THE HOUSES OF NANTUCKET COUNTY: Matt Bai tells all about Gary Hart!


Interlude—Telling the truth very slowly:
We couldn’t help chuckling about one part of Frank Bruni’s column this Sunday.

At the start of his column, Bruni described a new book by Matt Bai—a book about the press coverage of Gary Hart.

Bai’s new book may be very good. “But good lord,” we incomparably said. “They tell the truth very slowly:”
BRUNI (9/21/14): ...I sank into a newly deep funk about the kinds of people drawn to politics these days.

Then I burrowed into Matt Bai's new book and I hit rock bottom.

It's called ''All the Truth Is Out,'' it will be published later this month and it's about Gary Hart. Remember him:
the presidential contender who rode a boat named Monkey Business into a media whirlpool? You should, as the book, which is excerpted in The Times Magazine this weekend, makes clear.

And the reason isn't so much the scandal that swallowed him or his particular exit from the political arena. It's the warning that his story sounded—about a new brutality on the campaign trail, about uncharted frontiers of media invasiveness...
Good God! Frank Bruni sunk into a funk about the press coverage of Gary Hart! Bai is exploring that troubling press coverage in his important new book.

The press coverage in question may be worth discussing. But please understand:

The press coverage to which Bruni refers happened in May 1987!

People! Gary Hart got outed by the press twenty-seven years ago, early in Campaign 1988. Twenty-seven years later, Bruni seems to think it’s time that we explore what happened!

Here at this site, we’ve penned volumes about the press coverage of Campaign 2000—coverage which began in March 1999. (Our discussion began in real time.)

We’ve tried and tried, and tried and tried, to get other people to discuss this deeply important history.

We’ve tried and we’ve tried—and it can’t be done! At long last, we understand why!

Apparently, we have a new piece of Hard Pundit Law to consider. Within the walls of the mainstream press, you have to wait at least 27 years before you’re allowed to discuss what your colleagues have done in coverage of White House campaigns.

As a courtesy, you’ll want to wait a good twenty-seven years. At that point, the time will be right!

On that basis, someone may start to discuss the two-year war against Candidate Gore sometime around the year 2027. That two-year jihad helps explain why we’re back at war today.

But so what? If we might borrow from Orson Welles, we’ve been trying to bring you that knowledge long before its time!

Bruni’s mention of Bai’s daring book made us think of Candidate Muskie. Muskie got mugged by the mainstream press early in Campaign 1972.

In real time, David Broder played the leading role in spreading the notion that Candidate Muskie had disgracefully wept on the campaign trail. In 1987, Broder wrote an astonishing piece in The Washington Monthly confessing that Muskie probably hadn’t wept!

No wonder no one challenged or criticized Broder about his astounding confession. Only fifteen years had passed! It wasn’t yet time!

For background and links, click here.

In our current series, The Houses of Nantucket County, we’re going to look at the astonishing coverage of Campaign 2000 which came from one part of NBC News, which was then owned by jack welch. We want to tell this remarkable story the best way we can. For that reason, we’re going to postpone Part 2 until tomorrow.

For today, just consider the ludicrous culture of our mainstream press.

As we’ve long told you, the press corps will never tell you the truth about its own conduct and values. The code of silence within this guild is just extremely strong.

Bruni’s column provides a comical example of this general tendency. Now that it’s 2014, we can finally discuss the press corps' behavior in 1987!

We have an unpleasant fact to share—the people in your mainstream press are just extremely dishonest. They simply will not tell you the truth about their own behavior.

If they do, they tell you the truth very slowly. This is the way the guild rolls.

Tomorrow, we’ll offer part 2 in our current series. Due to their suffocating code of silence, none of your favorite star career liberals will repeat a word we say.

That will start in the year 2027. Ken Burns may do a film.

Readers, alert the grandkids! Knowledge is on the way!

Tomorrow: Jack Welch, Rupert Murdoch


  1. This is great news for Bob Somerby! ''All the Truth Is Out'' will soon be in print. That means there is hope for "How He Got There" in the future! All Somerby has to do is finish it and it may get published in 2027.

    1. Great news for Somerby must mean great news for McCain is right around the corner as well. Hope he'll announce he's ready and fit for another term on Meet the Press!

  2. Matt Bai is a nobody. Hasn't even made the Howler before and he has covered two Presidential campaigns for the NY Times.

  3. "Ken Burns may do a film" lol

    1. "The Somerby Bore"
      "The Daily Howler: America's Ignored Blog"
      "Salem on the Air: The Children Who Made MSNBC"

  4. IMHO Gary Hart and Al Gore are not comparable. The media treated most unfairly, based on falsehoods. OTOH Hart was truly guilty of monkey business on the Monkey Business, and he was truly guilty of lying to the media and even inviting them to follow him around. Was that hubris? Stupidity? Arrogance? Whatever it was, it didn't speak well for his ability to handle the toughest job in the world.

    As far as I could tell, Hart's main qualification is that he was a very good-looking man. Warren Harding was elected President because of his good looks. We didn't need another Warren Harding.

    1. Warren Harding opposed a ban on lead-based paint. The result of lead-based paint was a crime wave, similar to the later crime wave from leaded gasoline.

  5. Oh little blog in Baltimore
    How sad we read your prose.
    Between thy lines guild silence reeks
    So people ask, "Who Knows?"

    Yet in big houses journalists
    Lounge cowering in fright
    Their sins and errs decades ago
    Retold by thee each night.

    1. You put an awful lot of effort and constant attention trying to prove how everyone should be as bored by this blog as you claim you are. Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

  6. Bob might ponder that when a message is ignored, the fault may lie not just with the message.

    1. We couldn't help but chuckling at one part of your comment.

  7. Women named Rice keep causing problems for the men in their lives.

  8. I never envied Clinton any of his chubby horn section. But when I saw Donna Rice sitting on Hart's lap, I said, "This is why we start bands and go out for football and run for office and buy motorcycles and other stupid stuff." I'd never been so jealous of a political whore since hearing Fawn Hall was dating Contras.

    With few exceptions, when they say politics is show business for ugly people, they mean the groupies, too. If Gary Hart is as smart as they say, to this day he sits back and reflects, "Maybe I didn't get to be President, but a night with Donna was worth it."

    1. At the level of morality, too, it's better to get laid than to be President.

    2. To call a POTUS fellator a "horn section" is, to me, a diminishment of the service rendered our great country.
      I prefer She Who Sucks the Sax Blower in Chief.

    3. OMG, a president once had SEX!!!! How awful.

  9. "the press corps will never tell you the truth about its own conduct and values. The code of silence within this guild is just extremely strong"

    That's what Lebo says in his book almost word for word.

  10. I can't believe "Lebo" would plagiarize Bob. Surely he gave him credit. Lucky for all of us the Leibster has no index.
    Otherwise we would call you slippery and your significant other heinous.

  11. 2:15. That quote is the premise of the book.

  12. He refers to himself as lebo in the book. You didn't read it I see.

  13. He commenters here are just dumb as a pile of bones. This commenter's head is so far up his you know what! He didn't even read the book he's all sanctimonious about.

  14. Which commenter is this one, commenter?

  15. She commenters are not less dumber.

  16. Bob says he "has long told us." Anonymous @ 2:32 suggests Bob's language is almost "word for word" a quote from "This Town," and Anonymous @ 2:48 says it is the premise of the book.

    Bob goes on the say "Due to their suffocating code of silence, none of your favorite star career liberals will repeat a word we say."

    Does this mean Leibovich stole from Bob, or Bob stole from Leibovich. Or are they the kind of blend Meyerson warned about? And if so, does this mean since Leibovich borrowed from and repeated the words of TDH, he is not a star career liberal even though he writes for the New York Times?

  17. A good place to start would be to read the book. You will find all your answers there but you'll have to use your intellect to find them. Best regards,

  18. Why should I read the book? I only quoted Somerby. Someone else said the quote came from the book.
    If the quote is in the book, Somerby quoted it without attribution. If the book took it from Somerby, then he is wrong about others not repeating a word he says. That is an issue for closer followers of Bob to settle.


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