SALEM VILLAGE AND CABLE NEWS: Lawrence and Christopher treat you like fools!


Part 2—Conned by the corporate channel:
Midway through last evening’s hour, Lawrence O’Donnell made a sad but revealing presentation.

Lawrence was discussing ISIS. As he opened his segment, he rolled his eyes at those hopeless fools, them the American people.

To watch the whole segment, click this:
O’DONNELL (9/15/14): In the spotlight tonight—America’s state of confusion over the Islamic State.


A recent NBC News poll shows America is confused and wrong about the situation in Iraq—as usual. 62 percent of Americans now support the United States taking action against the Islamic State, while 68 percent of Americans say they don’t think U.S. action will work

And so tonight, Americans are officially the most gung-ho war pessimists in the world. And:

A CNN poll has a very familiar sounding finding that 90 percent of Americans believe that the Islamic State poses a threat to the United States, which happens to be identical to the 90 percent of wrong Americans who said they believed that Iraq posed an immediate or long-term threat to the United States in 2003.
Poor Lawrence! Yeats was “fastened to a dying animal.” In turn, the cable star is tied to a group of “wrong Americans.”

In massive numbers, they’re confused and wrong—“as usual!” His throw to Richard Wolff went like this: “Richard, you can’t get a more confused citizenry than the United States when you put the word Iraq in a poll.”

The American people are dumb, so dumb. They are just always wrong!

Ironically, one of the O’Donnell’s guests, David Rohde, quickly betrayed his own belief that ISIS represents a threat to the nation. (“There is a threat...I don’t know if we can ignore it.”) Having watched Lawrence’s introduction, Rohde sanded the edges of his statement, thereby avoiding a fight.

That said, the American people are just so dumb! Ninety percent of the public, including Rohde, are “wrong Americans”—“as usual!”

As with Yeats, so too with Lawrence. In his case, it’s a shame that someone so brilliant is tied to a gang of baboons!

That said, forgive us for sometimes getting the sense that this attitude lurks in some discussions as the Salem Village of “cable news” goes after the NFL.

Needless to say, this attitude has long existed in pseudo-progressive and pseudo-liberal circles. This attitude longs to hear itself expressed--and it routinely undermines progressive interests.

Forgive us if we think we hear this attitude occasionally being expressed as the Salem Village of corporate “news” chases the NFL. To our ear, the children from Harvard you’re shown on TV are up to these old tricks again.

Whatever! Earlier, Lawrence had thundered about the high crime rate within the NFL. Forgive us for wondering if “Sir Lawrence of O’Donnell,” as he was once derisively known, has perhaps been skipping his homework in recent weeks.

Here's how the bungle went down:

One guest, Brent Schrotenboer, said that NFL players generate about one arrest per week. Lawrence reacted in the way we might have reacted a month ago, before the recent wave of coverage of these matters:
O’DONNELL (9/15/14): How many NFL football players are there, Brent?


O’DONNELL: That’s an awful lot. One arrest a week, 2500.

I mean, think of a college of 2500 students getting one arrest a week, or any assembly of 2500 people getting one arrest a week. That is amazing!

Brent Schrotenboer and Kavitha Davidson, thank you both very much for joining me tonight.
Davidson seemed to know everything that can be known. She’s [Columbia] class of 2012. People, we’re just saying!

Lawrence thought the NFL arrest rate is “amazing.” We might have had that same reaction as of a week ago.

To our surprise, studies seem to show that arrest rates for NFL athletes are substantially lower than for American men in general (adjusting for age). We find that surprising, but there it is!

Last night, this finding was mentioned on the Chris Hayes program, one hour before Sir Lawrence began deriding the dumb-assed American people—one hour before his own apparently dumb-assed comment about those amazing arrest rates.

We've been surprised to hear those findings about NFL arrest rates. At this point, we wouldn’t swear on pain of death that those findings are accurate.

That said, we’re aware of those findings because we’ve been trying to inform ourselves about our latest corporate firestorm. Sir Lawrence, to whom the American people are “as usual” dumb, may not have been making a similar effort.

Whatever! To our ear, the mobs on our TV screen last week often seemed to be working from Salem Village. To our ear, they were handing you an entertainment/moral outrage package of a familiar type.

When these cable dunkings unfold, key information may fly out the window. You may hear factual claims which are false.

Other facts will be withheld. They cut against the preferred point of view of the cable mob.

Sometimes, you will be treated like absolute fools. Consider the bullshit that same Chris Hayes handed you last Friday evening.

Hayes was speaking with the Boston Globe’s grim-faced Shira Springer, Harvard 1997. The pair staged a classic cable performance, offering the most heinous possible explanation of every action and utterance by the several villains being chased by the mob as of that night.

For details, see our next post.

Hayes and Springer had already offered a parody of journalism. As the pair of parsons ended their string of canned denunciations, they played their liberal viewers for fools, horrifically handing them this:
SPRINGER (9/12/14): You have a fan base, at this point, that is still supportive...

Not only that, sponsors have not taken any action yet. You still have this incredibly profitable machine going forward the way it’s always gone forward, doing business. And it seems that really, in the end, all that matters is the bottom line and that fans keep coming in to support players, whether they’re Ray Rice or Ben Roethlisberg [sic] or other players.

HAYES: Yes, that seems to be the big question going forward, whether this scandal starts to eat into the bottom line. And whether sponsors start getting hinky. As of yet, there’s no evidence of that. But we shall see, of course.

We should also say last night’s Thursday night football game was the highest-rated Thursday night football game in history.

SPRINGER: That may say it all.

HAYES: Yes, that may say it all.

SPRINGER: That may say it all.

HAYES: Shira Springer, thank you so much.
To watch the whole segment, click here.

Springer was raging against the machine of NFL profits. (As she did, she served the machine of MSNBC profits.)

She was also rolling her eyes at those horrible fans, in a nice O’Donnellesque touch. For full text, see our next post.

By now, the pair of parsons had already staged a textbook segment of anti-journalism. But as they closed, they ramped up the volume, playing Hayes viewers for fools.

How bad are things out in the country, among the people O’Donnell derided? This bad! According to Hayes, the previous night’s Ravens-Steelers game had been “the highest-rated Thursday night football game in history!”

“That may say it all,” the grim-faced Springer quickly said.

Hayes agreed with his scolding guest. “Yes, that may say it all,” he replied.

“That may say it all,” Springer said again, grimly.

At this point, Hayes thanked Springer so much—and why not? She had performed her role in the Salem Village of the “cable news” mob.

What was wrong with what the parsons said? In what way were they treating liberal viewers like fools?

We’re not sure if last Thursday’s game really was the highest-rated Thursday night game in history. Surely, though, Springer and Hayes must have known why the game recorded a 108 percent rating boost over last year’s first Thursday night game.

Duh! Last week’s game aired on a broadcast network! Last year, Thursday night games aired on the NFL Network, a private pay channel. This year, the first eight Thursday night games are also airing on CBS, where people can watch them for free.

At the Boston Globe web site, Springer is described as “an investigative and enterprise reporter for the Sports section.” She must have understood why last Thursday’s rating had been so high.

It’s very, very hard to believe that Hayes didn’t understand too. But when these terrible, horrible climbers hand you the corporate outrage package, every fact will be twisted and spun to give us the story we like.

O’Donnell will say that NFL arrest rates are amazingly high. Hayes will let his executioner guest say that Thursday night’s rating, which went unexplained, grimly “explains it all.”

In such ways, these horrible people show us something many of us refuse to see. Christopher Hayes is Roger Goodell. “Cable news” is the NFL.

In the current entertainment/outrage spectacular, one corporate behemoth is chasing another. The cable parsons are running with ropes as they chase the latest witches.

When these cable spectaculars start to unfold, we’d advise you to check your wallets. We’ll guess that the stars of Cable Salem are frequently checking theirs.

Next post: How the cable chase is performed! More from Hayes and Springer


  1. So Bob starts with ISIS and jumps right into the NFL, without ever leaving MSNBC.

    1. And he skipped right over the clownish creamer and her Prince Harry coverage in between. Rachel wets herself with
      Royal coverage. She went to Oxford, you know. Our own Rhodes Scholar.

    2. Methinks that somebody whom Bob respects has once again talked to him about Maddow Derangement Syndrome, and he might be back on the wagon again.

    3. Bob respects someone? Who talks to him?

    4. The only other possible explanation is that Bob has managed to bore even himself.

    5. Damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

    6. I'll be damned if Bob isn't the singing master of my soul.

    7. No, it is actually a break to his readers when Bob discovers other hosts on MSNBC. And it is even more refreshing now that he has dicovered CNN. And should he ever turn his focus for more than a moment or two on Fox, we will find cause for rejoicing.

    8. Anonymous @12:25P: "Methinks"

      Er, no.

  2. "To our surprise, studies seem to show that arrest rates for NFL athletes are substantially lower than for American men in general (adjusting for age). We find that surprising, but there it is!"

    I don't know how to find "that" since there is nothing to back it up except that Bob expresses that he is "aware" of it but won't "swear" on it but it was mentioned on Chris Hayes's show. Did we mention Chris is known as "The Puppy?" I know that is surprising, and I wouldn't swear on it, but it was mentioned in the Daily Howler so I am aware of it.

    1. Mayhaps Bob is more skilled at research than you are.

    2. Bob couldn't find a reporter for the Washington Post using Google even after the young man committed a jihadist act against the Clintons.

    3. OMB (Skilled Research from the OTB)

      "Davidson seemed to know everything that can be known. She’s Harvard class of 2012. People, we’re just saying!"

      BOB seems to have missed one fact that could be known.
      Davidson went to Columbia.

    4. The proper comparison group for crime rates in the NFL is NOT men of the same age in the general population. It is college graduates or attendees. Players in the NFL go to college before going pro, unlike basketball and baseball players. The arrest rate for college educated men is substantially lower than for the general population. That makes the NFL rate higher not lower than expected.

      The NCAA has emphasized that college football players must meet academic standards. They are college students. It is biased to ignore that when comparing crime statistics because it treats them as if they were not real students, something that is unfair to both the players and misleading when we want to examine whether playing a violent sport might contribute to violence in real life.

    5. Anonymous @ 12:53 you must, as a TDH reader, know that you must disaggregate all statistics by race.

    6. If you are going to compare arrest rates for the NFL with arrest rates in general, you need to control for race. The arrest rate in the NFL will be artificially inflated by the fact that there are more African Americans in the NFL than in the general population and arrest rates are different for African American men, generally, than for white men or for the general population.

      See for example:

      Unemployment and poverty make crime rates worse and African Americans differentially experience both states. However, men in the NFL are neither unemployed nor poor. If you set aside the effects of economics on crime, I would bet the crime rate in the NFL is extraordinarily high compared to crime rates for the working, non-poor educated segment of the general population.

      It plays Americans for fools to quote the stats included in this post and think you have explored crime in the NFL.

    7. There is also another factor when it comes to professional athletes. In cases where you or I might get arrested, the pro athlete is often recognized and let go.

      Such was the sad case of Jovan Belcher, if you care to look that up. Had he been arrested for DUI when the KC cop found him asleep at the wheel of his Bentley, he and his wife might still be alive.

    8. Not to mention OJ.

    9. KZ, are you talking about the same person? Davidson is a common name. Class of 2012 seems like a pretty specific thing to say if she didn't actually go to Harvard.

    10. 12:53, did you also find it interesting that Somerby got the result he wanted by aggregating the statistics by gender and age but went no further than that?

      That's because compared to the general population, including women, children and old people, NFL players have a higher arrest rate. And he didn't want to tell you that.

      So he only goes part way -- giving you the arrest rate among all men of the same age group -- without accounting for income and education level, because that also would not provide him with the answer he needs to advance his narrative.

    11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    12. I'll have to go with KZ on this one. Bob just hasn't quite managed to master Google yet. It started in 1998, the cutting edge year for Boomer internet technology.

    13. Remember that Somerby was a philosophy major, not a social scientist. Never attribute to malice what can be accounted for by stupidity.

    14. Controlling for race, gender, age, income, and degree of dissertation completion, social scientists are really withing the margin of error for general maliciousness. We're just sayin.

    15. @ 1:17

      Why not mention him?

    16. 1:18, "Davidson" is a common name. "Kavitha Davidson" is not.

      "Kavitha A. Davidson is a Bloomberg View columnist who writes about sports. She previously worked as an editor at the Huffington Post. A native New Yorker and a lifelong sports fan, Davidson attended Columbia University, where she was the sports editor of the Columbia Daily Spectator, covering baseball and swimming. She has also worked for political campaigns, minor league sports teams and philanthropic organizations."

    17. Say, @ 2:25, think this will lead to one of those rare TDH Updates?

    18. Sure hope so, like the following famous "Updates":

      Update: No WMDs found in Iraq.

      Update: It really wasn't a legitimate traffic study!

      Update: Gov. Ultrasound was charged!

      Update: Charges against Ultrasound weren't so trumped up after all.

      Of course, we might have to wait a couple of months like we did for:

      Update: D'Liesha got into college a month before we first said she couldn't

  3. "Nationwide, law enforcement made an estimated 12,408,899 arrests in 2011" That's a rate of about 4%. If players in the NFL have 52 arrests per year for 2500 players, that's a rate of only 2.1%.


    I must say I was surprised at how many Americans get arrested.

    1. Arrested is not convicted. How many people were arrested in Ferguson but not prosecuted, for example?

    2. Dinky: take a peak at 1253's post.

    3. "Don't try this at home, I've studied statisitics" David in Cal writes:

      I must say I was surprised at how many Americans get arrested.

      The FBI writes:


      The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program counts one arrest for each separate instance in which a person is arrested, cited, or summoned for an offense. The UCR Program collects arrest data on 28 offenses, as described in Offense Definitions. (Please note that, beginning in 2010, the UCR Program no longer collected data on runaways.)

      Because a person may be arrested multiple times during a year, the UCR arrest figures do not reflect the number of individuals who have been arrested; rather, the arrest data show the number of times that persons are arrested, as reported by law enforcement agencies to the UCR Program.


      Nationwide, law enforcement made an estimated 12,408,899 arrests in 2011. Of these arrests, 534,704 were for violent crimes, and 1,639,883 were for property crimes. (Note: the UCR Program does not collect data on citations for traffic violations.)

      The highest number of arrests were for drug abuse violations (estimated at 1,531,251 arrests), larceny-theft (estimated at 1,264,986), and driving under the influence (estimated at 1,215,077).


      Over 74 percent (74.1) of the persons arrested in the nation during 2011 were males. They accounted for 80.4 percent of persons arrested for violent crime and 62.9 percent of persons arrested for property crime.

      In 2011, 69.2 percent of all persons arrested were white, 28.4 percent were black, and the remaining 2.4 percent were of other races.

    4. Do you really think that was written by a real FBI agent, or just some civilian employee with a degree in technical writing who was an affirmative action hire after taking into account veterans preference points.

    5. What is the proper group for comparison of arrest rates? How about people making millions a year as the NFL players mostly do. They don't need to sell pot or steal anything to stay alive. And compare for similar crimes - especially domestic violence.

    6. I would think that comparisons between athletes in the various professional sports would be a good jumping off point, rather than a comparison to the entire adult male population.

  4. Obviously BOB and commentators can’t read a legal brief or even listen to the arguments presented on MSNBC. Telling the truth about their outrage about media sheds light on their belief that Gore was not strange. If that case was presented, many of the so-called critics of The truth hurts.

  5. Yesterday's first part of this series brought us Anderson Cooper and the NFL. We were also promised: "Tomorrow: Erin Burnett says she can’t see the difference. Sadly, we believe her."

    Instead, what do we get? Larry, Chris, ISIS and the NFL.

    But the day is surely young. Perhaps poor Erin has been demoted from s"eries" to yet another "supplemental."

  6. Speaking of crimes, I think it was a shame so few of you were interested when Somerby hoisted the Cable behemoth by its own transcripted petard. Instead you want to wail at the post on the flailing home of the liberal children.

    This proves you are on the MSNBC payroll you douchebag trolls.

    1. And I have long admitted that I draw my livelihood from none other than Alex Wagner to stomp out all meanness toward her in this particular blog.

      And I must admit with no trace of humility that I have done my job spectacularly well.

    2. You can pat yourself on the back all you want, but Burmese Americans have one of the lowest crime rates in the NFL and those tigers test damn well, thank you very much.

      Try working for one of those Micks as a troll. You have to work you ass off.

  7. You trolls drove away Irishguy.

  8. As a good Catholic boy, Lawrence merely rolled his eyes at the American people.

    That awful Maddow woman rolled her eyes at Jesus, for chrissakes!

  9. OMB (Remembering the Wisdom of the OTB)

    Our faith in the OTB is constantly restored by his inconsistent constancy.

    How, you might ask, can that apparently contradictory comment be put forth, Zarkon?

    BOB has courageously castigated Lawrence O'D for calling the American people dumb, when "We the People Are Dumb" is a much as wistful watchword at TDH as "Can we talk?" is his signatory query.

    In doing so BOB is demonstrating consistency with past Howler-what shall we call them- groaners.

    In this case Lawerence is calling the American people dumb for believing "that Iraq posed an immediate or long-term threat to the United States in 2003."

    Back in 2003, BOB himself wrote:

    "Here at THE HOWLER, we’ve never doubted that Saddam had WMDs. In fact, we’d be surprised if he didn’t. We think antiwar types set themselves up for a fall when they crow about the lack of quick discovery."

    BOB knows, despite being dumb about most things, the American people were right in 2003. He is keeping faith with them, his chin up, and waits for Lawrence to fall flat on his face in a big plate of crow.

  10. So I googled up "Sir Lawrence of O'Donnell" to see how widespread this derisive term is.

    Found two examples:

    "Ann Coulter Official Chat" dated June 16, 2012


    Boston Globe, March 20, 1994.

    The 20-year-old Globe profile is particularly interesting. It cites the source of the "derisive" term to unnamed "fellow Democratic staffers on the Hill" which I thought was a no-no for sourcing in Bob's World.

    The same profile calls O'Donnell "an irreverent, foul-mouthed, Harley-riding street rat from St. Brendan's Parish in Dorchester via the ranks of the Harvard Lampoon."

    It also notes how O'Donnell and his boss have been undermining "White House spin" on a variety of issues. The White House? Why Bill Clinton of course! And his veep, Al.

    And who was O'Donnell's boss? Why Daniel Patrick Moynihan of course! And Bob has been worred all this time about Jack Welch!

  11. Not a good post. Look, if "O'Donnell's take is the American Public are
    dolts, maybe he's right and maybe he's wrong. But first, it's something The Daily Howler has said in a not so different way many times, and second, it's hardly the most commercial approach somebody could be advancing in the "tell them what they want to hear" dept. But, Bob doesn't have much to get outraged about on this score so he doesn't really go into it and then wanders off to something else.

  12. Replies
    1. You obviously secretly dislike average people and are therefore a real and present danger to progressive interests.