CNN descends further and further!


Pair of trained seals perform: A tiny bit of comic relief intruded on last evening's Anderson Cooper "news program."

It occurred at 8:17 P.M. It followed the latest filibuster by Karen McDonald, the most logorrheic (and inarticulate) prosecutor we've ever seen on TV.

McDonald had blustered for the full 17 minutes as Cooper pretended to interview her. Below, we'll show you the question he should have asked.

At any rate, McDonald had filibustered for Cooper's opening 17 minutes. Now, comic relief was provided as Cooper said this, just before going to break:

COOPER (12/3/21): Later, CNN has just obtained a copy of former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows's book. What we're learning from it, including what he said the former president told him on January 6th right after telling the crowd to march in the Capitol.

Too funny! CNN had just obtained a copy of Meadows' book! 

The analysts emitted mordant chuckles. After that, they turned their youthful heads to one side and they silently wept.

CNN had just obtained a copy of Meadows' book! Why did Cooper's statement to that effect constitute comic relief?

Easy! One night before, Cooper had conducted a lengthy pseudo-discussion concerning the contents of Meadows' book—the book to which he enjoyed no access. 

At that time, there was no reliable way for Cooper to know what Meadows had actually said in his book. This didn't stop Cooper or his sidekick, Gloria Borger, from staging a long, snarky pseudo-discussion built around the shaky claim that Meadows was now saying that his own book contained "fake news."

The ridiculous segment warmed the hearts of CNN's tribal viewers. If we view it as an attempt at conducting actual journalism, the segment was completely ridiculous, as is a great deal of what occurs on CNN in these latter days.

In fairness:

For purposes of providing tribal pleasure, the segment was superb. Bowing to anger from Donald J. Trump, Meadows was calling his own claims "fake news!" Dearest darlings, the claim was simply delicious!

Sadly, the problem was this:

Neither Cooper nor Borger had actually read Meadows' book. For that reason, they were poorly equipped to report what Meadows had said in the book.

On this occasion, the comic relief involves the way the pair of CNN stars avoided stating this basic fact. Below, you see the way the pitiful Cooper teased the lengthy pseudo-discussion. 

He teased the segment before going to break. We'll highlight one key word:

COOPER (12/2/21): Well, after reportedly writing in his book that the former president tested positive for Covid three days before his first debate with Joe Biden, former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is calling it fake news. Our Gloria Borger has some new reporting that may explain why he is doing that. 

The word "reportedly" is doing a lot of work in that presentation.

After a commercial break designed to help pay the seven- and eight-figure salaries of the corporate channel's megastars, Cooper proceeded to introduce the actual pseudo-discussion:

COOPER: Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is trying to walk back some explosive claims he reportedly made in his new book about the former president's positive Covid test. Now before we get to his denial, let's just take a look at the timeline because it's important.

There was that word again! Clownishly, Cooper employed "reportedly" six separate times during his pseudo-discussion of this delicious topic. He never made the following simple declarative statement:

No one at CNN has actually seen Meadows' book.

Cooper never said that! Late in the ensuing "discussion," additional comic relief occurred when Borger offered the highlighted statement about the matter under discussion

BORGER: That was the situation. But, you know, that's not in the excerpt of the book that The Guardian printed. And again, we haven't seen the book. That's not—that's not mentioned.

Again, we haven't seen the book? Where had "again" comefrom?

In fact, that was the first time anyone explicitly said that no one at CNN had actually seen the Meadows book—that they were relying on an account in The Guardian concerning what the book said.

More unintentional comedy! "That's not in the excerpt of the book that The Guardian printed," Borger haplessly said.

In fact, The Guardian hadn't published any "excerpt" from the Meadows book. After reviewing a copy of the book, The Guardian had published this somewhat fuzzy account of what Meadows said in the passage in question. 

That said, no "excerpt" had been published. Only a somewhat fuzzy account.

Reviewing, CNN hadn't seen the book. Nor had CNN seen any excerpt. 

Cooper and Broger were simply riffing, in a way designed to please our inept liberal hearts. They were relying on a fuzzy report from The Guardian—a report which didn't seem to make sense at certain key junctures.

That said, what were Cooper and Borger claiming during this long and stupid pseudo-discussion? Their work was so clownish, and so stupid, that it's hard to answer that question with perfect precision 

Essentially, though, they were claiming this—and they were snarking hard:

COOPER: Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is trying to walk back some explosive claims he reportedly made in his new book about the former president's positive Covid test. Now before we get to his denial, let's just take a look at the timeline because it's important.

As was first reported in The Guardian, Meadows reveals in his soon to be released memoir that the former president first tested positive for Covid September 26th. That was three days before his first debate with then Vice President Joe Biden.

Meadows and the former president are now pointing out that he tested negative after testing positive. That same day, he hosted a White House event both inside and outside for then Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, at least 12 attendees later tested positive there.


Now yesterday, the former president called the reporting and the claim in Meadows' book that he tested positive on September 26th fake news and just a few hours later, Meadows went on Newsmax and seemed to agree with his former boss.

That's journalistic bullsh*t pretty much all the way down. Let us count (only some of) the ways:

Based on the report in The Guardian, it seems that Meadows does say in his book that Trump tested positive for Covid on September 26, 2020. 

Incredibly, it seems that Cooper actually got that right! But as if by mandated law of the guild, he quickly got something else wrong:

"Meadows and the former president are now pointing out that he tested negative after testing positive."

Meadows is now pointing that out? Actually, it seems clear from the account in The Guardian that Meadows makes that statement right in his book. Already, Cooper seemed to be misrepresenting the actual state of the evidence.

Moving ahead, Cooper said that Trump was denying the claim that he tested positive on September 26. Simply by looking at The Guardian's report (and by clicking its link), you can cee that this isn't an accurate statement.

Cooper further claimed that Meadows was now agreeing with Trump—that Meadows was now saying that his own factual claim had been false.

Almost surely, that claim is bogus. That said, it was hard to tell from Cooper's report. 

At one point, Cooper played videotape of Meadows' interview with Newsmax. Inevitably, the tape has been abruptly edited, in such a way that it was impossible to see what Meadows was actually saying. 

(For the record, this was a classic "Maddow edit," a term we've explained in the past.)

Considered as journalism, Cooper and Borger's lengthy pseudo-discussion was, and is, pure and perfect bullsh*t. Simply put, why are these clowns on the air?

CNN has done the world a large favor this week. They've pulled the horrible Chris Cuomo off the air, if only temporarily.

Why are Cooper and Borger still there? Also, when will MSNBC follow through on its recent promise to rid our tribe of the increasingly Ahab-like Maddow?

Disconsolate experts weep in their carrels as clowns like Cooper behave in these ways. In his spare time, he devotes himself to writing books about the Vanderbilt side of his family.

His new book focuses on great-great-great grandfather Cornelius. This seems to be the only topic he actually cares about.

In the larger sense, our failing society's various systems have already broken down. Even at this very late date, few people are willing or able to see or say this with respect to the constant nonsense promulgated by corporate "cable news" channels.

As for CNN's behavior last night, they opened their programs with that logorrheic prosecutor at 6 P.M., at 8 P.M., and then again at 10 P.M. The filibuster-adjacent interviews—staged by Blitzer, by Cooper, and then by Lemon—went on and on and on and on. The question they should have asked her is this:

Why have you been proselytizing on CNN all night long?

We don't think we've ever seen a prosecutor behave in the way this one has done on CNN over the past two nights. That said, on the modern CNN, little is as it once was.

CNN has rid us of Cuomo. Because it's a profit-based corporate entity, it's going to leave Cooper and Borger right where they are.

On balance, Tucker Carlson seems to be out of his mind. Our question today would be this:

Are we really all that certain that Cooper's a whole lot better?

Earlier that day: On Thursday morning, MSNBC had presented an equally deceptive pseudo-discussion of the Meadows book. You can watch that performance here.

That performance runs eight minutes and 17 seconds. In this case, the performers keep saying that Trump tested positive for Covid in the way Meadows described, without ever saying that, according to Meadows, he later tested negative using a better test. 

Amazingly, yet very typically, that second statement by Meadows was completely disappeared!

(Comic relief: Note the unmentioned line in the graphic which appears at the 5-minute mark.)

We have no idea if the claims in Meadows' book are true. We don't know if there are relevant facts which Meadows has left out.

We do know that, by traditional standards, Joe and Mika and Willie, but also Jonathan and Elise, should all be dragged off the air.

That said:

At this point, the novelization is general over our "cable news" channels. These clowns exist to serve one end—to offer selective accounts of high-profile topics, designed to make viewers feel glad. 

In the more general sense, our various systems have thoroughly broken down. According to major disconsolate experts, our American system, such as it was, has basically ceased to exist.


  1. Thanks for documenting this small portion of the liberal-goebbelsian atrocities, dear Bob.

    ...but of course it makes no difference whatsoever whether CNN dembots did or didn't see the book in question. It wouldn't affect their hatred-spewing performance at all.

  2. Somerby ignores a whole bunch of important facts about Trump's covid response:

    1. A negative test has about a 34% chance of being a false negative, which is a very high %, especially after having a first positive test.

    2. The 2nd test was not a better test, it was just a different test. Somerby made up the part about it being better. Trump should have had a PCR test after his first positive test, because that is a much more reliable test than the fast antigen tests he took.

    3. Of course Trump should have permitted the debate sponsors to administer a real test, not blown off all of the precautions that they tried to use to keep everyone safe.

    4. Obviously, the lack of precautions taken at the various Trump appearances on the 26th until he announced on Dec 3 that he had covid are caused many people to become infected and some of those people subsequently died. That is more of Trump's malfeasance as president.

    Somerby doesn't seem to take any of this into account, focusing too narrowly on that 2nd neg test as if that excused everything else that happened. Somerby pretends that Trump was actually negative (because of that test result) and didn't get covid until Hope Hicks got it, buying the Republican line when Trump's symptoms became so severe that he was hospitalized and he could no longer keep up a charade. That is another Trump big lie and Somerby joins him in perpetrating it.

    I have no idea whether Somerby wears a mask or has been vaccinated himself, but by blessing Trump's mishandling of his own covid response (endangering everyone at the debate and other events), Somerby assumes some of the moral responsibility of those who deny this pandemic and will not cooperate in fighting it, to protect everyone in our nation.

    There is no excuse for what Trump did after he got that first positive test. Somerby's attempt to excuse Trump is consistent with his defense of the most deplorable acts on the right. And no, Somerby is not any kind of liberal.

  3. "As for CNN's behavior last night, they opened their programs with that logorrheic prosecutor at 6 P.M., at 8 P.M., and then again at 10 P.M. "

    As Somerby well knows, CNN runs on a loop, repeating its stories again and again all day, because most people tune in briefly to find out what is going on, and don't sit watching CNN all day long.

    That particular prosecutor (McDonald) was the Michigan DA in the Crumbley shooting case. The coverage was being repeated because the parents of the 15-year boy who killed 4 classmates and wounded many others at his high school failed to appear for arraignment on manslaughter charges for buying the boy the weapon he used and ignoring the concerns of his school over his recent behavior. The things that DA had to say about a developing story, as the parents were subsequently discovered hiding in a Detroit warehouse and arrested, were about breaking news in an emerging story. It isn't as if she were blathering about some political opinion and saying the same stuff over and over.

    Notice how Somerby hides these relevant facts from his readers, something he frequently accuses the mainstream media of doing. This is Somerby's dishonesty, the way he cooks the books and doesn't trust his readers to draw conclusions with putting his own thumb on the scales.

    Cue the conservative trolls now to talk about how brilliant Somerby is. I dare you.

    1. You got it.

      In a saner country, Bob Somerby would be an institution as the host of the institution of Meet the Press.

    2. In a sane country, Bob Somerby would be institutionalized for his own safety, as well as the safety of others.

    3. If Somerby hosted MTP, how would he be any different than Chuckles Todd? Todd routinely invites Republicans on to bash Democrats and liberals and to legitimize GOP nonsense and rarely interviews Dems. That’s right up Somerby’s alley.

  4. "CNN had just obtained a copy of Meadows' book! "

    Somerby tries to stretch this into something that might discredit what The Guardian had printed about Trump's covid. It doesn't work.

    For one thing, The Guardian was provided with the book ahead of its publication in order to boost sales of it. They did that by writing an article about some of the most lurid content of the book. CNN didn't have the book in hand because it wasn't available from the publisher yet, not because they were lazy or inept. That's why CNN referred to the Guardian's claims as "reportedly" and why Cooper told the audience when they finally had the book in hand. Note that they did not say that anything in the book contradicted the Guardian's article, nothing was retracted about the original reporting. Meadows, however, was bullied by Trump into claiming he never said something that was plainly in the book once it appeared -- about what Trump did after his first positive covid test and the endangerment of others (something Somerby shows no concern about).

    This is how the process has worked for every memoir coming out of the White House after Trump's term in office. This isn't some new scandal or malfeasance on Cooper's part (nor is Borger to blame for anything at all).

    Somerby, of course, never addresses the content of the Guardian's claims about Trump. On a day when CNN should presumably be applauded for getting rid of Cuomo over his behavior on behalf of his brother Andrew, Somerby instead tries to portray CNN as crooked. CNN did the right thing by firing Cuomo, and it handled The Guardian's story properly too. That story cannot be ignored because what Meadows said in his book was news, as was his attempt to walk that back again. Somerby engages in damage control by the right wing, supporting conservative efforts to discredit The Guardian and Cooper and CNN, hoping it will not have to answer for Trump's behavior, when he not only tried to infect Biden, but also gave covid to a number of people in the White House and beyond. Despite Somerby's lame attempt to divert attention from the story of Trump's covid spreading, Cooper and Borger did their jobs as journalists competently and do not deserve this cooked-up attempt at a smear.

    If there were any doubt about who and what Somerby is, this essay should make it clear that he is carrying water for the conservatives, doesn't give a damn about covid or the use of that illness as a political weapon, and certainly is no liberal.

  5. One assumes that Somerby’s attack on McDonald is his early attempt to get on board with the inevitable right wing attacks on her.

  6. “ Ahab-like Maddow”

    What exactly is her White Whale?

    On the other hand, Maddow seems to fit the bill perfectly as Somerby’s white whale.

    One can argue whether that is embarrassing for him or not.

  7. “On balance, Tucker Carlson seems to be out of his mind.”

    This is perhaps the most ridiculous and disingenuous statement in the whole post.

    And anyone who argues that Cooper and Borger should be removed but fails to state that Carlson should be removed (for far more egregious behavior) cannot be taken seriously as a media critic or a watcher of America’s discourse.

    That person could legitimately be called a clown.

  8. Somerby, the king of bad faith arguments.

    He repeatedly called for the media to discuss Trump’s alleged sociopathy.

    Trump’s behavior, as recounted in Meadows’ book, shows a particularly horrific aspect of his sociopathy.

    But Somerby dithers about whether Trump “knew” he was infected at such and such a time. He’s back to the familiar “we can’t know what Trump believed” and undermines the very definition of sociopathy, which is that sociopaths do bad things knowing they are bad, and that they lie, yes,knowingly lie,because that is the definition of a sociopath.

  9. "In his spare time, he devotes himself to writing books about the Vanderbilt side of his family.

    His new book focuses on great-great-great grandfather Cornelius. This seems to be the only topic he actually cares about."

    This just makes Somerby sound envious. Why shouldn't Cooper writer such a book? Vanderbilt was a shipping and railroad tycoon and a self-made millionaire who left an estate worth $105 million, back in 1877.

    Somerby implies that Cooper's book is vanity, but Vanderbilt was America's richest man in his lifetime, something he accomplished through his own efforts. People are interested in such lives.

  10. Why does the media call the anti-women "pro life"?

    1. That your mom, dear dembot, tried, almost successfully, to abort you, doesn't mean that all wimmin enjoy aborting their children.

    2. 1:58,
      Thank you. That's the sanest statement a Right-winger has made about economics in at least 7 decades.