23 YEARS LATER: The New York Times’ latest front-page debacle!


Part 2—The dying man’s last few nouns:
We haven’t studied her work. But it seems to us that Margaret Sullivan has done respectable, serious work in her stint as New York Times public editor.

Respectable, serious work tends to stand out at the New York Times, which is more likely to run by undisciplined gossip rules.

Respectable doesn’t mean perfect, of course. This past Sunday, Sullivan was discussing the Times’ most recent front-page debacle—a recent report which falsely claimed that a criminal referral had been lodged against Candidate Clinton.

In her column, Sullivan seemed to suggest that the New York Times may be conducting something like a “vendetta” against this particular candidate. In the passage shown below, she let a Times honcho respond.

The honcho in question was Dean Baquet, the Times’ executive editor. In this passage, we see the fog which often surrounds the working of minds at the Times:
SULLIVAN (8/2/15): I agree with this sentiment from a reader, Evan Hannay, who is troubled by some of the Clinton coverage: “Hillary deserves tough questions when they are warranted. But it is undeniable that she is already facing significantly tougher coverage than any other potential candidate.” He thinks The Times should make “a promise to readers going forward that Hillary is not going to be treated unfairly as she so often is by the media.”

Last Thursday, I handed Mr. Baquet a printed copy of Mr. Hannay’s email and asked him to address it.

To that end, he told me that he has urged reporters and editors to focus anew on issues stories. And he pledged fairness. “I’m happy to make a promise that she’ll be treated fairly,” he said, though he added, “If you look at our body of work, I don’t believe we have been unfair.” One testament to that, he said, was an investigative piece written by David Kirkpatrick shortly after the 2012 Benghazi attacks, with conclusions seen as favorable for Mrs. Clinton, who was then secretary of state. It came under heavy attack from the right.
Say what? Did Kirkpatrick’s front-page report shows that the Times has, on balance, been fair in its Clinton coverage?

Let’s start with a basic fact. Kirkpatrick’s report appeared in December 2013. That was almost sixteen months after the Benghazi attacks.

We don’t know why Sullivan and, apparently, Baquet thought the report had appeared “shortly after” those attacks. That said, New York Times editors are famous for the slippery ways they sidestep criticism of their work, which is routinely clownish. And basic facts are often reshaped at this horrible newspaper.

Might we make a second point about the Kirkpatrick report, which is alleged to show that the Times has been fair to Candidate Clinton? The report, which was detailed and important, consumed a mammoth 7324 words.

Clinton’s name wasn’t mentioned, not even once, in the lengthy report. Is this really the best example of the Times’ manifest fairness?

So it goes at the New York Times, even from the famous paper’s occasional serious player. Elsewhere, the clowning tends to be prevail.

How constant is the clowning at the New York Times? Consider events on Sunday’s front page, even as Sullivan tried to address the famous newspaper’s previous front-page debacle.

Good lord! On the last page of the Sunday Review section, Sullivan devoted 1000 words to that prior debacle. But on the front page of the Sunday Review, and on the front page of the whole darn newspaper, Maureen Dowd and Amy Chozick were creating the latest debacle in a pair of pieces which totaled 2600 words.

Once again, their peculiar work raises obvious questions about the way the glorious Times is covering Candidate Clinton. The journalistic foolishness started in Dowd’s column, which appeared on the front page of the Sunday Review.

Technically, Dowd’s piece was an opinion column. In theory, that doesn’t mean that the writer in question is allowed to invent key facts.

It shouldn’t mean that the writer in question gets to introduce key facts without any attempt at sourcing. But that’s exactly what Dowd did, as if to say, “What else is new?”

Dowd’s column was longer than Sullivan’s piece—and it had a superior front-page placement. It also broke all the basic rules about the assertion of facts.

Dowd started with 320 words comparing Candidate Clinton to Tom Brady. In the process, Dowd showed that she can write distorted, prejudicial summaries of sports-related topics too.

Midway through her column, Dowd wasted a bit more time, making the absurd suggestion that Howard Schultz, the Starbucks titan, should enter the White House race. Dowd became the queen of the Times by writing pure nonsense like this.

Obvious padding to the side, Dowd’s column was built around a melodramatic claim. Before his recent death, she said, Beau Biden, the vice president's son, had urged his father to enter the White House race.

Diddling herself as she lay on her shag, Dowd took us right to the dying man’s bed. She quoted the dying man’s words to his father. She took us inside the head of the dying man’s dad, telling us what he thought about the words his dying son had said.

Dowd gave the world a moving tale. There was absolutely no attempt at attribution or sourcing for her various melodramatic claims.

This passage followed her puzzling rumination about potential Candidate Schultz. Does it give you any idea how Dowd knows the various things she reports here?
DOWD (8/2/15): Joe Biden is also talking to friends, family and donors about jumping in. The 72-year-old vice president has been having meetings at his Washington residence to explore the idea of taking on Hillary in Iowa and New Hampshire.

He gets along with Hillary and has always been respectful of the Democratic Party's desire to make more history by putting the first woman in the Oval Office.

But going through the crucible of the loss of his oldest son, Beau, to brain cancer made the vice president consider the quest again.

As a little boy, Beau helped get his father through the tragedy of losing his beautiful first wife and 13-month-old daughter in the car crash that injured Beau and his brother, Hunter.

When Beau realized he was not going to make it, he asked his father if he had a minute to sit down and talk.

''Of course, honey,'' the vice president replied.

At the table, Beau told his dad he was worried about him.

My kid's dying, an anguished Joe Biden thought to himself, and he's making sure I'm O.K.

''Dad, I know you don't give a damn about money,'' Beau told him,
dismissing the idea that his father would take some sort of cushy job after the vice presidency to cash in.

Beau was losing his nouns and the right side of his face was partially paralyzed. Buthe had a mission: He tried to make his father promise to run, arguing that the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.

Hunter also pushed his father, telling him, ''Dad, it's who you are.''
Is the news really a novel? At no point does Dowd explain how she’s able to quote both Bidens. Or how she’s able to explain what Joe Biden was thinking as his dying son spoke.

Mixed in that journalistic mess is the column’s key claim, its ugliest shot—the claim that the dying man, even as he lost his nouns, took one last shot at the Clintons. Dowd has done this sort of thing forever. No sourcing need apply!

Please understand—it’s possible that Dowd’s sequel to Love Story is true in every respect.

It’s possible that those words were spoken. It’s possible that Dowd has captured the thought which went through the father’s head.

All those things are possible—but then, everything is! By the norms of journalism, a journalist is supposed to present a source for the factual claims she makes.

No source is presented in this column as Dowd pleasures herself and weeps. We’re simply asked to take her word for her melodramatic claims. We’re asked to assume that her factual claims are true.

As you may recall, Dowd has invented a whole lot of “quotes” down through these many long years. At the Times, she is still allowed to tell us stories without offering a hint at her source.

Please understand. Technically, Dowd writes an “opinion column” for the Times. That means that she is allowed to state an opinion, while a reporter should not.

That said, she isn’t stating her opinion that those words were said. She’s making a factual statement to that effect—and she was required to offer no source for her heart-rending claims, in which the dying man used his last nouns to take one last shot at the Clintons.

Judged by journalistic norms, that is astonishing work. It’s the work of a thoroughly feckless, undisciplined pseudo-newspaper.

The use to which Dowd’s novel was quickly put is more astonishing still. For that, we must turn to Amy Chozick’s ludicrous “news report” on page A1, the front page of Sunday’s newspaper.

At the top of page A1, Chozick was churning her latest. Her report carried a triple deck of headlines. This is the way she began:
CHOZICK (8/2/15): Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his associates have begun to actively explore a possible presidential campaign, which would upend the Democratic field and deliver a direct threat to Hillary Rodham Clinton, several people who have spoken to Mr. Biden or his closest advisers say.

Mr. Biden’s advisers have started to reach out to Democratic leaders and donors who have not yet committed to Mrs. Clinton or who have grown concerned about what they see as her increasingly visible vulnerabilities as a candidate.

The conversations, often fielded by Mr. Biden’s chief of staff, Steve Ricchetti, have taken place through hushed phone calls and quiet lunches. In most cases, they have grown out of an outpouring of sympathy for Mr. Biden since the death of his son Beau, 46, in May.

On Saturday, the New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd reported that Mr. Biden had been holding meetings at his residence, “talking to friends, family and donors about jumping in” to challenge Mrs. Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two nominating states.


Ms. Dowd reported that as Beau Biden lay dying from brain cancer, he “tried to make his father promise to run, arguing that the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.” Mr. Biden’s other son, Hunter, also encouraged him to run, she wrote.
By paragraph 4, Chozick was citing what Dowd had “reported” in her column. A few grafs later, we got the heart-rending tale, including the dying man’s one last shot at the Clintons.

In this way, a completely unsourced claim magically became the source for Chozick’s front-page “news report.” Journalistically, there’s a word for this sleight-of-hand:

Journalistically, that word would be “scam.”

Chozick, of course, is a nightmare. She has made such plays before during her years of Clinton coverage. Unnamed editors permit this garbage at this ridiculous pseudo-newspaper.

Just how bad is Chozick’s reporting, as permitted by her unnamed editors? Below, you see paragraphs 5 and 6 of this front-page news report. Consider the clownish journalistic practice which gave us the “quotation” we highlight:
CHOZICK: One longtime Biden supporter said the vice president had been deeply moved by his son’s desire for him to run.

“He was so close to Beau and it was so heartbreaking that, frankly, I thought initially he wouldn’t have the heart,” the supporter, Michael Thornton, a Boston lawyer, said in an interview. “But I’ve had indications that maybe he does want to—and ‘that’s what Beau would have wanted me to do.’ ”
“That’s what Beau would have wanted me to do?”

Because of Chozick’s slippery performance, it looks like that’s a direct quotation from someone. Presumably, that someone would have to be Joe Biden himself!

Did Joe Biden say that to Thornton? Technically, Chozick doesn’t make that claim. She simply floats the impression around!

Times subscribers, please! That’s a type of construction you’d expect a teacher/adviser to intercept at a high school paper. At the Times, it goes on the front page in a the day's top news report, driving the tale of the dying man’s last shot at the Clintons.

This sort of thing isn’t unique to ghouls like Dowd and Chozick. Tomorrow, we’ll start with Chuck Todd, who engaged in similar unsourced story-telling on Sunday’s Meet the Press.

Back in the day, we worked so hard to set young Todd on the path to journalistic correctness! Knowing the history, the analysts keened and wailed and tore at their hair when they saw his example of Creeping Dowd/Chozickism.

Back to our basic thread:

This past Sunday, the New York Times was creating its latest fine journalistic mess.

On the last page of the Sunday Review, Sullivan spent 1000 words addressing the paper’s previous front-page debacle. Baquet swore by Kirkpatrick’s report that the great newspaper would be fair to Candidate Clinton. Indeed, it already had been.

Meanwhile, at the top of page A1, Chozick was creating the latest front-page debacle. Her “news report” ran 1426 words, about four hundred more than Sullivan’s analysis. She cited a thoroughly unsourced claim from Dowd’s 1173 novelized words, which were running on the front page of the Sunday Review.

The dying man had used his last nouns to take one last shot at the Clintons! Dowd pleasured herself with this ugly tale, which jumped to page A1.

On the last page of the Sunday Review, the hapless bureaucrat Baquet was swearing that this sort of thing wouldn’t happen again. In truth, it started in March 1992, some 23 years ago.

Tomorrow: Recent front-page history

The ugliness of melodrama: Take another look at this part of Dowd's melodrama:
DOWD: As a little boy, Beau helped get his father through the tragedy of losing his beautiful first wife and 13-month-old daughter in the car crash that injured Beau and his brother, Hunter.

When Beau realized he was not going to make it, he asked his father if he had a minute to sit down and talk.
If that first wife hadn’t been beautiful, it wouldn’t have been so bad?


  1. "more likely to run by undisciplined gossip rules" but possibly run by an a moonbeam addled collective of rich children with inherited means or, less likely, a furtive group of crying analysts. We don't know. Anything is possible but we have been sticking with sort of the same approximate explanation for years and ignoring any evidence to the contrary. What better way to keep things technically accurate in a journalistic sense.

    1. See, no problems at our major journals, as I demonstrate with my quite feeble parody of a complaining micro-blogger's verbal tics...

    2. In our view, no apparent problems at our major journals, at least with the New York Times as we demonstrate with our possibly quite feeble parody of a complaining micro-blogger's hedging, repetitive literary style....

    3. If I do it twice, my emphasis will surely trump my emptiness!!

    4. What's more fun? Trolling Somerby or patrolling for Somerby?

      And speaking of trump, how about those poll numbers for Trump! America's opinion has turned around. Shame on Maddow for not denouncing his "Mexicans... they're rapists" comments in time to stop this incredible surge.

  2. Imagine the conversation Biden is having with Obama about changing his endorsement from HRC to his VP. Considering Valerie Jarrett's loathing of HRC, it shouldn't be difficult for Biden to persuade Obama to take up his cause.

    1. "coach, its the fifth inning. The 9th spot in the order just batted. It is time for you to put me in right field!"

      cicero of the little league, demanding to "earn" his participation trophy.

    2. I'm too busy imagining happy, clear eyed analysts myself.

    3. @ 10:57

      rigor mortis

  3. 2,600 Words! Just 2,600 stinking words? Is that all Chozick and Dowd can deliver up for Sunday Times readers?

    Why Bob whipped out 2,400 in this post alone and he's just getting started.

    When he got to the Jesus chapter (Part 5) in his latest book on Maddow ( it was 6 chapters naturally) Bob was able to crank out 4,200 words all by his own self.

    1. How dare a troll count Bob's strokes when he whips out a real dick grabber about MoDo "Diddling herself as she lay on her shag..."?

      Besides, the analysts probably burst in in tears and caught him off guard.

    2. America is not ready for its first septagenarian
      Hair Plugged-American President yet. Trump and Biden are toast.

    3. The troll is just demonstrating his ignorance about journalism. The number of words (or column inches) devoted to a story indicate its importance, as does its placement within the paper. Some writers get paid by the word, so the number of words matter. Before the internet, newspapers and magazines were limited to a certain number of pages to be filled exactly, so exact word counts were important. In contrast, a blog doesn't care about the number of words or space. So counting the words in Somerby's posts makes no sense at all while counting the words in the NYTimes is an important measure of priority given to a certain topic. But trolls are ignorant jerks who think there is no difference between the demands placed on a major newspaper and those of a vanity blog.

    4. @1:03

      HRC will be a septuagenarian in her first year of office should she somehow win election. Is America ready for a dyed-haired grandmother who doesn't know how to make toast?

    5. @ 1:16 put forth a spirited rebuttal of @ 12:16. I notice he/she didn't touch @ 12:52's defense with an alleged six inch pole.
      Size doesn't matter when blogging alone.

    6. @ 1:31

      cerebral hemorrhage

  4. Lack of sourcing? Impossibly verbatim quotes? Techniques of the novelist? Who does she think she is, Bob Woodward?

    BTW, I may come from a different culture, but any guy who calls his middle-aged, war veteran son "honey" will have trouble getting my vote.

    1. She has no clue what term of endearment a father might use with his son, much less what term Biden would have actually used. She is a spinster. She is the youngest of 5 children, but maybe they weren't an affectionate family.

    2. "She's a spinster."

      Yes, and a spectacularly more successful one than Somerby.

    3. Accomplishments need to be judged against goals or aspirations. Dowd is hardly successful if she actually wanted to be someone consequential. Somerby's goals are more likely to do good in the world than to be a narcissist with a Pulitzer won for sliming others. If you admire Dowd instead of Somerby, your values are seriously warped.

    4. Spoken like a spinster with therapist fantasies and a wet spot for Bob.

    5. You have to be female to be a spinster and to have a wet spot. Therapists come in all genders.

    6. No. Bob is a spinster and he is usually all wet.

  5. Does anyone else remember Joe Biden's help in adding a right-wing crazy to the Supreme Court? - http://bit.ly/1IKjpMH

    1. @ Caro

      Who advised Willie in adding SCOTUS left-wing loon Ginsburg? VP Biden advised Obama against the SEAL Team raid on UBL. On the other hand, he did advise the use of double barreled shotguns for home defense weapons.

    2. Double barreled shotguns are best for shooting rich contributors in the face. Ask ex-VeePOTUS Cheney.

      BTW, Harry Whittington scored a ton of more bucks recently!

    3. @ 1:26

      no pulse

    4. Caro:

      Your search - http://bit.ly/1IKjpMH - did not match any documents.


      Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
      Try different keywords.
      Try more general keywords.

    5. Cicero wonders, "Who advised Willie in adding SCOTUS left-wing loon Ginsburg" to the Supreme Court.

      [QUOTE] Now in his seventh term as Utah's senator, Orrin Hatch is the most senior Republican in the Senate. Among his many initiatives are the Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, the Strengthening Our Commitment to Legal Immigration and America’s Security Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, and the Utah School Trust Lands Exchange Act.

      Senator [Orrin] Hatch continues to lead in the fight to repeal Obamacare. [LINK] [END QUOTE]

      From Orrin Hatch's autobiography Square Peg:

      [QUOTE] [It] was not a surprise when the President called to talk about the appointment and what he was thinking of doing.

      President Clinton indicated he was leaning toward nominating Bruce Babbitt, his Secretary of the Interior, a name that had been bouncing around in the press. Bruce, a well-known western Democrat, had been the governor of Arizona and a candidate for president in 1988. Although he had been a state attorney general back during the 1970s, he was known far more for his activities as a politician than as a jurist. Clinton asked for my reaction.

      I told him that confirmation would not be easy. At least one Democrat would probably vote against Bruce, and there would be a great deal of resistance from the Republican side. I explained to the President that although he might prevail in the end, he should consider whether he wanted a tough, political battle over his first appointment to the Court.

      Our conversation moved to other potential candidates. I asked whether he had considered Judge Stephen Breyer of the First Circuit Court of Appeals or Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. President Clinton indicated he had heard Breyer’s name but had not thought about Judge Ginsberg.

      I indicated I thought they would be confirmed easily. I knew them both and believed that, while liberal, they were highly honest and capable jurists and their confirmation would not embarrass the President. From my perspective, they were far better than the other likely candidates from a liberal Democrat administration.

      In the end, the President did not select Secretary Babbitt. Instead, he nominated Judge Ginsburg and Judge Breyer a year later, when Harry Blackmun retired from the Court. Both were confirmed with relative ease. [END QUOTE]

    6. Career politician Senator Hatch was worrying about SCOTUS nominee Ginsburg not embarrassing Clinton during her confirmation hearing? If there is one emotion Willie is incapable of feeling it's embarrassment. So much for Hatch's impression that Ginsburg exuded honesty, She refused to recuse herself in same-sex marriage case despite being an activist in favor of it.

    7. Cicero,

      Would you finish filling in the names for a Top Ten List of well known Republicans who are not now and never really were actual conservatives which, so far, includes George W. Bush and Orrin Hatch? Kasich has to be on your list, right?

    8. @Cmike

      What is amusing is the number of liberal Howlers who do not believe POTUS Obama is a bona fide liberal.

    9. Cicero,

      Obama is not a New Deal/Great Society liberal- let alone a leftist. He's a Third Way/Neo-liberal/Centrist. We've had a revolution in our politics since 1968, Reaganism and corporatism won.

      But you have a question on the table that you just dodged. Let me give you a head start, of the declared Republican candidates for president, how many of them are not actual conservatives? You had described Justice Ginsburg as a "left-wing loon" and asked whose idea she was for the Supreme Court. I answered you. Now, how about dialing back back the excess and give me an answer to my question? Just for once engage without going all hyperbolic if you would, I'm actually pretty curious.

    10. CMike, I think Kasich is conservative.

    11. CMike

      performs CPR on cicero, much to the chagrin of sentient beings everywhere.

    12. 7:39 PM, I'd agree big time but [LINK].

    13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    14. @8:02 - depends on whether you're a man or woman in Ohio.

      MJ, Allie Gross, July 27 2015:

      Since Kasich entered office in 2011, he has enacted 16 anti-abortion measures. Some directly restrict abortion access, such as the 20-week late-term ban that he signed six months after entering office. Others limit the work of abortion providers. For example, in 2013 he signed the state's budget bill, which included one provision that prohibits state-funded rape crisis counselors from referring women to abortion services and another that stripped Planned Parenthood of an estimated $1.4 million in federal family-planning dollars. The measures have had drastic consequences for access to abortion and medical care for Ohio women: During Kasich's time in office, the number of abortion providers in the state has dropped from 16 to eight.

    15. @CMike,

      Thank you for self identifying yourself as one of the liberal Howlers who is incredulous as to Obama's liberal credentials.

      Senator Obama:

      "In 2005, Obama scored 82.5, meaning that his voting record on a select number of economic, foreign policy and social issue votes was more liberal than roughly four in five Senators. That made him the 16th most liberal Senator in the chamber; Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy -- 96.7 score -- was the most liberal. In 2006, Obama's composite liberal score moved up to 86, good for 10th highest in the chamber. In 2007, as he spent more and more time running for president, he scored 95.5 -- making him the single most liberal-voting Senator that year."

      As POTUS:

      "To see just how far the Democratic Party has moved to the left, compare Barack Obama with Bill Clinton. In 1992, Mr. Clinton ran as a centrist New Democrat. In several respects he governed as one as well. He endorsed a sentencing policy of “three strikes and you’re out,” and he proposed adding 100,000 police officers to the streets.
      In contrast, President Obama’s former attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., criticized what he called “widespread incarceration” and championed the first decrease in the federal prison population in more than three decades. Mr. Obama, meanwhile, has chosen to focus on police abuses.
      One of the crowning legislative achievements under Mr. Clinton was welfare reform. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, loosened welfare-to-work requirements. Mr. Obama is more liberal than Mr. Clinton was on gay rights, religious liberties, abortion rights, drug legalization and climate change. He has focused far more attention on income inequality than did Mr. Clinton, who stressed opportunity and mobility. While Mr. Clinton ended one entitlement program (Aid to Families With Dependent Children), Mr. Obama is responsible for creating the Affordable Care Act, the largest new entitlement since the Great Society. He is the first president to essentially nationalize health care."

    16. Cicero,

      So you're not going to answer my question. (And by the way, I did not identify myself as a liberal Howler, I'm a leftist).

    17. @CMike,

      What is the difference between a liberal and a leftist? DWS was stumped twice by the question what is the difference between a Democrat and a Socialist.


      Rand is a Libertarian

      Trump doesn't have any political record other than donating to HRC's 2008 POTUS campaign.

    18. Thanks for the partial but on point response.

      Democrats are people who belong to a political party. Within the Democratic party there's a wing that aligns itself with a preference for social democracy- a form of government that allows its consumer economy to evolve in a regulated free market but redistributes a substantial share of the wealth generated by that economy to provide for the general welfare with transfer payments and to finance a large public sector providing infrastructure and security. This is the type of socialism Sanders aligns with when he designates himself a socialist.

      A New Deal liberal tends to believe the market economy should be interfered with by an activist government only when there are cyclical market failures, i.e. recessions, chronic market failures, as in the pre-Social Security reality of widespread destitution among the aged, emergencies, e.g. floods, and disasters with lingering effect, like the dust bowl.

      And, like a social democrat but with a narrower list, a New Deal liberal believes all citizens at all times should have access to essential services- water, for instance, which, by the way, was a particular sentiment shared by the Romans of yore who were ever wary of revolution but otherwise final stage Libertarians with slaves (but I repeat myself). A Great Society liberal is sort of a hybrid between a New Deal liberal and a social democrat.

      In modern industrial world history there are hardly any examples of functioning socialism, defined as worker control of the means of production. The Soviet Union was state capitalism, not socialism- there was zero worker control (i.e. control by the soviets/worker councils) of the means of production after the October Revolution, that's one of the first things Lenin murderously did away with.

      I think Chomsky cites the collectives in Spain during the Spanish Civil War as about the only actual example of socialism large scale functioning socialism in modern world history. Without knowing much about them, myself, I would imagine they were inefficient and would not have had whatever success legend assigns them were it not for the emergency facing the Republicans during their war.

      But getting back to American liberalism vs. leftism, there's a lot to glean from this Richard Grossman passage [LINK]:

      [QUOTE] [42:56] What did we have after the populists were crushed, after the 1900s? We have the movement over the next fifteen years or so that is called the Progressive Era. And we learn more about that in school than we learn about the populists. And I think it is very important in the process of thinking how we got here, how we got into this mess [of rule by corporatism].

      The progressives were almost the opposite of the populists in that they basically conceded that the corporation would be the dominant institution of our time and that the best that they could do would be to try to make it a little less bad; that they would try to find the best men that could run it; and try to control 'em around the edges. And so when we got to the New Deal and the Great Depression it is very important to understand it was the progressive agenda that was picked up and not the populist agenda. [END QUOTE]

    19. The link http://bit.ly/1IKjpMH works for me.

    20. It did for me as well when I switched browsers. Sorry for inconveniencing you.

      Probably nobody was reminded of this bad vote when Biden ran in 2008 because he was not much more of a contender in his second run than he was in his first.

  6. Beauty and the Blogger

    "If that first wife hadn’t been beautiful, it wouldn’t have been so bad?"

    Blogger Somerby, criticizing the choice of adjectives by Novelist Dowd.

    "Chicago’s public schools are overwhelmingly black and Hispanic. Its schools are full of beautiful kids from “black and Latino neighborhoods.”

    "The Post continues to cheerlead “reform” in the DC schools. We’d love to see the paper try a bit harder to explain improved passing rates in schools like Tubman.

    Beautiful kids attend such schools. To borrow from what Rhee used to say, this level of reporting isn’t good enough, given the needs of the beautiful kids Hughes used to greet in the halls."

    "The segment runs about one half hour. Because of the beautiful Haitian kids it involves, the segment is very much worth watching.

    That said, we’ll suggest that you Take the Haiti Challenge!"

    "On four of last year’s five tests, white students in the U.S. outscored students in Finland. Our schools still struggle with beautiful kids who have no counterpart in Finland."

    "That means that they're also grossly misled about the beautiful children and hard-working teachers found within those schools."

    Only non white children are beautiful in Bobworld.
    Because he is the only one who cares.

    1. I took the Haitian challenge and won!

      I got to spend the evening with Bill Clinton spanking a super model with a ruler.

    2. Ah, but would Bob care as much if those non-white children weren't beautiful?

    3. KZ is correct that the word "beautiful" is being used with purpose. However, it is not the same purpose in the two situations described.

      In Dowd's case, the adjective beautiful is added to emphasize the tragedy of Biden's loss, to heighten the pathos.

      In Somerby's case, the adjective beautiful is used to emphasize that the minority kids being neglected are worthy, deserving of care.

      Somerby is certainly not saying that only minority kids are beautiful when he complains about Dowd's use of that adjective. He is saying that Dowd is manipulating readers by making it seem that Biden is more obligated to run because the loss of his wife (Beau's mother) is that much greater (more tragic) because she was beautiful. He is sarcastic when he asks whether she would have been mourned less had she been less attractive. He tells us the adjective is gratuitous.

      Being locked in a prison of literalness, KZ doesn't understand the pictures painted by words, the purposes they serve in the hands of skilled writers, the way they contribute to reader response, often outside their conscious awareness. KZ thinks that what Somerby did and what Dowd did are the same, equivalent, because they both used the same word.

      The world is no doubt a confusing place for someone as brain damaged as KZ. However, his greatest problem is that he hates Somerby and ascribes bad intent to him, then seeks out examples to post here day-after-day, never with any substance and always at length. It would be a huge bore if it weren't so darn pathetic.

    4. Whoever and wherever KZ is, was, or may never be, he sure brings out the length in you.

    5. 3:13 what a beautiful thought:

      "In Somerby's case, the adjective beautiful is used to emphasize that the minority kids being neglected are worthy, deserving of care."

      "Black lives are beautiful...and matter. When they're kids."

    6. You're so good at quoting, please quote all the derogatory things Somerby has ever said about black adults, as a group.

  7. Zombie journalism. From Scrippsmedia.com, Mina Abgoon, August 1, 2015:

    The New York Times reported Saturday that the Vice President and his associates have been holding meetings at his Washington home to discuss just that.
    “Biden is also talking to friends, family and donors about jumping in,” The Times further reported. “The 72-year-old vice president has been having meetings at his Washington residence to explore the idea of taking on Hillary in Iowa and New Hampshire."
    Sources tell the Times that Biden had been especially moved by his late son Beau’s desire for him to run. Beau, a former attorney general of Delaware, died in May of brain cancer at the age of 46.
    Michael Thornton, a Boston lawyer and longtime Biden supporter reportedly said in an interview, “He was so close to Beau and it was so heartbreaking that, frankly, I thought initially he wouldn’t have the heart.” He added, “But I’ve had indications that maybe he does want to — and ‘that’s what Beau would have wanted me to do.’”
    The Times noted that the Vice President's younger son, Hunter, also encouraged him to seek the presidency.

  8. What happened 23 years ago? Oh, I recall. The Times ran a story about a Governor who had a business partner with a regulatory matter involving another business before the state. So the business partner paid the Governor's wife to represent him before the state regulator who had been appointed by the Governor.

    You know, I asked about this the other day and not a single Howler reader objected to this perfectly routine manner of conducting public business.

    1. You left out that the Governor and his wife were broke and in debt.

    2. Shorter 2:06 - "Waaah! The fish won't bite on my empty hook."

      2:22 - "You left out the fact the Governor and his wife were broke and in debt was as irrelevant 23 years ago as it is now."

      FTFY - adios.

    3. Except the wife never represented the business partner before state regulators, who stuck it to him good.

    4. "The Rose firm has said that another partner at the firm, Richard Massey, conducted most of the work before the securities board. However, correspondence between the law firm and the securities department shows that either Mrs. Clinton or Massey could be contacted for information. Further, Mrs. Clinton was involved to the extent that she drafted an opinion for the firm, concluding that Madison, as an Arkansas chartered institution, could lawfully issue preferred stock. In May, 1985, Ms. Bassett responded to the law firm by letter addressed to Mrs. Clinton, in which she agreed with Mrs. Clinton’s conclusion and approved Madison’s application to issue preferred stock. In September, 1985, the securities commissioner approved the service corporation conditioned on Madison raising the required capital by the end of 1985. Madison never raised the capital and the service corporation was not formed. In 1986, Madison was insolvent and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC, an independent executive agency that insures deposits in qualified banks and savings institutions) took control, ousting Mr. McDougal as owner. Thus, although it is unclear whether Mrs. Clinton appeared before the regulatory board (lawyers at the firm have said they cannot recall her ever appearing before the commission), she was actively involved behind the scenes in Madison’s efforts to gain approval to issue preferred stock and engage in brokerage activities."

      From Hillary Clinton Quarterly, a Pro-Hillary Site


    5. Frank Marafiote is a Republican. It isn't hard to see that this source has very little love for HRC. Calling it "pro-Hillary" is ratfucking.

    6. And lying, but that's how the haters roll.

  9. Today's meme is that Hillary Clinton is secretly terrified that Biden will run because it will destroy her chances of nomination -- despite the fact that the HRC campaign has said nothing to that effect and has treated Biden's possible campaign as if it were no big deal.

    1. Biden will do better than he ever has.

      And if Rachel has him on as a Maddowketeer she will be right if she calls it his third try.

    2. @ 3:18

      After the Biden camp floated the trial balloon about running for POTUS , HRC released another introduction video of herself where she reveals she had a mother. Certainly sounds like desperation.

    3. Cicero, you are well aware that HRC's ads are the beginning of her media buys in support of her campaign. There wouldn't have been time to put together such an ad campaign in the short time between these Biden stories and her rollout.

      This is pretty desperate trolling.

    4. @ 5:02

      floating face down in the tub.

    5. @ 7:30

      It is the timing of the video release, not the making of it ,that isn't coincidental to Biden's bid.

    6. @ 8:42 - keep digging, you're only ankle deep.

    7. @ 8:56

      You might want to confiscate the shovel from HRC, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills as Federal Judge Sullivan is about to bury them in their self dug trench.

      "Judge Slams Hillary and Huma, Orders Answers"

      "Judge Sullivan strikes again, demanding explanation for missing emails from Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills under penalty of perjury"

    8. Quaker in a BasementAugust 6, 2015 at 6:23 PM

      Cicero, another stunt by Judicial Watch. You don't really expect that to turn up anything meaningful, do you?

  10. Just asking Bob, but did you notice when the NY Times reluctantly took back its false story about HRC and Fox News' website slowly backed away from the false tale that Fox headlined it as "Paper changes story after Clinton campaign complains"...I.E., not a "correction" but the MSM "caving to a Clinton".

    1. @ Unknown

      The NYT did change "criminal referral" to "security referral" and "investigation into email account" instead of "investigation into HRC" after Clinton minions complained.

      The changes were "a response to complaints we received from the Clinton camp that we thought were reasonable, and we made them," said Michael Schmidt, one of the reporters who wrote the article.

      That the NYT initial reporting was false, the fact that the story was amended in the middle of the night right after HRC complained is indeed factual.

    2. The problem with attributing the change to complaints from Clinton is that (1) it makes it sound as if she was wielding influence, (2) it makes her sound like a crybaby who can't take the rough and tumble of politics.

      Papers are supposed to get their facts right. When a mistake is pointed out, they are supposed to verify the facts and then issue a correction. It is not customary to say where the complaint came from because it doesn't matter -- what matters is that readers be accurately informed.

      So it was majorly wrong for the NY Times to state that the changes were because of Clinton's complaint and it was wrong for Fox to announce that as a story itself. Neither is playing fair and both are violating journalistic ethics.

    3. @ 6:43

      barely breathing out of both sides of his/her/its mouth

    4. @ 7:28

      As a former FLOTUS, U.S. Senator, Secretary of State, and one of three heads of the Clinton Foundation, HRC has enormous influence and does indeed wield it.
      HRC is constantly whining about being the victim of some conspiracy and hides behind her gender for self-aggrandizement.

      What journalistic ethic did FNC violate in repeating what The NYT journalists stated?

    5. @ 8:39

      nary a pulse

    6. So, cicero is not aware of the 1990s + witch hunt against the Clintons or that changing a story because it has been shown to be wrong is quite different from cravenly caving to change a story in fear of an overwhelmingly powerful force. And do note the post hoc ergo propter hoc in his above ignorant comment.

    7. @ Unknown,

      Is that the same style of "witch hunt" in the 1990's that SCOTUS Thomas was the target of?

    8. @cicero

      I would think that the decades long hate campaign against the Clintons differs somewhat from Thomas' problems with his also Black associate Anita Hill. And why go into Thomas' self loathing so clearly revealed in his writings or the irrational hatred he spews like a geyser at everyone, especially members of his own race?

    9. Doesn't Thomas remind you of someone? Let's see if I can find self loathing in his writing somewhere.....

      "We liberals are the problem now too! We're lazy and we aren't very smart. We exude a moral squalor. We're lazy and dumb and our morals are bad."

      B. Somerby

  11. "Some time,Rock, when the team's up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go in there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper. I don't know where I'll be, Rock, but I'll know about it and I'll be happy." Dowd is Irish Catholic, isn't she?