BREAKING: Three things we saw on cable last night!


We'll save the worst for last:
Ever so quickly, we'll cite three things we saw last night on our flailing, floundering nation's pitiful "cable news" channels.

At one point, we saw the "opening monologue" on Sean Hannity's show. On this, the evening of the indictments, he offered his monologue beneath a large graphic proclaiming this:
Readers, we sh*t you not!

No transcript has yet been posted. Beyond that, we expect to discuss Uranium One next week, within an award-winning report entitled Krugman Ignored, or something much like that.

For these reasons, we'll leave this particular bullshit right there, though we will offer two questions:
Which major American newspaper published a gigantic, 4400-word front-page report about Uranium One and the scary uranium deal?

Have you ever seen a single "career liberal" mention, challenge, question or name-call the stunning journalistic disgrace produced by that major newspaper?
Because we're saving the worst for last, we'll go to Maddow next.

Roughly ten minutes into her show, we heard the analysts in the next room emit their familiar keening wail:

"I I I I I I I," the youngsters familiarly said.

Maddow's transcript isn't up yet. We could transcribe what she said from our award-winning On Demand service. But, eschewing such self-degradation, we'll leave her words for another day.

(Full disclosure: Knowing how gong show leads on to clown car, we doubt if we should ever come back.)

The worst thing we saw last night came from Don Lemon and guests. His transcript isn't available either, so we'll patch and fill.

First, Lemon interviewed Ronan Farrow, who seems to have his nose in the underwater drawer at this time. We didn't see much of that interview, but then the guest pundits came on.

There followed a grotesque discussion between Lemon and Tara Setmayer about the reason why Melania Trump prefers a separate bedroom—reportedly, that is. Setmayer is brighter than the average "cable news" bear, but she and Lemon were appalling last night.

We regarded Farrow as a hero of journalist labor for his dogged, important reporting about Harvey Weinstein's criminal assaults and attacks. Doggedly, he told the story that all our New York Times "goddesses" and our all-around heroes had long chosen not to tell.

Now he has his nose in the drawer, busily reporting on Donald J. Trump's fully consensual conduct. He's also reporting on the six figures one woman took from a man named Pecker—a guide who only had at heart her story getting lost.

Our questions:

Could we erect a giant statue in honor of David Pecker? Also, could we establish a federal fund designed to keep all men and women from discussing their consensual affairs with major public figures?

As Lemon and Setmayer showed us last night, once you let us humans start discussing such matters, we'll want to discuss little else. This week featured 17 killings and 16 indictments, but Don and Tara were hard at work, snarking and scolding and proving to be "all too human."

When Lemon was still working weekend shifts, we praised him as kinder and gentler than the average cable host. He later got promoted to a demanding, two-hour nightly prime time slot.

On balance, the assignment hasn't gone well. The pressures of dealing with Donald J. Trump have dragged Lemon several miles out to sea, seemingly well past his depth.

By last night, he had descended to speculations about why a woman he doesn't know prefers a separate bedroom—reportedly, that is.

"That's it's for us," Lemon said as the segment ended. "That should be it for you, motherfrumper," one thoughtful young analyst said.

Extra-credit reading assignment: The power of paraphrase is on display in Christine Emba's new column in the Washington Post.

She paraphrases "many" people, quotes none. Dead strawmen frequently litter the countryside when such columns are done.

Emba didn't invent this approach. That said, why can't the youngsters come along and reject the mistakes of the ancients?


  1. Quoting takes up a great deal more space than paraphrasing does. It is not surprising if journalists are taught to paraphrase, not quote.

    Coyly, Somerby does not tell you that Emba's article is about race, specifically the critics who complain about media reviews that notice race. She does not name those critics, no doubt because she (1) does not wish to embarrass them, and (2) isn't trying to start a twitter war with any of them. Anyone who reads news media regularly will know exactly who they are. Just as we know that Somerby has been whining about race himself over the past few weeks. Emba's point is that now that African American actors, directors and writers are coming into their own, members of the dominant race are saying that it is time to set race aside and move on to a unified, color-blind society where race is irrelevant. Emba is saying, hold on, let us enjoy this moment before you declare race unimportant. She says that it is still important to those who are diverse in our society. Somerby doesn't bother to tell us what she said -- just that she is raising a strawman and failing to reject mistakes of the ancients.

    Meanwhile, she quotes Michelle Obama at length. Somerby says she quotes no one. Guess Michelle doesn't count as a person.

  2. I don't mind if Somerby wants to declare consensual affairs of married public figures off limits. The problem in this situation is that Trump paid off the women involved in those affairs. That makes this an illegal act. If he paid them for sex, that is a crime. If he paid them to keep quiet, that too is a crime. Hush money, bribery, extortion, prostitution are not part of consensual affairs, even when adulterous.

    Somerby is very proud of his term "underwear sniffing." Howard Stern is an underwear sniffer. Ronan Farrow is a reporter investigating a crime. Those FBI agents investigating the truth of the pee tape are not underwear sniffers either. They are investigating whether our president is vulnerable to blackmail by foreign agents, potentially compromised. The sex isn't the point.

    What is wrong with Somerby that he thinks there cannot be any valid public interest in crimes if they involve sexual acts? No doubt he thinks those who cared about Moore's sexual interest in 14 year old girls (whom I consider to be children) were underwear sniffers too. Maybe he thinks Melania is an underwear sniffer when she objects to her husband's behavior?

    Is there an uglier term he could have used? Does Somerby think his choice of words goes unnoticed here? Does he think his psyche is not on display?

  3. "The pressures of dealing with Donald J. Trump have dragged Lemon several miles out to sea, seemingly well past his depth."

    Yeah, "the pressures of dealing with Donald J. Trump", or, as I like to call it: clear manifestations of the '11/9 exploding head syndrome'.

  4. Notice how Somerby has broadened the term panty sniffer to underwear sniffer. The latter is more inclusive, since men do not wear panties. However, it is also grossly misleading, since women do not sniff panties. That is a male deviant behavior.

    Perhaps that is why I find his term so offensive. It coopts women in an act they don't do. Women are interested in relationships and would find Melania's sleeping arrangements not only of interest but understandable under the circumstances. Men don't care about that kind of thing. Somerby, being male, urges us to mind our own business over Melania's reaction to Trump's infidelities, then tries to coopt female support for his opinion by calling women underwear sniffers. This argument doesn't work for me.

  5. Trump lives in the underwear drawer...seems like as good a place as any for reporters to sniff him out.

  6. The compulsion to sleep with every attractive woman he meets despite (or because of?) his marital status, the need to lavish his many mistresses with money, the need to pay hush money to some of them, the proclivity to force his way onto some not insignificant percentage of the women he meets....sounds like a perfectly normal guy. Not disordered at all...
    And gee, wonder if those "consensual" affairs had Melania's consent?

    Question: what did Vladimir know and when did he know it?

    1. If he had Melania's consent to engage in affairs, she wouldn't be punishing him for them now.

  7. Note the usage of the phrase "people of color":

    From the Houston-trained Nigerian bobsled team to the diverse casting of the Ava DuVernay-directed “A Wrinkle in Time” to the swearing in of the most racially diverse Congress in history, people of color have celebrated.

    I doubt that bunches of Asians have celebrated this movie. Christine Emba seems to have forgotten that there are more than two races.

  8. Why wouldn’t Asians go see a film version of a beloved classic sci fi novel?

    1. I meant to question whether Asians would celebrate a movie because its cast was nearly all black.

    2. When was the last time you celebrated any movie?

    3. I would've thought after seeing "Triumph of the Will."

  9. Here are two topics the media should cover much more than they do:

    1. Nuclear weapons. They're useless, our huge arsenals on hair-trigger alert could bring a catastrophic war at any time.

    2. Climate change. It's real, it's already having consequences, and it's a threat to civilization.

  10. This is what Somerby should be writing:

  11. Why is Somerby talking about Marty instead of A United Kingdom?