SNAPSHOTS FROM THE FAIL: The New York Times makes it official!


Part 1—Tomorrow's history today:
In this morning's editions, the New York Times has made it official:

Last October, Hillary Clinton was stalked by Donald J. Trump at their second debate!

The famous newspaper has made this official through its letters page. Headline included, the first of several relevant letters says this:
Clinton's Choices as Trump Stalked Her at Debate

Re ''Donald Trump Was a Creep. Too Bad Hillary Clinton Couldn't Say That,'' by Jill Filipovic (Sunday Review, Aug. 27):

Hillary Clinton made the correct choice, to keep her cool and not confront Donald Trump over his stalking of her at the Oct. 10, 2016, debate, just as she remained calm while being grilled for 11 hours at a Benghazi hearing. It was the moderators' job to discipline Mr. Trump. They were undoubtedly too intimidated to do so, just as his G.O.P. opponents were in the prior debates.

Mrs. Clinton showed that she was not intimidated, further proof that she was perfectly qualified to be president. If she had confronted him, she would have been criticized. The woman is damned if she does and damned if she doesn't.

The problem is that our society is basically sexist and misogynistic. Mrs. Clinton has always been a class act, never so much as since Nov. 8. She could have said ''I told you so'' every day since, but she has largely kept quiet.

The headline says that Trump stalked Clinton. So does the letter writer. The writer refers to Jill Filipovic's piece in The Sunday Review, where this pleasing, novelized claim made its Times debut.

The letter writer lives near the water. Ironically, she has swallowed every word from Filipovic, and by extension from Clinton herself.

We wonder if she watched the 90-minute tape of that second debate. If she did, she saw Trump engage in many objectionable behaviors that night. But she didn't see him behaving in the way Clinton has now described in the manner of a Lifetime movie as she tries to make more money off her latest book.

(Does Clinton ever stop doing this? The Hill reports on ticket prices for her book tour events.)

Did Candidate Trump stalk Clinton that night? In our view, Clinton's account in her forthcoming book is very hard to square with the videotape, which does show Trump engaging in many unfortunate practices.

That said, the New York Times has now made the novelized claim official. It does so today in another letter which appears beneath the headline we've posted:
Like Jill Filipovic, I have been mulling over Hillary Clinton's reflections in her forthcoming memoir on Donald Trump's behavior during the Oct. 10, 2016, presidential debate. My response now, as it was back then, focuses on the one action that could prevent such behavior in political debates: a clear, definitive directive that candidates remain at their chair or lectern when it is not their turn to speak. Period. No moving around. No stalking. No intimidating.

Ms. Filipovic says that the moderators did not instruct Mr. Trump to physically back off, arguing, ''It would have been uncomfortable, and they would have faced accusations of bias.'' It is time for debate organizers to step up and accept responsibility for preventing a repeat of such behavior.

This swallower of novelized tales also lives near the water. Ironically, she suggests a "no stalking" rule, with candidates required to "remain at their chair or lectern when it is not their turn to speak" during a debate.

Where's the irony in that suggestion? That's where she'd see Candidate Trump if she watched that videotape!

(Note: Rules for deportment at debates are formulated by the campaigns. They aren't invented on the fly by moderators. During that second debate, Clinton generally sat on her chair as Candidate Trump declaimed; Trump generally stood by his chair as Candidate Clinton spoke. He did engage in a minor bit of "moving around," generally away from Candidate Clinton. As we noted on Friday, you can see these things on that unwatched videotape.)

The New York Times has made another story official. The story is hard to square with the videotape, but this is the way our discourse has worked for many years, dating back to the days when this same newspaper invented all sorts of novelized tales about the Whitewater pseudo-scandal, then about Candidate Gore's non-existent lies.

Ironically, the Times has made another story official in today's set of letters. This novelized tale is unflattering to Candidate Clinton rather than to Trump.

A third reader seems to have swallowed everything that he's been told about a different set of alleged behaviors. Under that headline about Trumnp's stalking, he offers this exciting account of Clinton's gruesome behavior:
I agree with everything Jill Filipovic says about the barriers that society has created that keep women from responding appropriately to men who seek to harass or intimidate them. Missing from Ms. Filipovic's account, however, is the inconvenient fact that for decades Hillary Clinton responded to allegations of sexual assault against her husband by denying those charges on his behalf and by vilifying the alleged victims.

I don't know whether it's ironic or pathetic (maybe it's both) that Mrs. Clinton helped strengthen the barrier she confronted in the debate with Donald Trump.

G— C— T—, WARREN, N.J.
Is it true? "For decades," did Hillary Clinton "respond to allegations of sexual assault against her husband by denying those charges on his behalf and by vilifying the alleged victims?"

The word "alleged" says that the reader doesn't know if the allegations in question were accurate. He doesn't explain why a person shouldn't deny a charge, if the charge is believed, or even known, to be false.

Nor does he tell us who Hillary Clinton "vilified." That said, he's reciting a story which was widely pimped on the right during the last campaign, then was made official by this same New York Times.

In September 2016, the New York Times publishing an astonishingly incompetent front-page news report which made these charges official. Because the Time had published that astounding front-page report, it was easier for Candidate Trump to pimp that claim last fall—as he did at that second debate, the one which featured several sex accusers as his honored guests.

The New York Times has been creating novelized tales for the past many years. As a general matter, Times readers respond by swallowing whatever it is they've been told.

Career journalists have responded to this syndrome by seeing no evil and maintaining a code of silence. Dearest darlings! Mainstream journalistic careers run through the Times and the Washington Post. Everyone from Drum on down knows you simply mustn't discuss this deeply destructive pattern.

(When other people discuss this pattern, you may express your exasperation with their unseemly conduct.)

This morning, the New York Times has made the latest novelized story official. Candidate Trump stalked Candidate Clinton in October 2016! It's hard to maintain that the story is true. But it's a deeply pleasing, low-IQ, culturally mandated tale.

The Times has been doing this forever. As a general rule, we liberals simply repeat what we're told. This brings us to our main idea:

In the future, if there is a future, historians, if history still exists, will present a range of snapshots from our current fail. Through such snapshots, these historians, if they exist, will describe, with some embarrassment, the behavior of us human beings during this failed era.

Here's some of what they will tell future readers, if such readers exist:

In the era under review, technology stole control of the public discourse away from the tiny elite who had always controlled it.

Profit-seekers of the right and the left began assuming control of the discourse. They handed pleasing tales to their customers, who swallowed every word.

Also in this era, big mainstream orgs like the New York Times became increasingly upper-class and foppish. They too invented many novelized tales which readers gulped down straight.

With great embarrassment, those future historians will present snapshots from this vast cultural fail. Thanks to visions sent by the gods, we'll be able to present four such snapshots this week.

One snapshot will involve a philosopher—the official weekly philosopher of the New York Times. One snapshot will involve a major TV pundit—one who has written three puzzling memoirs, with many more to come.

One snapshot will involve a star of the pseudo-progressive cultural left and her cries of victimization. One snapshot will involved a mainstream analyst, who seemed to pick and choose his data in a recent piece about Where The Racists Are.

These snapshots will come to you from the future—and from our discourse today. As future historians will explain, our discourse runs on an embarrassing, very strange fuel. In case you haven't noticed it yet, you simply can't run a modern nation this way.

According to the gods with whom we've spoken, that's what historians will say in the future, if such an era exists.

Tomorrow: Comically disordered discourse! Professor does NPR!


  1. But Fox is worse so therefore these matters should only be addressed after a number of exegeses are performed on that org. Then we can move on to these other, lesser matters. It only makes sense.

  2. Yawn. Your decisively post-political, dimwitted soap-opera discourse is so boring, Bob.

    Leave yellow press to their own device; there are serious things to talk about: the economy, the imperial hubris, ruining so many lives.

    Come to think of it, why don't you find a publication you like and recommend it to us? Since you like criticising so much, how about this one: Ruthless Criticism.

    1. Mao - Since you are getting bored, I guess you'll be cancelling your subscription soon. But until then, I agree that issues about the economy, international hubris, international affais, and there are undoubtedly other topics of substance, should be the center of discussion, not all about gaffes and click bait topics. Of course, it would be good if there was no crime, also. I checked this Ruthlesscriticism site - pretty heavy, seems to be German. I started to plow thru the first post, and saw stated as a fact that Trump was the world's greatest negotiator. I tend to doubt their viewpoint, or yours for that matter, will lead to a positive outcome for the masses, or the way Trump is going with North Korea (and Iran) that he isn't going to screw things up. Tranference onto him of some type of extraordinary genius power for the good, based on protectionism and isolationism, seems to me very wishful thinking.

    2. I don't think anyone (except for the liberals, goes without saying) cares whether Trump is a genius.

      This is not about Trump. This is about the crisis of American (and western in general) post cold-war model, the neoliberal model.

      Their world is collapsing, but they don't know it and keep discussing the bad man Trump and Melania's shoes. It's funny, but not that important as to be denounced day after day.

      He says this can't go on like this (which is true), but doesn't offer anything else, just keeps obsessing with Clinton and Trump. It's disappointing. To be fair, I saw him offering something: the climate thing, environmentalism. But his (Gore) approach to it is just another post-political bullshit: 'building consensus' (among the elites), 'market mechanism', and so on.

    3. I see the GOP's solution to be pretty much cut taxes for the rich, e.g. abolish the estate tax, plus pro-life and pro-guns and that is the answer. Trump falls right in line with this. The dems, as imperfect as they may be, are at worst, the lesser of two evils. Perhaps you should have backed Sanders.

    4. I believe Sanders was a fake candidate, recruited to provide a punching bag for Clinton.

      Also, this "taxes for the rich" thingy is a fake controversy: the very rich don't pay any taxes (and not only in the US, everywhere). The whole controversy is usually about federal taxes on 'earned income' (capital gains is sacred for both 'parties'). The top bracket can be 36% (huuuuge tax hike) or 33% (huuuge tax cut). And whether taxes are high or law, you're not getting anything worthwhile from the feds anyway.

      And 'life'/'guns' is just culture wars bullshit, to distract people from real, proper politics.

      While not nationalize all the banks, for example? Is there a party with this platform? No? And why not?

    5. "And whether taxes are high or law, you're not getting anything worthwhile from the feds anyway."

      Yup. Democrats want to give us healthcare, while Republicans don't. Or, as the corporate media, and the bullshitters, like Mao here, say, "Not a dime's worth of difference between 'em."

  3. P R in Falmouth writes: "She could have said ''I told you so'' every day since, but she has largely kept quiet."

    Somerby quibbles that Trump wasn't looming behind Clinton in the way Alec Baldwin did in the SNL sketch that appeared after the debate. Where did they get the impression Trump had stalked her?

    We all watched the debate and we saw Trump looming behind her, behaving inappropriately. So did the letter writers. Somerby thinks they should have watched his feed instead. They clearly didn't. But that doesn't make Somerby correct. Trump behaved inappropriately and in ways that made it appear he was stalking Clinton and menacing her. She felt that way herself.

    I have suggested ways he did that, involving inappropriate body language. And, yes, he was moving away from his chair, pacing, making faces, doing other things that would have appeared badly in the feeds real-time debate watchers viewed.

    More than that, his words were as menacing as his body language. He called her a nasty woman and said many other untrue, bullying things about her. The debate moderators did nothing about those either. The audience can be forgiven if it came away with the impression that Trump used the debate to try to dominate Clinton. The press is part of that audience.

    Somerby insists on the letter of the law here. He seems unable to engage in a more holistic evaluation of what happened. It clearly isn't in his interest to believe anything Hillary says and, just as in the campaign itself, he seems inclined to believe badly of her. Why? He, of all people, should be aware of the 30-year vendetta against her. Yet he seems to have succumbed to it himself. If he cannot resist it, how can we be expected to?

    I am very fed up with Somerby these days. He is writing like a right-wing tea-party idiot. Trump is a stalker of women, a man who thinks it is OK to grab pussies just because he can, and he was no different on that debate stage. He got away with a variety of misbehavior that Somerby never calls out. Clinton doesn't need Somerby to defend her, but if Somerby thinks he will convince anyone with half a brain that Trump is being maligned, he is from outer space.

    1. Why is Hillary still a target for Trump and the right? She is not running for anything again.

      Why is Hillary a target for Somerby?

    2. Somerby does defend Clinton at one point ( about her defense of her husband), but continues to paint her view of the debate as victimization. It's odd that Trump calls himself a victim every day (" i'm being treated so unfairly by the press"), and Bob says "Trump has a point." But when Hillary feels stalked and creeped out at the debate, Bob says she's portraying herself as a victim. Sounds like "Clinton Rules."

    3. Bob is very angry with women who fight back against misogynistic and racist attitudes and policies. Bob only approves of women and POC who forgive people who do harm to them.

    4. Bob has said that Trump behaved badly during the debate. He also says that he never "stalked" Clinton around the stage. I haven't re-watched the debate (Bob says he has). If Bob's right, then his criticism is completely valid. As he's said for years, when the press decides to create novels, more often than not those novels will be created against the liberal candidate (resulting in the election of 2 losers of the popular vote over the past 17 years).

    5. Johnny: huh? Somerby says Clinton made up the "stalking" and not the media. He lets Trump off the hook. That benefits Trump and not Clinton. Somerby says Clinton is playing the victim ("victimization is us" after all), and wonders, with a certain amount of disdain, why she is doing it.

    6. Let's be specific. Please watch the tape of the link provided and please tell us the exact times - please give us the exact hour and the minute on the video that Trump is stalking so we can be clear. Thanks.

    7. "Dewey": Hillary is reminiscing in a just-published memoir. She is telling you her feelings. She isn’t testifying before a jury about some legal definition of “stalking.”
      And that’s the point that you’re missing. Trump plays the victim EVERY day (“the media is unfair to me”), and Bob gives him a pass.
      Hillary says she felt “stalked” in that debate, and Somerby claims she is creating a script, playing the victim, and he criticizes her for it.
      That is a double standard. And THAT was my point.
      And by the way, Trump was an effing creep during that debate. He seemed like a stalker to me.
      And Somerby gives so much more air time to this “stalking” business than to the vastly more important malevolent demagoguery of Trump. This isn’t the first time Somerby has dissed Hillary for this.
      And how many effing times are you going to post the same thing? Have you ever read Bob's blog before, or did you ride in here to defend Saint Trump's honor? Do you understand the history of what Bob has been saying about the press, Trump, and Hillary?

    8. So you can't point to an instance of stalking on the tape? You're saying that there is not any stalking on the tape, stalking didn't occur but Clinton felt it did and that is the point? You can't point to anything on the tape that justifies her feelings?

      If he seems like a stalker to you in that debate, can you show me exactly where? Thanks, I appreciate your response and I understand your feelings about double standards.

    9. Well, "Dewie": How do you define stalking?
      You apparently see no instance of it. So what is it, in your mind? Please be specific.

    10. Where did Saturday night live get the impression that he was doing that?

      It happened because Candidate Clinton, perfectly appropriately, moved onto Trump's side of the stage—more excitingly, invaded his space!—to answer three citizens' questions.

    11. 308

      Stalking. I have no opinion about it and don't care about it. I'm not against what you're saying I'm just asking for the specific examples. To use your terms. "Looming behind her inappropriately. ". You had used the word stalking referring to what Somersby wrote and it was written in the Nyt. Because Bob called bullshit on it, don't you think it would be a good idea to identify exactly where there was stalking, or looming so Bob can be definitively proved wrong?

      You made the claim. He was looming behind her inappropriately. All I'm asking is that you back up that claim with evidence. Specific time codes. I'm not saying you're wrong I'm just asking that you please back up your claim.


    12. Let's be specific people! Show
      me the time codes. Cmon. We've all seen Rashomon. Let's end it. Show me the time codes and we'll call it a day.

      Until you do, you are all dreamers!

    13. I’m not the same “anonymous” who talked about Trump “looming behind” Hillary, dumbass. Stalking isn’t just about invading someone’s physical space. That’s why I asked you to define it, which of course, you refused to do. Not surprisingly.
      Anyway, this is so idiotic..the kind of trivial bullshit that conservatives love to pin on show something they think is “definitive” about her broken soul, and to distract from their own corruption. It’s the kind of thing that Somerby would once have criticized…now he’s piling on the Hillary-hate-bus himself. It’s a gd memoir..she’s no longer a candidate. A lot of things contributed to her "feeling"..I'm not going into them, because I don't owe you any goddamned thing.
      One last word:
      Trump has admitted to being an actual stalker of women:
      “I moved on her...I did try and fuck her. She was married—I moved on her like a bitch. And she was married...she’s now got the big phony tits and everything...I better use some Tic Tacs...You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything...You can do anything...You can do anything...”
      That is the textbook definition of stalking.
      Therefore, Hillary was on stage with a stalker.
      Her feeling is truth.
      Case closed.

    14. Dewie: 9:30 pm EST. Watch it yourself.

    15. 4:11 - It's just that onstage, at that debate, he actually wasn't stalking her physically which was the implication. That is interesting isn't it? People saw that he was but actually if you look at it, he wasn't. You can see Raven below inaccurately describe the moment after presumably he had just watched it. So it's weird in a way. Like 'what is real?' Then people all repeat it and it become real like Al Gore and the Internet. It's wild mass communication and groupthink. It's not really pinning anything on Hillary. I guess she "felt" like he was which is cool. It's just interesting that he actually wasn't. I guess not for you though. That's cool man. I feel your pain brother (or sister)!! Peace in the Middle East. Don't give up the fight!! We will win the next election no prob!!!!

  4. Interesting that I saw what Hillary Clinton described when I watched the debate between her and Trump as it was happening last year. No one described it to me or planted it in my mind, that is what I saw. Several of my women friends mentioned this to me also - shortly after it happened.

    1. 5:52

      Please watch the tape of the link provided and please tell us the exact times of the stalking you saw - please give us the exact hour and the minute on the video that Trump is stalking so we can be clear that it was indeed staking. Thanks.

  5. "If a man did that to me on the street ... I'd call 911,” political commentator and former Republican strategist Nicolle Wallace said.

    1. Would it be possible for you to take the time to point out the exact times on the video that Trump is stalking?

      I know it's a pain but it would back up your claim.

  6. Let’s have Donald Trump settle the issue with real quotes taken from the NYT!:

    “I moved on her...I did try and fuck her. She was married—I moved on her like a bitch. And she was married...she’s now got the big phony tits and everything...I better use some Tic Tacs...You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything...You can do anything...You can do anything...”

  7. And just what do we see that as settling, exactly?

  8. Bob Somerby once again acts as a Trump apologist.

    1. Raven - Let's be specific. Please watch the tape of the link provided and please tell us the exact times - please give us the exact hour and the minute on the video that Trump is stalking so we can be clear. Thanks.

  9. Dewey, take a look at 9:30 pm EST, when Trump walks from behind his chair, around his podium, to ~3 feet directly behind Clinton's back and thereafter stays in that position while she addresses the audience. That's not even half an hour after the debate actually started.

    1. He doesn’t walk from behind his chair, around his podium to three feet directly behind Clinton's back at 9:30. He walks from his position close to the audience back to his podium where he stands (next to his podium) behind Clinton's back and doesn’t move at all for her entire answer. That to you was stalking? Thanks for the answer. Is that the only example? I see what your are saying even though you didn’t describe it accurately.

    2. Heh, even on Fox Business News (Fox!) it was described, well, see for yourself.

    3. So you turn to Fox News to prove your point? Haha. That proves Somerby's point. We are Fox News level thinkers. The body language expert on Fox Business News said he was hanging/hovering over her. That's not true. He was standing up strait next to his podium as she was on his side of the stage a few feet away from his podium. That's not really looming over her. Where was he supposed to go? Isn't he like 6'2? - She is 5'5? He is 9 inches taller?
      He's always going to look like he is hovering over her in a small space anyway. In some ways he naturally hovers over her because of that 9 inch height difference. But I realize that you agree she was looming over her in that shot. I get why people would think that. People who are easily excited and believe every word that drips out of blonde body language experts on Fox Business News. (no offense) I agree though that it is a losing issue. That issues like the threat of prosecution are more winning issues on to which one could focus to a consensus against Trump. But I know the lurking/hovering feels good. And I agree with Bob that it is here to stay. It is now "truth". Thanks again for taking the time to get me that time code.

    4. So now you think even FOX is biased against Trump? Gosh....

    5. “Where was he supposed to go?” — Didn’t you listen to the whole clip? When it’s not your turn to speak, you sit down and shut up, no gesturing and grimacing to distract the audience from what the other person is saying. Clinton sat down during Trump’s turns; if Trump had done the same, there would have been no issue. “Standing straight up just three feet behind her the entire time she spoke” is an issue, because he was supposed to be in his chair.

    6. lol @ insisting the future leader of the free world has to stay in his chair and be on his best behavior. classic school marmism

    7. At the time, they were both nominees for their respective parties; he was no more “the future leader of the free world” than she was. ... And, yes, someone who wants to be entrusted with great power really ought to show that he can behave himself, otherwise how is he going to use that great power once given it? (We’re starting to see an answer now.)

  10. I posted specific times fir when and where Trump moved and what he did when Somerby first raised this point. I won't dig that comment (anonymous) out for a newcomer who hasn't bothered to watch the video or read prior comments. You are miles behind in this discussion. Somerby ignores Trump's body language while Trump is on screen behind Clinton. Why?

    1. Maybe you were wrong about it as Raven was and as was the hypnotist/body language expert Fox Business News and Raven turned to for insight on the matter. Give me a time code pal. You made an assertion here today. Back it up. That's all I'm asking. Show me where. Do you mean at 9:30 est where he is standing next to his podium not moving?

    2. Go back and see the original comment. It has time code.

    3. This?

      If you watch the video, both candidates stand by their chairs until around 26:12 when Trump moves forward toward the edge of the stage to address the audience. Next, Trump returns to his chair and Hillary moves to the edge of the stage to talk to an audience member, which places him behind her but by his chair. Next they stay by their chairs until 52:11 when Trump becomes restless and starts pacing around behind his chair, looking at the ceiling and pulling focus from Clinton in the foreground, who is again addressing the audience from the edge of the stage. At 1:28 he paces back and forth behind her in a way that appears menacing.

    4. And, as that body language expert points out on Fox Business News (not a place noted for bias against Trump or for Clinton): when it was Trump’s turn and he was speaking, Clinton did not pace around behind Trump, or grimace, or gesture, to rudely distract from his speaking, but returned to her chair and quietly sat there — which is the expected behavior during debates.

    5. Stop embarrassing yourself flyweight.

    6. It’s Trump that’s embarrassing us.

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