Supplemental: The sounds of silence!

FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2014

You do not criticize Dowd: Maureen Dowd wrote a column last Sunday trashing Chelsea Clinton. As she went on, she trashed Hillary Clinton too.

Dowd’s invective level was high. Her information level was low. In large part, the column was defined by the information Dowd chose to suppress.

Dowd has been like this forever. In 2008, she even got trashed by the Times’ public editor for “the relentless nature of her gender-laden assault on [Candidate] Clinton—in 28 of 44 columns since Jan. 1.”

Maureen Dowd hates All Things Clinton. But when Media Matters pushed back at Dowd’s recent column, one commenter posed a question.

He accepted the fact that Dowd hates the Clintons. But since Dowd isn’t a conservative, he didn’t understand why Media Matters was challenging her work.

What does Maureen Dowd have to do with the conservative movement? With right-wing disinformation?

In comments, that reader kept asking those questions. Other readers of Media Matters didn’t know how to answer.

Luckily, we do.

What does Maureen Dowd have to do with conservative disinformation? Ever so briefly, let’s return to January 2000.

One week before the New Hampshire primary, RNC Chairman Jim Nicholson appeared on CNN. In a very familiar way, Big Jim let it rip:
NICHOLSON (1/25/00): I think the story, Bobbie, is why are Gore and Bradley losing to our Republican candidates? And the reason is that Al Gore cannot be trusted. The American people know they cannot trust this guy. He's claimed to have invented the Internet. He's claimed to be the object of the book, Love Story. He's claimed to have discovered the Love Canal.

He said the other day that he wrote the speech for Hubert Humphrey. None of that is true.

But there is one thing that he did invent. He invented Willie Horton in 1988 campaign. He cannot be trusted.
Unfortunately, Nicholson was a good TV performer. On this show, he recited a standard list of bogus charges, all of them aimed at Gore.

You're looking at the script that sent George Bush to the White House. It got its start in December 1997, thanks in large part to Dowd and Frank Rich, who played giant roles in inventing a bogus claim:

Al Gore said he inspired Love Story!

It doesn’t matter that Clinton/Gore-haters like Rich and Dowd aren’t conservatives themselves. Dowd and Rich, and others like them, have played important roles in inventing and driving the hateful, misleading, inaccurate rhetoric that has fueled the RNC down through these many vile years.

By the time of Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial, it was hard to distinguish the rhetoric of the RNC from that of the mainstream press corps. Two weeks later, in March 1999, Campaign 2000 began, and the hatred was transferred to Gore.

Aggressive Clinton/Gore-haters like Rich and Dowd were especially helpful to the RNC/GOP cause. Rich and Dowd aren’t conservatives themselves—but that’s exactly what made them so useful to the right during Campaign 2000. Every time they opened their traps, they served the RNC cause.

Dowd’s relentless Clinton-hatred has endlessly served the interests of the right-wing disinformation machine. Why didn’t readers at Media Matters know how to explain that point?

In large part, they didn’t know because of the code of silence.

Within the establishment press corps, you do not criticize Dowd. Because of her popularity and her prominence, she’s a privileged being at the Times—and the New York Times plays an important role in journalists’ careers.

Beyond that, Dowd is deeply tied to powerful figures at MSNBC, another important engine of press corps careers. You do not criticize Maureen Dowd. Everybody in the press corps knows and follows that code.

Dowd wrote a rather dishonest column last Sunday. Among career liberals, we’ve seen no one criticize her for it.

The fiery Joan Walsh hasn’t said a word. Digby hasn’t said a word—and won’t.

Quite literally, the whole of Salon hasn’t said a word. What about the fiery figures on The One True Channel?

According to Nexis, Dowd has been mentioned on MSNBC just once since her column appeared. Rachel didn’t challenge the column. Lawrence and Chris didn’t challenge it either.

Chris Hayes didn’t challenge the column. The column has been mentioned by Jonathan Capehart and by no one else.

Capehart was guest-hosting for Steve Kornacki last weekend. In our view, his mention of Dowd was quite revealing, in two or three different ways:
CAPEHART (7/13/14): OK, so we can’t have this conversation about populism and bringing in Elizabeth Warren, who people hope will run for president, without talking about Hillary Clinton. And people trying to pit the two against each other.

And I don’t want to talk about Hillary Clinton’s wealth in particular. It’s a big issue Republicans are attacking her on. And there are all the stories about her speaking fees and those of her family. Even Maureen Dowd spends an entire column in the New York Times today talking about this.

Assuming Hillary Clinton opts to run for president again, how will these stories harm her connection with working class and middle class voters?

I mentioned Maureen Dowd’s column today. And she has this line here, “Hillary doesn`t see the disconnect between expressing grave concern about mounting student loan debt while scarfing six-figure sums from at least eight colleges and counting.”
“Even Maureen Dowd” was attacking Clinton! Can you imagine that?

According to Capehart, “Republicans” had been attacking Clinton about her wealth. In fact, it was Capehart’s employer, the Washington Post, which had been leading this charge.

Capehart will never tell you that, not in a million years. This standard dissembling has kept the public from understanding a basic fact about Clinton/Gore-hatred—the fact that this weirdly viral public disease has largely come from major figures within the mainstream press.

Beyond that standard type of dissembling, please note Capehart’s reference to Elizabeth Warren, whose politics we like. There's a key echo here:

Back in 1999, some liberals were hoping that Bill Bradley would get the Democratic nomination instead of Gore. There was nothing wrong with that preference.

But Bradley ended up repeating every slimy RNC charge in his attempt to defeat Gore, including the ridiculous charge about Gore “inventing Willie Horton” (see text of Nicholson statement). “Progressives” stood aside and let him do it. This helped send Bush to the White House.

It’s fine to support Elizabeth Warren, whose politics are superb. It’s fine to lobby for a contested Democratic primary race.

It isn’t fine to let Maureen Dowd spread her poison and her endless derangements around. She played a key role in sending Bush to the White House. In her free-floating craziness, she could certainly play a similar role again.

Joan Walsh could rather jump off a bridge than criticize or challenge Dowd. Nor has she ever breathed a word about Chris Matthews' disgraceful role in the two-year War Against Gore, back when Chris was making his millions in service to owner Jack Welch.

Walsh has never discussed that history. Fiery and fearless as Joan is, why do you think that is?


  1. Mention of Clark Hoyt reprimand: 43 and counting.

    1. Suicidal jumping mention # ??????

    2. Is that too many? Is she too lacking in influence for any of us to be concerned with what she says?

    3. Geez, urban. You are now down to envisioning America hanging on every word Maureen Dowd writes?

      Short answer to your second question: Yes.

      Longer answer, she's just a convenient target for a comic blogger who long ago ran out of original material.

      Boxcar Bob's Greatest Hits, Vol. XXXVIII

  2. Bob,

    You can't possibly hang Digby on not t aking on MoDo. Just freaking google Digby's Hullabaloo and Maureen Dowd, and watch the hits pile up. Your really creepy anger at Digby is crippling you.

    1. Bob's anger is creepy period.

    2. Digby in 2008: "Bob Somerby and Molly Ivors take Maureen Dowd to task for her deeply depraved column today. . . This is a disturbed column, even by Dowd's low standards."

      Creepy, indeed. She not only adopts Somerby's point-of-view about Dowd and attacks her in her own words, she cites Somerby and links to him.

      It does raise the question, what the hell is wrong with Somerby? Does he need to lie like this -- like Dowd would?

    3. Digby now writes for Salon. Let's see if her criticism of Dowd continues, or as Bob predicts, stops.

    4. Evidendtly, you haven't scrolled down yet.

      Salon writers are under no to zip it up about Dowd.

      But don't let the facts get in the way of what Bob has told you. After all, if you can't trust your chosen cult leader to do your thinking for you, who can you trust?

    5. You are right @ 7:41, Digby now writes for Salon. Maybe that explains less about her criticism of Dowd than it explains about Somerby's recent hyperbolic criticism of her.

    6. 1:28 There's nothing wrong with his work on Rucker, or Dowd, or Matthews. Some of the criticism of Maddow is perfectly valid, too, but "clown" and "Darlin' Rachel" are over-the-top. Yes, he seems to mirror Dowd in his relentless hostility to Maddow, Digby, Walsh and virtually every other liberal writer, no matter what they say. Only Gene Lyons passes, Drum sometimes.

    7. The fault I was finding in his work of Mr. Rucker does not deal with the substantive criticism he offers. It is the foolish notion he has that it is necessary to demean Rucker's college or his age. Mr. Somerby attended a similar college and, some say, has the opposite age problem.

    8. urban legend, another approved liberal is Paul Krugman. But Kevin Drum seems to be rated as a play-for-pay pseudo-liberal now.

  3. Why should Media Matters only challenge lied and distortions from the right? I get that it's something about their mission statement, but maybe they should change that. The elite media has much more influence than obviously political propagandists. I think it's waning compared to the past, but it's still there. Some people still believe that anything in The Post or the Times must be true.

    1. When a columnist carries more water for the "right" than Gunga Din, how is she not from the "right"?

    2. You said it, Anoymous 6:38.

      Somebody once said "Maureen Dowd is a bitter, twisted deranged columnist for the New York Times who misses no opportunity to show her disdain for anybody...."

      but I forget the rest of it.

      Maybe somebody else remembers it.

    3. "I think Maureen Dowd is a bitter, twisted, deranged columnist for the New York Times, who misses no opportunity to show her disdain for anybody on the conservative side of the aisle." Karl Rove


  4. Say what you will about Maureen Dowd: At least she can look in the mirror every day and know she’s being equally vicious to the Clintons and the Obamas, the two front-runners in the race to be Democratic first couple. Dowd opened this early campaign season slamming the Clintons, channeling David Geffen’s attacks as he explained why he was ditching them for Obama. But don’t mistake Dowd for the woman in the “I got a crush on Obama” viral video; within weeks of her Geffen broadside the New York Times columnist penned a piece headlined “Obama: Legally Blonde?” that found him “testy,” “irritated” and perhaps “too pristine” in his first campaign trip after he announced his candidacy. Then came a nasty column implying Michelle wore the pants in the Obama family, arguing that her mild jabs at her husband for not being “perfect” were “emasculating” and made the feminist Dowd “wince.” But two weeks ago Dowd was the emasculator, in a remarkable column that again labeled the African-American Illinois senator “Obambi,” questioning his strength and manhood (and gee, if he’s a baby deer, I guess that’s even questioning his personhood) as he tries to wrest the nomination from front-runner Clinton.

    If you’re keeping score, on Wednesday Dowd whacked the Clintons again, with a subpar column about their hilarious video spoof of the “Sopranos” finale. (Even Dowd detractors usually have to admit she’s clever, but not this time; today’s column lacks even one memorable line.) She insists on depicting Hillary Clinton as Carmela, the wronged wife, even though the video puts the New York senator in the Tony role, which I thought was subversive and daring, especially for the cautious Hillary. Even when Dowd allows that maybe Hillary’s supposed to be Tony, she can’t really see it; she’s so tied to her view of Hillary as the manipulative, scheming wife who got her power from her philandering husband, just like Carmela. It’s a nasty and uninspired piece of work.


    1. Good God! Can we talk? Gack. I'd rather jump off a bridge than admit who I stole my comment from.


    2. And your point is?

  5. As for the "Sounds of Silence" just running Dowd's name through the search engine of the vlie Salon & Garfunkel produces these interesting hits:

    "Maureen Dowd compares Hillary Clinton to 'Frozen' princess because both are ice queens or something!"

    "Cannabis tour guide to Maureen Dowd: You were warned"

    "Maureen Dowd really misses the point about marijuana"

    "Maureen Dowd ate a large dose of a marijuana chocolate bar, freaked out, wrote about it"

    "Maureen Dowd's essential new clunker: Home runs, leadership and gauzy nonsense"

    "Blow up the Times' Op-Ed page and start again! Why Brooks, Friedman and Dowd must go"

    "Who wrote a worse column today? Maureen Dowd or Thomas

    "Please fire Maureen Dowd or get her a fact-checker"

    "Dowd takes shot at Huma Abedin's Saudi upbringing"

    And all of that within the past 12 months.

  6. Bob, it could be that the whole world isn't silent about Dowd.

    It could be that we haven't picked ourselves up off the floor after reading about her pot trip.

    She really jumped the shark with that one.

  7. These are not pushing back against her attack on Clinton, which is what this post is about.

  8. Sorry Princess Bobdefenstress, but your pony is lame.
    Bob may have constructed his senteneces in such a way that one can try and make that claim if anyone calls him on this latest wheelbarrow of manure, but these posts attacking others of late read a whole lot like Dowd herself in terms of playing fast and loose with the truth.

    Bob made very blanket claims about others for the last two days which commenters have easily proven false.

  9. "One week before the New Hampshire primary, RNC Chairman Jim Nicholson appeared on CNN. In a very familiar way, Big Jim let it rip:"

    And who won the New Hampshire primary?
    Who went on to win the Democratic nomination?
    Who went on to win the popular vote?

    1. anon 11:22, and who went on to lose the election because he didn't win the popoular vote by narrow margins in e.g, Florida (I know you can argue he did win the popular vte in FL but even if that argument is credited, he didn't win it by big enough margin to have avoided what did happen there) and NH?

    2. So your counterpoint, AC/MA, is that Nicholson's appearance on CNN in January at least helped swing NH and FLA to Bush in November?

      What about Nader? What about Elian Gonzalez? What about the vote suppression efforts, especially in Dade? What about the butterfly ballots in Palm Beach County and the unexpectedly large Buchanan vote there?

      What about Missouri, where practically every Democrat on the statewide ballot except Gore won, including the late Mel Carnahan? What about Gore's home state of Tennessee?

  10. I wonder if the same thing was true in 1999 as is true today (if it is indeed true). Perhaps some on the media left are okay with attacks on Hillary because they, themselves, don't want Hillary to win the nomination.

    Not so much because they are trying to advance their careers, but because they, really don't like Hillary and really didn't like Gore.

    I never liked Bill Clinton, but I liked Gore, perhaps wrongly on both counts (?).

    I was annoyed somewhat when he visited my city in Iowa in 1999 that I never even got to see him. He was at some private meeting with donors.

    Another reason, though, people might be silent about Dowd, is because, like me, they no longer read her columns.

  11. It is not the responsibility of the press to determine who becomes the next president.

  12. Sorry, 9:30.

    "Joan Walsh could (sic) rather jump off a bridge than criticize or challenge Dowd."

    That's now been proven to be false. Deal with it.

  13. I don't get it. This is a post about Maureen Dowd. In it, the blogger closes with this:

    "Joan Walsh could rather jump off a bridge than criticize or challenge Dowd. Nor has she ever breathed a word about Chris Matthews' disgraceful role in the two-year War Against Gore, back when Chris was making his millions in service to owner Jack Welch.

    Walsh has never discussed that history. Fiery and fearless as Joan is, why do you think that is?"

    Is this a post about Dowd or Chris Matthews? Or another excuse to attack Walsh and Salon?

    A couple of commenters have shown the first point to be patently false. Walsh has criticized Dowd. But TDH interjects Matthews into the equation for what reason?

    Well he asked a question so maybe a possible answer should be offered. Maybe Walsh hasn't said anything about the two year War Against Gore because nobody else has said much about it either except this blogger.

    1. Say what? TDH is about scripted news and those that slavishly regurgitate it.

      By Neal Gabler (excerpt)
      June 29, 2008
      [Talking about crazy journalists.]
      [Or the one who taunted Al Gore for claiming that he and his wife, Tipper, were the models for "Love Story" when Gore said no such thing.]
      [Or the one who tabbed Barack Obama "Obambi" and said that when visiting him at his office, she felt like Ingrid Bergman in "The Bells of St. Mary's," having to teach a bullied schoolboy how to box.]
      Of course, what do you expect from right-wing nuts who will do and say anything to demonize Democrats? Except for one thing. All these examples -- and there are hundreds more -- were uttered not by Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, David Brooks or any of the other Republican mouthpieces in our newspapers and on our airwaves. They were all said or written by liberal journalists, and even in a few cases by onetime Democratic operatives turned journalists, such as Chris Matthews and George Stephanopoulos. Indeed, the worst offender by far, the "Ingrid Bergman" in the example above, has been the New York Times' liberal columnist Maureen Dowd, who has never met a Democrat she hasn't disparaged.
      In 2000, Bush got much better press than Gore -- from the left. For instance, the idea that you should want to have a beer with a candidate -- a test that Gore supposedly failed -- was spread largely by the liberal media, especially Matthews but also by Joe Klein, who wrote a book about Democratic elitism.

      How about this?

      And this:

      The national pundit shows quickly picked up the story of Gore's new exaggeration.
      "Let's talk about the ‘love’ factor here," chortled Chris Matthews of CNBC's "Hardball." "Here's the guy who said he was the character Ryan O'Neal was based on in Love Story.... It seems to me... he's now the guy who created the Love Canal [case]. I mean, isn't this getting ridiculous?... Isn't it getting to be delusionary?"
      [CNBC's "Hardball," Dec. 1, 1999]

      That [next] night, CNBC's "Hardball" returned to Gore's Love Canal quote by playing the actual clip but altering the context by starting Gore's comments with the words, "I found a little town..."
      "It reminds me of Snoopy thinking he's the Red Baron," laughed Chris Matthews. "I mean how did he get this idea? Now you've seen Al Gore in action. I know you didn't know that he was the prototype for Ryan O'Neal's character in Love Story or that he invented the Internet. He now is the guy who discovered Love Canal."
      Matthews compared the vice president to "Zelig," the Woody Allen character whose face appeared at an unlikely procession of historic events. "What is it, the Zelig guy who keeps saying,I was the main character in Love Story. I invented the Internet. I invented Love Canal."

      These are only a microcosm. There are many, many more examples out there. It is well documented that the entire spectrum of the MSM attacked Gore for being an attack dog, lying, being boring (a boring attack dog?), Yada, yada, yada.

    2. Good job gravymeister. Here is the problem.

      You cite the work of Eric Boehlert, whose online piece seems to be a rehash (and certainly credits) TDH.

      You cite a Kos diarist.

      Finally, you cite a blogger whose work was written before the 2000 election. His is a recitiation of hit jobs done on Gore and almost every print piece he cites was in a publication in a state won by Al Gore in the 2000 general election or a right wing publication whose audience needed little persuasion to vote against any Democrat.

      The comment I made was not intended to discount that Gore was treated poorly in the press. It was that "maybe"
      Walsh has said nothing because nobody else has said "much" either.

  14. Or how about this:

    “The Clinton Tapes” makes clear that from start to finish, President Clinton was besieged by a vicious just-say-no GOP abetted by the perversely, inexplicably, cruelly anti-Clinton leaders of the so-called liberal media — from the New York Times’ lame crusades against Whitewater and Chinese donors and Wen Ho Lee, to the integrity-free “opinion” journalism by Maureen Dowd and, sadly, Frank Rich, to a whole host of other liberal media characters who couldn’t shake their feeling that Clinton was a fraud, a poseur, a hillbilly, a cynic. Their trashy eight-year oeuvre will likely go down in history as the most spectacularly malevolent and misguided White House coverage ever — and politically costly, since it also encompassed Vice President Al Gore and probably made George W. Bush president in 2000."

    Take That Trolls!

    1. I just did a Google search for the opening phrase you quote.

      I'm not sure which trolls you are aiming at.

      It was written by Joan Walsh. In Salon. Oct. 24, 2009.

  15. Going forward, let's see if Digby, who now writes for Salon, criticizes Maureen Dowd.

    1. Well, since the editor at large of Salon, from the link to the comments immediately above yours, had some very critical things to say about Maureen Dowd, and another commenter had a long list of articles critical of Dowd in Salon in the last year, I'd say the following response to the stupid comment you just made is justified:

      Going forward lets see if Somerby quits lying about Walsh and Digby and stops playing his reader/rubes for fools.

    2. You're right. It would be stupid to see if Digby criticizes Maureen Dowd.

    3. Now that she writes for Salon.

    4. Anonymous @ 10:38, I wonder if you are also the Anonymous @ 5:26 yesterday.

      If not, I wonder if that Anonymous @ 5:26 was also the Anonymous @ 7:41 yesterday who wrote:

      "Digby now writes for Salon. Let's see if her criticism of Dowd continues, or as Bob predicts, stops."

    5. Personally, I am grateful that there are Bobettes willing to volunteer themselves to monitor the future writings of Digby.

      That means I won't have to. But does it mean I also have to care?

  16. Seconds after describing Dowd's specific column that week as "deeply stupid", she immediately recants saying "[Dowd] is a good writer, she's a good reporter".

    Not much of a criticism.
    Not much of a challenge.
    Better described as tap-dancing, but decide for yourself:

  17. OMB (Teasin with the OTB)

    BOB has been going to his meetings. He has been staying Rachel free and picking up chips for quite some time. But she seems to have infected him with the practice of teasing.

    Yesterday: Tomorrow, we’re going to try to wrap up this week’s report.

    Thursday: Tomorrow: The changing of the guard

    Monday: All next week: The Mansions of Journalist County

    Thur. July 3:Still coming: Hoover and Hostin, with Erin Burnett (reported net worth, $12 million)

    Thur. July 3: Still coming: The anthropologists Fallows and White

    Wed. 7/2: Still coming: Cable stylings from CNN’s Hoover and Hostin

    Well, with all the breaking news this month, who can blame him for covering new developements in the War on Gore instead.

    BTW, about Love Story. Has anyone yet found the article or named the reporter in the Nashville Tennessean who was responsible for the misquotes of Erich Segal way back when that started the War on Gore?

    Just following up. Because someone has to around here.


    1. Try this:
      He's No Pinocchio
      How the press has exaggerated Al Gore's exaggerations.
      (These are excerpts, not the entire article.
      By Robert Parry

      In December, for instance, the news media generated a small tidal wave of stories about Gore's supposed claim that he discovered the Love Canal toxic waste dump. "I was the one that started it all," he was quoted as saying. This "gaffe" then was used to recycle other situations in which Gore allegedly exaggerated his role or, as some writers put it, "lied."

      The Love Canal controversy began on Nov. 30 when Gore was speaking to a group of high school students in Concord, N.H. He was exhorting the students to reject cynicism and to recognize that individual citizens can effect important changes.
      As an example, he cited a high school girl from Toone, Tenn., a town that had experienced problems with toxic waste. She brought the issue to the attention of Gore's congressional office in the late 1970s.
      "I called for a congressional investigation and a hearing," Gore told the students. "I looked around the country for other sites like that. I found a little place in upstate New York called Love Canal. Had the first hearing on that issue, and Toone, Tennessee---that was the one that you didn't hear of. But that was the one that started it all."

      The earliest of these Gore "lies," dating back to 1997, was Gore's expressed belief that he and his wife Tipper had served as models for the lead characters in the sentimental bestseller and movie, Love Story.
      When the author, Erich Segal, was asked about Gore's impression, he stated that the preppy hockey-playing male lead, Oliver Barrett IV, indeed was modeled after Gore and Gore's Harvard roommate, actor Tommy Lee Jones. But Segal said the female lead, Jenny, was not modeled after Tipper Gore. [NYT, Dec. 14, 1997]
      Rather than treating this distinction as a minor point of legitimate confusion, the news media concluded that Gore had willfully lied. In doing so, however, the media repeatedly misstated the facts, insisting that Segal had denied that Gore was the model for the lead male character. In reality, Segal had confirmed that Gore was, at least partly, the inspiration for the character, Barrett.

      The media's treatment of the Internet comment followed a similar course. Gore's statement may have been poorly phrased, but its intent was clear: He was trying to say that he worked in Congress to help develop the Internet. Gore wasn't claiming to have "invented" the Internet or to have been the "father of the Internet," as many journalists have asserted.
      Gore's actual comment, in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer that aired on March 9, 1999, was as follows: "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."
      Republicans quickly went to work on Gore's statement. In press releases, they noted that the precursor of the Internet, called ARPANET, existed in 1971, a half dozen years before Gore entered Congress. But ARPANET was a tiny networking of about 30 universities, a far cry from today's "information superhighway," ironically a phrase widely credited to Gore.
      As the media clamor arose about Gore's supposed claim that he had invented the Internet, Gore's spokesman Chris Lehane tried to explain. He noted that Gore "was the leader in Congress on the connections between data transmission and computing power, what we call information technology. And those efforts helped to create the Internet that we know today." [AP, March 11, 1999]
      There was no disputing Lehane's description of Gore's lead congressional role in developing today's Internet. But the media was off and running.

    2. The defense of Mr. Gore's 1997 comments that the main characters in Erich Segal's film turned novel "Love Story" were based on Gore and Tipper hinges on this story, spun by Gore and aided in part by Segal. Pardon if a fact or two is askew, the key fact about the Nashville newspaper reporter is what is crucial.

      ----Mr. Gore did not tell anyone the characters were based on him and Tipper. He says he told two reporters in casual conversation that a reporter for the Nashville Tennessean, based on an interview with Segal at the time the book was new, indicated the characters were based on Albert, Jr. and Tipper. ----

      We do know that in 1997, when the issue was first raised as a controversy because it appeared in Time magazine as Gore himself making the claim, Segal was contacted by the New York Times about it. He told the Times he contacted Gore about it when he read it in Time. Gore indicated he never made the claim but was reporting what had been said (written?) by the Nashville reporter.

      Somehow Segal managed to remember an interview on a book tour a quarter of a century earlier and indicated this reporter must have misquoted him about Tipper, but the aspect of the male character having a dominating family was based on Gore, Jr.

      On this site, the Love Story misrepresentation about Gore is crucial to the whole meme of "Al the Exaggerator" which itself is crucial to the media causing Bush to be elected (principally by Chris Matthews). Our questions are simple.

      Has anyone ever named the Nashville Tennessean reporter who made this error? Has anyone ever quoted, linked, or even dated the article which led Al to make the inital observation to reporters in 1997?

      We are claiming that it happened the way Gore tells it. We are not claiming it did not. We are merely asking for further proof of the malfeasance of the media.


    3. Evidently, the Nashville Tennessean does not put archives earlier than 2002 online.
      I have kids in Nashville. Next time I visit them, I'll go to the Tennessean microfilm morgue and look it up.

    4. Yes. The alibi is in the morgue.

      "In their phone conversation a few days ago, Mr. Gore reminded Mr. Segal that while Mr. Segal was on his book tour for ''Love Story,'' a reporter for The Nashville Tennessean who knew that Mr. Gore and the author were friends had asked if there was not a little bit of Al Gore in Oliver Barrett."

      It was so good of the Vice President to remind Segal of this unnamed reporter who knew of the friendship between the two, and asked about it. It was so good of the Vice President to remember the reporter and his work a quarter of a century later, especially since he was in the Army, not Nashville, in 1970. Maybe when he started working for the Tennesean in 1971 and first moved to Nashville that the reporter showed Gore the article or kidded him about it.

      We tried to find another book tour with as much influence over the outcome of a Presidental election. We found a little book called "Hard Choices," which you may have heard of. But "Love Story." That was the one that started it all.


    5. Gore apparently told that story in sort of an impromptu, informal session with reporters on a plane.

      My reaction when I first heard it wasn't whether it is true or false.

      My reaction was what if I were in some sort of social session and some guy suddenly saw fit to point out that the was the model for the lead character in a third-rate book and movie.

      I guess it would be, "Well, good for you," then try to slowly move across the room.

    6. Unfortunately, if contemproary press accounts can be believed, and at this site they rarely can, the "room" was an airplane, which restricts movement, and the guy telling the story was picking fruit off the plates of the people he was talking too. And it was, in the LBJ sense of first person possessive, HIS plane.

  18. Right."Deeply stupid" isn't really all that critical because Walsh said something semi-nice later.

    In fact, Walsh was really praising Dowd when we try to focus hard on the one nice thing.

    Good grief, man! And you really want to know what's wrong with the "American discourse"? It's because too many (though not all) people have ceded what little ability they ever had to think for themselves to their favorite blogger, TV pundit, newspaper columnist or whoever.

    Bottom line: Bob told you that Dowd NEVER gets criticized. Anywhere. And he specifically singled out Joan Walsh as the worst offender by omission.

    That one's been knocked out of the park. Deal with it. I know you can't stop lying and making excuses here. But at least try to stop lying to yourself.

  19. Rasterfarian v Recant


    Merriam Webster: to publicly say that you no longer have an opinion or belief that you once had.

    Oxford: Say that one no longer holds an opinion or belief, especially one considered heretical


    The rasterfarian belongs to a movement is a comment-based defensive ideology that arose in the blogoshpere. It is sometimes described as a religion, its adherents worship BOB Somerby, sometimes called the One True BOB.

    Adherents follow the BOB practice of conveniently leaving things out that don't fit the prescribed meme.

    For example, when BOB announces as a meme that a person would "rather jump off a bridge than criticize or challenge Dowd" a rasterfarian will react if anyone shows that person to have criticized Dowd.

    Thus when the memed person is shown to have said "“I think that Maureen Dowd has a deeply stupid column in the Times today. Any time you are citing The American President and West Wing, as an example of how politics should go, when you are a political writer, and you have sources?” it is necessary for the rasterfarian to say "she immediately recants saying "[Dowd] is a good writer, she's a good reporter". Of course the rasterfarian stops there, leaving out that shortly after that the memed one says something nice, she comes back and says of Dowd's work:
    "The idea that Obama could have won over more Republican votes, I think, is preposterous.”

    And of course the rasterfaian also leaves out all the other quotes from the memed one that prove the OTB was lying when he laid out as an absolute meme:

    "Joan Walsh could (sic) rather jump off a bridge than criticize or challenge Dowd."

    May the OTB be with you. Beware the Dowd.


  20. Today Dowd says it is Hillary's fault Bill is more popular than she is. But Dowd's vendetta is all in Somerby's mind.

    1. Only a BOBinista could ignore that the problem isn't what BOB says about the Dowd. It is the falsehoods he spreads about others in his own vendetta against the Dowd.

      May the OTB be with you.


    2. KZ thinks Somerby is worse than Dowd.

    3. What are KZ's thoughts about bridge jumping this morning, 9:41?

    4. Yes, KZ, Bob will never let the facts get in the way of his personal vendettas, as he rails against those who will never let the facts get in the way of their personal vendettas.

      And wonders how low the American discourse can sink.

  21. Going to stand by "recant".

    You don't seriously call somebody's work "deeply stupid", and then come back to what a great writer and reporter they are seconds later without doing it.

    If you consider Walsh's milquetoast [KZ, please provide def.] to be strong criticism, you're sure to enjoy your Sunday morning hay buffet.

  22. Seriously, your comment was idiotic. But you write well, and you put a good faith effort into it. Nonethelss you missed the point that BOB made an absolute statement. It is demonstrably false regardless of how harsh the criticism is in the one Walsh TV appearance you argue about and the others you ignore. Your argument is preposterous.

    We are sure you feel no need to respond because obviously we recanted.


  23. KZ apparently thinks this is his blog.

    1. Bob apparently, or perhaps just allegedly, doesn't read his comment section, so who cares.

    2. All the other commenters care.

    3. Thanks Anon 9:34

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  24. Is there a soul left in the world, besides Bob, who takes Dowd seriously? She's long been nothing but a trainwreck. (LONG been. My NYT reading father, a liberal Repub once who became a Dem in the Vietnam/Civil Rights days, absolutely disdained her in the 1990's -- that's just an example of the start of the disdain). This has gotta be some insider Irish thing, I would guess. Bob wants her to matter more than she does because he sees something in her personal story (which is interesting, actually) that resonates with his own....

    1. Oh yeah, "LONG been" a trainwreck, and any shred of influence on national politics she had left certainly vanished with the widely ridiculed "bad marijuana trip" column.

      I've asked that question of whom Dowd actually influences here for quite some time. All I get is, "She has a regular column in the NYT and she won a Pulitzer, so she must be influencing lots of people."

      Well, I'm certain she has her readers. And I know she gives fabulous parties and is the toast of Beltway society. But outside that rather closed circle?

      Maybe her schtick of looking deep into phrases and body language for clues to the inner soul of her subject, all wrapped around pop culture references, worked well to advance her career years ago.

      It got pretty old and silly a long time ago to the point of her becoming just another gossip columnist.