Supplemental: Digby does Dealey Plaza!

FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2014

The work of the new Salon: Should progressive and liberal news orgs ape the conduct of Fox?

In our view, the answer is no. In our view, you can’t create a progressive politics by misleading progressive voters. Beyond that, we can’t imagine a good outcome from teaching liberals to hate.

More and more, though, the methods of Fox seem to pop up at Salon. That brings us to Digby’s new posts.

Doggone it! The analysts burst into tears when they read her post about Rick Perry. That’s because they had already read the news report to which Digby linked right at the start of her post.

Doggone it! In the highlighted passage, Digby is conning her readers:
DIGBY (7/22/14): Everyone has undoubtedly noticed that Texas Governor Rick Perry is suddenly sporting a pair of hipster glasses which his advisers clearly think make him look so much smarter than he was in 2012, when he could barely remember his name in the Republican primary debates. (In fairness, he has since admitted to being high on drugs at the time.) Much like his fellow Texan George W. Bush, Perry is a guy who does love to sport a costume. For instance, this fetching Halloween get-up in the character of Doug Neidermeyer from Animal House. (Again, in fairness, this was his actual uniform in the corps of cadets at Texas A&M.)

Now that he’s off drugs and wearing some sharp Warby Parkers, Perry is making another run at the presidency. And as the Texas governor (for what seems like the last century) he’s milking the refugee crisis at the border by remembering the Alamo and standing his ground against the hordes of “illegal” children and nursing mothers who are invading his state. He said yesterday that he “will not stand idly by while our citizens are under assault and little children from Central America are detained in squalor.”

It looks like the geek specs haven’t improved his verbal clarity. One can’t be sure who it is he thinks is assaulting the American people but by process of elimination one can only assume it must be the little children.
Did Perry mean that “the little children” are the ones who are “assaulting America?”

As she quoted Governor Perry, Digby linked to this Washington Post news report. If you read its first five paragraphs, you can see that Digby was misrepresenting what Perry actually said.

(Note the reference in paragraph 2 to “preventing criminal activity by Mexican drug cartels on the Texas side of the border.” Also note this sentence: “Perry did not outline any role for them [the guardsmen] in dealing with the unaccompanied children at the border.”)

What Perry proposed may have been fairly dumb. For some reason, Digby seemed to feel the need to make it crazier, almost perverse.

Hannity has done this sort of thing ever since roughly forever. In fairness, Digby was giving us a wonderful way to hate Perry even more.

But can you build a progressive politics by misstating basic facts in such obvious ways? We’re going to say that you cannot, and that the “decent people” for whom Digby claims to speak wouldn’t want her to do so.

Yesterday, Digby took a different tack. In this overwrought post about overwrought people, she fell back on her fainting couch concerning the demons of Dealey Plaza.

Yesterday morning, this was the featured report at Salon. Let’s get clear on the situation which had Digby clutching her pearls.

She started with a rather detailed history of the killing of President Kennedy. Reading it, you’d have no idea that Kennedy was killed by a rather crazy person whose politics came from the left.

Conservatives often claim that liberals distort the history of Kennedy’s death this way. Until yesterday, we’d never seen anyone torture the story in precisely the way conservatives like to mock.

Digby’s history was rather strangely told. As she continued, she focused on a bunch of people who apparently conduct a monthly demonstration at Dealey Plaza.

We watched the tape Digby provided. By our lights, the people staging this demonstration express silly, overwrought views.

That said, there seemed to be maybe eight of these people—and while they seemed rather foolish to us, they weren’t threatening anyone.

We’re talking about a tiny handful of people. Still and all, these were Digby’s words as she fell back on her couch:
DIGBY (7/24/14) Unfortunately, the venom, the incoherent conspiracy-mongering, the visceral loathing still exist. In fact, in one of the most obliviously obtuse acts of sacrilege imaginable, Dealey Plaza is now the regular site of open-carry demonstrations. That’s right, a group of looney gun proliferation activists meet regularly on the site of one of the most notorious acts of gun violence in the nation’s history to spout right-wing conspiracy theories about the president while ostentatiously waving around deadly weapons.

Travelers from other nations who come to Dealey Plaza to pay their respects are undoubtedly startled to see yahoos carrying guns and passing out extremist literature very much like the literature that was distributed in Dallas in the fall of 1963. In most places in this world, such contempt for national hallowed ground would be frowned upon by decent people. But in America, armed men and women marching around spouting hatred for the president at the very spot where a former president was assassinated is business as usual. We are “free” here to carry guns in public and dare others to argue with us. But that doesn’t make it any less vulgar and profane to do it in a place of national grief—and what should be a monument to right-wing ignominy.

On the 50th anniversary of the assassination, historian Darwin Payne, who was a journalist in Dallas in 1963, said, “You could feel it in the air. When I hear some people express hatred for Obama, it feels the same. But I never have felt we are on the verge of anything like the events I witnessed back then.” Let’s hope he’s right. There are a whole lot of people with a political ax to grind who are wandering around our streets armed to the teeth. As Mrs. Doyle said in her letter, “These people are crazy, or crazed, and I’m sure that we must realize that their actions in the future are unpredictable.”

Here’s the video of the Dealey Plaza open carry event.
Go ahead—watch the tape. Virtually no one is there!

We think that handful of people hold rather silly views. We think Digby is possibly being sillier.

You might call it “the Pawnbroker syndrome.” A person can become so obsessed by the bad acts and vile thoughts of The Other that they can’t live without finding the latest example.

If the latest example involves eight people demonstrating once a month, that bad act will have to do. The offended party will shriek about the eight bad people, hoping to get everyone else in the tribe riled up.

We feel sorry for those eight people, who seem to be lost souls. They're showing bad judgment in our view, but they don’t seem especially dangerous.

We feel a bit less sorry for Digby, who is way too smart to be behaving these ways.

Last week,
it wasn’t true that “scores of people” were spitting at those kids. This week, that isn’t what Perry said—and that dream fugue history of JFK’s death comes straight from conservative fever dreams about what “The Liberals” do.

It was Dr. King’s explicit bottom line: You will not force me to hate you. Dr. King is remembered, revered throughout the world because of that bottom line.

At some point, tribal players start needing the hate. Has the hate started swallowing Digby?

People! No one was spitting at the buses. And that isn’t what Perry said!


  1. Very good, Bob. You don't have to go off Maddow cold turkey. Use Digby as your methadone.

    1. Trying to cure MDS with Digby is like fighting a pot addiction with crack.

    2. Correction for our hop headed friends : a pot "habit"

      Not good enough? a pot "preference"

  2. "A person can become so obsessed by the bad acts and vile thoughts of The Other that they can’t live without finding the latest example."

    What a truly and magnificently ironic sentence to spring from the mind of Bob Somerby to his word processing machine.

  3. Anybody who can compare Bryce Covert to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity should have no object to someone comparing Rick Perry to
    Doug Neidermeyer from Animal House.

    1. As the grandson and son of Corps of Cadet members at Texas A&M, I must state that while Perry had to have worn a WW I uniform more akin to the costume of Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, his favored uniform is the all white Yell Leader outfit which is a replica of that worn by inmates in the Texas Department of Corrections. See Steve McQueen in The Getaway.

  4. Sad that BOB is right about Digby in these two latter instances. This sort of thing happens to bloggers with fixations. Especially those who profess having trouble with the words of others and decide what the other person "seems" to say.

    To a degree it happens to everybody. It is called aging.

    Send BOB a mirror.


    1. Obviously, Digby wrote this with the corporate powers of MSNBC in mind who will soon reward her with a multi-million dollar contract and her own show.

    2. I have never seen Digby televised. I suspect there is a reason.

      I did follow a Somerby link to a panel he appeared on taped by C-Span. It was on Humor in Politics. I know now why he blogs.

  5. OMB (Scratchin and Spittin With Digby, Ricky, and OTB)

    Let's revisit the first of Digby's three recent sins.

    We were teased into it with a post containing these two lines:

    "Last week, Heather Parton, clutching her pearls, fell back on her fainting couch. In our view, some of what she wrote in this piece is heinous, almost obscene.

    Strong words. Heinous. Almost obscene.

    But when it came to the post, BOB's own headline toned it down: "Digby seems to embellish a tad!"

    Where we come from we have rarely heard something called a tad obscene nor an embellishment described as heinous.

    But then BOB printed the Salon headline:

    "Wingnuts’ gross war on children: Screaming and spitting at endangered kids
    This is what it's come to: As children flee horrifying violence in their home countries, the right assaults them"

    Now "war," "spitting at endangered kids" and "assault." Them's some pretty tough terms as they might say in Rick Perry country. But BOB chose to semi-excuse the headline, which Digby did not write, by saying this:

    "For once, Salon had written a headline which understated the claims of the piece in question."

    And what were the words which Digby wrote which are either heinous, a tad embellishing, or stronger than the headline?

    "The protests in Murrieta, California, over the past week show scores of Americans screaming and spitting at busloads of kids and mothers with infants calling them diseased and worse."

    Digby did not use the word "war" or "assault", or state the kids themselves had been spat upon, only the collective "busloads."

    BOB stated he could find no other coverage compared to Digby's (there was), and while he could find an instance where a counterprotester was spat upon, he quickly said, without a shred of evidence "The conduct by this person was widely condemned, even by “the right-wing.”"

    BOB went on to denounce these two "heinous, almost obscene" words or "embellishments" as "fake facts which teach us to hate' and
    "almost definitively pre-rational. It comes to us straight outta prehistory."

    Today BOB has calmed a bit. The two words with some basis in other coverage which appear to be a clear exaggeration of events are described twice. Notice the difference.

    "Last week, it wasn’t true that “scores of people” were spitting at those kids."

    "People! No one was spitting at the buses."

    Digby never said the former. BOB has no "journalistic proof" of the latter. There is proof someone else besides Digby described coverage
    similar to that which she described.

    Note that in the two or so weeks since this issue has been a leading story, the only coverage in TDH of the press conduct in the matter has been BOB's denunciation of Digby. His only coverage of the conduct which led to the reported incident has been to exculpate the right wing for joining in denouncing the one identified spitter.

    Two words from Digby. Coverage in three posts so far. Suggestions that this is "surrendering" liberal values. Possibly. It also suggests marble misplacement in a spasm of proportion blowing. We cannot be sure.

    It is a shame to us that scores of Americans can be whipped up into a frenzy such that they would blockade and shout at buses of children. Someone did the whipping. It was not Digby. But BOB doesn't seem to care about anything but transgressions by liberal children. He would rather jump off the London bridge in Arizona than do anything about the right wing media fanning the flames except compare liberals to them.


    1. There is never a hair so fine that Bob can't split and split again.

      Yes, let's ignore the frenzy that a very large segment of America has been whipped into over the brown hordes invading us from the south and threatening our very way of life. Pretty soon, we'll all be forced to speak Spanish and eat spicy foods as they take away all our fine meat processing, vegetable picking, hotel room cleaning, fast food cooking, lawn mowing and roofing jobs.

      Never mind that. Digby said there was spitting. That's the issue we must focus our national attention like a laser beam.

      Sadly, Digby is not the first person Bob has viciously turned on, as she grew from a blogger, gained a degree of national attention, then became quite successful at it, both professionally and. apparently, financially, as Bob remains typing "series" and "supplementals" and "interludes" on a one-man blog that keeps repeating itself like it's 1999.

      How badly does Bob want to ignore the source of the bullroar while he blames it all on the Digbys, the Walshes, the Maddows, for not fighting it properly, according to the unwritten Somerby Rules?

      Consider this episode way back in December, which might have been lost as Bob rushed to the defense of Govs. Bridge and Ultrasound against the hordes of alleged liberal misreporting.

      Megyn Kelly of Fox made the rather stunning pronouncement that Santy Claus was white.

      In her defense, Bob reached back to an interview she did TWO WEEKS BEFORE with a former Obama press secretary.

      It was your typical Fox interview. Invite some poor schmuck on then constantly interrupt him and berate him so that he can't get a word in edgewise as you advance the latest right-wing talking point.

      Bob even went so far as to praise the "masterful" and "appropriate" manner in which Kelly interrupted the guy, saying she did it to "refocus" him as he allegedly strayed off topic.

      And what was that topic? Bob wouldn't tell us.

      But what they were "debating" if you could call it that, was "Obama lied when he told people they could keep their crappy health insurance that really didn't cover anything."

      So, KZ, never mind that we have yet another refugee crisis at our southern border and will continue to have such crises as long as the right wing continues to shout its "invasion" talking points from the rooftops, the news desks and even the halls of Congress.

      Digby said a bad thing and is now a bad person. True or not, that's Bob's story and he's sticking to it.

  6. We are so lucky in Arizona.
    Our Tea Party candidates are caricatures of themselves.

    Our Pinal County Sheriff, Paul Babeu, organized a protest against a bus of refugee kids in Oracle (home of the late Edward Abbey and the late Lee Marvin).

    Attending was Republican Congressional candidate Adam Kwasman, who mistook a bus of YMCA kids for a bunch of illegal immigrants and tweeted this: "Bus coming in. This is not compassion. This is the abrogation of the rule of law."

    The Central Americans were no-shows.
    Ya can't make this stuff up, and in Arizona, ya don't need to.

  7. So far, every comment except Gravy's has been about how awful Somerby is. We get it -- all you trolls dislike Somerby more than any other topic he might post about. So why do you need to keep saying it over and over, to the point that there can be no coherent discussion here by anyone who is not you?

    I have been reading Digby for a very long time and it does seem to me that she has adopted a more flamboyant writing style for her Salon pieces. She has always been admired for her level-headedness and common sense and for her research. I would hate to see those qualities be swallowed up by the need to write more emotionally or colorfully. This does remind me of when they took a down-to-earth Chris Hayes and taught him to behave like a celebrity instead of a real person. Now he is barely watchable, in my opinion. I think Digby may become barely readable for similar reasons. I don't think this is in Somerby's imagination.

    I don't know whether this behavior arises from tribal politics or from the needs of commercial enterprises to attract more viewers (readers). It is sad that more people do not respond to thoughtful, intelligent, well-researched work than to hand-waving and overwrought language, snark and made-up jibes. In that sense, our trolls here are masters of the kind of tone that Digby seems to be directing toward conservatives. Maybe they realize that the best way to hate Somerby is to direct toward him the same sort of stuff that was directed at Gore, the Clintons, and others by the Republican hate machine. That's partly why I think we are infested by paid blog saboteurs, not just a lonely schizophrenic guy (although these categories no doubt overlap).

    1. Now that Digby writes flamboyantly for Salon, let's see if she criticizes Maureen Dowd.

    2. I would like to see her write something about Bob and the sad commenters who continue to indicate they can't write
      coherent comments here anymore.

    3. Uncalled for.@ 10:55. Clearly @ 8:44 was trying to express heartfelt feeling about haters, hate machines, saboteurs, and one lone schizo ruining rational discourse.
      No reason to call @ 8:44 a name for that.

    4. @ 9:36

      Digby once acknowledged printing a mistaken fact about about Bush.

      Maybe is response to Bob, she'll do it again in this case.

      "I do look forward to Rush Limbaugh and all of his imitators, the entire Barbizon School of Dyed Blond Former Prosecutors, the editorial board of the New York Times and the Washington Post, William Safire, Maureen Dowd and every other columnist, Lucianne Goldberg and her coven of hideous bitches, AND EVERY OTHER REPUBLICAN WHO SAID THAT CLINTON WAS A CRIMINAL, to now prostrate themselves at the feet of Bill and Hillary for the despicable, cruel and outrageous lies they spread from the years 1992 through the present.

      If I've got to apologize publicly for posting one inaccurate article, the entire Republican establishment will be spending the rest of its natural life trying to find the time to eat and sleep in between confessions of guilt.

      Better get started, Kids. I suggest that you begin with the false allegations of holding up Air Force One with a haircut, go on to the bogus accusations of influencing Beverly Bassett on Madison Guarantee (and ALL Whitewater related smears for that matter.) Don't forget Vince Foster's much investigated "murder," through Safire's "scoop" that Hillary was about to be indicted and just keep going until you hit Clinton's illegitimate love child and the phony White House trashing story.

      Once you are through with all that, then come back for the next round of apologies to Al Gore for the series of lies told about him during the campaign. (And you might want to send a couple over to your fellow Republican, John McCain, too.)

      After all that, then maybe we can be considered even. I have apologized for the harm I did to George W. Bush by repeating an inaccurate story.

      The ball is in your court now, fellas."

      (A Blogger with a Pair 1/25/2003

    5. @8:44. I also am a longtime reader of Digby, and I think your take on her new "flamboyant" writing style is as full of shit as Somerby's.

      And how interesting that your take so conveniently lines up with Somerby.

    6. Many of today's "trolls" are longtime readers of Somerby.
      8:44's comments about Digby could easily reflect their views of changes in Somerby.

    7. Digby supposedly was neutral during the 2008 nomination, but she let Tristero do her dirtywork attacking Clinton. I got banned from her supposedly neutral blog because I argued with him. Then she added David Atkins to her blog and things went downhill further. Her own posts about tasers have been ridiculous.

      She does some good work and some bad work, like anyone, but the stuff she has been writing for Salon is liberal-pleasing garbage. It is writing in cliches and buzzwords without conveying information, in ways that rile people up without informing them. It is her worst work.

    8. Or . . . maybe Digby gave both Tristero and Atkins free rein to express themselves even if she didn't always completely agree.

      Nah, can't be that. There was obviously some nefarious plot afoot where Digby could pretend to be above the fray while others did the dirty work against Hillary.

      It's always a conspiracy in Bobland.

    9. So, it isn't Digby's blog.

    10. The Koch boys gave her the start up scratch. Why else would they bring her to their new invention, Salon?

  8. Yes! I knew as soon as I read it that Digby's article was such a joke that Bob would have to comment on it!

  9. I agree. Digby needs to return to the more thoughtful writing which helped build a healthy liberal movement rather than preach divivision and hate. Like this:

    "You'll notice that these whining little infants never cop to the fact that they nearly destroyed the whole fucking system with their stupidity, malfeasance and sheer greed. Evidently, the world is supposed to sit back and let these rich assholes play in their sandbox and then eat the dirt when they screw up.

    Aside from the fact that these greedy bastards are still raking in millions while everyone else suffers, what bothers me the most is this incessant bitching and moaning and whining about how terribly they are being treated. Little Lord Fauntleroy had more dignity.

    Of course, they are putting their money where their pouty little mouths are so the Dems are scared to death that they are losing all their filthy lucre. I suppose I understand on some level how difficult it makes it for them to compete (and land cushy gigs as lobbyists and board members when they leave office) but I honestly don't care. They need to figure it out. Republicans have always been all in and will never change. Catering to these asshat oligarchs is going to kill us all and the Democrats are all we've got to stop them. Gawd help us."

    Fall 2010

  10. Dealey p-laza is not a shrine. It is a traffic intersection.

    1. Digby woudl rather roll down the grassy knoll into traffic than admit a leftist shot JFK. Why don't other liberals write about Digby?

  11. If all these people in the comments hate Somerby so much, why are they here day after day complaining in the comments? Why aren't they at Digby's blog instead, praising her work? Oh, right, she doesn't have comments on her blog. Why not?

    1. If all these people in the comments dislike Somerby's critics
      so much, why don't they try and correct their errors. Why don't they take them on with facts instead of simply saying they should leave. Oh, right, they can't. Because "trolls" keep them from commenting about anything other than their dislike of "trolls."

    2. The comments are never about facts. The are mostly sarcasm and ridicule without substance. When a stray addressable complaint occurs people here do respond.

      For an example, look at today's comments about Petri. Two people started discussing it seriously and a troll called them twits, repeated Republican garbage about Al Gore and ignored the point of the post about where today's journalists come from. Usually KZ posts 12 long ramblings full of non-sequiturs and red herrings before anyone has a chance to react to Somerby's writing for the day. It is so much better when he isn't here.

    3. Shorter 239:


    4. "Usually KZ posts 12 long ramblings full of non-sequiturs and red herrings before anyone has a chance to react to Somerby's writing for the day."

      Please explain to me how what anybody else writes in a combox interferes in any way with you putting your two cents in?

      You might seriously consider why opposing points of view bother you so much.

    5. It is a total waste of time sorting through a bunch of garbage to find one or two interesting remarks. KZ and the others who take up space here make it not worth the effort. The more discouraged the regular commenters become the less they write and the less worthwhile it is to read through the comments. The trolls aren't going to keep Somerby from writing, so why do they have to spoil things for the rest of us?

    6. Then don't click on the combox, and just soak up the brilliance that is Somerby.

      Unless, of course, you only read comboxes to reinforce opinions you already hold.

    7. Excuse me. I can take you to some masterful posts within the the last 15 months. Posts on Bob's favorite topic, NAEP, posts that constitute the end of a major series on education defending teachers from attack. Posts where KZ said not a word. Posts where there were only two comments, one from Urban Legend and one from David in Cal except for late unrelated straagglers.

      With all due respect, Bob's fans don't comment because, other than a word or two of praise, they usually have nothing to say.

    8. Hey, @ 2:39 I checked out one of your complaints:

      "For an example, look at today's comments about Petri. Two people started discussing it seriously and a troll called them twits, repeated Republican garbage about Al Gore and ignored the point of the post about where today's journalists come from."

      The first commenter mostly told a personal anecdote about his/her time as a Harvard staffer with nothing to do about journalists. The second made a comment about colonial religion.

      The person you call a troll used "twit" alright. It was in both Petri's piece and Bob's headline. And the Republican talking points you allege he/she made are in fact the points Bob has spent most of his blogging career trying to prove are true! Al and Tommy Lee were the models for Oliver Barrett in Love Story. Tommy Lee was in the movie. Al lost the Presidency because of the Love Story line if you believe Bob.

      I hope you do feel discouraged from commenting. You aren't particularly sharp.

    9. "Twit" is a euphemism for "twat".

      If you disagree with me, you're a troll.

    10. Bob's play on words comparing Digby's work to a porn movie is totally sexist and every bit as heinous as the spitting fiasco.

    11. @ 7:53

      Verb or noun?

    12. @ 9:25

      Function word.

    13. Thanks for the clarification @ 10:20. I felt myself teetering
      betwixt twit, twat, and trolldom.

  12. Thanks to Bob for his defense of alien child protests, 60's Dallas Birchers and 10's gun nuts, and Governor Rick Perry.

    We have better people not to hate.

    I hope he does something about the horrid hoax the liberal media is running against Michelle Bachman.