WHO IS RACHEL MADDOW: What is truth?


Interlude—Recalling the chairman’s tale: Last evening, Chris Christie appeared for the “Ask the Governor” radio segment he performs on a regular basis with Eric Scott of New Jersey 101.5.

Treating the event as “late developing news,” Rachel Maddow devoted her program’s second segment to the things Christie said.

“New Jersey Republican governor Chris Christie has just wrapped up a live radio interview in which he, somewhat against his will, nevertheless answered questions about the bridge lanes scandal,” Maddow said as she introduced the segment.

Therein lies a small tale.

On the Maddow program, Christie will inevitably be said to be answering questions “somewhat against his will,” even when he does so on a radio program he easily could have skipped. Such framing novelizes events in a way which pleases the tribe.

But then, much of Maddow’s work on Fort Lee has taken the form of a novel. If it weren’t for misstatements, speculations and overstatements, it sometimes seems that Maddow’s program would feature no statements at all.

Consider what happened after Maddow played tape of a few of Christie’s statements from the “Ask the Governor” program.

For the most part, Christie said things on the radio program he has said in the past. He was giving the same old answers to the same old questions.

(In our view, Eric Scott had a very bad night. He asked lazy, extremely familiar questions which virtually answered themselves.)

We certainly wouldn’t assume that Christie’s statements were true or forthcoming. But it can’t be shown that his statements were false, and they lacked almost any news value.

As examples of developing news, Christie’s statements were thin gruel. And uh-oh! As she began to report what he’d said, Maddow missed a rather large irony:
MADDOW (2/26/14): Governor Christie ended that exchange tonight by saying he does not want to speculate any more until they [his legal team] develop all the facts that need to be developed and review all the documents that need to be reviewed.

On that point, the governor’s legal team, and maybe even the governor himself, may want to keep a little bit of tomorrow open. Because we’re learning tonight that the New Jersey legislative panel that’s investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closures is about to release some new documents.
During the interview, Christie told Scott that he didn’t want to speculate about what Bridget Kelly had done. A few of the analysts cheered.

Alas! Maddow’s show has run on speculation for weeks, often on extremely tenuous speculation. Often, her speculations have led to accusations or insinuations against named individuals, insinuations which were advanced on the flimsiest possible basis.

This is very bad journalism. As she reported Christie’s statement about the need to stop speculating, Maddow seemed to miss the relevance to her own miserable work.

As she continued, Maddow described an event which may take place today. As she did, it seemed to us that she was possibly overstating again:
MADDOW (continuing directly): Last month, [the legislative committee] released these super-redacted documents handed over to them from David Wildstein. That’s how we found out about “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” “Got it.” Before he turned over these documents, though, David Wildstein and/or his lawyer Sharpied out huge portions of texts and e-mails, making it hard to understand what the documents meant in most cases. And who was saying what to who?

We are learning tonight, breaking news, that David Wildstein has turned over the un-redacted names and e-mails to the panel that’s leading this investigation, and the un-redacted copies are expected to be released to the public early tomorrow.

Again, that is what we are expecting right now, but when it comes to this story and New Jersey, a pretty good rule of thumb is to expect the unexpected. So we shall see. Watch this space.
As she referred to “these super-redacted documents,” three pages of documents appeared on the screen behind her. And it was true! The three pages shown on the screen did bear large redactions.

For the analysts, this raised an age-old question: What is truth?

Were Maddow’s statements about the redactions true? Were they perhaps technically accurate but a bit misleading?

First, a bit of background: David Wildstein turned over roughly 900 pages of documents. The vast majority of those pages bore no redactions at all, as anyone can see by examining them on-line.

That doesn’t mean that Maddow’s statements were false. When she said that Wildstein’s redactions “ma[de] it hard to understand what the documents meant in most cases,” she may have meant to refer to the texts and emails which actually did bear redactions.

Still, an obvious tilt had been imparted to the story viewers were hearing. The analysts howled, recalling what Assemblyman Wisniewski had said.

Just last week, Maddow asked Assemblyman John Wisniewski about the un-redacted documents. According to Maddow, the pristine documents had “reportedly” been viewed by the special counsel working for Wisniewski’s legislative committee.

(For unknown reasons, Maddow failed to ask Wisniewski if he had seen the un-redacted documents. The following night, Brian Murphy told Maddow that Wisniewski had seen them.)

Whatever! Below, you see what Wisniewski told Maddow about the extent of Wildstein’s redactions, and about the intention behind them. This is our question:

Given what Wisniewski said, what would you have told the analysts concerning Maddow’s presentation last night?

For our previous report, click here:
MADDOW (2/18/14): Reid Schar, the special counsel [for the legislative committee], has reportedly now seen what’s beneath these redactions. Why has he seen them, and what does that mean about whether you’re going to see them and whether or not the public will?

WISNIEWSKI: It’s a process that counsel worked out with one another. We wanted to see them from that day. You showed the clip where [Wildstein’s lawyer] was first at the committee meeting and we wanted to see them. So Mr. Zegas, the attorney for Mr. Wildstein, has agreed to provide them to our counsel, who’s going to review them, and they’re going to come to an agreement on what can be included.

What we’re told preliminarily is the statement that Mr. Zegas made, that they were outside the time frame or outside the subject matter, it’s pretty much on the mark. There are a couple of pages that our counsel says that probably should be included. So we’re hoping to work that out and have them included with the record, and I hope to have more to say about that in the near future.

But it looks like, you know, there’s a very small subset, 40-some pages I think out of the 900, that really probably should be included, but others seem to be just outside the date range or talking about things that have nothing to do with the bridge.
Wisniewski was a bit unclear in his use of numbers. Should redactions be removed from “a couple of pages?” Or is it more like forty pages, out of the 900 pages Wildstein submitted?

That point was left unclear. But this morning, we ask you to think about the general drift of Wisniewski's statement, versus the tone of Maddow’s presentation last night.

The vast majority of Wildstein's submissions bore no redactions at all. And Wisniewski told Maddow that, at least “preliminarily,” the bulk of the redactions which did exist seemed to have been done in good faith, for appropriate reasons:

“What we’re told preliminarily is the statement that Mr. Zegas made, that they were outside the time frame or outside the subject matter, it’s pretty much on the mark.”

According to Wisniewski, “a very small subset” of the redactions “probably should be part of the record...But others seem to be just outside the date range or talking about things that have nothing to do with the bridge.”

Last week, Wisniewski seemed to let a lot of hot air out of the latest balloon. By last night, it seemed the air had been restored. The story got exciting again.

Parsing closely, there is no literal contradiction between the stories these two figures told. But Wisniewski seemed to give the strong impression that the redactions had largely been justified.

Last night, the matter sounded quite different. As Pilate first said, “What is truth?”

We had planned to do something different on this topic today. We had planned to review Maddow’s program from last Wednesday night, in which two segments about Fort Lee created a playbook of practices a journalists shouldn’t engage in.

Worst by far was the part of the show where Maddow seemed to accuse a Port Authority police officer of grievous, possibly criminal, conduct, on the basis of nothing at all. In a heinous bit of behavior, she had to embellish what two different people said to float her insinuation.

Maddow engaged in quite a bit more novelized work that night. Her work has become so non-journalistic, it’s hard to keep up with the various forms of novelistic bad practice.

Last Friday, she appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher, where she invented a firing. Maher and another panelist criticized the extent of her coverage. They didn’t seem to see how much of her coverage has consisted of misstatement, overstatement, insinuation, snark, general bullshit and clowning, along with a tremendous amount of omission and the relentless failure to develop real information about a range of key topics.

As she invented her latest false fact, Maddow insisted that the lane closings really are worth covering. Plainly, that is true, as Maher kept saying.

That’s precisely the problem.

The lane closings may not be worth the amount of time they’ve received on Maddow’s show. But the closings involved very dangerous, very strange conduct—conduct which may have been criminal. They involve a major political figure, who should be dealt with toughly but journalistically—intelligently and fairly.

For all these reasons, the lane closings should be covered in careful, serious ways, in ways which make citizens smarter. Instead, Maddow has endlessly played the fool. No one got fired last Friday, alas, except inside Maddow’s head.

Her accusation two nights before involved some very bad conduct. But the misconduct belonged to Maddow, not to the policeman she dragged through the mud.

Tomorrow, we’ll put our shrinking cap on. Why does Maddow do this?

Tomorrow: What makes Maddow run?

Confusion by omission: What was Bill Baroni’s role in the Fort Lee lane closings?

We can’t answer that question, but Baroni was mentioned again last night. In this passage, we see one of the worst aspects of Maddow’s voluminous coverage:
MADDOW (2/26/14): You will remember that Bill Baroni resigned from the Port Authority in December as the Bridgegate scandal was slowly starting to build. Governor Christie announced that Bill Baroni was leaving the Port Authority. And at the time, he said that Mr. Baroni’s resignation had nothing to do with the bridge controversy at all.

The governor said at the time, quote, “This was nothing I had not planned already.”

Bill Baroni, you remember, gave what turned out to be false testimony about the bridge to the New Jersey state legislature. He testified that the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge were all the result of some traffic study, nothing at all to do with politics.

Well, the Port Authority subsequently clarified that there was no actual legitimate traffic study. The traffic study thing was a cover story to obscure whatever was really happening on that bridge for as yet unexplained apparently political reasons.
Maddow has devoted many hours to the Fort Lee story. In all that time, she has never described the panoply of events surrounding the so-called traffic study—events which made at least two major bridge officials believe that some sort of traffic study, or test, was actually going on.

This represents a tremendous withholding of information on Maddow’s part. In failing to tell her viewers that officials were led to believe that a traffic study was being conducted, Maddow has tilted the scales against Baroni and against several others.

When Baroni testified, did he believe that a traffic study had occurred? We don’t have the answer to that; someday, we may find out. Given the way Maddow has reported this topic, she doesn’t seem to want viewers to know that such a question exists.

Last night, you’ll note that Maddow didn’t say there was no traffic study. Instead, she said that someone said there was no “actual legitimate” study.

Such words used to be known, unfairly we think, as “Clintonesque.” On balance, her statement about what “the Port Authority subsequently clarified” was just a big pile of hash.

At the very least, Wildstein pretended to be conducting a study or test. Given the hours she has spent on this topic, Maddow’s failure to report the relevant facts can start to look quite a bit like a scam.

On a journalistic basis, Maddow should have been removed from this topic long ago. That leaves us with a basic question:

Who is Rachel Maddow?


  1. OMB (Word Carpentry 101 with Professor BOB...Framing the Novel)

    "On the Maddow program, Christie will inevitably be said to be answering questions “somewhat against his will,” even when he does so on a radio program he easily could have skipped. Such framing novelizes events in a way which pleases the tribe."

    BOB giving a bad example

    "For our money, the most remarkable such example involves the time she made a misstatement on Meet the Press about the wage gap between men and women, then seemed to dissemble the next night about what she had said and done.
    In a long, defiant opening segment, Maddow insisted that she still didn’t know why her statement had been challenged. It’s extremely hard to believe that she was telling the truth that night."

    BOB being the example.


  2. My current theory about our trolls is that they are using this blog as a training ground.

    See: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/document/2014/02/24/art-deception-training-new-generation-online-covert-operations/

    1. Trolls are either organized to attack a website or are simply lost souls (bullies by nature who feel empowered by the mask of the Internet).

    2. Bravely stated accusation and name calling generalization Anonymous.

    3. "My current theory about our trolls is ... ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

      Trolls are ... ZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    4. "Trolls are ... ZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"

      That's fer fuckin' true, that!

    5. "That's fer fuckin' true" seems, appears, might be the most substantive thing contributed today by someone who hasn't been accused of being a troll by Tribe Whiner. We don't know.

    6. If you follow the link you will see that disruptive campaigns affecting websites are part of government online operations. Cannonfire suggests that pitting highly polarized left against right via media such as Fox and MSNBC can only benefit the interests of those who want to manipulate the populace for their own ends. Snowden's latest release shows that this manipulation is occurring. The operatives are being trained.

      What will it look like on specific blogs? Maybe ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzz?

    7. One aspect attributed to trollery is the hijacking of topics in the comments section. I don't see one single mention of trolls in the blogger's post, yet you and your fainting-couch sisters insist on discussing something having no connection to the blogger's post. That is hijacking the comments thread and is an attribute of trollery.

      Physician, heal thyself.

    8. Yeah, everyone posting here is a hypocrite, including BOB himself. So, what does that have to do exactly with whether "journalists" are misleading the public or not?

  3. "But the closings involved very dangerous, very strange conduct—conduct which may have been criminal."

    Anyone notice the smooth transition from "it may well have been a legit study" (paraphrasing)?

    1. (paraphrasing)?

      Oh, well played! I guess it was just too hard to actually quote what TDH said about "the so-called traffic study ... which made at least two major bridge officials believe that some sort of traffic study, or test, was actually going on." TDH actually says (no paraphrasing needed!) "[a]t the very least, Wildstein pretended to be conducting a study or test."

      (Emphasis mine)
      May I heap contempt on your head? Never mind. I guess I just did.

    2. Exactly who do you think were the two officials who "believed" and what forms you opinion that they "believed" this was a study or test as opposed to being told that is why the action had been ordered.

      If you are going to say Durando and

    3. Sorry deaderat, cut off before completed.

      If you are going to say Durando and Fulton, be sure to indicate what leads you to believe they believed anything other than what they had been ordered to do.

    4. Rat,

      you are not paying attention to your god:

      Jan 23:

      "Is it possible that David Wildstein actually was conducting, or attempting to conduct, a good-faith traffic study? In our view, it hasn’t been yet shown that this wasn’t the case. "

      When that transmogrifies to "dangerous conduct" without explanation - the target audience can only be Kool Aid drinkers.

    5. More likely Samson and Baroni. We don't know what they believed. We don't know what Christie believed either.

    6. I believe that the trolls don't really believe that Christie believes that his staff believes that there was a study. So, instead, I believe that the what the trolls believe is unbelievable. All of which does not require any facts at all!

    7. The troll strikes at 4:25P! I object to an erroneous paraphrase so I must worship TDH as a "god"!

  4. OMB (Word Carpentry 101 with Professor BOB..Adding the Disclaimer)

    "We certainly wouldn’t assume that Christie’s statements were true or forthcoming." BOB February 27, 2014

    "Rachel engaged in free insinuation, trying to provide us with our nightly Christie hard-ons.

    Luckily, we were able to answer her question. If the traffic study line is proven to not be true, Chris Christie will say that he didn’t know.

    Presumably, his claim will be true. That’s what happens to Christie. BOB December 18, 2013


  5. This series of analyses are quite exceptional, Bob. Thanks, thanks.

    1. Sad lost soul bullying must cease.

  6. "In failing to tell her viewers that officials were led to believe that a traffic study was being conducted, Maddow has tilted the scales against Baroni and against several others."

    OK. Fair enough. Name the officials who were led to believe that.

    Show us where you, Mr. Somerby, have told your readers that Baroni had Port Authority press staff put out a false statement after an end to the "test or study" about calling the closures a study of "traffic safety patterns."

  7. Who cares "who" Rachel Maddow is? And you don't know any more than the rest of us.

    The only thing that matters is what she says. Please identify any time her reporting on Christie has gone beyond what was reported in other media based on direct investigation.

    1. What does she say about who she is?

      Did you miss the report on the PA union president who was supposedly fired? That went beyond what was reported in other media.

      Do you think it is OK to imply something inaccurate as long as you don't actually state it explicitly? Is is honest to mislead people instead of actually lying to them?

    2. "Did you miss the report on the PA union president who was supposedly fired?"

      Yes, I did, particularly since she never reported it. This was something she said on Maher's show in the heat of a live, televised debate.

      If you can't tell the difference between that and "reporting" then Bob has got your brain thoroughly laundered, starched and pressed.

    3. So, you think she only has to be accurate when on her own show?

    4. So you would call what she said on Maher's show a "report"?

    5. I would say that the Maher show demonstrates what Maddow believes. Either that or she was "just kidding". I joke about people being fired all the time.

    6. But she couldn't possibly have misspoken as she was taking hits from 3 people simultaneously.

  8. OMB (Time to call BOB on his Own Scam)

    "Maddow has devoted many hours to the Fort Lee story. In all that time, she has never described the panoply of events surrounding the so-called traffic study—events which made at least two major bridge officials believe that some sort of traffic study, or test, was actually going on?"

    It is 6:05 PM. We challenge anyone, BOB or any of his many BOBfans, to a provide even a summary of this panoply of events.


    1. Silence on the BOB and BOBfan front?

    2. The events are described here:


      Make your own summary. The word "study" appears 32 times. Of course, Baroni may be lying, and as TDH points out, any such "study" could be a "ruse or a hoax."

      Let me repeat my little joke:

      Q: What's the difference between GWB tolls and GWB trolls?
      A: You only have to put up with the tolls half the time.

      "Trolls" is an inapt term. In internet usage, a troll is someone who writes not to make an argument but to provoke one. The essence of trolling is insincerity: trolls just want to stir up anger. It's hard to come up with evidence of trolling here in that sense. I think it just as likely that Lionel posts racist crap that he believes, David in Cal posts ignorant nonsense that he believes, and that commenters like KZ post irrelevancies that they believe to be important and telling.

      I think that banning these people as trolls is a bad proposal. Mostly because they're easy to spot and no one actually has to respond to them. Here's how to spot a TDH troll:

      1. Trolls know Bob intimately. You'd think they all roomed with him at Harvard. Trolls know that Bob is jealous, Bob is a failed comedian, Bob hates young women, and so on.

      2. Trolls think Bob is the issue. They gleefully point to Bob's failings to refute Bob's arguments. Did you know that Bob once thought that Saddam had WMDs? KZ's favorite topic is Bob's hypocrisy. I'll have to admit that I have to take his position on faith as I can't follow most of what he writes.

      3. Trolls have a better idea. Bob just isn't spending time on the right topics. Trolls will tell you that Bob shouldn't be discussing the reporting on the Zimmerman trial; he should be choosing sides. And if he doesn't, then he's supporting whatever side the troll opposes.

      4. Trolls think non-trolls are the problem. Any comment that uses "BOBfan" as an accusation is a troll's comment.

    3. You entire comment is a non answer.

      Repeating your little joke is not an event in a "panoply of events."

      An essay on trolls is not an event in a panoply of events.

      Earlier you were asked about the names of officals in a quote you used from BOB. You didn't answer then.

      You may think you are good at heaping contempt, to paraphrase an earlier response of yours to another comment. So is BOB.

      Heaping contempt does not answer a question. Calling people trolls does not answer a question.

      We quoted the blogger, then asked him or readers of the blog who like him to give a single example of the blogger's central point. When the best answer is an essay calling the question trolling, then I would say the BOB theme of intellectual paralysis applies to his readers.


    4. KZ,

      In your part of the universe, do they have the saying "Crymeafugginriver"?

      Let me spell it out for you. Your request for an answer was greeted with silence because it doesn't deserve an answer. In fact, I suspect that you're not really interested in an answer. The events in question may be easily discerned and a summary made by following the link I gave you to Baroni's testimony. He may have perjured himself. The study may be a hoax and the claim of a study may be a ruse. But the events surrounding whatever it was are well known and documented.

      I'm sorry I seem to have missed the names of officials in a quote I used from TDH. Are you in doubt as to who those officials are? Was the quote not apt? What's your complaint here?

      I'm sorry you don't like my little joke. I'm sorry you don't like that I write about trolls. I'm sorry you don't like my contempt for ignoramuses. That's three bald-faced lies in a row. See the first sentence of this comment.

      TDH's central point is the same point he's been making since last century. Journalists should stop making shit up. Maddow should stop pretending that someone was fired when there's no evidence to that effect. She should stop accusing people of wrongdoing when she has no evidence of wrongdoing. She should stop pretending that the redactions in documents were significant when it seems they were minor. She should stop implying that "no legitimate study" means nothing could have been studied at all.

      How can any of this be a surprise to you? TDH is poundingly persistent on his favorite topics. I can't take you seriously when you demand to be told the color of the sky. You've been here long enough to know that, just as you've been reading this blog long enough to know what TDH is about.

      I'm not surprised, by the way, that you want to whine about the "intellectual paralysis" of this blog's readers. See point 4 in my essay that you don't like. Thanks for making my point for me.

    5. deadrat,

      What you and Bob don't seem to recognize is that Baroni's testimony is not some hidden piece of the puzzle. Everybody saw it. The legislature saw it. Reporters saw it. Patrick Foye, Exectutive Director of the PA saw it. And yes, it has been discussed by Rachel Maddow and others on MSNBC. The bottom line is, it didn't pass the laugh test.

      This is no secret that Maddow is trying to keep hidden from her viewers so she can prolong her partisan attack on poor abused Chris Christie. You do understand that the focus of the later round of subpoenas has been on how that load of horseshit that Baroni dumped on the legislature was prepared and who was involved?

    6. Poundingly persistent? Is that needed to punish the perspiring pimp of piddle who preens while pretending to present news to the paralyzed?


    7. mm,

      Let me first thank you for validating my troll essay. What Bob and I don't seem to recognize? You're not only intimately familiar with the blogger's thought processes, you know mine! Not only that, you know what "Everybody saw."

      My preference is for reporting that's skeptical but straight. We have every reason to be suspicious of Baroni's testimony, which doesn't answer the crucial questions of who ordered the lane closings and why. But Darlin' Rachel shouldn't be pretending that the principals couldn't have been studying traffic patterns because they weren't legitimately studying traffic patterns. Was this some bizarre scheme to demonstrate that drivers from suburbs further from the Hudson were unfairly waiting while drivers from Fort Lee were unfairly enjoying express lanes? Or was this payback against some public official associated with Fort Lee who didn't endorse Christie?

      This isn't about whether "poor" Christie has been abused or how many rounds of subpoenas there have been or will be. On this story, Darlin' Rachel has had her head up her ass and her thumb on the scale.

    8. deadrat,

      I really don't understand your insistence in addressing her as "Darlin' Rachel". That's just a little too affectatious for someone as scrupulous with "straight" reporting as yourself.

      I'll try to make this as simple as possible for you.
      Bob wrote the following, for the umpteenth time:

      "This represents a tremendous withholding of information on Maddow’s part. In failing to tell her viewers that officials were led to believe that a traffic study was being conducted, Maddow has tilted the scales against Baroni and against several others."

      This is such a ludicrous and preposterous accusation that it shouldn't even merit a response. But you appear to be a clever fellow and it bothers me that you seem to be swallowing this garbage, so let me try.

      One: Ms. Maddow can't possibly affect the scales of justice in this for good or bad. She has no subpoena powers, she isn't going to argue in the courts to get Darlin' Bridget to open up that clamshell and fork over the documents she's clutching so desparately. Nothing Maddow says or doesn't say on her little cable show is going to influence in any way shape or form the ultimate findings in this embarrassing fiasco. Baroni, Christie, all the rest will stand or fall on the facts as they are painfully and slowly exposed. Got it?

      Two: I know about Baroni's testimony. Really, I do.
      And it just strikes me as beyond arrogance for Bob to proclaim that although he, the Magnificent Wizard of Bob, was able to discover this important double dare secret information, the rest of us viewers of the Rachel Maddow are too ignorant and stupid to get any information other than what she tells us from 9 to 10 pm ET, Monday thru Friday.

    9. mm,

      I call Maddow "Darlin' Rachel" for her annoying persona. Maybe it's just me. But you're going to have to take my word for the fact that I'm not a reporter. Thus there are no scruples involved in my failure to adhere to ethical rules for a reporter, those generally recognized or those I make up.
      I see no reason to call Kelly "Darlin' Bridget," as we have report of her mannerisms. I prefer to change her name to "Bridge T. Kelly."

      I assume that by "appear to be a clever fellow" you mean "actually are an asshole." And I in turn believe that you are as well a clever fellow, so it mystifies me that you seem to think that I might be under the misapprehension that Darlin' Rachel has some governmental function. I'm not. The press can wield considerable power in this country even without an ability to enforce process. The term "fourth estate" is borrowed from Britain with a change in the makeup of the first three, but it indicates the place of the press in our polity. With such power comes commensurate responsibility.

      I believe that you are intimately familiar with Baroni's testimony. Really, I do. My knowledge isn't as encyclopedic as yours, I'm sure, but I know a bit, and I don't find any arrogance in TDH's references. Perhaps we should chalk that up to my penchant for reading the lines and not between them. But Darlin' Rachel's duties are not lessened by TDH's arrogance.

    10. Her "duties" according to deadrat are whatever Somerby says they are on any particular given day. And they do seem to change quite regularly.

      Back in December and well into January, her "duty" was to drop this whole "ginned-up" pseudo-scandal, along with the one concocted from whole cloth by the scandal culture concerning the other governor, he of ultrasound fame.

    11. Woodward and Bernstein got the ball rolling and kept the heat on, but ultimately it was the courts and the tapes that did Nixon in. The one lesson the Republicans learned from Watergate was "burn the tapes". Ask Ollie North. Yes the press wields considerable power. Get something wrong and you're screwed. Ask Dan Rather.

    12. The troll strikes @ 4:23! I think the press has some duties in this society, so I must be reporting "whatever Somerby says.

      Here's Thomas Jefferson on the role of the press:

      The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

      I guess that makes me a TOMfan.

      mm, yes, the press wields no judicial power; yes, Republicans would like to burn the tapes they keep ending up on; yes, sometimes visible screw-ups will end your career in the press or other professions. Do any of these points have something to do with Darlin' Rachel's performance?

    13. deadrat,

      You seem to have a hard time focusing. Let's try this in small bites.

      TDH said, "Maddow has tilted the scales against Baroni and against several others."

      Do you agree with this outrageous charge? If so, what "scales" has she put her thumb on?

    14. You don't understand, so I'm having trouble focusing?

      Go here:

      Don't tell me that the director of the PA called Baroni a liar for his testimony about a study and then play me a tape where the director says he's unaware of a study.

      Thumb meet scale.

    15. Oh you poor delicate child. She said Foye calld Baroni a liar when in fact Foye actually said he doesn't believe a damn word Baroni said, is not aware of any traffic study, and has no idea why the lanes why were closed.

      Yeah, I can see how her viewers might have been mislead.
      I hope you've recovered from this journalistic calumny. Poor poor Baroni's sterling reputation has been ruined. Jackass.

    16. Especially since Maddow's viewers would have no idea what Foye actually testified other than the fact that she played a fucking recording of his exact words on that show. Luckily you weren't fooled.

    17. OK, so you've given up on defending Darlin' Rachel's approach to the story. It's now about me and how sensitive I am. Got it.

  9. Still squat and squadoosh on the panolpy front. deadrat can't answer. Will anybody even give one tiny example of events which led two major bridge officials to believe there was some sort of study or test? Out of the whole darn panoply. No one?

    Perhaps we can speculate why Maddow has never described this panoply. It is non existent. Just like the study itself.


    1. Yeah, let me take a stab at this panoply thingy.

      The texts occurred six days after Kelly sent to Wildstein her now-infamous email, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” setting off more than four days of gridlock in the borough in mid-September.

      In the texts about the chaplain, Wildstein sent Kelly a picture of Rabbi Mendy Carlebach, later writing: “And he has officially pissed me off.”

      “Clearly,” Kelly responded on Aug. 19.

      “We cannot cause traffic problems in front of his house, can we?” Kelly wrote.

      “Flights to Tel Aviv all mysteriously delayed,” wrote Wildstein, an executive at the bi-state agency that controls the region’s airports.

      “Perfect,” Kelly wrote.

    2. Oh darn, that can't be right.

      I don't understand why they keep talking about "traffic problems" instead of traffic "study".

      Let me look some more. I'll get back to you.

    3. The only "panopoly" I can think of was when Wildstein on Friday told Durando and Fulton to shut down the lanes on Monday to do a "traffic study."

      We do not know if Durando and Fulton were the two major bridge officials of whom Somerby speaks. And if so, we do not know if they truly believed this was a "traffic study" as opposed to a truly dumbass scheme cooked up by a guy who could fire them.

      We should perhaps look at their testimonies to find clues to their mindset on that fateful Friday.

    4. Excuse me, "panoply" of course, instead of "panopoly."

      I would not want Somerby digging up "panopoly" on the slim chance that it exists only on academic jargon, rather than common, everyday language, like "panoply."

    5. He could have said plethora. However, when describing a perspiring pimp of piddle, why settle for plethora when panoply is plenty perfect?

      KZ (whose writing cannot be understood by the average perspecacious BOBreader.)

  10. OMB (Obviously K-rayZ needs serious help.)

    The Pair of "bridge officials" are Cedrick Fulton, Director of Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Robert Durando, General Manager of the George Washinton Bridge.

    The Plethora of evidence is primarily their testimony and the papers covering all matters related to the lane closure after August 1, 2013 posessed by and provided by David Wildstein in response to subpoena.

    The Panolpy of events are these:

    2010 (sometime) or 2011 (thereabouts)

    Wildstein, in conversation with Durando and Fulton (neither can remember the date or circumstances) asks why Ft. Lee has three dedicated lanes. The only detail Durando recalls is Wildstein was looking at the plaza and remarked about the number of New York plates passing through the plaza. (Testimony)

    July (sometime) 2013

    At a breakfast with Wildstein, Port Authority Police Prexy Paul Nunciato suggests the lane closures among other things. This event must be mentioned even though there is no documentation yet it happened.

    August 6, 2013

    Bridget Kelly e-mails David Wildstein "Time for some traffic problems in Ft. Lee." Wildstein replies, "Got it." Any precocious person would perceive this as shorthand for "Please pursue the "study" or "test" pursuant to proper procedure."

    August 21, 2013

    Durando has a conversation with Wildstein in which Wildstein asks
    if there is a Memorandum of Understanding that would prevent reducing the number of lanes dedicated to Ft. Lee from three to one.
    Although no "study" or "test" was discussed, clearly main lane performance enhancement is the primary purpose, a topic implying study.

    August 28-29

    The chief engineer for the Port Authority provides Wildstein with alternative schematics to reduce traffic lanes dedicated to Ft. Lee as Wildstein requested. The first schematics do not satisfy Wildstein so a schematic reducing the lanes from three to one are provided. Since it is obvious to all that main lane traffic enhancement is the goal of the request no "study" or "test" is mentioned, much less data collection to measure these long discussed and debated improvements. Therefore such things were implied.

    September 6, 2013

    David Wildstein calls Robert Durando and orders the lanes dedicated to Ft. Lee reduced from 3 to 1 effective the next Monday morning. He then calls Durando's boss, Cedrick Fulton and informs Fulton of his order to Durando. In testifying about this, neither bridge official indicates they believed this was any "kind of study or test" they had ever been involved with in their long experience with the PA. Neither did they testify as to any discussion with Wildstein about how the test or study would be measured or evaluated. This was implied.

    August 6, 2013

    Following the conversations with Wildstein, Durando and Fulton e-mail
    a variety of people within the PA to collect traffic data on the impact of the change in traffic configurations. No consistent term is used to describe what is being measured. It is called an experiment, and a test. None of the e-mails indicate Wildstein requested it, nor is he copied. Since the top officials believed it was a study or test, they did
    what came naturally.

    August 9, 2013

    The lanes dedicated to Ft. Lee are reduced from 3 to 1. The e-mails between PA staff indicate they have no idea how long the configuration
    will last. They clearly beleived they were in a study or test of indeterminate length.


    1. Oops, make that August 6 date August 13. We will fire ourself or bring in our Vice King for day to day operations.


    2. We are taking away our pensions as well. Those last two dates should be September instead of August.


    3. You also failed to state whether things were "implied" or "strongly implied" -- a very important distinction that Bob and his fan club rely on quite a bit.

      For that, you are no longer a Chris Christie childhood friend or a pal from high school.

    4. Frankly, after all those babies Chris let himself go to pot
      and we were rather embarrased to be seen with him in our letter jackets.

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