Supplemental: Trump and the lives which were lost in the search!


The facts play no role in our discourse:
We marveled at some of the coverage of Wednesday night’s debate.

We especially marveled at some of the work in yesterday’s New York Times. For one example, consider the follow-up news report in which Trip Gabriel explained how Republican voters in Iowa had assessed the event.

“Voters See Lack of Fire as Problem for Carson,” the headline announced in our hard-copy Times.

“Iowa Viewers Praise Fiorina,” the sub-headline added.

It sounded like Gabriel knew his stuff! Live and direct from deepest Des Moines, this is the way he started:
GABRIEL (9/18/15): Carly Fiorina hit a walk-off homer, helium is leaking from Ben Carson’s balloon and Scott Walker’s candidacy is on life support, according to the Republicans in Iowa who will cast the first votes of the nominating contest in less than five months.

Oh, and Donald J. Trump is still Donald J. Trump—what did you expect?
The assessment of Trump was a little bit vague, but it sounded like Gabriel knew his stuff! After all, he had spoken to “the Republicans in Iowa who will cast the first votes of the nominating contest in less than five months!”

Hungrily, we continued to read. Incredibly, this came next:
GABRIEL (continuing directly): A sampling of a dozen Iowans on Thursday who watched the second Republican debate—all of them close followers of the presidential race who are uncommitted—did not vary from the emerging national consensus about Mrs. Fiorina’s performance.
“A sampling of a dozen Iowans?” That’s actually what it said!

Before succumbing to exhaustion, Gabriel had interviewed twelve voters! The analysts moped for the rest of the day, dismayed by what they had read.

A dozen Iowans? Really?

It’s always shaky, on its face, when reporters interview voters after events, recording their reactions. Whatever views such people express, their views are baldly anecdotal—anecdotal in the extreme.

The hoary old practice is shaky enough when newspapers like the Times send teams of reporters out to speak to scores of people. But Gabriel said he spoke to twelve voters! Thirty-six hours post-debate, that was his grand total!

It gets worse. On the basis of twelve reactions, the New York Times published a news report describing the way “Republicans in Iowa” reacted to Wednesday’s debate. On the basis of twelve reactions, the New York Times actually placed this headline at the top of its national politics page:

“Voters See Lack of Fire as Problem for Carson”

“Voters” see it that way, we were told! Based on Gabriel’s full report, it seemed to be two or three voters!

Have worms been secretly eating the brains of our journalistic pseudo-elite? We’ve asked that question many times in the past. This is the sort of ridiculous conduct to which we’ve always had reference.

Gabriel’s non-news report news report suggests that some form of intellectual illness has breached the high walls of the Times. But then, for our money, the paper’s lead editorial about the debate was little better; its report about Fiorina and the abortion footage skipped an extremely basic point; and its report about the vaccine dispute was weirdly narrow in its focus.

(Are the worms even advanced on Krugman? We even thought we might have seen that in his graf about Chris Christie’s “lie.”)

With Gabriel’s dozen leading the way, we marveled at the worm-eaten work in yesterday’s New York Times. On Thursday night, we also marveled at the way Rachel Maddow opened her increasingly worm-infested program.

Maddow’s worm-infested cable channel hasn’t posted transcripts of her program past Tuesday yet. But go ahead! Watch the first five minutes of Thursday’s show! The worms have been brutally active where Maddow’s staffers type the words which emerge from her grinning mouth.

(Oops, sorry! We can’t link you to that tape; that hasn’t been posted either! The Maddow Show has gotten so daft they now withhold her opening segments!)

Back to the Times:

Gabriel based a news report on what he heard from twelve voters! Increasingly, that’s the way his puzzling newspaper tends to function in its political coverage.

That said, we were struck by what we read in a front-page news report in that same paper this morning.

Richard Oppel reported the testimony by the general who led the Army’s investigation into the disappearance of Bowe Bergdahl. At one point, Oppel discussed a factual claim on which we’d never quite gotten clear:
OPPEL (9/19/15): [D]espite claims that a half-dozen soldiers died in the search for Sergeant Bergdahl, General Dahl testified that he had found no evidence that any soldiers had been killed while specifically engaged in the effort. And Sergeant Bergdahl did not intend to walk to China or India, as some other soldiers had suggested. Instead, the general said that while Sergeant Bergdahl might have made the comment, it was simply typical idle chatter among privates with time to kill on a lonely combat outpost.
Really? No soldiers were killed in the search? We felt sure that we’d heard a different story in recent weeks. We checked to see where we heard it.

Alas! When it comes to bogus factual claims, all roads seem to lead to just one place at this time. Below, you see Donald Trump back in July, speaking to CNN’s Dana Bash about the horrible deal with Iran:
TRUMP (7/14/15): It’s emblematic of the way they negotiate. It’s like Sergeant Bergdahl. We get a traitor named Sergeant Bergdahl, and they get—look what they get! They get their five guys they most wanted anywhere in the world. Who makes deals like this?

And by the way, with Bergdahl, six people died trying to get that traitor back. So, we get Bergdahl and they get five guys they wanted? That's not the way you deal.
Trump’s statement went unchallenged.

On August 19, the candidate held a town hall event in New Hampshire. The cable channels all pimped it live. With inserts from the CNN transcript, here’s part of what he said:
TRUMP (8/19/15): But take Sergeant Bergdahl. Does anybody remember that name?


TRUMP: So, this is the way we think. So we get a traitor named Bergdahl, a dirty, rotten traitor–


Who, by the way, when he deserted, six young beautiful people were killed trying to find him, right? And you don't even hear about it anymore.

Somebody said the other day, well, he had some psychological problems. You know, in the old days—Bing, bong.

“Bing, bong?” That was Trump imagining Bergdahl getting shot, extra-legally, back in the days when men were men and bunions were a deferment.

The cables made money off that event. Two nights later, the candidate held his stadium event in Mobile, once again with full coverage:
TRUMP (8/21/15): That is sort of like Sergeant Bergdahl. Has anybody heard of Sergeant Bergdahl? The traitor. No, no, the traitor.

I call President Obama the five-for-one president. We get Sergeant Bergdahl, a traitor who—by the way, six people at least that we know of, six people were killed trying to get this guy back, six people that went after him. They wanted to get him back.

So we get Sergeant Bergdahl, and they get five people that they desperately wanted for years that are right now back on the battlefield trying to kill everybody, including us. How stupid are we? How stupid are we?
How stupid are we? Increasingly, that’s an important question.

When we checked, we were surprised by what we found. We thought that we’d been hearing the claim about the Bergdahl search on various Fox News programs. As it turned out, we’d been hearing it straight from the Trumpster's mouth.

Has anyone ever challenged that claim on those cable channels? Without conducting a detailed search, we saw one minor semi-correction on CNN. That said, the fact that no one got killed in the Bergdahl search doesn’t seem to be entirely new. Way back in June 2014, the New York Times’ Savage and Lehren wrote this in a news report:
SAVAGE/LEHREN (6/4/14): Did the search for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl cost the lives of American soldiers?

Since last weekend's prisoner exchange in which Afghan insurgents turned over Sergeant Bergdahl after five years of captivity, a number of the men who served with him have called him a deserter. Some have gone further, blaming him for the deaths of six to eight soldiers.

That second claim is hardening into a news media narrative.
CNN has reported as fact that ''at least six soldiers died'' looking for Sergeant Bergdahl after senior American military officials say he wandered off his base. The Daily Beast published an essay by a former member of Sergeant Bergdahl's battalion, Nathan Bradley Bethea, who linked the search to the deaths of eight soldiers whom he named. ''He has finally returned,'' Mr. Bethea wrote. ''Those men will never have the opportunity.''

But a review of casualty reports and contemporaneous military logs from the Afghanistan war shows that the facts surrounding the eight deaths are far murkier than definitive—even as critics of Sergeant Bergdahl contend that every American combat death in Paktika Province in the months after he disappeared, from July to September 2009, was his fault.
News orgs were put on notice back then. But so what? This summer, Candidate Trump has toured the countryside making his thrilling claim.

His claim has been made all over TV. We haven’t seen any pushback.

Basic facts play almost no role in our devolving discourse. We’ve noted this fact again and again in recent years, in a variety of contexts.

As our news orgs sit and stare, Trump has been making this basic fact about our culture just that much more clear. Consider the candidate’s conduct in just the past week:

On Wednesday night, he told his buffoonish story about the way vaccinations cause autism. Twenty-three million were watching.

On Thursday night, Trump diddled himself as an angry voter announced that Barack Obama is a Muslim and isn’t even an American.

(Back in 2011, Trump pimped these bogus claims all across the land. The gentleman disgraced himself, playing the role of King Birther.)

On Tuesday night, Trump had appeared at a fund-raiser for an entity which he said boasted membership from “hundreds of thousands” of veterans. As it turns out, the entity may not have any members at all and has lost its tax-exempt status.

The entity may be a sham. This is the latest report from CNN.

For many years, facts have played amazingly little role in our public discourse. Increasingly, our public discourse tends to be narrative all the way down.

Increasingly, factual claims are invented, embellished or disappeared to suit prevailing narratives. News orgs don't seem to notice or care.

News orgs managed to notice what happened on Thursday night. Presumably, those news orgs will now be forced to ask Candidate Trump to state his view about Obama’s place of birth.

The orgs had avoided that topic till now. Candidate Trump was making things fun! He was also making them money.

Presumably, “news orgs” will now be forced to ask Trump about his birther past. Will they ask him about those six dead soldiers? Not in a million years!

Meanwhile, what do twelve Iowans think about this? As part of its daft political coverage, we look for the Times to tell us.

Mika squirms and deflects: On Thursday evening, Candidate Trump let those statements about Obama go unchallenged. Friday morning, on Morning Joe, Mika squirmed and deflected.

On Morning Joe, Mika is cast in the role of the Clinton fan who is forced by indisputable facts to admit the depth of the email scandal. She minces and squirms and pretends to be torn as she helps Joe go for the kill.

Mika savages Clinton daily. To watch her deflect on behalf of Trump, go ahead—just click here.


  1. This is all the result of affirmative action for wingnuts. Or, simply, wingnut welfare. They have created their own reality and massive information/media industrial complex to feed the beast.

    Plus the complete and total success by the rightwing campaign to intimidate our major news organizations to the point that they are totally impotent, so frightened they are of ever being called part of the liberal media.

    And the abolition of the fairness doctrine, giving non-stop complete and total saturation of the radio market to 24 hour 7 day a week hate radio.

    1. Beyond that, I think the internet has become an echo chamber for false facts, not a corrective source. The blogs that do examine factual accuracy of claims are drowned out by the sheer overwhelming amount of noise. How can this be good for a democracy that relies on an informed electorate?

    2. mm - since you read this blog you are aware that the mainstream media also does plenty of misreporting. But, I don't see how the problem gets solved by allowing the government to control what gets reported.

    3. Who ever suggested that the government control what gets reported?

      I don't know what you are implying, but the parallel universe/alternate reality bubble world Wingnutistan that you inhabit is not the answer.

    4. The Fairness Doctrine gave the government a measure of control over what was reported. Of course, it was intended to do good, and perhaps it did. But, the fact remains, that under this Doctrine the FCC had a degree of power over reporting.

    5. wiki says

      The Fairness Doctrine was a policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was, in the Commission's view, honest, equitable and balanced. (emphasis added)

    6. Who are the members of the FCC and how are they appointed?

    7. So what, David. The idea was only to give some semblance of balance since broadcasting licenses were precious. The government doesn't produce the news, that honor goes to the GWBush Administration, even without worrying about the fairness.

    8. I agree mm that the fairness doctrine worked pretty well at the time. It's not needed today, since there are so many sources of news available. Also, partisanship is harsher today. If the Fairness Doctrine were in effect today, I wouldn't trust that the FCC would give proper balance. It might be captured by one side or the other.

      A recent example of the viciousness of today's politics, is that Senator Whitehouse and 20 scientists proposed prosecuting climate skeptics under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a law designed to fight organized crime.

    9. And just like clockwork, David hijacks the thread to introduce his favorite hobby horse, climate change denial.

      "Climate skeptics"? You mean like you? Your characterization of that letter is as dishonest as everything else you write.


    10. As most sentient beings know, trolling is just another form of viciousness. Imagine him quoting the fairness doctrine and the FCC - a governmental entity - in support of his screed of the day.

    11. The Fairness Doctrine didn't censor reporting, it provided for equal time in response to station/news outlet editorializing. The airwaves belong to the public, it is only fair competing views be heard.

    12. Yes, 3:16, that's how it worked in principle. And, I think it worked pretty well in practice as well. However, it depended on the judgments of FCC members who decided what was fair.

      But, what if good judgment were lacking? Imagine that some future FCC were controlled by by extreme right-wingers. They might require that equal time be given to the views to the right of Rush Limbaugh. Or suppose the FCC were controlled by far-out people on the other side who thought it appropriate to force a 3-year old to become transgendered.

    13. Imagine that your local grocery store were really run by zombies who used food ads to lure people into the store so they could eat their brains! How scary would that be? Let's avoid food shopping from now on -- it could happen, right?

      Back in the 50s and 60s there was a time right after the news dedicated to statements by the public. You heard John Birchers one night, socialists the next, and a range of opinions on many topics. It was fascinating. SNL's Emily Latella (Gilda Radnor) was a dead-on parody of it. The FCC didn't screen who spoke, nor did the TV station. It was public access before UHF. The FCC mandated that it occur. The FCC didn't tell any to speak or not to speak, but it mandated equal access, the last vestige of which is the opposition speeches given after the State of the Union address.

      The larger question David raises is whether you trust people to participate in a democracy. It is back to Thomas Jefferson (for greater public participation) versus Alexander Hamilton (for greater restriction of access). If you allow the people to speak their minds, your hear some craziness (witness David's comment today). If you are afraid that our democracy cannot withstand the airing of different opinions, you wind up without free speech. It seems odd to me that the Republicans, who are supposedly the greatest patriots calling for adherence to the founding fathers' vision of America, are always the ones arguing against free speech and for limitation of freedom. In this case, David argues that we cannot trust people to carry out access to the airwaves because they might abuse that access by saying something he disagrees with. That seems profoundly un-American to me.

    14. I remember when I was younger, I would look forward each week to Firing Line with William Buckley. It was on that conservative boogey man Public Television.

      David has diverted the discussion to only one of my criticisms, the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine. Yet he ignores the bigger problem, the vast all-encompassing Wingnut Welfare media industrial complex supported and reinforced by their Wingnut Welfare "think" tanks.

      For god sakes, could Steve Doocy or Greg Gutfield ever get a job as a real journalist in the 60's or 70's? the very idea is laughable.

    15. AnonymousSeptember 20, 2015 at 10:54 AM -- I intended my comment to mean the opposite of how you interpreted it. I don't trust the government to regulate access to the airwaves.

    16. The government has been regulating access to airwaves since we had radio and TV and other forms of communication. What exactly is your beef with how that has been done? Don't speculate about what Hitler might do. Tell us what you think has been wrong in the way that regulation has occurred. Not enough Fox? Too little Limbaugh on radio?

    17. mm - Buckley's show wasn't purely conservative, because he debated a liberal guest. When he died, public TV didn't replace him with a semi-conservative show. OTOH plenty of their shows are dominated by liberals. The NewsHour also moved to the left after Lehrer left. These illustrate Conquest's Second Law.

    18. Sounds like you think the purpose of regulation should be to sppress liberal voices.

    19. Anon 3:53 -- If I haven't been clear, I think the media should regulated as little as possible. As I read the Tenth Amendment, I think public radio and public TV are clear violations, although I see little prospect of the Court declaring public radio and TV unconstitutional. IMHO public TV today has been captured by liberals and public radio even more so.

    20. "Buckley's show wasn't purely conservative,"

      Buckley didn't always debate a liberal. When he chose to debate a liberal, it made for a compelling debate and exchange of philosophy and ideas on a much higher plane than the bullshit put out by your Wingnut Welfare media industrial complex.

      It is a 24 hour non stop job just trying to keep up with the massive disinformation bullshit lying put out by the rightwing media in this country. It's gotten to the point where Republicans just say any damn thing they want because they know they have the media industrial complex to protect them from ever being called out for the fucking liars they are.

      This post was about the leading republican candidate running around the country just flat out lying about Bergdahl and not a single person in the mainstream media calling him out on it.

      How the fuck did we get to this place? I'm sure you're quite comfortable with it but to me it is far worse than any nightmare Orwell could have imagined.

    21. mm -- In politics, there's too much bullshit, but it's from liberals as well as from conservatives. E.g.,see

    22. Public radio abd TV were created to provide an outlet for material with value but lacking commercial viability. Given the many discussions about how chasing ratings corrupts public affairs shows, the need for public media seems more urgent than ever. Several here have noted that despite the larger number of voters who lare liberal, the liberal shows cannot attract the same audiences as Fox etc. The manufacture of outrage and emotion-evoking lies on the right may account for the bigger audiences but at a cost when voters are hoodwinked by con artists and can't vote their own interests due to such lies.

    23. David, you are a joke. You post a link to powerline, as though this is some objective source or something. You have inadvertently demonstrated precisely what I have been trying to say. Powerline provides you with a comfortable alternate universe of bullshit that you enjoy.

      This is the kind of stuff you read on powerline.

      "It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile." John Hinderaker of the Powerline

      Forget about it David. Just enjoy your wingnut welfare media industrial complex. I'm through with you.

    24. Sadly, all beautiful friendships don't end well.

    25. mm - "I'm through with you."

      Famous last words.

    26. mm -- you left out the end of the quote:
      Hyperbolic? Well, maybe.

      An update to the post reads:

      The tone of the post is obviously tongue in cheek, but liberals never seem to notice. They are, to put it charitably, not big on nuance. More important, I’ve never seen a liberal respond to, let alone rebut, the point of the post: that President Bush’s proposal to share pollution control technology with the countries where carbon emissions are rising most rapidly made far more sense than the Kyoto approach, which combined ineffectiveness with economic disaster. That, too, is a sign of the intellectual vacuity of modern liberalism.

      BTW, even if the phrase you object to hadn't been more-or-less a joke, automatically rejecting everything ever written on a group blog because you disagree with a single judgment one of the bloggers made ten years ago seems to indicated motivated reasoning.

    27. Hinderaker has been a joke for decades.

    28. Speaking of someone who doesn't know when something is tongue in cheek, check out this from DinC @ 10:22 am:

      "Or suppose the FCC were controlled by far-out people on the other side who thought it appropriate to force a 3-year old to become transgendered."

      And follow the link. Ed Anger would be proud. Those who follow Somerby's musings on exploding Soviet TV's, on the other hand, would probably write a long series of comments.

    29. AnonymousSeptember 21, 2015 at 12:03 AM -- you seem to think that Everywoman Weekly is actually a parody site. You might be right. On the one hand, I found nothing on the site to indicate that it's a parody. And, many reader comments evidently take it seriously. OTOH some of the positions expressed are so far out, that it's hard to believe it's not a parody. E.g. it recommends a woman proves that she loves her man by encouraging him to sleep with other women.

    30. "...some of the positions expressed are so far out, that it's hard to believe it's not a parody."

      Same could be said for last week's GOP debate.

    31. David in Cal's usual Sunday comment was delayed until Monday due to the extra long, in fact vain, wait for the morning sermon at Landover Baptist Church.

      He found nothing at the site to indicate it was a parody, or even that it had closed.

  2. So much material, so little time.

    "As it turned out, we’d been hearing it straight from the Trumpster's mouth."

    The Bobster, on a Saturday rant 'n roll. 9/19/15

    "Earth to so-called press corps:

    You know that fellow, Candidate Trump? His name really isn’t “The Donald.” Now that he’s actually running for president, we’re routinely amazed, and not amazed, when journalists refer to him in their favorite silly/fun nickname-y way.....

    You can call him “Mister Trump” or “Candidate Trump.” You can call him “Johnson” or “Jackson.”

    But guess what? Except in the childish minds of these life forms, he actually isn’t “The Donald.”

    Mister Serious B. Somerby 8/17/15

    1. And what should we call you? Perhaps "Light in the shoes?"

    2. It's KZ again. No one else cares so much about Somerby's inconsistency. I picture KZ going around straightening the world's picture frames. He tells his mom: "But you said on Monday that we would have chicken on Friday and then we had fish..." in a whining voice.

      Again, Somerby is not a journalist -- he is a citizen and consumer of journalism. He can call Trump whatever he wants. Journalists are a profession with a standard of ethics. They have rules and one dictates impartiality in how candidates for office are discussed in news reports.

    3. Interesting 1:50. The commenter merely makes a humorous play with Somerby's calling a member of the press "a life form" "childish" and implies the whole lot are not from this earth.

      And, in your view, it is the commenter, not Somerby, who is whining.

      I don't know what reminded you of KZ. Perhaps it was the outer space referednce by Somerby which called him to mind. You seem to see the fellow everywhere these days.

    4. I think I'll call you mini-KZ. @1:25 was not humor. Nothing funny there. Just more tiresome whining about Somerby.

    5. Thanks, Bobsterita. Let's see how accurate you are in the future pointing me out.

    6. Don't you worry, 9:48, 6:52. like all members of the Blogger Defense Front, has nothing on Nostrodamus. You're as good as got.

    7. "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"

      Matthew 7:16

    8. 11:09 - false prophets?

      What a maroon!

    9. Kurt Lemay hasn't shared anything on this page with you.

  3. Even though no lives were lost trying to rescue Bergdahl, exchanging 5 Taliban commanders for a deserter was a bizarre and irresponsible action. We'll never know how many additional people are dead because these Taliban commanders are free.

    1. You are misunderstanding what happened. So is Trump. We didn't bargain Bergdahl for 5 Taliban commanders. At the end of our participation in Afghanistan, as part of the formalities of leaving, we returned all prisoners and so did they. It didn't matter who they were or how many there were, on either side. When you cease hostilities, as part of leaving, you give back military prisoners. It is misrepresentation to suggest that there was a deal made or that Bergdahl was specifically traded for those Taliban leaders, like kids trade marbles. I'm not surprise that you don't understand this, David. Trump, however, is running for President and should know such things. I worry about his ignorance on this and so many other issues.

    2. Big brave red white and blue David of the 1st Armored Bean Counter Chickenhawk Brigade doesn't accept your reality. He has his own alternate universe.

    3. Sen McCain didn't understand this swap as a routine end-of-war exchange of prisoners. He criticized the release of these particular high-level, dangerous Taliban commanders. Apparently some other Taliban remained in Gitmo.

      McCain's warning seems to be on target. CNN had reports of at least one of them returning to battle.

    4. If Obama didn't do the exchange, McCain would've complained about that. You make McCain out to be some sort of authority when he, like you, is nothing more than a GOP hack.

    5. Once again, David veers the discussion off topic.

      The subject of this post by TDH is how the leading republican candidate along with the right wing media is lying about 6 brave soldiers getting killed while searching for Bergdahl. And the cowardly incompetent media allowing them to get away with the lying.

      you want to debate the prisoner exchange, why don't you go to

    6. That's the troll m.o. That's why it's comical when the occasional useful idiot thinks that he's somewhat reasonable and that persuasion - especially fact-based - will enable him to eventually come around and succumb to reason.

      Whether it's this jacka$$,, cicero, Patterico or any other of the dozens that pollute comboxes, it's the same old poison in different bottles.

    7. "That's why it's comical when the occasional useful idiot thinks that he's somewhat reasonable and that persuasion - especially fact-based - will enable him to eventually come around and succumb to reason."

      Be careful. Bob will call you a "lazy liberal" for not trying (and succeeding) at exactly that.

  4. Plenty of innocents thereabouts killed by O's droning and Hillary's consent, but not sure Sanders offers any relief either.

    1. So who does, genius? Trump?

    2. You think Hillary's permission was required for Obama to send drones out? You think anyone in a subordinate position to the president gives consent to the president's actions (except sometimes Congress)? Drones are part of the military. Did Hillary supervise the military? Of course not.

      How many bills did Sanders propose in Congress requiring that the president stop killing U.S. citizens using drone attacks? Hint: 0. Only people like Glenn Greenwald have been protesting that. Not good old work-within-the-system liberals like Bernie (still feeling that Bern?). The cutting edge of liberalism passed him by when he didn't occupy anything or defend the electronic frontier or stick up for Snowden.

    3. "Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who caucuses with the Democratic Party, appeared on Countdown with Keith Olbermann and supported the protests saying, "We desperately need a coming together of working people to stand up to Wall Street. We need to rebuild the middle-class in this country and you guys can't have it all."

      But he didn't go down to visit the people in NYC or elsewhere. His statement was similar to that made by Bill Clinton, Hillary, Nancy Pelosi and many other Democrats. Of course he has promoted occupy interests in Congress, earning their endorsement in April, but not from the streets.

      You can see this as Bush flying over New Orleans or you can see it as no worse and no better than any other Democrat, but Occupy itself considers him their preferred candidate.


      I care about Snowden because whistleblowers must be protected. Obama, and apparently Sanders, feel differently.

    5. "Occupy itself considers him their preferred candidate."

      Are you sure you are not talking about Octopi? Becasue last I checked, Occupy still hadn't reached consensus. And then the drumming stopped.

    6. The octopus is the symbol of the plutocracy.

    7. Like other water-dwelling creatures, the octopus animal totem symbolizes purity, emotional, psychic and creativity. The octopus spirit guide is also known to be symbolic of a keen spiritual psyche and inspires others to channel theirs.

      The octopus is a regenerative creature, meaning that it can detach an appendage if need be. This defensive tactic allows them to escape predators and other potentially harmful situations. For us, this serves as a reminder to cut excess baggage loose. Maybe there is a person in your life who is leeching off of you, but you are too kind or too nervous to send them off.

  5. A sampling of a dozen Daily Howler posts indicates Bob Somerby is getting lazy in his coverage of media reaction to presidential debates.

    In years past, Somerby could be counted on to review the media reactions of several outlets. In fact, as recently as March 15th of this year, Somerby posted about four different journalists covering a Presidential Debate in New Hampsire that happened sixteen years ago!

    Now, with a field of sixteen and the highest TV ratings ever, what is the extent of the Howler's coverage of the recent Republican debate? One lousy article which appeared on Page A-20 of the New York Times a day and a half after the debate.

    One thing is consistent in the Howler reviews of media coverage. Somerby hasn't liked any of it. That applies to coverage of debates by the media and coverage of anything by the New York Times.

    1. Somerby doesn't"cover" presidential campaigns. He muses about how the mainstream press covers them.

    2. @3:01 -- why do you keep typing stuff like this about this blog? Are you a slow learner?

    3. I apologize at 3:39. I should have said Bob Somerby is getting lazy in his musings on media reaction to presidential debates.

    4. Perhaps you were getting a little lazy yourself?

    5. As God is my witness, I will never say Bob Somerby "covers" the media again.

    6. I think it would be helpful to ask which definition of "musing" best describes what is put forth in The Daily Howler.

      Does Soemrby meditate. cogitate, or ruminate?

    7. Cogitate seems to fit:

      think deeply about something; meditate or reflect.
      "he stroked his beard and retired to cogitate"

      Bob is a codger. Semi-retired. Bearded.

    8. Meditate seems too passive to apply to the Howler. It implies a silence that would be more appropriately used to describe liberals during their long woodland hiberantion period.

  6. David, you post a link to powerline, and this is an example of what they define as "bullshit"

    The biggest example of progress, Sanders said, was the election of President Obama. “But the point is that in 2008 this country took a huge step forward in voting for a candidate based on his ideas and not the color of his skin,” Sanders said.

    Bullshit. No one would have imagined voting for Obama in 2008, but for the color of his skin. It was his only purported qualification for the office, and we have seen where that obsession with race has led us. Next year, let’s have a genuinely color-blind election. On a level playing field, Bernie Sanders wouldn’t be disqualified by the color of his skin, but rather by the fact that his socialist ideas are idiotic.

    In the OPINION of one of your hate mongers,

    >> No one would have imagined voting for Obama in 2008, but for the color of his skin. It was his only purported qualification for the office,<<

    and that qualifies as an example of bullshit by Bernie Sanders in your warped and twisted world.

    On the other hand, at the recent republican debate, virtually everything Fiorina said was a demonstrable LIE. That means factually incorrect. Not just contrary to someone else's opinion. Do you see the difference?

    And post debate she was hailed universally in the media, from MSNBC to FOX as the big winner and she is now surging in the polls.

    1. Warning to Howler Commenters.

      Despite current poll results, it is early.

      Please take care not to say anything that will help President Walker*.

      * "There’s every chance that it could happen—that they will give us a President Walker, Rubio, Bush or Paul."

    2. How will pointing out Fiorina or Trump's lies benefit them in the Republican primaries?

    3. I just don't know. Can you point me to someone doing so?

  7. Its total bullshit to think that Obama being black wasn't a huge factor, the major factor. They gave him a peace prize for it. You write about the right wing manufacturing a brand of reality, right back at you.

    1. Feel the hate 849. Nearly 8 years now and Obama still did great things cleaning up after Bush. Feel the hate.

    2. Yes, Obama cleaned up after Bush. But we still don't know how the clean up of New Orleans schools has worked out. I thought we were going to find out if they suspend or expel their black kids like everybody else in the South. Next week?

  8. KZ added two criticisms to Friday's comments section, accusing Somerby of being deceptive. His main points were:

    (1) The 2009 12th grade Main NAEP test was changed compared to the 2005 test so it cannot be compared.
    (2) The test classifies students into Achievement levels that can be used to compare across years instead of mean scores.

    Looking at the descriptive information about the test changes in 2009, the main change is that additional questions were added to the 12th grade test to assess mathematical reasoning (as a measure of readiness for college work). That means the test was made more difficult. Given that there are still gains in the math scores across each of the demographic groups, even at 12th grade (with the new harder questions), the test score improvement supports Somerby's claims, not refutes them. If students are showing large gains even with a change in the test that has made it more difficult, then there are improvements in math.

    The inclusion of Achievement levels is a red herring. These group a range of scores into a single overall classification, such as Proficient or Basic. As a measure, they are less precise and thus are not as good for comparing gains across test years. They will tend to obscure improvement. If the underlying scale of scores used to group the students into those categories changes from 2005 to 2009, because they are broad, the larger categories may not change. For example, if clothing is labeled Small, Medium, Large, Extra-large, each label might include a range of actual sizes (10-12, 14-16, 18-20). A person might gain weight and go from a 10 to a 12 but still be wearing a size Small. These broad groups do not provide a way around the difficulties of comparing the actual mean scores. Somerby was correct to ignore them because they are not precise.

    KZ doesn't seem to understand why the tests were changed. The Math Framework is the curriculum taught. When it changes, then the test has to change too. With Common Core, the tests will change again. It is important to keep improving education by introducing better ways to teach math. We cannot stop changing the curriculum just to make it possible to compare cohorts of kids across decades. So, we have to live with these changes and the technical difficulties in testing.

    Continued in Part 2

    1. Part 2 (Continuing):

      Here is the point -- if you make the test questions harder because mathematical reasoning is added to the curriculum and yet the scores still go up, you cannot claim that math achievement is stagnant or flat. You also cannot throw your hands up and insist that no comparisons can be made, just because the comparisons include technical difficulties of one sort or another.

      I do find myself wondering why KZ is such a relentless adversary of Somerby on this issue of whether our kids are improving in early grades and in high school. Cui bono? What is to be gained by claiming that our schools are not working and our kids are not learning? I think that is at the heart of the school profiteering and looting of public education that has gone under the guise of "reform" and it is being justified by complaints like KZ's. It is also at the heart of the union-busting attacks on teachers and their unions, since those unions have not only opposed "reform" but also worked hard to elect politicians who will not disrupt improvement in our schools (see Walker's efforts in Wisconsin).

      The comment added by KZ late yesterday is dishonest. It throws out two criticisms that are intended to make Somerby appear mendacious but that have NO substance at all. KZ (and others) assume that no one will make an effort to understand the technicalities involved, that no one will go to the NAEP website and look up the facts, that people will just read his complaints and be snowed by the details into believing that Somerby is wrong. He is not. KZ is certainly persistent but he doesn't have a case, his use of technical material is intended to deceive, and he is NOT on the right side in this issue. What I do not understand is how people can place their own financial benefit ahead of the needs of our children.

    2. In theory, yours is an important comment. In practice, it’s clear that nobody cares. For various reasons, it can also be a tricky comment—one that invites a KZ response..

    3. Good job @ 8:50. Did you start before Korea or even earlier, before Ike?

    4. I'm glad Bill Maher stood up for teachers on his last show.

      Too many blame teachers who really have to cope with a lot of different cultures in the classrooms these days.

    5. Speaking of Korea, how about those Korean test scores!

      Boy, if somebody wanted to write a book on the smartest kids in the world, that would be a good country to look at.

      And to think, Korea might not have even started if it wasn't for the American fighting man and the leadership of Ike!.

    6. Koreans kick Polish butt. Americans used to. We have no victories any more.

    7. If teachers were allowed to carry concealed weapons in the classroom, students might think twice about brining clock bombs to school if their religion killed everybody.

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