Andrew Sullivan, peckish and peeved!


Top pundits just wanna have fun: Last night, Andrew Sullivan was peeved, almost peckish.

The peevish fellow was guest-starring on Anderson Cooper Later. It’s the late-night version of Cooper’s tabloid-driven show, the one where the pundits just sit around exploring how dumb and dishonest they are.

Kate Zernike was on the show, guaranteeing a shipload of total confusion. At one point, the pundits were trying to figure out what Christie has said in the past.

That’s when Sully got a bit peckish about his responsibilities. He expressed his mighty pique with a bit of help from Charles Blow:
SULLIVAN (2/3/14, peevishly): We have to parse this guy in a Clinton—

BLOW: Yes, what is the meaning of is?
Blow’s memory skills weren’t strong last night. But we got the general idea!

The children tend to get very upset when they’re asked to be 1) fair to one of their group targets, or 2) professional in their conduct. In this case, the boys got upset about the idea that they had to try to determine what Christie has actually said.

Why couldn’t they simply make it up, the way they usually do? You would probably feel peeved too, if you were hit with such silly demands.

These horrible children just wanna have fun! At the present time, they’re on a chase, and they very much want to enjoy it. To Sully, the need to determine what Christie has said reminded him of the bad old days, when people bugged him with complaints about fairness to President Clinton.

Blow was peeved too. He tried to remember when Clinton said, “It all depends of what the meaning of is is.”

We do remember when Clinton said that. We also remember when Blow invented all those bogus facts about a murder case in 2012. He wanted the freedom to make up those facts. It’s hard to get lower than that.

How stupid are people like these? After whining about the burden of parsing, Sully proceeded like this.

Avert the children’s eyes:
SULLIVAN (continuing directly): To me, it's just obvious that several facts present themselves. One, Chris Christie is a hands-on, detail-oriented governor. The people know that he is behind them.

Two, that there is a pattern of this kind of thing in his administration. And three, his best buddy—he is spending time now trashing his childhood [indecipherable]. At what point does a sitting governor stoop to that kind of stuff, unless he is in fury, in rage or terrified of what this guy has?
Good God! After all the grumbling, Sullivan just wanted to talk a bit more about Governor Christie’s treatment of his best buddy, the childhood friend!

What an embarrassment these pre-humans are! What kind of nation is willing to tolerate public figures like these?

Hoover intervenes: Six-year-old children love their toys. So does the peevish Sully.

After he brought out the childhood friend, Margaret Hoover pushed back.

It wasn’t that easy to get Zernike to admit that Christie and Wildstein hadn’t been childhood friends. Note the way this “reporter” played two different versions of “Yes, but” as she was forced to admit:
HOOVER: I think the reason that happened though is because this other narrative surfaced that was like, “They are very good friends from growing up.”

The truth is, as I understand it from talking to several people in New Jersey, they were in the same high school from the same town. They were in totally different classes. It was the big public school in the town. They were not actually friends.


COOPER: But you're saying a job was created for him.

HOOVER: But not because he knew him personally. Do you know how many political appointees are in the state of New Jersey?

ZERNIKE: Well, no.

HOOVER: Thousands. There are a lot of political appointees.


HOOVER: This is not like, “I know him personally and I'm putting him there.” Yes, everybody is appointed by the governor in the state of New Jersey. That's how it works.

ZERNIKE: You're right. On the other hand, when Governor Christie was U.S. attorney, David Wildstein was running a political blog. Several reporters from that blog have talked about what a good source Governor Christie's office was. Clearly, Governor Christie knew who David Wildstein was.

Governor Christie has said they met on a political campaign when they were teenagers. They are certainly— You see the pictures on September 11 and on the anniversary and they're together and they're laughing. I don't think we can say—


HOOVER: But it's not like they were best friends and now he is trashing his best friend from childhood.


ZERNIKE: No, no, I agree.

That wasn’t easy! It isn’t easy getting this horrible person to state even the most basic facts.

As a reporter, Zernike makes a good attack dog. As recently as Friday afternoon, she was describing Wildstein as a “high school friend of” Christie’s.

Of course, she knew that wasn’t the truth. But, if we might borrow from Chekhov, she wanted to say it so badly!

(By Saturday morning, the Times had bumped the phrase back to "high school classmates." That’s inaccurate too!)

As a reporter, Zernike is as incompetent as anyone we’ve ever seen. She’s also a poorly disguised partisan, a fact which becomes embarrassingly clear when she goes on TV.

Two bits of background:

Steve Kornacki has said, again and again, that it was actually Bill Baroni who wanted Wildstein hired. That said, everyone knows the current rules:

You praise Kornacki for his knowledge. After that, you simply ignore the buzz-kill things he says.

In that passage, you see the way a partisan acts when forced to abandon a point. Forced to admit that Christie and Wildstein actually weren’t high school friends, Zernike ends up saying that, “on the other hand, when Governor Christie was U.S. Attorney, David Wildstein was running a political blog...Clearly, Governor Christie knew who David Wildstein was.”

Christie knew who Wildstein was! And not only that! There’s a photograph where they’re laughing!

(In what universe do actual humans ever behave like that?)

Kornacki constantly notes that Wildstein sold that political blog to a political enemy of Christie’s. But so what? These horrible people want to talk about the childhood friends!

These horrible people hate their lives, as Dylan once explained. When you ask them to do their jobs, they complain that you’re making them parse.

Final note: Today, they’re doing this to Christie. Next year, they’ll be doing it to someone you support, as they’ve done many times in the past.

We liberals will sit there and shut our traps, the same way we’ve always done. The way we did in 2012 when they did this to Susan Rice.


  1. Next year they'll be doing it to someone I support. I'll be pissed up, as an earlier commenter said. But I doubt I'll spend the next 16 years blogging about it and comparing all subsequent events to it.

    1. And chances are good whatever you do spend the next 16 years doing will not be nearly as worthy as what Bob does.

    2. The half hour Somerby spends on this blog is a lot less than you trolls spend.

    3. It looks to me like it took you almost a half hour just to come up with another one line addition to your first.

  2. "These horrible people hate their lives, as Dylan once explained."....??

    Is Bob speaking in tongues for the last 3 paragraphs? Is it supposed to be some prophesy he is calling down upon...someone...liberals?

    Is this Bob's incredibly pathetic way of acknowledging that Christie leaked stuff to Wildstein while Christie was a US Attorney? And that he might, maybe, therefore actually be acquainted with Wildstein. Or do US Attorneys leak stuff to anonymous bloggers? Is that how the world works?

    Each post stunningly worse than the previous.

    1. And yet you keep coming back!
      Each of your comments are stunningly dumber than the previous.

    2. And each time Trollmes comes back and comments, you read his comments, since you must in order to compare them.

      What's that say about you?

    3. Horace, where else can we find such comedy stylings as this:

      "What an embarrassment these pre-humans are! What kind of nation is willing to tolerate public figures like these?"

      Yes, damn that First Amendment anyway. What kind of nation allows any damned fool to say what they want? I bet some of these damned kids never even went to Harvard!

    4. So, Horace Puppet-Pleigh, do US Attorneys leak to anonymous bloggers or not? Would believing that US Attorneys leak to anonymous blogger be dumb?

    5. Wildstein did not do reporting on his blog, and because he was anonymous, nobody knew how to leak to him anyway. Duh.

      Christie phoned up and emailed the named reporters, like Kornacki. There's no reason he'd have had any contact with Wildstein at all while that site was operating, and even if he did, he wouldn't have known who he was dealing with. Even Kornacki didn't know until near the end of his job there.

    6. Ok, so a US Attorney leaks info to a 24 year old blogger who works for an unknown party. Right. And said 24 year old investigative reporter can't figure out who signs his own paycheck. Hmmm.

      Have you ever been written paychecks by unknown parties? Does any of that strike you as plausible?

  3. We should assign the blogger the task of nailing down for posterity the exact number of blow-jobs Clinton received from Lewinsky (blogger thinks it is 10, Wikipedia 9 - surely an untenable state of affairs).

    May be that'll stop the excruciating "best friend" obsession for a while.

  4. As for me, I am sad that Sullivan had to skip dinner before Cooper's show.

  5. "As a reporter, Zernike is as incompetent as anyone we’ve ever seen"

    I dunno - I've actually seen reporters say things that are the opposite of truth for the purpose of promoting policies that ruin millions of lives. That seems pretty bad. It might even be worse than getting the timing wrong on when Christie loved Wildstein enough to invent a fake high-paying job for him.

    And overdoing it in an effort to bring down a lousy politician just might not be as bad as trying to end the middle class.

  6. I often get pissed off at TV moments like this. When it's clear that there are no standards for holding a debate and facts can be made up or contradicted when convenient.

    The whole "child hood" friend bit of background isn't necessary to build a case against Christie. But it sounds better for telling a story. It shades things against Christie and "speaks to his character". It only gets contradicted when someone pushes back really hard.

    When someone does that in an argument with me, uses something unimportant, but none the less untrue, to strengthen their case it pisses me off. It pisses me off on TV too.

    It's extremely frustrating.

    1. Then I am certain you were royally PO'd when you read this in your Daily Howler on Dec. 13:

      "Here’s the background:

      "Back in September, a minor New Jersey official had closed three lanes of traffic from Fort Lee onto the George Washington Bridge. This created a week-long traffic jam which crippled the town of Fort Lee.

      "The minor official was a high school friend of Christie’s."

    2. I don't understand. What am I supposed to be royally PO'd at?

      This was on Dec 13, right? What's been said since then?
      On 12/13 Bob was linking to the NYT to provide what little background was out there at the time. Subsequent reporting called that piece of background into question. No one should be repeating it two months later as a fact. Particularly since it's not necessary to build a case against Christie.

      So, I don't understand what I should be PO'd at. But I'd be open to an explanation.

    3. Oh I see, Wildstein really was Christie's high school buddy on Dec. 13.

      When did they cease to be high school friends? Somewhere around Jan. 9? And how do we know this? Because Christie says so.

    4. I was expressing frustration about how cable news, especially the pundit shows, are loose with facts and heavy on story telling.

      I can't tell what your point is. I think it's about how Bob does the same thing as folks like that. But, clearly, in this case he doesn't. On 12/13 he summarized current reporting at the time. The reporting to date has made it less than clear that they were "high school friends" as you say or "childhood friends" as they suggested on Sullivan's show.

      Beyond the fact that the nature of their relationship is unclear, it's also a totally unnecessary point to bring up in the first place. It's there as a lazy way to shade the case against Christie. It's a tabloid detail.

      But, again, what do you think I should be PO'd at?

    5. My point is, Bob thought it was worth reporting on his blog on Dec. 13, but didn't take due diligence. He merely repeated what he read. The same "groupthink" he has been complaining about for lo, these 16 years.

      By the way, it wasn't Sullivan's show. It was Anderson Cooper's, on which Sullivan was a guest. And Sullivan apparently arrived "peckish and peckish" which would require some mind-reading, a complaint Bob also frequently lodges against others.

      And I have learned a long time ago not to take Bob's word for what is said on these shows. He has a way of grabbing things that fit is narrative and ignoring what doesn't, which is yet another complaint he lodges against others.

    6. Excuse me, "peckish and peeved", which would require even more mind-reading.

    7. Bob isn't a reporter. Due diligence checking of facts in the news isn't his job.

    8. Sounds like a law firm you wouldn't want to tangle with -- Peckish, Peckish, and Peeved.

    9. Oh, for crying out loud. It's a mistake, and mistakes, especially about basically inconsequential things, get repeated and perpetuated by lazy people.

    10. Ok. I understand the point now. But I'm not pissed at Bob. He's not a reporter, he sums up existing reporting and talks about how reporters report.

      And in this case, he was right and they were lazy. And that laziness and carelessness with relatively inconsequential facts that are used to shade and fill in a story are frustrating.

      Those people are supposed to be reporting. But they use those little made up facts to script a story and support their arguments. Because they're too lazy to actually do their job and be prepared.

      As for the mind reading thing, "peckish" thing. It doesn't bug me. That's the voice of TDH. I doubt Bob actually speaks like that or writes like that all the time. But again Bob's not a reporter.

    11. OMB.

      Please. We have noted long before this post that BOB has not corrected his original description of Wildstein as a high school friend of Christie. Nor has he corrected the notion that Wildstein was "a minor official" when in fact he was the number two man in the Jersey side of the Port Authority, one capable of ordering major alterations of traffic patterns with ease.

      Neither did he correct, amend or update, as he could have, his post proclaiming Gov. Ultrasound to be uncharged after the indictments were handed down possibly just before, possibly just after, but clearly during the period that post was his latest offering and a glaring monument to his good timing.

      The examples of such trivialities are easier to uncover than WMD in post "Mission Accomplished" Iraq.

      But to tell and retell these errors would be to write like BOB.

      BOB makes no corrections. BOB reads only comments posted elsewhere. Oh, and BOB was a reporter once; one of many vocations he took up with no educational training and later abandoned.

      None of this makes him a bad person.


    12. KZ, go the fuck away. You are a bad person.

    13. I don't think Bob needs to issue corrections. On 12/13 he was summing up reporting to date. Further reporting suggested the relationship between Christie and Wildstein was unclear.

      Today, now that it's obviously unclear, TDH doesn't pretend to know how they knew each other. But either way, mentioning their high school or child hood frienship is unnecessary to build a case against Christie and is lazy reporting.

      Bob's not a reporter and doesn't run a newspaper. He's one guy with a free blog who does media criticism.

    14. At what point will Bob's fans ever hold him accountable for his own words. No he was not "summing up reporting to date." Those are his own words, and he cited no sources.

      Now obviously, Bob's information came from reporters. He never does any independent research on his own, at least not any more.

      But how idiotic is it for a guy who has made it his mission in life to expose how the "mainstream media" can't ever get anything right, then rely on the "mainstream media" as the basis for his summation?

      It does not even rise to the level of a poor excuse. It is no excuse at all.

    15. Bob wrote on 12/13-

      "Here’s the background:" - if you click that phrase it takes you to the 12/10 NYT article about Christie and the GWB.

      Then he continued -
      "Back in September, a minor New Jersey official had closed three lanes of traffic from Fort Lee onto the George Washington Bridge. This created a week-long traffic jam which crippled the town of Fort Lee.

      The minor official was a high school friend of Christie’s...etc"

      I read that as he's citing a source and summing it up.

      Because, again, he's not a reporter and he's doing media criticism on a free blog.

      I've never read him do anything but call reporting an important part of democratic life. He just makes a distinction between what he sees as good or bad reporting. It's not they can't get anything right, it's that too often they get things wrong and that has serious consequences for everyone. In any event, your summation of his "mission" seem a bit off the mark.

      I can see that he seems increasingly nit picky and uber focused on liberals reporting. But he's not neutral. He got a lens that he uses and states constantly. We can disgaree about the utility of that lens but your criticism doesn't really allow for that.

    16. So Bob has been howling about how undependable the NYT is, then used the NYT as his sole source for his summation about the Christie scandal.

      Who is the rube?

    17. So up thread you/someone said:

      "My point is, Bob thought it was worth reporting on his blog on Dec. 13, but didn't take due diligence. He merely repeated what he read. The same "groupthink" he has been complaining about for lo, these 16 years."

      I disgree with that premise. Bob is not a reporter, does not need to sort through or cite all the reports on a single story when he's trying to sum it up in two paragraphs. It's different for a reporter to insert scripts and novelize their reports than for Bob to quote a paper like the NYT as a way to summarize a story he's commenting on (commenting on, not reporting on).

      This isn't a newspaper. It's a blog about the media.

      Rather than ask who is the rube, I'd ask whether you see a difference between Bob and a reporter. Between TDH and the NYT.

  7. When I was young, the New York Times really was a "paper of record." One could rely on them to get the facts right. There was a place to resolve uncertainty.

    Whether by commission or omission, the Times no longer serves that function. Nor does any other news organ. IMHO that's a huge loss.

    It's comfortable for partisans. One can choose to believe Rush Limbaugh or NBC News or whoever one likes. There's no risk of being contradicted by a reliable source, because there is no reliable source. However, false beliefs lead to bad government policies that make peoples' lives worse than they might be.

    Unfortunately, no

    1. "Unfortunately, no ???

    2. Sorry, those last two words ought to have been deleted.

    3. FYI, anybody who read NYTimes stories on subjects they knew something about at least as far back as the early '70s, when I started reading it, quickly learned how crappy and error-laden their reporting was. It was, to put it mildly, disillusioning. And I'm not talking about opinions, just at the time the NYT's patented dry as dust factual reporting of events. They got it wrong *all the time*.

  8. I for one, have decided to stop reading this blighted blog and it's demented forays into dark paranoia and jealousy. Starting Friday. Of next week.

  9. I'm stuck on "save his own skin". David Wildstien will do anything to save his own skin.

    He's already been fired and pointing to Christie's admin as having knowledge won't help anything if Wildstein himself is in some legal trouble. It won't work as a bluff because if he's trading for immunity he has to actually proffer something at some point.

    So how is pointing to Christie saving Wildstein's skin? This story is infuriating because there's some weird subtext, like Christie's political people believe we all know something they know- but we don't!

    It's like overhearing a conversation in someone else's workplace. I don't know what they're talking about in these "memos" they're releasing.

    1. Well, either that or Christie and his operation are in a panic and flailing. Christie's anti-Wildstein memo over the weekend was a superb example of flailing, IMO. As you point out, it makes no logical sense.

    2. Especially when you consider that the bullet points in the "unreliable" memo come straight from the Bergen County Record's March 2012 profile of Wildstein and how he got such a high-level, created position on the Port Authority.

      Granted, this was after Wildstein had been on the job, but . . . . if the Record could discover this information in Wildstein's past that now proves how "unreliable" he is, coudln't Christie's people BEFORE they signed off on him?

  10. OMB

    Not to be prissy Bob, but I prefer "puckered and pissy" to peckish and peeved.

    Did Sullivan do anything close to stroking himself like Maddow and Dowd do?


  11. Blame Bob! Zernike sucks because Bob!

    1. Exactly. Our "reporters" are useless.

      The much worse problem for our troll crew: Bob Somerby.

    2. Wait, I've forgotten...did Bob get this Christie story out into the light of day or was it those dang kids, Zernike and Maddow?
      As I recall, Bob said it wasn't much of a story. So, yeah, that would make Bob a much, much worse problem.

    3. Bob only poses the problem of cognitive dissonance to the "rubes" who believe him and are now flailing away like he is to make sense of anything he writes.

      I also strongly suspect that if Zernike's byline appeared in either the Bergen County Record or the Newark Star-Ledger with the same errors, Bob really wouldn't care.

      In fact, the only time he mentioned Ted Mann of the Wall Street Journal was when Mann appeared on Maddow's show.

      And please, let us not pretend that journalism is now or ever has been a perfect science. Everyone makes mistakes in the details as a major story develops.

  12. Listen to the logic of the troll: Zernike brought the story "to light," therefore if she reports Bullshit at any point, Bob should ignore it. because bringing stories "into the light" exonerate reporters from having subsequent bullshit criticized. Seriously troll, do you use logic?

    1. Perhaps Perez is peckish and peeved at people's perceptions of this post?

    2. Let's apply your "logic" to an analogy.

      You want to place bets on NFL games.

      Tipster A is right 90 percent of the time. Tipster B is wrong 90 percent of the time. But Tipster B tells you Tipster A was wrong about the Chiefs-Broncos game.

      So naturally, you follow the advice of Tipster B.

    3. You seem to be mistaking "logic" for judgment. Zernike had the good judgment to see an important story. Bob didn't.

      Zernike's reporting does not hang on the closeness of Christie childhood relationships and she doesn't argue that point. Bob pretends that he is making some kind of insightful point when he picks at descriptions of Christie's relationship with Wildstein. But he isn't. He is just creating very minor distractions from the important and useful work that is being done on this scandal by Zernike and many, many others. Once again, Bob displays very poor judgment in discussing the important aspects of these events.

      How does Bob think the press can play a role in keeping government honest and in service to its constituents? Is it by dreaming up phony excuses for suspicious behavior? Is it by attacking whistleblowers and questioning their motives?

  13. "Final note: Today, they’re doing this to Christie. Next year, they’ll be doing it to someone you support, as they’ve done many times in the past."

    Yes. These folks make the IRS and NSA look like pikers.

    They ruin and destroy without blinking an eye. Right, left, and in between, we are all collateral damage to their ambition.

  14. The Cooper panel show could be even worse than anything on MSNBC, if that's possible.