FIRST ACCUSER IN: Instant belief!


Part 2—Willey versus Corfman:
Assuming her account is accurate, we're glad to see Leigh Corfman pushing back against Roy Moore.

Corfman's pushback is recorded in this new report by the Washington Post. Assuming her account in accurate, we're glad she's pushing back in this way.

On Friday morning, November 13, Corfman became "first accuser in" regarding Roy Moore. In a news report in that day's Washington Post, she said Moore had molested her in 1979, when she was 14 years old.

The report had appeared on-line on Thursday, November 12. By Friday afternoon, fiery liberals were assailing the silly, immoral people who didn't rush to state their belief in Corfman's (extremely serious) accusation.

The people who were withholding belief were quickly assailed as the "If true" crowd. Believe it or not, these horrible people were only willing to condemn Moore if Corfman's assertions were true!

Fiery liberals rushed to assail this horrid "If true" crowd. In our view, this was the latest display of the massive dumbness of our own liberal tribe.

Why did we think these instant believers were perhaps maybe jumping the gun? In part, we had that reaction because we recalled Kathleen Willey.

On March 15, 1998, Willey went on 60 Minutes to deliver an accusation against Bill Clinton. Because she was conventionally attractive and upper middle class in appearance, a succession of lovesick pundit boys rushed to affirm their belief in every word their newest darling had said.

These silly people had never set eyes on Willey before that night. They had no apparent way to assess her general credibility. But at the time, a stampede was on, and these lovesick boys rushed to affirm full instant belief in the latest accuser.

Who were these "instant responders?" If you want to review their professions of faith, you can just click here. They were sure—just very sure—that Willey could be believed.

We'd say their judgment was poor. In November 1998, it was revealed, in a document dump, that Linda Tripp, in sworn testimony, had undermined Willey's account of her interaction with Clinton.

Linda Tripp had worked with Willey in the White House. In sworn testimony, she described Willey's appearance and reaction of the day in question.

Tripp's account of what happened that day—and of what had happened in the months before—undermined Willey's account. But alas! Because the mob was sworn to true belief, the press corps worked very hard to avoid reporting this new fact. For background, you can click here.

A few months later, something very bad happened. Willey made a provably false, ugly accusation against a Washington journalist. To her semi-credit, she kept refusing to name the journalist when she aired her complaint on the crackpot "cable news" program, Hardball, but her grotesquely irresponsible host, Chris Matthews, crazily blurted it out.

The crazy accusation was quickly disproved, but not before a man with a history of mental illness appeared at the journalist's home with a gun. Luckily, the man was arrested before anyone got killed. But this was an earlier, dangerous version of Pizzagate. It followed directly from Matthews' appalling conduct—and from Willey's crazy false claim.

(For real-time reports, click here, and then click this. A few months later, Matthews began airing irresponsible claims about nuclear physicist Wen Ho Lee, who had supposedly helped Bill Clinton sell the country to the Chinese. The predictable death threats followed. Later, formal apologies were issued to Lee for the wave of false accusations against him, false accusations Matthews had excitedly bruited.)

Are we possibly starting to get a certain picture here? When Ken Starr's successor atop the Whitewater probes finally issued his final report, he said he's considered charging Willey with perjury, she'd lied to his staff so much. Do we feel sure that those lovesick boys should have believed every word she said, the very first time they beheld her?

What, if anything, actually happened between Bill Clinton and Kathleen Willey? We have no way of knowing. (For the record, it's very, very unwise to structure a nation's politics around such questions.)

We do know this. The brainless stars of our Washington "press corps" showed extremely bad judgment when they stampeded off to state their undying belief in every word Willey said.

Granted, Willey was conventionally attractive. She seemed to be upper middle class, which made the schoolboys admire her even more.

But as would eventually come to be known, her accusations had arisen from within a rather disordered life. A later crazy false accusation came close to getting someone killed.

So it can go when silly children stampede to voice instant belief in accusers. They stampeded this way in Salem Village; they're inclined to do so today.

That said, it's hard to get a whole lot dumber than we liberals routinely are. Our fiery leaders endeavored to prove this point on November 13, when Corfman's accusation appeared.

Should people voice instant belief in serious accusations? After Willey, but before Corfman, the gods tried hard to help us see that this is an unwise practice.

First, they sent us the accuser in the Duke lacrosse case. The professors stampeded to affirm their belief in her serious accusations.

In part for that reason, the accuser didn't get the help she plainly needed. She's now in jail for murder. The prosecutor who also believed her accusations (or at least was prepared to pretend) went to jail for a day.

After that, the gods sent us the UVa case. Jugglers and clowns at Rolling Stone expressed true belief in Jackie's accusations. They've ended up paying millions to some of the people they slandered. Rather plainly, that accuser seems to have needed help too.

How many cases must the gods send before we liberals stop acting like fools? Sadly, anthropological evidence suggests that this behavior will never stop—that it's deeply bred in the (prehuman) bone.

At this point, we apologize for a possible appearance. We apologize for suggesting the possibility that Corfman's accusations against Roy Moore could perhaps be untrue.

We know of no reason to think that. Beyond that, the credibility of Corfman's case was greatly strengthened on November 16 when Beverly Young Nelson became the "second accuser in"—when she accused Moore of having committed a violent sexual assault on her person.

That said, it was very unwise—actually, stupid—to assail the "If true" crowd on the very day that Corfman's accusation appeared. It was very, very, very unwise. We would be inclined to say it was Pizzagate-level dumb.

Still and all, some fiery liberals will surely say that we've left something out. They'll say that Young wasn't the second accuser of Moore—they'll say she was really the fifth.

These people will say that three other accusers were quoted, by name, in that original Post report. Tomorrow, we'll review what those other three people said.

Spoiler alert:

We think our tribe's reaction to those other "accusers" has been extremely dumb. Sadly, we think our reaction was dumb in the way The Others can see.

Multiplied a thousand times over, this helps explain why our pitiful, unlikable tribe has trouble winning elections.

As our crazy president continues to spout, even we liberals have started to see that something has gone extremely wrong within our politics and within our national culture. Sadly but typically, we liberals have come to this insight extremely late in the game.

We liberals mugged and clowned and postured and played as the deeply dangerous Donald J. Trump made his way to the White House. In a rather typical manifestation, our "resistance" started one day after this disordered man was sworn in.

Our fiery leaders have mugged and clowned for decades now. They've endlessly betrayed our interests in search of career advancement. Rachel Maddow just luvvvs Chris Matthews! Greta Van Susteren too!

Absent serious leadership, our reactions tend to be dumb. We'd say this pattern extended through our reaction to that first Post report.

Corfman has decided to stand and fight. Our tribe needs to sit down and think.

Tomorrow: How many accusers?


  1. Somerby makes some valid points here about the media. But when he says this:
    "We liberals mugged and clowned and postured and played as the deeply dangerous Donald J. Trump made his way to the White House."

    ..."we liberals" are not the media. The majority of liberal *voters* were sincere during the 2016 campaign, and weren't "mugging, clowning, and posturing." Maybe some in the media were, maybe Somerby himself was (?), but Somerby ought to refrain from this kind of slippery, slipshod, and improper generalization.

    1. Exactly. Just because Maddow mugged and clowned and postured and played doesn't mean all liberals did.

    2. That's a fair point, but it might help if we demanded more from the people at MSNBC, for example.

    3. How exactly do you think we should do that? Have you ever tried to send Maddow a comment or suggestion?

    4. I haven't, but I think that ratings are generally the way audiences make their desires heard. We should watch less crap, which means less cable "news stations," which make you dumber rather than smarter.

    5. I think that's right, Johnny. I wonder how many of Somerby's readers actually watch Maddow, though.

    6. I think one point that is made here often is that others should be criticizing horrific dissemblers like Maddow. Like maybe bloggers and broadcasters down the line like Josh Marshall or Atrios. Maybe Bob is assuming that we are somehow endorsing the clowning and mugging when there is virtually no pushback or criticism of it.

    7. For quite some time, I’ve gotten all my Maddow from Bob. I can’t watch that shit anymore. I happen to be old enough (along with many of you) to remember Red Skelton starting to laugh at his own punchline two sentences before reaching it. Maddow does the same, but she lacks all the charm and likability of Red Skelton and it is embarrassing to watch her guffaw through her delivery. And since her topics should (obviously) be treated a bit more seriously, there is a strong measure of impropriety to her schtick. Her convoluted constructions are daffy. Bob is right in describing this as clowning and mugging but I hope when he generalizes about “we liberals” he’s not including those of us that have turned this crap off and have always refused to defend it. But what the fuck, Walter Cronkite is dead and Dan Rather was sniped and is interviewing Tanya Tucker on AXYS. Let’s face it: news is a business and they’re giving the peanut gallery what they want. As Les Moonves said of the news media creating Trump as a viable candidate, etc.: "It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS." Well there we have it, capitalism at its finest.

    8. Gunk and Dude, me like. Fellow travelers.

      And when Bob writes one too many posts about Clown Maddow, well, I just scroll past. He seems to be speaking to the choir. (Cue my Heavenly voice *cough*).

      See, he names names. Ain't going nowhere wit dat. I don't mind if he keeps going.


  2. Somerby says the resistence started after Trump was elected, as if we were caught napping. Before that, those of us who were not Somerby and CMike were working hard to get Hillary elected. Very hard. Our efforts were undone by Comey, Wikileaks, Russians on Facebook, a biased media, and voter suppression in key states, and not least, Bernie and Jill. It was more than we could overcome, necessitating this after-the-election resistence. But we made every effort, with no help from Somerby.

    1. I do not know what Bob is referring to when he says "liberals mugged and clowned and postured and played". Perhaps he's referring to the primary elections, when the media did help Trump defeat his more conventional opponents.

    2. "The media" is not "liberals."

      Neither is Somerby, apparently.

    3. Trump is un"conventional".


    4. Yes, Trump, unlike all the conventional Republicans (LOL), wants to screw over the little guy for the elites.

  3. Somerby's guilty conscience is lashing out hard.

  4. Somerby needs to read this from Booman:

    1. This too:

      If Somerby could write blog posts like these guys, he wouldn't be coming across like the Trump of bloggers. His rants are becoming increasingly incoherent and he really has nothing much to say any more.

      Truly sad. But it is hard to feel sorry for him because he is so busy attacking people who are his remaining readership.

      If there weren't an occasional intelligent comment, I would be long gone.

  5. "Our fiery leaders have mugged and clowned for decades now. They've endlessly betrayed our interests in search of career advancement. Rachel Maddow just luvvvs Chris Matthews! Greta Van Susteren too!"

    Again with these statements, Somerby is being deceptive, or maybe just sloppy. He calls Matthews and Maddow "our leaders", except that they aren't politicians or political activists. Wouldn't "our leaders" be people like Clinton, Gore, Obama, Hillary, even Bernie? And countless people in cities and towns involved in liberal politics and activism?
    Somerby ought to state it this way: "Some of the more prominent liberal media types mugged and clowned, and thereby hurt the liberal cause...etc"
    But that's not Somerby's style.

  6. "We liberals mugged and clowned and postured and played as the deeply dangerous Donald J. Trump made his way to the White House."

    Dangerous my ass. Susan Sarandon understands who is dangerous, while Bob Somerby is talking like a zombified moron again.

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    2. Susan Sarandon may be way more qualified to be near the levers of governmental power than all Republicans put together, but that doesn't mean she knows what she's talking about.

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  7. How many times over the years has Bob repeated the story of Chris Matthews interview with Kathleen Willey?

    More to the point, how many times has he messed up and/or changed and/or embellished the facts?
    And why has the mugging, clowning liberal blogosphere covered up for him by not writing about it? The starving, poor bloggers protect their own tribe.

    I followed his link to his "coverage" in real time.

    In post #1 he wrote:

    "Conason reported that Shearer has received death threats in the wake of the Matthews accusation; and this morning, a warrant has been issued for a Washington man’s arrest. Over the weekend, the man appeared at Shearer’s home, slashed his tires, and threatened guests with a shotgun."

    Shearer's attorney filed a statement that said the man "brandished" a handgun when two students of Shearer staying at his home found him flattening tires on three cars.

    Bob went on to write:

    "But when the corps is allowed to make up the news, let’s not be surprised when less stable members reach the point Matthews reached Tuesday night."

    Bob had just made up news about the weapon yet had the temerity to make the Trump like claim of "fake news a few sentences after he did so.

    In today's post Bob embellishes.

    The crazy accusation was quickly disproved, but not before a man with a history of mental illness appeared at the journalist's home with a gun. Luckily, the man was arrested before anyone got killed.

    The man was the older brother of Pat Buchanan, then running for President. He had a hiustory of mental illness. Immediately after the incident he checked into a mental hospital. A warrant was issued days after the incident, as Bob wrote in real time. Hank Buchanan voluntarily turned himself in. Today Bob implies an arrest may have saved lives.

    What a phony.

    But wait, there's more.

  8. In "Real Time Post # 2, linked in this post, Bob Somerby wrote:

    "Presumably, nothing much will turn on this story, in which David Stout describes the arrest of a man at Cody Shearer’s home, where he threatened two people with a gun. But we were surprised by Stout’s careless attitude toward the circumstance that produced this event.

    Actually the mentally ill brother of Pat Buchanan was alleged by Shearer's attorney to have "brandished" a handgun to three people, not two, but at least Bob is not misrepresenting the weapon, although he clearly does not pull a "Maddow" and cop to his previous insignificant error.

    Bit the whole point of Post # 2 is for Bob to attack the NY Times reporter for not focusing his article on the interview by Chris Matthews. The focus of the Times article is on the newsworthy fact that the attack was made by the brother of a man running for President. And Bob Somerby never mentioned who was under investigation for the attack. He covered it up to protect his own narrative.

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