ANTHROPOLOGY LESSONS: An oleaginous, oily old coot!

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 25, 2014

Part 3—Diane Sawyer’s concern: Yesterday morning, the New York Times discussed the so-called “word gap.”

Motoko Rich’s news report topped the paper’s National section. It ran beneath this headline: “Pediatrics Group to Recommend Reading Aloud to Children From Birth.”

Good for the New York Times and good for Motoko Rich! In her report, she discussed the advantages which are said to accrue from early immersion in literacy.

And not only that! At the very end of her report, she mentioned Hillary Clinton:
RICH (6/24/14): Dr. Navsaria is the medical director of the Wisconsin chapter of Reach Out and Read, a nonprofit literacy group that enlists about 20,000 pediatricians nationwide to give out books to low-income families. The group is working with Too Small to Fail, a joint effort between the nonprofit Next Generation and the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation that is aimed at closing the word gap.

At the annual Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in Denver on Tuesday, Hillary Rodham Clinton will announce that Scholastic, the children’s book publisher, will donate 500,000 books to Reach Out and Read. Too Small to Fail is also developing materials to distribute to members of the American Academy of Pediatrics to help them emphasize the read-aloud message to parents.
There it was again! Clinton is working on a project designed to give low-income kids a fairer shot at life in a literacy-based society. For our previous post on this topic, just click here.

Does this mean that Hillary Clinton cares about low-income kids? We can’t answer that question, but we can tell you this:

In interviews about Clinton’s new book, she isn’t being asked about this initiative, which is designed to help low-income kids get a fairer shot. Instead, journalists are focusing on her “gaffes” about her own personal wealth.

Allegedly, these gaffes help us see that Clinton is out of touch—that she doesn’t care about, or understand, the lives of the middle-class and/or the poor.

The journalists seem very concerned about this. Anthropologically speaking, it’s one of their tribe’s sacred rituals. They flog the gaffes—and ignore the proposals! In our view, anthropology lessons are involved in this uniform cultural preference.

Is Hillary Clinton “out of touch?” We have no idea.

We know that she has sometimes tended to produce “gaffes” in the past. This dates to twin gaffes from early 1992, those involving 1) Tammy Wynette standin’ by her man and 2) Clinton’s decision, as a younger woman, not to stay home and bake cookies.

Anthropologically speaking, the modern tribe known as “the press” employs such alleged gaffes as a sacred part of their rituals. Within this tribe’s holiest rites, such gaffes can be interpreted in one of two different ways:

If the politician in question is favored, the gaffe will often be interpreted as a sign of authenticity and plain-speaking. If the pol in question is disfavored, the gaffe, which may be real or invented, shows that the pol is “out of touch,” perhaps even “inauthentic.”

Those are a few of the most sacred rules of the press corps’ highly exotic religion. In recent weeks, a comical element has been added to these familiar rites.

We refer to the choice of journalistic high priests who have been chosen to sally forth to see if Clinton is “out of touch” due to her personal wealth.

These priests won’t ask about the word gap. The word gap involves the interests of black kids, kids their tribe plainly abhors.

The priests will ask about Clinton’s wealth. Quite dramatically, they will worry about what this personal wealth reveals about Clinton’s personal values. Anthropologically speaking, the priests will worry even harder when Clinton is perceived to have emitted a gaffe in response to their questions.

Like you, we’ve seen this made-for-TV movie many times in the past. In its current manifestation, the ritual started with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, who was shown asking Clinton these questions as part of an edited program:
SAWYER (6/9/14): Tonight, Hillary Clinton's 66 years old.

CLINTON: Wow.

SAWYER: Lives on a schedule almost as taxing as a campaign tour. She and her husband, thanks to some big spenders, including Wall Street companies, are no longer the couple struggling for money. Reportedly, they can charge hundreds of thousands of dollars for speeches.

It has been reported you've made five million making speeches. The president made more than $100 million.

CLINTON: Well, if you, you have no reason to remember, but we came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt. We had no money when we got there and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages for houses, for Chelsea's education, you know, it was not easy. Bill has worked really hard and it's been amazing to me. He's worked very hard, first of all, we had to pay off all our debts, which was, you know, you had to make double the money because of obviously taxes, and then pay you pay off the debts, get us houses, and take care of family members.

SAWYER: But do you think Americans are going to understand five times the median income in this country for one speech?
Frankly, Sawyer was very concerned about all that personal wealth.

She didn’t inquire about the lives of low-income black kids. Speaking on behalf of “Americans,” this famous high priestess was concerned about Hillary Clinton’s swag.

Therein lies a rather comical tale. You might call it a comical story inside an enigma, wrapped around an anthropology lesson.

We think the wealth of politicians can be a point of concern too. But then, we think the same about the wealth of “journalists” like Sawyer, whose salary is variously estimated to be anywhere from $12 million to $20 million per year.

Sawyer pockets $12 million per year? Let’s clarify what that means:

In the exchange we highlight above, a person who “earns” five times the median income each week for reading words from a teleprompter is probing the values of a person who earns that same amount for giving a speech.

Go ahead; enjoy a quick mordant laugh! Meanwhile, what kind of person postures that way? Let’s take a look at the record:

Sawyer grew up in a prominent Republican family in Louisville. In 1963, at the age of 17, she was crowned America’s Junior Miss.

After graduating from Wellesley in 1967, Sawyer returned to Louisville and became a TV weather “babe.” Within three years, she was in Washington, serving as a press assistant to President Nixon.

After Nixon’s resignation from office, Sawyer followed him to California, where she helped him write his memoirs. According to the leading authority on her life, “she also helped prepare Nixon for his famous set of television interviews with journalist David Frost in 1977.”

By 1978, Sawyer was back in Washington. By now, her high-profile national “journalism” career was underway.

Can we talk? There’s absolutely nothing of value that you learned from Diane Sawyer. This useless person’s most famous “journalistic” moment occurred in 1990, when she famously asked Marla Maples if sex with Donald Trump was the best sex she’d ever had.

Thanks to Sawyer, we got an important answer from Maples: Yes, it actually was the best sex! The best sex she’d ever had!

Sawyer is in her current position because she’s conventionally good-looking and because she married Mike Nichols, a major cultural figure. In her recent interview with Clinton, she pretended to be concerned about the amount of money Clinton makes for giving a speech—even though she herself is paid the same amount (or more) every week!

Anthropologically speaking, this kind of conduct would be seen as comical from a person in almost any other sector. But by the cultural rules of the press corps, such odd behavior from their own priests can never be discussed.

Question: Have you seen a single person mention the oddness of this exchange, in which an obscenely wealthy TV star worries about the amount of money someone receives for giving a speech? Of course not! By the cultural rules of this very odd tribe, such odd behavior can't even be noticed, let alone discussed!

Meanwhile, over at Slate, the former crown prince of Merrywood was also troubled by all that Clinton loot. Yesterday, his concern reappeared, this time directed at Joe Biden’s worrying wealth.

Anthropologically speaking, the Trobrian Islanders once seemed strange to those who recorded their folkways. In truth, those Islanders of the 1790s had nothing on our own primitive group.

We think you know their folkways! By the cultural rules of our modern press, every adept is going to ask about Clinton’s personal wealth. The adepts will also worry about the meaning of her gaffes.

None of these adepts would be caught dead asking Clinton about the word gap or discussing her work in this area. Anthropologically speaking, such things simply aren’t done.

Anthropologically speaking, members of this primitive tribe care about others just like them. They care about others with even more wealth.

They don’t care about low-income kids. Above all else, they mustn’t ever give a different impression.

Meanwhile, all younger “journalists” know they must advance the values, and even the language, of the tribe’s reigning elders. In the case of Clinton's worrying gaffes, adherence to the tribal script has even been pushed by Chris Hayes!

Anthropologically speaking, Diane Sawyer is an oleaginous, oily old coot. Tomorrow, we’ll see the way the younger priests have scurried to further her values, which seem “inauthentic” to us.

Tomorrow: The development of the younger priests! Just eight short years outta Yale

98 comments:

  1. Bob, I supported Hillary in 2008, and certainly intend to support her in 2016. I also consider her to be one of the great Secretaries of State in U.S. history.

    But please. Don't even try to defend the "we were broke and in debt when we left the White House" malarkey. It was a damned dumb thing to say.

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    1. Why shouldn't he? He's defended "I took the intiative to create the internet" for well over a decade.

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    2. True. But I also recall Bob digging through puff piece Maddow profiles to find the story of her getting drunk and buying her first TV set on line to accuse her of trying to sound just like the rest of us.

      Well, just like the article in Slate says, Hillary and Joe Biden seem to be in a race to see who can claim to be the poorest, and thus, most understanding of the struggles middle class Americans go through.

      Gimme a break.

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    3. Did you miss the point where he says it is stupid to be asking about wealth when Clinton has made statements about real issues and programs? I don't think he is defending Clinton at all. He is saying that Sawyer wasted her time on something ridiculous when he could have asked more important questions.

      Clinton has always supported initiatives to benefit women and children. More of the public needs to know about that because it truly affects our lives. Who cares how much money the Clintons have made since leaving office? I certainly don't.

      I also don't see Clinton claiming to be poor. I see her claiming to have needed the money because of expenses. But I don't care whether she needs it or not. If people are willing to pay to hear her or Bill Clinton speak, so what? That is traditional for ex-presidents and former officials to do and why should they be any different?

      This is more of "get Hillary" campaign now gaining steam. You can join it or not, but don't pretend it is about any real issue.

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    4. "I also don't see Clinton claiming to be poor."

      "We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt," Clinton told Sawyer, referring to the hefty legal fees incurred during their White House years. "We had no money when we got there, and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea's education. You know, it was not easy."

      Good thing Chelsea was eligible for free and reduced lunch.

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    5. Everyone struggles financially, even millionaires. The nature of their struggles differs and how it affects their lives differs. You can go look up how much wealth the Clintons had or didn't have when they left the White House by examining their IRS forms. Is it impossible for you to imagine that the Whitewater, impeachment and other legal problems the Clintons were plagued with might have cost them big bucks to defend, since personal lawyers were not paid for by the govt? Palin quit in order to escape further such expenses which her family could not afford.

      Mocking other people's money problems is silly because you cannot know what their needs are compared to their income and as an observer and outsider to their lives, you cannot know how much or how little they struggled. But, blaming other people for their lifestyles is good fun and political hay.

      Open season on Clintons -- as if it were ever anything else.

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    6. "Everyone struggles financially, even millionaires."

      And that is what this country needs the most -- multi-millionaire candidates tuned into the financial struggles of multi-millionaires.

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    7. The Clintons' net worth was negative when they left the Whitehouse. Their liabilities, such as legal bills, exceeded their assets. And the legal bills were for their defense against pseudo-scandals.

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    8. The Clintons' net worth is hardly negative now. Of course, Hillary credits that to Bill and all his hard work giving those speeches while she was toiling away in the Senate and at the State Department for peanuts.

      Yes, I do sympathize with the legal bills they rang up defending themselves against a mountain of frivilous lawsuits, the Paula Jones suit the most ridiculous.

      But at the same time, Bill was leaving a rather well paying job with lots of benefits, including all living expenses, and Hillary was also about to begin her career in six-figure jobs.

      Add in the book deals, the speaking fees, and I'd say their prospects were a bit rosier than "dead broke and in debt".


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    9. "I'd say their prospects were..."

      [YAWN]

      You really just don't get that this blog is about media criticism, do you?

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    10. You really just don't get that this blog is about whatever random thought crosses Bob's mind.

      And it's quite often about his disdain for female journalists who make a lot of money.

      But yes, sharp "media criticism" always must include mention of his targeted journalist's good looks and who he/she is married to.

      I just can't recall Bob ever making such mention about a male journalist. Can you help me out?

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    11. I don't recall a media narrative about John Kerry's wealth, or even John Edwards'. Their Republican opposition tried to portray Kerry as an out-of-touch and partition and portrayed Edwards as a venal ambulance chaser, but not the media.

      That Republicans --the Bushes, McCain, Romney -- will be pilloried this way, goes without saying.

      I think media feel that ole Bill and Hill have gotten a bit above their station. He's an Arkansas poor boy and she's the working class smart feminist, and they've both gotten richer than they deserve in the way that our media members from blue-collared origins DO deserve to get...

      That's our media elites. So adorably cliquish and insightful.

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    12. "Oleaginous" is true enough.

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    13. Thank heavens you showed up. I would have asked Bob what oleaginous means, but he doesn't answer. You, on the other hand, I can count on.

      What the heck does oleaginous mean?

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    14. It means "oily." So basically, "oleaginous, oily" is redundant.

      But being wordy and redundant is Bob's way of closing the "word gap" for his fans, in case their parents didn't speak to them enough when they were babies.

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    15. "I don't recall a media narrative about John Kerry's wealth, or even John Edwards'."

      Then you have a very selective and convenient memory, Cecelia.

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    16. Thanks for trying, 6:23. But I'll wait for CeceliaMc. You answer sounds like a trick and I know she is a supportive sympoathizer of Bob so I will withold final judgement for her to weigh in. She may not differ.

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    17. Well, if you just plow though MoDo's archive you kind find plenty of references to both Keery's and Edwards's wealth. She went as far as to make up a quote by Kerry, making him sound clueless about NASCAR. Edwards's was mocked for his work as a well compensated trail lawyer before he was elected to the Senate.

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  2. "Diane Sawyer is an oleaginous, oily old coot."

    Real bad case of projection there, Somerby.

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    1. I've always thought of Bob more as a crusty, cranky curmudgeonly popinjay.

      Anthropologically speaking, of course.

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    2. Ageism is no prettier than racism, sexism or any other form of hate based on identity. Can Somerby or Sawyer help getting older? I don't like Somerby's comment about Sawyer but it doesn't justify attacking him with an age-related remark either.

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    3. I don't believe either 10:56 or 11:36 attacked Somerby based on his age.

      10:56 wondered if Bob was projecting without specificity as to which adjective or noun might be applicable to Bob.

      11:36 used words which can apply to cantankerous characters of any age.

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    4. So, 12:01, I see you agree that Somerby calling Sawyer an "oily old coot" was despicable. And that Bob's obvious "ageism" is no better than his obvious "sexism" in claiming that Sawyer got where she was through benefit of looks and marriage.

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    5. Bob is lucky to have 12:01 around to explain his good work.
      The rest of you go away.

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    6. GREAT and deserved takedown of Sawyer. What kind of person postures that way indeed. In the spirit of Phil Anselmo- is there no standard anymore? What is telling is that this is how our gilded media pretend to cover the issue of "class" in America.

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  3. "Sawyer is in her current position because she’s conventionally good-looking and because she married Mike Nichols, a major cultural figure."

    Speaking of projection and Somerby, did he indicate why Mrs. Clinton is in her current position?

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    1. It would be horribly sexist to say that Hillary is where she is solely because of her looks and whom she married.

      It is equally horribly sexist to say that Sawyer is where she is solely because of her looks and whom she married.

      But Bob can't possibly be sexist, can he? After all, he cares about poor black kids, except those in families 130 percent above the poverty level, in which case they aren't really poor at all.

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    2. Or why he is in his?

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    3. 11:59 your comment is repetitive, redunant, oily and oleaginious parroting.

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    4. In Sawyer's case, it is fair to say she is where she is because of her looks and who she married because looks are part of the job description and because she wouldn't have been able to work her way up so quickly without a boost from someone with clout. In Clinton's case, I think it is fair to say that Bill Clinton would probably have not been as successful as he was, as quickly as he was, without Hillary's constant support and contribution in the myriad ways that two working married people help each other.

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    5. 12:03. Gack!

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    6. Except for one inconvenient truth, 12:03. She married Nichols in 1988, long after her career in network news was well established.

      In fact, this was 10 years after she joined CBS News, and four years after she became a "60 Minutes" correspondent.

      So explain to me again how Nichols used his formidable clout to get Sawyer where she is today.

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    7. Suggesting Hillary Clinton became a United States Senator from a state in which she had never lived because she was decent looking and well married is like saying Robert Kennedy became a United States Senator from the same state because of who his brother was. (I did not mention Kennedy's looks because they were awful compared to his brother and they don't matter much for men.)

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    8. The Old Bob once raged for years when Chris Matthews said that Hillary got to the Senate by virtue of her marriage.

      The New Bob now says that Sawyer got her career by virtue of marriage.

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    9. 12:25 how dare you misappropriate a phrase initiated/created by Al Gore to excuse Diane Sawyer from capitalizing on good looks and marital connections.

      Hers is just another blonde story, like that of Norma Jean Baker, who, without looks and marriage to major cultural figures Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller would never have made it into "The Misfits."

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    10. Monroe got into the movies by posing for porn.

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    11. Yes, Sawyer capitalized on her good looks. But didn't Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams do the same?

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    12. Why do the comments keep turning a discussion of what Sawyer said/did (the point of the blog) to a discussion of what Bob said. What Sawyer says in front of millions(?) of people certainly must matter more.

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    13. Gee, I don't know. Could it possibly be because Bob raised the issue on his blog? And his blog has a comment box?

      And also, Bob's defense of Hillary's boneheaded statement is elitist and sexist? Not to mention juvenile in its name-calling?

      Hillary is playing the old "I'm just like you" pandering game that's as old as politics. I expect much more from her than that.



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    14. It is fair to ask why Sawyer focused on trivia instead of substance in her interview of Clinton.

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    15. Anonymous @ 12:59 "Monroe got into the movies by posing for porn."

      Is this a comparison to how Sawyer's marriage caused her success in broadcast journalism or how Clinton's marriage caused her success in electoral politics?

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    16. What? Diane Sawyer forcused on trivia instead of substance?

      Oh my goodness! This must be the first time that has ever happened in the history of broadcast journalism! Grab the smelling salts and get me to the fainting couch! How can the Republic ever stand after that?

      We are doomed! Doomed, I say!

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    17. No matter how she got to be where she is, she didn't bring up the word gaps. Nor have any of ya'll. Which is the point. It's just a simple point, not made perfectly or even well as you guys have pointed out but it's the point still. Word gaps don't get discussed like speech money and "gaffes". The question and response don't mean anything. They are fake. It would be nice if we ignored them both and had a powerful advocate to call them out for being as pointless as they are.

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    18. Nope, 3:06. Nary a one of us'ns has mentioned that old word gap. Hardly nobody but ole Bob has talked about the gains made by those remarkable black free-lunchers neither.

      And you know what else? Before October, 2013, neither did Hillary Clinton. When she decided to announce the Too Small to Fail initiative back in June, 2013... one year ago, she didn't use the term then in a four minute video announcing the project. Guess the PR wordsmiths hadn't thought it up as a catch phrase yet.

      I imagine when Clinton's publisher's PR flacks arranged her TV appearances to promote her book about being Secretary of State, they didn't mention it either.

      Oh, and you know who else never mentions "word" with "gap" before last month? TDH.

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    19. 4:04 - Still, that is his point. Word gaps were not discussed. Salaries were. That's all. No need to be mad or petulant.

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    20. Hillary has never posed wearing a garter belt but no panties. Diane has.

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    21. If you had ever read anything about Hillary Clinton's ongoing work on behalf of women and children you would know how unfair it is to portray this latest effort as opportunistic.

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    22. Look, I know all about Hillary and her phenomenal record. She's got my vote. She had it in '08 as well.

      But . . . what she said to Diane Sawyer, what she said to the Guardian about her personal wealth were still damned dumb things to say.

      Why is it so hard for Somerby and his followers to admit that?

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    23. Somerby's complaint was that journalists waste time on gaffes instead of discussing issues -- he didn't say it wasn't a gaffe (I think it was pretty trivial myself).

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    24. Yes, if only journalists would play nice, Somerby's buddy would have been the 43rd president.

      Well, it doesn't work that way. And Hillary Clinton, of all potential presidential candidates, should have learned that a long, long time ago.

      While I don't consider her TWO pronouncements (Sawyer and the Guardian) about how badly they needed millions of easy money to be neither a "gaffe" or "trivial", nor do I consider them to be a deal-breaker.

      However, as the old saying goes, "fool me once . . ."

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  4. Joan Walsh has some excellent thoughts on this topic as well.

    http://www.salon.com/2014/06/23/stop_pretending_youre_not_rich_why_are_clinton_and_biden_playing_down_their_wealth/

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    1. Have you considered that Clinton is not rich compared to the people she and Bill hang around with, people with inherited wealth or those who make more money just breathing than the Clinton could in twice as many speeches as they have made.

      Everyone plays down their wealth. People who are rich always refer to themselves as "comfortable" or "upper middle class" not wealthy. It is natural to deflect the label, partly because being rich makes you a target for animosity -- ask Marie Antoinette. Accusing Biden or Clinton of being the only ones who do this is ridiculous and exhibits bias. ALL people who are well off do this.

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    2. Yes 12:07. Having to pretend you are not well off is one of the truly terrible burdens afflicting the affluent.

      Somerby is lucky to have commenters like you.

      The rest should just go away.

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    3. Anonymous 12:07, you ask "Have you considered that Clinton is not rich compared to the people she and Bill hang around with...?

      Of course I considered it. Wasn't that the point Mrs. Clinton was trying to make? Compared to their super rich pals, whose largesse makes them prosper and funds their good works, she and Bill are just paupers.

      So what does that make her compared to the parents of "free-lunch" black kids who comprise the base of the party whose nomination for President she might seek?

      Good thing she is going to get them free books from Scholastic, huh !? Wonder if Bob is going to compare that to Lawrence O'Donnell getting desks for kids in Africa.

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    4. Perhaps Hillary should hang around more with the "black free-lunchers" and their parents and less with the "people she and Bill hang around with" presently.

      Perhaps that will give her a deeper appreciation of people who truly struggle, and she won't say damned dumb things like "dead broke and in debt when we left the White House -- when she had already signed an $8 million book deal, and Bill was about to sign a $12 million book deal.

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    5. Why are there special rules for politicians? Politicians hang out with rich people who will donate to their campaigns and causes (in the case of the Clinton Foundation). That is their job. They do visit programs and neighborhoods and talk to people who run community programs and they visit schools. That too is part of their job, although both Bill and Hillary are nominally retired at this point. Expecting that to be their social life when no one else associates with people outside their own SES group is unfair.

      Being "about to sign a deal" is not cash in hand. Quibbling over timing is stupid and just a game of gotcha.

      "Dead broke and in debt" does not mean "no prospects". I think she and her husband have the right to describe their circumstances any way they want, just as we all do. Picking about what they had when is foolish.

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    6. She signed her $8 million book deal in December, 2000 -- a month before she and Bill left the White House "not only dead broke, but in debt."

      In fact, she had to do that before she was sworn into the Senate to skirt the Senate's ethics rules.

      "Dead broke and in debt" means "dead broke and in debt." She can describe her circumstances all she wants, but she and Bill weren't exactly pounding the pavement looking for jobs, and decided to moonlight stocking shelves at Walmart.

      This isn't a deal breaker for me. I fully intend to support Hillary in 2016.

      But if she thinks her and Bill's situation in January 2001 was "dead broke and in debt," then Hillary Clinton apparently has no idea of the struggles of people who are truly "dead broke and in debt."

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    7. Why would Clinton moonlight stocking shelves at Walmart when she was dead broke and in debt? Couldn't she just get her old part time job back serving on their Board of Directors?

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    8. Are you aware that most presidents leave office with millions more then they came in with?

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    9. No, I am not aware of that.

      We've had 44 presidents. Name me 23 who have left office with millions more than they came in with. And remember that seven of them left office in a box.

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    10. The word gaps never got discussed here or there.

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    11. You know, come to think of it, I watched the Royals-Dodgers game last night, and the announcers there also didn't mention "word gaps" once. Instead, they went on and on about how well Clayton Kershaw was pitching.

      How evil and vile of them not to discuss the one and only issue that this nation should be discussing.

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    12. We have had 44 Presidents. None who left richer than they came in, poorer than they came in, on foot, on a horse, in a carriage or a Lincoln Continental has mentioned the Word Gap so far as I can find.

      Heck, the closest I can come is to the guy who fled in Marine One. But his was the 18 Minute Gap. And the one before him had a Credibility Gap. Best I can tell neither of them mentioned those gaps either.

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    13. 3:48 - your response reminds me of what Jesus said on the cross - forgive them - their heads are in their ass but they are still people just doing their best. no need to worry or be afraid.

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    14. You may have stumbled on the answer 5:05. White folk have had 2000 years of talking to the Baby Jeebus. Black folk only since about 1619.

      None of this, of course explains them Asian Tigers

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  5. If Hillary really wants to talk about her family's wealth in terms of policy decisions without sounding like she is pandering, she should talk to Bill:

    "My taxes were cut a lot in the last decade and my income went up a lot. I believe people like me should pay, not because it's a bad thing to be successful, but because the country's made us successful and we're in the best position to help do something about the debt and invest in the future of the young people to give them a better future."

    http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/bill-clinton-q-taxing-rich-not-anti-wealth-222914518.html

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  6. Conventional good looks and strategic marriage. Women have it so easy.

    You go, Bob.

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  7. "a person who 'earns' five times the median income each week for reading words from a teleprompter is probing the values of a person who earns that same amount for giving a speech." I can understand why Hillary didn't point that out herself, but just once I'd like to see the interviewee push back against this kind of nonsense. Since no one else is pushing back in real time on their behalf, it's up to the media-manhandled interview subjects to do it for themselves. I understand that this would not "play well," according to accepted wisdom. But I'd love to see Bob explain why he thinks folks like Hillary and Gore never answer these attacks themselves, in real time.

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    1. False equivalence. If Sawyer ever claimed to be "dead broke and in debt" then the "Oh yeah, well I'm rubber and you're glue" pushback Bob suggest might not sound quite as juvenile. But still juvenile nonetheless.

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  8. Your friend asks you to go out to lunch. You say "I can't, I'm dead broke." Does that mean you will always be broke, have no assets whatsoever, will not get another paycheck, etc? We would cut you some slack in interpreting your response. No slack for Clinton, though, no matter what her statement meant to her.

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    1. No. It means you want your friend to pick up the tab.

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    2. Ah, so Hillary was only talking about her inability to go out to lunch with her friends the day after Bill left office.

      Glad you cleared that up.

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    3. Clearly nothing was actually cleared up for you 2:39!

      But by posting your snark regardless, you have mercifully made clear that nothing ever will be. So thanks for that, anyway!

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    4. 2:14/3:14

      Sorry you didn't like snark as a response. I did not write any of them. I'll be less snarky.

      Your initial comment was the work of a clueless person.

      Delete
    5. So does this "slack" we're supposed to cut for Clinton apply to all politicians as well, or just the ones we like?

      Delete
    6. It applies to communications between human beings. If you are uninterested in understanding what people say or in the meaning of their statements but just want to play gotcha, then no slack permitted. Language is such that you will be able to pin anyone to the wall over any triviality. You supply the motive.

      Delete
    7. Yes, indeed, Einstein. Language is indeed the way humans communicate ideas. And this is especially true for politicians.

      But you are correct. Let's not hold anybody, and certainly not policiticans by any means, to any standards at all.

      Why if they spout bullshit, how rude of us to call it bullshit. All we are doing is playing "gotcha". And how grossly unfair that is to politicians, particularly the ones we like.

      Delete
    8. Playing language games that distort meaning does nothing to hold politicians accountable.

      Delete
  9. Motoko Rich is married to a high level Bloomberg official according to my sources.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Diane Sawyer has come pretty far for someone whose only claim to fame is being the love interest of Opus the penguin.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anon @ 12:57 made a good point about Hillary needing to answer such questions a little more like Bill. After all, if Somerby is right about predictable press behavior, and Hillary has been around as long as she has, surely this kind of direction from Sawyer should have come as no surprise.

    If she had waited until Sawyer asked a question instead of made a statement with inflection, then gave the exact answer she did when Sawyer actually did ask it as a question, she would have no problem.

    If she had followed up that answer by saying:

    "But you know Diane, it is hard for most people to understand getting $100,000 for a speech. I am amazed people pay to hear a poltician speak when most of us are happy to have an audience when we speak for free. I am sure baseball players are amazed to make millions playing what they learned to love as a game as a child. I know actors are probably astounded to get money for playing make believe. And I am sure, Diane, there are some in your business who are still somewhat sheepish when they cash their check for reading that night a news script somebody else wrote earler that afternoon based on what somebody else did earlier that day.

    I know I am amazed I get paid more for a speech than a teacher makes in a year, or a nurse makes caring for the sick. You are probably amazed how much more you make than the reporters on the ground make to gather the stories you get to read.

    I know I give a lot more speeches for free than ones I get paid for. But if some reputable organization want to pay to hear me talk, I hope I give them more than just an earful."

    Then we would see which sound bite got played and which multi million dollar infotainer asked the same question at a later date.

    KZ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Much better response than we were dead broke and in debt and needed the money.

      But . . . for all the great things about Hillary Clinton, including the worth ethic of a rented mule, she is just not as good as Bill at thinking on her feet ("I did not have sex with that woman" notwithstanding) and charming interviewers as he is. Nor is she as good at "connecting" to an audience, but then again, who is. Bill set the bar mighty high.

      Delete
    2. Just so no one can accuse me of never saying anything nice about KZ: That was truly and excellent comment.

      Delete
    3. Agreed cacambo, that one was a plum. If only perseverance had been providing its own reward to get to it in the meantime.

      Delete
    4. I'm happy to say that I was taken completely aback by the byline of 3:18, imo the most germane comment of the thread.

      Delete
    5. Wouldn't it be funny if KZ didn't write it?

      Delete
    6. According to knowledgeable troll patrol members, there is a 75% chance he did, @ 11:29.

      Delete
    7. I doubt such matters are governed by chance.

      Delete
    8. I doubt most of the troll patrol have much of a chance to understand governance.

      Delete
  12. Nobody has mentioned the word gap. Hardly anybody ever mentioned the Vergara girls either. And poor Dieudonné M’bala M’bala has just disappeared.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wrong thread you stupid troll.

      Delete
    2. You have mentioned neither the word gap or the Vergara girls, who are remarkable young ladies who want to go to college.

      There are, obviously, those who because of the word gap, are limited in their commentary to words like "troll." Many of us do care for you and hope Hillary helps your children and your children's children avoid your fate. And hopefully, because of the Vergara sisters, bad male math middle school teachers will not undo the good Hillary will have done.

      Delete


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    ReplyDelete
  14. And leave it Jon Stewart to cut to the chase:

    http://www.thewire.com/entertainment/2014/06/jon-stewart-wonders-whos-poorer-hillary-clinton-or-joe-biden/373354/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the link.

      Delete
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