Supplemental: The view from Merrywood!

FRIDAY, JUNE 27, 2014

When does this start to seem strange: As far as we know, Slate’s John Dickerson is the nicest guy in the world.

We know nothing bad about Dickerson in any way. Aside from his role at Slate, it seems that he’s also political director for CBS News.

That said, Dickerson is one of many leading scribes who quickly echoed the latest narrative, the narrative which has already been rolled out to govern Campaign 2016. No sooner had Hillary Clinton said “dead broke” than Dickerson was present at Slate with a pile of tedious comments running beneath these headlines:
Does Hillary Clinton Feel Your Pain?
Her “dead broke” comment will be forgotten. What’s more problematic are questions about her honesty.
Dickerson’s opening sentence captured two decades of Clinton/Gore-trashing. “It’s not the empathy, it’s the honesty,” he concernedly said.

This Monday, he did it again. This time, Dickerson was upset with Joe Biden’s comments about his lack of wealth. These Slate headlines resulted:
Crying Poor
Why do Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden want you to think they are penniless?
Did Hillary Clinton ever suggest that she and her husband are penniless?

Dickerson's piece will seem challenging if you are 7 or 8. The closing paragraph hits a real low. After that, you’ll see Slate making a formal correction of a lazy mistake.

This is called “buying the narrative.” It’s the laziest, emptiest way to do journalism. People like Dickerson love it.

All over the press corps, a large assortment of lazy script-readers quickly echoed the guild’s new line about Hillary Clinton being too wealthy, or out of touch, or possibly too gaffe-ridden. The fact that the obscenely wealthy Diane Sawyer initiated this wildly premature discussion has officially struck no one as strange.

But then, everyone agrees on one key rule of life in the Washington press corps—the massive wealth of our leading “journalists” must never be discussed. No one may ever suggest that it's strange to see a jewel-encrusted dimwit like Sawyer poking at Clinton’s wealth.

It violates pundit law even to think it! This brings us to Dickerson’s early life as the reigning “Fresh Prince of Merrywood.”

There’s nothing “wrong” with what comes next in our disquisition. But according to the leading authority on his life, Dickerson spent his early years in this particular manor:
WIKIPEDIA: A native of Washington, D.C., Dickerson is a son of C. Wyatt Dickerson and Nancy Dickerson. He has three sisters and one brother and grew up in McLean, Va. at Merrywood, a sprawling 49 acre estate with a 36-room Georgian-style mansion, high on a leafy bluff overlooking the Potomac River. Dickerson's parents purchased the property in 1964 from Hugh Auchincloss, following a protracted legal battle which eventually prevented Aushincloss from developing a massive high-rise apartment complex on the site.

Auchincloss was step-father to both Jacqueline Kennedy and Gore Vidal, who each spent significant portions of their childhoods at the estate...

The Dickersons sold the estate in 1984, and it was eventually purchased in 1999 for $24.5 million by its current owner, former AOL TimeWarner Chairman Steve Case.
Just for the record, Dickerson’s mother, Nancy Dickerson, was a major correspondent for CBS and NBC in the first two decades of TV news.

“Merrywood” sounds like an Austen quip, but it seems to be a real venue. Indeed, Dickerson’s detailed recollections of his early life at this barony were published in the New York Times in 2006.

You’ll think we’re making this up, but we aren’t, as you can see if you click on the link. This is the way Dickerson’s memoir started:
DICKERSON (11/2/06): Growing Up in a Glamorous Neverland

In McLean, Va., in the 1970s, the suburban clusters had names written in script at the entrance gates, but my house was the only one I knew that had a name of its own. When my parents gave parties, it was my job to open the door, look each new arrival in the eye and say: “Welcome to Merrywood.”

The house, a 36-room Georgian-style mansion built in 1920, was veined with ivy and surrounded with old boxwood bushes that looked like broccoli when you flew over on the descent into nearby National Airport. Jacqueline Kennedy grew up there and Jack Kennedy worked on “Profiles in Courage” on the third floor.

Gore Vidal, who lived in what would become my brother’s room, put the house at the center of his 1967 novel “Washington, D.C.”
Dickerson’s memoir goes on and on from there.

We assume that Dickerson’s a perfectly decent guy. But where does this nonsense stop?

As noted, the oleaginous Diane Sawyer started this latest gang bang. According to the occasional press report, she has been “earning” $12-20 million per year for a very long time now. But she found herself concerned by the size of Clinton’s wealth.

Gloria Vanderbilt’s son was soon promoting this premature stew. As of last Wednesday night, Herbert Hoover’s great-granddaughter seemed to be concerned that Clinton may be out of touch.

Beyond that, the former crown prince of Merrywood can’t seem to let this one go.

Please understand! There are sensible questions a person could ask about Clinton’s wealth, and about her policies and proposals. In truth, you’re very unlikely to see the press corps waste their time on the latter.

(Clinton's current project, Too Small to Fail, is designed to help low-income kids get a fairer shot at life. As has long been abundantly clear, most journalists would sell both grandmothers into white slavery before they would demean themselves by discussing a topic like that.)

There are sensible questions a person could ask about Hillary Clinton’s wealth. That said, the problem of the press corps’ wealth is a much larger problem. These people are empty and deeply uncaring. They’re as out of touch with average people as humans have ever been.

To state the obvious, their owners pay them to be that way! The former doorman at Merrywood may be a good investment.


  1. What, no KZ idiocy to junk up the comments?

    1. Welcome back. The last comment I recall you made was attacking another commenter when Bob Somerby was posting an attack on Joan Walsh for being critical of John Dickerson.

    2. MaxwellorMarcusorANYnamebesidesAnonymousJune 27, 2014 at 8:41 PM

      Huh, didn't realize there was someone using this as a part of their name. While I do agree with John Maxwell's point in your link, that person is not me. And it's hilarious how your "gotcha" on Bob is the exact reason people keep reading him - he has the integrity to call out this stuff *regardless* of who is saying it. There is no contradiction between being critical of someone for twisting Dickerson's words, and being critical of some other of Dickerson's own words.

    3. Yes given the topic here you could be the ground coffee heir.

      Actually it shows Bob's consistent hypocrisy. Walsh was right. Dickerson did call Obama a liar and Bob took great steps to overlook his clever way of doing so because Bob agreed with his charge against Obama. He was not the Fresh Prince of Merrywood in that piece. We heard nary a word about his mama.

      And in this piece Bob is going to greater lengths than he accused Walsh of travelling to twist Dickerson's words into an attack on Hillary or Biden. Dickerson says the flap will blow over unless Clinton says boneheaded things or questionable accuracy again. And with Biden, while the headline is poor, Dickerson did not use those words.

      You notice, by the way, Bob has avoided for the most part the Boden aspect of this story. Funny. Who asked Biden about his wealth?

    4. Clinton is not Biden and vice versa. $10 million in debt is not penniless but it was a true statement. No one cares about Biden. He is not a viable candidate, but linking him to Clinton drags her down.

  2. Don't need him to do that thanks to you.

  3. Bob sure does have a problem with people who have money. Except the Clintons, of course.

    Wonder if he'll ever get around to counting the money Chelsea makes at NBC, or the value of the abode she and her hubby just purchased?

    1. "Please understand! There are sensible questions a person could ask about Clinton’s wealth..

      There are sensible questions a person could ask about Hillary Clinton’s wealth."

      Unfortunately, like good schools, gap solutions, and other sundry items, Somerby would rather throw reporters' mamas and granddaddies off the Eiffel Tower than state what he thinks they are.

    2. The point of focusing on Clinton wealth is to imply that the speaking fees are quid pro quo for past or future political favors. They want us to think that without any specifics or evidence and without having to say it directly. This is very ugly business. People who already dislike the Clintons will follow right along. Those who like them will be unaffected by this pseudo scandal. I doubt there are still many people between those two poles.

  4. OMB (The OTB Does Write HIS Headlines)

    We are wondering why BOB did not headline this post:

    Three Legacy Scribes!

    Yes indeed, rubes, Beantown BOB from Harvard Yard teaches you to hate the silver spoon set for not checking their privilege.

    But they are all nice people.


  5. "After that, you’ll see Slate making a formal correction of a lazy mistake."

    D'Leisha Dent's track career at Miles College was cut short today when Ms. Dent inexplicably became convulsed with unstoppable laughter. She issued no formal apology or even acknowledged her
    outbreak of near mordant chuckles.

  6. "As noted, the oleaginous Diane Sawyer started this latest gang bang."

    Right, Bob. It's just like rape. And a brutal, vicious rape at that.

    Didn't think you could get more sexist after you stated, in true Chris Matthews fashion, that Sawyer got her job solely by virtue of looks and marriage.

    I was wrong.

    1. I missed that sentence. Helps explain why liberals are no longer willing leapers from tall buildings and famous bridges
      and have become willing sellers of grandma into white slavery all in the name of not discussing the plight of kids of color.

  7. Shorter comments:

    I don't like Bob.
    Me neither.
    Bob is yucky.
    You said it!
    say it again.

  8. Shorter 7:20 PM - see how lame I am?

  9. "Did Hillary Clinton ever suggest that she and her husband are penniless?"

    Yes, Mr. Somerby, she did.


    "we came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt. We had no money when we got there."


    Syllabification: pen·ni·less
    Pronunciation: /ˈpenēlis 



    (Of a person) having no money; very poor.

    1. Oh. We see. Past vs. present tense. She was penniless. Now she's properous. What a terrible headline.

      She once was blind, but now can see. She once was a pauper, now she's just an ordinary taxpaying stiff that just doesn't drive herself around.

    2. She is a former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady. What is hard to understand about that?

    3. She is a former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator and First Lady who is certainly cashing in from all that. What is hard to understand about that?

    4. Her "gaffes" all* stem from hostile, defensive reactions to any suggestions of wrong doing about herself or her man.
      What is hard not to predict, or, in the case of the press, provoke, about that.

      * "All", of course is used in the TDH hyberbolic literary sense. We would say her moments under fire in Bosnia were more on the order of Al Gore resume puffery, but when you encounter millions of cars pouring out from Ft. Lee, you get so flustered you can't get into a four year college.


  10. OMB (Oleanginous Gangbanger Revealed as Copycat)

    "As noted, the oleaginous Diane Sawyer started this latest gang bang."

    Uh, not so fast BOB.

    "Hillary Clinton's Speaking Circuit Payday: $5 Million (and Counting)

    As Clinton mulls a 2016 run for the White House, she's pocketing checks from corporate heavyweights—and raising questions about access and influence.

    —By Andy Kroll

    Wed May 21, 2014 6:00 AM EDT

    Mother Jones? Aren't they the one who employ Drum? Aren't they the ones who published the Romney fundraising speech video?

    How did they get their hands on that $5 million figure before super rich Diane force fed it to the guild?


    1. That oleaginous Andy Kroll. Son of a community college teacher and a public middle school teacher. Michigan. Not Yale. The horror.

    2. Saying she got the ball rolling doesn't mean she said it first but that she gave it the big push needed to get it going.

      Kroll doesn't have the same visibility, but what's wrong with him? You expect this crap from conservatives.

    3. Right. Members of "our tribe" should never raise questions about how other members of "our tribe" are stuffing millions of dollars of corporate cash in their pants so fast that they go from "not only dead broke, but in debt" to multi-millionaires in the span of a 14 years.

      How dare he?

    4. I also find it interesting the number of times that Bob has used Rachel Maddow's salary to attack her liberal bonafides, but now wants to turn a blind eye to Hillary earning $200K per speech from big money corporations and financiers.

    5. Anon. @ 10:44 Saying she got the ball rolling isn't what Somerby said.

      "the obscenely wealthy Diane Sawyer initiated this wildly premature discussion"

      ""As noted, the oleaginous Diane Sawyer started this latest gang bang."

      That is just this post. Earlier:

      "In this case, Diane Sawyer unveiled the “narrative” back on June 6."

      These statements about Diane Sawyer, in her role as interviewer chosen by Clinton's publisher to promote sale of Clinton's book could be characterized this way:

      "In her service as fluffer for Clinton book, Diane Sawyer took the initiative in creating the current meme."

      BOB could have asked why Clinton and Clinton publisher chose news network interviews as a way to enhance profits.

      BOB could have focused on the inanity of the Clinton answer to an obvious line of press interest.

      But BOB, unlike the Inka and more like the street corner preacher, chose to spout his usual bullshit, blaming only one of the parties who engaged in the dance.


    6. We also recall how oily old coot Chris Hayes tricked the Malala-like Sokolich into saying something very unMalala-like.

      Nope, the Mayor of Fort Lee couldn't really have meant what he said -- that Wildstein, a mere bungler acting in good faith, deserved books to the hiney.

      After all, Bob's narrative about Sokolich was well established, and these words didn't fit. So they couldn't possibly have been Sokolich's.

    7. Should be "boots to the hiney" of course.

  11. The concern is that a lot of the money that's been given to Mrs. Clinton and her family is in expectation of future favors, and retroactive payment for favors given in the past. I don't know why the articles don't just come out and say it.

    1. Andy Kroll does exactly that, if you'd care to follow KZ's link.

    2. Yes, Kroll does that. Because that is the meme of the pseudo liberal left. Most are so obscenely poor they are concerned about the obscenely rich. Its obscene out there on your warming little planet. The obscenely rich turn the arguments of the obscenely poor to their advantage.

      An oleaginous oligarch throws a pile of pooh on the rich carpet. A plutocratic pol steps in it. Meme spreaders smear it all over themselves and cry foul. And that's the way it is.


    3. Yes, how awful of the pseud-liberal left to worry about corporate cash being stuffed into politicians' pants, rather than lobbying softball questions about all the wonderful work politician's are involved in.

    4. None of course are interested in or care much about black kids. This statement is not an R bomb. Your results may differ.

  12. "Sell both their grandmothers" is offensively heteronormative. Many people now have more than two grandmothers, their parents' mothers and their surrogate parent's mother. Or one or both of their parents have two male parents.

    1. No normative heteros were harmed during the making of this blog post. Any offense to those who might deviate was unintentional and could be apologized for at some future point.

  13. Diane Sawyer complaining about Hillary Clinton's wealth: a hypocrite.
    Andy Kroll complaining about Hillary Clinton's wealth: not a hypocrite.

    See? That's not so hard.

    1. Bob Somerby claiming Sawyer not Kroll initiated concern over Clinton speakling fees: a major factual error in need of correction.

      Bob Somerby disappearing Kroll's work to claim Sawyer initated the meme in order to support his meme about her hypocrisy and other bad guild practices: hypocrisy.

      See? Bob is exactly that about which he complains.

  14. I would point out, more in sorrow than in malice, that Bob cannot claim to care about Black kids, or any other struggling kids in this Country. Things affect other things. The biggest rhetorical victory the far right has won in the country in the last thirty years is removing Military Spending from the table and labeling it "non controversial" spending. This led us to the grotesque scandal of "embedded coverage" of our wars.
    This has cost the Country trillions of dollars. Is it hard to imagine why there is little left to for our schools? But, to all this, Bob has played along like a good little liberal. Put on a uniform, and you are off limits to Bob. No body who could claim to care would write or think this way.


  15. THE GREAT DR GREAT WHO BROUGHT MY HUSBAND BACK TO ME IN JUST ONE DAY. My name is Nancy John from uk, I got married 1 year ago. My husband and I have been living a very happy and lovely life. So as time went on, I began to notice this strange attitude that he was possessing. He was now going out with other girls, to the extent that he was no longer picking up my calls, and he was not even sleeping in the house anymore. I became confused and didn’t know what to do anymore. So i became worried and stranded, that brought so many thoughts into my mind, because I have never experienced a thing like this in my life. So I decided to visit a spell caster, to see if he can help me out. So immediately I went to the internet, where I saw an amazing testimony of a spell caster who brought someone’s ex lover back, “DR iyare” so I contacted him immediately and I explained to him all my problems and he told me that it will be very easy for him to solve, compare to the ones that he has done before. And he also gave me some proof to be really sure of his work, and he assured me that my husband will come back to me as soon as he is through with the spell casting. And also he told me to put all my trust in him, and I really obeyed him. So it was 8:00 am on the next morning, when I was about going to work, when i received my husband call, and he told me that he was coming back home, and he was apologizing to me telling me that he is very sorry for the pain that he has cost me. And after some hours later, he really came back home, and that was how we continued our marriage with lot of love and happiness, and our love was now stronger than how it were before. DR iyare also told me that once my heart desire has been granted unto me that i should go and testify of his work right here on the internet. Right now I am the happiest woman on earth today as I am writing this testimony, and I want to really thank “DR great” for bringing back my husband, and for bringing joy and love to my family. So my greatest advice for you out there who your husband or your wife is acting strange, or you have any problem with your relationship or anything that has to do with spell casting,He is capable of solving any problems.All you need do is for you to contact this man anytime, and i assure you that he will be of help to you,I am 100% sure that he will solve it out.


  16. You should take part in a contest for one of the best blogs on the web. I will recommend this site!
    Click Here
    Visit Web