EYES OFF THE PRIZE: Willie Geist knows script!


Part 1—Bungling Magic Johnson: It would be hard to find a more obvious pseudo-discussion than the current pseudo-discussion, the enthralling pseudo-discussion about the weird, incoherent and pitiful things Donald Sterling apparently said.

All the pundits know what to say as they stage this pseudo-discussion. For starters, all our national pundits admit to being brighter and more upstanding than Sterling is!

To appearances, it isn’t hard to be brighter and more upstanding than Sterling in the arena of race. Sterling seems to be almost as clueless as Cliven Bundy, the pundit corps’ previous feel-good scapegoat.

It isn’t hard to be brighter than Sterling! For that reason, Sterling’s recent apparent comments have touched off the type of discussion our millionaire pundit corps loves.

Alas! These low-calorie pseudo-discussions substitute for real discussions about the real issues dogging our plutocrat-infested society. Your pundits will carefully avoid those issues, even the fearless millionaire pundits who tell you they’re “on the left.”

The laziness of these millionaire pundits ought to be a legend by now. For one example, consider what Willie Geist said.

In the first segment of today’s Morning Joe, the pundits were all reciting their lines about the Sterling affair. To watch the whole segment, click here.

In fairness, Mika made the first misstatement about the Magic Johnson connection (text below). But soon, Scarborough threw to Geist.

Years before, the vapid, obedient legacy hire joined Tucker Carlson in mocking the notion of climate change. This morning, the vapid fellow began reciting the current script about Sterling.

Can your spot the mistaken impression conveyed in Geist’s presentation today? Much more importantly, can you see what this suggests about Geist himself?
GEIST (4/29/14): There’s so much to say about this, but it’s amazing, when you start at the very beginning. It shows how deep, if this tape is in fact Donald Sterling, how deep his racism is, that he was upset that this woman brought Magic Johnson to a Clippers game.

SCARBOROUGH: I was going to say—

GEIST: —arguably the most beloved athlete in the United States of America.


It’s terrible on its face, but then when you go deeper into it— It was Magic, he was upset that Magic Johnson was at his game! He’s lucky Magic Johnson was at his game. There’s so much here.
Ignore the unintended comedy of Geist’s disclaimer. Have you spotted the bogus impression conveyed in that presentation?

More importantly, have you seen what this tells us about Geist?

Here’s the misimpression:

Listening to Geist, a person would get the impression that Sterling was angry because his girl friend, the apparently pitiful V. Stiviano, “brought Magic Johnson to a Clippers game.”

If Geist had listened to the original, nine-minute TMZ tape, he would know that isn’t what the lovebirds were arguing about. He’d know there is no indication that Viviano ever took Johnson anywhere, let alone to a Clippers game.

The logic is often hard to follow on the nine-minute tape. But the reason for Sterling’s anger is clear. Plainly, Sterling is angry because Stiviano posted a photo of herself with Johnson on Instagram.

At one point, Stiviano says she doesn’t know Johnson personally; she simply took a photo with him, a man she admires, at a public event. There is no indication that she ever brought Johnson to a Clippers game, and that clearly isn’t what she and Sterling are fighting about.

None of this matters, of course, if we’re trying to judge Sterling. But if we’re trying to understand the work of our national pundit corps, we see that Geist is so lazy and so unprofessional that he apparently hasn’t bothered listening to the actual TMZ tape.

That original TMZ tape is only nine minutes long! To appearances, Geist has been too lazy to review it. He knows the general shape of the script—and that is all that ever matters to the vapid people who shape our pseudo-discussions.

Years ago, Geist was kissing the ascot of Tucker Carlson as he ascended the ladder at NBC. At the time, Carlson had a daily show on MSNBC. Geist served as one of his sidekicks.

This is part of the script Geist recited on one pathetic occasion:
GEIST (12/12/06): Tucker, I have got some real news for you. Al Gore seems intent upon not losing another close election, so he is everywhere these days, campaigning for an Oscar for his global warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth.

The former vice president has been on Oprah, the Tonight Show, the Today Show and every show in between, plugging the film’s DVD release. On Saturday, he’ll host a nationwide network of 1,600 house parties to watch and discuss that movie. The Oscar nominations are due out late next month…

CARLSON: Have you seen the Gore movie [An Inconvenient Truth]?

GEIST: No, I have not seen it.

CARLSON: I suspect it’s a shade, what’s the word? Pedantic.

GEIST: Yes, I didn’t see it because I had paint to watch dry that weekend, so I couldn’t get to it. But Hollywood would like nothing more than to help propel him to the White House. So, don’t be surprised if gets it [an Oscar].

CARLSON: Good point!
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

In that instance, Geist was mocking an important film, a film he was too lazy and unprofessional to watch. He was also pimping the script about fake/phony stupid old Hollywood.

This morning, he was reciting the script about an audiotape he has apparently been too lazy to review. As people like Geist perform these roles, real discussion is avoided. Plutocrat power grows.

In fairness to Geist, this is what all these people are like. Earlier this morning, Mika had introduced this topic of Sterling’s comments in this manner:
BRZEZINSKI: The recordings in question allegedly capture Sterling for allegedly scolding his mistress at the time for—unnnhh—for bringing African-American men to Clippers games and posting photos of them on her Instagram account.
That isn’t what Sterling is scolding her for. To all appearances, Mika hasn’t listened to the tape either.

After Willie took his turn, Scarborough briefly jumped in with a question about Johnson, an iconic Los Angeles Laker. Why would Johnson attend a Clippers game?

Briefly, Willie was flummoxed:
GEIST: It was Magic—he was upset that Magic Johnson was at his game! He’s lucky Magic Johnson was at his game. There’s so much here.

SCARBOROUGH: Which raises a question—why was Magic Johnson at a Clippers game?

GEIST: I think the picture actually was at—they had Dodgers gear on.

SCARBOROUGH: Actually, I’m joking.
Phew! Willie escaped! But the whole Morning Joe segment conveyed a bogus impression about the nature of the argument. There was no sign that anyone on this pundit crew had devoted even nine minutes to playing the original TMZ tape.

This latest shallow script is an easy script for pundits. But as they condemn the latest scapegoat for his troubling racism, they keep us away from real discussions about society’s actual structures, including those involving race.

Everyone gets to kill the pig! No one gets challenged or enlightened about anything that actually matters.

As pundits recite these easy scripts, they work to keep our eyes off the prize. The work on cable last night was abysmal. Tonight, you’ll see more of the same.

Tomorrow: Leifer’s joke

Willie nails Hillary Clinton: Back in 2007, Willie was helping Tucker push his script about Hillary Clinton.

At the time, MSNBC was the market leader in undisguised misogyny. Liberals were happily refusing to say that, of course:
GEIST (7/16/07): Well, I think the metaphor in this next story, Tucker, is pretty clear. So I will just report the straight fact. The newest collectors’ item on the presidential campaign trail is a Hillary Clinton nutcracker. They’re going like hot cakes in Rochester, Minnesota, where the idea for the nutcracker was hatched.

It’s a Hillary doll with serrated stainless steel thighs that, well, crack nuts. If you can’t make to it Minnesota to pick one up, you can go to HillaryNutcracker.com and that could be yours for the low, low price of $19.95. They`ll also throw in a bag of Hillary nuts for five bucks.

I don’t know what they’re getting at here, Tucker. What do you think they`re saying about Hillary?

CARLSON: I don’t know, but that is so perfect. I have often said, when she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs.

GEIST: I know you do.

CARLSON: I’m getting one, by the way.

GEIST: Go to the website. It sounded like a little country store in Rochester, Minnesota. This guy just had the idea. Now they’re literally flying off the shelves, so he had to start a website. And people can’t get enough of these things.

You have covered a lot of campaigns. You always get these sorts of keepsakes that come with the campaign. I think this will be one of the best.
These are the ways people like Geist worm their way to the top. This week, he’s wasting our time with denunciations of the world’s craziest man. So is everyone else.

If you swallow crap like this, you'll never get anything else. So far, the liberal world has swallowed this crap from players like Geist every step of the way.


  1. If you swallow crap like this, you'll never get anything else. So far, the liberal world has swallowed this crap from players like Somerby trying to pawn Geist and the Morning Show off as liberals to his rubes every step of the way.

    1. You should learn to read with comprehension. It would make your comments more meaningful -which is to say, somewhat meaningful.

    2. Yes. I had best quit word for word quotations of Somerby as the basis of a comment.

  2. Alas! How could I leave "Joe" out of the Morning Joe Show. That is almost as bad as leaving "pseudo-" out of career liberal.

    1. Alack! How could I miss the "reply" button. Must not have had my morning joe this afternoon.

  3. OMB (Bungling in Good Faith With BOB)

    "It would be hard to find a more obvious pseudo-discussion than the current pseudo-discussion, the enthralling pseudo-discussion about the weird, incoherent and pitiful things Donald Sterling apparently said."

    That said- it's only PART 1!

    Anybody want to guess how many "parts" besides this second in the Sterling series there will be?


    We're still not finished with yesterday's prelude, and BOB's heroric fight against Hannity bogus statements on Social Security, taxes and "whatever else was current."

    1. Our corporate media does an outstanding job informing the public. Any criticism whatsoever is totally unfounded.

    2. Pseudo-satire in defense of naked sermonettes against nudity always bare the soul.

  4. Donald Sterling's actions have hardly been "pitiful." He's been sued twice for housing discrimination, settling both times out of court.

    The last suit was brought by the US Justice Dept in 2006:


    The complaint reads in part: "The Defendants and their agents have engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by, among other ways:
    (a) Refusing to rent to non-Koreans at the multi-family residential rental properties that Defendants own or manage, or have owned or managed, in the Koreatown section of Los Angeles County;
    (b) Refusing to rent to African-Americans at the multi-family residential rental properties that Defendants own or manage, or have owned or managed, in the Beverly Hills section of Los Angeles County;

    1. That is the complaint. Anyone can allege anything in a lawsuit. What was Sterling's defense, or doesn't he get one? The suits were settled without a finding of wrongdoing on Sterling's part.

    2. Yes. We all know paying a fine and pleading nolo in a criminal matter means there was no basis for your arrest. Why should we treat a civil suit any differently?

    3. Because (1) the actions involved are different, (2) the procedures are different, including standards of evidence, (3) the penalties are different, (4) the types of lawyers involved are trained differently because the body of law is different, (5) the consequences to society are different, (6) the legal traditions are different.

      Sort of like asking why we shouldn't assume those commie actors and screenwriters were all guilty back when they took the 5th in the HUAC hearings. If they weren't guilty, they should have just cooperated, right.

      If you don't understand why people settle cases instead of trying them (regardless of guilt or innocence), you need to learn more about how our legal system really works.

    4. Anon @2:14, you are being sarcastic, right? People plead guilty to crimes they didn't commit all the time, because they don't have the money, time or worry they won't win (despite their innocence), or because their lawyer talks them out of insisting on a trial. Most people pay parking and traffic fines they don't think they deserve. The amounts involved in these cases may have been comparable to him.

    5. Anon @2:36 Yes, I'm sure Sterling was to poor to mount a proper defense.

    6. He was more likely too rich to treat the suits as anything more than a nuisance, to be paid to go away. A suit doesn't have merit just because it is cheaper to settle than to contest it.

    7. 2:14 here again. I am fully aware. More than I care to discuss. Read 2:09's comment again.

      Sterling was sued. By the U.S. Government. He settled and paid the largest civil fine in a housing discrimination suit in history. He did not face the pressure of going to jail like those who plead nolo. He made his decision based on a combination of cost calculation and concern for his reputation.

    8. So now African Americans can live in Koreatown. It does surprise me that you think Sterling was personally involved in leasing apartments. That would be extreme micro-management for a billionaire. Why is everyone so quiet about what he did to receive an NAACP award.

  5. "the vapid, obedient legacy hire . . ."

    It's never quite enough for Somerby to simply disagree, is it?

    1. Bob is still pissed he was never hired as a dressing room assistant at the burlesque house run by Daddy.

    2. Legacy hiring is one of the best ways to maintain institutional integrity and competence in an America beset by affirmative action mandates.

      When you think of about quality legacy hires, think George W. Bush

    3. "Vapid, obedient, legacy hire" states it perfectly

  6. I didn't know the nutcracker came from Rochester MN. That's the site of Mayo Clinic. I'm very disappointed.

    1. This was the second-most shocking incident of misogyny aimed at Clinton. The first was that photo of Obama's speechwriter, Favreau, sexually groping the life-size poster of Hillary. That two TV pundits would joke about it that way, talking about buying one themselves, is an insult to their female audience. Whether women would or would not vote for Hillary Clinton, reducing her candidacy to those terms diminishes the aspirations of all women for fair treatment and political participation. Sort of like Warren discussing the lack of sufficient bathrooms for female senators in the Congressional building (on Daily Show last week).

    2. Not to diminish the sexism in either incident 2:40, but I would rank John McCain's joke about why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly quite a bit higher.

  7. ". . . no indication that she ever brought Johnson to a Clippers game. . ."

    When he says, "and please don't bring him to any of my games" -- in addition to her not posting Insta-gram pictures of her with Magic -- it is easy to draw the inference that she had done something like this in the past. So it is wrong to say "there is no indication." There is no clear evidence she did that, but it's an awfully strange thing to say in a vacuum. I had to listen to it a second time to discern that he did not actually say she had done it before, because it sure sounded that way at first.

    Unfortunately, since The Howler has buried himself so deeply in his narrative about "the liberal press" and "we liberals," you cannot trust his reports on what things actually say. He will twist what is there to serve his narrative, so you have to go to the source itself.

  8. So now we liberals are listening in on, make that "decerning" regarding personal conversations between a clownish eighty-one year old and his wacky mistress. What's next, sniffing the sheets ala Ken Starr?

    Just when I thought liberals couldn't get anymore ridiculous.

    1. In other words, Mr. high-and-mighty 4:22, you think all the offended African-Americans are "ridiculous"?

    2. He may not but I do.

  9. Wow.

    That's a long article just to pick apart what some would call a minor detail that Willie Geist got wrong. Much ado about nothing IMO.

    The audio indicates that Sterling did not want his gf to bring blacks like Magic Johnson to Clippers games.

    Geist mistakenly misconstrued the criticism was b/c she had already brought Magic to a game.

    Seems like very small potatoes to me. (BTW, I am no fan of the terminally boring and uninteresting Mr. Geist.)

    1. Your final parenthetical remark, Mr. T, will not spare you from the obvious conclusion you are a paid operative (troll is such an overused word here) for MSNBC.

    2. Oh, if you only knew how wrong you are.

      I despise Morning Joe with every fiber of my being.

  10. I think the point may be that the clown in question didn't as much as lift a finger in preparation before running off at the mouth on national TV. If he can't get up to speed on a matter as trivial as this, how could anyone expect this "journalist" to capably handle anything with the least bit of substance.

  11. So this guy made his mark as Tucker Carlson's on air stooge. Why would he be part of any news program?

  12. From what I understand Johnson has an ownership role with the Lakers. He's also a married man. Why would he be hanging out and going to games with an opposing owner's bimbo mistress?

  13. Welcome to "American Discourse" as brought to you by Bob Somerby and his legion of "fans."

    In this adult discussion, we already have the tribe's targets branded as "a vapid, obedient legacy hire," "lazy", "unprofessional", "worm," "wacky" and "bimbo."