really friends and I am willing to take him at his word.

    Yet

    Bob's fixation on this point tends to suggest that the journos he seeks to discredited got the more important stuff right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, 'cause inattention to the details usually means getting the bigger things right.

      Delete
  16. Does our intrepid bone-gnawer remind anybody of Baghdad Bob (you know - the Iraqi military spokesman who kept asserting Iraq was winning as Baby Bush's troops were marching in on Baghdad)?

    http://blogs.marketwatch.com/capitolreport/2014/02/01/christie-should-step-down-if-allegations-true-says-newspaper-that-backed-him-in-2013/

    '

    They argue that the letter from Wildstein’s attorney directly contradicts Christie’s Jan. 13 assertion that he knew nothing of the planning or the execution of the lane closures, which left commuters stranded for hours in an apparent act of retribution toward local officials in Fort Lee, N.J.

    “If this charge proves true, then the governor must resign or be impeached. Because that would leave him so drained of credibility that he could not possibly govern effectively. He would owe it to the people of New Jersey to stop bleeding and quit. And if he should refuse, then the Legislature should open impeachment hearings,” the Star-Ledger said.

    '

    Bone-gnawer is now reduced to gnawing on planning versus execution - but normal people don't act that way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you have a good argument, you don't need to use insults.

      Delete
    2. As far as this blogger goes, I belong to the Woody Allen school of thought:

      "I think you should defend to the death their right to march, and then go down and meet them with baseball bats." (Woody Allen, in regard to the KKK)

      The best thing that can happen is for him to have a personal breakdown and check into a mental health facility.

      Delete
    3. The best thing would be for his "analysts" to suspend his internet access at "the sprawling campus" he already describes as his residence. Just how many "we" do you suppose might be in there with him? And does he really speak for them? My guess is that, on many issues, so of "them" DO know.

      Delete
  17. Newspapers and other media make all sorts of inaccurate and unjustified statements every day on all sorts of subjects. Generally, the "hotter" the topic the more inaccuracies there are. Why is Somerby so obsessed with those that involve Christy? Whether or not Wildstein was a "classmate" of Christy is not likely to influence the 2016 election.

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    Replies
    1. "Whether or not Wildstein was a "classmate" of Christy is not likely to influence the 2016 election."

      BOB has already annointed Christie with Al Gore (internet invention) and Bill Clinton (21 year old intern)
      status. He may be polanning the third installment of his Book of Martyr.

      KZ

      Delete
    2. "Anoint" doesn't have a double "n"; "with" should be "along with" for the obvious idiomatic reason; "polanning" isn't a word; TDH really isn't interested in Christie as governor.

      Just trying to help since you're from (far) out of town.

      Delete
    3. He is mainly focusing on this matter because it is partisan, involves MSNBC so prominently, and Somerby consistently has said he doesn't want liberals to become like Fox. That would be my guess.

      Delete
    4. Think u, a long with best wished fro a happy Super Bowl Sundae.

      "OKz"

      Delete
    5. "That would be my guess."

      You are certainly entitled to your guess. But if I were to be granted the same privilege, I would guess that Bob considers this whole thing as nothing more than another club to beat MSNBC and the NYT with.

      And please, Mr. English Teacher Deadrat, forgive me ending that sentence with a preposition. I know that is something you will not up with put.

      Delete
    6. And I'd guess that Anonymous @1:50 is being polite when he says he's guessing. He doesn't have to guess because he can base his judgment on what TDH actually writes about MSNBC and its tendency to Foxiness. You and TDH's "considerings," not so much.

      There's nothing ungrammatical about ending a sentence with a preposition, especially in phrases that are near idioms like "put up with." Sometimes ending prepositions makes for awkward phrasing.

      Delete
  18. Seems to me that the Bob Fan Club in repeating the "no speculation allowed" meme (which is just about all they've got left) would find a lot of friends in the global climate change denier community.

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    1. Come to think of it, the companion "possible until disproven" meme should find purchase in both the birther and UFO communities.

      After all, when evidence keeps piling up, simply declare that it is still not enough and it is still "possible" that Obama is a Kenyan, and that aliens from a distant planet continue to visit our planet with regularity.

      Delete
    2. Ahem!!!!

      Some of us do not like being called "aliens." And we do visit almost as regularly as BOB posts.

      KZ

      PS Don't care to comment on that Kenyan fellow.

      Delete
    3. And my deepest, most sincere apology to you, KZ.

      How careless of me. I should have said, "Present company excluded, of course."

      Delete
    4. At least you did not call us "illegal aliens."
      As a King and one who uses the royal "we",
      we make the laws and have declared it perfectly legal for us to visit your planet and comment on its collapsing intellectual culture.

      Of course, as the "hayseed" in the bank robbery might have observed in "Raising Arizona"

      "Well what's it gonna be, old BOB. Either it's paralyzed or it's collapsing. It can't do both."

      Perhaps it is BOBsan's choice.

      KZ

      Delete
    5. Ha ha ha ha ha! You see, TDH is just like a birther or a UFO believer or a climate denier! Absolutely sidesplitting.

      Except that there's overwhelming evidence that Obama was born in Hawaii, that aliens haven't visited the planet, and that the climate is changing. About Wildstein's motives and Christie's involvement, not so much.

      I'll type slowly so you can follow: speculation is allowed. It's sometimes how reporters pursue stories. But TDH says that speculation shouldn't be presented as fact or breathlessly hyped. Now YMMV and evidently does. And that's fine, but don't pretend that TDH's position is delusional.

      Delete
    6. "But TDH says that speculation shouldn't be presented as fact or breathlessly hyped."

      And it is a good thing that nobody has done that. Especially his favorite name-calling target, Rachel, who carefully frames speculation as speculation and carefully says that while the evidence may be leading to it, nothing has yet surfaced to prove it definitively.

      Of course, only those who actually watch Maddow would know that. Those who simply need Bob's word on how she reports will continue to be played as if they were fools.

      And as the evidence continues to mount that indicates the "speculation" was leading the reporters down the correct path, we will continue to conjure up "legitimate study that was bungled" as a perfectly reasonable, logical explanation that fits the narrative that his whole thing has been "massively ginned-up."

      Delete
    7. And it is a good thing that nobody has done that.

      Oh, please. Zernicke writes that the lane closings were retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee, a "fact" not really in evidence. And Darlin' Rachel continually hypes the speculation she's careful to "frame." And what an excellent choice of a word that last one is.

      Relisten to her endless report on the possible retribution against a Democratic state senator because of the snit CC got into over the state supreme court.

      No one is saying that reporters shouldn't follow speculation, and that includes TDH. And neither does anyone "conjure up" "legitimate" studies as a reasonable or logical explanation. And that includes TDH who notes that the whole episode seems downright crazy.

      I think TDH at first underestimated the size of the scandal, and I think his disgust with Darlin' Rachel leads him astray in his over-the-top criticism of her. I suspect you would agree with this assessment, but that's still no reason to misrepresent what TDH writes.

      Delete
    8. I get a big belly laugh when you attempt to cite an example, and you wind up with pie all over your face.

      Yes, by all means, go listen again to Maddow on the state senator motive. You will find, contrary to allegation, that she states NOTHING as absolute fact, and is very careful in saying there is no evidence yet.

      Delete
    9. I'm glad you're entertaining yourself thinking about pie.

      If you'd read for comprehension, you'd find I'm not saying Darlin' Rachel claims that her endless and endlessly-hyped report on the state senator is anything more than endless hype. The hype is the problem.

      And I guess if nobody has done that (state something not factual), then Zernike must be nobody.

      Still laughing, Chuckles?

      Delete
  19. OMB ( THE STATE OF THE OTB is AGITATED)

    BOB is so excited he starts by telling us Kate Zernike's state of mind. If he had a Times Newsroom cam, he could probably also tell us the state of her antipersperant.

    Let's donate so he can get one.

    In the remainder of this series let's focus on another media flaw,
    novelization, and how BOB skillfully employs that technique himself.

    KZ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure, let's pretend that Zernike's state of mind makes any difference to TDH's point.

      Why again?

      Delete
    2. "TDH" seems to think it makes a difference, otherwise this post wouldn't begin with these words:

      "Kate Zernike was excited."

      You know, even if this thing winds up with Christie impeached, convicted, indicted, convicted and hauled off in chains to a federal or state prison, Bob will continue to stick with his "lack of evidence" script.

      Delete
    3. "KZ". "Kate Zernike". Coincidence?

      By the way, has our resident life form from another planet noticed the sudden disappearance of the McDonnells of Virginia as leading charachters in his novel "Scandal Culture: How Everything Rachel Maddow Does is Ginned-Up and Phony."

      Delete
    4. deadrat, I am certain that KZ of the NYT"s excitement was as crucial to BOB's point at Al Gore farm boy tales were to the electorate's choice.

      KZ of Doom

      Delete
    5. Yeah, sure. I'm with you, Anonymous @1:57P. If CC is convicted of a crime -- and that would have to be beyond a reasonable doubt -- TDH will just continue to claim "lack of evidence."

      I guess we won't really know until we hear reliable evidence about CC's participation, but as I say, I'm with you. Let's make that judgment now.

      Delete
    6. Let's instead be loyal Bob followers and judge, like him, that each new development in this unfolding scandal doesn't mean a thing.

      We wouldn't want to go off message.

      Delete
    7. No, no, let's instead make comments about "loyalty to Bob" and attribute to him arguments he doesn't make.

      Don't worry, you're not off mesage.

      Delete
  20. OMB (The Commenter's Tale)

    "make no mistake—readers are affected by the inaccurate claims they choose to reinstate." BOB. Yesterday. This post.

    In his first attack this week on Obama's statement about 77 cents, BOB said:

    “Obama carefully did not say” that women are paid 77 cents on the dollar for equal work."

    In the same post he later said:

    "Also, women are paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work! Obama said it."

    In the next post, the next day he said:

    "As we noted yesterday, Obama didn’t say that women get paid 77 cents on the dollar “for equal work.” "

    And what did the first Commenter say to that fine piece of Somerby work?

    "President Obama claim about the difference in earnings of men and women for equal work was false and it is impossible that the speech researchers and speech editors did not know that even if the President did not know the claim was false."

    Another fine BOBfan jumped in to say:

    "Here is the problem with that sentence. It had nothing to do with the amount of the pay gap."

    To which a third wheel on the Bobbus applauded:

    "Perfectly stated."

    What, you may ask, does this have to do with BOB's point?
    And if so, summon up so courage, type it up and become one of BOB's favorite commenters.

    You'll be excited when you do.

    KZ

    ReplyDelete
  21. OMB (Wherein a New Antagonist Appears)

    No good novel can be without an antagonist. BOB gives us one, the previously, possibly good faith bungler, who we learn in this chapter is "unreliable."

    "One unreliable person had made a rather fuzzy charge against another. It wasn’t clear what was being charged. No evidence had been presented.
    .........................................................

    Wildstein’s central charge is rather fuzzy.
    .........................................................

    Warning! If we assume that Christie said he learned from The Record on September 13, a person could possibly claim that he thereby had knowledge about the lane closings while they were still in place.

    That would be a rather stupid charge, of course. It would also be unwise to assume that isn’t what Wildstein means. That may not be what Wildstein means, but Wildstein is an unreliable person. It’s silly to draw conclusions from his claim until he clarifies the claim and presents his evidence."

    All we have to judge from Zernike's novela is what BOB presents here. Based on his account she seems to agree with what he does not imply, but rather plainly states. The "unreliable" Mr. Wildstein has made charges. Fuzzy charges.

    Unfortunately the one making the charges is Mr. Wildstein's attorney. And the only thing he implies Mr. Wildstein is charging is that he can prove Christie said some untrue things about Mr. Wildstein. Careful readers must therefore conclude some of the things Christie said about Wildstein are true. Whether they can be journalistically disproven is another matter.

    Let us hope for BOB's sake what Wildstein does not aim to show is that he was a good friend of Christie in high school.

    KZ





    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe it's different beyond the Great Asteroid Belt, but in this part of the universe, an attorney speaks for his client.

      Delete
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