DIVISION AND CONQUEST: Those People are crazy, Maddow says!


Part 3—The liberal world’s version of Sean: From a liberal or progressive standpoint, red and blue voters share some major interests.

Red and blue voters may not agree on abortion rights. But from a liberal or progressive standpoint, everyone in The Lower 99 Percent has been getting hosed over the past several decades.

Wages are stagnant (or worse). All the economic gains have been going to those at the very top of the pile.

From a liberal or progressive standpoint, how do you get conservative voters to see this as a problem? How do you get those voters to perceive a mutual interest?

Watching Rachel Maddow last night, we thought we saw a textbook performance in how not to accomplish such tasks. Clowning her way through most of her program, Maddow performed a function the plutocrats have always loved.

All through the annals of human history, “divide and conquer” has been the way the plutocrats have kept us rubes from joining forces. In our view, Maddow served an extra-large dose of division and conquest to liberal viewers last night.

The clowning began right out of the box, as Rachel entertained us with a naughty word: “balls.”

People, someone had (apparently) said the word “balls” to CNN’s Dana Bash! As she started her program, Rachel played a familiar warning message:
MADDOW (9/19/13): Do you ever watch the prison shows here on MSNBC? They come on Friday nights, after our show usually, and they’re always playing on the weekends?
The prison shows on MSNBC are really good, and they get really good ratings. So I know that you say, “Oh, no, I’m not watching them.” Statistically speaking, at least some of you are. Actually, a lot of you are. Actually, more of you that are watching me are watching the prison shows.

But if you have ever watched one of MSNBC’s really excellent prison shows, you have probably seen it start with a warning that the subject matter may be for mature audiences only. You’ve seen that, right?

Well, this here, tonight, is not an MSNBC prison show. This is, in fact, our lead story tonight about what is happening in Washington right now, and whether or not we’re going to have a government shutdown. But in order to do that story, I actually have to air that same warning now, before I show you what happened today in Washington.

So, here it is.

ANNOUNCER: Due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised.

MADDOW: OK. Now you have been warned.
As you may know, Maddow used to mock those prison programs, which aren’t “excellent” or “really good.” Apparently, someone has told her to get with the programs.

Last night, Maddow complied.

Viewers heard a familiar ominous warning, although they still didn’t know what the warning concerned. As she continued, Rachel explained—and she entertained us.

To watch this whole segment, click here:
MADDOW: OK. Now you have been warned. Now, here’s Dana Bash on CNN.

BASH (videotape): I want to read you a quote. Again, this is a quote from a House Republican leadership aide about a fellow Republican senator, Ted Cruz, saying, quote, "Wendy has more balls than Ted Cruz".

MADDOW: Ta-da!
“Ta-da,” the darling multimillionaire said. Then, as the entertainment continued, she apologized further:
MADDOW: Ta-da!

I’m sorry about playing somebody on CNN saying "balls" on television. That is what the warning was about.

But this really happened. The full quote, to be fair, it’s from a senior Republican leadership aide. The full quote is, "It is disappointing to see that Wendy Davis has more balls than Ted Cruz."

So really, it is a sad story, it’s a “disappointing” story. But that is the story. And that is the way that Republicans in Washington are talking about each other right now.
That was fun! As she continued, Maddow let herself say “balls” two more times. It was good solid entertainment—and we had been warned, after all.

(Remember when Maddow used to pretend that she was too embarrassed to say such words on the air? As we noted at the time, that was a clown show too!)

Full disclosure: There actually is a major fight unfolding within the Republican Party. Some liberals assume that this civil war will work out well for their side.

Personally, we wouldn’t assume that. Last night, Chris Hayes explained that the center of the public discussion is being pushed to the right as this civil war unfolds. No one is discussing the wisdom of the ongoing sequester cuts any more. The discussion now centers on whether we ought to defund the hated Obamacare.

Hayes offered a serious point about this unfolding war. But for Rachel, it was all clowning all night. As she often does, she told viewers at one point that they should get their popcorn out to enjoy the Republican fight.

In this way, liberal voters just keep getting made dumber. As the familiar mockery grows, the two tribes get pushed farther apart.

That said, Maddow’s clowning reached its apex with her recitation of a second anonymous quote. By now, she had snarked her way through a succession of underfed points.

She had snarked about former senator Jim DeMint, who was shown on videotape, “speaking in his inimitable robotic way.” She had snarked about Senator John McCain, the “world-respected arbitrator of what is and what is not rational.”

Soon, she was snarking about criticisms of Senator Ted Cruz, who is suddenly taking heat from within his own GOP. This topic is certainly worth discussing, but Darling Rachel was still clowning her way through life.

Eventually, with a piece of perfect bullshit, the darling child jumped the shark. The shark-jump started as he repeated a very peculiar quote:
MADDOW: Again, this is all Republicans talking about other Republicans. It’s just chaos. It’s not just a day of like long knives in Republican politics. Today is a day of long knives when everybody has them out and is using them in a mosh pit. Just look away.

The king of them all, the winner has to be the anonymous, what do they say, the phrase was “senior House Republican leadership source,” who told Ryan Grim at the Huffington Post today, that in his or her view, quote, "Ted Cruz is the leader of a secret cabal of leftists that are seeking control of the conservative movement. Their aim is to force the party to take on suicidal missions to destroy the movement from within.”

I cannot top that! But, see, this is an interesting insight into the conservative mind.
Thanks to a piece in the Huffington Post, Maddow had come up with “an interesting insight into the conservative mind.”

This insight didn’t involve the anonymous person who had said the world “balls.” This insight involved the anonymous person who said that Cruz “is the leader of a secret cabal of leftists that are seeking control of the conservative movement.”

What a crazy thing to say! As she continued, The Liberal World’s Most Overpaid Clown explained the insight we had gained into the minds of Those People:
MADDOW (continuing directly): Liberals always think that it’s performance art, right? Like we look at somebody like Ann Coulter as being maybe secretly a liberal comedian, who is doing an extended performance art project to make conservative pundits seem really unreasonable and unlikable and super mean.

Or Carl Paladino. Maybe he is performance art. Maybe he’s the new Andy Kaufman, standing there with his baseball bat, talking about how mad he is, sending around mailers that have scratch-and-sniff garbage smell, being proud of the people having sex with horses, racist porn that he sends around to his political colleagues.

Liberals look at Carl Paladino or Ann Coulter or Herman Cain, “9-9-9, my favorite poet is Pokemon,” liberals look at those people and think that those people are maybe artists, liberal artists, who are designed to make clear, through hyperbole, what is gross but sometimes true about conservatism and Republican politics. That’s what liberals think.

Conservatives, on the other hand, we’re now learning, do not think about performance art. They do not think it’s art. They instead think it’s a conspiracy, organized by liberals to plant hyperbolic self-destructive slippery-slope radicals in very public positions in the conservative positions in the conservative movement to make you guys look bad.

It`s fascinating. When confronted with the same kinds of people having the same kind of effect on how Americans view conservatives, liberals trust art to do that. Conservatives trust liberals to do that. They think that we cooked up Ted Cruz. You know what? I wish liberals were that smart.

But liberals are not helping with this, at all. This is a full-blown, vituperative and occasionally profane fight, solely among Republicans. About how hard they want to wage a fight that they all acknowledge will be futile anyway, against something that Democrats feel very comfortable about, and are unified around.

This is the kind of day in politics where Democrats just shut up, pop popcorn, and watch the other side self-destruct. But how does this end, and who is likely to be left standing in this very, very ugly fight?

Joining us now is Ryan Grim. He’s the Washington bureau chief for the Huffington Post and he is the guy who got the “leftist cabal” quote today, for which I will be grateful forever.
Conservatives think we liberals cooked up Ted Cruz! This darling child only wishes we liberals were that smart!

Rachel will be grateful forever for the “leftist cabal quote.” According to her own performance, the ridiculous statement gave us “an interesting insight into the conservative mind,” which seems to be quite crazy. For the record:

In the lengthy passage we have just presented, Rachel revisited some of her greatest clowning of the past few years. Do liberals actually think that Coulter and Cain “are maybe artists, liberal [performance] artists, who are designed to make clear, through hyperbole, what is gross but sometimes true about conservatism and Republican politics?”

Obviously, no—liberals don’t think anything like that! That’s what Rachel has said in recent years as part of her own cable act.

Whatever! According to Rachel, we have received “an interesting insight into the conservative mind.” The insight came from the statement Grim recorded, for which she’ll forever be grateful.

The statement shows us how conservatives think about someone like Cruz! It shows us how crazy conservative are. It cues us to prep the popcorn, to enjoy this ridiculous fight.

There’s only one problem with this big pile of bullshit. Maddow had hustled her viewers right past a basic part of what Grim reported. Warning: Ryan Grim is a real reporter, not a silly clown.

Sadly, there’s something Rachel’s viewers weren’t told about that statement Grim recorded. This is what Grim wrote in yesterday’s Huffington Post:
GRIM (9/19/13): "Cruz officially jumped the shark this week," said one GOP operative allied with House leadership, who, like others, requested anonymity to speak critically about fellow Republicans. "He's doing for the House Leaders what they couldn't do for themselves. House rank-and-file members are uniting with Boehner, Cantor over Ted Cruz's idiotic position."

The retreat by Cruz has led to public questioning from House Republicans about his motives and political acumen, not to mention joking speculation that he may be part of a vast and devious liberal conspiracy to undermine conservatives.

"Cruz is the leader of a secret cabal of leftists that are seeking control of the conservative movement," quipped one senior House Republican leadership source. "Their aim is to force the party to take on suicidal missions to destroy the movement from within."
Uh-oh! Before presenting the ridiculous quote, Grim described it as “joking speculation.” As he presented the quote, he said it was a “quip.”

Ryan Grim, a real reporter, reported a joking remark. But our dearest child, Our Own Rhodes Scholar, disappeared that basic point, then offered her “analysis.”

She pretended the joke was a serious comment. She explained what the comment told us about the conservative mind.

Last night, Maddow clowned for the full hour. She closed with a segment about a stray dog which looks just like Putin. Earlier, she had teased this segment with a story about a Russian hockey player at the 1980 Olympics who looked just like Stan Laurel.

According to Maddow, this helped the USA take the gold! “USA, USA,” the darling child chanted from memory.

That said, Maddow really treated viewers like fools in her endless opening segment. She took a statement which was a joke and treated it like a serious statement. Having enacted this sleight of hand, she helped us see that the statement shows us how crazy Those People are.

In many ways, Those People in the other tribe can be rather crazy. They have been schooled in The Crazy for years by people like Sean and Rush.

But then, the same is increasingly true of the liberal world, thanks to people like Maddow. Last night, liberal viewers got dumbed way down in a familiar way.

When we the rubes get divided this way, just which sector conquers?

Coming next week: The building of a new liberal culture. Might this culture help the swells divide The 99?

Grim corrects the record: Ryan Grim isn’t like Rachel Maddow.

Waiting to be introduced, he heard the ridiculous way Maddow discussed the statement he had reported. When he was introduced, he corrected the record, insofar as the rules allow:
MADDOW: Ryan, it’s great to see you. Thanks for being here.

GRIM: Thanks for having me.

MADDOW: What—the “leftist cabal” anonymous source who spoke to you in those terms about Ted Cruz, was that purely out of frustration, or is there an actual belief that there is an effort to do harm to the Republican establishment and that’s what Senator Cruz and these others “shut down the government” guys are doing?

GRIM: Well, it’s mostly a joke, but it has a certain amount of resonance among Republican leadership aides, because they feel like he is a smart guy, and so it`s obvious that what he is doing is destructive to the party. Now, they don’t want to go all the way and say, well, therefore, he must be a liberal plant. I think it was mostly in jest that he was saying that.
Grim softened the blow, as is required when correcting the cable gods. That said, he corrected the record insofar as he could.

But wouldn’t you know it? Just like that, Grim gave his host a chance to showcase her greatness:
GRIM (continuing directly): But they’re asking themselves, what is going on here? What is this guy thinking? And then you think, well, he is Canadian. He is Ivy League. He was a Rhodes Scholar, and maybe the pieces do start coming together.

MADDOW: As an almost-Canadian Rhodes Scholar myself, who would love to see that outcome, I plead guilty.
Maddow’s a former Rhodes Scholar herself, she remembered to say!

Sean Hannity has made conservatives dumber for years. Increasingly, Rachel Maddow is our own version of that.


  1. Ah, "the darling multimillionaire."

    And just the other day, Bob was using the Freedom Riders and Bull Connor as an example of how we should look for the humanity instead of mocking and hating people we disagree with.

    Bob, your utter jealousy that Maddow is famous, successful and rich while you're still blogging to 500 people a day while paying the bills whenever any corporation will hire you for "professional development" is palpable.

    And of course, for such a self-proclaimed champion of women that you were for Hillary, I find it ironic that your most frequent targets are women who are younger than you, more successful than you, and a whole lot smarter.

    And you target them in such misogynistic terms. When was the last time you called Lawrence O'Donnell a "darling multi-millionaire"?

    You know the sad thing? This blog could have been so good. But you just couldn't keep your own ego in check, and got more and more didactic and preachy as time went on, even to the point of lecturing minorities about when it is appropriate for them to feel insulted.

    And for those of your small remnant of a tribe who will undoubtedly ask, "Oh yeah? Then why do you still come here?" it is for the same reason I listen, just as briefly, to Rush Limbaugh every now and then.

    There is a highly predictable, clownish aspect to the schtick both of you old, tired, ranting tubs of lard. Kinda like watching a fat circus clown slip on a banana peel,

    1. Maddow didn't say anything to disagree with. She said something incorrect -- that makes her a bad journalist. Calling Somerby fat doesn't change her inadequacies.

    2. I didn't call him "fat." I called him an "old, tired ranting tub of lard."

      And now, I proclaim that I said it in jest, of course. And according to the Somerby Rules, anything said in jest can never be challenged.

      I do note, however, that you are far more gracious than Somerby in allowing that Maddow made have made a "mistake" in taking a joke literally. Somerby believes it is a deliberate attempt to mislead and dumb down all "liberals" and she does it on a nightly basis, just like Sean Hannity does to "conservatives," though he never gets around to addressing Hannity's "mistakes" and their effect on the "american discourse."

      But I must quickly add that making a "mistake" such as this is hardly the mortal sin for journalists that you think it is. Journalists -- and talk show hosts filling an hour of prime time every night -- make mistakes all the time.

      And so does Somerby,

    3. Anon@ 12:22

      Back at ya, slick.

      But aren't you supposed to wait until Matt in the Crown says "*YAWN*"
      before you write your standard line?


  2. OMB (In BOB We Trust)

    Anon@11:44 Everyone in the small remnant to which you refer knows of our irritation from time to time at the
    Great and Powerful Howler. Our sentiments are expressed less frequently than we feel them, but when they are they sometimes resemble yours. Some points you have made in the comment above are shared.

    However, if anyone deserved to be pointed out as a fool in makeup careening around in a clown car, it was Rachel Maddow and the segment accurately described by BOB in the post above.

    Someone should note, just for the record, thatprograms like Rachels do not dumb down liberals. People who watch such programs on a daily basis do so for entertainment and not information. They are already dumbed down. What amazes me if that BOB, who glories in someone seeing humanity in Bull Connor, writes as if there is any good reason to expect liberals, being humans, should act any different from humans who are not.

    Zarkon (as in Snark On) KoD

    1. Anon@ 12:23

      I don't. But if you think, based on what I have written, that is what I think, then I might wish to call you stupid (Use of dumb might imply speech impairment).

      For all we know, however, you could be quite intelligent just as BOB might not be a tub of lard. We just don't know.


    2. Yes, Zarkon. You and I should simply "go away" rather than express on sacred grounds views that are not shared by the rest of his self-selected tribe.

      After all, they have their orders to see the humanity in Bull Connor and are to busy to be bothered with seeing the humanity in anyone else.

      I do agree that sometimes, Maddow's segments can be quite dumb. And boring. Sometimes. She has also done very good and intelligent work, that at least once Somerby himself was forced to acknowledge however grudgingly -- she "may" have been onto something with her reporting of the naked voter suppression efforts in college towns in North Carolina.

      But Somerby not only holds Maddow to shifting standards of whatever perfection he feels to call out that day that Walter Cronkite himself couldn't meet, he also holds every MSNBC host to such impossible, super-human standards, and given the hours they fill five days a week, there is always low-hanging fruit to pick.

      And it certainly helps feed his rage when the perp is young, famous, rich and female.

      And here is one more thing -- Maddow's Rhodes scholarship just sticks in his craw. He can't do a single post about her without mocking her for it.

    3. "...without mocking her for mentioning it at her every opportunity."

      Fixed that for you.

    4. Often one mocks what one all too often hears expressed by the mockee. We believe, but can't be sure, that's how the Mock got put in the name of that bird on many songs.

      Speaking of songs, I would have jumped on the "almost Canadian" part of that Maddow line just for a change of pace. What on earth makes darling Rachel think she is "almost" Canadian? That she used to
      have the hair and wardrobe of k.d. lang, and
      was once sometimes listened to on radio?

      But that would invite both M and H bombs being hurled in my direction by dumbed down liberals in the tribal ritual we sometimes call blog commentary.

    5. No, once again like your tribal leader, you make it up.

      Maddow is on for an hour five nights a week. That is a lot of opportunities to mention her Rhodes scholarship.

      She mentioned it once. In passing. Last night.

      Now go use the search feature to this blog, type in "Rhodes scholar" and see how many time Somerby has mocked her for it. In fact, after you do that, type in "Maddow" and count the times "Rhodes scholar" comes up in the post.

      Of course, to a good loyal Somerby loyalist "every opportunity" means once when Maddow mentions it, never when Somerby does -- over and over and over and over.

    6. Anon@ 12:54

      This seems to be our day of friendly disagreement. BOB should not be called a tribal leader any more. Nor should his readers be reerred to as loyal loyalist, as you did, not BOBfans, as I do all too repetitively over and over again sometimes too many.

      CecilMac yesterday in a brilliant comment called BOB a Voice in the Wilderness with many followers who don't thank him enough.
      Therefore, he should be known as BOB, VitW.
      You can scratch "tribe" and substitute THE MANY.

      BTW, Anon. at 12:52 "R"us as they say in the toy bizness. Didn't mean to confuse. Just forgot.

      KZ (Typos "R"us)

    7. A brief time spent with the google shows that including his current and former sites, TDH mentions Maddow's Rhodes Scholarship less than a quarter of the time.

      TDH often targets journalists who are famous, rich, and successful. It's his position that the allure of the fame, money, and success are corrupting influences. The facts don't support the contention that young women are TDH's targets. Let's remember that his particular nemeses are Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins, who both are of an unyoungish age with TDH. Dowd is 61, about five years younger than TDH; Collins is a couple of years older than he. Rachel Maddow is considerably younger but she's no spring chicken at age 40. It took me only a few seconds, again on the google, to find a TDH calling the not-female O'Donnell a dope three times in one entry.

      And finally, to see humanity in one's opponents doesn't require exempting their actions from criticism.

    8. Bob was actually commenting that others saw the humanity in Bull Connor, and wondering at that, as an example of the lack of hate exhibited by the freedom riders, in contrast to our current times.

      Our new set of trolls don't read closely.

    9. Actually, my darling Anon. @1:55, there was nothing in the source material that BOB used that indicated the freedom riders didn't hate Bull. Just that they glimpsed a "spark" of humanity on one occaision. Close readers know that. People who call others with whom they disagree trolls or gun nuts might be too busy making generalizations
      about those they are calling names to comprehend what they read as opposed to repeating a repetitive narrative.

      I remember the "spark" line well because it prompted me to think a "spark" of humanity could also set off a flaming asshole.


    10. Ah, great deadrat. You did the research and found that Bob only mocks Maddow for being a Rhodes scholar "once every four times."

      Given that a week rarely goes by without him howling about Maddow four times, can we presume that a week also goes by in which he doesn't mock her Rhodes scholarship?

      Once again, his envy of a person who is smarter, more accomplished and of a different gender is palpable.

    11. Actually, KZ, David Halberstam describes that very ride from the perspective of the Freedom Riders in his book "The Children."

      After all that friendly chit-chat, after Connor and the Riders showed their "spark of humanity" to each other during that long ride, he stilled dumped them off at the Tennessee border in the middle of the night then drove away, wiht the Riders not knowing whether or not he had summoned some Klan chapter as to their whereabouts and they would be murdered in the middle of nowhere and never heard from again.

      At that moment, it wasn't the "spark of humanity" they felt from Connor, but absolute terror.

    12. I'm sorry, but I'm not interested in counting the times per week Maddow appears as TDH's target. It is said that "He can't do a single post about her without mocking her for" her Rhodes Scholarship. Three times out of four he can.

      Who's smarter, Maddow or TDH? I don't know, but for someone who's smarter, Maddow says a lot of dumb things. TDH, too, but not so much.

      Is Maddow more accomplished than TDH? I don't know. What's your measure?

      Is Maddow a target for her sex? I don't know, but TDH seems an equal opportunity offender. YMMV.

      Is Maddow a target because TDH envies her? I don't know. I'll defer to your skills at reading minds from reading blogs.

      I seem to know a bunch less than you. Do you suppose that's led me to envy you?


    13. Anon1:55, thank you for correctly stating the point of Somerby's piece on Bull Connor.

      Don't imagine it will make much difference in the midst of an idiocy which whines that Somerby does not treat Maddow, Collins, or Dowd as though they are ruthless bigots whose faint spark of humanity might give us hope for souls far less corrupt...

      Somerby also wrote:

      ***If Branch’s account is basically accurate, were those brilliant young people right in what they thought they saw? Should they have imagined that they spotted “sparks of humanity even in Connor?”

      We think this eternal question is highly relevant today.

      Branch's fuller account: Branch describes the situation as the Freedom Riders head back to Birmingham the next day. A driver had come from Nashville to take them back into the fight:
      BRANCH (page 438): Dazed by fatigue, yet brimming with zealous optimism, they were consumed by the belief that the hatred of mobs could not prevail, having seen, after all, speaks of humanity even in Connor, the archracist. ***

      This question is not one that interests a few of Bob's readers. They disdain it. They view it as a type of relativism and compromise at best, at worst as pablum that has little historical evidence for effecting social change.

      They are warriors, and it's infuriating to them that a warrior of Somerby's potential is mouthing this sort of tripe that only helps the bad folks.

      So they are here at war with him. Just as they have been at many conservative sites, they're now at war with a fellow liberal.

      Don't ask them to feel the thrill of optimism that the Freedom Riders felt at that glimmer in Bull Connor. Don't ask them to truly appreciate anything of King's hope and faith.

      They love war. They are warriors.

    14. Thank you Dr. CeciliaMc for noting how Bob takes the literary license of Taylor Branch
      and weaves it into a narrative.

      Branch said they saw sparks of humanity. Bob says they imagined they spotted sparks of humanity.

      You imagine what other people disdain and how they view things because you know they are war loving warriors.

      Isuspect the freedom riders were smart enough to know they were looking at a full blooded poltically powerful racist
      who was still just another human being. I also suspect that if you asked them why they went back to Birmingham at the time, not a single bloody one of them would have said it was because of "a zealous optimism" borne of seeing or imagining "sparks" of anything in Bull Connor.

      But we just don't know.


    15. Deadrat, excuse me if I don't take your word for it. I stand by my remark that every single time he mentions Maddow, he mocks her Rhodes scholarship.

      As for her being more accomplished, OK. You name the standard. Rhodes scholar. Best selling author. National TV show. Fame. Money. Whatever you choose.

    16. Isn't the Rhodes scholarship named after a racist? A "real" progressive wouldn't have even applied for such a thing much less boast about getting one.

      Zarkon (Royally rolling out the R Bomb)

    17. Anonymous @ 12:21A,

      Last June 22, TDH posts "Maddow makes fools of her viewers, part 2!" No mention of her Rhodes Scholarship.

      But you keep standing by your "every single time" remark. Because the facts don't really matter to you any more than they do to Maddow.

      Did you know she used to be a Rhodes Scholar?

    18. Oh, of course, KZ. It was merely Branch's poetic license.

      Branch just goes on interviews that he had with those Freedom Riders, but he can't know any more than you do.

      Catherine Burk Brooks talks about that conversation with Connor to this day.

      However, it's all idle speculation.

      It's about war really. It will always be war.

    19. Well Cecelia, you've proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that it wasn't poetic license
      (though I don't believe I classified a literary effort as poetry). I must also admit there really is no license given, that was concealed poetic expression on my part.

      I also admit I am something of a sceptic when people report others seeing UFO's, even when they were with them at the time (see Shirley Mc and Dennis K).

      So tell me based on your vast experience,
      "what do sparks of humanity" look like?
      Are they often "seen" or more often do we "imagine spotting" them?

      Zarkon (Babbling, as in Brook)

    20. You are incapable of ascertaining that no one was mitigating the mindset of Bull Connor.

  3. During the Syrian "crisis," I had to make a long car drive, over 7 hours. Listened to Limbaugh, Dr. Laura, music and the audiobook of John Grisham's "The Litigators." That was end of August. My impression is that Limbaugh had a big impact on the Syrian thing. He was talking about Obama's red line/saving face. I listened to him again the next week and he talked about an article that blamed the poison gas attacks on the rebels as a false flag and even brought up the Sarajevo Market attack in the 90's that has always had lots of skeptics.

    I wasn't hearing any of this on the national news shows before Limbaugh going at it. It seemed like the Republicans were going to line up behind a military attack on Syria just because, hey, what the heck. Just go along with it.

    Some Republicans got caught flatfooted supporting Obama's desire to bomb Syria and some had to publicly take it back. That was interesting.

    So, it does look like Limbaugh is still an important opinion leader, like it or not. Is it his opinion or does he just have a knack for knowing what the Republican voters are already inclined to?

  4. The problem with Limbaugh is that he makes things up and you cannot trust information presented on his show. Further, he says so many bigoted and offensive things about various demographic groups that anything else he might say is not worth waiting for. I have no doubt he influences dialog, especially among conservatives. But, he also spreads misinformation and makes people believe they are informed when they are being misled. I can always tell who listens to Limbaugh because they repeat falsehoods in all sincerity, trusting their source.

    What disturbs me about this is that misinformation appears in a chorus from multiple directions, as if talking points or a party line were being promulgated across many sources. I don't know if people are picking up their stories from each other or if there is an organized campaign to put across certain views. If the latter, then it undermines the idea of an open marketplace of ideas and suggests that public opinion is being actively managed, by someone for some purpose.

    Today Bob suggests that the 1% is doing this to keep the 99% from uniting and address common interests. He implies that Maddow and Walsh are part of this activity by dumbing down stories and feeding their audiences entertainment and the raw meat of hate. Whether he is right or not, seeking information instead of entertainment (at least on news shows) and refusing to vilify political opponents seems like a good place to start resisting divide and conquer tactics.

    Those of you who think that hating on Bob is going to make him go away are wrong. He probably doesn't read the comments you are writing. The rest of us aren't going to turn conservative because you suggest that Limbaugh is an alternative to Maddow -- he is just part of the same problem, a rube-runner on the right instead of the left. The incoherent garbage in the comments lately, pretending to be clever, is just sad.

    I would like to see Bob offer a plan for combating this problem he has identified. I suppose it consists of turning off both Limbaugh and Maddow and focusing on shared concerns, writing to congress people and news media about those shared concerns, and voting interests instead of tribes, but what beyond that can we do?

    1. Anon 1:27,
      I've visited DailyHowler on and off over the years. It wasn't until someone on another website mentioned him re Zimmerman that I visited since he put in a comments section.

      My take on the Howler has always been that the author finds virtually all of the news media to be lacking. Not just Rush Limbaugh and radio/TV talkers on the so-called "right." (I don't know to make of ideologies, right/left).

      I agree and the big media stuff has been ever so much more important than anything Rush Limbaugh ever said, the epitome being the lead up to the Iraq War. There were Judith Miller and a male reporter at the NY Times talking to Scooter Libby and putting lies in the NY Times and then Cheney went on Meet the Press and used the NY Times to credit the lies. "Its in the NY Times." I do not for one second believe that everyone wasn't in on the lies. I remember watching Colin Powell at the UN and I knew he was a liar but there were the Washington Post's Mary McGrory and Richard Cohen, liberals, saying Powell had convinced them. It was a histrionic, stupid, transparently non-credible performance by Powell but McGrory and Cohen were eager to get on board the brutal, vicious, monstrous plan to bomb a country that hadn't attacked the US and posed no threat to the US. They just wanted to KILLLL!

      Anyways, I don't expect Bob to see every individual issue the same way I do, certainly not, nor to see every individuals merits or faults as I do. But I think the writing he did about the 2000 presidential campaign was very helpful to me. He was calling out major figures and holding them to account when they were patently dishonest. You don't see that often. Most of the news media is like doctors not criticizing colleagues.

    2. ."It wasn't until someone on another website mentioned him re Zimmerman that I visited since he put in a comments section."

      Welcome your new tribe, Bob.

  5. Anon@1:27

    Excellent comment. We do need a plan to ruin the rube runners and right our rudderless Republic (you could call it intellectually paralyzed but that seems like a silly Mick way to characterize things).

    I suggest we get people to convene in assemblies at central locations across our land and listen to the BOB plan. Perhaps discussions could occur using hand signals to keep order until we reach consensus on how to unite the 99%.

    You are right about BOB. Hating on him isn't going to make him go away. And even if it did, he would simply be the voice in the wilderness he once was; followed by many but thanked by too few.

    KZ (Incoherent Garbage Collector)

  6. Here is a two part question for TDH, which prides itself on knowing education test results. How do we arrive at the conclusion conservatives have been made dumber for years, and what part of that do we attribute to Sean Hannity?

    1. Yes, as a conservative I handed my brain over to Sean and Rushbo years ago, and I've lost fifty pounds, grew all my hair back, and just got my dream job as a Fox News talking head!

    2. Because they believe the claptrap, such as "lower taxes increases revenue"; "Social Security is broke (or a pyramid scheme, etc.) and we will never see a penny"; etc.
      Does that help?

  7. (1) Over 2500 words for this? Rule of thumb: the more words TDH uses to try to convince us how nefarious Rachel is, the weaker the particular argument is. The frequency with which he uses the words "clown," snark" or "darling Rachel" is a good indicator, too.

    (2) TDH doesn't know what "jumped the shark" means.

    (3) Lumping Maddow with Dowd and Collins (per Cecilia) is absurd.

    1. I didn't lump them together. Some of Somerby's critics did.

  8. I understand the prison programs because adults sign a release, but I don't get why the courts allow the juveniles to be filmed.
    Juvenile courts are supposed to protect juveniles with sealing records, closed court rooms, etc. The parents can't waive the right on behalf of the juvenile, and the juvenile isn't asked to waive the right.
    Someone should sue the state of Indiana. It's outrageous. Those kids will really regret allowing MSNBC to film their adjudications when they go to a get a job. It is SO disgusting that MSNBC is making a buck off this heartbreak and I have no idea what the judges are thinking. People are shameless.

  9. Indeed pmf, indeed.

    "In his last will and testament, Rhodes said of the British, "I contend that we are the finest race in the world and that the more of the world we inhabit the better it is for the human race."