We finally confess to our meeting with Berry!


Our "press corps" during a chase:
Today, we plan to make an extensive set of confessions.

First, let's establish some context. This will involve the press corps' behavior when it's involved in a chase.

At present, the press corps is involved in a chase. The main person they're chasing, Donald J. Trump, may well be guilty of actual crimes.

(Or not.)

He may be guilty of actual crimes—but that doesn't mean they aren't staging a chase. And when our press corps stages a chase, they routinely engage in a wide array of journalistic "crimes."

They do this as a group.

The most remarkable chase we've covered was the twenty-month chase after Candidate Gore during Campaign 2000. During that chase, the press corps engaged in an orgy of bogus paraphrase, among other journalistic "crimes."

(Example: They happily played their misogyny cards during their "month of Wolf.")

Rather plainly, their conduct sent George W. Bush to the White House. People are dead all over the world because of the conduct in which they engaged.

(To this day, career liberal journalists are not permitted to tell you this. The Drums, the Chaits, the Marshalls, the Rachels will never tell you that these journalistic crimes occurred.)

Bogus paraphrase doesn't lie at the heart of the chase after Trump. But that doesn't mean that it isn't a chase—and when the press corps stages a chase, they're willing to cut many corners.

The chase after Trump involves a secondary set of chases, including the chase after Sessions. In that chase, the press corps has recently engaged in a remarkably stupid journalistic crime:

They've pretended that they don't understand the conventional meaning(s) of the familiar word "meeting."

They've played it very, very dumb as they've tried to determine how many meetings Jeff Sessions had with Ambassador Kislyak last year. Rather, as they've pretended that they're trying to puzzle that out.

Having offered that context, we're now prepared to offer our confessions. Hands pulled tight behind our back, we're willing to be frogmarched out to confess to these, our own personal crimes:

In December 2000, we had a meeting with Chuck Berry—right there in the White House!

Probably a year or two later, we had a meeting with Lauren Bacall. That meeting occurred in the lobby of WMAL, a Washington radio station.

In August 1962, when we were just 14 years of age, we had a meeting with Harmon Killebrew in the elevator of a Los Angeles hotel.

We were there with family and friends to visit Disneyland, a local amusement park. Mr. Killebrew was in the area to take part in this major league baseball game and in two other such contests.

Thirty-eight years later, to the month, we had a meeting with Bill Richardson, also in the elevator of a Tinseltown hotel! We were there to attend the 2000 Democratic Convention.

We once had a meeting with Tuesday Weld on a cross-country plane flight. (In retrospect, good God—Tuesday Weld!) Neither we, nor Ms. Weld, have ever discussed this meeting in public until this very day.

A few years ago, we had a brief meeting with Martin Sheen outside a D.C. hotel. At a different D.C. hotel, we had a meeting with Coach Joe Gibbs in 1993.

More specifically, we sat next to Coach Gibbs, and chatted pleasantly, all through the course of the then-world champion Washington football team's annual post-season banquet. We were struck by how impressive he was.

Remember our meeting with Chuck Berry? Earlier in December 2000, we had a meeting with Naomi Campbell—and with Stevie Wonder!

We freely confess to all these meetings, although we've had quite a few more. We freely confess to these meetings now that the Washington press corps, a guild which is engaged in a chase, has mugged and clowned and toyed with the meaning(s) of the familiar English language noun, "meeting."

They've done this as part of their chase after Sessions, who is much less likely to have committed a crime than his boss, Donald J. Trump.

(In another part of this chase, some of them make a point of referring to Sessions as "Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III." This is an extremely bad act, as it was when The Others toyed with Obama's name.)

Feeling purged by our confessions, let's nail down a few basic facts:

As part of their ongoing chase after Trump, the guild has staged a secondary chase after Sessions. As part of this chase, they have pretended that they're trying to determine how many meetings he had with Kislyak, a Russkie tool of their less-than-obsessively honest, low-IQ stupid group chase.

It's abundantly clear that then-Senator Sessions did have one meeting with the Russkie ambassador. That meeting occurred on September 8, 2016, right there in Sessions' office!

If we're all still speaking English, it hasn't been shown that Sessions had any other "meetings" with Kislyak. But the guild is currently staging a chase, and so they've agreed to pretend.

Now, dear friends, a question:

If Person A mills about in a room and brushes past some Person B, has he "had a meeting" with that second person? Actually, no, he hasn't, if we're speaking conventional English.

To cite an example, Hank Williams hadn't had a meeting with his ex-girlfriend in the circumstance described in these famous lyrics. They're some of the greatest since Homer, as Professor Auerbach would have seen:
A picture from the past came slowly stealing
As I brushed your arm and walked so close to you...
In truth, he hadn't had a meeting with her even as he brushed her arm! But had the guild been chasing Hank Williams, they surely would have agreed to pretend, if the pretending was useful.

We've watched the "press corps" for nineteen years at this award-winning site. We've come away with several conclusions. They strike us as counterintuitive:

We've come to see that our major journalists have virtually no intellectual skills. Or at least, we've come to see that they have no skills they won't abandon when a chase is on.

That is a very key point. Concerning the people who read the press, we've come to see this about them:

They may get upset when the guild stages a chase after one of their own. (Or not. Career liberals have often let such chases go unmentioned. For that reason, the rank and file has often failed to understand that a chase is occurring.)

We the people may get upset when the guild chases one of our own. But we will cheer the press corps on when the chase is aimed at The Others.

(For a literary portrait of a chase, we'll recommend Twain's portrait of the lynch mob in chapters 21 and 22 of Huckleberry Finn. Note the way Twain juxtaposes the groupthink of the mob to the suspension of disbelief of the crowd which is hugely enjoying a staged deception at the circus.)

How could it be that Candidate Gore got so aggressively paraphrased so many times? Very slowly, we've come to believe that many journalists simply don't have the intellectual skill to recognize tilted paraphrase when they see it. We've definitely come to see that very few journalists would ever speak up if they saw their guild engaged in that type of behavior.

These conclusions strike us as counterintuitive. By now, though, we'd have to say that these conclusions are unmistakably clear.

That said, our human intellectual skills are remarkably limited in general. We have reliable technological skills. In almost every other area, we're just basically sad.

To test that proposition, we'll refer you to this book review in last Sunday's Washington Post.

The author of the review is a neurologist. Based on his professional status, we'd assume he's a very good one.

That said, his analytical skills are very slight in the realm he calls "deep philosophy." Our guess: he's hard to fool about neurology, easily fooled in such realms.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. Our human analytical skills are extremely limited.

With respect to the guild, their moral standards are strikingly low. In the current example, they've proven that Session had one meeting, but they keep calling it three! (And they keep insisting that Brother Franken didn't ask a rambling question.)

That's exactly how the press corps behaves when a chase is on. People are dead all over the world because they keep playing this way, and because people like those we've named above are willing to let this continue.

The neurologist's claims: We never see reality. We don't experience reality directly. We don't truly experience reality.

There is an objective reality, but our brains don't give us access to it. According to the neurologist, this is "a thrilling and deeply philosophical point."

Neurologist, please! People who chase this sleight of hand are like Twain's delighted crowd at the circus. Also this:

When the press corps hands them all manner of crap, they are unable to tell! People are dead all over the world because these people, our highest professors, routinely accept the journalistic products they're sold.

An alternate meaning from other lyrics: From the 1963 Folkways album, The Watson Family:
A meeting is a pleasure and a parting is grief
But a false-hearted lover is worse than a thief.
A thief can but rob you and take what you save
But a false-hearted lover take you to your grave.
To listen to that presentation, click here. Questions:

Is that the same kind of "meeting" as the meeting Sessions had last September?

Also, what about a false-hearted journalist? What can that person achieve?


  1. Here is an interesting link at Axios that suggests that rural voters are more concerned about culture than the economy:


    The phrase "culture" winds up being concern about immigrants, gays, and other forms of social change when you read the statements of people who were interviewed.

    So this supports the idea that these rural Trump voters are attracted to him because of his backward positions on cultural issues. Not jobs, not their declining incomes or regional economies.

    This is consistent with what a lot of us hear when we talk to people we know who voted for Trump. They talk about those people getting something for nothing, voting Democratic because of the freebies, immigrants ruining America, etc.

    Somerby tried to tell us we were wrong about this. He is the one who is mixed up about Trump voters. I believe his desire to believe that Bernie can form a coalition uniting Trump voters and progressive Democrats may have blinded him to reality.

    1. If just 5% of Trump voters had voted for HRC, nobody would care about Trump. Just 5%...

      This really hurts, too...


    2. Latinos went 79% for Clinton, voting in record numbers. Only Cubans went for Trump, helping him win FL.

      Millennials were down compared to 2012. If Bernie and Jill Stein hadn't split the vote, we wouldn't need to lure Trump voters (who are not natural Democrats).


      There was also the voter suppression that prevented likely Hillary supporters from casting their ballots.

      Why should we expect any Trump voter to vote for Hillary? That just continues to make no sense at all. They don't share values with progressives and they are not voting issues. If they were, they would recognize him for what he is.

    3. Millions of Latinos chose to stay home and not vote for HRC, despite Trump's disturbing rhetoric about immigration and his willingness to embrace the alt-right. That should disturb Dems, if they still believe that demographic changes in the US assure their electoral dominance in the future (I think it won't).

      Lots of Trump voters didn't like him, yet voted for him anyway, for any number of reasons. I think it is unwise for a candidate to demonize millions regular Americans as "deploribles." I believe that if the candidate hadn't made that statement, she might have won. Of course, there are tons of other factors that led to the outcome, some in the control of the candidate (i.e. having bad advisors, running a poor campaign, saying things poorly, etc.), and some that weren't (i.e. a deluge of "fake news," email stupidity from The NY Times and WaPo, Russian election meddling, cable news' embrace of Trump, James Comey, etc.) I believe if HRC hadn't done the things that were in her control during the election, she would have won.

    4. Good point that they don't like him yet they voted for him. And they will vote for him again. And they approve of what he has done so far. These are people that feel powerless. They have an unconscious internal desire for power after being rendered impotent as individuals by modern industrial society. Their internal psychological need is to be an individual but they are now not individuals but consumers and cogs and stats on a spreadsheet and it has driven them crazy. They have turned to Trump to fulfill this desire for power as compensation for the power as individuals they naturally yearn for but no longer have. Trump is daddy. The protector. The avatar of power.

      He will always win.

    5. When someone works hard to show Hillary lost because she was a bad candidate, it is a dead giveaway they voted for Stein or wrote in Bernie or didn't vote.

    6. Hillary lost, in part because she was a bad candidate. I voted for her in the primary and general election. I thought she would be a good President. She was not a good candidate.

    7. "hardindr June 18, 2017 at 2:22 PM

      Millions of Latinos chose to stay home and not vote for HRC, despite Trump's disturbing rhetoric about immigration...."

      Millions of white people of European extraction chose to stay home and not vote for HRC, despite Trump's disturbing rhetoric about immigration.

      They also got here due to immigration, asshole.

    8. There is nothing to support the statement that she was not a good candidate. Pundits pretty much agree she ran a competent campaign under highly unusual conditions that were beyond her control. She made no more mistakes than any other candidate and there was nothing uniquely bad about her campaign or candidacy.

      Many of us were highly enthusiastic about her candidacy. That may not be obvious to those of you who were afraid to show your enthusiasm for fear the Bernie bros would send you death threats (or you would appear uncool) or whatever your damage was.

    9. I am not a "Bernie Bros." (a term that increasingly means little) and I did vote for HRC. I spent two days phone banking and two days canvassing for the local Dem House candidate, who was closely aligned with the mainstream of the Dem Party. I thought HRC was qualified to be president, and would make an okay president.

      Not sure how you can diagnose the mental nuerosis of millions of people you have never met. Seems like a mug's game to me.

      When Trump is talking about immigrants, he isn't referring to white people.

      Deciding not to send additional resources to MI to try to shore up the state was a bad decision, as was chasing Republicans who were never going to vote for HRC. Not aggressively bringing up Trump's business failings and atracking him on his deep, persistent, and current ties to drug/traffickers, con-men, mobsters, and gangsters was a mistake. Not defending the ACA and agressively pushing a progressive economic agenda was a mistake.

    10. Hillary's internal polls showed no problems in those three states. Neither did the publicized polls.

      You can second guess her strategies but she was trying to stay positive and issue oriented while attacking Trump on his fitness. The info about Trump's business failures etc was out there and his supporters didn't care. She had the left and tried to attract the middle (which Bernie interfered with). She was unable to assert her positives in the face of relentless Wikileaks, social media, and conservative smears.

      It frustrates me that you have no appreciation for the difficulty she had dealing with the relentless garbage and think talking economics a bit more would have turned it all around. That's ludicrous.

    11. Not true about MI...


    12. You quote a hit piece on Clinton.

      "Then again, according to senior people in Brooklyn, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook never heard any of those complaints directly from anyone on his state teams before Election Day"

      This is a better discussion:


    13. A convenient story from HRC's campaign manager, who, in my opinion, is more responsible for the loss than HRC herself.

      538 wasn't any more right in predicting the election than anyone of the other major pollsters/analysts.

    14. I'm getting a little sick of this blame Hillary game going on. I've been following politics for a long time and without any doubt no presidential candidate had to overcome the bullshit and double standard attacks she had to. What was done to her was almost criminal, starting with the NY Times getting in bed with Bannon and the Clinton Cash author almost the minute she announced her run.

      She couldn't do an interview, press conference or debate without having her honor and integrity questioned every goddam minute. She had the stupid email FBI inquiry - something that everyone knew from day one was nothing - hanging over her like a dark from throughout the primary and then even into the general.

    15. "These are people that feel powerless. They have an unconscious internal desire for power after being rendered impotent as individuals by modern industrial society."

      They were radicalized in the Fox News/ AM Radio/ Rush Limbaugh Madrassas. Now they want to punish those they've been told to blame for their inadequacies.
      They are America's al-Quaeda.

  2. "He may be guilty of actual crimes—but that doesn't mean they aren't staging a chase."

    Seems to me the Justice Department and FBI are staging the chase and the press is reporting on it due to leaks to the press, which they would be crazy to ignore. Just like Watergate was based strongly on the leaks by Deep Throat.

    The investigations are being staged because of the obvious crimes committed during the election, including the hacking and release of information via WikiLeaks, the lying during FBI vetting of appointees, and the current obstruction of justice. The existence of these crimes is obvious. The evidence and proof of who committed them and why, who was complicit and who was not, remains to be verified, but the crimes are apparent for all to see. So there is little point to saying that there may not be crimes. Are we to pretend Podesta's emails were never leaked, that Hillary was not kneecapped by Comey, that the Orbis dossier didn't exist? Don't be silly, Somerby!

  3. I suppose Sessions didn't have those two meetings in his office with Russian lobbyists either -- the ones he forgot to mention. The meeting with Kislyak was witnessed by Carter Page. A "brush by" in tradecraft could be to pass information surreptitiously, if it wasn't to actually say something to him. So it is far from innocent just because it is brief. The oddness here is that Sessions cannot seem to remember even major, important things, and that makes his forgetting suspicious, the kind of forgetting that would cause relatives to worry about the onset of dementia.

    The press has been far more neutral and forgiving of these failures of candor than the various blogs. Does Session deserve the kind of pretzel twisting Somerby engages in, to preserve the fiction that these are innocent omissions? Not when you add the, all up and see the pattern and the kinds of things he "forgets" and consider his motive and the nature of these proceedings. In that larger context, this isn't about the press rushing to judgment. Sessions has been covering up. We need to find out what -- not pretend his is being "chased" in a "witch hunt" to use Trump's inaccurate term.

    1. Somerby may have forgotten that Kislyak is under routine surveillance. That means that whoever he meets with will be recorded. It makes it pointless for Sessions and others to lie about such meetings and even what was said at them.

    2. There are photos of Kislyak and Sessions together at the Mayflower.

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  5. Gore was unfairly demonized. Trump lies as a standard coping mechanism to cover for his disinterest in "real facts" and to advance his personal interests. Trump is dishonest in every matter he confronts. What Trump gets, he brings on himself as the natural normal reaction of more normal people (us) to deviates (him).

  6. It's astonishing how gullible the progressive left is, evidenced by ratings drawn by MSNBC. Once upon a time liberals were respected as critical and skeptical thinkers.

    1. It is not astonishing how gullible the right is, evidenced by ratings drawn by FOX.

    2. "Once upon a time liberals were respected as critical and skeptical thinkers."
      Then Newt Gingrich teamed-up with Frank Luntz and the conservative media to blame liberals for all of the world's woes.
      Once this liberal was called an "American-hating, Saddam-lover" for being correct about how the Iraq war would be a disaster for the country and the world, I knew liberals had lost respect as critical as critical and skeptical thinkers. And today, despite liberals being correct over and over again, that respect still isn't coming back.