PROPAGANDA, INCOMPETENCE, ERROR: Maureen Dowd made a mistake!

MONDAY, AUGUST 10, 2020

And that was the weekend's good news:
Maureen Dowd made a mistake at the start of yesterday's column in the New York Times.

Uh-oh! As originally published, her column started like this:
DOWD (8/9/20): On the cusp of Joe Biden teaming up with a woman, I am casting back to my time covering the first woman who was a serious contender for veep.

The feminist fairy tale—which began with women crying and popping champagne on the convention floor in San Francisco in 1984—had a sad ending. Cinderella with ashes in her mouth.

It’s hard to fathom, but it has been 36 years since a man and a woman ran together on a Democratic Party ticket. To use Geraldine Ferraro's favorite expression, "Gimme a break!"
In fact, it's been four years since a man and a woman ran together on a Democratic Party ticket. In 2016, the Democratic ticket featured Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine—one boy and one girl.

Many people noticed Dowd's mistake, not excluding Hillary Clinton. But the clown show didn't end there:

In standard fashion, the New York Times Opinion section made yet another misstatement in a tweet announcing the fact that it has corrected Dowd's initial mistake.

The Opinion section then proceeded to correct its own misstatement. As of today, all is well, at least in a factual sense, with the version of Dowd's column which appears online.

Briefly, let's be fair. Everybody makes mistakes. Also, it's easy to see what Dowd was thinking about when she made her mistake.

You could almost imagine that an editor at the Times might have spotted that original mistake. You could also imagine that the Opinion section might have been more careful in announcing its correction of the mistake—but did we mention the fact that this was the New York Times?

Dowd's mistake was the kind of mistake which doesn't actually matter. That distinguishes it from many of the three million other mistakes, misstatements, gong shows and errors fashioned by the New York Times over the past thirty years.

These various gong shows and propaganda campaigns have sometimes done terrible harm.

To cite two examples, the newspaper's gong shows and propaganda campaigns helped elect George W, Bush and Donald J. Trump. The outcomes of those gonged-up elections spread death all through Iraq and now all through our own world.

(Remember when the Times published this 4400-word pseudo-report about the way Secretary of State Clinton supposedly transferred all our uranium to the Russkies? Amazingly, the astounding Times pseudo-report had been prepared in concert with a major Republican hack.

(Playing by established rules, Chris Hayes and Michelle Goldberg failed to challenge the report that night. On the bright side, Goldberg is now a columnist for the Times. Silence really does have its rewards, as it always has!)

That gigantic, 4400-word report was a gong-show all the way down. By way of contrast, Dowd's mistake this week didn't matter. That utterly phony pseudo-report wholly and massively did.

Dowd's mistake was unimportant; everyone crowed all the same. At this site, it served as an innocent counterpoint to the onslaught of incompetence, error and propaganda which flowed from the upper-end mainstream press over the past few days.

We'll focus on that onslaught all this week, with an emphasis on the propaganda—on the slavish adherence to Storyline. This will lead us back to the larger report we want to resume—our report about the way shooting deaths at the hands of police have been reported and discussed since early 2012.

Shooting deaths at the hands of police is an important topic. In theory, it, like other important topics, should be reported and discussed with great journalistic care.

In fact, reporting of that important topic has largely been driven by Storyline. But so it has been with almost all major topics over the past thirty-plus years.

Hillary Clinton was a crook; Al Gore was the world's biggest liar. The children kept retyping these pre-approved novels. Eventually, a pair of Doomsdays arrived.

Those behaviors actually mattered; yesterday, Dowd's mistake basically didn't. Meanwhile, her mistake appeared in the midst of a wave of dim-witted mainstream propaganda in support of a raft of current approved Storylines.

As in the past, so too today. Presentation of these Storylines comes to us from the land of Dumbness, Misstatement and Error.

It comes to us from the realm of upper-end press recitation. It comes to us from a childish realm in which journalists keep revealing a basic truth about the remarkably limited capabilities of our war-inclined, floundering species.

Tomorrow, we may briefly return to David Leonhardt to start these gloomy reports.

On Friday afternoon, we mentioned Leonhardt's recent front-page report in the Times. In retrospect, the striking thing about that recent report is this:

Leonhardt was trying to tell the truth about the current state of the pandemic within these United States! But even as he tried to describe the extent of our Trump-driven national train wreck, he instinctively turned to the wrong statistic—and he's sold as one of the smart ones!

In short, even when they try to tell the truth, they lack the skill to do so. This is a problem which comes to us from the land of Misstatement and Error.

As we've tried to acknowledge, our reporting on this matter comes to us through extensive consultation with an array of top anthropologists. It's their insights on which we've drawn, much less so on our own.

The despondent scholars to whom we refer offer a very surprising analysis:

Our upper-end scribes possess almost no skills at all!

These scholars say it's just the way our floundering species was made. We've begin to believe that they may have a point.

We may start with Leonhardt tomorrow.

Tomorrow: Fashions from the Portland frontier, plus wave after wave of Pure Script

This afternoon: Long ago at The Hub

42 comments:

  1. "Dowd's mistake was the kind of mistake which doesn't actually matter."

    Indeed. But then, why waste so many pixels on it?

    "(Remember when the Times published this 4400-word pseudo-report about the way Secretary of State Clinton supposedly transferred all our uranium to the Russkies?"

    Despite all your righteous indignation (perfectly sincere, no doubt), it seems extremely likely that the Clinton crime family did receive a payment for not opposing the sale. Otherwise why would Russian investment company pay Bubba the Demigod half-mil for his 'speech'? For sharing his demigod wisdom? You believe that?

    Of course, dear Bob, with you being a liberal 'n all, it's futile to ask you to be evenhanded, we understand. But perhaps one day you might suddenly realize that your deeeep convictions are not uncontroversial?.. Let us hope.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I want my fucking uranium back, Boris.
      When is Donald J Chickenshit, Acting President, going to get on this scandalous national security emergency? How's the weather in Belarus?

      Delete
    2. Mao's a commie, who wants to punish the success of American businesspeople, like the Clintons.
      He probably heard that Bill Clinton was the first black President, and now he wants to make the Clintons suffer because of it.

      Delete
    3. If you want uranium, dear Hillary (and I'm sure you do), then why did you approve the sale of it?

      I'm sure the $500K you got for it seemed like a lot, but it probably only paid for a couple of visits of your hubby Bubba the Demigod to the Pedophile Island.

      I feel your frustration, my dear.

      Delete
    4. Try to follow along you fucking boob. If it was wrong to approve the sale, then why isn't Donald J Chickenshit lifting a pinkie to get the mines back? What's the matter, cat got your vodka soaked tongue, Vlad? All DJ Chickenshit has to do is declare it a national security matter and seize the fields?

      Delete
    5. If Trump won't do it, it must not redistribute wealth upward.

      Delete
    6. Don't be bitter, dear Hillary.

      We agree, $500K was not an adequate payment to the Clinton crime family; a few days on the Pedophile island, and puff, it's all gone.

      But this is an old story, after all. Calm down, relax, my dear.

      Delete
  2. "Said Barr: “I think the left has essentially withdrawn from this model, and really represents a Rousseauian revolutionary party that believes in tearing down the system. They’re interested in complete political victory, they’re not interested in compromise, they’re not interested in dialectic exchange of views.”

    He added that Democrats’ push for victory is their “substitute for a religion.”"

    Every conservative accusation is a confession.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dowd's "mistake" wasn't actually a mistake if you take her remark in context. Dowd said, in her first paragraph:

    "I am casting back to my time covering the first woman who was a serious contender for veep."

    By setting that context, her later sentence about it being 36 years since a man and woman ran together, clearly refers to the vice presidency. That is perhaps why the editor didn't catch this as an error. Because the editor can read.

    ReplyDelete
  4. In a similar sense, Dowd made it clear that she was talking about the Democratic Party ticket. That's why no one is complaining that she forgot about Sarah Palin. So context matters for that, but not when she is clearly talking about the VICE Presidency and not the Presidency.

    I agree that this is a triviality, but there is animosity toward Dowd, so it gets blown up into something to mock her over. However, Somerby other examples are not in the same category. Dowd is an over-the-hill opinion-page columnist who is widely disliked, hence the delight in embarrassing her. Those other two examples Somerby mentions (Hillary, Gore) were propaganda efforts intended to undermine a major political candidate. They were entirely fabricated, emanated from the right and were intended to undermine their candidacies. The NY Times helped in that effort, presumably because it did not want them to win.

    That is a huge difference that Somerby, for some unknown reason, ignores.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somerby reduces these attacks on Hillary and Gore to a complaint about journalistic style, but he never discusses why the NY Times might have wanted to put a Republican into office. Why doesn't he talk about that, ever?

      He keeps referring to Boo's complaint about creeping Dowdism, which is not about who a major paper wishes to sabotage, but about all journalists adopting the snarky, narrative-driven weirdness of Dowd. That isn't what was going on when the NY Times attacked Clinton over a uranium deal (based on a right-wing book written specifically to smear Clinton, full of outright lies and conspiracy theory that was elsewhere debunked). There was nothing Dowdish about that report. It was sabotage of Clinton's campaign. In contrast, mention of Gore's four-button suit is trivial. There is no equivalence between that uranium report and Dowd's silliness about Gore. The complaints about Gore's lies were more serious, but still not on the same level as the ongoing relentless smears against Clinton.

      Somerby cannot admit what was done against Clinton because then he might have to reexamine his own lack of enthusiasm for her and his own contribution to her loss, back in the years when he could say nothing positive about her.

      Delete
    2. I have been reading Bob for many years, and have no recollection of any time when, "he could say nothing positive about [Hillary Clinton]".

      Delete
    3. How about right before the general election is 2016, when he was still calling her a failed candidate? Wouldn't you think that someone would be encouraging others to support her around that time? Every newspaper in the country except Sheldon Adleson's wrote an editorial endorsing her. Not Somerby. He was apparently still pouting about Bernie's loss to her in the primaries. He used terms such as "deeply flawed" to describe her.

      Delete
    4. 5:10 therefore he was right again and on the right side of history again. she was a deeply flawed failed candidate. the whole world can see that now.

      Delete
    5. If Hillary Clinton were President, we'd be in the midst of a dozen Republican-led investigations into the deaths of 300 Americans from COVID.

      Delete
    6. But she would have killed 160,000 brown women and children with her foreign policy like Obama and Bush so it's pretty much even.

      Delete
    7. Bush?
      Didn't they create a vaccine for BDS a decade ago.

      Delete
  5. "Hundreds of people swept through the Magnificent Mile and other parts of downtown Chicago early Monday, smashing windows, looting stores, confronting police and at one point exchanging gunfire with officers, authorities said."

    Here is a riot that did not start as any kind of protest. It started when 30 people gathered around an individual arrest made by police, and seemed to be anti-police in sentiment, according to the news report. Ultimately, hundreds of people were involved.

    I believe this example of violence supports my theory that people are angry, frightened and otherwise upset by the circumstances surrounding this pandemic, and that they are expressing that in these riots that emerge out of conflicts with police as they try to break up and control protests. I believe that any event can create the opportunity for such a riot when people are feeling the way that many are today. I also think it will get worse if those who are bearing the brunt of unemployment and covid threat are further squeezed by removal of relief support, and if things get worse in terms of food shortages, housing evictions, and Trump is reelected (which will take away any hope of their situation improving).

    Historically, the downtrodden riot when conditions become untenable. You cannot blame BLM for that -- it is what people do when times are bad. Trump and the Republicans are fools not to have expected it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True or false? You're full of excuses.

      Delete
  6. Chicago's black mayor has a different take. Who's right Anon, or Chicago's black mayor?

    Mayor Lori Lightfoot called it "deeply painful" and said it had nothing to do with the First Amendment right to peaceably assemble.
    "You have no right to take and destroy the property of others," she said. "We will not let our city be taken over by criminals and vigilantes, no matter who they are and what they're doing."

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anon: Here is a riot that did not start as any kind of protest. It started when 30 people gathered around an individual arrest made by police, and seemed to be anti-police in sentiment, according to the news report. Ultimately, hundreds of people were involved.

    CHICAGO TRIBUNE: City officials said the seeds for the violent crime spree were sown on social media Sunday afternoon following an officer involved shooting in the Englewood neighborhood. Officers shot and wounded a 20-year-old man Sunday after he fired shots at them while being chased, authorities said. The man was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center and is expected to survive, Brown said.

    Notice how our intrepid reporter, Anon, leaves ou vital detail and writes a novel instead. Just like that WP Franklin Co article that Somerby complained about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're buying the narrative.
      Those cops the 20-year old shot at, while being chased, were no angels.

      Delete
    2. Cops need to stop these pursuits. They serve no purpose.

      Crime from raving lunatic serial killer terrorists running around on a violent frenzy is a fever dream, it just does not happen like that, and the lunatic killers we do have usually have planned attacks and mental issues neither of which are helped by our militarized police force.

      Delete
    3. I wrote what was in the article I quoted from. I didn't make up any narrative.

      Delete
    4. Quoting the article suggests "You're buying the narrative".

      Considering things like historical context should make one skeptical of the narrative cops sell to the media.

      Cops need to stop these pursuits. They serve no purpose.

      Delete
    5. Typical gibberish. Anon: Endlessly dedicated to clogging up this blog with fact-free turds

      Delete
    6. The "Anons" seem cogent, Gloucon X, you on other hand are as clear as mud.

      Delete
    7. Those cops were no angels.

      Delete
  8. When Somerby says that Chris Hayes didn't talk about something, go check all the other shows in the lineup. You can bet they talked about it, because Somerby wouldn't pass up a chance to chide Rachel for overlooking that thing. His implication is obviously that no one mentioned it, but that's the way he plays his dishonest game here.

    ReplyDelete

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