What did Sister Souljah actually say?


Principled pundit won't tell you: Should President Biden engineer "a Sister Souljah Moment?"

Within the current context, we're not entirely sure what that means, but let's not bother with that. In a typical display of typical brilliance, Professor Masket has boldly rejected the somewhat fuzzy idea. 

These professors today! The professor began his essay for Politico by engineering a howler:

PROFESSOR MASKET (11/29/21): Joe Biden needs a “Sister Souljah Moment.” At least, that’s according to the quickly congealing conventional wisdom in Washington. That is, Biden and Democrats are in dire danger of losing control of Congress next year, and the one thing that could save them would be by bashing someone to Biden’s left on matters of race.


It seems to be an article of faith that this sort of tactic is a crucial one for Democrats, particularly as the party appears to find itself on the backfoot in the culture war.

Is that true? Is there really a "quickly congealing conventional wisdom in Washington"—a conventional wisdom according to which President Biden needs to create such a moment? 

Has this really become "an article of faith" inside the rapidly congealing inside-the-Beltway crowd?

In support of these claims, the professor cites three (3) examples of such a call. "Mostly, these calls are coming from conservative anti-Trump voices," the possibly innumerate professor thoughtfully says.

Newsflash! Two or three "conservative anti-Trump voices" do not constitute "conventional wisdom in Washington," except perhaps during panel discussions on Deadline: White House. This hasn't kept New York magazine's Ed Kilgore from rushing to join the anti-Moment crowd.

We've never met Kilgore, who is a good, decent person. That said, his rejection of this (imagined) conventional wisdom strikes us as a sign of the times. 

In the passage shown below, Kilgore recalls the way Candidate Bill Clinton engineered the original Moment during Campaign 1992. We can't help noting the ways Kilgore aligns himself with the actual conventional wisdom of the actual current crowd:

KILGORE (11/30/21): The allusion is to a speech famously made by Bill Clinton in the summer of 1992 (when he had already nailed down the Democratic presidential nomination) to a conference of the Jesse Jackson–chaired Rainbow Coalition criticizing the organization for holding a panel the previous day that included Sister Souljah. The rapper had recently made remarks related to the L.A. riots that some interpreted as promoting the killing of white people (a claim she denied).

Jackson (who had expressed pride in Souljah’s appearance at his conference) was sitting on the stage near Clinton as he spoke and understandably felt blindsided and exploited by what Clinton said. So it has gone down in legend as a “moment” when a Democratic politician pandered to swing voters (and perhaps to white racists) by conspicuously separating himself from Black political activists. And that, as Masket notes, is what some commentators want Biden to do to stem the political bleeding over controversies surrounding racial justice, including Black Lives Matter protests, the “defund the police” movement, and the alleged influence of critical race theory in public-school classrooms.

Sad! According to Kilgore, Souljah "had recently made remarks...that some interpreted as promoting the killing of white people." 

Souljah went on to deny that claim, Kilgore quickly alleges. He says it's understandable that Rev. Jackson "felt blindsided and exploited by what Clinton said."

(For the record, he doesn't demonstrate that Jackson actually felt that way, understandably or not.)

Having noted the claims that Kilgore has made, we note what he doesn't tell us. Absent-mindedly, he doesn't tell us what it was that Sister Souljah actually said! That is left to the imagination of Us Tribals Today. 

Needless to say, he does tell us that Candidate Clinton may have been pandering to white racists! Or at least, he attributes that possibility to "legend." (Later, he says he doesn't know what was in Clinton's head.)

Absent-mindedly, Kilgore forgets to tell us rubes what Souljah actually said! He lets us assume that her denial made sense, and that Clinton may have been engaged in an ugly pander—to white racists, no less. 

Our conclusions would be these:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep—but in the end, we humans don't seem to be up to the task of refusing to fall in line with tribal conventional wisdom. 

Also, these professors today! Having established those basic points, we would also say this:

Should President Biden create a Moment, as three minor figures have said?

Our answer to that would be no. But if someone suggests that we should devote a week to killing people of some particular race, it might make sense for President Biden to say that he doesn't agree.

Coming next from the wisdom of crowds: It was shameful when Hillary didn't affirm every word Gennifer said!

STORYLINE CONQUERS KENOSHA: What name would we call Kyle Rittenhouse?


For starters, we'll go with "teenager:" For starters, we'll admit an embarrassing fact:

We aren't inclined to agree with, or to affirm, Dana Milbank's latest name-calling.

In this case, the name-calling is directed at Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who we'd regard as one of the least constructive members of Congress. The name-calling starts in the headline to Milbank's new column for the Washington Post.

That headline announces this:

Lauren Boebert is what George W. Bush called the ‘worst of humankind’

Is Boebert "the worst of humankind?" We wouldn't be inclined to voice that kind of judgment—to engage in that type of name-calling—with respect to Boebert, who we regard as one of the least constructive, helpful or insightful members of Congress. 

As his column proceeds, Milbank calls Boebert and her running-dogs an array of other names. (They're bigots, they're clowns, they're haters.) 

Early in comments, a member of our own infallible tribe gives voice to the not-so-secret assessment which frequently lurks behind the scenes at such times. The unnamed though fiery commenter extends the name-calling thusly:

To be fair, bo-bo also responds to "uneducated white racist trash."

When we start with "the worst of humankind," we may tend to drift toward name-calling of that highly familiar type. According to experts, this is the road to our species' endless wars, in which quite a few people have died.

As a general matter, we'd be disinclined to name-call Boebert, who we regard as tending to have extremely poor judgment. We'd also be disinclined to name-call Kyle Rittenhouse, who was found "not guilty" on all five counts in his recent criminal trial.

Last week, we noted the fact that a bit of name-calling had emerged from Charles Blow. In a column in the New York Times, Blow used the term "vigilante" thirteen separate times, scattered through twelve different paragraphs, in a column about Rittenhouse. 

The term "vigilantism" appeared two additional times. Rittenhouse wasn't just identified as a "vigilante," but as a "white vigilante" at that. 

He was also identified as a "murderer," despite his acquittal on all counts.

Is or was Rittenhouse a "vigilante," even a white vigilante? We wouldn't be inclined to say that.

In an email, a friend who seemed to disagree asked us what else we would call him. For today, we'll start with the word "teenager," though we may proceed onward from there as the week proceeds.

Rittenhouse was 17 at the time of the conduct for which he was put on trial. People who are 17 often show extremely poor judgment, though we don't think it's obvious that Rittenhouse did on that unfortunate night.

At any rate, we'll start with "teenager," then move on from there. As we do, we'll discuss the way Storyline conquered Kenosha.

How did Storyline conquer Kenosha? In our view, it accomplished that task in the now-typical way:

Our nation's fueling red and blue tribes began constructing different accounts of what happened that day and that night. To cite just one example:

One side says Rittenhouse took a gun "to a protest." The other side says he took a gun to a used car lot.

The standard process proceeds from there, with the two tribes picking and choosing which facts to cite, even to stress, and which facts to disappear. We will continue to offer this highly instructive assessment:

In our view, this was a case in which viewers of Fox were exposed to more information than we liberals were. Here's the way it seems to us:

On CNN and MSNBC, more information got left behind!

In the next few days, we'll expose you to some of the information which our tribe tended to disappear. By the time our tribunes got done, Rittenhouse was a vigilante (and a murderer), and also sometimes the latest example of uneducated white racist trash.

We tend to name-call The Others that way. Our tribe has always behaved that way. In our view, it isn't our tribe's finest impulse—or its most constructive.

What kinds of information were we denied on CNN and MSNBC? In the New York Times?

Tomorrow, we'll start with information about what was happening in Kenosha on the days and evenings in question. Actually, all the information we were denied can be fit under that general rubric, so for now we'll leave it right there.

In this particular instance, we'd have to say that viewers of Fox were exposed to more information than we liberals were. In our view, a large amount of information was withheld from liberal eyes and ears. 

This was done in service to preferred Storyline—and in the end, it seems to us that Storyline conquered Kenosha.

Increasingly, this is the way our failing tribe has tended to function over the course of the past dozen years. That doesn't make us "liberal fascists," but it isn't the best way to play.

Teenagers often show poor judgment. (So do "cable news" stars.)

Did Rittenhouse show poor judgment that night? Did he act as a "vigilante?"

When people aren't given a full range of information, they can't make balanced judgments about such questions. Instead, we may tend to do what we humans have always done:

We may tend to call The Others names as we march off, singing our songs, to our latest tribal war.

Tomorrow: What Nellie Bowles says she saw

YESTERDAY: Dick and Jane go to Minneapolis!


STARTING TOMORROW—Storyline plunders Kenosha: Sarah Mervosh is nine years out of college. She graduated from Notre Dame in the class of 2012.

In the main, we don't intend what follows to be a criticism of Mervosh. To a much larger extent, we offer it as a denunciation of her current employer, the endlessly faux New York Times.

That said, who is Sarah Mervosh? Our denunciation of the Storyline-loving Times begins with that simple question.

As noted, Mervosh graduated from Notre Dame back in 2012.  Upon graduation, she spent six years at the Dallas Morning News, writing about pretty much everything except public education. 

In June 2018, she moved to the Times, describing herself as a reporter on (or possibly in) "The Greater New York City Area." Even today, her official bio at the Times describes her in the following way:

"Sarah Mervosh is a national reporter based in New York, covering a wide variety of news and feature stories across the country."
Despite that generic description, Mervosh is now an education reporter. Her first report on this new beat appeared in late July of this year, under this headline:

The Pandemic Ruined Third Grade. Can Summer School Make Up for It?

That well-intentioned report included a badly flawed account of the nation's "achievement gaps." We'll return to this point below. 

Long story short: Sarah Mervosh is not an experienced education reporter. As best we can tell, she brought zero experience and expertise, no special training or technical knowledge, to her new assignment at this most faux of all major American news orgs.

This is not the fault or the doing of Mervosh.  But it extends the remarkable way the New York Times has covered public schools over the past many years.

As far as we know, the Times has never had an education specialist on its editorial board. Despite the massive size of its reporting staff, it has shown little interest in hiring or developing modestly qualified education specialists to serve as education reporters.

The paper keeps cycling general interest reporters into its public school reporting slots. This produces the kind of Dick-and-Jane reporting which prevails in Mervosh's most recent report, through no major fault of her own.

The lengthy report to which we refer appeared above the fold on Sunday morning's front page. Accompanied by a large photograph, it dominated the front page of the newspaper's print editions.

Online, the lengthy report carries the headline shown below. The report explores the only public education topic the New York Times seems to recognize:

Minneapolis Integration Is a Two-Way Street

The New York Times devotes constant attention to a process it describes as the "desegregation" of American public schools. 

In principle, there's no reason why it shouldn't do so. That said, the paper devotes zero attention to other major points of concern, such as the source of the (poorly-defined) "achievement gaps" Mervosh describes in this passage:

MERVOSH (11/28/21): “There is not a single school district in the U.S. that is even moderately segregated that does not have a large achievement gap,” said Sean Reardon, the lead author on the paper and the director of the Educational Opportunity Project at Stanford University.

The situation is especially stark in Minneapolis, a deeply segregated city. The district of 30,500 students is diverse: about 41 percent white, 35 percent Black, 14 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Asian American and 4 percent Native American.

But white students test four to five grade levels ahead of Black, Hispanic and Native students, and two and a half grade levels ahead of Asian students, making the district’s disparities one of the worst in the country, according to the Educational Opportunity Project. A large gap also exists between poor and nonpoor students.

Just for starters, riddle us this. In what sense is Minneapolis "a deeply segregated city?"

Online, Mervosh offers this link, apparently in support of this statement. Essentially, it's a "link to nowhere." It leads to an earlier Times report about the racial culture of the city, a report which makes no such specific claim.

Earlier, her performance was worse. 

At the start of her report, Mervosh says that Minneapolis ranks "among the most segregated school districts in the country." In that instance, she offers no link in support of her statement—no link to support the striking claim, or even to explain what it means.

In such ways, the Times routinely feeds readers Storyline about this one favored public school topic. Meanwhile, consider the achievement gaps to which Mervosh refers in that passage.

Citing a recent report from Stanford, she says that "white students [in Minneapolis] test four to five grade levels ahead of Black...students." 

In Dick and Jane fashion, she doesn't say at what grade level that enormous gap has been measured. Regarding the answer to that question, we will tell you these things:

On the one hand, the answer makes the size of that gap especially astounding.  According to the Stanford report, that's the average achievement gap among kids in grades 3-8!

On the one hand, that's an astounding statement. On the other hand, it calls into question the very meaning of such eye-popping claims. 


What does it mean when we're told that the average white kid in Grade 6 is four to five grade levels ahead of the average black kid? In what sense could some such state of affairs even be possible? What could this claim even mean?

Could the average white sixth grader really be four or five years ahead of the average black sixth grader? After (less than) six years of graded instruction, could the black kids be five years behind?

Can such a claim even make any sense? Most importantly, if the claim is actually true in some sense, how can such an astonishing state of affairs ever have come to be?

Given the way the New York Times pretends to report on such crucial topics, you'll never see such questions asked, examined, addressed, considered, elucidated, explored. 

In this instance, you'll be moved ahead to a lengthy report about the attempt to improve racial balance in Minneapolis' various public high schools, as if some sort of improved racial balance could possibly speak to the size of the problem described in that Stanford report.

Mervosh failed to say at what grade level those very large gaps obtain. That said, her lack of expertise can be seen virtually everywhere in the brief passage we've posted. 

She doesn't seem to realize how strange it is, given national norms, to hear that white kids in Minneapolis are years ahead of Asian-American kids. She doesn't seem to understand that "a large gap...between poor and nonpoor students" will likely exist in almost any school district in the nation. 

Nor does she seem to see (or address) the oddness of this quoted statement:

“There is not a single school district in the U.S. that is even moderately segregated that does not have a large achievement gap.”

Question: At present, how many school districts of any type lack "a large achievement gap?" 

That quotation makes it sound like it must be the (largely undefined) "segregation" which produces those large gaps. But do any districts which lack "segregation" also lack those gaps? 

We're inclined to doubt that there are many such districts. We're inclined to assume that the question didn't occur to Mervosh as she pursued this report—or to her slumbering editors, if any such people exist.

In our view, Mervosh's lack of experience and expertise is visible all through this report. So too with that debut report in late July, where she failed to respond to silly claims about the way six weeks in summer school could possibly bring failing third graders in Greensboro right back up to grade level.

Given the very data to which Mervosh now links, no qualified education reporter could possibly believe such a ridiculous notion. That said, it isn't Mervosh's fault that her newspaper has assigned her to cover an important beat for which she seems to have no background, no training, no knowledge.

Despite the failures of Sunday's report, it constitutes a fascinating overview of the Minneapolis plan to "integrate" its high schools. District lines have been redrawn to make numbers look slightly better. Certain parents are suddenly faced with such choices as this:

MERVOSH: Heather Wulfsberg, who is white, had intended to send her daughter, Isabella, 14, to Southwest High, a racially diverse but majority white public school that is a 10-minute bus ride from their home.

The school offers an international baccalaureate program, as well as Japanese, which Isabella studied in middle school. Isabella’s older brother, 18, is a senior there, and Ms. Wulfsberg envisioned her children attending together, her son helping Isabella navigate freshman year.

So Ms. Wulfsberg appealed the reassignment to North High, citing her son’s attendance at Southwest, and her daughter’s interest in Japanese. (North offers one language, Spanish.)

She was also concerned about transportation. There was no direct bus, and Isabella’s commute could take up to 55 minutes. She would also have to walk from the bus stop to school through an area where frequent gun shots are a problem.

In this instance, Wulfsberg was planning to send her daughter to Southwest High, a large, "racially diverse" high school ten minutes from her home. 

Instead, her daughter was zoned to North High, a distant, very small school which has traditionally been almost all black.

For starters, a person might wonder how there could be a "racially diverse" public high school in a district which ranks "among the most segregated school districts in the country," (According to Greatschools.org, Southwest High is 55% white, 28% black, 11% Hispanic.)

Such puzzles will rarely be solved when the Times pursues its one Storyline-of-interest. More striking is the downside of the ordered switch, including the fact that little North High (440 students in all) offers only one foreign language, is almost an hour away from Wulfsberg's home, and sits in a community which features "frequent gun shots."

More on those gun shots below. Concerning the current state of North High, Mervosh offers this depressing statistical bungle:

MERVOSH: More than half of 10th graders who completed testing did not meet state standards in reading in 2019, and performance in math was worse, with more than 80 percent of 11th graders failing proficiency standards. About 65 percent of students graduate within four years, compared with 84 percent statewide.

Oof! According to Mervosh, "more than 80 percent of 11th graders" at North High "failed [state] proficiency standards" in math in 2019. We'd call that a statistical bungle for the following reasons:

When we clicked to the bewildering accountability report to which Mervosh offered a link, we eventually found that, as a matter of fact, 95.6% of North's 11th graders failed to meet state standards in math in 2019. Out of 46 students tested, only two met state standards. 

(Warning: These data are extremely hard to find at that bewildering site.)

Why did Mervosh cite the data from 2019, rather than those from 2021? We can't answer that question. But in 2021, only 17 11th graders were tested in math at North High, and only one of those students met state standards. 

We don't know why so few students were tested, but those are terrible indicators.

These are terrible indicators—plus the frequent gunshots! By the way—to what extent did life, as children, amid "frequent gunshots" help produce the academic problems of North High's current kids?

We can't answer that terrible question—and at the Times, such questions will rarely be asked. Instead, this dumbest of all American papers pounds away at favored Storyline, suggesting that things will be better, and will make more sense, when Wulfsberg's daughter is walking to school in the face of those gunshots too.

Overall, this is a stunningly uninquisitive news report. Again and again, it skims the surface of "American Clueless" and "American Uncaring" concerning the vast academic disparities which often obtain between different groups of good, decent American kids.

The Times sent an inexperienced scribe to skim us along the rooftops of these issues in Minneapolis. We've barely scratched the surface of the shortcomings with Mervosh's overview, which is admittedly fascinating—but is also a harbinger of doom. 

Mervosh's overview is fascinating in a wide array of ways. That said, this kind of work is Storyline—Storyline and little else.

It comes to us from a false, faux world—from a world of performance and script. Dick and Jane were in Minneapolis, then moved to the Times' front page, where they're frequently found.

Our tribe's recent coverage of Kenosha was quite similar. Starting tomorrow, we'll examine what names we might want to call Kyle Rittenhouse. Beyond that, we'll start to supply the mounds of information people heard about on Fox—mounds of information which were generally disappeared by our own tribe's "news" sites.

What information got disappeared in Kenosha? We'll start with that topic tomorrow. We leave you today with two last pieces of data from Minneapolis:

Southwest High enrolls something like 1900 students, North High maybe 440.

Why has the city of Minneapolis maintained that one small, floundering school? That's a fairly obvious question, one which went unasked in yesterday's mountain of script.

We may continue to explore such topics from yesterday's report. That regional desegregation plans is especially striking, and also a blast from the past.

That said, when the Times discusses low-income kids, the paper sends Dick and Jane to the scene. So too, in truth, with Kenosha.

In ways which please our hapless tribe, these Dicks and Janes produce Storyline—fable, tale, script, little more.

Why do (some) people shoot and kill people?


But also, senseless work: This morning, the major newspapers are full of senseless essays, senseless reports, senseless statements and questions.

Many masquerade as good sense. Our discourse tends to be like that.

Our papers are full of senseless work. For one example, try this:

According to today's New York Times, Brad Wilcox, Hal Boyd and Wendy Wang "are researchers and writers on family life." 

Not long ago, these researchers decided to conduct research about why (self-identified) conservatives are more likely to say they're happy than are (self-identified) liberals.

For the record, is that basic premise true? Are (self-identified) conservatives more like to say they're happy than (self-identified) liberals?

Somewhat sensibly, the researchers conducted a (type of) survey. Respondents were allowed to rate themselves as "very happy," or as "pretty happy," or as "not too happy."

Respondents were given those three choices. The researchers report these results:

Reponses from conservative respondents:
Very happy or pretty happy: 79%
Not too happy: 21% 
Reponses from liberal respondents:
Very happy or pretty happy: 72%
Not too happy: 28%

Especially given the various sources of fuzziness involved in this research, do you spot a major difference lurking in those responses?

We don't see one either! That said, the researchers rode those data to a guest essay which appears in today's New York Times under this fatuous headline:

How Liberals Can Be Happier

Perhaps for perfectly sensible reasons, no comments were allowed.

In the guest essay, the researchers seek to explain the phenomenon they describe as "the conservative-liberal happiness gap." Their conclusion appears in this passage:

RESEARCHERS THREE (11/27/21): This gap is not explained by socioeconomic differences in income, race, age and gender between the two groups. But once we control for marriage, parenthood, family satisfaction, religious attendance and community satisfaction, the ideological gap in happiness disappears.

Surprising! Respondents who expressed dissatisfaction with their families (and with their communities) were more likely to be "not too happy!" 

Meanwhile, how much of that (rather modest) happiness gap is (perhaps) "explained" by such factors as income, race, age and gender? The researchers don't say.

This essay is, at heart, a statistical non-event in search of a (possibly preconceived) ideological explanation. Would anyone but the New York Times be dumb enough to publish such work?

The researchers may be completely sincere. But if Wilcox, Boyd and Wang are "researchers and writers on family life," who are they "researchers and writers" for?

The New York Times doesn't say. The answer turns out to be this:

Wilcox and Wang are research fellows at The Institute for Family Life, an entity whose stated "mission" is "to strengthen marriage and family life." (That's a perfectly worthwhile goal.)

Boyd doesn't seem to be a researcher at all. As it turns out, he's the executive editor of Deseret National, part of Salt Lake City's Deseret News. According to the leading authority on the paper, "the editorial tone of the Deseret News is usually described as moderate to conservative, and is often assumed to reflect the values of its owner, the LDS Church."

For the record, there's nothing wrong with reflecting the values of the LDS Church. Indeed, it's our impression that the church is generally associated with an above-average family culture.

There's nothing wrong with the values which seem to be held by Wilcox, Boyd and Wang. That doesn't mean that their subsequent work will make any real sense, and today's guest essay strikes us as basically fatuous—as an explanation in search of something which needs to be explained.

Who but the New York Times would publish such manifest piddle? In fairness, one thinks of the Washington Post, which published the recent column by Kate Cohen which appeared beneath this hopeless headline:

Parents think they know what is best for schools. But they often don’t.

This column was Cohen's attempt to react to the recent flap in Virginia about parental involvement in schools. That said, riddle us this:

Who but Cohen would have realized that parents will "often" not know what's best for schools? That parents will "often" (or perhaps sometimes) be wrong in their various judgments?

Who but Cohen would understand that? Based upon this rare insight, Cohen states her conclusion:

COHEN (11/24/21): Parents are pretty good at fooling ourselves. Which is exactly why we shouldn’t be in charge of our children’s education.

That’s right, I agree with the statement Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe made in a late-September debate, though it’s been dubbed a “gaffe” and a “blunder”: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Of course we shouldn’t!

Someone with real expertise should keep up with how many planets there are and how many genders, with the best way to do long division and to talk about race. Someone trained to develop curriculum standards and choose textbooks should keep revising our understanding of U.S. history. Not me!

According to Cohen, parents shouldn't be in charge of their children's education. Any questions which may arise should be left to the experts—to people who are experts on how many planets there are, but also on "the best way to talk about race."

Our major newspapers are clogged with foolishness every day of the week. That includes the papers which are designed to appeal to our high-IQ tribe.

This morning, a more serious questions appears in the Washington Post, courtesy of Colbert King:

What explains the fact that some people are willing to shoot and kill other people? 

King asks that serious question today. Next week, as we discuss events in Kenosha and the Rittenhouse trial, questions like that will arise.

That essay in the Times was pretty sad. So was the column by Cohen.

The Times and the Post didn't understand that. Our question:

Should journalists be in charge of our nation's newspapers? Or should we turn the task over to experts—and if so, where could we find them?

OUR SILO AND THEIRS: Storyline versus information!


Information versus names: Just to be completely fair, Joy Behar actually asked a (very) good question.

She did so in the course of a pseudo-conversation on this past Monday's The View. This pseudo-discussion typified the way our tribe responded to last Friday's verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.

Behar spoke on ABC; millions of people were watching. At the start of the pseudo-discussion, Whoopi Goldberg played tape of Rittenhouse saying this:

"I'm not a racist person. I support the BLM movement. I support peacefully demonstrating."

The videotape ended there; instantly, Behar jumped in. A pseudo-discussion ensued—a pseudo-discussion during which Behar asked a very good question:

BEHAR (11/22/21): Then why did he go there with a gun? Sorry.

GOLDBERG: No, no—I mean, it's the question. It's the question.

BEHAR: If you support them, why did you go there with a gun? 

To watch the fuller pseudo-discussion, you can just click here.

Why did Rittenhouse go where he went, with a gun, on the unfortunate evening in question? 

That's an extremely good question! It's astounding to see how rarely this question has been answered as our failing tribe has pretended, again and again and again and again, to discuss the events which underlay this trial.

Why did Rittenhouse go where he went?  That's a very good question! We're not sure we've ever seen that question answered in the endless pseudo-discussions which have emerged, with stunning regularity, from within our own blue tribe.

It has been answered, again and again, in discussions conducted by the red tribe. For the record, an answer to that basic question doesn't answer this separate question:

Should he have gone there with a gun on the evening in question?

Should he have gone there with a gun? That too is a very good question. Sadly, though, Behar didn't seem to know the answer to the simpler question she was asking.  Neither did the equally clueless Goldberg, Behar's partner in sin. 

The delightfully offbeat corporate stars kicked off a pseudo-discussion. With Behar wonderfully saying, at one point, that she almost called him "Rotten-house," this is the fuller text of their imitation of life:

BEHAR (11/22/21): Then why did he go there with a gun? Sorry.

GOLDBERG: No, no—I mean, it's the question. It's the question.

BEHAR: If you support them, why did you go there with a gun? I mean, this is gonna have serious repercussions, in my opinion. 

I mean, we can talk the legality of it and everything else. But to me, it's like, I can't go and protest now without worrying that some nutcase is gonna have a gun, cross the state line, and come and shoot me. That's the problem. That's what I have to worry about.

I come from a generation—we protested the Vietnam War and all of that. I believe in protest—I really believe in it.…And so, that is my fear now. That he has opened Pandora's Box for some crazies out there.

She almost called him "Rottenhouse," Behar said at one point! In such ways, our failing tribe has pretended to discuss the Rittenhouse verdict and the underlying actions which were under review.

For starters, we'll venture a fairly safe guess. We're prepared to guess that Behar hasn't spent a lot of time at protests lately. 

In that sense, she doesn't have to worry about some nutcase or some crazies "crossing the state line" to shoot her as she engages in the basic right she loves. 

Meanwhile, sure enough! There it was, once again, inserted as if by heavenly mandate—the utterly irrelevant statement that Rittenhouse had "crossed state lines" on his way to Kenosha that day or that night, or whenever the heck it was that he had actually gone there.

That utterly irrelevant point has been stated again and again as the tribunes of our tribe refuse to discuss the actual questions surrounding the events in Kenosha and the subsequent trial. 

This group performance has been unending; its spectacular dumbness defies traditional anthropological belief. It's a good example of "automatic speech," in which tribunes of a tribal group repeat irrelevant points mainly because the last twenty people they saw and heard had said the exact same things.

In truth, Rittenhouse did cross state lines on his way to Kenosha! He did so the day before the day in question, on his way to his lifeguard job in Kenosha County. In fact, he crossed state lines every time he drove to his lifeguard job from his home, which was one mile across the state line.

After performing his lifeguard duties, he spent the night with a friend in Kenosha. For that reason, he didn't have to cross state lines on the day or the evening in question. 

Still, he did cross state lines to get to Kenosha! The point is wholly irrelevant, but it's been recited, as if catechismally, by long lines of our failing tribe's tribunes. 

In fairness, Behar isn't exactly a journalist. At this point, she's more of a network "discussion actor" and a highly-paid network clown.

Behar isn't a journalist. But here was Greg Sargent, embarrassing himself in the Washington Post two days later:

SARGENT (11/24/21): In the days after Rittenhouse, 18, was acquitted of homicide in killing two and wounding a third amid unrest in Kenosha, Wis., two strains of Rittenhouse lionization developed on the right. One was sanitized, mainly treating his acquittal as heroic in that he evaded a would-be injustice at the hands of out-of-control leftism.

The other was darker and more explicit, treating Rittenhouse as a hero for what he did: cross state lines to deliberately place himself in a combustible situation, armed to kill...

Sargent recited the talking-point too. In his presentation, as in Behar's, Rittenhouse "crossed state lines!" 

(During his piece, Sargent cited, and linked to, this earlier piece by the Post's James Hohmann. According to Hohmann, Rittenhouse "crossed state lines from his home in Illinois." By now, reciting this point was required, as if by tribal law.)

According to Sargent, Rittenhouse crossed state lines "to deliberately place himself in a combustible situation." This brings us back to the very good question Behar actually managed to ask during her pseudo-presentation:

"Why did he go there with a gun?" the befuddled network star had asked. 

In theory, Behar is paid a very large salary—you aren't allowed to know how much—to discuss such topics on ABC. But neither she nor the equally clueless Goldberg seemed to be able to answer this very basic question.

In truth, this was an extremely good question. For that reason, it's important to understand why a pair of pseudos like Goldberg and Behar were still unable to answer. 

In fact, Goldberg and Behar were conducting a classic pseudo-discussion—the kind of conversation which used to be restricted to corner saloons. Now, these conversations are routinely conducted on our nation's "cable news" programs, and on network TV shows like The View.

The View is one of the dumbest versions of this cultural artefact. That said, Behar was asking her question on ABC, with millions of people watching.

She didn't seem to know why "Rottenhouse" had gone where he went that night. Goldberg didn't seem to know either—but viewers were allowed to hear that he'd "crossed state lines!"

Why did Rittenhouse go where he went that night? As the trial was being discussed, that question was almost never answered for those of us who get our programming and our talking-points from CNN or MSNBC.

By way of contrast, people watching Fox News were quite likely to hear that question answered, in a fairly straightforward way. 

As noted above, this doesn't answer that other question—Should he have gone there that night? But it constitutes actual information, and in this particular instance, people who were watching Fox News were more likely to be exposed to same.

On the channels and news orgs designed for us, such basic points of information were very rarely provided. Instead, we were subjected to the consummate dumbness of our tribe's talking-points, including the amazingly braindead claim that Rottenhouse—sorry, Rittenhouse—had fiendishly "crossed state lines" on his way to a protest.

By the way—had he actually gone to "a protest?" Is that an informative account of where he went that night?

We'll explore that question next week, along with quite a few others.

Within our tribal silo, we're been told that Rittenhouse "crossed state lines," and that he was "a vigilante." A friend of ours emailed this week to ask us what else we'd call him.

We'd answer that question this way:

We wouldn't necessarily "call him" anything at all! Given the opportunity, we'd try to provide information about what he actually did, and about the events surrounding his actions.

That said, the day is long gone when our "news channels" exist to provide information. Today, our channels exist to churn Storyline, and to guide us in our name-calling.

Personally, we wouldn't be inclined call Rittenhouse a vigilante; we don't think the name fits very well at all. But we're less interested in the calling of names than in the supply of information.

Alas! Concerning this general topic, more information flowed on Fox than on our own "news channels" or within our other "news orgs." We think it's instructive for tribal members to be aware of this fact.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but our vastly self-impressed tribe is currently sinking fast. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but name-calling makes us dumber.

Why did Rittenhouse go there that night? That's a very important question.

We'll start with that first question next week. We'll then move on to other info which our tribe rarely heard.

Next week: Behar's question first

OUR SILO AND THEIRS: Did Ricky Ray Rector really say that?


But also, did Rittenhouse do that?: We're opposed to capital punishment. In fact, we always have been.

That said, we're also opposed to mindless Storyline / Narrative / Script. We're opposed to Perfect Stories, especially when such treasured stories aren't especially accurate.

Bret Stephens starts his column today with a long-standing Perfect Story. The return of this story reminds us of a basic fact about our journalism—memorized script never dies:

STEPHENS (11/24/21): It’s been nearly 30 years since then-Gov. Bill Clinton took a break from the campaign trail to oversee the execution of death-row inmate Ricky Ray Rector. Morally, it may have been repugnant to kill a man so mentally handicapped by a failed suicide attempt that he set aside the pecan pie of his last meal because he was “saving it for later.”

Politically, it was essential.

By the early 1990s the American left had spent a generation earning a soft-on-crime image in an era of growing lawlessness. In 1988, Mike Dukakis secured the Democrats’ third landslide loss thanks in no small part to his stalwart opposition to the death penalty. Four years later, it was difficult to imagine any Democrat reaching the White House without a literal blood sacrifice to the gods of law and order.

On the one hand, it's true! The late Ricky Ray Rector was executed in Arkansas in January 1992. He was executed for having committed a particularly heinous murder, following which he had shot himself in the head, creating a diminished mental capacity.

Also, Candidate Clinton did leave the campaign trail to be present in the state, serving as governor, when the execution occurred. That said, did Rector really "set aside the pecan pie of his last meal because he was 'saving it for later?' " 

Anyone familiar with the human cultural practice will recognize that as a classic Perfect Story. That doesn't mean that the story is false. It does mean that intelligent people should wonder whether it's true.

We're fairly sure that we researched and wrote about that Perfect Story maybe ten years ago. It seems to us that we emerged from that exercise doubting the accuracy of the iconic, widely loved story, which emerges again today. 

Did the late Ricky Ray Rector really say that? We have no idea. 

None of this bears on the morality of capital punishment, a practice we've always opposed.  It does speak to a different moral question:

It speaks to the way our mainstream press corps tends to favor these Perfect Stories—the stupidified stories which vastly simplify the events and issues which constitute the real world. It speaks to the way they tend to favor such simplistic tales, even when the stories in question aren't especially true.

It also speaks to a basic point we've long urged you to recognize:

Much as "rust never sleeps," Narrative / Storyline / Memorized Script never dies.  Perfect Stories will always return, as this one does today.

According to anthropologists, our brains are wired for Perfect Stories, for the vastly stupidified tale. This brings us to a second question:

Did Kyle Rittenhouse really do that?

We refer to the ugly, stupidified stories we posted yesterday afternoon. In this case, these remarkably ugly, stupid stories came from one particular wing of the "mainstream press." 

They came from the people we're now asked to listen to, respect and believe here in our own liberal / progressive / Democratic / blue world. 

We refer to a series of accounts, from six different people, of what Kyle Rittenhouse supposedly did in Kenosha last summer. Below, we'll repost two of those accounts, one by Professor Johnson, one by Malcom Nance.

If you were watching The ReidOut last Friday, you saw these people offer these highly tendentious implied accounts. Today, though, we ask a simple question:

Is this anything like what Kyle Rittenhouse actually did? Did Rittenhouse really do this?

JOHNSON (11/19/21): The first thing that occurred to me after this ruling is, "Oh, well, okay, now it's just open season." Like if I'm walking around and I'm a white nationalist, you know, coward little kid with an AR-15, and I see someone drive by with a Black Lives Matter bumper sticker and I feel threatened, I can open fire. 

If I go by a youth group standing outside a local Target and they're chanting, "Black lives matter," and I feel threatened, I can open fire. 


NANCE: What he did, by his very action of going out, going to a protest across state lines, being within a group of armed men, performing what they call the Korean on the rooftop, right, defending a position, whether it's a business or other, where they were not invited, and then getting into this fight where he killed two men and wounded a third, that is now the template on how to protest against Antifa or Black Lives Matter or any other person that they consider, in the white supremacy-world, race traitors.

Is that what Rittenhouse actually did? More specifically, is that anything like what Rittenhouse actually did?

Did he see someone with a bumper sticker and feel he could open fire? Did he see a youth group chanting "Black lives matter" and decide to open fire?

Did he kill two men because he considered them to be race traitors? Is any of this anything like what actually happened that night?

We aren't telling you what to think about what Rittenhouse did. We're asking you what you think about the various things six people said on last Friday evening's "news program."

We regard their conduct as all-too-human but extremely bad.  That said, conduct like that suffuses our liberal "news orgs."

This morning, in the rest of his column, Stephens is essentially saying that the liberal / progressive / Democratic / blue world is probably in a world of hurt because of the various dumb and dishonest prescriptions coming from tribunes like these.

Stephens plays a few other familiar cards as he offers this assessment. One concerns a Perfect Story the mainstream press corps concocted in 1988 about Candidate Dukakis.

Having said that, Standard Group Script is very powerful—and it's often bogus. Over the course of the past year, a wide array of scripts emerged about what happened in Kenosha. 

Sadly, it seems to us that The Others were actually more fully informed about the wide range of those events than our blue tribe has been. In this case, we think their silo released more information than ours.

We'll explore that claim next week. In the meantime, we ask you this:

What do you think about people who go on TV and say the things those progressive tribunes said? All six angrily said that Rittenhouse had crossed state lines, an utterly meaningless bit of fully stupidified script.

We think their conduct is dumb-beyond-dumb, though also thoroughly human. Beyond that, we think that Stephens' overall assessment is quite likely accurate. 

According to experts, recitation of script is pleasing and fun, but stupidification kills.

Before "vigilante," it was "crossing state lines!"


The way we humans function: Sensible people weep for the impulses of our war-inclined species. 

And remember, it's all anthropology now! Disconsolate experts all insist there's no way out of the mess.

Last Friday's ReidOut show was a tough program to watch. Professor Johnson was guest-hosting. He started things off like this:

JOHNSON (11/18/21): We begin The ReidOut tonight with yet another judicial gut punch. 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, a militia man wannabe who crossed state lines and killed two human beings at a Black Lives Matter rally, was found not guilty on all five counts.

Rittenhouse has crossed state lines and killed two human beings. Apparently, it would have been fine if he'd done it in his own state.

In fact, Kenosha is in the southern end of Wisconsin, near the Illinois line. Rittenhouse had gone to his lifeguard job in Kenosha County the previous day, then had spent the night in Kenosha with his best friend.

Rittenhouse crossed states lines every day when he went to his lifeguard job! But now, as we looked for something to say, we kept repeating the utterly pointless though vaguely incriminating phrase.

Our human race is actually like this. This is secretly what we're like.

The professor threw to Joy Reid, reporting in by remote. As Reid discussed the judicial gut punch, she too played the pointless card:

REID: But what I am concerned about is the precedent this sets for what people will believe that they can do under law when Black Lives Matter protests happen in the future. And that people may use this as an excuse to go out-of-state and do what this teenager did, believing that they'll get away with it, and in some cases, getting away with it.

In Reid's view, more people might decide to travel "out of state" and do what Rittenhouse did! If they would simply stay in their home state and do it, it would be A-OK.

The next person to play the card was someone we've long admired. He's very smart, and he has am excellent sense of humor. But even he went along:

SHARPTON: This is a very, very serious problem for activism because now we're being told that someone can cross state lines with a semiautomatic rifle and kill people and say it's self-defense and they have this case to cite as saying that I'm like Rittenhouse. 

It isn't the fact that people kill people. The problem is the fact that they do it after they cross state lines!

Before this remarkable opening segment was done, Elie Mystal had also played the card. In fairness, he sanded the card way down, saying only that Rittenhouse had "shot two people in the street" after he "came outside of his community."

When we humans have nothing to say, we agree to say things like this. At times of heightened tribal conflict, the things we say don't have to make sense. It's just that everyone has to say them.  They serve as tribal code.

So it had gone, earlier on, when Professor Johnson tried to explain what was wrong with the judicial gut punch we had just endured. This is what he said:

JOHNSON: The first thing that occurred to me after this ruling is, "Oh, well, okay, now it's just open season." Like if I'm walking around and I'm a white nationalist, you know, coward little kid with an AR-15, and I see someone drive by with a Black Lives Matter bumper sticker and I feel threatened, I can open fire

If I go by a youth group standing outside a local Target and they're chanting, "Black lives matter," and I feel threatened, I can open fire. 

It was good propaganda, but is that what Rittenhouse actually did? Did he simply see a bumper sticker and decide to open fire? Did he simply hear someone chanting? Is there really any chance that the professor really believes that? 

This is the way our own failing tribe is currently behaving. We're losing, losing, losing, losing, and we just aren't sharp enough to know what we should do or say or think.

On the bright side, if everyone says the same handful of things all day long and into the night, the rest of us won't understand how much we aren't being told. We'll come to believe that someone decided to open fire for exactly zero reason, after crossing state lines.

There's a great deal we liberals haven't been told about this matter on MSNBC and on CNN. In this particular case, people were actually exposed to much more information if they were watching Fox.

On the ReidOut program, we liberals were told that he crossed state lines, then decided to open fire. We weren't told a whole lot more. That was all we needed to hear.

By today, everyone knows to say the word "vigilante" over and over and over. Before that, though, it was "crossing state lines."

This is the way our species is built. It's the actual way we are. It's the way we create our wars. It's the way we humans "reason."

These two were also giants: Later, Malcolm Nance and Dean Obeidallah jumped on the tribal train too:

NANCE: What he did, by his very action of going out, going to a protest across state lines, being within a group of armed men, performing what they call the Korean on the rooftop, right, defending a position, whether it's a business or other, where they were not invited, and then getting into this fight where he killed two men and wounded a third, that is now the template on how to protest against Antifa or Black Lives Matter or any other person that they consider in the white supremacy world race traitors.


OBEIDALLAH: It tells people, "Hey, if there's a Black Lives Matter movement protest in the next state, get your AR, drive over. If you fear anyone, kill them. Go on the stand. Repeat what Kyle did. Cry on cue. And you walk.

He'd gone to a protest across state lines! He was in the next state!

Nance came dangerously close to explaining why Rittenhouse was actually there that night—and if we want to be honest about it, he wasn't exactly "at a protest." We aren't saying whether he should have been there—but within our tribe, the rule has been clear:

You aren't supposed to explain why he was there at all. Please don't ever do that!

Nance came close to breaking the rule. Eventually, though, he and Obeidallah agreed. If he'd done what he did without crossing state lines, it would have been A-OK! 

(This is the way our self-impressed species actually functions. Remember, it's all anthropology now!)

OUR SILO AND THEIRS: Goldberg describes a legitimate fear!


We describe the ongoing problem: In her new column for the New York Times, Michelle Goldberg describes a legitimate fear.

 As a general matter, we share that legitimate fear—a giant fear concerning the nation's future. Goldberg's column begins and ends as shown, with a nod, midway through, to "my friend, Chris Hayes:"

GOLDBERG (11/23/21): On Friday morning, after a night of insomnia fueled by worries about raising children in a collapsing society, I opened my eyes, started reading about efforts by Wisconsin Republicans to seize control of the state’s elections, then paused to let my tachycardiac heartbeat subside. Marinating in the news is part of my job, but doing so lately is a source of full-body horror...


Given the bleak trajectory of American politics, I worry about progressives retreating into private life to preserve their sanity, a retreat that will only hasten democracy’s decay. In order to get people to throw themselves into the fight to save this broken country, we need leaders who can convince them that they haven’t already lost.

We can't fault Goldberg for her insomnia as she "worries about raising [her] children in a collapsing society." We can't fault her for her fear concerning "democracy's decay."

We disagree with her on one point:

She seems to think that there is some way to save the nation's broken political culture. Based on what we're told by experts, we're inclined to suspect that the die has been cast.

According to those despondent scholars, why is there so little hope that we can emerge from our mess? Unanimously, they point to yesterday's column by Charles Blow, a column which, headline included, started off like this:

BLOW (11/22/21): Rittenhouse and the Right’s White Vigilante Heroes

Kyle Rittenhouse, the 18-year-old who shot and killed two men and wounded a third last year during protests of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, was found not guilty Friday of all charges by a Wisconsin jury.

One can argue about the particulars of the case, about the strength of the defense and the ham-handedness of the prosecution, about the outrageously unorthodox manner of the judge and the infantilizing of the defendant. But perhaps the most problematic aspect of this case was that it represented yet another data point in the long history of some parts of the right valorizing white vigilantes who use violence against people of color and their white allies.

Question: Is Kyle Rittenhouse reasonably described as a "vigilante?" We'd be inclined to say no.

At present, though, our flailing tribe is in love with that word, and with that thrilling assessment. 

The term "vigilante" appears in the text of Blow's column thirteen separate times, scattered through twelve different paragraphs. The term "vigilantism" appears two additional times.

The always vigilant "all-caps" columnist is plainly in love with the word. According to Blow, Rittenhouse is a vigilante, along with many others:

BLOW: This list is long, and doesn’t only include individuals, but also organizations and entire periods of American history. I am sure that many in the white Citizens’ Councils and the Ku Klux Klan also saw themselves as vigilantes.

Perhaps the most prolonged period of violent white vigilantism occurred in the decades following the Civil War, as lynchings surged.

Rittenhouse is a vigilante. But so was the Ku Klux Klan, and so were the mobs who conducted lynchings in the decades which followed the Civil War. 

As he keeps tossing his V-bomb around, Blow also directly refers to Rittenhouse as "a murderer," even though a jury has unanimously decided that he isn't. Increasingly, our brave liberal team has played it this way over the past dozen years.

Columns like Blow's have effects. This morning, the Times has published the letter shown below. It was written by "a retired lawyer"—a retired lawyer whose distinguished career has included a stint on the board of trustees of Stillman College, from which she graduated in 1971.

The lawyer's letter says this:

To the Editor:

Re “Rittenhouse and the Right’s White Vigilante Heroes,” by Charles M. Blow (column, Nov. 22):

The verdict makes me more fearful and more concerned about the state of the country. I grew up in Mississippi under Jim Crow laws. Never have I been so afraid of white people.

My fear is based partly on the degree to which those with positions of authority, such as Judge Bruce Schroeder, coddle vigilantes. The judge went to extraordinary lengths to protect Kyle Rittenhouse. The verdict will embolden other white vigilantes, especially when they learn of the benefits inuring to Mr. Rittenhouse: job offers and potential speaking engagements.

God help us if an unintended consequence of the coddling of vigilantes is that those with reasonable fear begin arming themselves and shooting at the first sign of perceived danger.

D-- C-- / Washington
The writer is a retired lawyer.

While Goldberg suffers insomnia, this 70-something retired lawyer has "never been so afraid of white people" as she is today. In fairness, she blames the Rittenhouse verdict itself, not Blow's use of The Word.

Should Rittenhouse be regarded as "a white vigilante?" Based upon the events of that night in Kenosha, we'd be inclined to say no. 

That said, the major news orgs we liberals peruse have tended to disappear many of the basic events involved in that unfortunate night. Instead, we get bombarded with Storyline, and with brain-damaged items of script.

By rule of law, we must be told that Rittenhouse "crossed state lines" to reach Kenosha that night. By now, description of Rittenhouse as a "vigilante" is our favorite tribal conduct.

Increasingly, the nation's warring tribes receive their competing versions of "news" and news events from competing silos. In our view, people who got their news from the Fox News silo have received much more information about Kenosha than we have Over Here.

Our tribe's silo is still full of the information which has been withheld from view. Others have been exposed to such information—and they loathe us as a result.

In our tribe, we haven't been told about the background underlying Rittenhouse's presence in Kenosha that night. We haven't been told about the person who chased him through the streets that night, precipitating the first of the unfortunate shootings our tribunes pretend to discuss.

Instead, we're offered mindless talking-points; they're repeated again and again. The Others know more about these events, and they loathe us as a result.

Goldberg seems to think our only hope involves the continued effort of progressives. We would be inclined to make this countervailing claim:

The worst right-wing forces pray that we will continue ahead on our current path.

Every time Charles Blow emotes, a Trump voter gets his wings. And sure enough, there Goldberg sits, joining the mandated tribal parade:

GOLDBERG: Already, the Republican Party winks at the violent intimidation of its political enemies. During the presidential campaign, a right-wing caravan tried to run a Biden campaign bus off the road, and Senator Marco Rubio cheered them on. School board members and public health offices have sought help from the Justice Department to deal with a barrage of threats and harassment. Three congressional Republicans have said they want to give an internship to the teenage vigilante Kyle Rittenhouse. One of those Republicans, Representative Paul Gosar, earlier tweeted an animated video of himself killing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the overwhelming majority of his caucus stood by him.

Goldberg makes some excellent points in that passage, but she too must recite. Every time these people do that, more Trump voters gain their wings.

We'll admit to a certain bias! During Campaign 2016, the New York Times joined with a right-wing crackpot to publish an astonishingly long, utterly bogus "news report" about Hillary Clinton's troubling conduct concerning Uranium One. 

This was Uraniumgate! Career players all knew to clam up.

The fraudulence of the Times report was instantly obvious, but Goldberg went on TV that night with "my friend, Chris Hayes" to describe the report as "a bombshell" (full and complete total stop). 

On the brighter side, she ended up winning the prize—she got the columnist job at the New York Times! But when we think about conduct like that, we're back with Wilfred Owen, trudging behind the dying and dead from one of these hustlers' wars.

Goldberg ended up with the really good job. Today, she suffers insomnia, but remembers to drop the bomb. 

With a famous holiday approaching, we're going to wait till next week to detail the types of information about that "teen vigilante" which remain within our own tribe's bursting silo.

Regarding Kenosha and the trial, people who watch CNN or MSNBC have been given much less information than people who watch Fox News. The New York Times has also been strikingly uninformative about this complex affair. It's all about sticking together!

We assume Charles Blow is a good, decent person. It's also true that every time he opens his mouth, more Trump voters get their wings.

There's a great deal to learn from that fact. Our brutal history is deeply tragic. Eventually, we expect to go there.

This afternoon: Excerpts from last Friday's ReidOut

What viewers were told on the Maddow Show!


Attention, liberal shoppers! Attention, liberal shoppers! 

This holiday season, we're being offered a lot of tribal Storyline about the Kenosha shootings and about the Rittenhouse trial.

We're being offered a lot of hooey—a lot of facts which are misleading, a lot of claims which aren't in evidence, a lot of statements which are false. Also, and possibly most important:

A lot of accurate information is being disappeared.

This is being done so we liberals can enjoy our holiday season. We didn't get to lock the teenager up for the rest of his life, but we want to believe we were right!

For today, here's the product we were sold on last Friday's Maddow Show. Warning! What follows comes from the parents of Anthony Huber, one of the people who were killed on that unfortunate night. 

Understandably, their statement is full of tendentious claims. Rachel simply read it straight, exactly as you see it below.

Final warning! Many of the statements seen below are very much subject to challenge. As is routinely the case, Our Own Corporate Media Star agreed not to notice or say so.

Warning! Standard Script ahead, followed by highly tendentious claims:

MADDOW (11/19/21): We'll be going live to Kenosha, Wisconsin in just a few minutes as that city continues to absorb the Rittenhouse trial verdict and now the knock-on effect of Republicans and far right groups, including white supremacist groups, Nazis, militia groups, holding up Kyle Rittenhouse as not just a person who was acquitted of murdering two people and shooting a third, they've made him a hero on the right for admittedly killing those people and getting away with it, which raises questions about the safety of public protest in the future.

One response that I think is really very much worth hearing today in its entirety is from the family of one of the people who Kyle Rittenhouse killed. The parents of Anthony Huber put out a statement today in response to the verdict. They said, quote:

"We are heartbroken and angry that Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted in his criminal trial for the murder of our son Anthony Huber. There was no justice today for Anthony, or for Mr. Rittenhouse’s other victims, Joseph Rosenbaum and Gaige Grosskreutz.

"We did not attend the trial because we could not bear to sit in a courtroom and repeatedly watch videos of our son's murder, and because we have been subjected to many hurtful and nasty comments in the past year. But we watched the trial closely, hoping it would bring us closure.

"That did not happen. Today's verdict means there is no accountability for the person who murdered our son. It sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence, and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street. We hope that decent people will join us in forcefully rejecting that message and demanding more of our laws, our officials, and our justice system.

Make no mistake: our fight to hold those responsible for Anthony's death accountable continues in full force. Neither Mr. Rittenhouse nor the Kenosha police, who authorized his bloody rampage, will escape justice. Anthony will have his day in court.

"No reasonable person viewing all of the evidence could conclude that Mr. Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. In response to racist and violent calls to action from militia members, Mr. Rittenhouse travelled to Kenosha illegally armed with an assault rifle. He menaced fellow citizens in the street. Though he was in open violation of a curfew order, Kenosha police encouraged him to act violently. Kenosha police told militia members that they would push peaceful protestors toward the militia so that the militia could "deal with them." Soon after, Mr. Rittenhouse killed Joseph Rosenbaum. The police did nothing. 

"Concerned citizens, confronted with a person shooting indiscriminately on the street, stepped in to stop the violence. Anthony was shot in the chest trying to disarm Mr. Rittenhouse and stop his shooting spree. Still, the police did nothing. Mr. Rittenhouse continued to shoot, maiming Gaige Grosskreutz. The police let Mr. Rittenhouse leave the scene freely. Mr. Rittenhouse came to Kenosha armed to kill. Kenosha police encouraged him to act violently, and our son is dead as a result.

"We are so proud of Anthony, and we love him so much. He is a hero who sacrificed his own life to protect other innocent civilians. We ask that you remember Anthony and keep him in your prayers."

MADDOW: Again, that statement tonight from the parents of Anthony Huber, one of the two men who were shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha last year.

Mr. Rittenhouse was acquitted on all charges today. We're going to have more, live from Kenosha, coming up in a few minutes.

Was that statement by Huber's parents "really very much worth hearing today in its entirety?"

Possibly! That said, it's full of highly tendentious claims—tendentious claims which may not be accurate.  It continues to say that Rittenhouse "murdered" Huber, even though a jury has ruled otherwise.  Once again, we call your attention to this unfortunate statement:

"No reasonable person viewing all of the evidence could conclude that Mr. Rittenhouse acted in self-defense."

In fact, twelve different persons, on that jury, all did reach that conclusion. By tradition, journalists extend more courtesy to jurors than Maddow did Friday night. 

It may be understandable that Huber's parents feel the way they do. But Maddow made no attempt to question, fact-check or clarify any of their statements or claims. Beyond that, she offered no other account of what happened in Kenosha last summer, and no other account of the trial.

It's may be understandable that Huber's parents feel the way they do. But Maddow was willing to read their remarkably tendentious statement while offering no other account of the basic facts of the case.

NBC has promised the public that Maddow will soon be leaving the air. In the interest of the liberal world, that can't happen soon enough. In the meantime, we offer you this:

If you've been an MSNBC shopper, you've been sold a lot of guff about the shootings in Kenosha and about the Rittenhouse trial. 

Most strikingly, a lot of basic information has been thoroughly disappeared. As we enter the holiday season, we plan to be gifting you with that info. Only you, and you alone, will be able to decide what to do with this gift.

What happened in Kenosha and in the trial? Maddow wasn't willing to tell you! So it goes as our pitiful tribe, and our failing nation, continue to slide toward the sea.

OUR SILO VERSUS THEIRS: Information emerged from dueling silos!


More emerged Over There: We think of Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colorado) as a sober, sane, solid person. 

In part for that reason, we regard his response to Friday's Rittenhouse verdict as an unfortunate sign of the times. On Friday afternoon, Rep. Crow tweeted this:

REP. CROW (11/19/21): A justice system can't fail if it was never meant to deliver justice for some people in the first place. Today's verdict is a travesty. We have to do better. My thoughts are with the family of the victims and the communities who are hiurting. You deserve reform. 

The verdict was "a travesty," the sane, sober congressman said.

On Saturday morning, we saw that tweet reported on C-Span's Washington Journal. Right behind it came this tweet from Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-New York):

REP. NADLER (11/19/21): This heartbreaking verdict is a miscarriage of justice and sets a dangerous precedent which justifies federal review by DOJ. Justice cannot tolerate armed persons crossing state lines looking for trouble while people engage in First Amendment-protected protest.

To Nadler, the verdict was "heartbreaking" and "a miscarriage of justice." After all, Rittenhouse had been "looking for trouble"==and he had "cross[ed] state lines!"

It would be hard to get much dumber than that, but our tribe will continue to try. Similar tweets by two other Democratic congressmen were reported on the C-Span program. 

(To see the texts of all four tweets, click here. Move ahead to the C-Span program's 24th minute.)

A jury had sat and observed all the evidence. In their infinite wisdom, Crow and Nadler knew that the verdict they'd reached had been a miscarriage, a travesty

In fairness to Nadler and Crow, many Democrats delivered such judgments in the wake of Friday's verdict. A jury had sat and observed every word—but they, in their wisdom, knew better. 

Instant reactions from interest groups were often dumber and worse. That said, our tribe has, with increasing frequency, reacted to jury verdicts this way over the past ten years. 

For now, let's try to be fair! In the case of Nadler and Crow, an observer can imagine that their remarks weren't meant to criticize the jury itself. Perhaps the fault lay with Wisconsin state law—or with "the justice system!"

We can imagine that they would have said, if they had been forced, that that they respected the work of the citizens who sat on the jury.  That is a traditional posture, one the congressmen might have adopted, if forced.

Perhaps that's what the Democratic congressmen really meant! That said, no such posture can be attributed to Rachel Maddow, thanks to her appalling conduct during Friday's 9 P.M. hour.

During Friday evening's Maddow Show, the jury was explicitly denounced. This denunciation came as part of a longer, extremely tendentious account of the Rittenhouse trial and of the original conduct at issue. 

Maddow's journalistic conduct would be hard to excuse. With respect to the work of the jury, her viewers were told this:

"No reasonable person viewing all of the evidence could conclude that Mr. Rittenhouse acted in self-defense."

What a remarkable statement! Earlier that day, twelve persons had (unanimously) ruled that Rittenhouse had acted in self-defense. Now, viewers of Maddow's program were told that no reasonable person—not as many as one of the twelve—could ever have reached such a judgment.

Briefly, let's be fair. 

The remarkable statement we have quoted wasn't made by Maddow herself. In one of the slippery procedures which have come to characterize her approach to tribal journalism, Maddow never characterized the verdict herself.

Maddow didn't characterize the verdict in her own voice. Nor did she ever offer an account of the facts which were under review when the jury reached its judgment. 

She never described, in her own voice, what happened on that unfortunate night in August of last year. Instead, Maddow did this:

She read a lengthy statement by the parents of Anthony Huber, one of the people who was shot and killed by Kyle Rittenhouse that night. In their lengthy presentation, they offered their (highly tendentious) account of what happened on the night of the shootings and later during the trial. 

Rachel Maddow has developed into one of the most slippery and self-protective persons ever seen on "cable news." Because she's so skilled at "selling the car"—and because she's so popular within our own failing tribe—this obvious fact is rarely mentioned within the liberal world.

In this instance, Maddow was extending herself a bit of deniability. She never described any of the events in question in her own voice. 

She never said what happened that night. She didn't describe or critique the trial.

Instead, she did a remarkable thing. She read a long, extremely tendentious statement by two grieving parents, while failing to comment on the accuracy of their statement's various claims. 

That statement was full of highly tendentious factual claims—claims which rather plainly called for journalistic review. The statement was built around the unfortunate claim that no reasonable person could possibly have delivered the verdict the jury had unanimously done.  

Such as it is, Americanism lies in the dust when corporate stars behave in such ways. Maddow has been playing such slippery games for a very long time now.

(Full disclosure: We would guess that she, as a carefully-disguised true believer, is in fact fully sincere when she behaves in such ways.)

No reasonable person viewing all of the evidence could conclude that Mr. Rittenhouse acted in self-defense! That's what Maddow's viewers were told. Rittenhouse was still being described as a murderer, despite what the jury had said.

In fact, that's the only thing Maddow's viewers were told about the judgment that jury reached. No alternate possibility, outlook or view was ever expressed.

Beyond that, the lengthy statement which Maddow read was full of highly tendentious factual claims. The giant corporate cable star questioned none of those claims.

For the record, Maddow produced a smaller though revealing snafu later in the program. She read the words of Kariann Swart, the late Joseph Rosenbaum's fiancĂ©—and as she did, viewers were allowed to linger on a photograph of Hannah Gittings, the girl friend of the late Anthony Huber.

Maddow and her staff didn't seem to know the difference between these two women. But so it goes when propagandists feed their tribes Storyline.

(To Maddow's credit, she didn't report that Jacob Blake was shot and killed last year.)

Journalistically, Maddow's behavior on Friday night was little short of astounding. She quoted no one but deeply interested, grieving parties—and she quoted them at great length. She made no attempt to question, clarify or fact-check the various things they had said.

Her viewers were exposed to no other views. Inevitably, one of the views they heard was this:

"No reasonable person viewing all of the evidence could conclude that Mr. Rittenhouse acted in self-defense."

That was a slander on the jury—but also on basic Americanism, such as it has been.

Maddow has always been highly skilled at the process known as "selling the car." Most often, she sells the tricked-out model known as The Maddow. Sometimes, she sells the larger corporate brand.

Friday night, she offered the most extreme possible views and claims available within the silo of our own failing tribe. She questioned, challenged or clarified none of these views and claims. 

Tribal viewers were asked to tolerate no contradictory information and no alternate viewpoints.

As "cable news" has devolved in the past dozen years, we viewers increasingly get our "news" from one of two dueling silos. With respect to the Rittenhouse trial, we think you should know this:

People who watched Fox News were exposed to a much wider range of information than we liberals were, whether on CNN or on MSNBC. In this instance, the coverage at Fox was actually more informative than the coverage we liberals received.

Your lizard will say that can't be true. We'd say it plainly is.

In the case of the Kenosha shootings and the Rittenhouse trial, information and Storyline emerged from two dueling silos. To liberal viewers, we'll only say this:

With respect to this unfortunate case, it isn't just the false and misleading things we were persistently told.  It's the many facts which  got disappeared in service to Storyline.

No tribe this dumb can hope to survive. No tribe this dumb, this helpless; this desperate, this pathetic, this faux.

Tomorrow: Basic background, disappeared

At long last: At long last, MSNBC has finally posted the transcript to Friday's Maddow program. 

The channel boasts an unmistakable slacker culture. You can peruse the transcript here.

Right-wingers criticize New York Times!


Disappear past examples of brilliance: In her utterly brilliant way, Associate Professor Cottom has now published three (3) essays concerning the fiendish brilliance of Kyrsten Sinema's fiendish wardrobe selections.

Rather, the associate professor wrote the three (3) essays; the New York Times chose to publish them. The paper has also published a fourth analysis of Synema's wardrobe "strategy"—an analysis by Vanessa Friedman, the newspaper' "fashion director and chief fashion critic."

Forests fell to enable the publication of these four (4) insightful essays. Inevitably, three right-wingers have now written a letter to the Times, hoping to silence this journalism.

The three right-wingers are right-wing senators—Collins, Murkowski and Shaheen. It's true that Shaheen is a mainstream Democrat, but long ago, Rachel brilliantly mocked and exposed her as a New Hampshire "ConservaDem." 

(That was before Rachel learned not to pander to guests, right to their faces, before instantly mocking the guests when they're no longer physically present.).

Inevitably, the three right-wingers have attacked the Times' journalistic brilliance. As always, we had to chuckle at a claim in the opening paragraph of their letter:

To the Editor:

The Times has published four separate pieces analyzing the style and dress of our colleague Senator Kyrsten Sinema. We cannot imagine The Times printing similar pieces on the fashion choices of any of our male colleagues.

As Senator Sinema recently said about the commentary on her fashion: “I wear what I want because I like it. It’s not a news story, and it’s no one’s business.” We couldn’t agree more.

Senator Sinema is a serious, hardworking member of the Senate who contributes a great deal to the policy deliberations before us. Your repeated focus on how she dresses, rather than what she says and does, is demeaning, sexist and inappropriate.

Right-wingers, please! 

In 1999 and 2000, forests fell so the New York Times, and many others, could spend months on end attacking the fashion choices of Candidate Albert Gore, a male candidate for president. 

They attacked his boots, his suits, his polo shirts, the number of buttons observed on his suits, the height at which he hemmed his pants and the fact that he once wore earth tones. 

His boots were too shiny, some skillfully said. Also, why would he wear them at all?

The attacks were endless and visceral. The attacks were widely tied to the claims 1) that the offensive candidate had "hired a woman to teach him how to be a man" (everyone in the mainstream press corps), and 2) that the "un-American" hopeful was "today's man-woman" (Chris Matthews and Chris Matthews).

(Elsewhere, it got stupider, uglier, worse.)

In our usual dimwitted way, we liberals let that brilliant journalism go. People are dead all over the world because our utterly hapless tribe was so lazy, so stupid, so deferential—so mindless, so daft, so inept.

(People are dead all over the world! We're so old that we can remember when our tribe, such as it is, used to pretend that we cared  about things like that!)

Today, the right-wingers are pretending that the Times does this only to women. Their right-wing claim is false.

Meanwhile, if we know the New York Times, the New York Times isn't going to quit! More attacks on disfavored pols for their wardrobe selections, please! Within our ruthlessly stupid tribe, it's a long-standing tribal tradition!

Three takeaways from CNN!


Goodbye, elementary competence: Anderson Cooper came on the air last night wearing his serious look. Right out of the gate, he managed somehow to say this:

COOPER (11/19/21): Good evening.

Tonight, the impact of the not guilty verdict and killings that never should have happened. There is no debate about that, and tried under local and national pressures that amplified every aspect of the case in the dual tragedies at the heart of it.

First the killing of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin last summer, then the violent unrest which followed, that drew then 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse to the scene with an AR-15 style rifle, which he ended up using to shoot and kill two men and wound another.

Two tragedies that brought us here made Rittenhouse a right-wing folk hero, social justice villain, and fueled no end of debate over vigilante justice, gun rights, race, and policing. In short, everything jurors were supposed to ignore as they consider the evidence and apply the law and reach their decision.

So said the plainly serious Cooper. Perhaps you've spotted the error. 

At this point, reporter Sara Sidner offered a basic report about the verdict. At 8:05, Cooper came back on the air and said this:

COOPER: Sara Sidner, appreciate it. 

By the way, in the intro, I said Jacob Blake was killed by police. That's inaccurate. He was shot and partially paralyzed. 

Joining us now, CNN senior legal analyst Laura Coates; CNN political commentator Van Jones; CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Paul Callan; and CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

"By the way," Cooper said, Jacob Blake hadn't been killed after all. His statement had been inaccurate, Cooper now disclosed.

Cooper seems to spend the bulk of his time writing books about the Vanderbilt side of his family. We sometimes wonder how much time he chooses to spend assembling basic information about the topics he discusses, or pretends to discuss, when he's on the air.

In this instance, he'd been reading copy prepared by someone on his staff—someone who apparently thought that Jacob Blake was shot and killed last summer. For whatever reason, Cooper didn't correct the groaningly inaccurate copy as he read it from prompter.

Everybody makes mistakes. Cooper's misstatement could perhaps be seen as nothing more than that. 

That said, Cooper wasn't the only major figure who made that startling misstatement in the wake of yesterday's verdict. Terry Moran of ABC News said the same thing in that network's instant live coverage.

You can see him say it here, 40 seconds in:

"Well, [the verdict] is very significant, first for the community of Kenosha. This city was traumatized by the police killing of a black man, Jacob Blake."

As Moran was introduced, we were told that he had "been on the case from the beginning here." Somehow, he seemed to think, "inaccurately," that Jacob Blake had been killed.

For the record, it wasn't just Cooper and Moran. Later,  the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Sean Patrick Maloney, issued a statement in which, "by the way," he made the same "inaccurate" statement. 

In part, Maloney said this:

"It is disgusting and disturbing that someone was able to carry a loaded assault rifle into a protest against the unjust killing of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man." 

Later, Maloney's groaner was corrected. Don't ask us how we know these things, but as it turned out, the claims made by our unnamed source were in fact perfectly accurate.

Everybody makes mistakesbut on our three major cable news channels, "mistakes" are almost surely part of the basic business model. With that basic fact in mind, we were struck by a presentation Sidner made during yesterday's 2 P.M. hour, not long after the verdict was announced.

On balance, Sidner has long struck us as a sober, competent person. For unknown reasons, she now, perhaps a bit belatedly, began listing "some of the things that we learned in this case while the trial was going on that was not public knowledge or was not widely known publicly."

Full disclosure! A lot of things were "not widely known publicly" while the trial was going on! That was especially true for people who were getting their "information" from Sidner's own corporate channel, or from MSNBC. 

In part, Sidner was now correcting standard misstatements which had been made, again and again, on CNN itself. Her fact-check had perhaps been delayed, but here's part of what she now said:

SIDNER (11/19/21): I do want to talk to you a little bit about some of the things that we learned in this case while the trial was going on that was not public knowledge or was not widely known publicly.


We also learned that the AR-15-style rifle that Rittenhouse carried that day in the streets was legal for him to possess, the judge saying that it had to be a certain measurement for it to be illegal for him to have hold of.

And so that was dropped right before the jury went to start deliberating in this case. The prosecution's comments on that, they didn't seem to know that the measurements made a huge difference here...

We also learned that Kyle Rittenhouse's father and other family members lived here in Kenosha, and that he was actually here in Kenosha the night before he went out into the street. There has been a lot of politicians, and there have been a lot of folks on social media, saying that he came over with his gun "crossing state lines" with that gun. That is not the case.

We learned that in this trial, that, indeed, the gun was actually here in Kenosha at the family of a friend's house who bought that rifle for him, and that he ended up with it that night, not taking it across state lines to come to the protest, but taking it from his friend's family's home.

Stating the obvious, it wasn't the judge who said the gun "had to be a certain measurement for it to be illegal;" it was Wisconsin state law. Concerning what the prosecution "didn't seem to know" about that, a great deal more could perhaps be said, and on occasion has been said—but only over on Fox.

That said, we were especially struck by Sidner's comments concerning the endlessly repeated talking-point about Rittenhouse "crossing state lines."

In fact, Rittenhouse "crossed state lines" every time he drove from his mother's house in Aurora, Illinois to his father's house in Kenosha, 17 miles away. Concerning such facts, we'd note this:

You're actually allowed to "cross state lines" in the United States. As a senator, Joe Biden "crossed state lines" every day on his way to work in Washington. 

Back in the day, we ourselves "crossed state lines" every time we gave an award-winning performance at the Washington Improv. To share in the greatness, click here.

People "cross state lines" every day of the week! But in the attempt to send Rittenhouse to prison, the utterly stupid and meaningless phrase came to be invested with a criminal-sounding feel. For that reason, it was repeated again and again and again and again by the ugly, stupid mobs who prowled the streets of cable news on our own tribe's alleged behalf.

The fact that Rittenhouse "crossed state lines" has exactly zero relevance to anything that happened on that unfortunate night. Sidner said that "a lot of politicians and a lot of folks on social media" had been mouthing some form of that pointless point. 

She didn't say that her own corporate channel had crawled with this stupid behavior. 

Sidner gave her own colleagues a pass. Then too, there's what we saw on MSNBC a bit more than four hours later.

Last night ,we made ourselves do it! We forced ourselves to watch the first half hour of Joy Reid's nightly program, The ReidOut. 

Professor Johnson was hosting last night. Reid appeared as a guest from an undisclosed remote location. 

In the lengthy conversation which opened the program, one person after another mouthed the utterly pointless claim about Rittenhouse "crossing state lines." It was one of the strangest and dumbest discussions we've ever seen on cable.

Due to the slacker culture at MSNBC, we won't be able to show you transcripts until next week. But we were left with a basic question after watching this deeply human, deeply irrational imitation of discussion:

To what extent can the human race actually claim to be rational / sane? Also, what can we say about corporate executives who put product like this on the air?

We'll return to Professor Johnson and his guests at some point next week. In fairness to Reid, she's still searching for "the real hacker"—for the person who issued those homophobic posts under her own name.

The conversation on Reid's program struck us as barely sane. For today, we want to cite a third presentation from CNN. We refer to another presentation from Cooper's program last night.

This presentation went to the heart of another standard point—a talking-point in which Rittenhouse was said to have "brought a gun to a protest." Apparently willing to silence himself no longer, legal analyst Paul Callan at long last offered this:

CALLAN: You know, juries look for heroes and villains when they're looking at a criminal case, and you're going to find in favor of the hero and against the villains.

Well, you know, this case—they all look like villains on this terrible night in Kenosha. It was a dark, dystopic sort of scene where people were burning things, breaking things, and he puts himself in the middle of all of this.

Rosenbaum threatens to kill him, threatens to rip people's hearts out, and then jumps in his direction. He shoots Rosenbaum. He is next encountered by, you know a man with a handgun who says he's a medic, and that's Grosskreutz. 

Grosskreutz, as he was lowering his hand, aims the gun at the head of our defendant in this case. Somebody else strikes him with a skateboard, using it like a baseball bat. And there is even somebody named "Jumpkick Man" who the prosecutor tried to minimize his role by saying he only kicked him in the head.

So where are the heroes and where are the villains? They're all villains. Nobody believed—he didn't belong in the street that night, and these other people who were doing damage, they weren't true protesters. The protesters had been there the two previous nights. This was a night of villainy really in Kenosha.

In Callan's view, Rittenhouse "didn't belong in the street that night." But Callan made an additional claim. He said the dystopian crew who went after Rittenhouse "weren't true protesters."

He said there actually wasn't a "protest" being conducted in the streets of Kenosha at midnight that night. He said that Rittenhouse had actually placed himself among a group of people who were out there "doing damage."

Soon, Jeffrey Toobin interrupted with a deeply absurd objection. But at long last, CNN viewers were being offered a somewhat fuller account of what had happened that night.

Our question:

Did Rittenhouse bring that gun to "a protest" that night? Is that a full and reasonable description, or is it perhaps a bit of a deception?

Callan's statement starts to close a certain gap. It starts to close the yawning gap between what viewers  of Fox News have been told about the events of that night, as opposed to what we in our own failing tribe have been told by the corporate hounds from Hell we've been trained to trust and believe.

Callan omitted a great deal more information about the events of that night. His presentation came about ten minutes after the frequently hapless Cooper managed to correct the claim that Jacob Blake had been shot and killed.

For people in our own failing tribe, the coverage of the Rittenhouse trial provides a rare opportunity. It gives us the chance to come to terms with a startling fact:

In certain circumstances, viewers of Fox are actually given more information than we liberals are! In certain circumstances, we're misled by our corporate tribunes even more than The Others are misled by theirs!

The group on Reid's show were barely sane last night. This provides us with a chance to learn many things about the ways propaganda leads to war—and, in the wider sense, about our own pre-rational human race.

In closing today, we offer you this. This is what Rep. Jerry Nadler tweeted after the verdict came down:

"This heartbreaking verdict is a miscarriage of justice and sets a dangerous precedent which justifies federal review by DOJ. Justice cannot tolerate armed persons crossing state lines looking for trouble while people engage in First Amendment-protected protest."

Nadler wasn't simply trashing the work of a jury, as our tribe now routinely does. He was repeating some of our favorite points! 

According to Nadler, Rittenhouse had "crossed state lines" to go to the site of a "protest." Judging from his peculiar tweet, it would have been OK  if Rittenhouse had lived in Wisconsin. But he had crossed state lines!

There was that talking-point again, offered in the hope that we could find some kind of way to send a teenager to prison for life!

Does Nadler's account tell us what really happened that night?  Whatever you think of Rittenhouse's conduct, we'd say the answer is no. 

We'll help you see the things you weren't told all through the course of next week. Full disclosure:

Despondent experts say this sort of intellectual squalor isn't going to end. This is the way our brains are wired, these glum famous scholars insist.