ACTUAL STATE OF THE RACE: Why would Lara Logan say that?

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2021

Also, the way our own tribe behaves: First thing this morning, very early, we had a very unusual experience.

We were surprised by our experience. First thing today, we were thrilled by part of a news report in the New York Times.

We aren't speaking metaphorically; we actually found this morning's news report thrilling. You simply never read things like this—but there it actually was:

SHAPIRO (12/10/21): David C. Banks began his first morning as New York City’s schools chancellor-in-waiting with a warning to the city’s educational bureaucracy: The nation’s largest school system had betrayed too many of its students by paying the salaries of administrators who did not improve the lives of children, funded by a bloated budget that produced abysmal results for too many Black and Latino students.

[...]

Mr. Banks, a longtime friend and adviser to Eric Adams, is the mayor-elect’s first commissioner-level appointment, and his remarks, along with Mr. Adams’s, were feisty opening salvos that signal their plans for major changes in the sprawling system.

Saying that “65 percent of Black and brown children never achieve proficiency” on state standardized exams, Mr. Banks said that statistic reflected “a betrayal,” adding: “Think about if everybody in the Department of Education went home and all the kids went to school, you could get those same results,” he said.

For the record, we don't necessarily agree with the various things Banks said. Most specifically, we wouldn't say that those proficiency levels—wherever they come from, which went unreported—represent "a betrayal."

Still, it was thrilling to see someone say something which suggests that he actually cares about the lives, the interests and the experiences of the young people he cited. Shortly thereafter, Mayor-elect Adams was quoted too:

SHAPIRO: Mr. Adams said there was no alternative to bold action. “Let me tell you something, if 65 percent of white children were not reaching proficiency in this city, they would burn the city down,” he said. The mayor-elect said there has been “no urgency” about improving schools, in what appeared to be a veiled swipe at the de Blasio administration.

We wouldn't make that statement either. But there has certainly been "no urgency" surrounding these matters, especially in the aggressively uncaring pages of the New York Times.

In print editions, this news report appears today on page A21. Online, the Times lists eighteen different reports in its "National" section. This report, about those low-income kids, is listed eighteenth and last among those eighteen reports.

This afternoon, we'll have a bit more on this news report—but we found it thrilling early today. Simply put, you never see anyone talk about this topic, or about those kids, on our tribe's favorite TV programs.

It's amazing to see two people act like they actually care about those kids. Within our tribe, we simply don't. Nothing could be more obvious.

Within our tribe, we care about Donald J. Trump, but also about Mark Meadows. We care about locking them up, getting them sued. As is quite clear in our "cable news" diet, we care about no one and nothing else.

We care about locking up The Others. That may even include some teenage kids. We care about nothing else.

It's within that context that we discuss what Lara Logan said. She recently said the darnedest thing. As noted by the Washington Post's Jeremy Barr (and others), recently Logan said this:

BARR (12/1/21): Lara Logan, once a lauded foreign correspondent for CBS News’s “60 Minutes” and now a boundary-pushing Fox News guest commentator and streaming show host, drew fierce condemnation for on-air comments Monday night comparing the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, Anthony S. Fauci, to Nazi doctor Josef Mengele.

Her comments came during a segment in which Fox host Pete Hegseth, a frequent critic of coronavirus vaccine mandates and masking politics, accused the Biden administration of overhyping the new omicron variant.

Logan’s response, though, went well beyond.

“What you see on Dr. Fauci—this is what people say to me: that he doesn’t represent science to them. He represents Josef Mengele,” she said. “Dr. Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor who did experiments on Jews during the Second World War and in the concentration camps. And I am talking about people all across the world are saying this, because the response from covid, what it has done to countries everywhere, what it has done to civil liberties, the suicide rates, the poverty, it has obliterated economies. The level of suffering that has been created because of this disease is now being seen in the cold light of day.”

It was the latest and arguably the most inflammatory in a series of comments from Logan that have stunned viewers who remember her days as an impartial news reporter and star correspondent for the respected newsmagazine show.

In fairness, Logan didn't make those comments about Dr. Fauci herself. In fairness, she was merely reporting what many other people had said. People have been saying that "all across the world!"

At times of highly tribalized conflict, many adults will end up saying the darnedest things! And when these adults make these remarks, many other adults believe them.

In the end, there is no way to refute such remarks by resorting to facts or to logic. When the Jets and the Sharks go to war in the streets, members of the rival gangs will routinely say, and will believe, the darnedest and craziest things.

There's no obvious way to "explain" why some adults behave this way. According to major anthropologists, our brains are just wired this way. 

Some of us are more inclined to behave this way; others perhaps a bit less so. But this behavior routinely takes hold at tribalized junctures like this.

Meanwhile, though, how about it? Is it possible that Dr. Fauci is like Dr. Mengele in some sort of way?

Logicians say that all depends on what underlying facts you may have come to believe. They also tell us this:

At times of furious tribal conflict, there is no way to force The Others to stop believing the darnedest things. There are no other facts, there is no logic, which can magically force them to agree that they see things your way.

There is only the possible restoration of common feeling—the restoration of the sense that we're all in this together, that we form "a people," a nation. The restoration of the sense that, even where we may disagree on some proposition, I believe in your basic good intentions and in the state of your soul.

Here within our failing society, we're well past the point where some such restoration of common feeling is likely to occur. People like Logan seem to say the darnedest things—but then, our tribunes often say extremely strange things too.

We still plan to walk you through Rachel Maddow's appalling behavior on Wednesday night's TV show. Maddow said a string of the darnedest things that night, as she not infrequently does.

(Her channel still hasn't posted any transcripts past Monday night. We hate to waste our time in such ways, but we'll do the transcribing tomorrow if it comes to that.)

Maddow said a string of the darnedest things. Assuming basic emotional and intellectual competence (we don't), she and her staff were displaying utter contempt for her highly credulous viewers.

Some of her disgracefully stupid remarks struck us as baldly untrue on their face. We had to fact-check several others, though we (correctly) felt fairly sure we knew what we would find.

Why would Logan say what she did? Does she really believe that?

We can't answer that question. But why don't our cable news stars ever spend a single second worrying about our low-income kids? Worrying about what goes on in their schools? Discussing the urban violence to which they're often exposed?

On Fox, viewers are routinely told that we don't care about those kids. In this way, Fox viewers come to understand that fact about us.

We liberals don't understand such facts about our own failing tribe. We're too busy watching Rachel while the hours away, trying to get Trump and Meadows and Flynn and Eastman everyone else locked up.

Do parents of New York City's underserved kids want to get Trump locked up? Do they want to get him locked up to the exclusion of everything else? 

How about Hispanic parents, all across the nation? What do they think as they watch our tribunes blow them and their children off?

We can't answer your questions! But the people on our (profit-centered) "cable news" channels don't give a fig about those kids. Nothing could be more clear.

We were (briefly) thrilled by today's news report. We'll discuss it this afternoon.

We also came close to being thrilled by David Brooks' new column. It ran beneath this remarkable headline:

What Do You Say to the Sufferer?

Several years back, Brooks took a major turn in his subject atter. Today, he mainly writes about moral and spiritual questions. 

Within our tribe, no one does. Within our tribe, we spend our days, then spend our nights, trying to get The Others locked up. There's little else we care about. We betray the true state of souls.

When we read that news report today, we thought of those city kids' parents. Also, we thought again of the Woody Guthrie lyrics:

I've mined in your mines, I've gathered in your corn.
I've been working, Mister, since the day I was born.

When we read the headline on the David Brooks column, we thought of a song from the American song book, a song which came to us courtesy of Bill Monroe and Doc Watson.

 To hear their live performance, click here. Title included, the old song starts like this:

What Would You Give in Exchange for Your soul?
Brother you're far from the savior today
Risking your soul for the things that decay
Oh, if today God should call you away
What would you give in exchange for your soul?

What would you give (in exchange)
What would you give (in exchange)
What would you give in exchange for your soul?
Oh, if today God should call you away
What would you give in exchange for your soul?

That's the first verse and the chorus. The other two verses read thusly:

Mercy is calling you, won't you give heed?
Let the dear savior still tenderly plead?
Risk not your soul, it is precious indeed
What would you give in exchange for your soul? 
[...] 
More than all silver and gold of this Earth
More than all jewels the spirit is worth
God the creator has given it birth
What would you give in exchange for your soul?

We aren't religious at this site. But we think we may be able to see the loss of the soul when it happens.

Logan keeps saying the darnedest things. When she says the darnedest things, other people believe them.

Our tribe has been running on emptiness too. It's Rachel and Charles and it's Lemon and Cooper. What would you give in exchange for the chance to see some of The Others locked up?

This afternoon: More on that news report in the Times

Tomorrow: No, it isn't exactly her fault. But it's past time for her to go.


41 comments:

  1. "But there has certainly been "no urgency" surrounding these matters, especially in the aggressively uncaring pages of the New York Times."

    This blatantly false. The New York Times is where Somerby finds all of those articles about school desegregation that Somerby has been complaining about. There have also been numerous articles about pre-K (early childhood education), NAEP and Pisa scores, numerous guest essays about how to improve schools in 2021 alone, an article on How Effective is your School District, online education, school closures under covid, rural schools, and on and on.

    For Somerby to say that the New York Times doesn't care about schools or school kids, he has to have been reading the New York Times with his eyes closed.

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  2. "It's amazing to see two people act like they actually care about those kids. Within our tribe, we simply don't. Nothing could be more obvious."

    And yet it is Democrats who routinely vote for school bond issues, most teachers are Democrats, teachers' unions support Democratic candidates and endorsed Hillary and Biden over Trump, education professors are much more likely to be Democrats, those who donate their time and money to education and its improvement are liberal, but Somerby says we don't care.

    https://www.edweek.org/leadership/survey-educators-political-leanings-who-they-voted-for-where-they-stand-on-key-issues/2017/12

    Somerby is just making stuff up again today. He doesn't care so he assumes no one else does either, and yet the backbone of education is Democratic, not Republican (who favor private education, homeschooling, and religious schools). Look what Betsy DeVos did as Education Secretary and tell me she cared about disadvantaged kids at all!

    Today's essay is a huge lie that maligns those who work hard to help kids and improve our schools.

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    1. One terrible thing DeVos did was change the rules with how those accused of sexual assault at school are dealt with, by relaxing those rules. This let that student in VA continue his crimes. Yet Republicans lauded this rule change and then decried the VA situation, where they were to blame, and then went ahead and elected a Republican governor. Republicans have no integrity.

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  3. "This report, about those low-income kids, is listed eighteenth and last among those eighteen reports."

    Position on the page is only important for the major headlines and stories, which tend to be about current events affecting very large numbers of people, breaking news. Beyond that, being 18th doesn't mean 18th most important. Sports is routinely at the back of a newspaper, as is business news. Does that mean that these topics are considered unimportant? Not to most people.

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  4. "Within our tribe, we care about Donald J. Trump, but also about Mark Meadows. We care about locking them up, getting them sued. As is quite clear in our "cable news" diet, we care about no one and nothing else."

    Given the huge amount of damage done to our country by these two men, of course we care about them and what they did. Trump, in particular, is a crook who needs to be locked up so that he won't be put back into office to do more damage to our nation, including its kids.

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  5. "We care about locking up The Others. That may even include some teenage kids. We care about nothing else."

    Teenage kids who murder people should be locked up.

    No one is suggesting that low income kids or non-proficient high school kids should be locked up, although Somerby tries to make it sound that way.

    Somerby is being ridiculous. Democrats care about many things -- just read the Democratic Party Platform (the Republicans have no platform at all, by the way, suggesting they care about nothing except putting Trump in office).

    Does Somerby think that the tantrums conservatives have thrown over CRT means they care at all about kids, especially low income kids? He is wrong to focus on "our tribe" and the New York Times, where there is no evidence at all supporting his outrageously false accusations.

    On the right, there is a campaign tactic of taking whatever a person's strength is and making it a liability. Thus Kerry was swiftboated and his heroic war record was turned against him. Hillary, with her decades of dedication to women's and children's issues was made to seem a greedy corporatist. Today Somerby tries to portray the left as uncaring about kids, not the champions of public education and the needs of disadvantaged children that it has been for centuries. Don't be fooled by Somerby's lies.

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    1. "the Republicans have no platform at all, by the way..."

      Bigotry today, bigotry tomorrow, bigotry forever is a platform.

      Delete

  6. "Is it possible that Dr. Fauci is like Dr. Mengele in some sort of way?"

    Yeah, dear Bob, torturing those puppies, what a shame.

    These days, however, more like Dr. Goebbels, perhaps?

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    1. The men and women who were killed during the Holocaust were not "puppies". Reducing what was done to them to a complaint about use of animals in medical science research is despicable. It trivializes the horror of what was experienced by the Jews and others during a time of unspeakable evil.

      Notice how dogs have now become "puppies" in the hands of propagandists such as Mao. I doubt that Mao or Somerby really cares about the ethics of using animals in medical research -- except to beat up Fauci, whose work has benefitted millions of people on this planet.

      Delete
    2. Oh dear, the Jews living inside 11:13 AM dembot's head got pompous again.

      ...outta curiosity: do they pay rent for living inside your head, dear dembot?

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    3. If you think that only Jews care about anti-semitism, you are very wrong.

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    4. Coroby - as a Jew, it's clear to me that Democrats care less about antisemitism than they ought to. Evidence is the slap on the wrist given to Democratic Congresswomen who made vicious antisemitic statements. Also, Dems are far too tolerant of the antisemitic BDS movement and other anti-israel actions -- actions that hold Israel to standards not applied to non-Jewish regimes.

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    5. Do Jews and non-Jews living inside your head care about the puppies, or do they only care about anti-semitism, dear Corby?

      Or, what seems most likely, do they only care about parroting liberal cult's talking points?

      Delete
    6. David,
      As an American, it's clear to me that Republicans care less about treason than they ought to. Evidence is the not even slap on the wrist they gave Trump when he committed treason against the United States of America, and was impeached by Democrats in Congress twice.

      Delete
    7. God bless Jewish people.

      Also, Fuck Israel and their Apartheid against Palestinians.

      Delete
    8. Hey @1:15 that "apartheit" myth is an example of antisemitism. Gentile countries are not criticized for behaving as Israel does or worse.

      Delete
    9. Well, David, I think that there ought to be a law passed forbidding criticism of Israel, don’t you, even if it would violate the first amendment.

      Oh, wait. There already are such laws on the books, in my home state of Arkansas for example, run by a massive GOP majority. Gotta love the Party of Freedom and Individual Rights!

      Delete
    10. Hey @1:15 there is no such thing as God.

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    11. mh - such a law sounds appalling. Can you provide a link to the details?

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    12. https://www.lawfareblog.com/eighth-circuit-strikes-down-arkansass-anti-bds-law

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    13. Thanks for the link mh. I guess you exaggerated a little when you said the law forbade criticism of Israel.

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    14. Omar did not make anti-semitic statements, support for BDS is appropriate and not anti-semitic. Anti-Israel is not anti-semitic. Israeli apartheid is not a myth.

      Delete
  7. "Meanwhile, though, how about it? Is it possible that Dr. Fauci is like Dr. Mengele in some sort of way?"

    No, not and remain a sane and reasonable person.

    At some level both Mengele and Fauci were both people, both men, both of service to authoritarian leaders. Beyond that, similarity stops and the differences between them become much more salient.

    It is an intended insult to Fauci to make this comparison, no matter who said it. Looking beyond the words to the motives of the speakers is important.

    It is an intended insult to Fauci when Somerby suggests that those people who compared him to Mengele may have a point. In fact, Somerby's entire abandonment of reason, his attempt to rationalize even the most extreme statements, is despicable when he must know that the politicization of covid is a cynical act to maintain power, not in the best interests of the health and safety of our citizenry. Pretending otherwise shows that Somerby has nothing to say to or about "out tribe" of people who are not in thrall to a death cult.

    The irresponsibility of Somerby's comments lately is shocking to me, given what he is pretending to be -- someone who cares about kids, education, critical thinking, even Al Gore. Today he is a shill for the right and one of Trump's minions, peddling the crap that has put too many people in the ICU and led to the deaths of too many faithful followers of the right's disinformation.

    He should be ashamed of himself. Trying to sow doubt on such an important topic is just plain evil.

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  8. Lara Logan was once a liberal. She was raped and severely beaten during an assignment in the Middle East. She hasn't been the same since then. She deserves a better job than working for Fox Nation.

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  9. "Do they want to get him locked up to the exclusion of everything else?"

    What, we can't have cake AND ice cream?

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  10. Use these Google search terms and you will see how much Fox News cares about disadvantaged children: education improvement new york fox news

    You get stories about how parents fear for the safety of their kids due to weapons seizures in the schools, complaints about elimination of the gifted program, concerns about indoctrination by the far-left agenda, school mask mandates and school choice.

    These topics represent a different focus than the New York Times does. It doesn't mean Fox has "better facts" as Somerby has claimed. I wouldn't say it means they care more about disadvantaged children either.

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    1. Why don't you google 'Manafort gave the Kremlin polling data' to see how easy it is to see how the others are duped and how hard it is to see how you are duped in the exact same way?

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    2. The bipartisan Senate Select Intelligence Committee's Report describes hundreds of actions by Trump, his campaign, and his associates in the run-up to the 2016 election that involve some degree of participation by Trump or his associates in Russian activity.

      The "Russiagate is fake" myth has long ago been put to bed.

      Delete
    3. 'Manafort gave the Kremlin polling data' is fake, not true as you claimed yesterday. Russiagate was fake. It's fake to say its myth has been put to bed. You don't back up your claims with sources. You have been completely fooled!!

      Easy to see the faults of others. Harder to see one's own.

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    4. Russia is just one of the many, many excuses the Right-wing, in the bag for Republicans, mainstream media is trying to sell, to pretend Republican voters aren't just bigots.
      Russia only seems plausible, because "economic anxiousness" was far stupider.

      Delete
  11. Bill Monroe and Doc Watson are old bluegrass stars, part of the folk tradition of aging liberals. They wouldn't approve of Somerby's use of their words today and wouldn't align their views with his, given what they stood for during their own lives. Somerby's misuse of these performers to bolster his own views is obscene.

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  12. It's funny how many times the comments to bob's articles actually demonstrate the point he was making in the article.

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  13. As a conservative, I am disgusted by the conservative attacks on Dr. Fauci. He can be faulted for sometimes saying too much, but he's a sound, public-spirited medical person. My wife met him once at Stanford U and discovered that he had been trained by her boss, Dr. Donald Louria, a terrific guy.

    IMO nobody has handled covid terribly well, because it was so difficult to handle. Dr. Fauci allowed himself or chose to become the face of this not-very-successful effort. But, the vicious attacks on him are entirely unjusitfied.

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    1. David thinks republicans are "conservative".

      Bwahahaha! Is that spelled with a lower case "c" or a capital "K", David?

      Delete
  14. Referring to Maddow, Somerby said: "Some of her disgracefully stupid remarks struck us as baldly untrue on their face. "

    Somerby, of course, doesn't tell us which untruths he is talking about. Again, he promises to discuss them later, but often moves on without doing so.

    When you watch Fox News and believe what it says there, of course the statements on liberal news channels will seem to be false. That doesn't mean they actually are. It means that one has accepted conservative propaganda hook, line and sinker, and is processing the world through the tinted lens of conservative disinformation. The best way of preventing this is to not watch Fox News at all, but that is exactly what Somerby keeps urging us to do.

    I often dislike Maddow's excessively chipper delivery and her banter, but I haven't found her to be wrong about much of anything she says on her show. She does a major service informing her viewers, especially on issues that haven't received much depth of coverage in daily papers. But you have to read a variety of sources and know how to vet a source in order to make such a judgment about her content. Somerby doesn't know how to do that. He seems to have decided that mainstream news is biased because it doesn't say the same things as Fox News, and thrown his hat in with the right wing, even to the point of excusing Rittenhouse, Trump, and others for their crimes.

    Note that Somerby never talks about the excesses of the right here. His focus is only on blasting the left for things said by unrepresentative random guests on talk shows and attributing such remarks to all liberals. Today, he says that liberals don't care about school performance, particularly for disadvantaged kids. That is the most ridiculous of his many ridiculous statements, lately, and shows where he is coming from.

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    1. Maddow has done some incredible work lately. Did anyone see how show the night of the SC oral argument over the MS abortion law? Really fascinating stuff I saw nowhere else concerning the SG who argued in favor of the law and his past history and the connection of beer-bong Brett.

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  15. “There is only the possible restoration of common feeling—the restoration of the sense that we're all in this together, that we form "a people," a nation”

    Deep insight. Next, we’ll be told that a stitch in time saves nine, or that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. “Can’t we all just get along?”

    This is such a trite homily that Somerby has uttered. The question is how to accomplish such a thing. Suggestions, Bob?

    Because “there is no way to refute such remarks by resorting to facts or to logic.”

    Where does that lead us?

    I mean, I hear that liberals hate Christmas, and families, and that they stole the 2020 election for Biden (stupidly forgetting to ensure more than 50 votes in the Senate, but I digress). Oh, and that they run a global pedophile ring that eats babies. And that they believe in nothing.

    Those are certainly claims that are made. That they have no validity in fact is a reason that such claims should not be accommodated in a civil society.

    In fact, you cannot have a civil society when one tribe engages in shameless lying and propaganda, a la the GOP and its media, no matter how many “facts” are sprinkled in with the propaganda.

    In fact, this realization about the GOP undermines Somerby’s own supposed wish for a common sense of belonging. That sense of belonging simply cannot exist when a party that may well be destined to run the country again resorts more and more to false remarks that are impervious to reason or logic.

    Get a grip.

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  16. "Within our tribe, we spend our days, then spend our nights, trying to get The Others locked up."

    I would say that it has been Trump working day and night to get himself and his associates locked up.

    When a prosecutor puts someone in jail, it isn't the prosecutor who made that happen -- it is the criminal who provided the evidence and did the crime that lead to conviction.

    Blaming the prosecutor or judge for locking you up is how criminals think. And Somerby, apparently.

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  17. For what it's worth, PBS doesn't give a damn about education either.

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  18. You have to wonder if Bob is even vaugly familiar with the Holocaust in WWII. It’s really difficult to believe he is not, Alas, that leaves us with the sad conclusion: to have posted this, Bob is not only the stupid person he sometimes seems to be, he is also evil and a f@ckin @sshole.
    For the record, going before the cameras and dishing cruel nonsense one has heard from unnamed sources is not “reporting.” Yes, I believe Logan travels in circles where idiots say such things. Maybe Bob does too. But Bob also demonstrates he’s in no condition to critique actuall reporting. He doesn’t even know what it is.

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