Supplemental: Concerning the desperate need for a hook!


The use of the magic photo: Kevin Drum links to our earlier post about Peter Baker’s use of the magic photo. Agreeing with our deathless judgment, the gentleman says this:
DRUM (8/20/14): Look, I've been there. You want to say something interesting. You need a hook. But come on. If you want to make the case that racial issues are more immediate for Holder than for Obama, go ahead. But don't pretend that an ordinary White House photograph tells you anything. That's just embarrassing.
After posting this morning, this thought occurred to us:

Baker needed a magic hook for that “News Analysis.” That’s because of what he says in his “News Analysis.”

What Baker is actually saying is this: Obama’s a lazy, uncaring cretin who doesn’t give a rat’s asp if black kids get shot and killed. That’s an extremely ugly charge, of course.

It’s hard to know how you could get to an “analysis” like that without using some ridiculous hook. How would you start that “analysis” without some ridiculous hook?

One more point:

It’s stunning to see the way the mainstream press has begun to loathe Obama. In today’s Times, Baker’s “analysis” and Maureen Dowd’s column are written from the same script.

It’s a deeply ugly script. All joking aside, we often wonder if our journalists are actually real human people. Is human life an elaborate joke of the gods, as Homer and Rod Serling said?

An additional source for that question: Yesterday, we received our copy of Fawn Brodie’s 1981 “psychobiography,” Richard Nixon: The Shaping of His Character.

The book is painful to read. It’s stunning to think that, in 1981, the New York Times felt it had to review it respectfully.

For a strange time, click this.

Even more stunning is the fact that Rick Perlstein cites the book all through Chapter Two of Nixonland. Persistently, he embellishes Brodie’s already absurd presentations. (See future posts.)

Brodie’s book is numbing to read. All kidding aside, it made us wonder where we actually are.

We challenge you. Click that link.


  1. Wow! Uncle Drum has linked to us! And this time, he agrees! Oh joy in the morning!

    1. Sadly only two in the comment box referred to Bob. One positive, one not so. Nobody named bobsomerby replied.

  2. Bob, you've convinced us. Baker's piece based on that one photo was completely silly.

    In fact, it's just as silly as linking to PR photos of happy children on the Tuscaloosa School District Web site to "prove" that their schools really aren't all that segregated after all.

  3. OMB (BOB in Flames)

    Supplemental-- Emboldened by Sound of Drum, BOB Douses Himself and Proves His Own Bullshit is Flammable

    "What Baker is actually saying is this: Obama’s a lazy, uncaring cretin who doesn’t give a rat’s asp if black kids get shot and killed. That’s an extremely ugly charge, of course."

    BOB has claimed for years innumerable people don't care about black kids because they don't mention fairly embarrassing static gaps in test scores. Now he wants you to believe a real journalist said something he clearly did not. And he is saying the journalist is making an accusation similar but more inflammatory than one BOB regularly makes himself. That is an extremely ugly fact.

    Kevin Drum referenced BOB's post this morning and agreed that the use of the picture was a weak hook. Psychobabble he called it. Drum did not, however, "agree with our deathless judgement" beyond that.

    This morning BOB called the piece in the Times by Peter Baker and Matt Apuzo (who like many a seondary author gets disappeared by BOB) "empty, dumb, unhelpful, clueless, unfortunate." Drum said simply don't use the photo. "If you want to make the case that racial issues are more immediate for Holder than for Obama, go ahead."

    We'll bet Drum doesn't use this second post to rethink his analysis of the point of the article itself, and find the things BOB himself didn't mention in his own first go around this morning.

    By the way, did we mention, in addition to accusing other people of not caring about black people, BOB has accused a lot of people of being unhinged.

    Note to BOB: Still looking for that mysteriously missing clip of James Cavanaugh you know you saw? Rumor has it Rachel put it in the dumpster behind 30 Rock. If you go looking for it, please wait until you put the embers on what is left of your hair out. You wouldn't want Rockefeller Center to burn down like the QuickTrip.

    1. But seriously, what does "OMB" stand for?

    2. I also find it interesting that Baker and Apuzo level the same charge against Obama that Bob often levels -- with about as much evidence to back it up -- at his favorite targets.

      And that would be that Obama is a mere whippersnapper whose life experiences can't possibly match those of the older and wiser Holder.

      It's bullshit when Baker and Apuzo write it. It's bullshit when Somerby writes it as well.

    3. I admit BOB is a problem that must be dealt with and that his premise about the indolence and insanity of the millionaire media while true, is told unpleasingly and that must and will be swiftly "corrected" here in the combos but it's really unfortunate to have to put up with this new, second rate KZ. Where's the old one??

    4. Ah, but Bobfans got all testy when one of them said that "KZ" was the German abbreviation for concentration camp and accused him of being a Nazi.

      Rather than invoke Godwin's Law and get all Washington Redskins about it, our alien friend simply changed his handle so as not to continue to offend such tender sensibilities.

    5. No - you are obviously smart and have a great, snappy sense of humor. You are better than most in many ways, obviously. But this is not the same one. This one's prose is a notch below.

    6. OK. He went away.

      So give us a break. The real KZ goes back to Doom to oil his old coot from time to time. You want him omnipresent or oligeanous? You think folks on our planet don't complain about his spending so much time at your place with such a weasely dumb bunch of life forms? He's gotta make his appearances.

      When he gets back we'll probably get sent back to Maddow's stable of piece work trolls like the rest of you chumps. And he'll bitch no end about the acronym change, believe us.

    7. Somerby "often levels the charge" that "Obama is a mere whippersnapper whose life experiences can't possibly match those of the older and wiser Holder."

      Insane troll's still insane. World keeps on spinnin'

  4. Calling Holder "an up and down race man" is problematic given that, as US Attorney general, he is supposed to represent the interests of all citizens, regardless of race. It is good that Obama understands his responsibility to be unbiased even if Holder does not. A more cynical person might suspect that they are double-teaming to provide vocal support to angry African Americans while also dispassionately seeking justice and supporting the difficult job of policing.

  5. I hate KZ and the rest of the trolls here. Today KZ fakes a conversation with himself about himself, as if anyone cares whether he attacks a cop with a dinner fork and gets himself shot. All of you who hate Somerby can solve your problem and ours by taking it far away from here, please.

    1. Yeah I know. This troll thing has gotten out of hand-- these people are nuts with their hatred. Bob should start going through and editing them out for good.

      As for Nixon, the much better book is by Gary Wills. Perlstein uses it over and over again and gets credit (now) for Wills' insights! Such is the ignorance of, well-- just about everybody.

    2. How do I know who you are? You obviously aren't that keen on Wills since you don't use the title to his book or spell his first name right. Are you KZ trying to trap me?

  6. Yes, the mainstream press has begun to loathe Obama. E.g., see the Daily News front page

    Obama's behavior looks familiar. Years ago, I worked for a large company that had previously done well, but was now failing.. The long-time CEO was unable to cope with all the problems. In fact, he wasn't trying. He had retired on the job. The company was saved (barely) when the chairman was forced out and replaced with a turnaround expert.

    1. Turnaround expert the nation needs=Bernie Sanders.