Also, no one said Gore was a liar: Finally, the New York Times published the latest analysis piece which basically writes itself.
One person after another had written the piece at the Washington Post. Our press corps runs on repetition and recitation—and over at the Washington Post, the scribes were reciting hard.
Finally, the New York Times got itself into the game. In print editions, the highly familiar analysis piece was the featured report in Monday's National section.
It said what everyone else had already said. But also, it started like this:
BENNETT (8/12/20): No one, it is safe to assume, told J.F.K. he was too ambitious.As presented, Professor Grant's last comment doesn't exactly make sense:
In 1956, at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, he campaigned aggressively to be vice president, said Keneshia Grant, an associate professor of political science at Howard University. His father, she noted, had even offered to pay for Lyndon B. Johnson’s run if he promised to choose his son as a running mate.
“That was no secret at all,” said Professor Grant, the author of “The Great Migration and the Democratic Party: Black Voters and the Realignment of American Politics in the 20th Century.” “And that was fine. People took him at his word.”
"People took [Kennedy] at his word?" They took him at his word about what? The Times report doesn't say.
Professor Grant may have explained what she meant, but no explanation appeared in the Times. This being the Times, some editor didn't notice.
So it goes at the New York Times. But also, so it goes when upper-end journalists all start writing copycat versions of some Essay Which Writes Itself.
Such essays emerge, live and direct, from the realm of Official Press Storyline. All of a sudden, everyone writes the exact same thing—and by the rules of this group game, their presentations don't have to make sense.
Monday's piece was written by Jessica Bennett. Back in October 2017, Bennett became the New York Times' first gender editor. Today, she's described as "a Times editor at large covering gender and culture."
On Monday, Bennett was writing an official "piece which writes itself." It was a piece about the sexism which was going to confront Joe Biden's VP pick.
A cast of thousands had already written this very same piece at the Washington Post. Rather belatedly, the Times was now playing the imitation game.
Having said that, let us also say this—it's entirely possible that Kamala Harris, who is now Biden's pick, will confront some sexist attacks as the campaign unfolds. We say that because Hillary Clinton was assailed by waves of name-calling misogyny for several decades, without so much as a peep of protest from the corporate career players at the Post and the Times and all over corporate cable.
Most of the sexist attacks against Clinton came from within the mainstream press corps itself. Today, the children within the guild are suddenly opposed to such conduct!
Starting in the 1990s, Clinton was called every name in the book; the stars of the firmament stared. She was slimed in openly misogynist ways by Chris Matthews on NBC cable. Also, by Maureen Dowd right there at the Times.
She was Evita Peron and she was Nurse Ratched; she was also Cruella da Vil. She reminded male journalists of their first wives. To Matthews, she was "witchy" and she was comparable to a "strip-teaser."
When Tucker Carlson was an MSNBC property, he admitted that he “involuntarily crosses his legs” whenever he sees the gal.
Career players across the press corps agreed to let this conduct go; Matthews and Dowd were big players. And then, sure enough:
When Keith Olbermann hit it big at MSNBC, he brought a noxious strain of undisguised misogyny along with him to the channel.
Olbermann would indulge his woman-hatred with his smutty friend, Michael Musto. For several years, we wondered if we could be the only liberal or progressive who was astounded by this repetitive, rancid behavior.
As it turned out, we weren't the only one; we were just the only one discussing it in public. Top progressives, including Rebecca Traister, were discussing Olbermann's "misogyny" in private discussions on JournoList.
They just weren't willing to speak up in public. Olbermann was a big star.
This is the way these life forms were playing the game until the past few years. In the past few years, a sudden flip occurred. Let's do a Before-and-After:
Before: Everyone agreed that they must never report, discuss or criticize any of this.This is the way our "press corps" (and our species) works. Please don't pretend that it isn't!
After: Everybody now agrees that they must discuss nothing else.
And of course, there's one other point. When the children all agree that they will all Say The Exact Same Things In Support of Some Group Position, they also agree that no one will be held to any standards of logic or fact.
So it was that Bennett began her essay in the Times with that absurd presentation about JFK's much-loved ambition. Surely, no one ever criticized him about that! That's only done to the girls!
This morning, the letter appears. It comes from David Greenberg, author of Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency.
Greenberg makes a point of agreeing with Bennett in principle. He just doesn't agree with her facts:
To the Editor:Bennett's opening made no sense at all. In that way, it followed one basic rule of the guild:
Re “The Political Headwinds for Forceful Women” (news article, Aug. 10):
While the article is correct about our society’s retrograde discomfort with women who seek power, the suggestion that no one told John F. Kennedy that he was too ambitious is untrue.
As a young senator of modest accomplishments, J.F.K. was constantly derided as overly ambitious when he sought the vice presidency in 1956 and the presidency in 1960, including by Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry Truman and other Democratic Party leaders.
Richard Rovere wrote in The New Yorker in 1960: “Early in his career … the number of his detractors probably equaled—and perhaps even surpassed—that of his admirers. His ambition was thought to be untempered by humor or charity.”
I agree that too many people today are made uneasy by politically hard-charging women, and that there is sexism behind many of the complaints. But the historical record shows that John F. Kennedy (and other men) have been subjected to similar criticisms as well.
The writer is a professor of history at Rutgers University.
Once they've agreed to all say the same thing, they're allowed to bend facts and logic to advance the group claim in any way they like.
This is the way our mainstream press works. It works this way when it's advancing a message with which a liberal may disagree. It also works this way when advancing a message which makes liberal hearts glad.
These group efforts come to us from the land of Propaganda and Error. More specifically, they come from the highly populous region of Group Repetition, a region in which Everyone Says The Same Things.
At the Post, Michele Norris wrote the column, then Monica Hesse wrote it too. Margaret Sullivan also wrote it. Yesterday, Paul Waldman did too.
The joy of Group Recitation is this—no one will ever challenge your work as long as you stick to the Standard Group Narrative. Example:
When Annie Linskey wrote the Post's front-page news report on this newly mandated theme, she started out by pretending that the Biden campaign didn't want the word to get out about all this coming sexism.
Presumably, that was pure nonsense. Soon, she was writing this:
LINSKEY (8/9/20): Kelsey Suter, a disinformation researcher with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic firm, is helping women’s groups identify sexist memes that begin in private or semiprivate social media groups, so they can point to the origins if they become mainstream.It may well be that Candidate Harris will encounter "sexist memes" and/or "sexist tropes." Under current arrangements, it's fairly clear that any criticism she encounters will be interpreted as such.
When Biden makes his announcement, Suter said, she expects “a flood of content playing on common sexist tropes: portraying her as crazy, untrustworthy, unqualified, dumb, or sexual—claiming she is angry, or extreme, or perhaps that she ‘slept her way to the top.’ ”
Suter said if past patterns hold, social media users will be bombarded with content saying the nominee is a liar or will say anything to get ahead. Images will be manipulated, showing her with crazy-looking eyes or in sexualized poses, said Suter, who added she has already seen such content in difficult-to-access corners of the Internet.
Viewers will “see these images across social media platforms, over and over, until they begin to look normal,” Suter said.
Once our journalists agree that they'll all say the same things, they say them in ludicrous ways. Consider these warnings from Suter:
"Social media users will be bombarded with content saying the [female] nominee is a liar or will say anything to get ahead?"
Those are precisely the two major themes the mainstream press corps pushed for two years in their successful war against Candidate Gore. They said it and said it and said it again. When he wouldn't utter lies, they simply made up his lies for him.
The female nominee will encounter “a flood of content playing on common sexist tropes," including the claim that she is unqualified, dumb, angry, extreme?
Did Nominee Quayle perhaps encounter such tropes? How about the very angry Candidate Howard Dean?
Sexism is real. Indeed, anyone watching the press corps in action will understand it has been real for a good many years.
Sexism is real, but so is stupidity, along with the ways of Group Action. Propaganda and error are very real too. More and more, in these tribalized times, these behaviors run all through the press.
JFK was assailed for being too young and ambitious? So was Candidate Gore, first in 1987, then in 1999 and 2000.
Meanwhile, did one (1) Democratic funder complain that Harris might be so ambitious that she would start seeking the presidency, at Biden's expense, as soon as she became VP?
Yes, that's right, one actually did! But this very concern was part of the basis on which Biden himself was picked to be Obama's VP!
You can read about it in the Times. Here are a couple of excerpts:
THRUSH (8/16/19): Mr. Obama, standard-bearer of change but conscious of the racial dynamics of his candidacy, was wary of asking voters to digest too much at once. In Mr. Biden, he found a running mate who would conjure the comforting past and provide experience he did not possess, but would not maneuver for the presidency from the No. 2 slot.There's nothing new about this, and it isn't just hauled out for women. Sexism is a real thing, but it isn't the only thing. It has just become the only thing now that the clowns have decided to tell the story that way.
At some point, Mr. Biden also told Obama aides that “Barack would never have to worry” about him positioning himself for another presidential run. He was too old, he told them, and he viewed his new job as a capstone, not a catapult. But while both sides assumed that vow covered the duration of Mr. Obama’s presidency, what might happen after that was never explicitly stated.
Mr. Biden was the only one of the finalists to make such a promise. “That was helpful,” Mr. Plouffe said.
The next eight years are the stuff of buddy-movie lore—“a shotgun marriage that gradually turned into a love story,” in Mr. Axelrod’s telling.
Still, Mr. Biden’s simmering ambition was a source of unease for both men. Mr. Plouffe shut down an early move made by Mr. Biden as vice president to assemble a presidential team-in-waiting, blocking Mr. Biden’s attempts to court the party’s West Coast fund-raising elite...
It's very, very hard to see the truth about our upper-end press corps. These people just aren't impressive at all. They aren't "the rational animal."
Simply put, we aren't wired that way, despondent top experts have said.