What does it mean to be colonized!


Judy and Gwen get the nod: What does it mean to be colonized?

In part, it means you’re forced to listen to hoary old tales from a hoary old ruling elite. It means you'll see your nation's professors pretend that these stories make sense. See our previous post.

But you can be colonized other ways too! For one example, read this morning’s New York Times concerning Gwen and Judy.

Ascot-kissing Brian Stelter encourages us to be thrilled because of a wonderful breakthrough. Two women will finally broadcast the news!

But look who those two women are.

When we think of Gwen, we remember the time she forgot to ask the key question of Condi Rice in July 2003, in the immediate aftermath of the breakdown in Iraq. Weeks later, we saw Tice and Ifill fawning to each other at a Dallas convention, with Rice mentioning the way she and Gwen get together for home-cooked meals.

When we think of Judy, we still think of two events from Campaign 2000. We think of the astonishing question with which she opened the last Gore-Bradley debate in New Hampshire, with a great deal on the line. A bit more comically, we remember the way she toughed it out as she spoke with Gail Collins on CNN's Inside Politics.

Plagiarizing Jacob Weisberg, Collins had savaged Gore’s performance in the first Gore-Bradley debate. In fairness, everyone else had plagiarized Weisberg and said these same things, so we can’t fault Collins alone.

But uh-oh! Four days had passed, and it was clear that New Hampshire Democrats hadn’t seen the debate that way. They thought Gore and Bradley had both done well—so Collins pulled an amazing flip, with Judy playing along:
WOODRUFF (11/2/99): What matters to voters at this stage of an election?

COLLINS: It's sort of a very beginning getting to know who the candidates are. I think they want to know which candidates are serious enough that it's worth their bother to pay attention to them, which of them agree with them on the most broad kind of visions of, you know, the way the country ought to be going, and frankly which ones are personally attractive to them, which ones seem like guys that they wouldn't get tired of if they had them in their face for the next four years.

WOODRUFF: Well, given that, when you look back at last week's town meeting with Gore and Bradley, how did they come across?

COLLINS: You know, I thought—I actually tend to think Gore did better than a lot of people did at the time. He seemed real energetic. He seemed to really care. He seemed to really want people to like him. And voters, I think, like that sense that a politician is really trying to please them.
Collins “actually tended to think Gore did better than a lot of people did at the time.” And that was odd, because one of those people at the time had been Gail Collins herself!

“At the time,” Collins wrote this about Gore's performance, which now seemed real energetic:
COLLINS (10/29/99): Al Gore has a personality without a thermostat, and when he tries to look animated he practically crashes into the wallboard. On Wednesday he hijacked the auditorium early on, begging for a chance to do a pre-debate Q.-and-A. ("This person has a question! Do we have time for his question?") He tossed in a little Spanish and a long joke, and made endless attempts to create Clintonesque mind-melds with the audience. ("How old is your child, Corey? . . . Are you unionized, Earl?") At the end, he refused to be dragged offstage. ("Can I say one more word? I would like to stay!") He bore an uncomfortable resemblance to the kid who asks the teacher for more homework. Mr. Bradley, lounging on his stool, arms folded across his chest, looked like the high school athlete watching the class nerd volunteer to stay and clap erasers.
So you’ll know, “Corey” was a young woman with a sick child. “At the time,” Collins had ridiculed Gore for inquiring about this child’s health. As Weisberg had said in the plagiarized piece, this misconduct showed that Gore was trying to be Just Like Clinton!

“At the time,” Collins mocked Gore for asking about a sick child. Four days later, looking back, he had “seemed to really care.”

If Woodruff was prepared at all, she knew that Collins had written that column. Four days later, she let the flip go. The guild will always do that.

What does it mean to be colonized? This morning, the Times invites us to thrill at Woodruff’s ascension. We’ll get two women reading the news!

Never mind who they are.


  1. Gramps wants the kids off his lawn and for Cronkite to be reading the news.

    (The article on NewsHour is in the danged Arts section anyway...and why aren't there shows like Matlock anymore?)

    1. Trollmes,

      You either need bring an actual, substantive critique or more entertaining trolling material. Either one would be great.

    2. But either one would have to come from someone else, 'cuz that lad's not up to the job.

    3. There's no substance to the original post. Bob doesn't like the new anchors for PBS's NewsHour. So what? He wouldn't like any new anchors not named Bob Somerby or Al Gore. And if either of the new anchors had been under 50, we'd be back on the whole "new mandarins" shtick.

      Does TDH advocate for David Sirota as a new anchor? Or maybe Ezra Klein? How about that telegenic Rachel Maddow? By definition in
      TDH-world, anyone who takes the job is an ambitious climber who is kissing the keister of, well, somebody or something... Who does TDH think should be reading the news? Bob never says.

    4. I refer you back to my original comment.

    5. I'll clarify for you, cacambo. The set of all human news presenters acceptable to TDH consists of Al Gore and Bob Somerby. Everyone who reads this blog for a month or so understands that. Since all young journalists are climbers and all old journalists are discredited hacks, we knew before this post went up that TDH would slag the people chosen to host the news.

      When the ball rolls across his lawn, everyone knows in advance the reaction coming from the cranky old guy in the decrepit house. Since no other humans are acceptable to TDH, the argument boils down to Somerby complaining that he didn't get the job. You could easily prove me wrong by pointing out just one candidate that TDH would support for the job, but you won't.

    6. This is your weakest crap ever, troll. Rather than having any point to rebut in Somerby's text, you simply whine that he's not telling you who he likes better than the folk he criticises. A big yawn. Keep it up; you'll have us sleeping like babes with your next effort.

  2. The worst thing about what is being said by these two women, and also in the previous post, is that voters watch debates to get a sense of who a candidate is instead of what their policies and beliefs are. I find that assumption demeaning to voters. I have changed my opinion of candidates because of what they said about funding for science or climate change or some economic policy. I changed my opinion of Obama when he equated college with vocational education. It matters specifically what the candidates say during the debates, not their body language and how many zingers they get off and whether they would be fun to have a beer with. That's why the questions need to be better. When moderators believe that debates are just a showcase for personality, then it doesn't matter what is asked and answered. Maybe that belief is a rationalization because they know they aren't behaving as good moderators, but perhaps the political establishment is not defining the role properly, or perhaps all the candidates are tired of the preparation involved and have colluded to make it into a reality-show type circus instead of a serious examination of issues. Hillary Clinton won all of her debates and that should have gotten her the nomination, but didn't. The problem is that debates are dumbed down because no one wants them to determine the outcome of any election, in my opinion.

    1. Of course I could be wrong, but Obama did not "equate college with vocational education." As I recall he suggested both as viable options for high school graduates, realizing, quite correctly and properly, that college is a better option for some, and vocational education is a better options for others. That does not necessarily equate the two.

    2. Obama focused almost entirely on community colleges and stressed the importance of preparing students for jobs. This is in direct contrast to academia's insistence that a college education is NOT job training and that the point of an education is to produce a thinking, literate citizen of the world, not to enable someone to make money. A lot of hard work getting across the value of education has clearly been lost on Obama who has no desire to support learning except as a way to raise incomes, and then, largely for those at the beginning of their journey. With the defunding of science research, he has left the universities stranded, especially since he has been unwilling to help the states who supply major funding to public universities. When college is reduced to nothing but a way to train for a job, you get failure to reason well, failure of ethics and compassion, and failure to think about the future, all capacities on which our society depends to make good decisions as a democracy. I have seen no indication that Obama understands the role of colleges, but than I have seen no indication he possesses those capacities himself either.

    3. Considering the well documented failure of professors at today's colleges that has been shown shown recently in this blog, perhaps it is best they are left adfrift.

      However, since he has not repudiated them, by his silence he endorses this rampant destruction of truth teaching at our univerisities.

      I am totally with Bob on this one. BTW many of these professors and one anchor in this post are black.

  3. Isn't one of the signs of senility the ability to remember very clearly what happened in the past, but be fuzzy about present-day events?

    Is someone stuck in the past too much?

    1. We're trying to read your mind, but not sure it's working. (Your mind, that is -- our ESP is very good!) Something in the dim past about Trayvon Martin, we see so clearly, but what you've got on your chin, we don't know.

  4. I love the use of the term "colonized." How saddening a choice for PBS, but how predictable just now.

  5. Bob,
    Your documentation of Ifill's dishonesty (search this site re: Cheyney v. J. Edwards); and Woodruff (see as far back as J.Carter v. R. Reagan) for her lies. From my own memory!
    I have not watched the "News Hour" for at least 10 years. And not for the next 10.
    It's all about the Benjamins. Every time.

  6. Bob's point, that we should not rejoice two women getting the new's hour when they have a lot of baggage, is perhaps valid. On the other hand, it is rather remarkable that two women have been in such a posistion before, so what's wrong with noting it and saying "that's nice?" Bob no doubt looks back on Huntley/Brinkley with a bit of the haze of childhood. News hour is about the closest thing we have to a news show for grown ups , let's see how they do.....

    1. Actually, while noting the failures of today, and that they weren't the failures of yore, Bob has many times conceded that there were indeed problems with the "Huntley/Brinkley" and "Cronkite" models of broadcast access also...

      Just sayin'

  7. Woodruff is a terrible interviewer. Never asks the important follow-up question, which allows her subject to skate away, weasel out, issue non-denial denials. Just last week she interviewed Joel Brenner, former NSA inspector general - who did nothing but weasel and dodge and Judy did not try to pin him down at all. I don't know if she's stupid, or just too much of a butt kisser, or isn't paying attention, but any halfway decent interviewer would have figured out the proper follow-up questions to ask to pin down Brenner on his evasions. Basically Brenner lied his way through the whole interview and Judy sat with her pasted-on mildly concerned look.

  8. Poo Poo Platter (What do you see in a Colonoscopy?)

    Hey Bob, we DID see your previous post in which you pretended to prove "our nation's professors pretend" hoary old tales make sense.

    Of course to prove Bob's false generalization about "our nation's professors" you have to leave out that the professor in question was in fact a much younger man appearing beside the hoary old guy who gave him his first national network job. Our civilization and its "elitist" professors are colonial paralytics because a guy refuses to rain down rhetorical blows TDH style on his mentor in a CSPAN broadcast from a public library.

    Well, we do think Bob did better in the way he dismissed
    Ifill and Woodruff. Neither is chided for not attacking a mentor. Their sins as presented here? Neither asked the questions Bob would have had them ask years ago. Perhaps in a future edition of Professorial Paralysis he'll share those questions with us.