ALLEGEDLY LIBERAL PUNDITS REACT: Uncle Boehlert against the world!

WEDNESDAY, MAY 6, 2015

Part 3—Hayes makes a remarkable turn:
Good lord!

On Thursday evening, April 23, Michelle Goldberg seemed to make some very strong claims on Chris Hayes’ cable news program.

Goldberg was there to discuss a lengthy new report about some scary, slightly treasonous conduct by the Clintons—conduct involving the approval of a scary, Cold War-flavored uranium deal.

That morning, the lengthy report had appeared on line at the New York Times, a well-known American newspaper. Already, the sprawling report was shaping the nation’s political discussion. That morning, Joe and Mika had melted down before they’d even read it!

Goldberg was there to discuss that report. So was Eric Boehlert, a leading figure at the Clinton-friendly watchdog site, Media Matters. In the course of their discussion with Hayes, Goldberg seemed to make some remarkable claims.

To watch the whole segment, click here.

Good grief! Referring to a journalistic practice known as “the Clinton rules,” Goldberg said “there is this kind of long-standing journalistic vendetta against the Clintons.” She said this journalistic vendetta “kind of allows people to exaggerate and follow these sort of right-wing conspiracy theories down all sorts of rabbit holes and blind alleys.”

In even a slightly rational world, that would be a remarkable statement. It’s the kind of claim a cable news host might even want to explore.

Meanwhile, could it be that the sprawling new report by the Times had been fashioned in accord with those Clinton rules? Goldberg seemed to have little good to say about the Times’ journalistic performance.

“Well, the article doesn’t really allege anything,” she said early in the discussion. “It hints and implies and it juxtaposes things. But the only clear allegation is about the failure of disclosure...”

We’ll consider that one “clear allegation” below. But according to Goldberg, the new report didn’t really allege anything about the scary uranium deal which was its obvious focus.

The new report hinted, implied and juxtaposed things, Goldberg said. She seemed to describe the sorts of practices a major newspaper ought to avoid. Completing the hat trick, she said the Times had included a strangely inaccurate fact—an inaccurate fact it had introduced in a sprawling report in 2008.

The inaccurate fact had been corrected in 2009, Goldberg said. But how odd! There it was all over again in the Times’ new report!

Was Goldberg right in her various claims? Most remarkably, has the American press corps really staged a “long-standing journalistic vendetta against the Clintons?”

As part of this long-standing vendetta, do mainstream newspapers really “exaggerate and follow these sort of right-wing conspiracy theories down all sorts of rabbit holes and blind alleys?”

You’d almost think a cable news host would want to explore such claims! Under the circumstances, you’d almost think that cable news host would wonder if the new report by the Times was the latest example of this practice, what with its hints and juxtapositions and its lack of clear allegations.

In a rational world, a cable news host would probably follow that path. In this particular case, Hayes had already described the new report, two separate times, as “a bombshell report.” Under the circumstances, you’d think he might be especially curious about Goldberg’s claims and suggestions.

Alas! No such curiosity obtained on the Hayes program this evening. What happened instead? Something rather remarkable!

In a remarkable turn, Hayes and Goldberg completely ignored the various claims Goldberg made. In the passage shown below, their conversation took that remarkable turn. We join their discussion in progress:
GOLDBERG (4/23/15): So already, some of the facts, I think, are, like I said, a little bit weaker than the Times presents them.

The one thing in the piece that I think the Clinton camp has to explain, I think it looks really bad that they haven’t even tried to explain, is the fact—

HAYES: Disclosure!

GOLDBERG: Right. They had an agreement with the Obama administration to publicly disclose these donors and they didn’t. And so not only is there the kind of questionable, what were they hiding, but they just, on their face of it, violated what was a clear rule.

HAYES: And it’s also not rebutted in the response, right? I mean, the response just doesn’t address that.

BOEHLERT: Right, because I think the larger take-away from that article is, “We caught the Clintons in a quid pro quo, we caught the Clintons selling U.S. policy for a speech to Bill Clinton,” But it’s not there.

HAYES: Okay. But here’s the thing that drives me nuts, OK?
Hayes went on to explain what drives him nuts about the Clintons. Later, he explained what “drives [him] crazy” about the same heinous pair.

At no point did Hayes identify anything that drives him nuts about the New York Times. He expressed no concerns about the wider press corps or its alleged vendetta.

Hayes never tried to discuss Goldberg’s claim about that journalistic vendetta. To the extent that Hayes controlled the discussion, it concerned the various things that drive him nuts about the Clintons alone.

Let’s discuss what happened in the passage shown above. In that passage, this ten-minute discussion took a remarkable turn.

Goldberg had already made some unflattering claims about the new “bombshell report.” She would go on to make a remarkable claim about a journalistic vendetta.

She had suggested that the bombshell report had nothing but insinuations to offer about that uranium deal. She had said that one of its basic facts seemed to be weirdly wrong.

These points didn’t interest Hayes. Before Goldberg could say the word in the passage above, he shouted “Disclosure!” along with her.

The discussion then left the uranium deal and focused instead on that topic—on that, and on the various things Hayes hates about the Clintons.

Why was that a remarkable turn? This is why:

The report Hayes described as “a bombshell report” is 4400 words long. Those 4400 words are spread through 75 paragraphs.

The gigantic bulk of the sprawling report concerns the scary uranium deal. The alleged “failure of disclosure” is discussed in just six paragraphs—paragraphs 49-54.

Tomorrow, we’ll show you what happened last week when the Times tried to discuss the disclosure issue at greater length. But in the passage we’ve shown you above, Hayes and Goldberg turned away from the report’s overpowering focus, choosing to zero in on a minor side topic instead.

In that passage, you see Boehlert attempting to make that point. But from that point on, Hayes was concerned with six tangential paragraphs from a 75-paragraph report about a uranium deal—and with the various things that bug him about Bill Clinton.

Was a genuine “failure of disclosure” described in the bombshell report? We’ll discuss that question tomorrow. But that was a very minor part of the so-called bombshell report.

From beginning to end, the focus of the sprawling report was that scary, semi-treasonous uranium deal with its frightening Cold War feel. And, as Goldberg had suggested, the Times’ reporting about that topic was just amazingly bad.

We discussed those problems all last week. In our view, they constitute a journalistic clown show.

Hayes displayed no interest in that. Despite the various things Goldberg said, he wanted to discuss the things that bug him about the Clintons.

At this point, can we talk? If you watch that ten-minute tape, you will see a key component of “the Clinton rules” in action.

You’ll see it unfold before your eyes. It’s a subordinate rule.

This rule has helped define our national discourse for a long time now. Professor Dean broke this subordinate rule that day when he assailed the Times, to everyone’s horror, right there on Morning Joe.

What rule played out on the Hayes show that night? This rule:

The wealthy stars of the mainstream press will not discuss the New York Times or the rest of their mainstream colleagues!

Dearest darlings, it mustn’t be done! As we’ve told you for many years, conservatives will trash the Times. Your favorite fiery liberal stars will all avert their eyes.

On this particular evening, Goldberg floated unpleasant suggestions about the quality of the work in the bombshell report. She also made an astonishing claim about a long-standing “journalistic vendetta.”

Hayes turned away from these themes, and Goldberg was happy to follow. From the passage shown above, it was Boehlert against the world.

Valiantly, Boehlert tried to discuss the Times report. He tried to discuss its principal focus. Hayes explicitly vouched for the work the Times did, as we will show you tomorrow.

Liberal voters have been conned this way for a great many years. People are dead all over the world because Hayes’ predecessors and current colleagues behaved in this same manner.

Tomorrow: “This does seem a legitimate piece of journalism and I don’t think they got anything wrong.”

68 comments:

  1. Warning to casual readers of this blog: These comments are unmoderated. They are infested by one or more trolls who routinely attack the blog author in a variety of ways, rarely substantive. Such attacks are not an indicator of the level of interest of other readers, the validity of the content posted nor of the esteem in which the blog author is held by others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shorter 11 AM: disagreement = attack.

      Delete
    2. Disagreement: mockery = attack

      Delete
    3. Why Joanie cain't do no word problems.

      Delete
    4. Warning to casual readers of this blog: Obsessive-compulsive disorder gets worse when not treated. One day you're posting the same comment to a blog everyday, the next you're habitually exposing yourself to school children between postings.

      Delete
  2. Inherent to the Clinton rules is the idea that the Clintons deserve how they are treated because of those things that drive you nuts about them. That's how these journalists justify what they do.

    Why did Hillary have the mistaken belief that her personal private life should remain private? Why wouldn't she want to share emails about her mother's death or Chelsea's pregnancy with conservatives who hate her? Why did Bill think his blow jobs weren't everyone's business. Why did Hillary think she should be allowed to run for president in the same manner as the guys -- announce when she wanted, quit the primaries when she wanted, name her van whatever she wanted? Why did Bill think he should be allowed to do more than paint pictures of himself in the shower after leaving the presidency? Why didn't he give his speeches for free, even though no other president has done so? The nerve of those people!

    If Hillary doesn't want to be attacked, she shouldn't run for office. If Bill doesn't want to be attacked, he should have confessed to Whitewater, let Newt have whatever he wanted, paid off Paula Jones (and every put up job coming down the pike). He shouldn't have been overweight and liked fast food, he should have volunteered to be shot in Viet Nam instead of waiting to be drafted, he shouldn't smile so much and be so friendly, he shouldn't be friends with everyone regardless of party or social status. He should have gone into poverty and obscurity after leaving office and not lent his charisma to global change. He should have let Obama call him a racist. And on, and on and on because the Clinton rules say that the Clintons are punching bags not victims because they just drive everyone nuts with their Clintony ways.

    This is called Clinton Derangement Syndrome. Hayes is far from the only expressing it but he is supposed to know better and do better. Instead, he is joining the power structure and going along with the program.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wouldn't it be great if the first woman in the White House was also the first native American to win that post!

      In any case it should be a woman elected in her own right.

      Delete
    2. "in her own right"

      What does that even mean?

      Delete
    3. I think it would be even better if the first woman President was also the first Asian American.

      Delete
    4. They used the term "in her own right" a lot with Ann Richards in Texas. She wasn't the first woman governor. "Ma" Ferguson was. She was elected after her husband "Pa" Ferguson was impeached. They will probably use it when the next woman is elected Governor of Alabama too.

      Delete
    5. I'm looking forward to the next decade when Kamala Harris runs for Governor of CA and then President.

      Delete
    6. Since she is already running for the US Senate this year I am not sure what you are waiting for.

      Voters, however may need an explanation from her for this:

      http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-aide-harris-accused-rogue-police-force-20150505-story.html

      Delete
    7. Yes, when someone hits the radar as a viable candidate for higher office, the scandal-mongers arrive.

      What makes you think I am waiting for anything? I have already voted for her and will again -- I just said she has a bright future including the potential to be a candidate for president. I suspect there are women like her in other states who will emerge as well. Whatever happens with Hillary Clinton, the cat is out of the bag and women now see that they can run and do well.

      Pushing back against the attempts to suppress Clinton's candidacy means more than just whether Hillary will be president or not. If Hillary is stomped out of the general election by opposition from her own party (combined with conservatives), women will not support Democrats because they will not trust them to promote their interests and the Democratic Party will have a much bigger problem finding a winning voter coalition than it does today.

      Delete
    8. That is triple true if the Obamabots put that underqualified Warren person in the place on the ballot Hillary has earned. The slick gender double crossing of that move won't fool any of us.

      Delete
  3. Clinton made a speech yesterday fully embracing immigration reform. Does she get credit for that among liberals?

    Digby said this:

    "Liberal Democrats have been wary of Clinton, many progressives preferring Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Some "Draft Warren" organizers met with Warren recently to discuss policy, although Warren's office claims she was unaware of the connection. Warren's influence may be pulling Clinton to the left. In her talk yesterday, Clinton echoed Warren when she said, “our undocumented workers in New York pay more in taxes than some of our biggest corporations in New York.”

    So, Clinton isn't expressing her own policy, making the kind of strong unequivocal statement she made throughout 2008. She is being forced to do the right thing by Warren. The Clinton Rules dictate that even when the Clintons do something good, it is for bad reasons, in this case cynical political maneuvering to block Warren (who has said repeatedly that she is not interested in running). This despite Clinton's history of supporting immigration rights and policies to benefit families (which is part of the basis for reforming detection and deportation policies).

    With friends like Digby and Hayes, who needs enemies?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who paid for the speech?

      Delete
    2. We know is wasn't paid for by Pete Peterson, Rupert Murdock, or the Koch brothers.

      Next irrelevant question.

      Delete
    3. Do you not understand how campaign financing works?

      Delete
    4. No, I do understand how campaign financing works, especially in the aftermath of the Citizen's United ruling.

      Delete
    5. Steve Colbert explained it all on his PBS late night show which is no longer on the air.

      Delete
  4. Warning to casual readers of this blog: One unmoderated commenter on this blog has a serious case of Clinton Admiration Syndrome. It infests many life forms and is sometimes manifested in pathetic overstatements of events or statements determined by those who suffer from it to be anti-Clinton. Sometimes it takes on a bizarre paranoia of perceived sexism that caused world famous blogger and media critic Bob Somerby to declare: ""Our guess? Such cluelessness from Clinton supporters may represent her “biggest problem.” The disease is not known to be sexually transmitted although in rare cases its symptoms include sexual attraction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Polls suggest many people admire Clinton.

      Delete
    2. That said, it infests many life forms.

      Delete
    3. A fine example of mockery, not disagreement.

      Delete
    4. That said, another example of mockery: "cluelessness from Clinton supporters may represent her “biggest problem."

      Delete
    5. Her biggest problem is the mainstream media, which thinks it should decide our elections, not voters. Her second biggest problem is that the conservative noise machine funded by billionaires with money to waste, never stops. Her third biggest problem is that liberals keep chasing ideological purity at the expense of winning elections and may think someone like Bernie Sanders is "electable" splitting the vote (at best) and doing the conservatives' dirty work at worst. And you call Clinton supporters clueless (albeit borrowing Somerby's out-of-context quote).


      Delete
    6. Another theory to having Sanders run against Clinton in the primary is to force her away from the "center" and more to the left. I've not heard of any movement toward having Sanders run against Clinton in the general election, which is the only election that would involve the vote splitting that you are commenting on.

      In Arizona, Independents comprise 36% of the overall vote. It is not ideological purism to attempt to disabuse this block of voters of the notion that "both parties are the same" by having Sanders run in the primaries to distinguish Democrats from Republicans.

      Delete
    7. Sanders is not nominally a Democrat. He is a Socialist and Independent. He can run in the general election if not nominated as a Democrat.

      Independents tend to call themselves Independent while voting for Republican candidates and issues. It is always worthwhile to try to attract new voters to the Democratic party but don't pretend that Independents think both parties are the same. They show by their votes that they can tell the difference.

      Ideological purism is the mistaken idea that Hillary needs to be pulled to the left when she ran to the left of Obama in the last set of primaries and shows every indication of being left of his positions now. She shouldn't have to talk like a socialist to be a good Democrat. If she does, she will have more problems winning the General election, so this is some kind of snit some Democrats are throwing, not a sincere ideological challenge to any positions she needs to shift left.

      No one thought Obama needed to be pulled left by Hillary's candidacy (or anyone else's) so there is another double standard at work here that is camouflaging the real objections, which I suspect are either gender-related or more CDS.

      Delete
    8. Or worse @ 2:44! It could be double standard camouflaged gender-related CDS.

      Delete
    9. anon 12:54, I for one would be grateful if you would give this a rest. Very tiresome

      Delete
    10. True that AC/NA. I too am troubled by classless trolls who have turned a place for intellectual stimulation of liberals trying to avoid media mind mastery into a laughingstock.

      Plus I hope the arabic spamming was a one time event. How can people even read that little squiggly stuff?

      Delete
    11. It is all too big a joke hahahaha. All is too funny it is to laugh to much.

      Delete
    12. No. Don't get me wrong. The spellcasters are bad too. Plus the Louis Vuitton spam.

      Delete
    13. 2:44 PM - your clairvoyance is impressive.

      Delete
    14. Your Howler Gets Results!

      Who else boasts a combox with:

      Clairvoyance
      Spellcasting
      Finnish Porn
      Unmoderated Troll Infestations
      Jesters

      Delete
  5. "Tomorrow, we’ll show you what happened last week when the Times tried to discuss the disclosure issue at greater length. But in the passage we’ve shown you above, Hayes and Goldberg turned away from the report’s overpowering focus, choosing to zero in on a minor side topic instead."

    Bob Somerby today. Demonstrating his powerful ability to zoom in on the press sin of misdirection.


    "We think Walsh’s approach is totally sensible here. We’re inclined to agree with her assessment of Clinton’s motives at that distant point in time.

    That said, we were struck by Walsh’s reference to that “notorious Sister Souljah moment.” Is it true? Did Clinton engage in “a notorious Sister Souljah moment during the 1992 campaign?”

    In an otherwise sensible piece, we thought this remark stood out."

    Bob Somerby yesterday. Demonstrating his powerful ability to do exactly what he criticizes the press for doing: choosing to zero in on a minor side topic

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, what's your point?

      Delete
    2. Perhaps his point is that poor Puppy is being set up for the 2016 "goat" role if Clinton loses occupied by Chris Matthews for his role in Gore's loss? We just don't know.

      Delete
    3. Let him speak for himself.

      Delete
    4. A worthy theory @ 1:26, but don't you think writing all these posts about one 6 minute two week old segment on the "highly influential" Chris Hayes infortainment hour in and of itself constitutes zeroing in "on a minor side topic."

      Delete
  6. How does a blogger rise the rank of Uncle in a Howler headline?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's part of the liberal family, obviously.

      Delete
    2. Inbreeding is a hallmark of "dumb" tribes.

      Delete
    3. "Inbreeding is a hallmark of 'dumb' tribes."

      The Bushes, for example.

      Delete
    4. They've all gone downhill since Prescott. Heck maybe since Obadiah.

      Delete
    5. Especially Obadiah!

      Delete
    6. Better question is why no blogger has risen to the rank of "Aunt" in a Howler headline?

      Delete
    7. Yes, why do women have to write like Maureen Dowd or behave like Rachel Maddow in order to be hired into good media positions?

      Delete
    8. Where is the woman Walter Cronkite?

      Delete
    9. She had to serve time on the Today show.

      Delete
    10. Could elective sex change surgery spur a Brian Williams comeback?

      Delete
  7. This Des Moines Register article is almost a textbook example of how the NYT report plays in caucus-land. Even includes the phrases "lengthy," "tortuous" and "vast-right conspiracy" while ultimately blaming HRC for the never-specified "accusations." http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/editorials/2015/05/01/hillary-clinton-new-book-scandal-presidential-campaign/26756095/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What is sad is that instead of talking about the nation’s issues the next president must confront, the Clinton campaign will expending much of its time and energy fending off accusations and responding to questions posed by neutral journalists and Clinton haters alike.

      The challenge for the Clinton campaign will be to keep the conversation on the issues rather than on the Clintons. In the meantime, they should avoid providing fodder for their detractors.

      Delete
    2. When Hillary attempted to deflect questions about the NY Times report, dismissing the report as part of the conservative opposition, she was criticized for not stating explicitly that she had done nothing wrong. The person criticizing her for this was John Stewart.

      So how exactly does she keep the conversation on the issues when even liberals don't have her back?

      Delete
    3. One problem with your question is assuming that John Stewart is a liberal when he is a self-described libertarian. There is a difference.

      Delete
    4. Another problem may be mistaking Jon Stewart for John Stewart.

      Delete
    5. Yes, "liberals" should always have the backs of "Iiberals."

      Otherwise, we'd be awash in "tribalism."

      Delete
    6. I just lost a lot of respect for John Stewart. Not that there was much left after he announced he was buying a farm to shelter abused farm animals.

      Delete
    7. @2:26 -- If liberals are liberals because they agree about liberal values and issues and principles, and if they belong to political parties in order to promote those shared beliefs and values, then they should be working together to achieve election of their candidates.

      Tribalism is the belief that anyone belonging to your "tribe" has a monopoly on all the good qualities in the world while someone belonging to the opposing tribe is evil and must be eradicated. It substitutes shared identity for shared belief and membership for agreement.

      Do you see any difference between these two?

      Delete
    8. Anonymous @2:25 PM - aka Mr./Ms. Bent&Suspenders.

      Delete
    9. How dare you leave out Mx. Bent&Suspenders you Transphobic ass!

      Delete
    10. What others are saying about John Stewart:

      "I loved working for the John Stewart Company I was very happy when I was there."

      "nepotism. low encouragement for development and growth."

      "didnt have to leave office unless u were doin a walk thru periodically or when u had go investigate a incident between residents.

      resident would sneak banned guest up the fire escape & into the building because the camera was'nt working anymore.residents would lies on desk clerks"

      "Too little holidays are given"

      http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/The-John-Stewart-Company-Reviews-E228235.htm

      Delete
    11. When has spelling ever mattered on the internet?

      Delete
    12. That is precisely the kind of attitude that has caused the Spelling Bee, invented by America, to be overrun by the subcontinentals.

      Delete
    13. And moreover it is disgusting that I have to pick out pictures of Sushi to speak my mind on the US internet as well.

      Delete
  8. Commenters here are jesters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob Somerby was a professional jester. Commenters here are unmoderated trolls. Except for those few who dare point out the silent readers hold the former jester in high esteem.

      Delete