FOR THE NEW YEAR: What do you want from your liberal news orgs?


Part 2—In place of “chronic outrage:”
What are you hoping for in the new year? Yesterday, we noticed that Jonathan Capehart was making a thoroughly modest request:

“All I want for the new year is the banishment of ‘post-racial’ anything from all social and political discourse.”

So requested Capehart.

In truth, almost no one ever says that we live in a “post-racial” world. For that reason, we thought Capehart’s dream for the new year was small.

Go ahead! Dream a larger dream! How would you like to see our society function?

Yesterday, the question came to mind when we read about declining ratings at The One True Liberal Channel.

In his weekly New York Times column, David Carr listed several media players whose jobs may be on the line in the coming year. This was his assessment of the recent performance of MSNBC president Phil Griffin:
CARR (12/29/14): Those familiar with television news will tell you that Mr. Griffin is one of the smartest people around, but you wouldn’t know it from MSNBC’s ratings. Stalwarts of the liberal-leaning channel—“The Rachel Maddow Show” and “Morning Joe”—are posting some of their lowest ratings ever and some of the fixes that Mr. Griffin has come up with—Ronan Farrow, anyone?—went nowhere.

Cable news outfits are always compared with Fox News, but that channel is in its own business, which involves grilling and serving red meat to devoted conservatives. With a Democratic president viewed by many as disappointing, and control of both houses belonging to Republicans, liberals are less interested in tuning in to chronic outrage. It’s been said that television news is a business where elections, in the form of ratings, are held every night, and by that measure, MSNBC is losing its base. Eventually, attention will focus on both the overall approach and the leader of the ticket.
For more on the year’s cable news ratings, you can just click here.

As we’ve noted in the past, TV ratings are not a measure of quality. In theory, a cable news channel could improve the quality of its programs while losing ground in the ratings.

That said, MSNBC has had a tough year in the ratings. In Carr’s somewhat snarky assessment, this means that liberals have become “less interested in tuning in to chronic outrage.”

Is that what MSNBC sells? Not entirely, no.

That said, tribal outrage plays an increasing role at emerging liberal sites like MSNBC and the new Salon. In our view, these sites tend to eschew the notion of building bridges. Instead, they're inclined to revel in the driving of wedges.

“One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.” So said Robert Frost.

In our view, a progressive could do much better than be a driver of wedges. That’s especially true when the driving of wedges is pushed along by the invention and disappearance of facts. Increasingly, this is the practice at corporate liberal news sites like MSNBC and the new deranged Salon.

In recent decades, the driving of wedges has tended to work for “the right,” at least on a political basis. We aren’t sure the practice is suited for serious work from “the left.”

What is your dream for the new year? Over Christmas, we found ourselves thinking, via Miep Gies, about a replacement for chronic outrage—Dr. King’s unembarrassed “love ethic,” which he hailed long ago.

Next: Revolutionary refusal


  1. Perhaps if Satchel Farrow would admit he is Woody Allen's son, not Frank Sinatra's, MSNBC might add a "smidgeon" of credibility.

  2. My dream for the new year is that Congress, the President, and the Federal bureaucracy do nothing at all. I'd like to dream that they do things that make the country work better, but that's a bridge too far.

    1. Ah yes, to return to the Golden days of yore, back when can-do capitalists had a free hand in running things and government, whenever it did get around to rousing itself, was always on the side of the angels.

      ***[QUOTE] “One of my favorites is Grover Cleveland,” [legacy newsman and sort-of author Chris] Wallace said. “I love the Grover Cleveland story. Can I talk about it just briefly?” Sensibly, Lamb gave his guest permission—and Wallace provided the perfect profile of Millionaire Pundit Values in action.

      What did Wallace admire about Cleveland? The story started somewhat hopefully as Wallace sketched his man’s background:

      WALLACE: Grover Cleveland—1894—he was a tremendous friend of labor. He had been a reform mayor in New York state, in Buffalo. Then he had become the governor of New York. Then he`d been elected president. He was the president who helped create the federal arbitration system. He was also the president who legalized labor unions.

      Wow! It sounded like Wallace would narrate a tale in which a president bravely stood up for the interests of average working people. Our analysts leaned forward in their chairs; after all, what a brilliant rebuke that would be to the values of the author’s millionaire pundit class! Indeed, after a second excursion in which the author mentioned the pleasures of his privileged youth, he began to describe a troubling situation, in which a group of working people suffered under a wealthy mogul:

      WALLACE: On [Cleveland’s] watch in 1894, there had been this big international exposition in Chicago. And it was right around the time when there was a strike, a railroad workers strike that started in Pullman, Chicago. Pullman, George Pullman was the fellow who developed and built the Pullman railroad cars, which was the very great luxury railroad cars that you could sleep in...And he created a town outside, just outside Chicago, which he called, modestly enough, Pullman.

      According to Wallace, it was “a classic company town,” where “people had to live in the housing. People had to shop at the Pullman stores.” At first, thought, life there wasn’t half bad; “it was quite nice, quite nice housing,” Wallace said. But uh-oh! Within a few years, things had gone straight in the dumpster:

      WALLACE: There was a considerable economic downturn in the late 1890s, and [George Pullman] started cutting back the salaries of the Pullman workers, but he didn`t cut back the rent or the cost of food that all these people—so as a result, when they deducted all of that before they`d give people the paycheck, these guys sometimes ended up owing money, or if they got any money, it was just, you know, pennies.

      Classic! Workers owed money, after working all month! Trained on feel-good tales of a different era, our analysts expected to hear that Cleveland stepped in to help the oppressed. But no such luck! When Pullman’s workers protested this turn of events, Cleveland took a different approach....[END QUOTE]***


    2. Nice anecdote, CMike. However, I want to clarify my comment. I wasn't recommending going back to days of yore. That would require Congress and the President to do something. my beef is that whenever these clowns do something they're either benefiting some special interest or special interest group who contributed to their campaign or they're accommodating some group with kooky values. Sadly both parties seem to do this

    3. David in Cal,

      If you wouldn't want to see the federal government drowned in a bath tub give me three things from your short list of what you'd like to see it do. I'm genuinely curious about what you think the feds might be doing, besides getting out of the way, to "make the country work better."

      (As for the anecdote, it's from my all-time favorite edition of the Howler.)

    4. OK, CMike. Here are 3 changes I'd like to see.

      1. The EPA has done a marvelous job of cleaning up the water and the air. Now that they've developed standards for pollutants and methods of oversight, I'd like to see their staff cut. Not only is the current staff wasteful, but in some cases they wind up looking for harsher and harsher standards, when the current standards are fine.

      2. I'd abolish the School Lunch program. It was always questionable whether it was needed or not. I mean, it's pretty cheap to fix a PB&J sandwich and a piece of fruit for a kid. But, the widespread availability of food stamps made the school lunch program even more redundant.

      3. I'm not sure which federal agency it is, but universities are being pressured to punish men accused of sexual crimes without appropriate procedures for determining guilt. As a result, a number of innocent men have been harshly punished. Some of these men have sued the universities and won large awards.

    5. Thanks for the response and it's what I would have expected before I read your comment that in your dreams you could envision the Federal bureaucracy making "the country work better." False alarm, your examples are all from vintage Dave:

      1) An EPA which would have a smaller role in society going forward- on the environmental front we're all ready living in the best of all possible worlds.

      2) A School Lunch program going forward that, out of general principles, should be providing less varied fare to, I'm guessing, fewer children- only to those who can demonstrate [to all gawkers?] that they are truly needy.

      3) And to round out the examples from your short list, the Federals exerting less than a detectable influence at college campuses in the matter of sexual assault.

      I'm telling you DiC, what you're dreaming of is you and your fellows among the deserving rich living in the Gilded Age (but with central air this time around).

    6. Thanks for your response, CMike. But, I'm not sure I understand it. You seem to have re-written my comments, slightly changing them in the process.

      Anyhow, I wish a Happy New Year to you and to All!

    7. Happy New Year David in Cal.

      (I just didn't think you really meant it about abolishing the School Lunch program altogether. There are going to be those cases when food stamps end up where there's family dysfunction, also.)

    8. I meant it. Yes, there will be cases like what you describe. But those are better handled locally. In those sorts of cases the parent is disfunctional. The child likely needs more help than a lunch.

    9. Rightard logic at work: The child likely needs more help than a lunch, so it won't matter if he doesn't get lunch too.

    10. Give me a break. deadrat. You know that the federal government isn't the only source of help. The child who isn't being fed can get food from various local private and governmental charities. And, BTW, the social worker will check up on his parents or guardians. Since they're not even feeding him properly. there's probably a bunch of other things they're doing wrong.

      It's both bad policy and bad logic to create a broad program to satisfy a narrow need. ObamaCare is another example. The Dems could have created a program to make health care available to the 13% of the population who lacked health insurance. They didn't have to f*ck up health care for all of us. But, ObamaCare was designed in this illogical way in order to broaden federal control over everyone's health care.

      Similarly, the School Lunch Program gives Washington bureaucrats the power to demand that schools behave in certain ways, under threat of losing their School Lunch program. I think that in general locals know more about how to run their own school than some bureaucrats far away. I saw the baleful federal impact on public education when my kids were in school. In short, I think the School Lunch program is an inefficient use of money and also has a side effect of making public education less effective.

    11. Hungry children don't learn much. The rest doesn't matter as long as kids get enough to eat so that they can benefit from their classrooms.

    12. Good point, except for two things:
      1. I know of no scientific studies showing that hungry kids don't learn much.
      2. Today there are very few hungry kids. A much bigger problem in poor areas is overweight kids.

    13. I found a bunch of articles by putting nutrition and learning into Google.

      Why is it you always have plenty of stats except about hungry kids, something that really matters?

    14. I tried your suggestion, anon 9:26 AM and found this:

      Advocates of child health have experimented with students’ diets in the United States for more than twenty years. Initial studies focused on benefits of improving the health of students are apparent. Likewise, improved nutrition has the potential to positively influence students’ academic performance and behavior.

      Though researchers are still working to definitively prove the link, existing data suggests that with better nutrition students are better able to learn, students have fewer absences, and students’ behavior improves, causing fewer disruptions in the classroom

      After 20+ years of research, no definite link has been found between nutrition and learning. That suggests to me that the link isn't very strong.

      Also, it must depend on the degree of malnutrition. The word "hungry" is ambiguous, After WW2 in Europe, "hungry" people were literally starving to death. But, that sort of hunger is long since wiped out in the USA. So, charities use a different definition. E.g., Feeding America says, "1 in 6 people struggle to get enough to eat." No doubt this organization does good, useful work. But, note how different their definition is. They're not talking about people who are starving to death or even people who aren't getting enough to eat. Their criterion is that people are (or might be) getting enough to eat, but they have to struggle to do so. BTW I don't know what "struggle" means here.

      Anyhow, go visit the inner city. You don't see emaciated kids, or hardly any. You do see a large number of obese kids.

      Happy New Year to you, 9:26

    15. You sound just like those cigarette companies decrying the lack of a definite link between smoking and cancer. Because it is unethical to manipulate students diets, all studies will be correlations and thus the link will be less than definitive. That doesn't mean there is no causal relationship, as you well know. This is a bogus excuse for not doing the right thing by children and it stinks. You should be ashamed.

    16. My main reason for opposing the School Lunch Program is that it's expensive, wasteful, inefficient, and unnecessary. Also, it hampers education.

      I don't want children to go hungry. But, programs like AFDC, Food Stamps, and private charities already insure that children don't go hungry. And, these programs are a lot broader than School Lunch. School Lunch only helps children of school age and with 5 out of 21 meals a week. (Actually, less than that, because it doesn't apply during summer and other vacations.)

  3. But MSNBC's viewers are much more diverse. So it is okay that their ratings are in the toilet. In fact, they should probably apply for federal funding for the service they provide to the black and Hispanic communities. You see, MSNBC's home team tripe is much more digestible than that of Fox "News."

    1. MSNBC viewers are indeed diverse. They range from conspiracy moonbats about 911 to conspiracy moonbats about Iraq War II to conspiracy moonbats about the 2000 election, etc...

    2. Oh yes, that's a fair and reasoned statement.

    3. Those libtards that watch MSNBC thought we'd get bogged down in Iraq, the defense contractors would rip-off the nation, and the war would actually cost money.
      They probably think know-nothings like cicero would ridicule them for being correct yet again.

    4. Too soon to tell if Obama's reinvasion of Iraq will bog down. Count on MSNBC to ignore it just as they have the actual reinvasion.

      Here is a montage of MSNBC "libtards" doing their meā culpa dance.

    5. "Too soon to tell if Obama's reinvasion of Iraq will bog down."

      Most likely, but the authoritarians will go right along cheering it. Just like torture (and police brutality).

    6. Could you link to demonstrations where protestors are advocating torture and police brutality? The lame stream media would cover such proceedings with all the gusto they did with Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 .

  4. . In our view, these sites tend to eschew the notion of building bridges. Instead, they're inclined to revel in the driving of wedges. '''

    I agree.

    1. Me too. Libtards need to build more bridges to the likes of cicero. Wedge driving is nothing to revel in.

    2. As the POTUS reminds us, you didn't build that bridge.

    3. Try building some bridges with relatives this holiday season.

  5. For years, Bob has been telling us that "increasingly, 'the left' wants its Maypo; increasingly, the left is just like the right." Fox News ratings are up; MSNBC ratings are down. Does that look like the left is "increasingly" like the right? No matter, Bob makes a shift: before MSNBC shouldn't behave partisanly because that would make it "just like Fox,: and it is just serving corporate interests; now it shouldn't behave partisanly because it's bad for ratings. What is obvious is that Bob is enraged when the left behaves in a partisan fashion, and will flip his justification for that rage on a dime, completely abandoning his prior (foolish) rationales when it suits him. The right, though, well, who cares about them? Partisanship --"driving wedges" -- is only bad when one side does it: the left.

    And MSNBC should "reach out" to ... whom? To David in CA, and cicero and Bob's Brigade of Bigots, so his comment section can embarrass even him? Is that the product of Bob's new-found empathy and "love ethic?" A bunch of bigots and counter-bigots foolishly arguing, and another group of people who have come to despise Bob for his arrant kookiness?

    Bob knows how to fix MSNBC's ratings AND heal the nation: the left (only the left, natch) should adopt a "Love ethic," whatever that means. "Love ethic." Could anyone but a bleeding kook have come up with that?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Don't let it get back to Maddow who you're calling a "bleeding kook." You'll be officially drummed out of her fan club.

      ***[QUOTE] Like most people, I had heard of Gandhi, but I had never studied him seriously. As I read I became deeply fascinated by his campaigns of nonviolent resistance. I was particularly moved by the Salt March to the Sea and his numerous fasts. The whole concept of “Satyagraha” (Satyu is truth which equals love, and agruha is force: “Satyagraha,” therefore, means truth-force or love force) was profoundly significant to me. As I delved deeper into the philosophy of Gandhi my skepticism concerning the power of love gradually diminished, and I came to see for the first time its potency in the area of social reform.

      Prior to reading Gandhi, I had about concluded that the ethics of Jesus were only effective in individual relationship. The “turn the other cheek” philosophy and the “love your enemies” philosophy were only valid, I felt, when individuals were in conflict with other individuals; when racial groups and nations were in conflict a more realistic approach seemed necessary. But after reading Gandhi, I saw how utterly mistaken I was

      Gandhi was probably the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force on a large scale. Love, for Gandhi, was a potent instrument for social and collective transformation. It was in this Gandhian emphasis on love and nonviolence that I discovered the method for social reform that I had been seeking for so many months.

      The intellectual and moral satisfaction that I failed to gain from the utilitarianism of Bentham and Mill, the revolutionary methods of Marx and Lenin, the social-contracts theory of Hobbes, the “back to nature” optimism of Rousseau, the superman philosophy of Nietzsche, I found in the nonviolent resistance philosophy of Gandhi. I came to feel that this was the only morally and practically sound method open to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom. [END QUOTE]***

    3. MSNBC (and Salon, and Fox, and all the rest) are running businesses, not trying to lead a political movement. When it suits him (it only suits him when talking about MSNBC and Salon, and very few others, BTW), Bob points this out. When it doesn't, he "disappears" that fact. We suggest one cannot run a successful business based on a "love ethic." Certainly, the most successful of these businesses, Fox, is more interested in anger and outrage than "love." Of course, disappearing Fox is what Bob does best and most often.

    4. Christians have understood the love ethic for some time. Secularists have co-opted forms of it although it fails there as it becomes circular as a mere human construct.

    5. Thanks for the consult on how the "love ethic" won't sell. One more business insight if you don't mind, when can we expect MSNBC to bust out in the ratings with this can't miss Rachel Maddow formula you're so excited about?

    6. Fox News ratings are up; MSNBC ratings are down. Does that look like the left is "increasingly" like the right?

      No, TDH isn't saying that MSNBC resembles Fox News in its ratings but in its tactics.

      before MSNBC shouldn't behave partisanly because that would make it "just like Fox["]

      No, TDH says MSNBC shouldn't behave "partisanly" because that doesn't serve liberal interests.

      now it shouldn't behave partisanly because it's bad for ratings.

      No, TDH says that the practice isn't "suited for serious work from 'the left.'"

      Partisanship ... is only bad when one side does it: the left.

      No, partisanship is bad, period. But TDH isn't talking to or about the right.

      another group of people who have come to despise Bob for his arrant kookiness

      No, there wasn't a first group of such people, let alone another one. There's just you, no matter how many different references to Rachel Maddow you put in your nym.

      "Love ethic." Could anyone but a bleeding kook have come up with that?

      Well, I have to agree with you there. How could that do anything? That's why Jim Crow and the British Raj are still around.

      Pretty clearly no one gave you the gift of a clue for Christmas. Why not make a new year's resolution to get one for yourself?

    7. MSNBC would never stoop to "anger" and "outrage"

      "Angry producer FIRED From msnbc"

      "MSNBC Says We Shouldn't Care About Men Falsely Accused Of Rape By Jackie Coakley"

      "Lawrence O'Donnell goes crazy on air; Scarborough cuts off interview "

    8. We were not aware that we had predicted a triumph for MSNBC's current business model. We only stated that Bob's notional business model based on the "love ethic" will fail, as we are not aware of any business in history operating on such an "ethic" succeeding. But we appreciate the attempt at straw manning us here. We do wonder what the point is -- arguing for the sake of arguing is hardly adhering to the "love ethic" Bob now so deeply cherishes. We'll truly begin to worry when we see the words "Chimps, Pimps, Clowns, and Children" employed. That will signal the end of the "love ethic" before it even gets off the ground. Ghandi would weep.

    9. Oh, then what you're saying is that you're one of those business consultants who runs around offering your expertise only on what won't work.

      BTW, that's pretty rich- you claiming you, of all commenters, wonder at what the point is in "arguing for the sake of arguing." Hurry up and meet your Pearl.

    10. "Love ethic." Could anyone but a bleeding kook have come up with that?

      MLK came up with it referring to Jesus and Ghandi. Lol.

      Hey so Rach we know you have a big problem with Bob's myriad nefariousness - what are you going to do about it!? cry like a baby for another year? lol

    11. Rachel, in addition to the false equivalency game Somerby plays, even more ridiculous is looking at the director of the ratings of Fox and MSNBC and thinking you can take the pulse of the nation that way.

      Throw in CNN as well. Add them all up, and COMBINED their viewership is abysmal in a nation of some 316 million.

      But they've all carved out their tiny little niches in the ever expanding world of viewing choices, which now include video streaming services.

      I submit that the ratings for MSNBC is down because the format is tired. A host speaking to a camera, then bringing on the same panel of guests night after night to talk some more. It's inexpensive, and that format might help Fox retain its older audience, who really want things to be pretty predictable. But it's not going to attract and hold viewers for long in the key demographic, is it?

    12. MSNBC is very lame. We can all agree on that.

    13. Your Howler gets results!

    14. @1035AM,

      You have zero understanding of broadcast media.

      "Almost three out of four U.S. adults (71%) watch local television news and 65% view network newscasts over the course of a month, according to Nielsen data from February 2013. While 38% of adults watch some cable news during the month, cable viewers—particularly the most engaged viewers—spend far more time with that platform than broadcast viewers do with local or network news"

      "But the deeper level of viewer engagement with cable news may help to explain why cable television—despite a more limited audience—seems to have an outsized ability to influence the national debate and news agenda. Previous Pew Research Center data have shown that in prime time—when the audience is the largest—cable talk shows tend to hammer away at a somewhat narrow news agenda that magnifies the day’s more polarizing and ideological issues. The Nielsen data make it clear that cable’s audience is staying for a healthy helping of that content."

    15. 10:35 - Yes, 'influencers' is an important point for you to understand in this particular matter but I understand your point and your frustration. All the best,

  6. A liberal leaning channel broadcasting "Morning Joe"? I'll have the crack that David Carr is having.

    Wasn't Current The One True Liberal Channel? Perhaps a 24-hour War on Gore channel would work. Can someone get Bob an appointment with Joel Hyatt?

    1. Sure. Joe Scarborough is on MSNBC because he criticizes FNC and most conservatives. If you believe that disqualifies MSNBC as the dailykos of cable then you need to put the crack pipe down.

      Here is Megyn Kelly calling Joe out on his role at MSNBC:

    2. Cicero,

      I watched that Megyn Kelly clip, Scarborough came across as a more conservative ideologue than anyone at Fox or even the Drum Major, himself, over at the EIB Network. Kelly's gripe was that Scarborough wasn't obsequious enough toward Republican Party leaders, Hannity, and Limbaugh. I can see where that would be confusing for you, a fall in line and repeat whatever they're telling me this week type of conservative.

    3. Cicero, the boy/girl who cried "RINO."

      Next thing you'll tell me John Boehner isn't a conservative because Sean Hannity wants Cliven Bundy to replace Boehner as Speaker.

    4. You watched the clip., but you obviously do not watch FNC. Charles Krauthammer is the touchstone of conservatism at FNC.

      Neither Hannity nor Limberger are GOP leaders. They are not politicians; they are entertainers. Perhaps Jon Stewart is a leader of the Democratic Party? He couldn't do a worse job than the harpy DWS.

      Scarborough is desperately trying to defend his role on MSNBC in a NewsBusters interview.

      NEWSBUSTERS: Yep, well, as you know, you come under a lot of criticism from conservatives for being a RINO – meaning a Republican in Name Only. Do your critics – which of course at times include NewsBusters – have a point, or are all we all wet?"

      SCARBOROUGH: "Well, it depends on what you or your readers expect of me. And the analogy that I always give to somebody is that I am paid, and I am paid well by NBC News to play the role of John Madden. They don’t pay me to given an opinion like Rachel Maddow would give an opinion or Bill O’Reilly would give an opinion. I can give my opinion, but they want me looking at the football game and telling everybody what just happened and what’s going to happen and to lay things out. "

    5. Cicero @ 4:57 PM,

      That's just, "Na na na, I can't hear you" babble.

  7. Off topic -- some time ago, deadrat pointed out that a TV station falsely reported that demonstrators were chanting, "Kill a cop". There have been some suspensions and some firings at that station.

    Sources tell FTVLive that both the Reporter and the Photographer that did the story have been let go.

    Insiders say that the story idea came directly from News Director Mike Tomko. "It was found by him, assigned by him and ultimately proofed by him," says a station insider to FTVLive.

    Insiders tell FTVLive that Tomko did get a 1 day suspension and a Producer who texted the Tomko that night saying he was uncomfortable with the story got suspended 2 days.

    So, it appears that the ND got a slap on the wrist while others we penalized much more harshly.

  8. All racial all the timeDecember 31, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    Capehart's entire career, and Salon's continuing existence, depend on America NOT becoming "post-racial."

  9. What we should wish for, as it relates to our issues here, is revival in real reporting. Years ago one of Bob's primary targets did a flawed but worthwhile book on Military spending. Like the Turkish Government refusing to acknowledge the Arminian Genocide, Bob has steadfastly refused to admit the book existed, while endlessly reaming the target for her frivolous nature. In the broader sense, Bob is right in line with the corporate reporting on the MSM, he just doesn't do Defense.
    The righty might complain there there is the same see no evil approach on the Left's pet Government Programs, and as far as useful or substantive reporting they would be right. So we can basically say we don't know what David In Ca is bothering wishing for something he gets year after year. When the pubic is kept in the dark Washington does not have to do much.

    1. My recollection is that he reamed her for her crappy reporting and clowning, her wasted opportunity to use her forum to advance progressive interests.

      What is the point of analyzing defense spending if we can't get our candidates elected? I think Somerby has a better sense of priorities than you do.

    2. Greg -- you might be surprised that there's significant agreement between the left and the right on issues of government support for businesses. Both sides see the corruption and waste of giving government goodies to whatever businesses provided campaign contributions.

      Unfortunately, your side and my side have made little progress in cutting this sort of spending. Huge amounts of money continue to go to wealthy corporate farms. Companies like Solyndra get big bucks from the government. Even when they fail, their executives get rewarded. Defense manufacturers get big money for developing weapons, whether they're appropriate for today's world or not.

      My conclusion is that people like you and me don't have much power. The mainstream politicians on both sides say the right tribal thing, but when you look at their actions, not so much. It would be nice if people like you and me could work together for our common aims, rather than blindly demonizing each other.

      And, that's my Happy New Year wish.

    3. Anom at 1:37, He reamed her for her poor reporting and ignored what might have been a significant contribution on a critical topic, if people like him were not so ready to ignore it. David in Ca, your side spends most of it's time and both of our money of the scandal business. In recent months it has had to admit that both the IRS scandal and Benghazi were frauds. The national media, so compliant in reporting and support this nonsense (Bob at least did SOME work here) have been happy to let them quietly dump these major but inevitable losses, Whitewaters with no Monicas. In other words, the liberal media helps them rip us off while Bob blows a gasket over Rachal Maddow.

  10. I'd like to see Big Ed Schulz do a beach based interview program with portly men, like Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie about common themes of late middle aged manhood.

    1. @ 2:20 PM,

      Unlike Rachel Maddow, Looking Back at Me in my Mirror and Smiling at least "you" are trying to be constructive.

  11. Speaking of chronic, Bob's outrage about MSNBC.

  12. Even Jon Stewart was compelled to admit the truth about MSNBC during an interview with Rachel Maddow.

    "MSNBC is like The Munsters. Everyone else over there is ****in' nuts!"

  13. MSNBC is terrible. Just like the rest of the corporate-owned media.

    1. We wonder what a "non-terrible" media would look like. Bob seems to think it would revolve around a "love ethic" (we look forward to seeing what that means, if indeed he doesn't just drop the whole thing); while everyone else is too busy showing off their superior intellects to address the actual issue.

      Keep in mind that any media organization in a capitalist society is either going to have to show a profit on its own, or have some sort of permanent funding, like the (non-partisan) BBC or the MG. The MG, to our knowledge, bleeds money at a frightful rate, despite being quite popular around the world. We suspect the Huffpo/Salon model (trying to appeal to everyone, not just people interested in straight news) is as close as we're going to get to a "left" media that can stand on its own -- if, indeed, they are able to stand on their own. Salon is wobbling badly, with a stock that trades at about 20 cents/share, and has never shown a profit. When it was the "old" Salon, which Bob, seemingly, thought was decent since it never become the focus of his obsessive attention, it lost money, like the MG, at a horrible rate. Huffpo has never made money either, although it was supposed to do it this year (we'll see how that turns out). Huffpo is now owned by AOL, BTW....

      We suppose the bottom line is this: throughout history, NO overtly left wing publication has been able to survive on its own in an English-speaking nation. It has NEVER happened. There are publications like the NYT, that have left wing editorial stances, but whose reporting is pretty much mainstream and which are designed to appeal to mass audiences with their cooking and sex talk and the like (Bob, of course, kooky fuck that he is, hates the NYT for this; presumably they would serve the "progressive agenda" better if they went out of business by being bitterly obsessed and "pure" like he is, and ignored the masses, which, Bob is always preaching "the left" needs to appeal to -- did we mention he's a kooky fuck?). So when one talks about an ideal media, one must define what one means, and then fashion something that will fulfill its stated purpose while being able to survive. For those of you obsessed with business plans, there's your task. For us, while we consider ourselves reasonably smart, we won't pretend to be smart enough to solve a problem that has existed for hundreds of years, and cost hundreds of millions in capital to decent people trying to make the world better, most of them plenty smart in their own right. Blessedly, here, we are surrounded by some of the smartest people on earth. We didn't even need to ask then to confirm that fact -- it's just obvious. If they can't come up with a solution, we'll assume that one doesn't exist. We do feel confident, though, to say that all you need isn't love.

    2. If only all media could be as pure as the liberal NPR....

      NPR Corporate Sponsors.

      •General Motors Corporation
      •Northwestern Mutual Foundation
      •Progressive Casualty Insurance Company
      •Prudential Financial
      •State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company
      •Constellation Energy Group
      •Lionsgate Entertainment Corporation
      •Vanguard Group
      •Alliance for Climate Protection
      •CITGO Petroleum Corporation
      •Fox Searchlight Pictures
      •Overture Films
      •Universal Pictures
      •Warner Home Video
      •20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
      •FX Networks
      •Hyatt Corporation
      •Intel Corporation
      •Johnson Controls
      •Lindamood-Bell Learning Systems
      •Paramount Home Entertainment
      •Paramount Pictures
      •Philips Healthcare
      •U.S. Bank

    3. @Rachel Maddow's Thoughtful

      "like the (non-partisan) BBC "

      Surely you jest?

      "An internal memo, recently discovered by the British media, revealed what the BBC has been trying to hide. Senior figures admitted in a recent 'impartiality' summit that the BBC was guilty of promoting Left-wing views and anti-Christian sentiment."

      BBC's own internal report came out in 2007 critical of their inherent liberal bias.

      "The report points to the danger of BBC programmes being undermined by the liberal culture of its staff, who need to challenge their own assumptions more. “There is a tendency to ‘group think’ with too many staff inhabiting a shared space and comfort zone,” says the report."

      BBC Admits Anti-American Bias

      "The BBC is coming around to recognizing and acknowledging its own bias.

      At a recent, so-called "impartiality" conference, one of its top executives acknowledged that the BBC has not been listening to its viewers, and has come to be dominated by leftist and politically correct viewpoints."

      BBC report damns its ‘culture of bias’

      "It concludes that the bias has extended across drama, comedy and entertainment, with the corporation pandering to politically motivated celebrities and trendy causes."

    4. Cicero @ 12:57,

      I'm confused, you should be delighted to have discovered NPR is a corporate tool protecting you and yours against the specter of socialism. But now that you, a soldier in the fight for freedom, are privy to this closely held information, why would you be here alerting us on the left to the proof that that network has been sowing disinformation in our ranks for decades?

    5. @CMike

      Many liberals share your bewilderment. They imagine that when media accepts economic support from capitalists the possible influence must compromise the message. Yet NPR remains uninhibited in promoting and defending liberal ideology. Liberals may consider corporations rancid butter, but when it's spread on their side of the bread, they manage to digest it.

      Article on NPR after Juan Williams was fired.

    6. NPR propagandizes for centrism/neo-liberalism i.e. coporatism, not New Deal/Great Society liberalism.

    7. New Deal/Great Society liberalism failed to delver on their promises. The Great Depression ended not because of FDR programs, but because America mobilized for WWII. LBJ''s programs didn't end poverty despite spending $22 trillion.

      Even NPR could no longer countenance the embarrassing historical failures of the federal government assuming the role of problem solver for 330+ million people.

    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    9. The New Deal delivered the American golden years, or Happy Days if you prefer. You're right, the New Deal failed to rev up the American economy to full employment in the late thirties by defying that era's (and our own era's) conventional economic wisdom which was not to run up the required huge government deficits and so leaving it to the mobilization for WWII to achieve a full recovery from the Great Depression. However, after the war, the social democratic policies the New Deal put into place were the crucial element for the wide spread prosperity of the post war boom.

      The Great Society was a tremendous success, also. Unfortunately, it is tarred by being associated with the national security state failure of Vietnam; it is tarred by the years of high unemployment and high inflation in the 1970s which hid the Great Society's benefits even though that period of stagflation was in no way brought about by the '60s expansion of the federal government's domestic role in society (Stagflation was caused by an unhappy convergence of business and technology cycles, oil shocks, and Fed mismanagement.); the Great Society has also been tarred by an overwhelming propaganda campaign launched, in part, by the 1971 Powell Memo which has so infected your view of the world, Cicero and that of millions of your fellow citizens, and has led to the current state of affairs, namely control of the media and the government by neo-liberals zealots who serve the interests of corporations and the wealthy at the expense of those in the labor class, if not the future of humanity.

    10. Unions long ago assumed the role of exploitation of the labor class.

      FDR's recession lasted from the fall of 1937 to the summer of 1938 and produced these results:
      industrial production declined by 33 percent
      wages by 35 percent;
      national income by 13 percent
      unemployment rate rose by 5 percentage points,
      4 million workers losing their jobs.

      Unemployment rate in 1933 was 24.75%
      Unemployment rate in 1938 was 18.91%
      Unemployment rate in 1941 was 9.66%

      Full employment in late 1930's? The New Deal was a bust. All economic experts agree on that. Only WWII saved the U.S. economy.

      How is Obama "unconventional" mismanagement of finances raising the national debt by $7 trillion helping out future generations of Americans?

      Your source The Washington Monthly is guided by Charles Peters, a self described New Deal Democrat, who advocates government as the answer to social problems. What a shock that they would consider LBJ's debacle a success.

      Here is an assessment of the G.S. by the conservative Washington Times. Perhaps confirmation bias is a product of the W.T. and the W.M., but there is no denying the insane amount of money that was squandered on a federal government boondoggle.

      "Most of the Great Society was designed to fight LBJ’s War on Poverty, the total cost of which has been the sum of $22 trillion in current dollars, as reckoned by the Heritage Foundation. The tally rises by about $1 trillion a year as more than 80 overlapping means-tested federal programs sap resources the country does not have. The $22 trillion figure is “three times the amount of money that the government has spent on all military wars in its history, from the Revolutionary War to the present,” says Heritage’s Robert Rector.

      What do we have to show for all this federal largesse? The poverty rate hasn’t budged. Instead, we’ve seen the rise of multigenerational welfare dependency. For the $2 trillion the federal government has spent on education since 1965, test scores have plummeted and the achievement gap between minority students and their peers has barely budged. Families, the bedrock of an authentically great society, have suffered most in LBJ’s great social experiment. The overall out-of-wedlock birth rate has ballooned from 8 percent in the mid-1960s to more than 40 percent today; from 25 percent to 73 percent among blacks.

    11. Thanks for the response and if I get a chance I'll follow some of the links in that editorial but at first glance all I'm seeing are unsubstantiated claims. For instance, here at the Howler the Washington Times isn't going to get away the claim that since 1965 grade school "test scores have plummeted."

      The National Debt as a percentage of GDP fell during the '60s, and even the '70s but skyrocketed during the Reagan/Bush 41 years. Why isn't that your concern or the concern of the The Washington Times?

      The statement: "The tally rises by about $1 trillion a year as more than 80 overlapping means-tested federal programs sap resources the country does not have" editorializes but makes no case that there's a net loss to society from them, whichever ones they are. We'd have to start with a list of the programs to decide if the $1 trillion is well spent or not.

      As far as "money the country does not have" goes, actually the private sector is awash with money, interest rates are hovering around historic lows. What's been missing since the '08 meltdown is demand. Downsizing the government isn't going to help with that.

    12. Couldn't find the article I was looking for about that conservative claim that in 1938 the unemployment rate was at 17 or 18% but these paragraphs will do:

      [QUOTE] Will and Charen both cited certain unemployment figures during the 1930s but ignored the overall downward trajectory of unemployment rates throughout the New Deal. In a July 5, 2007, Slate article, University of California-Davis history professor Eric Rauchway noted: "Except in the 1937-38 recession, unemployment fell every year of the New Deal. Also, real GDP grew at an annual rate of around 9 percent during Roosevelt's first term and, after the 1937-38 dip, around 11 percent."

      Further, New York Times columnist and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman wrote that it was a reversal of New Deal policies that contributed to rising unemployment during the 1937-38 recession. In a November 10 Times column, Krugman wrote: "After winning a smashing election victory in 1936, the Roosevelt administration cut spending and raised taxes, precipitating an economic relapse that drove the unemployment rate back into double digits and led to a major defeat in the 1938 midterm elections."

      Moreover, Will claimed, "In 1939 ... unemployment was 17.2 percent," and Charen repeated Powell's claim that "[f]rom 1934 to 1940, the median annual unemployment rate was 17.2 percent," but they appear to be relying on unemployment data that ignores government-relief employment created by New Deal programs. Indeed, Shlaes acknowledged that her figures excluded "make-work jobs," instead relying on data compiled for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) by economist Stanley Lebergott.

      In a November 29 Wall Street Journal column, she wrote, "To be sure, Michael Darby of UCLA has argued that make-work jobs should be counted. Even so, his chart shows that from 1931 to 1940, New Deal joblessness ranges as high as 16% (1934) but never gets below 9 percent"

      After World War II, BLS ceased counting those in work-relief programs as unemployed. [END QUOTE]

      I was looking for the article where someone made the point that conservatives, by ignoring federal relief jobs, were choosing to count workers who were becoming victims of black lung disease in coal mines as gainfully employed but designating someone building the Lincoln Tunnel five days a week as unemployed. In other words, if you don't count New Deal jobs the New Deal failed to keep unemployment below 17% at the height of the 1938 recession.

    13. Found it, it was in a book review by Jonathan Chait and must have hidden on my first search by a New Republic filter:

      [QUOTE] [T]he historian Eric Rauchway has pointed out, [Schlaes'] unemployment figures exclude those employed by the Works Progress Administration and other workrelief agencies. Shlaes has explained in an op-ed piece that she did this because "to count a short-term, make-work project as a real job was to mask the anxiety of one who really didn't have regular work with long-term prospects."

      So, if you worked twelve hours per day in a coal mine hoping not to contract black lung or suffer an injury that would render you useless, you were employed. But if you constructed the Lincoln Tunnel, you had an anxiety-inducing make-work job.

      In response to this criticism, Shlaes has retreated to the defense that unemployment was still high anyway. "Even if you add in all the work relief jobs, as some economists do," she has contended, "Roosevelt-era unemployment averages well above 10 percent. That's a level Obama has referred to once or twice--as a nightmare."

      But Roosevelt inherited unemployment that was over 20 percent! Sure, the level to which it fell was high by absolute standards, but it is certainly pertinent that he cut that level by more than half. [END QUOTE]

    14. After World War II, BLS ceased counting those in work-relief programs as unemployed

      In other words, Schlaes used the official Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment figures, which, in the 1930's, excluded those in work relief programs.

    15. David in Cal 01/04/2015 @ 9:45 AM,

      Correct, that's what Schlaes did and it's not the only slick move she pulled in The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression.

      Or, for some reason do you think people working at a job and receiving a government pay check should be counted as among the unemployed?

      Here's the long in effect BLS explanation of what the Household Survey is and the criteria for assigning the designation of unemployed to a person according to that survey and which the contemporary reader would assume is the criteria being used in a book published in 2007 which cites BLS unemployment data for the 1930s without an asterisk:

      Household survey. The sample is selected to reflect the entire civilian on institutional population. Based on responses to a series of questions on work and job search activities, each person 16 years and over in a sample household is classified as employed, unemployed, or not in the labor force.

      People are classified as employed if they did any work at all as paid employees during the reference week; worked in their own business, profession, or on their own farm; or worked without pay at least 15 hours in a family business or farm. People are also counted as employed if they were temporarily absent from their jobs because of illness, bad weather, vacation, labor-management disputes, or personal reasons.

      People are classified as unemployed if they meet all of the following criteria: they had no employment during the reference week; they were available for work at that time; and they made specific efforts to find employment sometime during the 4-week period ending with the reference week. Persons laid off from a job and expecting recall need not be looking for work to be counted as unemployed. The unemployment data derived from the household survey in no way depend upon the eligibility for or receipt of unemployment insurance benefits.

    16. I can only speculate as to why FDR's BLS thought people employed by the Works Progress Administration and other work relief agencies shouldn't be counted as "employed". Maybe they considered WPA jobs more like welfare than like real work, although I personally wouldn't agree with this reasoning. From what I've read, the WPA employees were doing real work, and, in many cases, quite useful work.

      I think it's not inappropriate for an author to follow the BLS usage at the time. However, I fully agree with you that an asterisk should have been appended to point out the change in definition of "unemployed."

  14. Maddow devotee @ 2:09 AM says:

    We suppose the bottom line is this: throughout history, NO overtly left wing publication has been able to survive on its own in an English-speaking nation. It has NEVER happened.

    My advice, never use never.

    1. We have been considering abandoning this site to Crazy Bob, his band of bigots, and the halfwits who beat their chests here for some time, as we have many better things to do than spend even a few minutes a day posting here. Sad to say, the rank stupidity of this post was the final straw.

      We wish everyone the best, particularly Bob. Once, he had a lot to say, and whatever he has become now, we are grateful for what he was, and take away many useful things from that time.

    2. I put the over/under on Maddow devotee's next comment in a Howler thread at 9 hours. That's assuming he's off to sleep for 8.

    3. What RMWG means to say is he doesn't like his tribe's ox getting gored by Bob who was brilliant when he was goring the other tribe's ox.

    4. This could be truly tragic, Rachel succombing finally to the overwhelming tide of stupidity with her brilliant wit challenged for so long

  15. Bob hopes to see the "chronic outrage" replaced by Dr. King’s unembarrassed “love ethic,” which he hailed long ago. I second his hope. However, some campuses seem to be moving in the wrong direction, with their focus on "trigger warnings" and "micro-aggressions. Here's a strong article that represents pushback against these concepts, but I don't think it will have much exposure. “Microaggressions”, “Trigger Warnings”, and the New Meaning of “Trauma”

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