Sean and Newt continue the scam!

FRIDAY, JUNE 7, 2013

Continuing! The dreck of the 157: Last evening, just a few minutes in, Sean Hannity continued the scam.

He feels no fear of correction or challenge from any high-profile news org. For that reason, he and Newt kept discussing Douglas Shulman’s deeply troubling, non-existent visits to the White House.

To watch the scam continue, click here:
HANNITY (6/6/13): What did you make of the transcripts? Because the narrative has been that the people responsible were in Cincinnati. Rogue agents. But the transcripts, they said they were directed by Washington. What do you think of that?

GINGRICH: I believe that the Obama administration has been even more dishonest about the Internal Revenue scandal than it has been about Benghazi and it’s been almost completely dishonest about Benghazi. When you learn, for example, that the commissioner of Internal Revenue visited the White House 157 times, more than the attorney general, more than the secretary of state, more than any cabinet officer, 157 times, you have to ask yourself, “What were they talking about? What were they meeting on?”

His answer, which tells you the contempt he has for the Congress, was, “Well, one of them was going to the White House Easter egg roll.” Well, you know, that is the kind of contempt for the American people that should not exist in somebody who holds public office.
On Fox, they know they can keep repeating those bogus assertions. They know that MSNBC will only pretend to fight back, if they even do that.

They know that big mainstream orgs like the Washington Post and the New York Times will continue to look away as they deceive the American people.

On Fox, they will continue to fight. MSNBC will not fight back, although they will pretend.

This is the way average voters get conned. They get conned with the acquiescence of MSNBC, the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The Wreck of the Old 97: The Wreck of the Old 97 is famous. Everyone from Woody Guthrie to Boxcar Willie had sung about this wreck.

To study the famous old lyrics, click this. To learn from the leading authority on this subject, we'll suggest that you just click here.

Will there ever be a ballad called The Wreck of the 157? From the perspective of Fox, there would seem to be little to fear.

You have to ask yourself, “What were they talking about? What were they meeting on?” On Fox, they know they can keep pounding away at Shulman’s snarky remark about the Easter egg roll.

They know no one will mention the other things Shuman said when he appeared before the House—for example, when he spoke with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

On this day, Republicans unveiled the claim that Shulman had made a shitload of visits to the White House. They used the number 118, referring to the years 2010 and 2011.

To Shulman, that number just didn't sound right. As always, Jordan was wrong:
JORDAN (5/22/13): Mr. Shulman, real quick follow-up. The 118 times you were in the White House in 2010, 2011, who were you meeting with?

SHULMAN: I'm— First of all, I'm not familiar with that—

JORDAN: Straight from the White House log.

SHULMAN: —and I’m assuming that it counts when I go to OMB, which is, you know, the budget office, for resources, etc.

JORDAN: No, it counts when you go to the White House. That’s what I, that’s what it was. Times you’ve been at the White House. That’s when it counts. So, who did you meet with?
As usual, Jordan was wrong. Shulman’s instinct was right.

The number of meetings being bruited now stands at 157. But the vast majority of those meetings did not take place at the White House. Nor does anyone actually know how many Shulman attended.

Why do Newt and Sean keep saying those things? Because they know they won’t be corrected or fact-checked or challenged.

As Shulman continued, he explained the nature of the meetings he attended. On Fox, they still pretend to be baffled about the nature of those meetings. But this is what Shulman said two weeks ago, speaking under oath:
SHULMAN (continuing directly): I, I met with a variety of people—

JORDAN: Is there somebody main, or is it— What was the main subject you talked about? You, you talk about 118 different things, or was it just kind of some themes and focus?

SHULMAN: The themes of things I would have talked to people at the White House about would have been our budget, would have been about tax policy, fiscal cliff. Would have been about streamlining the FASFA—the financial aid application. Would have been when the tax for airport—

JORDAN: Did you talk about the implementation— Did you talk about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act?

SHULMAN: Implementation of the Affordable Care Act would have been one of the themes, and there could have been more. I don't— I'm not prepared to give you an exhaustive list.

JORDAN: Which, which one used— Which one consumed the most of your time of those subjects you just listed?

SHULMAN: Probably budget, general tax policy, and the Affordable Care Act.
Later that day, speaking with Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Shulman again challenged “the premise of there were 118 visits to the White House.”

On Fox, they keep saying that Shulman attended 157 meetings at the White House. They keep implying that he gave just that one weird explanation.

They do this because they know they won’t be challenged or corrected by any mainstream news org.

Are they concerned about MSNBC? In their place, would you be concerned?


  1. Three comments by Bob:

    1. Douglas Shulman’s deeply troubling, non-existent visits to the White House.

    2. Republicans unveiled the claim that Shulman "made a shitload of visits to the White House."

    3. The number of meetings being bruited now stands at 157. But the vast majority of those meetings did not take place at the White House. Nor does anyone actually know how many Shulman attended.

    Statement #1 is incorrect. Real WH visits were indeed made. In #2 The Republicans are right to claim that Shulman made a shitload of visits to the White House. NTTAWWT.

    Bob is correct in #3 that nobody knows how many White House visits Shulman actually attended. But, whose fault is that? The White House is the only party that can tell how many visits Shulman actually made and what their purpose was. Bob is blaming the Republicans for the White House''s stonewalling.

    1. Not to mention that the whole "how many visits" is a minor question compared with the admitted targeting of groups based on political stance.

    2. I'm unaware of any such admission. Please provide a link.

    3. See IRS apologizes for targeting tea party groups at

    4. Quaker in a BasementJune 7, 2013 at 2:05 PM

      Shulman worked in the executive branch of the federal government. All of a sudden conservatives are Shocked! Shocked, I tells ya! of his hiiiiiighly suspicious visits to federal executive office buildings.

      C'mon Dave. You know any accounting of Shulman's visits would instantly turn into a fishing expedition. Is it your belief that the federal government should spend all of its time on pointless, made-up scandals, or only most of it?

    5. Reduce the Benghazi debacle to whether Susan Rice was paraphrased exactly right; Reduce the IRS scandal (which OBAMA already said was "inexcusable") to how many times Shulman visited the White House - a pattern of minimization that seems almost..tribal.

    6. "paraphrased exactly right" must equal "outright distorted" for your comment to make any sense at all Al and even then it's the sense of a douchebag troll.

    7. Sorry your reading comprehension and wit are so deficient, but I hope calling me a bad name made you feel slightly better about yourself.

    8. Actually, douchebag troll seems generous.

    9. Your generosity and open-mindedness are appreciated! Those bad names that you're withholding must be truly awful!

    10. Albert, what is the Benghazi "debacle" that you are referring to? In what way is it other than a phony, manufactured "scandal"? Is it really the issue that Rice's comments have merely not been "paraphrased exactly right" or that they have constantly been "outright distorted?"

    11. Quaker in a BasementJune 7, 2013 at 5:45 PM

      Reduce the Benghazi debacle to whether Susan Rice was paraphrased exactly right; Reduce the IRS scandal (which OBAMA already said was "inexcusable") to how many times Shulman visited the White House

      Albert, these scant few incidences comprise the entire basis for the alleged scandals. When the organizations that are supposed to inform us get basic facts wrong, it matters.

    12. Benghazi involved an ambassador left essentially unguarded and killed, despite prior attacks, despite warnings, despite specific pleas for more security, despite the 9/11 anniversary, our people under attack for 12+ hours with no intervention. I call that a debacle. Rice's statements were a sideshow.

    13. The reason Fox is pushing the 157 visits is that they want to tie the admitted scandal to Obama. Regardless of how many times Shulman visited the WH, most people find the IRS grinding a political axe to be problematic, whether the WH knew or not.

    14. Sorry, Dave, the inference I got from all this was that the "targeting...based on political stance" was directed by the White House and that Shulman's visits there were to receive orders about it from the Obama admin. and that this had been "admitted to" somewhere. The link you provided doesn't speak to that.

    15. No, the administration has been shocked and appalled that the groups they spent 2010 demonizing could have somehow been targeted.

    16. Albert , 7:27 - if Rice's statements "were a sideshow," why have they been magnified and distorted to the nth degree over and over again? You list several other points, basically Monday morning quarterbacking. If it was known to be so unsafe why did the ambassador go there in the first place? You are obviously less interested in trying to understand objectively a complex factual situation, than in attacking the president, who is far from perfect but the alternative is a lot worse. If you are in such a dither about Benghazi,what about getting us in a multi-trillion dollar war with thousands of causalties based on bogus claims of weapons of mass destruction?

    17. So George Bush screwing up in 2003 redeems everything Obama does, ever? What a silly argument.

    18. Just as surely as the death and destruction in Iraq were the fruits of Bush's decision to invade, Benghazi was the fruit of Obama's even-less-authorized-by-Congress decision to overthrow Ghadaffi by killing him.

    19. No, Bush screwing up doesn't justify whatever Obama does. I didn't say that.Most of the manufactured scandal about Rice's talking points comes from the Right, and that's how you sounded. The point is obvious that the Benghazi incident is minuscule compared to the Iraq mega screw up. Whether the decision of Obama and other European leaders to get involved in Libya was the equivalent of or comparable to getting into Iraq is doubtful. Was it illegal? That's a subjective judgment. Would things have been worse, would thousands have been slaughtered if we didn't get involved? Could be the case. I didn't know that Obama made a decision to overthrow Ghadaffi by killing him; I thought the particular rebels who captured him killed him. If your premise is true, that involvement in Libya was illegal in the sense there was no delclaration of war or authorization from Congress, it still doesn't excuse the distortion of the talking points and manufacturing a phony scandal over them, especially by McCain, who was a major advocate for the Libya engagement.

  2. Do you suppose Hannity and Newt use the figure of 157 visits because back in the far reaches of their brains they are remembering a scene from the original version of "The Manchurian Candidate." The one where the politician is criticized for continually changing the number he throws out for Communists in the government. "Find a number you can remember and stick to it," he is advised. So the politician sitting at a kitchen table silently shifts his eyes between the burger in his hands and the bottle of Heinz ketchup on the table. And in the next scene he is claiming "57 Communists." For Hannity and friends, the 157 figure is Heinz 57 varieties plus 50 years of inflation. Odd too that they'd channel Heinz, considering how they vilified the brand in 2004 because of whom Kerry was married to, so much so they offered "W" ketchup, which they sourced from the Heinz factory in Canada that bottles store brand products and sold for triple the price of the bargain stuff grocery chains sold it for.

  3. I am saddened that Bob Somerby would not so much as mention the unveiling of the Obama spying-on-Americans policy but then again Somerby did not mention the Obama attacks on press freedom either.

    Al Gore has noticed, but not Somerby.

    1. "Waaahhh! Talk about what I what you to talk about!"

    2. Right, President Obama can mock the Constitution, mock the law, intimidate the press, repeatedly and no Democrat cares. I get it.

      Thankfully there is a Glenn Greenwald!

    3. By the way, Susan Rice and Samantha Power were prime war-mongers in urging the President to wage an illegal and un-Constitutional war in Libya. I could care less about Rice being batted about on Libya and only wish she were in private life now and not at the White House.

    4. Susan Rice's policy recommendations have fuck all to do with Bob's argument. The point is, if you want to debate policy, we have to be confident that we can depend on the information we get from the media. And Bob has demonstrated incomparably that we can't. From health care policy to education policy to tax policy to foreign policy, it appears that facts don't matter to the mainstream media. Whether you support or abhor Rice's policy recommendations should be irrelevant to whether you care that what has been done to her in the media is contemptible. We can't have reasonable meaningful discourse regarding policy when we allow the media to fuck up the facts.

    5. mm,

      "what has been done to her in the media is contemptible"

      What has been done to her? Please explain. Susan Rice made a campaign appearance for Obama and then got rewarded with a plum job.

    6. At least my name is right.

  4. Let's assume for a moment that MSNBC was an actual progressive media source.

    How much time would it be spending on refuting Fox talking points on this matter, when Obama is merrily "shredding" the Constitution, just like that darn W did? Not to mention other troubling issues in the Obama playbook: continued outrages at Guantanamo, no prosecution of banker fraud, amnesty for torturers, Mr. O's Grand Bargain ambitions, the ongoing secretly negotiated trade agreements, the likely Keystone approval, that war on whistle-blowers, etc. etc. etc.

    Can we safely say, this matter which so exercises Bob wouldn't be a high priority, to an actual progressive, as opposed to a Democratic party hack?

    However, since MSNBC is in fact a corporate owned entity whose interests are in conflict with progressive ones, we're not faced with answering that question.

    What we can ask is, among the limited number of subjects the hosts can talk about without getting fired, and doing the mugging and pandering which (let's face it) the dim audiences for these shows would appear to enjoy, what's the most important thing to talk about?

    The answer, alas, remains the same: even MSNBC hosts, with their obvious partisan alliances, discern more important questions than those which so exercise Bob.

    1. "The only criticism of MSNBC that can have merit is mine, that they are corporate owned and not progressive. Critiquing their behaviour and pretense in any other way is invalid, sniff sniff."

    2. Hey Anon 3:02,

      Since TDH constantly tells MSNBC what it's concerns should be, and how it should express them -- indeed, goes so far as to object to interviews given by MSNBC hosts, and advises these luminaries what they *should* have said and how they should have said it -- your concern is puzzling.

      But of course any criticism of TDH is, by definition, invalid, sniff, sniff. You're on a roll today, bro.

    3. No, not "any" criticism.

      It's just *your* "criticism" that's invalid.

      Invalid, not because it criticises Somerby, but because it's so very useless for any purpose other than suggesting Somerby shut up or do what you'd rather he do.

      You do know nothing's stopping you undertaking your great mission of discerning more important questions yourself, don't you? The tiresome fact that no one would pay you the slightest attention if you took it up outside this comment section certainly shouldn't dissuade such a bright lad as you!

    4. Your post only goes to re-enforce how useless MSNBC is and what hapless tools it's leading "stars" are. They supposedly can't, or won't criticize Obama for his sellout ways, and they can't effectively call the right wing out on their lies and deceit. What good are they?

      By your correct reasoning, MSNBC hosts do have more important questions to discern. Ultimately it has everything to do with how well the money spends.

  5. Anon. 2:26- Don't be too sad. The blog comprises "musings on the mainstream 'press corps' and the american discourse," not analyses of the policies of the Obama administration.

    1. Thanks for pointing out that, despite multiple daily posts on the subject, and daily exhortations to MSNBC to do this that, or the other with respect to its coverage of the Obama administration, that this blog has no interest in press coverage of the Obama administration.

      Thanks for clearing that matter up!

    2. Good God. Do you not get the distinction between "press coverage of the Obama administration" and "analyses of the policies of the Obama administration"? John Dickerson, is that you?

  6. Yes anon, because the fact that the mainstream media allows lying and deception to continue unchecked and/or participates in same is nothing to worry about.

    All of us progressives just fret about coverage of our crowned king of Goodness, Neo-Liberal God Obama, because all that matters really is who is your hero?

    Thanks for providing proof of why so many of us have great concern about the disappearing art of journalism and its effects on the general population.,

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  8. It is obvious that FOX, a plurality of Congress and the media are in a feeding frenzy. The "hearings" have been composed of rhetoric and prosecutors' trick questions, the most common question is some form of "Do you still beat your wife. Yes or no?" Since a yes or no answer will not answer the question, the inquisitor responds with, "Let the record show that the witness is not responsive" or "refuses to answer." If the truth was what the hearings were after such simple-minded gamesmanship would not be necessary, but everyone knows that the republicans on their numerous committees are not interested in the truth; their only interest in in defaming the president. Do republicans expect the president to micromanage the IRS and diplomatic mission security? The answer is, only when it's this president. Another question that isn't asked is if there are people inside and outside the current administration who leak information in order to deliberately do harm to the president and democratic representatives in general without regard for the harm the information may cause the mission and country.