This is gaffe culture on acid: It’s hard to get one’s arms around the dumbness of our post-journalistic culture.
For the latest example, we submit the latest thrilling case—the case of what Hillary Clinton said in 1986 about something she did in 1975.
Tapes of the 28-year-old conversation in question surfaced last month. For some reason, MSNBC has created a second round of conversations about this matter, first on yesterday’s Morning Joe, then on last night’s Hardball.
Can we go over the facts once again? We’re talking about what Clinton said 28 years ago about something she had done eleven years before that! This involves her role as court-appointed public defender for a man accused of rape.
On MSNBC, the judges have basically all agreed that Clinton shouldn’t have laughed, in any way, when she discussed this case in 1986, not even when she described the clownish way the prosecution managed to ruin or lose the apparent evidence.
On last evening’s Hardball, Chris Matthews and Michelle Bernard were especially histrionic and grand.
In Campaign 2008, Bernard was the absolute last of the anti-Clinton dead-enders. She insisted, right to the end, that Clinton would never be decent enough to endorse Obama.
The very next day, Clinton gave the most effusive endorsement any defeated candidate has ever given.
As for Matthews’ previous greatness, let’s revisit the report by Howard Kurtz during Campaign 2008. In this passage, Kurtz summarized the gruesome conduct the pitiful, hapless “liberal” world had accepted from Matthews for a great many years at that point:
KURTZ (2/14/08): [T]he Hardball host has been particularly hard on the former first lady... In 1999, amid speculation that Clinton might seek a Senate seat in New York, Matthews told viewers: “No man would say, ‘Make me a U.S. senator because my wife's been cheating on me.’ ”This barely began to touch the extent of this horrible person’s past misbehavior. And by the way, just for the record:
The following year, he said: “Hillary Clinton bugs a lot of guys, I mean, really bugs people—like maybe me on occasion. . . . She drives some of us absolutely nuts.”
In 2005, when Clinton criticized the administration on homeland security the day after terrorist bombings in London, Matthews said: “It's a fact: You look more witchy when you're doing it like this.”
In recent weeks, he has asked whether Clinton's criticism of Obama makes her “look like Nurse Ratched.” He has said that “Hillary's loyal lieutenants are ready to scratch the eyes out of the opposition” and likened her to Evita Peron, “the one who gives gifts to the little people, and then they come and bring me flowers and they worship at me because I am the great Evita.”
It was against that backdrop that Matthews sparked a furor last month when he said: “I'll be brutal: The reason she's a U.S. senator, the reason she's a candidate for president, the reason she may be a front-runner, is her husband messed around.”
In our system, why do we insist that every person accused of a crime must have a vigorous defense? Because otherwise, horrible people like Matthews and Bernard would have the whole country in prison.
In the course of the Elizabeth Smart case, Nancy Grace managed to get an innocent man thrown into prison, where he died from an untreated health condition. Left to their own devises, people like Matthews and Bernard would behave the same way.
On Morning Joe, everyone took turns saying how upset they were to think that Clinton could ever have laughed at the absurdities of this case. Remember one thing about these very bad people:
They will always serve their own interests. At present, they’re all making sure that they appear to be on the side of the angels.
In 1986, Clinton ruefully laughed about something that happened in 1975. Twenty-eight years later, our pundits are outraged by this bad offense.
This is gaffe culture on acid. This is “Romney strapped the dog to the roof of the car.” This is “Romney cut that kid’s hair in high school.”
Can we talk? Try this:
Two weeks ago, Clinton proposed a plan to help low-income kids achieve literacy. You will never see these horrible people say a word about that.
They don’t care about low-income kids! They like talking about Romney's dog. They enjoy telling low-IQ tales about the disturbing number of buttons on Al Gore’s suit jackets.
It’s hard for people to understand how truly bad these people are. They’re grasping, questing, devious people. Beyond that, their brains are essentially mush.
This week, a gang of very bad people are making sure that their keisters get covered concerning a 28-year-old remark. Matthews and Bernard, the worst of them all, were off on a jihad last night.
For Ruth Marcus’ column on this topic, click this.
This is Marcus’ opening sentence: “It should not be necessary to write this column.”
Visit our incomparable archives: It’s impossible to capture the full extent of Matthews’ past misconduct concerning Clinton. We won’t even try to show you the shit he pimped for two years about Candidate Gore, making himself very rich in the process.
(He got paid by Jack Welch.)
By now, Matthews has been reinvented, thereby keeping himself in line with his new corporate owners. Below, you can see a bit more of the way he used to compare Clinton to Evita.
Our excerpt is from a Hardball program in December 1999. Nine years later, as Kurtz reported, Matthews was still comparing Clinton to the crazy Peron.
For a fuller account of this crazed Hardball program, just click here. Matthews had been crazed about Gore all through the start of that week:
MATTHEWS (12/6/99): Hillary Clinton got the message wrong. The American people want to have health care for people who work for a living. Working families should get a good wage and they should get health care as part of a living income. She said, “I'm going to give you universal coverage. I want to give every man who gets into this country, legally or illegally, free health care, and they're going to have to thank me for it, and bring flowers to me like I'm Evita.” That's different than giving people workers' rights, or giving them what they go out and work for a living for, including health care.Matthews spoke with Gail Sheehy that night. Sheehy seemed appropriately flabbergasted.
She didn't want to sell it as a workers' benefit. She wanted to sell it as socialism, because then she could get credit for it. She and the government, like Eleanor Roosevelt, her hero.
Here's the weird thing about this dysfunctional relationship, and you've been sorting this out as an author for so many months. You have one partner on the team that thinks they're always right. They think they're better than us morally, politically, culturally, and intellectually and every other way. The other person believes they've never done anything wrong. If you have one who's a born cover-up artist who can't even turn in an honest golf score, and the other one who thinks she's always right about everything, God help us! As you say, Hillary's choice is the choice to be blind-sided or to be blind about the truth. What an amazing credential to be United States senator for New York!
Today, this deeply crazy man pretends to be a Clinton supporter. We liberals have accepted this open corruption for the past fifteen years.
Truly, we’re a helpless, colonized people. You simply can’t insult our intelligence. There is no corporate cable scam we aren’t prepared to accept.
Let me see if I have this straight. Clinton is too wealthy to be president and could never identify with the middle class, let alone the poor. At the same time she shouldn't have given anindigent defendant a vvigorous defense when appointed to do so by a judge in accordance with the constitution. I'm confused. Is she too sympathetic to poor people or not sympathetic enough? Shouldn't the "narrative"at least be consistent?ReplyDelete
No, the narrative need not be consistent.Delete
No laughing rule? People! The state lost the evidence. Lawyers and cops have to laugh at this kind of incompetence or go insane!ReplyDelete
Gaffe culture on acid indeed. The poster seems to be as well.ReplyDelete
You cannot characterize Matthews' behavior as a gaffe. It is deliberate and it is venal.Delete
"Young Rucker, just six years out of Yale, already had his hand on the pulse of prevailing “press corps” culture."ReplyDelete
Young Clinton, just three years out of Yale, already had her hand on the pulse of prevailing defense attorney culture.
This comment makes no sense.Delete
You must be under 30.Delete
Over 60, makes no senseDelete
Which part. The one about the reporter kid fresh out of Yale or the one about the lawyer kid fresh out of Yale?Delete
The part about how one thing has anyting to do with the otherDelete
"We liberals have accepted this open corruption for the past fifteen years."ReplyDelete
No, Bob Somerby. Most of US haven't.
Is anyone else curious?ReplyDelete
Somerby is angry about a discussion on television yesterday. It is about a 28 year old interview talking about a 39 year old rape case.
Instead of giving more than a sentence about the facts of the case, or even a few paragraphs of the contents of yesrday's coverage, we get several paragraphs of 6 year old Howard Kurtz and a long discussion of a 15 year old broadcast with a link to even more coverage by Somerby of that same broadcast.
But there is no link to either broadcast on MSNBC yesterday.
I don't want to be cynical, but the good guys on the broadcasts were Ezra Klein and Joan Walsh.Delete
The point is that the whole discussion was stupid, so why present more of it?Delete
In Bob We Trust.
"Truly, we’re a helpless, colonized people."ReplyDelete
Wouldn't it be a bit more constructive to offer at least a hint of how we can participate in correcting this state of affairs? All this woe-is-us/we-are-so-terrible diatribing -- none of us has any control over who is given a gig on MSNBC -- suggests that giving up and checking out of society is the only rational choice.
This blog doesn't comment much on remedial measures possibly because there aren't any effective ones that have any chance of actual implementation by what's left of this particular culture.Delete
I might suggest you voice objections in writing to MSNBC. You could also threaten to boycott sponsors, but doing so might mean giving up your hard-on over Hardball. They seem mostly to be peddling big pharma.Delete
Bob should post his blog on You Tube.ReplyDelete
This is gaffe culture on acid. This is “Romney strapped the dog to the roof of the car.” This is “Romney cut that kid’s hair in high school.”ReplyDelete
The rape of a 12 year old girl and a once and maybe future presidential candidate's recollection of her role in defending the man accused of the crime are not quite Seamus on the roof of the family wagon.
All accusations are true. All defendants are guilty. Defense attorneys are scumbags.Delete
No one is talking about the 12 year old girl in that sentence you have quoted. It is about the pundits and their focus on Hillary Clinton's body language in an interview.Delete
Reading these posts and comments is giving me greater insight into Clinton fatigue.ReplyDelete
Yes, lets blame Clinton for all of this garbage and lets punish her by refusing to pay any attention to anything positive she does or anything substantive she talks about.Delete
I wasn't blaming Clinton. Bob and the commenters rehashing stuff from decades ago are fatiguing. And Bob flogging the topic to death --- and beyond death.Delete
The point Somerby made is that the media is rehashing this stuff -- he didn't raise the topic nor did Clinton. They did. You and he are on the same side on this.Delete
And why do you think, @ 8:51 there might be a reason the media chose to rehash this?Delete
The media chose to rehash all of this to make money. They don't care who is elected, as long as their ratings (and revenue) is high. Conflict gets audience. The point is that this has nothing to do with journalism (even though they claim to be "news") and nothing to do with efficient and effective governance. The media certainly deserve the criticism they get here.Delete
By the way, what is the difference between a "supplement" and a "supplemental"?ReplyDelete
Is it like the difference between a supposition and a suppository?
Bush's whole family gave speeches for similar amounts, including his daughters, his wife, his cousins and brothers.ReplyDelete
There are two Howlers: The Education commentator and the Press critic. I'm glad the latter is back in true form, for a while anyway.ReplyDelete
That said, for all the talk about Matthews and Bernard's mob behavior, Howler said not one word commending Joan Walsh, who did her best amid the din to lay the facts of the case (at least the Times's facts) back on the table. She really was the Atticus Finch of that segment.
Would it have hurt that much to have acknowledged Walsh's efforts?
Shouldn't it be an expectation of the job that people like Walsh should lay out the facts of a case? Isn't that what journalists are supposed to do?Delete
Jeeves, as a longtime TDH reader, you should know that once a person gets on Bob's "Bad Person" list, they are rotten to the core and are never up to any good.Delete
And 10:49, 'tis much easier to bitch than to praise. Besides, Bob's script is that the entire press corps is rotten to the core and that NOBODY is pushing back against the "talking points."
He's not about to violate that by praising the vile, evil Walsh -- or pointing to anyone else who is doing their job the exact way Bob says it should be done.
Today when "reporters" actually do the research and present the facts, Most of them are going above and beyond the call of duty.Delete
For this they should be commended.
(Of course, they may not get published!)
And yes, some reporters do research as a part of their job, and they do get published.
They too are to be commended.
Who says it's not relevant to the upcoming campaign?ReplyDelete
There is apparently no trivial rumor (true or not) about a candidate that you would not want to hear in order to make a choice about the next President of the United States and (Thank God!) we have a corporate media who is willing to spend all of their time and money to make sure you get all of it. Issues? What issues?Delete
I recall a candidate from some years back who got hit with everything but the kitchen sink, and still refused to allow "the media" to define him or the issues he was running on.Delete
Even had a sign that said, "It's the economy, stupid!"
What was his name again?
Might as well have had a sign that said "Blow Me"Delete
Dinky has ronald-reagan disease.ReplyDelete
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