SILLIEST TALES OF THE MSM: Sunday, muddy Sunday!


Part 1—Ben Bradlee’s important address:
Yesterday morning, the New York Times and the Washington Post put on quite a show.

In the New York Times Sunday Review, Frank Bruni donned Maureen Dowd’s familiar raiment, ruminating about recent presidents’ various “Daddy issues.”

In his own piece in that high-profile section, Nicholas Kristof said, once again, that we must “provide great schools” for “inner-city children who desperately need a helping and”—that “we owe all children a fair start in life in the form of access to an education escalator.”

We agree! But what can we do to create such great schools? Kristof didn’t say.

Nina Burleigh is best known for her reaction to the Clinton/Lewinsky excitement, during which she quoted herself saying this: “I would be happy to give him a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal.”

Yesterday, the Sunday Review dragged Burleigh out for an introspective think piece, “Why I Lose All My Jewelry.” It joined a gaggle of navel-gazing columns which pondered “The Dangers of Eating Late at Night,” “My Mother’s Psychotherapy—and Mine,” “The Problem With Positive Thinking” and “The Meaning of Fulfillment.”

Another piece explored the reasons we’re afraid of the things we’re afraid of. Meanwhile, on the Sunday Review’s front page, the featured piece started like this:
SUELLENTROP (10/26/14): For more than five years, almost every word that I’ve written professionally has been about video games. I used to cover things like presidential campaigns and prison reform. But at some point, video games began to seem as consequential as those subjects, if not more so.
Chris Suellentrop ended up writing about an important topic, if in a curious way. Burleigh built a feel-good framework around her lament for her missing jewelry.

That said, a serious person might ask an obvious question:

How can it be? How is it possible that a journalist at the New York Times could have formed the crazy thoughts described in Suellentrop’s opening passage?

At some point, video games began to seem as consequential as White House campaigns? A person might wonder how a journalist ever came to believe such a thing. For one possible answer, keep reading this week's posts.

All in all, this week’s Sunday Review was crammed with upper-class foppishness. Increasingly, this is the trademark of the upper-class publication with will be running The New York Times International Luxury Conference at Miami’s Mandarin Oriental hotel—a paper which published a special section, Wealth, as part of last Thursday’s edition.

If yesterday’s Times was a thing to behold, the Post may have been worse.

For unknown reasons, Glenn Kessler’s weekly Fact Checker piece displayed the text of a political ad by Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky senate candidate. As he started his fact check of the text, Kessler made this odd assertion:
KESSLER (10/26/14): This ad has not been publicly released by the Grimes campaign. In The Fact Checker’s experience, the most fact-challenged ads are those that fly under the radar, as campaigns hope that reporters don’t notice the content—but voters do.
Let’s assume the text in question is false and misleading, as Kessler went on to judge. If the “ad” in question “has not been publicly released by the Grimes campaign,” then why was the ad being fact-checked? How would voters “notice the content” of the ad?

In what sense was the “ad” an actual “ad” at all?

Kessler still hasn’t answered these questions, which quickly appeared in comments. There may be perfectly sensible answers, of course. But at this point, can anyone here play this game?

Kessler’s piece was puzzling; we assume explanation will follow. But we didn’t decide that yesterday was Sunday, muddy Sunday until we went to Outlook, the Post’s counterpart to the Times’ increasingly foppish Sunday Review.

Outlook isn’t especially foppish; its characteristic errors head off in other directions. Yesterday, we were struck by this egregious piece, the latest “education reform” agitprop this newspaper sells by the barrel.

For the specifics, see our next post. Most of all, we were struck by Ben Bradlee’s address from January 1997.

Ben Bradlee died last week at the age of 93. He seems to be loved and revered at the Washington Post, where he had a long and very important career.

Yesterday, the Post honored Bradlee on the front page of Outlook, running excerpts from an address he delivered in January 1997. We thought it was the muddiest piece on a very muddy Sunday.

(Warning! The Post provides an apparent link to the full text of Bradley’s address, the Press-Enterprise Lecture. Yesterday, the link wasn’t working. Today, it takes us to an eight-minute video tribute to a different journalist. We ask our thoughtful question again: Can anyone here play this game?)

Bradlee will always be remembered for the work he supervised concerning President Nixon and Watergate. He also invented the Post’s Style section, where journalists were encouraged to let their “New Journalistic” muses take hold.

Decades later, Bruni is writing about various candidates’ various “Daddy issues.” A second journalist is saying that he came to feel that video games were as consequential as White House campaigns—and he didn’t seem to see how odd that statement is.

Let’s assume that Bradlee’s Watergate work was flawless, important, brilliant. A person could argue that terrible trends resulted when the successful pursuit of President Nixon was twinned with the invention of Style.

All week, we’ll look at the silly tales about White House campaigns which came to dominate our political discourse in the era following Watergate. Spoiler alert:

By our count, those silly tales have hurt major Democrats far more than major Republicans. Those silly tales, which we liberals love, have badly harmed progressive interests.

Yesterday, Bruni was typing from the game preserve which surrounds the invention of Style. Back in 1997, Bradlee showed no sign of knowing—possibly even of caring—what it was he had wrought.

Was outing Watergate really worth it? Along the way, it seems to have left us with earth tones, blow jobs, invented quotations—and with those “Daddy issues.”

We liberals refuse to oppose this game. It has badly hurt liberal interests. Does anyone actually care?

Tomorrow: Bradlee’s address


  1. Speaking of muddy, let me see if I follow the promise and the prelude to yet another weeklong series, no doubt with multiple "supplementals."

    Ben Bradlee oversaw the Post's Watergate investigation some 4 decades ago.

    Right about the same time frame, he "invented" the Style section, where some very silly things are written today.

    Hence the question: "Was outing Watergate really worth it?"


    1. Your egregious comment @ 10:54 leaves one to wonder if there are Daddy issues involved in your unfair treatment of Bob Somerby.

      Mr. Somerby's work is not muddy. Somerby, who is best known for predicting the downfall of liberals for prematurely gloating over the failure of Bush W. to find Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, is fuzzy. Comments like yours, which trolls love, have badly damaged progressive interests. Those interests may or may not be defined when and if we get to the next comment. That said, the damage is obvious for all to see. Few do.

    2. Librulz R dum.

  2. Just when I thought the world could not be ruined further, or Liberal
    World dumbed down even dumber, along comes Sunday, Muddy Sunday.

    Double foppish agitprop! Can anyone care and actually play this game?

  3. I am glad we now have Ben Bradlee's corpse to kick around. His house sounds a lot more interesting than Tim Russert's, and his journalist wife deserves a lot more scorn as well.

    1. Yes. Obviously, the War on Gore was plotted by Ben Bradlee more than a quarter of a century before.

      And boy, did they ever say some mean things about Richard Nixon.

    2. Why do journalists so often marry powerful figures who compromise their ability to be good reporters? You'd think they would marry other journalists or people with similar values.

    3. Yes, we should have strict rules about who journalists can marry.

    4. No, but why do they?

  4. Was Watergate a tempest in a teapot dome and a liberal lynching party? Was Nixon kicked out for doing what every other politician does? Was Republican hit man Victor Lasky right when he penned "It Didn't Start With Watergate"? Were sophisticated Europeans really mystified by our childish obsession with politics as usual? (Back then it was Republicans who looked to Europeans for example.)

    For me, one of the brightest answers to all that came from an actor, Robert Redford, at around the time he came out with the movie version of "All the President's Men."

    Maybe crap like this does go on all the time, and maybe both parties are guilty as hell, "but this time, we gotcha," he basically said. I'm parasailing, of course. The point was, for once the curtain was pulled back and the governed got a real look at those who govern them.

    If you don't like Redford, here's what Jason Robards Jr made Ben Bradlee to say in Redford's movie,

    "Nothing's riding on this except the, uh, First Amendment to the Constitution, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country. Not that any of that matters, but if you guys [Woodward & Bertstein] f--k up again, I'm gonna get mad. Goodnight."

    If only Cronkite had signed off every night with that remark.

    1. What sort of day was Sunday, Muddy Sunday? A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times ... and you were there.

    2. It's all David Brinkley's fault.

      By 1972-74, Cronkite was still in peak form, but Chet retired and Brinkley reduced his role from co-anchor to "commentator" on the once-gatekeeping NBC Nightly News.

      Should Brinkley had still been around to co-gatekeep with Cronkite, we would have heard none of this Watergate nonsense which lead to a Style section which lead to the War on Gore.

      Together, the two greatest gatekeepers in human history would surely have nipped this nonsense in the bud.

    3. The plutocrats, sensing the danger in Nixon's creation of the EPA and his opening to China, told the gatekeepers to let Watergate coverage proceed. With all its tracks back to the White House left by CIA operatives who may have done in JFK as well, can there be any doubt the gatekeepers were serving the plutocrats as well?

    4. Surely you are not suggesting that the Great Gatekeepers were in service to the plutocrats!

      Nay, nay, a thousand times, nay! It was Cronkite and Brinkley who teamed up to prevent us dumb Americans from even hearing plutocratic nonsense, thus giving us the perfect society we enjoyed when Somerby was but a callow youth.

    5. Deliberate obtuseness isn't funny. It is just juvenile.

    6. [QUOTE]
      [42:26] CHOMSKY IN LATE 1997: CoIntelPro is a very significant thing. You should, again if you don't know about it you should learn about it, it's a thousand times more significant than, say, Watergate. I mention Watergate because the expose of CoIntelPro and of Watergate was just about exactly at the same time. In comparison to CoIntelPro, Watergate was a tea party.

      The only reason anybody pays any attention to Watergate is the targets were rich powerful people and rich powerful people fight back. You know, like the head of the Ford Foundation and the CEO of IBM and those guys, or the Democratic Party, which is after all half the power in the country. You fiddle around with them they get rid of you. They're powerful and rich and that's considered a scandal.

      To go after- nothing, incidently happened at Watergate, everyone, for instance was scandalized by Nixon's Enemies List. I mean I was on Nixon's Enemies List, they never even audited my income tax, it's meaningless, a totally meaningless thing. But the point is rich powerful, not me of course, but rich powerful people were on Nixon's Enemies List so it was a scandal. I mean the break-in of the Democratic Party Headquarters, nobody even knows what it was for.

      There were a couple of crooks who were gathered together for some unknown purpose, who did nothing. But it became a huge scandal because they were powerful people they were attacking.

      Let's turn to CoIntelPro. CoIntelPro, which was revealed at the same time, the very same time, not in- there was very little in the press or anywhere else, it came out in the courts, Freedom of Information Act, mostly court just released documents. Well it turns out that since the Eisenhower Administration and right up until Nixon, the government- The Government, it's not a little group of people put together by Nixon when he was drunk or something, but the federal government through four administrations were running a terrorist program against dissent, literally a terrorist program, major terrorist program.

      It started, it began against the Communist Party back in the 50's, under Kennedy it really took off- Puerto Rican Nationalists, other groups and so on, what they called Black Nationalists quickly became a target, the Panthers in particular were devastated by it, the women's movement as a whole was attacked as soon as it began to come into existance, the New Left across the board. In fact there was virtually nothing that was left out.

      Maybe the Panthers were the most viciously attacked. At the time, we now know a lot from released doucments, at the time according to the FBI the Panthers had 800 members but they were devoting enormous efforts to destroy the party because it was doing things like running free breakfast programs in churches and things like that. And it reached the level of outright poltical assassination, the literal political Gustapo-style political assassination.

      The person who was the most extreme case in the CoIntelPro records was the assassination of the Black Panther leader Fred Hampton who [was] an organizer in the Chicago ghettos. They were not going after him because because he was a criminal or anything else, he was anything but, he was a very effective organizer, that's the kind of guy they wanted to kill. The FBI tried to get a criminal gang in the ghetto, the Blackstone Rangers, they tried to incite the Rangers to kill him by sending faked letters.


    7. [QUOTE continued...]
      You read the letters, they're so idiotic, remember those letters, I can't imagine anyone would believe, you got some FBI agent putting on black dialect or something, you know, "Dear Brothers..." If it hadn't been so awful it would have been a comic strip.

      The idea was to try and get the Rangers to believe the Panthers had a contract out to kill their leaders and then they'd go kill them. Well that didn't work so they took it over directly, it was a combined operation of the FBI and the Chicago Police. They simply went in and murdered him at 4 o'clock in the morning, probably drugged, killed a couple of other people. There was an attempt to cover it up, couldn't keep- it came out in the courts, no doubt about what happened.

      In comparison with this, what's Watergate? In fact one of the minor elements of CoIntelPro was an attack on a political party, a political party every bit as legitimate as the Democratic Party, the Socialist Workers Party. [It should have] all the rights of the Democratic Party, there's only one difference between the Socialist Workers Party and the Democratic Party. The Socialist Workers Party is a few powerless people, the Democratic Party is half the wealth in the country. Well in the case of the Socialist Workers Party they didn't send in some Keystone Cops to steal some documents for some unknown reason, they went, the FBI, which is the national political police, went after them and tried to destroy them.

      They robbed their offices, they stole their records, they tried to get employers to black list their members. They tried to destroy the party, I mean infinitely worse than anything that happened to the Democrats. Does anybody care? Does anybody know about CoIntelPro as compared with Watergate?

      No, and that tells you something about the elite culture that we're all trained in and brought up in when we get our degrees at Harvard and so on. What matters is if you do things to people with power, that's bad. If you do infinitely worse things to powerless people it doesn't even merit a footnote in history, and you just look at the coverage of these two events which came out at the same time and it makes it very clear...
      [END QUOTE]

  5. After reading about how picked-on and railroaded poor Gov. Ultrasound and his wife were, when actually they only took in a dozen or so thousands in bribes without actually doing all that much for it, it doesn't take much imagination to wonder about today's Bob's opinion concerning how the liberal press was damaging progressive interests by making a mountain out of the molehill of a third-rate burglary.

    That was the right-wing spin at the time, and Somerby surely would have regurgitated it.

  6. "Let’s assume the text in question is false and misleading, as Kessler went on to judge. If the “ad” in question “has not been publicly released by the Grimes campaign,” then why was the ad being fact-checked? How would voters “notice the content” of the ad? "

    By publically released, he means the ad wasn't sent to the media for review. Voters notice the content because it is being shown on TV. Which is why the version in the report is fuzzy, as it was taped off a TV broadcast.

    The writer should have made that more clear, as apparently commenters to the column were also confused. Bob, who blogs about the media probably should have known what the writer meant. But, if he was confused, he could have called or e-mailed the writer to inquire. Instead be just went on one of his infamous, clueless rants.

    Carry one.

    1. Somerby's point is that it is up to the journalists to clarify these things. A reader shouldn't have to email someone to make sense out of an article.

    2. I read the piece and knew what it meant.

      If someone wants to blog about it fine, but maybe for his reader's clarification explain what the writer meant (which i agree Bob probably knows.

      You know, something like this "What the writer is trying to say is the ad wasn't sent to the news media as is typically done. Rather it was simply aired on TV.

      It's important for a journalist to be clear or dopey bloggers could distract us from the main point ( i.e., the ad was nonsense) by getting people to argue about something irrelevant like; "why didn't he make it more clear what 'not publically released' means?'"

      You know, like we're doing now.

      Anyway, compared to Bob's writing, the WaPo piece was crystal clear.

    3. Zarkon, King of DoomOctober 27, 2014 at 2:07 PM

      Anonymous @ 1:54, we are about to demonstrate why Bob calls his readers stupid. Your comment is classic. See our comment below.

    4. Somerby isn't a journalist -- the folks at the WaPo are. If he supplies the answer, his readers won't find themselves wondering and the point about the inadequacy of what was written will be lost on them.

      It is part of a Socratic approach in general to raise questions for people to think about themselves, instead of supplying answers. He does this a lot. It is part of teaching and also part of philosophy. It is also what a good standup does "What's the deal with those diamond lanes?" pause to let audience think about it...then say something unexpected.

      Complaining that Somerby is fuzzy or messed up because he doesn't write (and perhaps doesn't think) in the same manner as you do, is foolish. the point of reading someone's blog is to get inside their mind -- not to find a reflection of your own thoughts and opinions. If you want an echo chamber, I've heard there's a great one over on the right side of the aisle (where I suspect most of you came from).

    5. Kessler's article says Grimes is doubling down on a false claim. Your comment is doubling down on something but says about the public.

    6. So Bob's approach is to write a long, rambling, vague post to make us wonder why occasionally journalists will write a sentence that is a bit unclear. And if i think that's odd, it must be because i want people to think like me.

      Got it.

    7. Ultimate Defense of BOB by BOBfan

      "Somerby isn't a journalist."

      He just knows what journalistic proof is.

      He just knows what journalistic standards are.

      He just knows the inner minds,aspirations, motivations, and work ethic of journalists.

      He just knows at what age journalists are mature enough to be handed tough assignments.

      And most importantly he knows their secret unstated guild rules maintains a wall of silence regarding the fools and follies of members of the club and the secrets revealed by genius outsiders like....the OTB.

    8. Wow, 3 syllables!

    9. You don't seem to know what a syllable is.

    10. 7:02 is right. Go (1) a (2) way (3) K (4) Z (5).

      Stoopid Librulz!

    11. An actual "ad" is put before the public in an attempt to influence/change behavior. This is apparently a leaked outtake of some sort. It's odd because by neither finishing, nor releasing the clip there was no effort made to deceive "the voters", as the journalist suggested. Good catch. This is a case of thumb on the scale weasel "journalism".

    12. The ad is running, Dash. Don't play dumb like Somerby and pretend it's not just to score points against Kessler.

      And of course, here is the elephant in the living room that Somerby, the great defender of "progressive values" ignores the sad truth.

      I was excited when Grimes entered the race with a very good chance of knocking McConnell out of the Senate.

      But as this race progressed and she has tried to tack even further to the right that Mitch, I realized that all we would be doing is replacing a dumb, right-wing Republican with a dumb, right-wing Democrat.

      What is particularly insulting about this ad is her lame attempt to link McConnell to the boogeyman of "New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg."

    13. Even a dumb right-wing Democrat would caucus with the other Democrats and vote Democratic and thus is an improvement.

  7. WaPo never "outed Watergate" and was never responsible for bringing down a POTUS. The burglary in June 1972 at Democratic National Committee headquarters was immediately traced to Nixon’s reelection committee by investigative authorities

    WaPo articles didn't even contribute significantly to the scandal’s unraveling. Ben Bradlee didn't even think the existence of the Oval Office taping operation was significant to the scandal. He squashed a "WoodStein" article on this subject before Alexander Butterfield revealed to the committee it's existence.

    1. Cue Rod Serling and his theme song.

    2. Why? Do you see a connection between the Zone's "Printer's Devil" and Bradlee?

    3. Movies and other tales told pleasingly, once upon a time there was an actual, for real "law and order Republican:"

      ...[John J.] Sirica became increasingly active in the Republican Party, making speeches before Italian American voters during presidential campaigns. He was counsel to several congressional committees. In 1949, Hogan and Hartson, seeking a lawyer with trial experience, hired him. Eventually he headed the firm's trial section.

      In 1957, a vacancy arose on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and Sirica called in some chits. On April 2, 1957, he was sworn in as a federal judge.

      Once on the bench, Sirica developed a reputation as an outspoken, unpredictable judge. Reporters gave him the nickname "Maximum John" because of his stiff sentences. He was reversed on appeal more often than most judges.

      When the first of the Watergate cases arrived at U.S. District Court in 1972, Sirica, by virtue of seniority, was the chief judge, and he assigned it to himself.

      ...Throughout his conduct of the Watergate trials, Sirica made it clear that he intended to get at the truth of what had happened, and said that in doing so, he did not intend to be bound by traditional ideas of courtroom procedures. He often questioned witnesses himself, and he instructed jurors that it was their duty to consider not just what had happened, but why. When he suspected that what was unfolding in his courtroom was less than the whole truth, he made his feelings known.

      Critics contended that Sirica had overstepped his bounds. But his conduct was sanctioned enthusiastically by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in upholding the conspiracy, burglary, wiretapping and eavesdropping convictions of G. Gordon Liddy stemming from the Watergate break-in on June 17, 1972.

      "Judge Sirica's palpable search for the truth in such a trial was not only permissible, it was in the highest tradition of his office as a federal judge," U.S. appeals court Judge Harold Leventhal wrote.

      "Simply stated, I had no intention of sitting on the bench like a nincompoop and watching the parade go by," Sirica recalled in a book several years after the trial....
      [END QUOTE]


    4. On March 19, 1973 James McCord, one of the Watergate burglars, writes a letter to Judge Sirica after his conviction in advance of sentencing:

      ...Certain questions have been posed to me from your honor through the probation officer, dealing with details of the case, motivations, intent and mitigating circumstances.

      In endeavoring to respond to these questions, I am whipsawed in a variety of legalities.

      ...[T]o fail to answer your questions may appear to be non-cooperation, and I can therefore expect a much more severe sentence.

      ...I will state the following to you at this time which I hope may be of help to you in meting out justice in this case:

      1. There was political pressure applied to the defendants to plead guilty and remain silent.

      2. Perjury occurred during the trial in matters highly material to the very structure, orientation, and impact of the government’s case, and to the motivation and intent of the defendants.

      3. Others involved in the Watergate operation were not identified during the trial, when they could have been by those testifying.

      4. The Watergate operation was not a CIA operation. The Cubans may have been misled by others into believing that it was a CIA operation. I know for a fact that it was not....

      Following sentence, I would appreciate the opportunity to talk with you privately in chambers. Since I cannot feel confident in talking with an FBI agent, in testifying before a Grand Jury whose U.S. Attorneys work for the Department of Justice, or in talking with other government representatives, such a discussion with you would be of assistance to me....[END QUOTE]

      March 23, 1973: Watergate Burglars Sentenced; McCord Letter Revealed

      The Watergate burglars are sentenced to jail. G. Gordon Liddy receives between six years eight months to twenty years in federal prison. The actual burglars—Bernard Barker, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, and Frank Sturgis—receive forty years. E. Howard Hunt receives 35 years. Judge John Sirica announces that the prison terms are “provisionary,” depending on whether they cooperate with government prosecutors. Convicted burglar James McCord is to be sentenced, but Sirica delays his sentencing, and reveals that McCord has written a letter to the court... about the perjury and concealment that permeated the trial. After news of the letter hits the press, President Nixon writes in his diary that the letter is “a bombshell.” Watergate prosecutor Earl Silbert says he will reconvene the grand jury investigating the break-in.
      [END QUOTE]

  8. Video games are currently only for entertainment and military training, but they are being adapted to many other applications, such as personnel selection (hiring) and modeling of consumer and market behavior. Calling these "games" is probably a misnomer and it tends to trivialize the impact they will be having on our lives. It isn't clear to me whether Suellentrop knows this and is communicating it to readers in his columns -- I don't read him. The coming impact of games on a much wider arena is partly why the GamerGate controversy (and inclusion of women) is so important. Has Suellentrop been discussing GamerGate?

    1. The answer can be found by following the link.

    2. You're right. Reading the article reveals than Suellentrop isn't interested in games beyond their entertainment value and he does report GamerGate, with no attempt at analysis of what is going on. Not worth reading, in my opinion.

    3. And that is exactly the opposite of what Suellentrop wrote.

      Next time, go read the article rather than lying about it.

    4. People here can go and look at the article themselves to determine whether I have summarized it properly. I didn't like Suellentrop's reduction of GamerGate to reactionary gamers trying to resist change. That ignores the larger context of experiences of women in STEM disciplines more generally, the difficulty girls have finding games that appeal to them, and the ugly wasteland of games that are solely about property destruction, sex and violence, and their appeal to young men. How can anyone be surprised that the techniques being used by gamers to attack the women trying to change the gaming scene are similar to the roles they play within their favorite games.

  9. "SUELLENTROP (10/26/14): For more than five years, almost every word that I’ve written professionally has been about video games. I used to cover things like presidential campaigns and prison reform. But at some point, video games began to seem as consequential as those subjects, if not more so."

    Well he didn't say they were more important, only that it seemed that way to him. Why? Perhaps read the article you're ranting about?

    1. "if not more so" -- that means "more than" where I come from.

      Why would anyone think video games are as consequential as prison reform and presidential campaigns? If not more so?

    2. Exryth journalistsOctober 27, 2014 at 3:00 PM

      Perhaps if you read the article instead of Somerby's deliberately misleading quote you could answer that yourself, 2:15.

    3. OK, so I followed the link. It is not clear why he thinks games are as consequential as prison reform and presidential campaigns, because he is clearly still thinking of them as games, although he waxes poetic and expands them into art form and expressive medium. That still doesn't rise to the same consequence as prison reform and presidential campaign and it is a shame he doesn't follow gaming sufficiently to understand their broader uses. He is following GamerGate but just as superficially.

      And I was forced to waste the time I spent reading an article I really didn't want to read in the first place.

      Somerby's quote was not misleading. Suellentrop doesn't explain and I still don't know how someone could make such a statement.

  10. OMB ( Picking Noses with the OTB)

    Anonymous @ 1:19 let Bob Somerby off easy regarding Kessler.

    "Let’s assume the text in question is false and misleading, as Kessler went on to judge. If the “ad” in question “has not been publicly released by the Grimes campaign,” then why was the ad being fact-checked? How would voters “notice the content” of the ad? " TDH

    BOB is being false and misleading, not Kessler. Unless, of course, BOB is stupid. Can we talk? While there is evidence for the latter, in this case the evidence points to the former.

    Here's how Bob starts:

    "For unknown reasons, Glenn Kessler’s weekly Fact Checker piece displayed the text of a political ad by Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky senate candidate. As he started his fact check of the text, Kessler made this odd assertion:

    KESSLER (10/26/14): This ad has not been publicly released by the Grimes campaign."

    Twice Bob has used the word "text" to describe what Kessler has presented. And he puts the word "ad" in quotation marks, as if he were a reporter describing Al Gore's statement about his actions regarding the internet.

    What did Bob leave out that is obvious to any reader of Kessler and any sensible reader of TDH who knows you must follow Bob's links or be fooled on a regular basis?

    Kessler also included a picture of the ad with a link that allows you to watch it yourself. It is the first thing in Kessler's coverage below the headline and byline.

    That of course was not deceptive enough for the OTB. Look at his first quote of Kessler again. Then read the actual words of Kessler, with what Bob left out highlighted:

    "Excuse the fuzzy quality of this ad, but it has not been publicly released by the Grimes campaign."

    BOB knows there was an ad. But he goes on to cast doubt on whether it exists:

    "In what sense was the “ad” an actual “ad” at all?" asks BOB

    In the same sense that Al Gore said he took the initiative in creating the internet, BOB. And on the same planet.

    1. If the ad had not been publicly released and was of fuzzy quality, in what sense was it an actual ad? The article should have explained that -- not Somerby. He is not claiming it doesn't exist. Not by any stretch of a normal person's imagination.

      You take more space to say something trivial than Somerby has ever done. You are more irritating than the conservatives now haunting this place. Just go away.

    2. 3:27. If we go by the comments to that piece (which Bob used as evidence) it's clear most readers understood that ad was airing. I read it and i understood.

      I guess the writer could have been more clear, but most people with even half a wit got it. Save Bob (perhaps) and two or three commenters.

      So, what Bob did was focus attention to something trivial, drawing attention away from the main point of the piece, which isn't trivial.

      That's Bob's playbook. His script, as it were.

    3. As long as people already understand what a piece says, it is OK to be unclear. Somerby says at least some of the commenters didn't get it.

      Should journalists aspire to a "close enough is good enough" standard or should they try to explain things in a way that doesn't leave readers confused? I think the answer to that is obvious and I'm not sure why you and so many others think Somerby is wrong to complain about this.

      I do not believe he is drawing anyone's attention away from the main point of the piece -- the piece itself isn't here to read. When a point is important, not trivial, that is when you would most want journalists to try a little harder to be clear.

    4. Anonymous @ 3:27 you wrote:

      "He is not claiming it doesn't exist. Not by any stretch of a normal person's imagination."

      Please then explain what Somerby meant when he wrote this, as noted by KZ:

      "In what sense was the “ad” an actual “ad” at all?"

    5. If a putative ad never runs, it has advertised nothing. If the article doesn't state whether the ad was ever run, was it criticizing an ad? I have been following politics a long time and I didn't know what the phrase "publicly released" meant. I would have taken it to mean that the ad had not ever appeared anywhere -- not that it hadn't been provided to journalists for review (since when do journalists get to review ads anyway?). Somerby is not saying that ad wasn't an ad -- he is asking whether the ad was an actual ad. These days, it could have been a fake ad spoofing the candidates actual efforts, a PAC ad or a youtube concoction, an ad prepared but abandoned by the legitimate campaign, an ad in preparation leaked ahead of its release, or any number of other possibilities. What it was may have been clear to you, but Somerby is correct that it is not clear to most readers and it is the job of the journalist to explain it.

    6. I confess that I didn't know what was meant by the ad not having been "released", until the comments explained it. However, it was always clear that the ad had been released in some sense, because Kessler had a copy of it.

    7. If it was a fuzzy copy whose quality he had to apologize for, that raises questions about its legitimacy -- for those unfamiliar with what"publicly released" means.

    8. Nobody raised questions about the legitimacy of the ad except tribal Democrats wanting to deny Grimes was caught lying by Kessler for a second time using the same false charge. He points this out with a link to his first coverage of the first Grimes ad, which likewise was run as a commerical but not "publicly released" on the campaign's website. There is no question that the person in the ad is Alison Grimes.

      Which puts BOBfans in the position of arguing, in the face of a video you can run and watch for yourself, "who you gonna believe, Bob, who left out parts of Kessler's sentence, or your lying eyes?".

    9. Who you gonna believe? Certainly not you, you schizophrenic turd.

    10. BOBfans. Gotta love 'em. Somebody has to provide the cherries for BOB to pick before pronouncing "we, the people, are dumb."

    11. Here's the sad thing. It wouldn't take much effort for Bob to see whether or not the ad was running. Then he'd have an excellent point to make -- if it wasn't.

      But since it is running, Bob is either being willfully ignorant or very consciously deceptive when he holds out the "possibility" that it isn't running just to score points against one of his chosen targets.

      And the sad thing is for those who have no idea what's going on in this race is how many "progressives" think that Grimes will serve "progressive interests" just because Elizabeth Warren endorsed her early and has campaigned for her.

      Good grief, folks, this woman is trying to win by throwing Mitch McConnell in bed with "New York liberal" Michael Bloomberg. while trying to position herself as the true defender of guns and coal.

    12. We return to the point that a reader shouldn't have to do all that research to understand an article in a newspaper. If Somerby cannot figure out whether the ad is running or not without looking for it himself, the journalist has not done his job properly.

      Personally, I don't care what Grimes says if she can get McConnell out of office by saying it. How can she possibly be as bad for progressives or anyone else as Mitch McConnell has been?

    13. So if Grimes lies her way into office just to remove a person you don't like, you're fine with it. Anything to win an election. Ends/means, I get it.

      But did you ever bother to consider the possibility that she may not be lying about herself? That we see is what we would be getting? That we would simply be replacing a right-wing Republican with a right-wing Democrat?

      What a way to serve progressive interests!

    14. "We return to the point that a reader shouldn't have to do all that research to understand an article in a newspaper."

      And Kentuckians with TV sets and no subscription to the Washington Post had to do no research at all.

      Meanwhile, Bob and his fan club are always troubled by things that aren't carefully spelled out for them in small words. Why, they may even have to think. Or -- gasp! -- do "research."

    15. Did it escape you that the article in question was not in a Kentuckian publication?

  11. Nobody wants to comment on Bruni? I read his piece. I would say Somerby does a much better job taking on Dowd's characteristics than Bruni. In fact, Somerby does it regularly.

  12. Those of you like Bob who are pretending what what Suellentrop writes is trivial are being willfully ignorant and lying about reading the piece Bob linked to.

    I'll forgive Bob. He's an old man stuck in the '90s who still thinks video games are two kids playing Donkey Kong on a first generation Nintendo.

    Suellentrop argues that gaming, like other forms of art/entertainment that preceded it, is becoming a powerful medium for transmitting both ideas and values, and is attracting a whole new generation of creative designers with a message to deliver, as they put it out on the market.

    He also notes that there has been a strong and recent right-wing backlash that has included threats of violence to the point that some of the new wave of designers are dropping out. This backlash is based on the notion that any idea introduced into this medium that does not match the right-wing political line is yet another "liberal" attempt to brainwash children.

    But once again, stuck in the past Bob is ridiculing a medium he knows nothing about, is too lazy to learn, and too closed-minded to care. All those great "progressive values" he claims to hold dear.

    And he counting on the same ignorance, laziness and close-mindedness of his few remaining fans, who will no doubt cheer him on.

    1. The backlash you refer to is not right wing. It is white male and aimed at women and minorities trying to participate in gaming.

    2. Gee, a white male backlash that wants to keep women and minorities in their place and out of gaming.

      How could one possibly confuse that with right-wing?

    3. These are apolitical kids and young men with retarded development. Not political, so not right wing.

    4. And how do you know this? Oh, I forgot. Pseudo-intellectuals think they know everything.

      I'll still go with angry white male backlash against women and minorities.

    5. If you think that's limited to the right-wing, you're not paying attention.