Supplemental: New data concerning the water in Flint!

SATURDAY, JANUARY 30, 2016

New York Times swamps Maddow:
Last evening, viewers of the Maddow Show were treated to one of the program's silliest recurrent features.

We don't refer to the Friday Night News Dump, in which the host gets to clap her hands, pretend she's a child (and a game show host), and play old videotape of herself.

Six minutes were wasted that way last night. But that isn't what we mean.

Last evening, we got to enjoy our weekly "News Dump," but along the way, we also got something that's even more foolish. Midway through the show, we got one of Maddow's trademark faux self-corrections, in which she pretends to correct a (very minor) mistake she has made, thus showing how honest she is.

In last evening's feigned self-correction, Maddow pretended to correct a mistake which she pretended she had committed on Tuesday evening's program. In truth, there had been no such mistake Tuesday night; in that sense, there was no correction.

Despite these minor problems, Maddow performed her latest overacted version of this gong, in which her viewers get played.

We'd like to show you the text of last night's gong, but the transcript hasn't been posted yet, not even by Nexis. Maybe we'll do so next week. If you have access to the videotape, we advise you to watch it. As you do, marvel at the ridiculous ways Maddow feigns repentance for the embarrassing, very minor mistake which actually never occurred.

Doggone it! Last night's program started with eleven minutes of otherwise useless self-promotion. It ended with the moronic News Dump. Along the way, we got the faux self-correction.

You were also handed a ludicrous account of the viewership of Thursday night's Trump-free GOP debate. Maddow's account was pure narrative, all the way down. We may show you what we mean once the transcript has been posted by our own slacker news channel.

In short, we were handed a lot of the standard BS on last night's Maddow Show. The self-correction caper may be the best of this program's trademark hustles, since it's a gambit in which we're persuaded, through means that are less than obsessively honest, about the host's uncontrollable honesty.

Rachel Maddow's a real piece of work! That brings us to the new information about the water in Flint.

Yesterday, a federal official released new data about the water samples which are being taken in Flint. In this morning's New York Times, Abby Goodnough actually used some actual numbers in her news report:
GOODNOUGH (1/30/16): Nicole Lurie, assistant secretary for preparedness and response for the United States Public Health Service, said 26 water samples, out of nearly 4,000 collected, contained lead at levels higher than 150 parts per billion. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that lead in drinking water should be below 15 parts per billion.

Flint residents received filters designed to remove lead up to 150 parts per billion, Ms. Lurie said, adding that they could still be effective above that level.

“This does not mean that we think there’s a problem with the filters,” she said. “In fact, everything we know tells us that they are performing well.”
Ever-so-slowly, information is leaking out concerning the current state of the water in Flint. We wouldn't say that Goodnough did a comprehensive job in today's report, which focuses on other important questions which have been examined in slipshod fashion on Maddow's horrible program. But she does provide some basic statistical information.

According to the figures in that passage, 26 samples, out of 4000, have exceeded the level which is said to be safe in you're using a water filter. That means that 99.3% of the samples are theoretically safe if you're using a filter.

No one should have to use a water filter, of course. Presumably, this situation won't be resolved as long as these filters are needed.

Beyond that, Goodnough's data barely scratch the surface of the questions which should be explored by journalists in this matter. For example, here's a question to which we don't know the answer, though Professor Marc Edwards presumably does, if Maddow would ever ask him:

In the typical American city, how many such water samples would be above 150 parts per billion? Any at all? An embarrassing number? What's the situation facing parents and kids in other cities, in American cities writ large?

We mention Goodnough's data for a reason. If you watched the Maddow Show last night, you saw the host rant and rail about these new federal data. You saw enact her latest absurd morality play, the one concerning that water cooler in that one state office building.

You got to see all that dust. You just didn't see her cite the actual numbers which let us start to form a picture of the current sweep of the problem in Flint. On Monday, assuming the transcripts appear, we'll show you the way she reported this matter instead.

On balance, Maddow is a disaster. In our view, she's right up there with the most unbalanced people who have ever hosted "cable news" programs. And yes, that puts her right up there with some very unbalanced TV stars.

We the liberals have a hard time seeing this about Maddow. We have tended to fall for her self-corrections, utterly faux though they are. (Conservatives have a similar problem with some of their favorite stars.)

On Monday, we'll return to this matter. How much information are you getting, as opposed to those old standbys, narrative, fury, excitement?

For extra credit only: Did you note the last two prizes which were included in last evening's News Dump? Did the inclusion of those prizes strike you as possibly odd?

57 comments:

  1. Maddow tends to over prepare for interviews. That you can't argue with.

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    1. You can argue with it -- but you cannot understand as a comment to this posting.

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    2. She over prepares pal. `Stop trying to thwart facts.

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    3. I over heard Kristin Scott Thomas talking shti about Maddow at Chumleys.

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    4. I heard she hates soup.

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    5. I see dead people whipser to their horses.

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    6. She is one of the most, if not the most, best smelling cable news hosts in the modern cable news era.

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    7. It is the hot tub.

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  2. Here's Kevin Drum's latest post on lead.

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/01/lead-and-race-flint%E2%80%94and-everywhere-else

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    1. Drum read the same New York Times article Bob did. He himself includes some quotes, including this:

      "Kim Dietrich, a professor of environmental health at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, said that based partly on the blood lead levels of children in Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s study, he did not think serious long-term health problems would be widespread."

      Then Drum himself immediately says:

      "I've spoken with Dietrich, and he's not a guy who takes the effects of lead lightly. If he says the long-term effects in Flint are likely to be modest, I'd pay attention to him.

      But why would the effects be modest?"

      You will note that two times Drum uses a phrase he attributes to Dr. Dietrich...health effects are likely to be modest. You will also note that Dietrich is not quoted as saying that at all. He said serious effects are not likely to be widespread.

      I can imagine "Dr." Bob and "Dr." Kevin explaining to parents of a seriously lead poisoned child:

      "Don't worry, the serious damage to your child is really modest because he is the only kid on this block who suffers from it. That means overall the effect is not widespread so it is, therefore modest."

      More embarassing jibber jabber from a liberal journalist.

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    2. Serious and modest do not mean the same thing. It is possible for a kid on a block to have lead problems while others do not if that child's environment contains other sources of lead besides what is in the water.

      Quibbling over meanings of words doesn't invalidate anything Drum says, just as it doesn't invalidate Somerby's posts here.

      You need to go back on your meds. You are embarrassing yourself.

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    3. Serious and modest do not mean the same thing.

      Right. I think that was the point of @11:39.

      Maybe he/she needs meds. You could stand an IQ boost @ 12:32.

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    4. OK, I'll say this slowly so @2:15 can understand it too. When you say something is not big, you mean it is smaller. When you say effects are not serious, you mean they are modest (whether that word is used explicitly or not). Modest means smaller. Not serious means modest. @11:39 does not understand this because he/she (KZ) quibbles that the word modest was not used. KZ doesn't do implication. We all know this.

      @2:15 seems to have only one method of participating in discussion -- namecalling.

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    5. "You needd to go back on your meds" said the person now accusing someone of being a name caller.

      "When you say sonething is not big, you mean it is smaller" says a person now foolishly stating something demonstrably untrue through use of two words not being discussed.

      "When you say effects are not serious, you mean they are modest" says a person cementing the reputation that their brain is not big (although perhaps not smaller than others) by invokinbg a phrase nobody used.

      "KZ does not do implication" is offered for even less logical reasons than inserting two words and stating the meaning of a phrase nobody used. But it does suggest the author does do implication, likes to substitute the meaning of one word for another, and say using different words than those used explicity is acceptable.

      Therefore, according to @12:32/2:45 it is perfectly acceptable to say Al Gore claimed his initiative in Congress invented the internet.

      Pinheadedness is not seriously widespread in this combox but that doesn't mean you have been modest about demonstrating yours.

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    6. Excessive literalism is a symptom of brain injury or mental disorder.

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    7. Final ploy apropos in a Howler defense: repeat something you have tried before.

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  3. And what does Bob leave out of his Daily Dump on Rachel Maddow? By "leave out", we mean what part of the quoted article from the New York Times does Bob Somerby "disappear" as befits the emarassing liberal journalist he himself is?

    Lets see, it directly follows the quote he does provide.

    "Still, she said, all residents should have their water tested as soon as possible. Officials also cautioned that children under 6 and pregnant women should use bottled water for drinking and preparing food."

    Bob Somerby does deign to sho enough sympathy to tell you "... 99.3% of the samples are theoretically safe if you're using a filter.

    No one should have to use a water filter, of course."

    Old Bob. Doggone it. Once again "we were handed a lot of the standard BS... [about]last night's Maddow Show."

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    1. Why does it make any difference whatsoever if Somerby omitted this routine disclaimer?

      Did something go wrong in your life yesterday that caused you to visit this site this morning to pick on Somerby?

      Maddow is a bad journalist. You need to go to church more often. If you gave a damn about lead or children or Flint or anyone else Somerby writes about, you might be more than the worthless person you know yourself to be.

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    2. Bob On Friday devoted a whole post to the premise that the ancient vendetta [pursued against Clinton by the New York Times caused them to omit statistics from a poll indicating Clinton's unfavorable ratings had fallen as well as his favorable ratings.

      Bob himself just omitted, one day later, the closing sentences of a paragraph he was quoting that idicate that the water whose quality he is now intimating is retored, is off limits for children under six and pregnant women.

      And you are catigating me for noting this.

      You aren't worthless. That is too good a term for you. You are an idiot who can be led around by the nose by someone. You in essence are the same as a Trump voter. That is not wortheless. It is dangerous.

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    3. As has been explain to you before, Somerby cannot quote the entire article so he, just like everyone else, limits his quotes to the points relevant to the argument he is making. That is not "disappearing" anything unless the material omitted results in a slanted presentation of what is included. That isn't the case here. He omitted something irrelevant to his argument. It was a standard disclaimer, of the type that everyone understands. Of course no amount of lead is advisable for vulnerable people like pregnant women and young children. That doesn't make the water poisoned or necessarily unsafe for adults.

      You dislike Somerby. What else is new?

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    4. Good description of your mindset.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/democrat-voting-donald-trump_us_56ad5d02e4b0010e80ea6021

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    5. "Somerby cannot quote the entire article so he, just like everyone else, limits his quotes to the points relevant to the argument he is making."

      I think that was indeed the point Anon. @ 11:18 made. Bob. just like everyone else, including peole like the New York Times reporter he accused of pursuing a vendetta, and Rachel Maddow who he accuses of misleading clowning, does exactly what Bob does.

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    6. No, excerpting to make a point is not like misleading clowning or pursuing a vendetta. Not even close.

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    7. Excerpting to make a point is a good phrase used to defend or omitting to avoid contradictory information refuting that point.

      Of course none could accuse a comedian of clowning or Somerby of having a vendetta.

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    8. Dave the Guitar PlayerFebruary 1, 2016 at 1:33 PM

      I think it is fair to point out that the New York Times and Rachel Maddow are intended to be sources of information and, therefore, can be criticized for leaving out relevant facts. It is not quite fair to say that Bob is required to repeat everything the NYT and Rachel says in order to criticize them for not telling the whole story.

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    9. Bob's blog is intended to be a source of information. He should be consistent, He isn't, so his credibility is fair game, especially if his criticizes others for the very inconsistency he demonstrates.

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  4. Something else mainstream media muser B. Somerby missed.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/24/us/when-the-water-turned-brown.html

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  5. Of course Bob doesn't ask what percentage of homes have filters, what percentage of faucets have filters, or even if the filtrs being supplied fits all faucets in Flint homes. Hint: The filters don't fit on the faucets of the mayor of Flint.

    http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/michigan/flint-water-crisis/2016/01/29/flint-water-samples-high-lead/79542990/

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    1. The Howler does not ask. TDH thinks up what Maddow should have, but did not, ask.

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  6. Stop Me If You've Heward This One Before

    Comedian Turned Botique Blogger Bob Somerby took on a Rachel maddow show and companined about:

    1) Friday News Dump
    2) Maddow Self Correction
    3) Maddow Opening Segment
    4) Maddow Presidential Debate Coverage
    5) Lack of a program Transcript.

    Somerby managed to cram in items 1-4 without mentioning a thing covered in any of them but got in all 5 before covering thetopic in his headline.

    A marvelous performance much like every other in his War Against Maddow.

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  7. How was Maddow swamped?

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  8. Maddow should be in jail.

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    1. Sharing a cell with Mrs. Governor Ultrasound!

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  9. Maddow is an embarrassment to Rhodes Scholars. Had she been one when I was one, we would have stripped her down to her Lanz nightgown, covered her in tar and tahini paste, and left her in the courtyard for ravens and Clement Attlee to lick.

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    1. One layer was certainly 17th century. The 18th century in him is obvious. There was the 19th century, and a large slice, of course, of the 20th century; and another, curious layer which may possibly have been the 21st.

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  10. For the rest of the evening, Maddow kept letting activists and political figures describe the need to replace the pipes right now.

    Maddow had started her town hall meeting with a speech about the need to replace those pipes right now. Maddow isn't an expert on any of this, of course.

    The politicians thrilled the crowd. The expert wasn't consulted.

    Maddow began the evening with her own fervent speech. She then played videotape of herself with a master plumber. Maddow isn't an expert on this. But then, neither is the master plumber, except on matters of plumbing.

    The program started with Maddow, a total non-expert, describing the need for instant action.

    On videotape, we then saw her touring Flint with a second non-expert. He told her he could scramble a thousand plumbers in support of her action plan.

    Everybody can be great. Because everybody can serve.
    You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve.

    You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

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  11. Another good one Somerby. Nobody keeps Madcow accountable like you do.

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  12. Maddow isn't the only public ignoramus prattling about the issue. Me niece posted on Facebook a list of half-truths by Michael Moore. My niece lives nowhere near Flint. Why is this issue so important to her? Why is it so important to Rachel Maddow's viewers?

    I believe the answer is virtue signaling. The originator of the phrase described it as:
    the way in which many people say or write things to indicate that they are virtuous. Sometimes it is quite subtle. By saying that they hate the Daily Mail or Ukip, they are really telling you that they are admirably non-racist, left-wing or open-minded. One of the crucial aspects of virtue signalling is that it does not require actually doing anything virtuous. It does not involve delivering lunches to elderly neighbours or staying together with a spouse for the sake of the children. It takes no effort or sacrifice at all.
    http://www.spectator.co.uk/2015/10/i-invented-virtue-signalling-now-its-taking-over-the-world/

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    1. David, be sure to read Kevin Drum:

      http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/01/lead-and-race-flint%E2%80%94and-everywhere-else

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  13. According to Forbes, Bernie Sanders is almost a millionaire with a net worth of $700,000. He apparently doesn't mind getting his own hands dirty in the ways he decries. A bit hypocritical for a true believer.

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    1. So he owns a house and has maybe a pension and a 401(k) or IRA. That's what $700,000 gets you these days. Hardly close to millionaire-dom.

      But you knew that, most likely.

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    2. I don't own a $500,000 house (in Vermont no less). He will get a govt defined benefit pension so what does he need a 401(k) for? Not quite the man of the people -- he is one of the elite compared to those he champions. $700,000 is 7/10 of a million and he is living in a low cost of living state with a rural poverty problem. Feel that Bern.

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    3. FDR came from a patrician family. JFK was very rich.

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    4. Progressives should be poor, so they can't exert any influence. Only the rich are worthy of power, and only conservatives are worth of wealth.

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    5. Anyone with a conscience should give substantial amounts of money away and live on what is needed to sustain themselves comfortably. They shouldn't accumulate wealth that denies others that same comfort. This is a religious principle in some faiths. It is a liberal tenet of faith. Sanders preaches one thing but lives differently. That's called hypocrisy, especially when he is throwing his purity in Clinton's face.

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    6. FDR was born in New York. JFK was born in Massachusetts. FDR had polio. JFK had a bad back. FDR was married to Eleanor. JFK was married to Jacqueline. FDR skippered boats. JFK skippered boats too. FDR died. JFK died too.

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  14. Maddow routinely takes credit for discovering issues that people like Amy Goodman have been covering for years.

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    1. Like Al Gore and Love Canal.

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    2. Al Gore wasn't a journalist at the time.

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    3. Which issues?

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    4. Except that she doesn't. She very generously gives credit to the local journalists for the stories they break and she turns the national spotlight on, and always has those local journalists as guests on her show.

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    5. It isn't an act of generosity when you give credit to another person for their work. It is the ethically right thing to do. That she profits from their hard work instead of doing it herself makes her less of a journalist and more of a clown. Having them on her show means she has to do even less preparation.

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    6. When has Maddow ever had Amy Goodman on her show?

      I've never heard of Goodman even being mentioned on MSNBC. And yet they mine her show for all the good nuggets.

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  15. Here is a media narrative Somerby has overlooked, once again showing bias against conservative politicians.

    talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/palin-i-never-blamed-obama-ptsd

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  16. One may say anything about the Maddow Show - anything that might enter the most disordered imagination. The only thing one can't say is that it's rational.

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    1. I agree that Somerby is not rational about Maddow's show, but I would not say he says "anything" nor is it disordered. In fact he says the same thing over and over an in pretty much the same order.

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