Vance adopts the company line!


The company line is wrong:
Last night, it happened again! Another top pundit on MSNBC adopted the company line.

But as with Fox News, so too here—the company line is wrong.

Below, you see what Joyce Vance said on last night's 11th Hour (transcript, tape not yet available). She was thinking about the excitement to come when Mueller the God testifies before two House committees on July 17:
VANCE (7/1/19): Mueller may have to find a little bit of a break in his armor and let in a little bit more sunshine and talk with Congress a little bit about what animated the concerns around the report, what led them to use the processes that they did. It's, I think, anybody's guess whether he'll be willing to do that if he's pushed.

But the reality is, Mueller simply outlining the findings of his report will be a pretty spectacular piece of progress for Democrats, and nothing for Republicans to look forward to, given the conclusion of the report that the president committed obstruction. And that, although they couldn't charge a conspiracy, there was an awful lot of evidence of coordination, even collusion, between the campaign and the Russian government.
Say what? Rather plainly, Vance seemed to say that the Mueller report reached the conclusion "that the president committed obstruction."

Because the Muller report reached that conclusion, Mueller's appearance will be pretty spectacular for Democrats, even if Mueller simply outlines his findings and does nothing more. That's what Joyce Vance said.

In this way, The One True Channel is now getting us liberals all excited about Mueller's upcoming appearance. There's only one problem with what Vance said:

The Mueller report did not conclude that Donald J. Trump committed obstruction. In fact, the Mueller report specifically says that no such judgment was reached on obstruction, one way or the other:

Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President’s conduct.
The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.
Which part of "this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime" doesn't Vance understand? We'll guess it's the part which flies in the face of the company's preferred story-line.

Vance's peculiar misstatement is especially striking. On June 19, she challenged Nicolle Wallace when Wallace issued this groaner on her daily hour-long sing-along program, Deadline: White House:
WALLACE (6/19/19): Joyce Vance, Robert Mueller found that Donald Trump committed crimes, that he committed ten acts of obstruction of justice. Robert Mueller also found that Russia attacked our democracy to help Donald Trump.

These are two really simple truths. These are two—you know, Elizabeth Warren was able to boil them down into a simple sentence. Why can't Democrats?
Vance offered a nuanced demurral to the first of those "simple truths." This drew a veiled scolding from Wallace. For fuller details and text, see last Thursday's report.

Last evening, just twelve days later, Vance was misstating the basic facts too. Anthropologists say the human brain was always wired this way.

At one time, everyone knew that Mueller didn't reach a decision concerning obstruction of justice. Everyone knew and said that he didn't—but by now, it's very common to see major figures on CNN and MSNBC saying that he did.

In this way, our favorite stars behave the same way the big stars sometimes behave on Fox. A second problem is apparent:

We're going to have egg all over our faces again when Mueller shows up on July 17 and says, for all the world to see, that he didn't reach any such judgment.

We liberals are being played for fools when our top stars behave this way. Let's review the history here:

For two years, we were told that Mueller was going to frog-march everyone out of the White House when his report appeared. When his report was released and it did no such thing, that build-up crashed and burned.

So did one third of Rachel's ratings. And hey! That's bad for the bottom line!

Now, our favorite stars are subjecting us to the same dim-witted cycle. They're building us up for July 17—but if Mueller really does appear on that date, he won't be saying that he concluded that Trump committed obstruction.

This spectacle is anthropology, nothing more and nothing else. This is the way the human brain works, or fails to work, at times of intense tribal conflict. This is the way our misfiring, war-inclined species tends to behave in tribes.

According to major anthropologists, the brain was always wired this way. Despondently, yet with obvious feeling, they persist in saying that Aristotle was wrong, oh so wrong!

"Rational animal my asp!" these glum future experts tell us.


  1. "But as with Fox News, so too here—the company line is wrong."

    Bob, dear Bob, let's be fair: Fox News doesn't have any 'party line' (why 'company' line?) these days.

    Unlike your liberal zombie media, Fox News presents a variety, a spectrum of views. You should try watching it sometime.

    1. Mao's "liberal media", what the rest of us call "Right-wing media" or "media", presents a whole range of views. From far-Right all the way to center-Right.

    2. Please don't respond to the dembot zombie at 1:49. You'll only encourage her.

    3. There's no 'left' or 'right' in the 21st century America, dembot. The 'left' is dead. For now.

      The current political dichotomy is between national interest and liberal global finance.

      Your liberal zombie cult serves the latter. It's crumbling now, and when it's finally finished, then we can (hopefully) get back to the left-right paradigm.

    4. Mao,
      Do you think you can convince your buddy, Trump, to take his knee off the neck of the American worker long enough to hold Corporate America accountable?
      Thanks for all you do.

    5. Mao - I see your theory. Did you devise it yourself - or is this some type of current school of thought.

    6. My own observation, but I do hear it occasionally, here and there.

      Even some zombie ideologues (e.g. Roubini) know it, even if they view from the opposite, pro-globalization, angle.

    7. You come out with almost entirely conclusory statements. I'm a skeptic. It's no way to convince anyone rationally. And speaking about Fox, I look at their website - what's their thing with AOC (no relation), they are obsessed with her.

    8. I checked the (very long) front page, found 2 references to Cortez. But you certainly do have the right to an opinion.

  2. Somerby is likely somewhat disingenuous here, Mueller did not officially conclude in his report, and he explains why, but at the same time provides evidence of obstruction of justice to the extent that makes it clear that the crime was committed by Trump on multiple occasions.

    Somerby is surpassed mightily in the disingenuous arena by our own Pillsbury Doughboy in Chief. Here is Trump offering his moronic thoughts on busing and Western liberalism:

    Trump Confused by "Busing" & "Liberalism"

    The degree to which Trump is clueless is funny, but the impact is not funny.

    As Trump continues to torture the little brown children he has kidnapped and placed in concentration camps (suck on this, Chuck Todd), this cartoon accurately captures his character:

    Political Cartoonist Fired After Bashing Trump In Cartoon

    1. You think the Somerby who repeats Right-wing nonsense memes might be disingenuous? What clued you in to reality, dembot zombie?

    2. anon 5:58 - The fact is that Mueller specifically states he is making no judgment, one way or the other, on obstruction of justice. The pundits on the tube are simply misstating what Mueller said, similar to Trump's style of equating what is true with what he thinks is to his advantage. I'm a lawyer. I don't practice criminal law. But, it seems Mueller in his report lists various things that might arguably, from the standpoint of a prosecutor whose whole thing is getting people found guilty, add up to obstruction of justice, but to more or less a degree, its inconclusive. To me the evidence looks weak. Maybe you aren't that objective, to understate things. (I personally can't stand our POTUS and didn't vote for him and can't conceive of doing so). Can you cite any federal decisions where convictions for obstruction of justice were upheld? And this guy is the POTUS, lousy as that may be. There should be some caution on charging him with crimes. Some day, who knows, a dem might again get elected president - lowering the impeachment bar wouldn't help in that eventuality.

    3. AC is the perfect example of why the Democrats need to get going with investigations to bring to light the massive corruption that Trump is guilty of. It’s not just detailed in the Mueller report; it’s also Trump’s daily violations of the emoluments clause, his accepting of bribes from foreign countries, the self-dealing of him and his family. And if AC thinks the Mueller report is a lowering of the bar for impeachment, then we should just strike the impeachment clause from the constitution, since it means nothing. A thousand prosecutors have affirmed that the Mueller report shows obstruction of justice by Trump, for God’s sake.

    4. "a thousand prosecutors have affirmed that the Mueller report shows obstruction of justice by Trump"

      Those are actually a former Federal prosecutors. It doesn't really mean that much. There's hundreds of thousands of former Federal prosecutors.

    5. Zombie "experts" of the zombie media.

    6. AC/MAJuly 3, 2019 at 12:06 PM

      Trump's constant misstatements are not equal to how those in the media are referring to Mueller's work. Your assertion that they are similar indicates to me you are not arguing in good faith.

      Regardless of how Mueller felt he had to qualify his findings, his report does lay out how obstruction of justice was committed, as many prosecutors have commented on. Scooter Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice, as one recent prominent example.

      Trump can not be charged in court until he is no longer POTUS, there should be no caution, no one is above the law, this is precisely why Trump should be impeached and prosecuted.

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