Oscar exclusive: The Three Faces of (union head) Paul!


Nunziato rejiggered again: Inexorably, your Daily Howler keeps banging out those results!

This morning, we can exclusively report that a review in Sunday’s New York Times will lodge a masterful complaint:

It will say that a new book of popular science is too hard to understand—that “a physics naïf will be totally befuddled” by its “endlessly dense sentence[s].”

Never mind how we know that! You’re going to read this exclusive report nowhere else!

We had hoped to elaborate on that review this morning. Our interest in the historical record takes us somewhere else.

This morning, we can exclusively report that Rachel Maddow has made her third attempt within the last week to describe the job status of Paul Nunziato, union head of the Port Authority police.

Direct from two prior inaccurate statements, Maddow has now offered this:
MADDOW (2/28/14): Paul Nunziato has since reduced his role as head of the Port Authority police union. He says he hasn’t stepped down fully from that job, but he’s apparently reduced his role in that job.
He hasn’t stepped down fully! Rather unfairly, statements like that used to be called “Clintonesque.”

That represents Maddow’s third attempt to make an accurate statement about this matter, which no one else seems to find important. People, let’s review:

The whole thing started last Friday night, with Maddow’s appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher. In the statements shown below, we see The Three Faces of Paul.

We also see someone engaged in a very strange version of journalism. First, the statement to Maher, who we hate to see disrespected in such an obvious way:
MADDOW (2/21/14): First of all, [Christie’s] appointee to the Port Authority resigns. Then another appointee of his resigns. Then his deputy chief of staff gets fired. Then his campaign manager gets fired. Today, the head of the police union got fired...It’s an ongoing story, worth covering.
Except the head of the union hadn’t been fired. He hadn’t even lost his job.

Maddow’s initial statement was wrong. Six days later, she made this statement to the Wall Street Journal’s Ted Mann:
MANN (2/27/14): In Baroni’s testimony, he made reference to Paul Nunziato, who is the head of the police union...

MADDOW: And now, of course, Mr. Nunziato has stepped down from that role with the police department union.
That assertion was also wrong, despite Madddow’s use of “of course.”

Politely, Mann semi-conveyed that fact. That led to last night’s attempt:
MADDOW (2/28/14): Paul Nunziato has since reduced his role as head of the Port Authority police union. He says he hasn’t stepped down fully from that job, but he’s apparently reduced his role in that job.
The head of the union has stepped down. He just hasn’t done so fully!

Slowly the cable host turns! Inside her rather peculiar head, this purported fact, which she seems to love, just continues to change.

This is crazy behavior. Here’s why:

Maddow is reported to get paid $7 million per year. She has a staff which surely includes some competent people.

She’s also part of NBC, which commands a full news division.

As of last night, Maddow had had an entire week to get her facts straight about Nunziato’s job status. If she thinks this topic actually matters, she could have had her staff do some reporting.

Presumably, she even could have asked Kornacki to make a few phone calls.

Sorry! As she made a heavily nuanced third statement, her source appeared on the screen behind her. As of last night, her source was still a hazy, short report in last Friday’s New York Times.

The Times report was short and hazy and very lightly sourced. The next day, the Bergen Record devoted one sentence to this topic. That said, the Record including an actual short quotation from an actual piece of correspondence.

The Bergen Record thought this matter rated one sentence. Based on that sentence, the Times had overstated this matter a tad.

Last night, Maddow was still working from the hazier, lightly-sourced piece in the Times. As she did, she plopped her obvious preference down on the scale fairly hard:

Nunziato has “stepped down” from his job, she said. He just hasn’t done so “fully!”

Might we explain this weird progression?

Maddow seems to enjoy adding names to her list of miscreants in the Fort Lee matter. To do so, she has created some slippery accusations and insinuations, sometimes out of whole cloth.

Last week, she invented statements by two different sources to support one of her otherwise unfounded claims. Elsewhere, this sort of thing is sometimes called “lying.” It’s what Joe McCarthy did.

By last night, Maddow had had an entire week to research Nunziato’s job status. But she simply walked back her previous misstatement a tad, surrendering ground grudgingly.

Did Nunziato do something wrong in the course of this rolling mess? It’s possible! But then again, everything is.

At present, there is very little hard information about Nunziato’s role in this matter. That said, Maddow wants to add his name to her list. Hence, the rolling insinuation.

No, Hilaria! The head of the union didn’t get fired, nor has he “stepped down.” Last night, Maddow clung to the latter claim. He hasn’t stepped down fully!

Might we offer an overview of this peculiar rolling behavior?

With his wonderful sense of humor, Stalin once asked how many divisions the Pope had.

Maddow has a news division, but she keeps refusing to use it. As she stages these weird displays, she keeps refusing to act like she knows what “news” actually is.

With respect to the Fort Lee mess, Maddow keeps behaving in ways which are less than obsessively honest. Next week, in an exclusive report, we plan to explain why that is.

Tears of rage, tears of grief: What kind of father would treat his daughter so? we thoughtfully asked the analysts:
UNDISCLOSED SOURCE: Father-daughter memoirs have an inherent appeal, especially when the father and daughter are on an almost preposterous quest. There’s such a quest in “Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn”: to uncover the nature of reality. It all began when Warren Gefter, a radiologist “prone to posing Zen-koan-like questions,” asked his 15-year-old daughter, Amanda, over dinner at a Chinese restaurant near their home just outside Philadelphia: “How would you define nothing?”
How do we know that Gefter did that? We never reveal our sources!


  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/02/books/review/trespassing-on-einsteins-lawn-by-amanda-gefter.html

    March 1, 2014

    What’s It All About?

    A Father, a Daughter, the Meaning of Nothing, and the Beginning of Everything
    By Amanda Gefter

  2. Book reviews are supposed to consider the book that was written, not the one the author wishes had been written instead. This reviewer wants a personal autobiography, not a biography of ideas. The author chose not to write such a book.

    She says: "A true cosmology groupie might relish the diversions and the long, detailed renderings of conversations with some of the biggest names in physics." I am not such a person myself, but I wouldn't buy and read this book either, because I am not interested in the subject matter. Complaining that it was not written for people like me, strikes me as pretty silly. If I want to read something chatty, with more people in it and fewer ideas, there are many other choices. I don't understand why all books need to be accessible to all people, or why this one must fit some predetermined mold held in the mind of the reviewer.

    If there are sufficient people out there interested in the actual subject matter, the book will fail to sell many copies and the market will determine its fate. I find it odd that a niche book would have been reviewed by the Times at all, especially by someone not particularly qualified to read it, and a negative review of it because it wasn't a different book will probably help its sales by making its target audience aware of its existence.

    Looking forward to hearing what Somerby will say about it.

  3. Fired.....
    Stepped Down....
    Reduced His Role.....

    Worthless, Pointless, Bullshit Story...
    Worth Covering.....

    Three Faces of Paul....Three Faces of BOB!

    Searching Maddow’s previous reports on this worthless topic, we find no reference to any such documentation. 12/16/13

    This time-killing, exciting diversion tells you nothing about the substance of this currently pointless story 12/16/13

    Every minute she has burned on this bullshit could have gone to a real news topic. 12/18/13

    But this has become an intriguing story. 1/9/14

    "Eventually, she listed the factors which make the Fort Lee matter worth covering, which of course it is. 3/1/14

    Searching Maddow’s previous reports on this Fort Lee mess, (BOB) keeps behaving in ways which are less than obsessively honest. Next week, in an exclusive report, we plan to explain why that is.

    KZ ( More than obsessively amused)

    1. "Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." -- Emerson

    2. Interesting. Bob has gone from "ginned-up controversy" reported by a "partisan hack" in league with Democrats and certain elements of the Republican Party to bring down Christie, all the way to first "intriguing" (right after Christie fired his deputy chief of staff) to "worth covering."

      Suppose he'll even do an about-face on Gov. Ultrasound? After all, the 14 felony counts he and his wife are facing didn't seem all that "heinous" to Bob -- especially compared to the amount of money cable hosts make.

    3. The quote you struggle with 5:35, is "A FOOLISH [emphasis added] consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

      Very important difference, wouldn't you agree?

      But don't mind too much. Lots of people are sure they know something, don't look it up, then make an ass of themselves.

    4. What is it about Rachel Maddow that makes some people want to rush to her defense-- or ignore her transgressions? Or ridicule her critics with irrelevant personal asides, or ersatz psychological explanations about their motivations?

      The same thing that attracts them to her? Her sloppiness? Her snarkiness? I don't get it.

      She doesn't seem like a very nice person, so maybe that's it. Some people do find that trait appealing.

    5. How does it make me an ass to have misremembered a quotation? It merely makes me human.

    6. To misremember a quotation is human. To post a misremembered quotation in a comment is asinine.

    7. Do you think I posted an incorrect (actually truncated) quotation on purpose?

    8. Anon. @ 7:01

      What is it about BOB that makes it impossible for some people to not see that his critics are not defending his targets when they are pointing out that the faults BOB finds in others are, in fact, also his own?


    9. Why bother with Somerby's faults when he is not a public figure? What kind of person visits a blog solely to criticize the poster? Who does that?

    10. We cannot speak for others. We find BOB addictively amusing. A great source of entertainment. We salute Al Gore for the initiative in creating a vehicle on which this private person could parade his thoughts before the public.


    11. "Do you think I posted an incorrect (actually truncated) quotation on purpose?"

      Yes, I think you very deliberately typed it up and hit the "publish" button.

      But I also think you were quite certain that the quote was correct as you cited, but lacked the intellectual curiosity to look it up. And thus got burned by the missing word that turns the meaning into quite different than what you "misremembered."

      Let us look to the fuller quote and see if it supports the point you attempt to make:

      Now to me, a "foolish consistency" would be this obsession with proving Rachel Maddow such a vile, evil person who makes a lot of money that one would dust off years-old puff profiles of her in the popular press, then accuse her of lying when it can't be determined if she were a sharpshooter or Barney Fife on the gun range.

      Or obsessing about the money she makes. Or obsessing why Maddow would say one thing on Bill Maher's show, then another on her own show about the very key, critical issue of the status of the police union president who ceased to be the day-to-day functionary he once was when the sheriff's deputies arrived with a subpoena.

    12. Few people look up things they already believe to be correct. It is important to correct misquotes, but calling someone a name while doing so just makes you a jerk.

      Somerby's point is that she has once again failed to correct a piece of misinformation on her show. Unlike yours, her correction was a non-correction correction. She still hasn't got his job status correct.

    13. Somerby will still be surprised when our search for WMD in Iraq fails to turn up some?

    14. " . . . calling someone a name while doing so just makes you a jerk."

      You mean like calling someone a jerk?

      "Somerby's point is that she has once again failed to correct a piece of misinformation on her show."

      Well, once again you misremember. Maddow never said "on her show" that Nunziato had been fired. She said this in one sentence on Bill Maher's show during a debate with three people.

      And Bob, who graciously made up a new rule, the Susan Rice Rule, to cover cover government officials who say things that later turn out to be not quite true, refuses to apply the same consideration to Maddow, who may have indeed been misspeaking from the best information she had at the moment she misspoke.

      Instead, we have the new Maddow Rule in which a person must forever be held to what they said the first time.

      And as KZ so aptly demonstration, this is yet one more of the Marquis de Somerby Rules that he will never apply to himself, as this whole bridge thing has quickly evolved in Bob's own words from "bullshit" to "worth covering."

      And of course, Bob once again failed to correct any of the misinformation he presented that supported his "bullshit" theory.

      But does that bother Bob's loyal fans? Not in the least. All they need to do is to grossly misquote Emerson to preserve what's left of their hero's integrity, while remaining smug in their own pseudo-intellectualism.

    15. I answered you below 11:15. There is nothing to correct because his presentation was not based on "misinformation" or any information. It was just an opinion.

    16. And I agree with you wholeheartedly. In fact, Bob's fans are quire satisfied that his opinions are unsupported by evidence and information. They can't lap up what he regurgitates fast enough.

    17. For those scoring troll points at home, mark your cards:

      "Bob" is a hypocrite.
      "Bob" never publishes corrections.
      "Bob's" fans are the problem.
      "Bob" has no integrity.

      Indeed, the hobgoblin requires a foolish consistency. Which, of course, would be the essence of sticking to one's December opinion when one judges the situation to have changed in January.

    18. Bob isn't really a liberal.
      Bob is a geezer.
      Bob is a failed teacher.
      Bob is a failed standup comedian.
      Bob is a misogynist.
      Bob is poor and jealous of richer people.
      Bob once got something wrong and won't apologize.
      Bob won't answer his critics in his commentariat.
      Bob responds to those critics but cloaked under a nym.
      Bob is desperate for clicks.
      Anyone who disagrees with me about Bob is brainwashed.
      Nobody reads Bob's blog.

      Bob is a crank.
      Everybody ignores Bob. Except my wife. And some of her friends.
      People used to read Bob but they don't now.
      Bob is a train wreck.
      Bob used to be a pioneer and original and important. Not anymore.
      Bob is lazy.
      Bob puts no real work into his blog.
      Bob is reliving the past.
      Bob is boring.
      Bob is envious.
      Bob's allies have abandoned him.
      Bob is isolated.
      Bob thinks he's great.
      Bob thinks he's powerful.
      Even Kevin Drum doesn't like Bob now.

  4. >his critics are not defending his targets when they are pointing out that the faults BOB finds in others are, in fact, also his own?

    Yes, these critics are appealing to hypocrisy with the ad homenem tu quoque fallacy. If the goal is to poison the well, this is an excellent tactic. If the goal is to present a reasoned argument, it isn't.

    1. Once again we have a Bob fan so certain of what he knows he doesn't even entertain the possibility that he could be wrong.

      First of all, the Latin phrase begins with "ad hominem" not "ad homenem" nor is it "add hominy" -- a phrase used quite often in diners of the Southern variety.

      Second, "ad hominem" can be a fallacy. But it also can be part of the reasoned argument to argue against the credibility of a statement, particularly when the speaker sets rules for others that he willfully refuses to apply to himself.

      One would think, for instance, that a person so appalled by "ad hominem" could recall Bob himself resorting to this very tactic in virtually everything he pens about the "vile, evil" Rachel Maddow and be equally eager to call Bob out on this "fallacy."

      But no, Bob is their leader. He can do no wrong.

    2. I could not agree more. The fact that Somerby was wrong about the whole Bridgegate affair being important does not excuse Maddow's errors in news coverage about a union leader's employment status changes nor diminish his obligation or value, as a private observer, from forcefully bringing them to public attention.

    3. "And of course, Bob once again failed to correct any of the misinformation he presented that supported his "bullshit" theory."

      I do not believe Somerby presented anything to support his theory, so there is nothing to correct. It was just his opinion at the time and he might be entitled to hold it, express it, and change it without being accountable to any of you apparent well poisoners.

    4. I am so sorry, 11:12 am. My coment above was meant for 11:15 am and in the wrong place. I must add though, that I disagree that hypocisy appeals to me.

    5. "Maddow's errors in news coverage about a union leader's employment status changes nor diminish his obligation or value, as a private observer, from forcefully bringing them to public attention."

      Once again, Bob's loyal fans persist in the fallacy that Maddow committed "errors in news coverage" by "reporting" that Nunziato had been fired.

      Once again, this was one line she spoke on Bill Maher's show while she was debating three people.

      But I do note that when Somerby says anything ridiculously wrong that he later backpedals faster from than a circus bear on a unicycle, he is merely expressing his "opinion" that this was a ginned-up, bullshit product of a scandal culture that could still be over a legitimate traffic study that was merely bungled.

    6. "I do not believe Somerby presented anything to support his theory . . ."

      This is quite true. Somerby has never presented anything to support his theories, and there are many of them.

    7. Ad hominem tu quoque is always fallacious because it does not disprove the argument. If the premise is true then you may be a hypocrite, but this does not make the statement less credible from a logical perspective. Ad hominem is most often committed by those who accuse their opponents of ad hominem, since they try to dismiss the opposition not by engaging with their arguments, but by claiming that they resort to personal attacks. Those who are quick to squeal "ad hominem" are often guilty of several other logical fallacies, including one of the worst of all: the fallacious belief that introducing an impressive-sounding Latin term somehow gives one the decisive edge in an argument.

    8. Latin doesn't even impress Catholics anymore, many of whom are Irish and were the dominant force in almost toppling the elected Clinton-Gore team.

    9. I love it when Somerby translates from the Greek.

    10. No, ad hominem tu quoque is not always fallacious.

      For instance, if your Uncle Bob preaches to you about the evils of drinking to excess while popping the top on his eighth Budweiser in the last half hour, his message may not be very true, but not very effective.

      However, if he falls down drunk all the time, can't hold a job and disgusts everyone in the family, perhaps through example he is teaching you quite effectively about the evils of drinking without words.

      Thus it is with Bob, teaching us the evils of that which he preaches against by practicing it himself.

    11. Excuse me. Drunk Uncle Bob's message about drinking may be very true, but not very effective.

    12. Do eight Buds get Uncle Bob as sauced as three lanes for Ft. Lee gets Governor Christie?

    13. Your Uncle Bob example is a fallacy. If Uncle Bob tells little Billy "drink is evil" and Billy says "you can't tell me that, you're a drunk," that's an appeal to hypocrisy. The premise "drink is evil" is no more or less true based on the actions of Uncle Bob. However, as an argumentative tactic, it is effective and seems to work well in TDH comments. All's fair.

    14. OMB (Parable of a Drunken Uncle and the Witch Huntress)

      To carry Uncle Bob and poor little Billy a bit further:

      The problem is not that drunken Uncle BOB tells little Billy that "drink is evil" while sauced on eight Bud's or three lanes of Ft. Lee Blue Label. Nor that he stumbles.

      It is that Uncle Bob later gets up before his small congregation and preaches that Town Crier Rachel is a witch hunter because she drinks Bud and is sloppy when spending too much time with a bottle of Ft. Lee Blue Label in her hands.

      The Town Crier may indeed be a wicked drunk. And Uncle Bob may be a hypocritical lush. But unless Billy keeps his damned yap shut he's a troll.


    15. But when young Billy goes "trolling" and says, "you can't tell me that, you're a drunk," perhaps his point is not to argue with Uncle Bob about the fine points of the evil of demon Budweiser.

      Perhaps his only purpose in doing so is nothing more or less than pointing out that Uncle Bob is a damned hypocrite.

      It is possible. We don't know. And perhaps even Uncle Bob was doing another of his legitimate studies on the evils of drink, only once again botched it. That has never been disproved on a journalistic basis either.

      Regardless, young Billy does have a point. After all, it was merely his opinion he was expressing, something that Uncle Bob's many fans give him free rein to do.

    16. I agree that the troll callouts are dumb and unhelpful. But, as the ex-murine points out above, so are the hypocrite callouts. I'm still hoping for a well reasoned defense of Maddow (or Matthews or Dowd or Hawkins or Zernike or Sam or Cokie) that attacks the argument and doesn't say a word about the man making the argument. Yeah, fat chance in a GIFT-governed unmoderated anonymous comments section, but, as Emerson said, "dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself."

    17. You might get your wish if the body of the argument against the people you named above did not involve using the exact same techniques being deplored.

    18. That is like saying Billy is obligated to present a "well-reasoned argument" in favor of alcoholism before he can point out that his slovenly Uncle Bob is a hypocrite.

      And as 8:33 points out, if Bob's fans are going to dismiss everything said against him on grounds of "add hominy" then they must apply the same standards and dismiss everything Bob says so many of his targets on the same grounds.

    19. We've got your ad hominem and your add hominy. In between a little Pyongyang propaganda, comedy styling of Joe Stalin, and out right comparisons to Joe McCarthy.
      With the addition of a shrinking cap we should be ready to Add Khomeini.

    20. Maddow wasn't wrong, she just said a bullshit.


    21. Of course. Although TDH says that Darlin' Rachel is a hack and that she makes too much money, that's not why he claims she's bad at what she does. He says Darlin' Rachel is bad because she makes shit up.

      Now, he may be right or wrong about that, but not on the basis of his analysis of her qualities as a person.

    22. Then what you are saying is that his ad hominems are unnecessary to his criticisms of Maddow, and thus gratuitous.

      Excuse me, if you will, for thinking that such a person as Somerby, prone as he is to unnecessary, gratuitous ad hominem attacks, is adding the civil discourse he so longs for, but only pays lip service to.

  5. With the release of documents from the Clinton Presidency leading to new attacks on Hillary and the events in Ukraine proving Sarah Palin an excellent predictor of Russian aggression, I would hope TDH spends the next few weeks looking at press mistakes regarding these two fine American female leaders. They may end up head to head or toe to toe in 2016.

    I suggest starting with "I can see Russian from my house." It is at least the equivalent of "I invented the Internet." I am sure TDH can show this influenced the outcome of the 2008 election. And the "stay home and bake cookies" coverage still sticks in my craw.

    I will not complain if this is not TDH's direction. This is a private blog and he is, as was noted by someone else, a private person.

    1. This is hardly a private blog since it could accessed easily by any person with Internet access. Bob may indeed be a "private person" but he has chosen to make his thoughts quite public, in perhaps the only venue who will publish them since his Baltimore Sun career ended.

      We must also remember that Sarah Palin burst onto the national scene in a blaze of glory. "Sarahmania" they called it, in fact, and her convention speech was hailed by all as triumphant.

      Then a closer look was given to what she said, rather than the way she said it, and it turned out to be bullshit. No, she didn't oppose the "Bridge to Nowhere." Yes, she put the governor's plane on E-bay -- which is an incredibly dumb thing to do -- but fortunately for the taxpayers of Alaska, that is not quite how it was sold.

      Meanwhile, thrifty, conservative Sarah was rolling up all kinds of personal expenses on the campaign dime, including her famous shopping spree at the Mall of the Americas.

      If there was a "War on Palin" that turned the tide in 2008, Sarah herself supplied her enemies with mucho ammo.

    2. Those clothes were returned. They too may have been sold on E-Bay. And if PBS is not cancelled due to its drain on taxpayers, those items may show up on Antiques Roadshow some day. Or in a Presidential Library at Matanuska–Susitna College .

    3. Sarah Palin never said she could speak Russian in her house.

    4. The PBS "drain on taxpayers"!

      I'm not saying PBS is free. But what is that "drain" in perspective to anything.

      It's not a drain -- it's not even evaporation.

      It's a puny nothing.

  6. "... the release of documents from the Clinton Presidency leading to new attacks on Hillary..."

    Ha ha ha.

    The sun rising in the morning leads to new attacks on Hillary from the right wing attack industrial complex.

  7. Rachel, I like you. But please think before you talk. Fact-check yourself. You have potential. Exploit it to the fullest.

    1. That represents Maddow’s third attempt to make an accurate statement about this matter, which no one else seems to find important.

    2. Seems like Maddow is recorded saying things about this matter as many times as General Sampson is recorded or explained to have voted on lowering his client's lease payments to the Port Authority which he chairs from
      $900 K to $ 1.

      Firmly and strongly.


    Another exclusive: Maddow will have major breaking news on Monday.


    Never mind how we know. And you will read it here first: in covering this complex story, Maddow will make some errors you will read about later at TDH. Hopefully that will not delay the shrinking cap psychoanalysis of the evil orange shod clown by Dr. Somerby any further than necessary.

    We now return you to Shakespeare's "Tu Ad Hominem or Not To Add Hominy," starring deadrat as King List.

    1. local new jersey news pinch me

    2. Some whores, some whores! My kingdom for some whores!

      Oh, wait. Wrong play.

      Right channel though.

    3. you da math, rat.