BREAKING: Nicholas Kristof gets it right!

SUNDAY, MAY 6, 2018

Speaks out against cable news "porn:"
Nicholas Kristof gets it right in today's New York Times.

He goes at the corporate god that failed—the self-dealing, profit-based culture he refers to as cable news porn:
KRISTOF (5/6/18): We in the commentariat complain about President Trump, but we’re locked in a symbiotic relationship with him.

News organizations, especially cable television channels, feed off Trump—like oxpeckers on a rhino’s back—for he is part of our business model in 2018. As long as our focus is on Trump, audiences follow.

It’s not optimal to have as president an authoritarian who denounces journalists as enemies of the people, but he has given us a sense of mission and a “Trump bump.” Every time he denounces us we get more subscriptions.


Yet I worry that our national nonstop focus on Trump is helping to usher America into a hole: a Trump obsession. The danger is that Trump sucks up all the oxygen, so that other issues don’t get adequate attention.

In America today, it’s all Trump, all the time. We’re collectively addicted to him. The nonstop scandals and outrages suck us in; they amount to Trump porn.
That's aimed at Anderson, Lawrence, Rachel and Don, key purveyors of cable's "Trump porn."

Kristof says they're making their dollars off Donald J. Trump. Worst of all, he correctly says that Trump has given these dopes a "sense of mission"—a belief that their "true crime" entertainment spectaculars have transformed them into profiles in courage.

(Also this: "The danger is that Trump sucks up all the oxygen, so that other issues don’t get adequate attention!" Where the heck have we heard that before?)

Kristof goes after the bad behavior of Lawrence, Anderson, Rachel and Don. Meanwhile, how many millions does "corporate" pay them to do the things they endlessly do?

How much are they paid for their cable news porn? In a final gesture of contempt, you aren't even permitted to know!

The accurate statements continue: Kristof goes on and on in this street-fighting vein.

He can lick every cable news host in the house! Once again, what he's saying is accurate:
KRISTOF (continuing directly): As president, Trump is enormously important, but there’s so much else happening as well. Some 65,000 Americans will die this year of drug overdoses, American life expectancy has fallen for two years in a row, guns claim a life every 15 minutes and the number of uninsured is rising again even as a child in the U.S. is 70 percent more likely to die before adulthood than one in other advanced nations. Those issues are rather more important than the question of whether Stormy Daniels slept with Trump.


Progressive snobs like me bemoan Trump’s inattention to these global issues, but the truth is that we don’t pay attention, either. At cocktail parties, on cable television, at the dinner table, at the water cooler, all we talk about these days is Trump. So we complain about Trump being insular and parochial—but we’ve become insular and parochial as well. We’ve caught the contagion that we mock.


[T]he biggest Trump scandals aren’t those unfolding in Washington, but those devastating the lives of the poor and vulnerable in distant American towns.

There’s some danger, I think, that progressives come to care primarily about issues where Trump is involved, allowing him to define the agenda. For example, the best single way to break cycles of poverty is probably with early childhood programs for at-risk kids, but because Trump doesn’t care about this, liberals don’t seem much interested, either. That's pathetic.
When it comes to low-income kids, "liberals don't seem interested either!" Truer words seldom get spoken.

Oof! According to Kristof, Rachel, Lawrence, Nicolle and Chris are "pathetic" "progressive snobs!" He says what's happening to low-income kids is more important than their endless selling of the corporate car.

He even says that low-income kids are more important than Stormy's relentless claims about Who She Allegedly F*cked! Where the heck does he get this stuff? What has this loser been smoking?

Once in about a million years, you read a column so insightful that you say to yourself, "I wish I said that first." For us, this isn't quite one of those days.

Still and all, Kristof has gotten it right. We'd have to say that his column is right pretty much all the way down.



  2. We aren’t huge fans of Nicholas Kristof’s twice-weekly New York Times columns.

    In our view, Kristof is becoming a relentless moral scold—the type of scold who convinces people to stay away from liberals and progressives.

    Increasingly, we don’t think much of Kristof.

  3. The opposite of a Trump bump is NOT to ignore what Trump does. This strikes me as yet another Somerby attempt to minimize Trump's malfeasance by saying that the media is wrong to focus upon the things he does wrong. Let's all look the other way and say nothing.

    Somerby (and Kristof) seem to think that there is not enough media to go around, that focusing on Trump's wrong doing will mean there is no time or room to discuss these other important issues. That seems mistaken. For example, I never hear about Trump on my local news shows. I never see anything about him in the magazines I subscribe to, the one from the California Teacher's Association, for example. There are whole sections of the NY Times where they never discuss Trump -- the ones where they are talking about trivia that Somerby dislikes. Blogs like Daily Kos are talking about climate change and gun control and local races and lots of stuff besides Trump.

    So where exactly is it all Trump, all the time? It isn't even like that on Cable news.

    So this seems like "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...these are not the droids you are seeking...don't worry about Trump and Stormy because it is only about the sex."

    1. No one's saying ignore Trump. But the MSNBC crowd spends all its time obsessing on him. When do they ever talk about progressive issues?

      Btw --- why all the trolls here? Is there some kind of organized effort to squelch Bob's message? Talk about obsessed.

    2. Please. There are people who disagree with Somerby. They provide reasons why. This is not trolling.

    3. @Anon 10:35--No one is trying to "squelch" Somerby. He writes, he has a comment section, people comment. Did he or you expect only approval? I'm sure he will continue writing and ignoring his commenters. His commenters will continue to comment. People who disagree will express their disapproval, people who like his post are free to dive in with their approval, or a spirited defense of Bob or a rebuttal of the disapprovers. You know, a discussion.

      Then there's you.

    4. "So where exactly is it all Trump, all the time? It isn't even like that on Cable news. "

      You must be fucking joking, or just landed from outer space, or are beaming in from Moscow. Cable news is obsessed with Trump around the clock, and for you not to know that is so deeply peculiar everyone should disregard what you say.

      And yes, Somerby does constantly minimize Trump's evil and malfeasance, that is quite true, since to him it's liberals who are the Real Evil.

  4. LORD.

    First Bob berates a book convincingly that, after all, he shouldn't talk about before even completing. Then he commits and embarrasing error equal to anything Chozick is likely to match in the remainder of her tome.
    Duh. the problem, BOB, you incredible nincompoop, was that Trump DENIED COHEN WAS HANDLING STORMY DANIELS FOR HIM, something he hadn't previously admitted. I know this subject makes Bob a little crazy, and Avenatti's effective seeming on air pursuit of Trump has ruduced Bob to frazzled name calling, but this is just gross inclometence on Bob's part. Glad he's big on attorney client privilege, which by the way, does not always protect illegal activity always, by the way.

  5. Kristof writes:

    "I’m addicted myself, which is why I write so much about Trump"

    "President Trump truly is THE story in America today."

    "I’m not arguing that we avert our eyes from Trump or mute our criticism. Far from it. "

    When will Somerby write his own mea culpa? He is addicted to his hatred of the news media, "Rachel, Chris, Lawrence". A vast percentage of his postings concern Trump, evincing his own addiction to Trump as well. However, unlike Kristof, Somerby apparently DOES want to mute the criticism of Trump that he finds in the media: he has written countless posts attempting to debunk the negative stories about Trump. Just look through his archives at his views on the Russian hacking story, the Mueller probe, the Rob Porter scandal, the Tom Price scandal, the Stormy Daniels matter, just to name a few. He hasn't just criticized the way the media has covered these stories; he has belittled and trivialized the very issues at stake.

    Somerby occasionally acts sort of like a journalist, especially when he talks about education: he does research and reports facts (about test scores, for example) that he claims are not reported in the msm. He could choose to use his blog to do more such reporting, rather than indulging every day in his monomaniacal hatred of the media. And he could thereby serve to provide his readers with the reporting that he finds lacking from other sources.

    Case in point: given his concern about education, did he ever post any in-depth examination of Hillary's education policy proposals during the campaign?

    Finally, he recently bemoaned the fact that his posts about test scores and the like didn't get picked up and spread across the media landscape. Perhaps if he spent more time reporting and less time viciously attacking and mocking people he doesn't like, then maybe his posts would have a greater chance of reaching a wider audience.

    1. There's been a lot of bemoaning recently, hasn't there? Terrific to hear from you.

    2. Is this supposed to mean something?

    3. You know, all the bemoaning going on. How are ya?

    4. Somerby is the one who's been doing all the howling and bemoaning for 20 years, to very little effect. Perhaps you should ask him how it's going. He seems unhinged.

    5. Exactly! You hit the bullseye every time.

    6. Gee, thanks, Dusty. That's swell. Bless your heart.

    7. Any time sweet darlin'.

  6. "He even says that low-income kids are more important than Stormy's relentless claims about..."

    If he (or you, for that matter) really cared about all those "low-income kids" (and what about low-income adults?), then he (and you) would've been applauding Mr Trump's attempts to halt the neoliberal machine of deindustrialization, shipping jobs abroad, making American workers compete with the poorest of the world's poor.

    Yeah, Bob, hypocrisy is thick in your liberal 'tribe'. Oh well...

    1. If Conservatives (and Mao, for that matter) really cared about the neoliberal machine of deindustrialization, shipping jobs abroad, making American workers compete with the poorest of the world's poor, they would have been up in arms (or at least mildly upset, for that matter) about Trump having Wall Street run the economy and steal the Treasury.

      Alas, Conservatives (and Mao, for that matter) are bullshitting us, and hope we're too stupid to notice they 100% support the neoliberal machine.

    2. Just Another Block-Quoting BlockheadMay 6, 2018 at 11:47 PM

      " ...cable news porn ...." Then there's ABC and the pathetic Rudy G.: [Wapo 5/6/18]
      "Then there was his argument as to why the $130,000 Trump reimbursed his then-lawyer Michael Cohen for paying off Daniels was all above board legally:

      “Number one, it was not a campaign contribution because it would have been done anyway. This is the kind of thing that I’ve settled for celebrities and famous people. Every lawyer that does that kind of work has. And number two, even if it was considered a campaign contribution, it was entirely reimbursed out of personal funds, which I don’t think we’ll even get to, because the first one’s enough.”

      But if it wasn’t a campaign contribution, and you’re sure of that, you don’t add “even if it was considered a campaign contribution.” That’s just asking for people to believe it was a campaign contribution. Already in a hole, Giuliani dug deeper:

      STEPHANOPOULOS: Well let’s — let’s — the other day you also told BuzzFeed, though, that at some point after the 2016 election, Michael Cohen had complained to some people that he hadn’t been paid by Donald Trump. And then — so then you said Cohen met with Trump and told him and Giuliani said that we’ll cover your expenses, they work out this $35,000 a month retainer after that. So — so the president did know about this after the campaign?

      GIULIANI: Can’t say that. I mean, at some point, yes but it could have been recently, it could have been a while back. Those are the facts that we’re still working on. And that — you know, may be in a little bit of dispute. This is more rumor than it is anything else. But…

      STEPHANOPOULOS: But that’s what you said. You said that to BuzzFeed.

      GIULIANI: But here’s the — but here’s the — well, yes, I mean that — that’s one of the possibilities and one of the rumors. The reality is …

      STEPHANOPOULOS: You stated it as fact.

      GIULIANI: Well, maybe I did. But I — right now, I’m at the point where I’m learning, and I can only — I can’t prove that. I can just say it’s rumor. I can prove it’s rumor, but I can’t prove it’s fact. Yet. Maybe we will.

      STEPHANOPOULOS: But — but you’ve said as — it — you’ve said as a matter of fact on Hannity and BuzzFeed, you talked to the Washington Post about it.

      GIULIANI: I don’t know — I don’t know how you separate fact and opinion.

      “I don’t know how you separate fact and opinion.” BWAHAHAHA!
      [Screw the link - look it up yourself.]

  7. One of the consequences of the media and the public harping on Trump’s character flaws (including his falsehoods) is that Trump and his style of doing business will become the new norm.
    Those that point to real dangers and real consequences are cast aside as village scolds.

    1. Trump does represent a real danger: His lies, his ignorance, his threats, his actions. How is exposing his lies and his deceit and resisting them a normalization of them? It is much more true that his party and his supporters in general, by either tacit approval or outright collusion (re Nunes), are the ones who are normalizing him and furthering the disaster.

    2. “Of course they hate Trump. They’re libtards”.

    3. He's still a liar, whatever stupid name his diehard fans use against the truth-tellers. And they are unlikely to be convinced by any argument, regardless of how delicately you try to dance around their hurt feelings and their adoration of Trump. The only thing that will change their minds is some disaster that hits them where they live. It is a cult.

    4. "The only thing that will change their minds is some disaster that hits them where they live."

      i.e. Trump supporting reparations for slavery.

  8. Now is definitely NOT the time to back-off on Trump. Even his fixers are starting to turn on him. (Cohen describing the FBI as "professional", for instance).
    The shit's about to hit the fan. Get the popcorn ready. This is going to be SO enjoyable to watch.
    One word of caution, don't let the rest of the Conservatives (in and out of the corporate-owned media) slink away. Gash their lifeboats and remind all that they enabled Trump from day one.

  9. Bob once wrote a five part series denouncing Kristof. Now he puts words in his mouth.

    He never called cable news "porn." He never said Rachel, Lawrence, Nicolle and Chris are "pathetic" "progressive snobs!" He said he was
    a progressive snob. He said liberals don't "seem" to care about issues that don't involve Trump and that is pathetic.

    Here is what Bob disappeared from Kristof:

    "In fairness, there’s good reason we’re all Trump addicts: President Trump truly is THE story in America today. He is systematically undermining American institutions and norms that underlie democratic government: courts, law enforcement, journalism, the intelligence community, truth. He is also being investigated for possibly obstructing justice and colluding with a foreign power’s attack on our electoral system. Epic battles will follow.

    Two thousand years from now, historians may be lecturing on Trump the way they now discuss, say, the challenge to Roman institutions from Caligula.

    So I’m not arguing that we avert our eyes from Trump or mute our criticism. Far from it. But we have to figure out how to spare bandwidth for genocide in Myanmar, opioids in America and so on.

    It would also be useful if we recognized that the biggest Trump scandals are not what he says, but what he does."

  10. "He even says that low-income kids are more important than Stormy's relentless claims about Who She Allegedly F*cked!"

    Lets not forget that this isn't about the sex. It is about the president's payoff using campaign funds, his vulnerability to blackmail, his lying and covering up his payoffs, the President sending a thug to frighten a woman into accepting the payoff, and his keeping a fixer on payroll to deal with other such "affairs." Because of these activities, Trump would never be given a security clearance were he not president. This man is leader of our country! This is an important issue that hasn't nothing to do with Stormy Daniels choice of sexual partners and everything to do with some very serious matters.

    Every time Somerby says this is about the sex, he reveals his own loyalties, his own politics. They aren't what he has claimed.

  11. Interesting about the 65,000 people. By my advanced math that is 178 people a day. Seems like a lot, but there is no context to it. I mean, what was it when I graduated high school? We are going to need a rate too, since the country is now over 50% bigger than it was when I graduated high school.

    Some in the media like to hype things. Like the way Kristoff mentions a gun taking a life every fifteen minutes. Hyping the gun threat - even though the homicide rate is way down compared to the 80s. Also combining all gun deaths - self defense, accident, homicide and suicide. He also perhaps used the fifteen minutes stat to hide the fact that 35,000 is a lot smaller than 65,000.

  12. This may hurt Bob's feelings but:
    Trump is a liar and a thief.
    And Putin's bitch.

    1. Where's the fracking ban then? 70% of Putin's money is oil production. If Trump was Putin's bitch, I think task number one would be to ban fracking (like Clinton promised to do).

    2. Trump's laundering their money. What more do they want?

  13. You know what’s ultimately sorry about Bob, the way that he looks to the people who he beats up to validate him. For 20 years, he’s exposed the nonsense that is The Village and yet, he still wants their approval.
    Back in the day, I so appreciated his posts. Now, I just pity him.

  14. Kristof: ...president an authoritarian who denounces journalists as enemies of the people...

    "Authoritarian" means "favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, especially that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom."

    Kristof seems awfully thin-skinned. Trump's harsh criticism does not force journalists to obey his authority. Similarly, journalists' harsh criticism of Trump doesn't force him to obey their authority.

    In fact, all the criticism received by Trump shows that he is NOT authoritarian. If Trump were truly authoritarian, he wouldn't permit all that criticism.

    1. No, it shows that our system protects free speech and a free press. For now.

      Trump's authoritarianism (and it is real) is unable to fully succeed, thanks to that pesky Constitution.

    2. David's being willfully obtuse in pretending that there is no such thing as nuance whenever it suits his fucked-up view of life.

    3. Speaking of authoritarians.
      Scratch a person who believes in the 2nd Amendment right to fight the tyranny of the government, and find someone who doesn't understand why the unarmed guy didn't just follow the police officer's orders.

    4. Anon 1:07: Trump's authoritarianism (and it is real) is unable to fully succeed, thanks to that pesky Constitution.

      Are you saying it partly succeeds? Nonsense. No journalist has been at all restrained by Trump.

    5. 10:09,
      Nor has the Mueller investigation, which has already procured 23 indictments and 5 guilty pleas (despite know-nothings calling it a "witch hunt").

    6. AnonymousMay 7, 2018 at 10:42 AM - so far Mueller has procured exactly ZERO indictments and ZERO guilty pleas involving the Trump campaign colluding with Russia. Trump collusion was the justification for the Special Prosecutor. Now Mueller is investigating anyone for anything. He's evidently trying to get something on Trump -- anything on Trump. That's why it's a witch hunt.

    7. If that was the case, Trump would have been charged with the money laundering 14 months ago.

      I can't believe i have to suggest "patience" to a child who screamed "Benghazi" during the 4-year investigation which brought no indictments.

    8. Relax, David. You can contort yourself into playing the victim with Trump, since Trump has been the victim of Putin's blackmail. Who knows, maybe someone you make that point with, will be too distracted to realize Trump could be blackmailed due to his money laundering.

    9. Due to Karma, President Deadbeat Money Launderer is going to die in prison.
      Here's to putting the whole band of criminals in general population. They should spend their time pushing for "Prison Reform", while they still have some political power.

  15. Oh please. Bob Somerby , you are just as much a parasite as the corporate media is, except you're toiling in bitter impoverished obscurity. And you have absolutely no balls to go after the most heinous media poisoners, Fox News. Your cowardice has been noted for years by our award winning panel of experts!

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