DUBLINERS TOO: Journalists build a sacred tale!

TUESDAY, JULY 30, 2013

Part 2—And the fact-checkers disappear: Early in The Plague, Camus describes the way an undesirable condition can seize a community without anyone much taking notice.

He imagined a pestilence, an epidemic of disease, seizing the city of Oran. Still early in his tale, he describes why Dr. Rieux, and other citizens, failed to see it happening:
CAMUS (page 36): The word “plague” had just been uttered for the first time. At this stage of the narrative, with Dr. Bernard Rieux standing at his window, the narrator may, perhaps, be allowed to justify the doctor’s uncertainty and surprise—since, with very slight differences, his reaction was the same as that of the great majority of our townfolk. Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in the ones that come crashing down on our heads from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet somehow plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.
Camus was imagining a physical epidemic, though it’s often said that his plague was a metaphor for conditions of thought which conquered Europe before World War II. Whatever! He goes on to describe the way a major change, one not for the better, can sweep a society with no one noticing or even saying a word.

“Stupidity has a knack of getting its way,” he writes at one point in this brief meditation, “as we should see if we were not always so wrapped up in ourselves.” The humanists die first in what follows, he rather gloomily says.

Does stupidity have a knack of getting its way? In our view, something resembling stupidity has been getting its way in America’s press corps for at least the last twenty-one years, with the best and the brightest among us defiantly failing to notice.

For ourselves, we couldn’t take it any more by the mid-1990s, though the problem got even worse shortly after we started this site in March 1998. That said, few episodes have involved more sectors here in our own Oran than the discussion of the killing of Trayvon Martin in February 2012.

In Dubliners, Joyce tried to tell part of “the moral history of my country.” In his view, a moral and intellectual “paralysis” was general all over Ireland.

In our own Dublin, our own Oran, has there ever been a press corps episode in which so many sectors ended up playing so active a role? For today, let’s try to stick with the conduct of the professional journalists.

By this time, it’s fairly easy to see what the journalists have done. Starting in March 2012, they began constructing a Sacred Group Story about the killing of Martin. To a remarkable degree, this sacred story was built upon a steady stream of false and misleading claims made by a group of lawyers representing the Martin family.

As composed by the front-line reporters, the story, which is now quite standard, reeked of misinformation. In the second part of this journalistic breakdown, the nation’s professional fact-checkers and media critics resolutely refused to notice this rather obvious problem. Even after the problem explained in detail, everyone kept his trap shut!

There are thus two parts to this tale of journalistic misconduct. First, let’s get clear on how the sacred story was constructed by the front-line reporters.

By now, a Sacred Group Story is constantly told about the killing of Martin. The basic outlines of this story can be clearly seen in last week’s editorial in the Baltimore Sun, a large part of which we posted yesterday.

To some extent, this sacred story is built on factual misstatements, some of which are extremely familiar. But sacred stories can’t be built on false claims alone! To a major extent, the sacred story about Martin’s death is constructed of other materials. These are the four basic elements of the current story:
Basic elements of the press corps’ sacred story:
Factual statements which are false
Factual claims which are unfounded
Factual statements which are true but irrelevant
Factual information which has been disappeared, withheld
We recommend you read that Sun editorial, which can best be described as journalistic porn. You will of course see some simple misstatements, which should of course shock the conscience. (George Zimmerman was acquitted by “an all-white in the South!” Should we think, for even one minute, that the editors really believed that?)

The Baltimore Sun made flat misstatements in that editorial. But just as important were the irrelevant facts which were included, generally to stir emotional reactions, and the standard factual statements which are, alas, unfounded.

Also key was the missing information—the information which was withheld. Generally speaking, this is information which makes the story less simple-minded as a pleasing moral fable. Since the Sun was really composing a fable, such complexity was disappeared.

When major news orgs compose stories this way, is this not a type of journalistic pestilence? Might it not perhaps be said that stupidity is getting its way? Alas! Our major news orgs have been creating their stories this way at least since the early 1990s, when they began constructing a decade of pseudo-scandals concerning the Clintons.

How strange! Today, both Clintons are widely admired; one hears very few words of dissent from our major news orgs. What became of all the stories the American press corps dumped on our heads, the stories which made it clear that the Clintons were deeply corrupted people even before they arrived in DC?

Those stories have simply faded away, with no one asked to explain why they were ever invented. Books by Lyons and Conason are the key texts. Those books have been widely ignored.

Starting in March 1999, the press corps began to invent a whole new set of stories. These Invented Standard Group Tales produced a disastrous outcome. We have discussed that conduct in detail. See our companion site, How He Got There, for six chapters and an Introduction.

The best and the brightest—the Krugmans, the Drums, the Dionnes—have agreed that this major historical episode simply cannot be discussed. This complicity in a bit of a plague has helped permit the current ludicrous conduct concerning the killing of Martin.

(We say that as major fans of Krugman and Drum, of Dionne to a lesser extent.)

Go ahead—read that editorial in the Baltimore Sun! Along with the flat misstatements, you will read the familiar irrelevant facts. (Martin had a bag of Skittles that night.)

You will read the familiar, unfounded suggestion that Zimmerman reacted to Martin with suspicion because he was wearing a hoodie. (That was one of the lawyers’ preferred story lines. Nothing on the tape that night suggests that this was the case.)

You will see the familiar assertion that Zimmerman “decided based on [Martin’s] appearance that he was a ‘punk’ who didn't belong”—that Zimmerman “decided based on no evidence.” That’s always possible, of course. We can’t tell you what Zimmerman was thinking or feeling that night any more than the editors can.

But, to sustain this preferred story, the editors disappear the alleged conduct by Martin which Zimmerman described to the police dispatcher that night, and later to investigators. To maintain the preferred story line, those statements, which may be true, have been disappeared.

The jury heard those statements by Zimmerman, on videotapes the prosecution entered into evidence. Readers of the Baltimore Sun are shielded from exposure to such vile claims, which may be accurate.

Did that conduct by Martin really occur? Like the editors, we don’t know; we weren’t present in Sanford that night! Unlike the editors, we aren’t going to disappear those statements to tell you a story, stated as fact, which you will find familiar and morally pleasing—a story which will let you think that they, and you, care about black kids, although rather plainly they don’t.

You can search that editorial yourself, marveling at its treasure trove of journalistic bad faith. Note the way the editors refer to “the story” that Martin had Zimmerman pinned to the ground; note the absence of any reference to any injuries; note the absence of any discussion of where the fatal fight occurred. When you read that editorial, you are lovingly being shielded from any suggestion of information which might undermine the moral fable, a sacred tale which began last year with a steady stream of misstatements from a handful of lawyers.

This included some misstatements which were unspeakably lurid and vile. The New York Times just typed them up! Literally from day one, the Times loved the sacred tale.

In the spring of 2012, a steading stream of false claims emerged about this case. These claims were advanced by many news orgs, but MSNBC disgraced itself, for several months, with its relentless misconduct.

This is where the second part of this press story begins. In this second part of the tale, we inquire about the press corps’ professional fact-checkers.

Or should we just call them The Missing?

In the spring of 2012, an astonishing string of misstatements emerged. Almost always, they could be traced to the Martin lawyers. Most of these claims have faded away, as all those claims about Whitewater did. But night after night, week after week, very bad people on The One Liberal Channel pimped this false shit to the world:
Some of the false claims from last year:
The Sanford police didn’t take Zimmerman’s clothing for testing! (False)
The Sanford police didn’t even take Zimmerman’s gun! (False)
The Sanford police were so racist they didn’t inform the Martins that their son was dead for a week! (False)
Zimmerman weighed 250 pounds! (False)
It was obvious that Zimmerman had sustained no injuries! (False)
Zimmerman was such a nut that he had made 46 phone calls to Sanford police in the previous 14 months! (False)
Zimmerman was told to stay in his car by the police dispatcher! (False)
With lightning speed, the claim was invented that Zimmerman used a racial slur in his call to Sanford police that night. On MSNBC, various pundits swore they could hear it.

Heroically, Lawrence O’Donnell said he could hear it “easily.” Long before trial, the prosecution agreed—the slur had never been said.

Last spring, the factual misstatements were general all over cable, but especially so on MSNBC. As of this spring, some of those misstatements had survived, becoming part of the Standard Way this incident is described.

Sadly but comically, the first false claim about the 46 calls had been transformed into a second standard false claim! It was no false claim left behind!

By this spring, the sacred story was also driven by standard claims which were unfounded—for example, the standard claim that Zimmerman “confronted” Martin, which hasn’t been established and is quite likely untrue. (Like the editors of the Sun, we don't know what happened.) There were false claims and unfounded claims—and facts which had been disappeared.

This should have created a field day for the press corps’ alleged media critics and alleged fact-checkers. But alas! Along with all undesirable facts, these journalists disappeared!

To name one name, Howard Kurtz disappeared. Or you can go to a famous site, PolitiFact. As you examine its recent collection of fact-checks concerning the killing of Martin, you will see part of the way a journalistic pestilence swept the land—a plague of non-reporting.

Its fact-checks have been largely phony—Potemkin. To judge from their work, no one in their own guild, the press corps, has made any false claims about this case from March 2012 on.

They fact-checked emails, but no press reports. As in so many previous episodes, the fact-checkers disappeared.

Quick review: Taking stenography from untruthful lawyers, the nation’s reporters constructed their latest Standard Group Story. As this familiar process occurred, the press corps’ fact-checkers went on vacation.

Soon, the moral and intellectual squalor was spreading to other groups of Dubliners. We liberals have played a large role in the intellectual squalor, to cite one obvious group.

So have many misinformed citizens—good decent people in the grip of a frenzy, as has been seen in the past.

Tomorrow: One lawyer explains herself


  1. "In Dubliners, Joyce tried to tell part of “the moral history of my country.” In his view, a moral and intellectual “paralysis” was general all over Ireland.

    In our own Dublin. . ."

    >>> stop right there. is somerby using using a country occupied by a genocidal superpower as a basis of comparison for modern day america? joyce wrote those words in 1907 or sometime prior. the anglo-irish treaty wouldnt occur for another fourteen years.

  2. is he trying to connect the infection of irish-bad in 1907 ireland to the descendants of ireland who work in the media in the usa today?

    1. instead of spamming us with your raving rhetorical questions, just look to the right of your screen and see the link to the blog where Somerby first made reference to Dubliners. He explains the analogy quite clearly (hint: it has to do with "moral paralysis").

    2. Was this the paralysis that led to an independent Ireland 7 years later?

    3. "According to The Modern World, Joyce saw “moral and intellectual paralysis” among his fellow Dubliners. He tended to attribute that condition to his country’s domination by a foreign power.

      The fact that Joyce thought he saw that doesn’t mean it was actually there!" - lord robert de somerby


      >>> its worse than i thought! somerby actually admits that joyce attributed his countrys poor morale to britain. but then he disagrees with joyce and anyone with a shred of common sense and integrity.

      wow! what cantaloupes!

      and btw, those questions were not meant rhetorically. you know somerby is really off in coo-coo land and you couldnt come up with a defense.

    4. Get back on your meds, lunatic.

      The quote that's got your dander up doesn't, as usual, mean what you want it to mean:

      "The fact that Joyce thought he saw that doesn’t mean it was actually there!"

      Yup, and it ALSO doesn't mean it wasn't there! The line was actually humorous, if you read Somerby regularly -- and read competently.

      No "defense" is needed from your insanity lowercaseguy, just maybe inoculation through exposure to common sense.

    5. Bob?

      "The fact that Joyce thought he saw ***that*** doesn’t mean it was actually there!" -- his lordship robert de somerby

      The "that" which i emphasized above refers to the sentences immediately prior:

      "According to The Modern World, Joyce saw “moral and intellectual paralysis” among his fellow Dubliners. He tended to attribute ***that*** condition to his country’s domination by a foreign power."

      then somerby goes on to try to demonstrate that this condition applies to america, obviously without the foreign domination factor.

      he hedges, as per usual for somerby, but at heart he is using a ridiculously flawed analogy.

      but congratulations on using
      "got your dander up" instead of "irish up".

      um... just curious...you get your common sense from reading bob somerby?

    6. These people are just idiotically belligerent.

      You can't see a "foreign power" as being analogous to the field of journalism being corrupted by an alternative frame of mind that is outside the framework of logic and also an abandonment of traditional principles?

      Hell, just disagree with that opinion or argue that it's cyclical...or something other than this bit of concrete boulder-head thinking.

      Unless you're just trying to prove Camus correct.

    7. "but congratulations on using "got your dander up" instead of "irish up""

      Even if you're not ethnically insulting him, you're ethnically insulting him because you're obviously avoiding ethnically insulting him!

    8. @ somerby apologist celeiamc

      "You can't see a "foreign power" as being analogous to the field of journalism being corrupted by an alternative frame of mind that is outside the framework of logic and also an abandonment of traditional principles?" --celeiamc

      when you consider somerbys notorious anti irish-catholic bigotry, it becomes an acrobatic act to come to your reading.

      but even if i dont read his bigotry into it, the reduction of the irish of 1907 to journalism, and the british to an 'alternative frame of mind' . . . i just find too absurd to be a practically functional analogy.

    9. "When you consider Somerby's non-existent (other than in the sad mind of one lunatic) anti-Irish-Catholic bigotry, your reading makes good sense CeceliaMc."

      Fixed that!!!

    10. No, seriously.

      He (yes, him!) -- he "finds it too absurd."

      Could we invent this guy if he didn't really exist?

      I ask.

    11. Come now, Ray, it's hardly absurd to use an analogy that likens an alien change in mass psychology to a foreign enemy,

      Just what do you think Joyce was doing in those stories?

      He was doing precisely that, meanwhile you're being so absurd as to suggest that a book by nationalist Joyce would be the touchstone of an anti-Irish-Catholic bigot.

      Go back to your troll anti-blasphemy watch-group society, boy.

      Somerby isn't an enemy to liberals. YOU are.

    12. come now ceceliamc, you cant seriously compare a non-fiction blogger about the media to a renowned novelist like joyce.

      and there you go again with your mind-reading. i see the 'catholic' of irish-catholic as part and parcel of an ethnicity (perceived,not real). im not religious in a formal sense.

    13. So now Joyce is a "renowned novelist" though you just labeled absurd, Joyce's device likening a sea-change in psychology to the inculcation of a foreign nation.

      As for label anti-Irish-Catholic, it was yours. I quoted you.

      I'd suggest that you learn that whatever you next pull out of your butt will still stink, but you don't care. As long as you keep yabbering on some "errant" blogger, you'll gleefully congratulate yourself for doing God's work.

      That's the nature of control freaks.

    14. lowercaseguys casemanagersJuly 30, 2013 at 6:00 PM

      "That's the nature of control freaks."

      He's a paranoiac, actually.

    15. Same need to stage manage the world.

      They either punish themselves because they can't, or they punish everyone else.

  3. is somerby going for the crank of all time award?

    1. So far you're number one in the running for that category.

    2. took u long enuf . . .so ez

  4. Nobody's interested in your book, Bob, including you. Nobody will click on that link.

    1. I always do, so you're wrong.

    2. I have too. I consider Bob's documenting what happened to be a service.

    3. I've linked it several times, although I think that "how he got there" is because the media kept Lewinsky about sex, libs hate their opposition more than they hate corruption, and Gore isn't the cool guy that media members tell themselves that they are and were.

  5. Wallow in the thought processes and intellectual honesty of your fellow travelers, Bob.

    Still proud to be a 'progressive'?

    1. Clearly there is a difference between progressives and the media. Progressive media is intended to make money from progressives and the people who are part of it are serving their own careers, not progressive interests. Progressives who are taken in by malfeasance on the part of the media are perhaps responsible for being duped and not showing critical thinking, but in that they are no different than people holding other political beliefs. There is nothing inherent to progressive thought that dictates extra gullibility in my opinion.

    2. The only "fellow traveler" to post above you was the certifiable crank lovingly known as "lowercaseguy" -- And while he's as intellectually bereft and dishonest as they come, what relation do you think he has to Somerby, or to anyone else?

      In short, 11:47, What The Fuck are you even talking about?

    3. i see that youre a tough guy, so i say this very respectfully:

      im a communist sympathizer, a "fellow traveler"? is that what you mean, or what exactly? and you gathered this how?

    4. Who are you talking to lowercaseguy? No one's talking to you here.

    5. @AnonymousJuly 30, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      >>> quoting from the second comment before yours:

      AnonymousJuly 30, 2013 at 1:36 PM
      The only "fellow traveler" to post above you was the certifiable crank lovingly known as "lowercaseguy" -- And while he's as intellectually bereft and dishonest as they come, what relation do you think he has to Somerby, or to anyone else?

    6. Like I said, no one's talking to you.

      That was a question addressed to the 11:47 Anonymous, not to you lowercaseguy.

      At the risk, nay the certainty of wasting my time, I state the obvious:

      That poster at 11:47 referred disparagingly to the thinking of Somerby's "fellow travelers". There were no posts prior to that point that engaged in any way with Somerby's efforts, other those of "ray veeng," better known to all and sundry as lowercaseguy, yourself.

      Thus the question, to Anonymous 11:47: What relation do you imagine lowercaseguy to have to Somerby, or indeed, WTF are you talking about?

      As for yourself, lowercaseguy, it is clear you are demented, but can you still not see that the question of whether "fellow traveler" is meant to apply to you *at* *all* is exactly what is being asked? Are you so slow-witted that you are not able to notice that its initial use is by the 11:47 Anonymous? Are you, finally, so weak in mental function that you can imagine no other usage of the term than to imply that the target is a Communist -- a usage that 11:47 certainly didn't seem at all to imply?

      But please, never mind these questions. As I said before, no one is talking to you, lowercaseguy.

      You are a dead end.

  6. I agree that the failure of the fact-checkers represents another level of media malfeasance. Bob's PolitiFact link is just amazing. The headline said "Fact-checks about the case involving Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman." Yet, they fact-checked not a single one of the host of key errors that Bob has pointed out in detail.

    Another fact-checking source, one that I have great respect for, is the Urban Legends Web Site also known as Snopes.com. Their search engine shows that their coverage was similar to PolitiFact's. They checked a few secondary claims, but totally ignored all the false claims about the event itself.

    Why did these fact-checkers perform so badly? I suspect that they didn't want to take on the narrative, because they're basically liberal.

    1. I would say that much of the press coverage can be explained as a sop for pseudo-liberals.

  7. The best and the brightest—the Krugmans, the Drums, the Dionnes—have agreed that this major historical episode simply cannot be discussed. This complicity in a bit of a plague has helped permit the current ludicrous conduct concerning the killing of Martin.

    Good men doing nothing. I'm glad you pointed that out.

    1. Kevin Drum did nothing to address the mistreatment of Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primaries. It does not surprise me that he is unwilling to stick his neck out for truth in this situation either. He also dislikes being criticized and is pretty defensive, so I doubt Bob's complaint will get through to him and change anything.

      Once Drum criticized the way statistics are used in psychology studies, even though he has little training in such things. A slew of well-trained and expert individuals tried to educate him in the comments (achieving rare consensus among themselves) but after all that, Drum clung rigidly to his original assertions. I was not impressed by his intellectual honesty on a subject that had far less emotional baggage than this one.

    2. FWIW my wife, who IS and expert in statistics, agrees with Drum. The problem is that people who respond to Mechanical Turk to be subjects may not be representative of the larger universe. Yet, the researcher will implicitly make that assumption.

      Mechanical Turk is a convenient way to get papers published. No doubt, many researchers use this questionable technique. The fact that users of the technique defend it isn't surprising, nor is it fully convincing

    3. I'm not talking about this latest column -- the issue came from an earlier one where people were talking about chocolate chip cookies for some reason. I've forgotten the context of the argument but it was about sample sizes needed for a significant result and Drum was arguing that you cannot actually demonstrate anything with the small sample sizes used in psychology, which is not true. In fact, when sample sizes become too large, trivial differences become significant and the results then are meaningless. Drum never seemed to get the point of significance testing.

    4. Interesting point. As an actuary, my view is that magnitudes matter a lot. If a large sample allows one to discover that a trivial difference between two populations is statistically significant, then that difference is still trivial.

      Unfortunately, a lot of academic work looks for any difference that's statistically significant, because the goal is to get a paper published.

      In short, very large samples are OK as long as they're accompanies by very large amounts of good judgment.

  8. The "stenographers to the lawyers" seems overdone to me. I would like to see a timeline of the claims. Seems to me that Sharpton, Maddow, LarryO, Ed and guests were advancing claims all on their own without needing any plot ideas from the lawyers.

    Another early player in the game seems to be the neighbor who came forward as a "witness". (I recently saw a timeline somewhere and her being on TV very early in this tale.)

    Many people took the ball and ran with it on their own.

    Another thing that really advanced the story was clearly - the pictures of Trayvon. He was just so cute that many Americans fell in love with him. The story quickly became Beauty and the Beast. Trayvon, after all, was just a "child" (one who outweighed me at age 35 by about twenty pounds, one about the same size as Sugar Ray Leonard, but still, just a child. And unarmed too. Almost like a harmless cute little puppy.) And Zimmerman was an overweight, unattractive "grup". Those became, I believe, unspoken parts of the story. Emotions that helped to drive the narrative.

    Other facts were never widely broadcast. I had to dig to find out how long Zimmerman was on the phone after he said "he ran". I still do not really know how far the scene was from either Zimmerman's car or Trayvon's home. Those actual, objective facts were not widely reported.

    1. I believe I just read it was about 70 yards from the home Trayvon was visiting. I've also read 100, though. I don't remember the distance to Zimmerman's truck but it was just around the curve just past the Lauer's home on the end.

      On the North/South map they used, the truck was just to the west of the T. Trayvon's home was 70-100 yards south of the T. He could have run home at least 5 times in the two minutes Zimmerman was on the phone after saying Trayvon ran plus the 1 min 45ish seconds after he hung up. Sadly, for some reason he waited near the T or he went home and came back to the T when he saw Zimmerman's keychain flashlight.

  9. This is the process of turning Trayvon Martin into a political martyr; a rallying point for the Left. The same process occurred in the Haymarket Square bombing, Sacco and Vanzetti, Alger Hiss, et. al. The Sacred Group Story is designed to pass into legend to be used both as a prop for the "evils" of American society and to get money for groups organized to fight them.

    1. I don't think it is quite true that the left demonizes American Society while the right demonizes the left. I think the left criticizes the evils of vested interest and power, especially when it misuses that power to oppress powerless people. So, the left is essentially against corruption not American institutions. And the right also uses its complaints to raise money -- that may be one of the main purposes of ginned up scandals such as Benghazi and IRS.

  10. Poo Poo Platter (Note. We're changing the headline)

    In that famous piece of Children's literature "Everybody Poops" it is noted that all manner of beings, some sentient, some not, excrete waste matter. Some among us are willing to note the poo which comes from others and deride its malodorous presence. A few are fixated on doing so, and quite often those with such a fixation simultaneously blame all manner of ill on the poo of others while ignoring their own pile on the floor and the fact it stinks too.

    Sometimes people get so so full of whatever they consume that when they let go the poo fills a platter. And that is the state we find ourselves in today.

    In my first installments, Poo Part 1 and Poo Deux, I discovered a length limit to these comments. Recognizing that, I may break this up, and like the host of this otherwise valuable and excellent blog, return from time to time while attending to other pressing business.

    Let's let this first installment start and end with the easy offal on the floor.

    An element of fable: Factual claims which are unfounded.
    One of Bob's favorites is feeding the fable of journalist conspiracy.

    "The best and the brightest—the Krugmans, the Drums, the Dionnes—have agreed that this major historical episode simply cannot be discussed."

    Yeah Bob. You have it on tape. It happened at the Algonquin, right? Four days ago they simply wouldn't mention it. Now they have agreed not to do so.

    Bob, is of course, careful to use clever, amusing (almost Maddow-like) literary license in stating this so he could, should he desire, take refuge in his former comedy writing past. But, as he noted in a post about a Charles Blow column on July 1 of this year, the commenters among us are free to fill in the blanks.

    1. You can't honestly think that a reasonable reader of that passage would interpret the "have agreed" to mean an intentional conspiracy between the named individuals? If so, then you may have some reading comprehension problems.

      But, I suspect you know very well what the phrase meant, and you are simply being contrary for no reason.

    2. The main think thing is to avoid noticing that the Krugmans, the Drums, the Dionnes are averting their gaze from the topic.

      Whatever tic in Somerby's writing helps avoid noticing the way the heroes are failing to discuss the absolute collapse of credible journalism in this instance, why, you just go ahead and seize on that tic!

      For some it will be mention of Joyce (aha he hates the irish i knew it and he will do anything to keep us in our place). For some it will be pretending that Bob's failed to prove a conspiracy theory (Where are you claiming they met to agree not talking -- the Algonquin?!?). For others it will be the unbearable repetition (Greg, Confused), but only the repetition of Somerby, not the continuing repetitions of the fakers and dissemblers, and certainly not the repeated silences of the heroes....

    3. Well majeb and anon @ 3:53, perhaps it wouyld be unreasonable to conclude Bob was just kidding, and taking literary license with his subject, were these three not often cited for this failing in Somerby's work, and if the Big Man himself had not followed the sentence I quoted with this one:

      "This complicity in a bit of a plague has helped permit the current ludicrous conduct concerning the killing of Martin."

      So Krugaman, Drum, and Dionne, by their failure to address the massive press failure that was Clinton/Gore coverage from the late 90's through 2000 are complicit in permitting the Trayvon Martin journalism debacle Somerby is depicting.

      Of course Krugaman writes about economics, not journalism. Drum didn't start writing about politics until 2002. That leaves Mr. Dionne who Somerby said back in 2007 "has been a gutless bastard for roughly the past dozen years." His sin? He "set out the war against Gore." Lovely Vietnam analogy, Bob. Just a tic, I suppose.

    4. If you were paying attention (the thing you're only pretending to do), you'd notice you're altering Somerby's prose.

      You're reducing "the Krugmans, the Drums, the Dionnes" to singular. They're plural for a reason. They are not alone.

      Beyond that, Krugman of course writes often on more than economic issues. You are wrong too about Drum -- "the question of Gore" has indeed recurred for him since after the election. Picking out an (accurate) quote about Dionne likewise does nothing to excuse him.

      Anything else?

      You just don't like someone suggesting these heroes ought to maybe raise their heads and notice the journalistic trainwreck surrounding them?

  11. I wonder if Bob ever listened to the original tape that he assumes as fact did not contain the word "coons". Spoecifically, "These f***ing coons". Because many of us who listened expecting it not to be there were stunned to hear it very plainly. And the big mystery now is how something obviously not there has become accepted as factual.

    Probably the best place to see how the evolution to the absurd began is to watch the CNN "enhancement", where you can hear the clearly spoken "coons" (before "enhancement") become altered to something more like "cold" (as if anyone said "These fucking cold")after "enhancement".

    Check it out here: http://www.wagist.com/2012/dan-linehan/george-zimmerman-said-fucking-cold-or-fucking-punks

    1. This is the kind of bullshit that makes me not want to be associated with liberals. At the very least, you have to admit you can't be certain WHAT he says just based on the recording. But if you have paid attention, Zimmerman is about as opposite from a racist as you can get. To think that someone who is as non-racist (and milquetoast) as Zimmerman appears to be (and a 28-year-old Hispanic, at that) would suddenly use an old-fashioned racist term like "coons" while on a call with a police dispatcher is just bat-shit insane.

    2. When was the last time you heard someone under 70 say coons? Never? I thought not.

  12. I thought I heard a C sound at the beginning followed by a vowel sound of a long O. "Coon" doesn't have this structure. One-syllable words with a structure like that include cold, comb, cope, coast, cole, cone, coat, and cove. None of these words makes sense in the context of the entire statement. So I would conclude that I can't tell what word Zimmerman spoke after "f**king".

    I suspect that the prosecution didn't want to introduce evidence to try to show that Zimmerman is a racist, because that would have opened the door for the defense to present all the reasons why he's not -- reasons that reflect well on him.

    1. It was 58 degrees and rainy. People always say "It's f*ckin cold" when they are walking outside and they always say it to themselves under their breath. Nobody George Zimmerman's age says "coons".

    2. "Always" meaning they say it all the time.

    3. The link I posted with the original tape sound does not seem to have even a hint of a long "o". It has a "c" sound followed by an "ou" as in "coup", then a "n" sound with an "s" or "z". And we hear the "engineer" and commenter agree to that, but the engineer claims to have cleaned it up, then plays the new sound, which is a definitely longer "o". But the problem is that the taped vocalization is noticeably altered. So he removed "noise", which is not even a noticeable problem, but somehow changed a clear enunciation. The two of them then agree that it's more clearly "cold", but seem to have had that objective from the beginning.

      So that's how they got to "These f***ing cold(s)"...But how in the world did they get to "punks"?

      The only way I've heard is that Zimmerman's attorney proffered that Z would agree to saying "These f***ing punks", and the prosecutors thought that was good enough to show malice, and agreed to go with that. If anyone has a link to a tape with a clearly enunciated "punks", I would love to hear about it.

    4. Here is the full call: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zj7qEcD8R-8

      And to me, it seems pretty clear to me that he says "punks." Plus there's the inherent implausibility of "coons" that I explained above.

  13. Ever ask yourself how many of the posts critical of Bob's work are written by disgruntled journalists upset with being called out?

    Think about it.

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