READING COMEY: Roads not taken, questions not asked!

FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2018

Part 5—Once again, god gets a pass:
We haven't read James B. Comey's book, the lofty and deeply thoughtful "A Higher Loyalty."

In part for that reason, "reading Comey" in the colloquial sense isn't real easy for us.

He strikes us as a rather strange duck, in large part due to his obsession with hiw own moral standing. Reading Niebuhr in college was one thing. Obsessing on Niebuhr at age 57 strikes us as different and odd.

Some reviewers have shown true belief in Comey as they've reviewed his book. For many years, Comey was treated as a mainstream god—as the most upright person then living. In her review of the his book for the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani seemed to read Comey that same old way. The gent was still Comey the god.

Other critics have taken a different approach, saying that Comey comes across, in his new book, as a bit of a moral exhibitionist. But in our view, it's even been frustrating to follow the work of these critics.

Basic questions have gone unasked; basic issues have gone unstudied. It's the way our mainstream press corps has long played the game.

Consider one basic criticism of Comey's behavior during the 2016 campaign, when his actions may have changed the outcome of the election. We refer to the claim that Comey broke basic Justice Department policies as he attacked Candidate Clinton, first in July 2016, then again in late October.

Is that criticism accurate? Did Comey break clear-cut, basic Department policies when he savaged Clinton?

Did Comey really do such a thing? Consider the discussion which occurred on Monday evening's Last Word.

(MSNBC has posted the wrong transcript for Monday night's show, so we can't give you a link.)

As the discussion in question began, Lawrence threw to Matt Miller, a Justice Department spokesperson under Eric Holder. Miller said that Comey "still doesn't have a good reason to explain why he did what he did" during the 2016 campaign. According to Miller, "When you see his explanations of the Clinton investigation in particular, I think a lot of them just don't really add up."

We tend to agree with that. At this point, Lawrence turned to the New York Times' David Leonhardt. In a classic contradictory statement, Leonhardt brought the eternal note of scripted blather in:
O'DONNELL (4/16/18): David Leonhardt, your reaction to what we have been listening to?

LEONHARDT: I agree with that [with what Miller said]. I mean, I think, look, James Comey comes across as very honest in these interviews. He admits that his wife and his daughters attended the Women's March. Those are things that, if you were just trying to cultivate your image, you wouldn't say, but they are honest.

On the other hand, he is not persuasive about why he made a decision about Hillary Clinton. Department policy, as Matt knows better than I do, is very clear. You don't talk about active investigations that could disrupt campaigns the way he did it. And so this whole dichotomy he set up, "speak or conceal," just doesn't make any sense.

Justice Department policy is you don't go out and criticize people you are not going to charge and affect a presidential campaign in the final days.
And so, I understand that he still believes he did the right thing, but I don`t think the rest of us should believe that he did the right thing in 2016.
Alas, poor Leonhardt! As if in thrall to an ancient law of the guild, he started by saying that Comey has been "coming across as very honest" in his initial interviews in support of his book.

His one example, which he pluralized, made no earthly sense. When Comey "admits" that his wife and daughters attended the Women's March, he is, in fact, helping his image among the groups who will support him now that he's locked in combat with Donald J. Trump.

This is hardly an example of a "very honest" person making an admission against interest. Sadly, though, this is the way life forms like Leonhardt play.

Leonhardt started in the traditional manner, praising Comey's honesty. At this point, the real nonsense started, with Leonhardt agreeing that Comey's statements about 2016 don't make any sense.

Along the way, Leonhardt made the claim you've heard a million times by now. In summary, this is what Leonhardt said:
Justice Department policy is very clear. You don't talk about active investigations that could disrupt a campaign in its final days. Also, you don't go out and savage people you aren't going to charge.
By now, you've heard it a million times over the past two years. According to a million pundits, Justice Department policy was very clear on each of those ways, and Comey broke those policies—first in July 2016, then again late in October.

Justice Department policies were clear, and Comey broke those policies! Indeed, this is exactly what Rod Rosenstein said in his now-famous memo for Attorney General Sessions:
ROSENSTEIN (5/9/17): I cannot defend the Director's handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton's emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.

The director was wrong to usurp the Attorney General's authority on July 5, 2016, and announce his conclusion that the case should be closed without prosecution. It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement. At most, the Director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors. The Director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI Director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department. There is a well-established process for other officials to step in when a conflict requires the recusal of the Attorney General. On July 5, however, the Director announced his own conclusions about the nation's most sensitive criminal investigation, without the authorization of duly appointed Justice Department leaders.

Compounding the error, the Director ignored another longstanding principle: we do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation. Derogatory information sometimes is disclosed in the course of criminal investigations and prosecutions, but we never release it gratuitously. The Director laid out his version of the facts for the news media as if it were a closing argument, but without a trial. It is a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.
Oof! Rosenstein said it way back when. He said "almost everyone" agrees that Comey broke "longstanding" principles and policies when he launched his unauthorized attacks on Candidate Clinton starting that July.

For perhaps the ten millionth time, Leonhardt said it again this Monday night. Comey violated "very clear" Justice Department policies, Leonhardt said, even as he that Comey "comes across as very honest" when he disputes these claims.

Now for our questions about the current treatment of Comey, who was once known as Comey the god:

Have you seen any major news organization present a serious report about this familiar claim? Have you seen any such news org establish the existence of the established policies Comey is said to have violated?

Also:

Have you seen any interviewer ask Comey if he did break clearly established policies, and if so, why he did?

We haven't seen anyone do these things. Simply put, we haven't seen the former god pushed about what he did. Comey, the once and future god, is still getting a major pass, just as he so plainly did in real time.

Understand what happened on Monday night. Leonhardt kept saying that Comey "comes across as very honest," even as he agreed with Miller's statement that Comey's explanations "just don't really add up."

Comey was getting a pass all over again as this nonsense occurred. With this, we come to the way the very honest Comey keeps throwing Loretta Lynch under the bus.

Let's give (some) credit where due! In his full, five-hour interview with Comey, George Stephanopoulos pushed Comey harder than you might have expected about his trashing of Lynch. He asked Comey many questions before he finally gave up.

How has Comey treated Lynch? Let's recall the record:

In July 2016, Loretta Lynch was James B. Comey's boss. Crazy as the statement may sound, she was his superior within the Justice Department!

As Rosenstein noted in his memo, Comey usurped his boss' authority when he launched by first attack on Candidate Clinton that month. He didn't even tell his boss that he planned to ignore Department policies in launching his surprise attack.

That's what the godlike Niebuhr reader did in July 2016. From that point on, he has repeatedly suggested that he did what he did because his superior was possibly dirty. Stephanopoulos pushed him on the extremely shaky "Russian email" part of that story, but finally gave up in despair.

Leonhardt would probably tell you that Comey "came across as very honest" as he stumbled his way through Stephanopoulos' questions. We'll only tell you this about this factually jumbled matter:

Comey's story concerning Lynch seems to have changed in the past two years. Today, he claims he never thought that Lynch was in the bag for Clinton.

He claims he never believed that stupid Russkie transmission. That doesn't seem to be what "Mr. Comey's defenders" were telling the New York Times at this time last year.

The story here is complicated, but uh-oh! People who have read Comey's book seem to say that he still seems to be sliming Lynch, if only perhaps by inference. Even a leading Comey-enabler like Rachel Maddow has now, ever so briefly, raised this point:
MADDOW (4/19/18): The thing that troubles me about that is it seems like even the way you talk about it in the book sort of casts aspersions on Loretta Lynch and whether or not she was doing anything wrong with regard to this investigation.
In the summer and fall of 2016, Maddow may have been the liberal world's most important Comey-enabler. Even she has now raised this point about Comey's book, if only as a brief afterthought. In July 2016, she bowed low to the Establishment God, permitting him to run roughshod over both Clinton and Lynch.

(Maddow did the same thing in the fall of 2012 when McCain and Schieffer began the sliming of Susan Rice in the course of inventing the Benghazi narrative. Benghazi and the emails defeated Candidate Clinton. As these damaging narratives were being invented, Rachel Maddow was totally MIA each time.)

Last night, even Maddow raised the Loretta Lynch question, if only briefly at the end of her hour with Comey. That said, no one has really challenged Comey on this point, and David Leonhardt is quick say that he still "comes across as very honest," even though "this whole dichotomy he set up...just doesn't make any sense."

Comey doesn't exactly "come across" that way to us. But especially now that he's anti-Trump, the children aren't going to tell you that, and the children aren't going to push him.

As far as we know, Matt Miller had it right this past Monday night. To our ear, Comey's statements about 2016 still don't seem to make sense.

That said, that was then and this is now—and Comey is now anti-Trump. No one, least of all Maddow, is going to push him about the way he managed to get Trump elected to office.
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Comey threw Lynch under the bus, where she had plenty of company. People who have read his book, even including Maddow, say it still sounds like he's sliming that woman, his boss.

Would a reader of Niebuhr do such a thing? Leading stars of the mainstream press corps won't likely try to find out.

74 comments:

  1. Despite all his critical assessments of Comey's thinking, Somerby never closes the loop himself by relating Comey's dismissal of Lynch back to his inherent narcissism, and relating both of those to sexism. Comey didn't inform Lynch, didn't consult her, dismisses her because he considers himself the superior moral authority, the one in charge. He has NO RESPECT for Lynch. And that is an example of how sexism plays out in male dominated fields. Some men don't bother to criticize their female bosses. They treat them as irrelevant, nonexistent. They ignore them and never acknowledge their authority by informing or asking permission of them for anything.

    Somerby, this is what sexism looks like in real life. Lynch would never have permitted Comey to do what he was bent on doing. That's why he didn't consult her. Now ask yourself whether Comey might have considered Clinton a danger to the US, the weaker candidate, the wrong person to win office. A morally superior man might have considered it his duty to prevent that threat to our nation, regardless of Trump's failings. And what is he going to say about it in his book? He may not have been aware of his own motives and one has to have some self-awareness to write about it. If he had that self-awareness he wouldn't have done what he did.

    But for Somerby, gender issues don't exist unless he is trashing Stormy's body parts or telling men it is OK to sleep with young girls as long as their mothers approve.

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  2. "saying that Comey comes across, in his new book, as a bit of a moral exhibitionist"

    Who cares what he comes across as? The former Clinton mafia consigliere and J. Edgar Hoover wannabe is out of the picture, capitalizing on another bullshit tell-all book.

    Besides, he himself is being investigated now, and with any luck will spend the rest of his useless life in a federal penitentiary.

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    1. An (unreachable) link to Faux News. You're a very lazy, bad troll.

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    2. Trump is a liar and a thief.
      And (DinC) Putin's bitch.

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    3. Mao, your ingratitude is epic, given that Comey got your god elected president.

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    4. Thank God for his grace and mercy. I was getting worried that my dear dembots left me...

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    5. This is a good post by TDH. Trump's official rationale for firing Comey is set out in the Rosenstein memo which TDH partially quotes. Trump fired Comey because Comey screwed Clinton by the behavior we are now faulting Comey for. Truly bizarre. The full Rosenstein memo goes into even more detail on how Comey screwed up - you won't get a better explanation of it. I don't know why this isn't pointed out more often. Probably too hard to fit into a simple narrative.

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    6. AC/MA: Probably too hard to fit into any kind of a narrative when you're doubled over laughing at the claim that Trump fired Comey because the latter was too hard on Clinton. Also undercut by Trump's admission that he fired Comey because of "the Russia thing."

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    7. Well, not so fast. Apparently there has been a criminal referral of Clinton, Comey, Lynch and others. In the letter sent to Sessions, they fault Comey for NOT seeking prosecution of Clinton. A link to the letter is shown in this article.

      Also linked to in the article is a great piece by Matt Taibbi. He quotes from Comey’s “emabarrasingly puerile book”:

      “It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the re-started investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in the polls.”

      You’re right, AC/MA, this is no simple narrative. Just trying to parse Comey in that last makes my head hurt.

      Leroy

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    8. And deadrat is spot on.

      Leroy

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    9. The article you link to and the letter perhaps refer to a criminal referral to the DOJ, but that is not the same as the DOJ after investigation referring a person to the Attorney General or a grand jury for prosecution. The FBI found no basis for such a referral of Clinton, after investigation. The Attorney General, Lynch, recused herself by saying that she would abide by Comey's decision about further prosecution. Comey stated that Clinton was negligent but found no criminal wrongdoing. So this recent letter is just a letter sent to the DOJ by a bunch of cranks. Using the term referral to describe that letter is confusing and makes rubes think that some official finding has been made that warrants locking Clinton up, when it hasn't. The letter is a wish list and that's all.

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    11. 7:14 I totally agree, this is all made-up bullshit. Let's see where it goes, if anywhere. With Sessions in charge, you never know.

      Leroy

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    12. Yes, Jefferson Davis Sessions, another Republican staunch supporter of Trump.

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    13. While Comrade Troll is fussing over dembots here, only 48% of the Russian public trusts his paymaster's god only one month after his god's fraudulent re-election.

      Might be time to search for another cubicle, moy malen'kiy medved.

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    14. 7:14, did Lynch actually recuse herself? I have doubts. Show me the good stuff.

      Leroy

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    15. She stated that she would abide by whatever decision Comey recommended. She said that after her meeting with Bill Clinton because his visit raised questions about influence on her. You can google this yourself.

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    16. She declined the Trumpies' invitation to recuse herself after the overblown "tarmac" meeting with Bill Clinton and ultimately declined to headline the FBI's email investigation.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/the-attorney-general-could-have-ordered-fbi-director-james-comey-not-to-send-his-bombshell-letter-on-clinton-emails-heres-why-she-didnt/2016/12/21/7824d00a-c5fd-11e6-85b5-76616a33048d_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.65dd1ebfa585

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    17. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/02/us/politics/loretta-lynch-hillary-clinton-email-server.html

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    19. From the ever-reliable Ghastly Lady:

      "The attorney general’s response did little to quell a political tempest in Washington, with some Republicans calling for her to recuse herself from the case — a step she said she was not going to take."

      As I said, don't water it down. Give me the good stuff!

      Leroy

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    20. From the WahoPost article, "Rather than formally recuse herself, Lynch left ambiguous who would be making final decisions on issues regarding Hillary Clinton."

      Thanks, Not 714

      Leroy

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    21. Lynch would have been an idiot to jump in on the FBI email investigation at that point.

      If it wasn't the Trump monkeyhouse, I could have reasonably guessed that she was maneuvered into recusing herself from the email investigation, but that is way beyond the their capabilities.

      Besides, the pussy-grabber tape with Billy Bush was contemporaneous.

      Nevertheless, Clinton was actually gaining on Trump until Comey's 2nd intervention in October 2016.

      Clinton ran a bad campaign, my ass.

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    22. Against Bernie? Yes, she did

      Leroy

      P.S. Moon is in heaven now, but I'll bet that he has bongoes.

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    23. Why don't you give your trolling a rest, Leroy? Go pour yourself another rum beverage after you finish the one your working on and take the night off.

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  3. I don't understand why Somerby thinks Comey wouldn't be thinking about Niebuhr at this stage in his life. Christians read Christian thinkers as part of maintaining their faith. Comey's job involved criminal justice and Niebuhr was an ethicist who wrote about justice. Why wouldn't Comey be reading and thinking about matters so relevant to his occupation? Would Somerby mock a philosophy professor for reading and talking about a philosopher in his area of expertise? Come to think of it, he probably would, even though thinking and writing about such a person is part of that professor's job. Thinking about the practical implementation of justice was Comey's job.

    If Somerby knew anything about Niebuhr, he might be thinking about whether the content of Niebuhr's philosophy might have given Comey justification for taking the law into his own hands, whether Comey sought justification in his faith, because it makes no sense that a man with a career like his would suddenly break the law in such a major way. Was he promised some reward by somebody or was there an appeal to his vanity as the only man who could save us all from some peril. Did Niebuhr encourage that belief or provide some absolution to Comey for what he ultimately did?

    But Somerby doesn't want to invest any time in that kind of research, despite being a former philosophy major himself. It is easier to call Comey sophomoric or a poser instead. Lazy, Somerby, so lazy.

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    1. Somerby can't decide if Comey is an "Other" who deserves our respect (Comey is a Christian and has been a lifelong Republican), or some sort of liberal hero who must be taken down.

      If only Comey had molested 14-year old girls a la Moore or beat his wife a la Porter or committed adultery with a porn star and then tried to shut her up ...then Somerby might have sympathized with Comey.

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    2. 1:04 Comey is a Christian? Christ, I hope not. Was Niebuhr, really? Besides expressing credulous belief in the Christian god, he strikes me more as a moralist in the tradition of secular humanism. I know this is getting old coming from me, but it has been posited that “There are normative standards that we discover together. Moral principles are tested by their consequences.”

      Sure… That describes Comey, he’s testing the limits! Hope his book does well.

      BTW, which law did Comey break. I’ve not heard of that.

      Leroy

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    3. Leroy: The "referral" calls out Comey for three things:

      1. Refusal to indict Clinton: 18USC1505 and 18USC1515(b). The former covers obstruction of justice in civil investigations under the Antitrust Civil Process Act or threats made to impede the “proper administration of law” in any governmental proceeding. The latter is merely the definition of the word corruptly.

      2. Leaking his memos: 18USC641, 793, and 1924(a). The first covers theft of public records; the second, the misuse of national defense information; the third, misuse of classified documents by office holders.

      3, Misleading Congress on the refusal to indict Clinton, namely whether he made the decision before interviewing Clinton when he said it was after and “inconsistencies’ about the FBI’s relationship with Steele: 18USC1621, 1001. The former covers perjury; the latter, cover-ups and false statements.

      The bad faith and cynical manipulation of the law would be breathtaking had it not become routine for Republicans. For #1, the sections of the Code aren’t germane. For #2, the context of “public records” is money or something of value (i.e. convertible to cash). And when Comey made the memos public, he was no longer an office holder because Trump had fired him.

      A criminal referral sounds ominous. For the executive branch, it’s used when an arm of the gov that has investigative powers (e.g, the IRS or OSHA) finds evidence of criminality. For Congress, it’s used when the Congressional ethics committees find evidence of a crime or when one of the chambers votes on contempt of Congress or perjury before or obstruction of Congress. No vote was take on anything. As Anonymous on 4/20/18 @7:14P notes, this “referral” has all the force and credibility of private citizen cranks calling the DAs office to urge them to prosecute the pilots of UFOs for violating the air space over their homes.

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    5. deadrat, thanks for the synopsis. I read, mostly, the “referral,” and I’m in agreement with you and 7:14, of course, but you do a great job of filling in the details.

      And now the DNC is suing. What timing! Someone must have blessed me: “May you live in interesting times.”

      Thanks 11:36 for the advice, just wish you’d given it sooner. Trolling is bad, I’ll work on restraining myself and adding, not subtracting. There's a little Dan Quayle in all of us, no? : )

      Leroy

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    6. "And now the DNC is suing. What timing! Someone must have blessed me: “May you live in interesting times.”"

      Meh. What's so interesting about that? More bullshit, film at 11.

      As Greenwald said:
      18 months after their crushing defeat at the hands of a game show host, the Democrats have still published no public autopsy about why they lost or have collapsed at all levels. They did, though, just file a lawsuit blaming Russia & WL for their loss

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    7. Hillary wrote a book called "What Happened." Unsurprising folks do not consider it a "public autopsy" and a perfect illustration of what she says in her chapter on sexism. 538 also published an analysis of how Comey and various other events affected the outcome. Too quantitative for Greenwald? Or maybe you guys just want to rub it in.

      According to the DNC, the lawsuit was filed on the theory that someone ought to be made to pay for the abuse of our election system. Obviously the White House will be doing nothing whatsoever about it.

      Greenwald is a bigger ass than Somerby.

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    8. Too bad Mao and Greenwald will only accept a PC autopsy, where America's white supremacy fetish is ignored because it makes Right-wingers sad.

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    9. "According to the DNC, the lawsuit was filed on the theory that someone ought to be made to pay for the abuse of our election system"

      Yeah, right. Here on this planet, however, their pathetic lawsuit is obviously designed (and timed) to influence the 2018 congressional elections, which certainly does amount to "abuse of our election system".

      I guess your liberal sages expect that accusing others of they're doing themselves will work real well for them. Because the voters are just as gullible as small children, right?

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    10. OMG!!!
      "Influencing Congressional elections", you say.
      Democrats are such amateurs. You're supposed to keep the citizenry in dire straights during the worst economic recession in 7 decades so you can make the other party look bad, to effect elections.
      BTW, did you hear the news, Democrats put party over country?

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  4. Not surprising a news show would focus on the more current news which concerns Trump and not dig up Clinton and the election.

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  5. Somerby took the trouble to read all 3 books by Mika Brzezinski, but can't bring himself to read Comey's one arguably more important book?

    POSTCARDS FROM THE LEDGE: Three ways of viewing top pundit's three books!

    THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2017)
    http://dailyhowler.blogspot.com/2017/09/postcards-from-ledge-three-ways-of.html?m=1

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  6. Go back to the transcripts of Hayes, Maddow and O'Donnell from the day Comey released the initial public statement about the email investigation (7/5/2016). There is no effusive praise of Comey.

    http://www.msnbc.com/transcripts/all-in/2016-07-05

    http://www.msnbc.com/transcripts/the-last-word/2016-07-05

    http://www.msnbc.com/transcripts/rachel-maddow-show/2016-07-05

    (Kornacki guest-hosted Maddow).

    In particular, look at the Hayes show. The same Matt Miller that Somerby quotes today said this:

    "MATTHEW MILLER. FORMER DOJ DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Yes, extraordinary,
    abnormal, totally unprecedented and appalling in a lot of ways. The
    Department of Justice and the FBI`s job is to investigate these cases. If
    they find a violation of law that they can prove in court, they bring an
    indictment and they make their case in court. And sometimes, they`ll talk
    about that case publicly when they`ve brought an indictment.

    But their job when they don`t bring charges, and this is true for every
    individual they investigate and some reason in Director Comey`s mind wasn`t
    true for Secretary Clinton. When they decline to bring charges, they can
    announce they`re not bringing charges, but what shouldn`t happen is for the
    director of the FBI to stand up at a press conference and make a bunch of
    reckless charges like he did against Hillary Clinton today."

    Sam Stein of Huffington Post said:

    "SAM STEIN, THE HUFFINGTON POST:
    And though you can argue that he probably was reading the law, and made a
    determination on that point, it`s hard to say that he looked at this and
    didn`t let politics get into the equation."

    Even Glenn Greenwald said:
    "GREENWALD: Though, again, I do think there are serious concerns with
    having an FBI director stand up and make these kinds of claims."

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  7. When nominating Comey to be FBI director, 'Mr Obama praised Mr Comey as a model of "fierce independence and deep integrity"'.

    The Senate confirmed James Comey as the new director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation by a 93 to 1 margin.

    Neither AG Lynch nor Obama took any action after Comey's July 2016 press conference, or his October surprise.

    So, who was it that treated Comey as a god?

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    1. Only Trump and Pence and their handlers in Moscow were genuflecting after Comey's October surprise, the intervention that ultimately threw the election to them.

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  8. Comey testified before Congress under oath. Whatever you think of his handling of the Clinton email affair, he swore to tell the truth. Now, one can claim that he lied or perjured himself, but that is a serious charge. One can also dispassionately attempt to separate personality from facts. He has made assertions under oath, many of which can be fact-checked. One can also review his history and see if his reputation as a truth-teller holds up under objective analysis.

    One's feeling that Comey is a "strange duck", aside from being debatable, is hardly a useful or fair approach of critiquing the factual claims in his book and his public appearances.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TDH isn't interested in talking about Comey's "factual claims" except in the light of journalists' reactions to Comey. This is to say that TDH is more interested in the reporting on Comey than on Comey himself. Maybe you think TDH should be writing a different blog. That would put you in good company here. (Well, not good, but you know what I mean.)

      Delete
    2. At least TDH tries, more often than not.

      Delete
    3. Weak tea, Deadrat. TDH long ago stopped reviewing journalism (it’s arguable he lost interest when his college buddy left the scene) and became the why we should give Fox a pass show, spanking uppity liberals only.

      Delete
    4. Greg: Are we reading the same blog? In this entry, TDH discusses Michiko Kakutani (book reviewer for the NYT), Lawrence O’Donnell (MSNBC), David Leonhardt (NYT), George Stephanopoulos (ABC News), and Rachel Maddow (MSNBC). How does this not qualify as reviewing journalism? Although perhaps media commentary would be more accurate.

      TDH is about liberals. Complaining that Fox doesn’t come in for criticism is like going to a Mexican restaurant and complaining that moo goo gai pan isn’t on the menu. And I defy you to find a TDH blog entry that explains why Fox should get a pass.

      Delete
    5. "TDH is about liberals. "
      Yet Somerby still repeats right-wing fairy tales about liberals. The idea that "coastal elites" are sitting around scoffing and looking down at Midwesterners in "fly-over country" is a lie repeated to Right-wingers to play into their victimhood.
      In the meantime, Somerby's "media criticism site" hasn't made a peep about the media pushing the"Heartland of America" bullshit, which is media shorthand for "white". (like it's a coincidence that the media is intimating that "small town" values/ opinions/ needs are more important than those of "urban elites").

      Delete
    6. Anonymous on 4/21/18 @2:11P: Your reply is borderline incoherent. It might help if you had an example of TDH repeating "right-wing fairy tales." Please don't make me study past Howler entries. But in any case, the Heartland bullshit you complain about is a right-wing media favorite. TDH isn't interested in that kind of moo goo gai pan.

      Delete
    7. "TDH isn't interested in that kind of moo goo gai pan."

      But see, deadrat, that is the problem. The failure of the left to address that sort of thing is central to the success of Trump. David Neiwert describes this in his book on The Rise of the Alt-Right. Somerby occasionally chides liberals for sleeping in the woods, but he is doing that too when he wastes his time complaining that Maddow uses the first-person pronoun too much, instead of himself addressing what is wrong with today's press coverage.

      Somerby spent weeks here telling us we needed to truly understand those small-town midwest Trump supporters and their economic concerns because that is why we lost the presidency. It is factually inaccurate and wouldn't have helped a thing if we had done it, but that whole complaint is manufactured by the right, echoed by Somerby ad nauseam here, and part of the sense of grievance nourished by the alt-right. I think @2:11 is right to complain and not at all incoherent if you have been reading TDH since the election.

      Delete
    8. not 2:11, I take your point, but I have to ask,”Why are you dining here?” TDH serves up the point of view that liberal media would better serve the republic if it weren’t the mirror image of right-wing media. Would Maddow be more effective if she weren’t lazy and self-indulgent? I don’t know, but If that were so, at least I could stand to listen to her for more than 30 seconds at a time. Would things be different if we listened to small-town Trump supporters? Again, I don’t know. I think that if you could reason with Trump supporters, then there wouldn’t be Trump supporters. I come here for the challenge of a contrary point of view. I may not agree with TDH, but neither do I think he needs to change his mission to suit my prejudices.

      I’m sorry, but I still can’t follow 2:11. What media is “intimating” that small-town values, opinions, and needs are more important than those of “urban elites”? Sinclair? Why would TDH care about Sinclair? Maybe he should, but then this wouldn’t be TDH.

      Delete
    9. Does the Daily Howler bill itself as “reviewing only left leaning media?” No. But by doing so he gets as destorted a picture as if one was to review only Fox. Is Alan Dershowitz a journalist? Is Stormy Daniel’s lawyer? To fininsh with your own metaphor, a Chinese Restaurant with only certain items, leaving out key ones ordered by most people, is a lousy Chinese Restaurant. If you only went to that one and only reviewed it, you would have a distorted idea of what a Chinese Restaurant is.

      Delete
    10. Deadrat, NY Times has been focusing positively on small town Trump supporters while ridiculing urban elites who voted for Hillary. Many pundits have called for liberals to stop being so elitist and include more about economic concerns, as if Biden didn't campaign all over the Midwest trying to talk to working class whites with economic angst. Now he himself has turned on Hillary and is blaming her. She was in PA about as frequently as a candidate could be and that didn't stop Trump's manipulation of the election outcome. And Somerby has piled right on.

      I am here because this is a comment section. Without dissenting voices, Somerby's idiocies stand uncontested. He is particularly problematic because he represents himself as liberal while saying nothing liberal at all. Thus he gives us all a bad name. That makes it important to say in comments where he is atypical and where he is flat out wrong. He needs to be honest about where he is coming from, instead of dishing out right wing crap while telling us it is liberal "critical thinking" about the mainstream media.

      I like quite a few of the other commenters here. We may not agree but they do have interesting things to say and are not nearly as repetitive as Somerby himself.

      That said, my name is not Stormy and you will have to offer me more than $130,000 to stop talking wherever the goddamn place I want.

      Delete
  9. The year is 2018,
    A former CIA director says The President of the United States of America is-probably-being blackmailed by the Russian President.
    A former FBI director says The President of the United States is a congenital liar.
    I'm really, really worried about Rachel Maddow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trump is the best thing that ever happened to Maddow's career. She's loving every minute of this.

      Delete
    2. That's called capitalism.

      Delete
    3. "She's loving every minute of it." No, she - like the rest of us sentient humans - is not, Mindreader at 5:00 PM.

      Delete
    4. One million "Likes" to 5:13.

      Delete
  10. Somerby complains that no one is "pushing" Comey about the way he got Trump into office. That is old news and there is nothing we can do about it now. There was coverage over this back when it occurred. The context has now changed and it might be good to revisit those actions, but interviewers have limited time and they are choosing to spend it on current issues, not an unfixable past action.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Comey was pressed on some of these points in an interview he did here in Australia with the program 7:30, but they did not push back when he basically said he felt he did the right thing.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Trump is a liar and a thief.
    And Putin's bitch.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I had the same thought about Comey coming across as honest. But let me expand that, because Somerby didn't seem to get the nuance of the statement. Comey's *affect* was seemingly honest. That is completely different than saying his argument was believable or cogent. Comey could believe his own b.s. or simply be a great liar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or, he could be an honest person whose perspective became bent by his parties unglued and ugly hatred of the Clintons. Since Bob refuses to pay any attention to the hugely influential right media, he look ago lost all perspective himself.

      Delete
    2. "unglued and ugly hatred of the Clintons"

      But she was sloppy with her emails!
      LOL.

      Delete
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