Part 4—In the wake of Hurricane Alec: Early next week, the east coast will see an October hurricane—an extremely rare event.

Last Tuesday, the political world saw an equally rare event. We saw a mainstream journalist, Alec MacGillis, challenge higher ranking guild members! By name!

And omigod! We even saw MacGillis suggest that those higher ranking scribes were pimping a Romney line!

This is simply never done inside the Washington press corps. Conservatives attack mainstream journalists all the time, of course.

But ranking liberals never attack such major mainstream players. In accordance with established guild rules, it simply isn’t done.

Hurricane Alec came out of nowhere! Such conduct hadn’t been seen in DC in a very long time.

Was MacGillis’ implied accusation true? Were Chris Cillizza (Washington Post) and Mike Allen (Politico) actually pimping a Preferred Romney Line? Were they applying a double standard to keep their line alive?

You’ll have to judge that one for yourself. But several other rare events occurred in the wake of Hurricane Alec.

Good God! Cillizza felt he had to respond—to a complaint which had come from the left! Or at least, he felt he had to pretend to respond.

In this post, Cillizza cherry-picked one small thing MacGillis had written. He then offered a slender rebuttal to that lone cherry-picked point.

That said, when’s the last time you saw a player like Cillizza responding to a complaint from the left? Was it roughly the last time an October hurricane found its way up the coast?

Cillizza’s response was a rare event. And then, omigod! Another rare sighting! The very next day, the New York Times filed a news report which flatly contradicted Cillizza’s thesis!

Were Jeff and Ashley hearing footsteps? Who knows? But a liberal can dream:
ZELENY AND PARKER (10/25/12): Romney Is Upbeat, But Math Is the Same

Mitt Romney is savoring the energy surrounding his candidacy, talking with rising confidence about his ability to overtake President Obama in the closing days of the race.

He dwells far less on the biggest obstacle facing his campaign: the Electoral College.

A decade after taking the first steps in his quest to win the White House, Mr. Romney can finally see the presidency within his grasp, his advisers say. To many Republicans, he sounds more presidential than at any other moment of his campaign, a point that was not lost on his audience Wednesday in Nevada, when he declared: ''If I'm elected—no, when I'm elected.''

But the swelling crowds and the fresh optimism among his supporters do not minimize the challenge confronting him across a wide landscape of battleground states, where Mr. Romney must win a series of individual statewide races, rather than a national contest. His room for error is so slight, one adviser said, the mathematics could be more daunting than the politics.
Was Candidate Romney still on the move? Jeff and Ashley swallowed hard, then said the thesis was bunk.

Good lord! Cillizza felt he had to respond to a complaint from the left. And the Times reported that his claim had been a big pile of bunk! Events like these might occur more often if liberal and mainstream journalists pushed back at ranking mainstream hacks.

Conservatives push back at these folk all the time! On our side, this kind of conduct is roughly as common as a Halloween storm.

This is what our careerists wouldn’t do during the years when the Post and the Times pimped the Clinton pseudo-scandals.

This is what our careerists wouldn’t do during the twenty-month war against Gore. (Yes, that includes Joan Walsh.)

Darlings! MacGillis’ conduct just isn’t engaged in! Even now, liberal children are refusing to speak as Susan Rice gets left for dead in a mainstream/right-wing joint attack which may give Romney the White House.

People, it just isn’t done!

How bad is our team at telling the truth—if the truth involves ranking journalists? Just consider one small point at the start of MacGillis’ shitstorm:
MACGILLIS (10/23/12): The Liberal Media, in Love With Our Narrative

We are the liberal media—hear us roar. We like Aaron Sorkin and gay marriage and invitations to the New Yorker’s bash on the roof of the W Hotel on the eve of the White House Correspondents Dinner. We have Rahm Emanuel and Chuck Schumer’s cell phone on speed dial. If you water-boarded us, we’d admit to voting for pretty much every Democratic presidential candidate for the past two decades, with the possible exception of Al Gore in 2000 (he didn’t give us a clever nickname; the other guy did.)
In a fleeting aside, MacGillis suggested the “liberal media” had a large problem with one Democratic nominee, the fellow in Campaign 2000.

To this day, liberal and mainstream careerists refuse to discuss this. They refuse to describe what they and their colleagues actually did during Campaign 2000.

In this refusal, they refuse to inform the public about the actual ways of the press corps. They refuse to challenge the right-wing’s cry about the corps’ “liberal bias.”

To what extent do the children refuse to tell the truth about such matters? Let’s look at something Noam Scheiber wrote on this same subject this week.

Scheiber is a lad on the rise. He’s also a former Rhode Scholar.

In theory, that means that he’s smart. But when Scheiber wrote about Campaign 2000 this week, his ability to construct a clear sentence suddenly seemed to desert him! This paralysis occurs with great regularity when this topic comes up.

Question: Does Noam Scheiber really write this poorly? Or was the murky prose in this passage designed to extend a twelve-year scam?
SCHIEBER (10/26/12): The good news is that a lot has changed since 2000. Back then, there were only a handful of outlets dedicated to calling bullshit when they saw it—TNR and a few other lefty magazines, along with a handful of columnists like Paul Krugman and E.J. Dionne. Today there’s a whole cable network (MSNBC) dedicated to this stuff, dozens of popular liberal blogs, and in-house fact-checkers at most major newspapers, all of whom have been fairly good (if not great) at adjudicating these questions.

Likewise, in 2000, the Bush campaign didn’t merely sell its version of the truth. It also made Gore out to be a liar. This crippled his ability to question Bush’s record. (The strategy was very explicit. In his book on the campaign, Bush media strategist Stuart Stevens referred to it as “blowing up the aircraft carrier instead of shooting down planes”—the planes being individual allegations from Gore and the aircraft carrier being his credibility. Stevens is, of course, Romney’s top strategist this time around.) Meanwhile, the press played right into Bush's hand, running stories about Gore’s dubious invention of the Internet and trumped up claims about his dog’s arthritis medicine. Fortunately, the Romney campaign has had little success tagging Obama with the serial exaggerator label in 2012.
Try not to laugh at Scheiber’s claim that TNR was “dedicated to calling bullshit” in Campaign 2000. For better or worse, it wasn’t.

But consider that second paragraph, where Scheiber pretends to describe what happened in that fateful campaign. Do Rhodes Scholars really write that poorly? Or is Scheiber finding ways to avoid explaining what his colleagues did?

What does Scheiber say in that passage? He opens with a pleasing deception, seeming to say that “the Bush campaign” was the entity which “made Gore out to be a liar.”

In fact, the mainstream press corps tagged Gore that way, long before the Bush campaign ever said a word on the subject. Climbers and guild members still refuse to state that obvious fact.

They refuse to tell you the truth. They know we liberals will swallow it whole if we're told that the Bush campaign did it!

No, it wasn’t the Bush campaign which turned Gore into a liar. That said, Scheiber does say that the press corps “played right into Bush's hand” with some of the stories they ran.

But what was supposed to be wrong with those stories? And how about Gore himself?

Did Al Gore say he invented the Internet? You simply can’t tell what Scheiber is saying, given his rather dubious prose. Meanwhile, Scheiber explicitly seems to say that Gore did make “trumped up claims about his dog’s arthritis medicine.” Or was it the press which made those “trumped up claims?”

You simply can’t tell from what Scheiber writes. Suddenly, our brilliant Rhodes Scholar can’t seem to compose a clear statement!

Why did Scheiber’s prose turn murky when he discussed this fateful campaign? We can’t tell you that. But a cynic would tell you this:

That murky prose helps Scheiber avoid explaining what his colleagues did. Twelve years later, a liberal writer pretty much has to acknowledge that something was wrong with the press corps’ conduct. (This is now standard belief.)

But these children still don’t want to tell you the truth about the depth of their guild's misconduct. In the guild, it just isn’t done—and the children find ways to obey.

To this day, children like Scheiber won’t tell you the truth about your recent political history. Their prose gets murky on demand.

These are very bad boys and girls.

People are dead all over the world because of the things they’ve refused to do. Because of the things they still won’t say, even at this late date.

Hurricane Alec hit town this week. Our guess: Still a rare event!

Scheiber’s most obvious con: Who is Scheiber trying to kid with this nonsense:

“Fortunately, the Romney campaign has had little success tagging Obama with the serial exaggerator label in 2012?”

Liberals, please! You’re being conned!

As everybody surely knows, the Romney campaign hasn’t tried to “tag Obama with the serial exaggerator label.” The campaign against Obama has been quite different in character.

Everybody understands this, even this pimple-faced child.

On the other hand:

In the last six weeks, the Romney campaign has tried very hard to tag Obama as the guy who played games—who even lied!—about what happened at Benghazi. Again and again, the mainstream press has been very happy to recite this Romney line.

Children like Scheiber have stared into space as this slander has been advanced. They surely don’t want to challenge their elders! Not with their own futures so bright!

The children have refused to challenged the ongoing war against Susan Rice. This is precisely what their colleagues did when the Boston Globe invented that big pile of crap about the troubling arthritis pills of Candidate Gore’s troubling dog.

Little has changed in the last dozen years in the souls of these quislings and climbers. We liberals still swallow their bullshit whole, just as we did in the past.


  1. But we are not driven by politics or ideology, really. Above all, we love a good story.

    Hah! Not when the stories would hurt Dems. E.g., here are two good stories that are out there right now that the mainstream media are ignoring or underplaying:

    1. The CIA people on the ground in Benghazi requested help during the battle, but someone specifically prevented that help from being sent. The CIA put out a statement saying it wasn't their decision to refuse to send help.

    2. A former aide to VP Biden just wrote a book painting Biden in a very bad light.

    Furthermore, the narrative that the 2nd and 3rd debates didn't hurt Romney appears to be true. The evidence is that after these two debates, Romney's poll numbers did improve somewhat.

    IMHO MacGillis's accusation shows him enforcing media bias. He has no criticism of the MSM's failure to cover major stories that would hurt Dems. He criticizes members of the MSM by name for reporting a true story that might be slightly helpful to Romney.

  2. "...the east coast will see an October hurricane—an extremely rare event."


  3. While it's certainly true that press criticism from the left is all but invisible in mainstream publications - one might wish to see more of it even here, for example -- Bob appears to ignore MacGillis central point: that while he and his colleagues are, overwhelmingly, *social* liberals (support for gay rights, for access to abortion, for baby seals, for GM food labeling, etc.) that's where their liberalism ends. They are not, in fact, "liberal" on small matters like taxation or foreign policy. So bias, even if it does infect their reporting, will never favor candidates who are left of center. Just examine -- for example -- the NYT on taxation, support for military coups and American military adventures abroad, and it's very poor coverage of (for example) Mitt Romney's economic plans.

    On the contrary, an actual liberal politician is treated as a joke by these people -- any idiot who believes in universal health care, redistribution of income or a non-imperial foreign policy gets nothing but contempt, as either naive or hypocritical (if he's rich, according to these people, he can't be sincere in promoting redistribution; and if he isn't rich, he's promoting class warfare out of envy).

    1. i didnt get all that out of the article, but good stuff anyway.

  4. i agree with magillis (*when* it does indeed occur) that to fit the news into a pre-determined narrative is the antithesis of journalism; its clearly propaganda period full stop.

    but in this particular case i think the narrative happens to be accurate.

    people largely base their judgements of others on first impressions, and for many of the 60 million or more people who watched the 1st debate, this was their first time to really weigh up romney.

    romney doesnt seem to have a nerve in his body. hes got that evil-eye thing going on. hes scary, to sum it up. even a guy, ted kennedy, who nobody would call a shrinking violet, seemed to shy away from making eye contact with him back in 94.

    so in one corner you had the killer romney and in the other you had the mild mannered professorial pres. obama.

    bottom line, the people who weigh up the body language and the vibe generally more than the substance, got the impression that mitt romney was the more dominant male of the two.

    the two following debates didnt signifigantly change that, vibe-wise. the only way i see how obama could have, would have been if he were to have (successfully) angrily backed romney down without romney staging a similarly (successful) counter attack.

    1. You forget to tell us about magillis' [sic] racial background and what it tells you to think.

      An oversight, Mr. octoroonist?

      We give a good god damn, you know.

    2. defending ones 'group' ( as though 'we' are a coherent group) against bigotry is not itself bigotry.

      somerby has been flamboyantly anti americans-with-irish-catholic-heritage on this site, despite himself apparently having some of that same background.

      he has used both techniques of the bigot. he has explicitly espoused that americans with iriish-catholic heritage have various bad characteristics. . . . second, he has repeatedly named people who have or appear to have irish-catholic heritage as the culprit of some misdeed, real or not, all out of proportion to their numbers in that group (such as the media); in the second method without mentioning their heritage.

      google his old site (no comment box), which lasted into late 2011, in order to get the worst bigotry:

      *** site:dailyhowler.com irish catholic *** (old site)

      the new site has its share of bigotry as well, although not usually as raw. heres a couple of examples from the new site. in the first one, note particularly the responses of “lonely eyes” and “quickdraw” to somerbys column and to some of his more outspokenly bigoted readers, or somerby himself perhaps:


      ---second example, note particularly the comments of “hugh mann”:


      site:dailyhowler.blogspot.com irish catholic (new site)

  5. What Anonymous said. I'd go further. In the Clinton years the idea of what constituted an economic left moved very far to the right, so the social liberals coming of age politically in that period, people now in their 30's and 40's, came to take for granted a great deal of somewhat right-wing thinking that, weirdly from a longer historical perspective, they associated with Democratic-liberal thinking (e.g., the debt as our first priority while recovering from a financial meltdown, or distrust of, if not downright hostility to, unions, not least, teachers' unions). Too many people of this age in areas like journalism seem to know little about the political history of recent decades beyond glib, misleading summaries.

    1. @mch,

      mch: "Too many people of this age in areas like journalism seem to know little about the political history of recent decades beyond glib, misleading summaries."

      >>> id reccomend they take a look at: "Why the Democrats are Blue: Secular Liberalism and the Decline of the People's Party" by mark stricherz

  6. I do seem to recall that ex-governor Romney claimed, before the first debate, that he would have to try to deal with the way the president was going to lie during the debate. Does this qualify as trying to present the president as a liar?