Blaming the people, not the powerful!


But first, no transcripts this year: As of this morning, we're in the eighth day of the new year—except at MSNBC.

At MSNBC, it's still New Year's Eve! We can't tell you why that is.

You can peruse the evidence here. Our link takes you to the "liberal" channel's transcript site. As of 9 o'clock this morning, the most recent transcripts dated from December 31, 2021.

Why has The One True Channel begun withholding its transcripts (again)? We can't tell you that. But the conduct is part of the passing parade—part of the ongoing tragicomedy known as the human pageant.

For the record, MSNBC is a giant corporate venture. Indeed, the "MS" in its name refers to Microsoft—one of its original founders.

Today, the channel "is owned by the NBCUniversal News Group division of NBCUniversal (a subsidiary of Comcast)." Or so the leading authority on MSNBC says.

The channel can afford to produce transcripts of its various "cable news" shows. Periodically, though, the channel decides to stop doing so, for reasons which go unannounced.

Other news channels and other news show do provide prompt transcripts. CNN produces error-riddled transcripts of all its shows, and does so on a timely basis. News programs like The PBS NewsHour produce transcripts which are more carefully prepared.

When MSNBC does transcribe its shows, it doesn't waste its time, or reduce its profit margins, by proofreading such documents. Still, the practice allows the public to review what the channel's various multimillionaire TV stars have said and done on the air.

Powerful people often don't like transparency of that type. This may explain the unpredictable way this frequently clownlike "cable news" channel decides to provide, then decides to withdraw, this basic journalistic service.

At any rate, at this corporate "cable news" giant, it's still late last year! The clowning never stops at this heavily scripted channel, where you'll only hear the statements and claims your lizard brain most prefers.

It's a reliably slacker operation. It's not as bad as Fox, we tend to say—but then again, nobody is!

Also, protecting the powerful: When Ted Koppel spoke with a trolley car full of tourists last June, he encountered a major national problem:

All across our "democratized" media, powerful interests have been spreading misinformation—and tens of millions of regular people believe the false and misleading claims they hear. So it was with Koppel's interview subjects, who believed all sorts of discredited claims about the 2020 election.

That said, who would you say is more at fault in this destructive process? Is it the powerful people and powerful interests who peddle misinformation and disinformation? Or is it the regular people who don't know that they're being misled?

Who's more at fault in this deadly dance—the people or the powerful? Adjusting for issues of mental illness and cognitive failure, the answer strikes us as fairly obvious. That's why we were surprised by William Saletan's recent essay at Slate, which appears beneath these headlines:

The Real Threat to American Democracy
It’s not Republican politicians. It’s their conspiracy-addled voters.

Say what? We're supposed to blame the regular people, not the vastly better-informed Republican politicians?

Surely that can't be what Saletan said! And yet, he started his essay like this:

SALETAN (1/5/22): Republican politicians have spent the year since Jan. 6, 2021, working to undermine democracy and the rule of law. They’ve condoned or ignored Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, purged colleagues who spoke the truth, and tried to cripple the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol. But beneath this corruption lies a deeper problem: a toxic GOP electorate. Republican politicians are entertaining the lies, ousting the truth-tellers, and sabotaging the investigation because that’s what their voters want. It’s the surest way to survive a Republican primary.

Please don't blame the Republican pols! Those voters leave them no choice! Indeed, those voters are "toxic!"

We met Bill Saletan, on at least one occasion, a long time ago. Obviously, he's a good, decent person. That said, we're all human.

Everybody makes mistakes—and the desire to loathe The Others is bred deep in the human bone. At times of tribal division like these, the desire to demonize and loathe runs especially strong.

For the record, regular people have been misled all through the annals of human history. In the present day, regular people get misled by "cable news" stars (and contributors) all the time—but also by hugely powerful people like the baldly disordered Donald J. Trump.

The reason we have an FDA is because of this well-known fact. By Saletan's reckoning, we shouldn't blame the people who create and sell phony prescription drugs or engage in dangerous practices in the production of food. The real problem lies with the people who buy and ingest their products!

These are very difficult times, and we all make mistakes. But the desire to demonize and loathe Others is strong. According to leading major top experts, that blood runs in all our veins.

Few Einsteins found around here: While you're at Slate, you can also ponder this: 

Help! My Dead Friend Had Three Girlfriends Who Still Don’t Know About Each Other.

Increasingly, it's the kind of fare they produce at Slate in order to keep up self-impressed liberal geniuses coming back.

We liberals have always believed that we're the smart, decent people. The Others are all made out of ticky-tacky, and they all look just the same!


  1. "Our link takes you to the "liberal" channel's transcript site."

    No, no, no, dear Bob, squirm all you want, it won't fly.

    MSNBC is the liberal channel. Not "liberal".

    Own it, dear, or get out of the liberal-hitlerian cult...

  2. Cable news is a private corporation, not a public agency. It doesn't owe anyone transcripts any more than it owes anyone news. It provides such services as part of its efforts to make money, because that's what corporations do in a capitalist economy.

    Somerby's sense of entitlement is showing again today.

    Just as a matter of curiosity, I visited Fox News and discovered that Hannity, Ingraham, Carlson, none of them have transcripts for any of their shows. They have no accountability either, apparently. You also have to sign in and subscribe to see anything at all.

    I think Somerby is made out of ticky tacky himself.

  3. Republicans wouldn't be in office without their voters. But those voters are also being lied to, by lying liars who are not good decent people. They deserve each other, except that they are also hurting those who didn't vote for them too.

  4. ...oh, and may we suggest the latest Matt Taibbi's piece again, dear Bob?

    We find it v-e-r-y powerful:

  5. I am responsible for my own choices at the polls. I am not responsible for the choices of a bunch of idiotic mouth-breathing Trump supporters.

  6. What are the kinds of errors that the MSNBC transcripts are "riddled" with? They are the kinds of mistakes that software makes when computers imperfectly hear human speech. Words are occasionally replaced by sound-alikes or garbled when people don't speak distinctly or talk over each other. It is like what you see running along the bottom of the screen while on an exercise bike at the gym.

    But Somerby apparently thinks that news organizations who are having trouble paying actual reporters should be also spending money on human transcribers or "proofreaders". Does he not understand anything about what has happened in journalism over the past several decades as the business model for news shows has radically changed with the advent of free news on the internet?

    The small audiences of cable news do not support the kinds of luxuries Somerby demands, entitled old guy that he is. But he just keeps banging his spoon on the table and shouting "I want my Maypo" just as Trump supporters keep insisting that they want Trump back as president, regardless of realities on the ground.

  7. "We met Bill Saletan, on at least one occasion, a long time ago. Obviously, he's a good, decent person. That said, we're all human."

    Somerby can tell all this about him based on a casual handshake or a nod in an elevator. Because Somerby sure as hell isn't best buddies with Saletan.

    Someone needs to tell Somerby that name-dropping is a vice. So is making up lies about someone's personal worth, just so you can slime them in the next breath, where he says "Everybody makes mistakes—and the desire to loathe The Others is bred deep in the human bone." As if Saletan was loathing the others, as he noted that Republican politicians seek reelection by giving their voters what they want, more Trump lies.

    Is it the Republican politicians who populate Trump's rallies? No. Unless coerced, many (if not most) Republican politicians have been trying to ditch Trump. But it is certainly a reality, as Saletan notes, that Republicans continue to support Trump and his big lie because they may have difficulty getting reelected if they don't. That was the rock/hard place that Trump put the Governor of Alaska in when he called for him to choose between Trump himself and Lisa Murkowski. He chose Trump, not because he likes Trump or believe the Big Lie, but because he wants to continue being governor. So, yes, those Trump voters who threw a hissy fit when Trump said he supported getting vaccinated are also demanding that other Republicans support Dear Leader, and that is reality for Republicans these days.

    Somerby says don't blame the voters, but who else should we blame. Not Democrats or liberals, surely. Somerby is living in fantasyland because he doesn't admit that Trump has built a cult of personality and his voters are not regular voters but impassioned deluded cult members who must be appeased when they call for belief in the Big Lie.

    Saletan knows more than Somerby about this, and he is not loathing The Other when he notes that the voters are complicit with Trump and want him back in office, beyond what the Republican party may want.

    1. "Somerby says don't blame the voters, but who else should we blame."

      Somerby says don't blame the voters for being a threat to democracy. When the voters select our leaders, democracy is working, even if you don't like those leaders. That's the definition of "democracy".

    2. The definition of "democracy" - voting for hugely powerful people like the baldly disordered Donald J. Trump.

    3. @David: Somerby chides Saletan for blaming the voters, rather than “Republican pols”. Then you come along to say that those voters chose those very leaders that Somerby suggests that Saletan should be holding responsible for something apparently similar to hawking phony prescription drugs.

    4. We are not in a democracy. It's a democracy in name only.

    5. Even in terms of votes, Republicans won the Presidency twice this century with fewer votes than the Democratic candidate. Not a democracy. 12:51 is correct.

  8. "Increasingly, it's the kind of fare they produce at Slate in order to keep up self-impressed liberal geniuses coming back."

    Who says that Slate readers are liberal? Who says they are claiming to be geniuses, out of self-impressed wonder?

    Who is doing the loathing today? Hint: His name starts with Somer and ends with by.

  9. "We liberals have always believed that we're the smart, decent people."

    Somerby is not liberal and has no business referring to "we liberals" in his essays.

    Somerby has no idea whether any of us are smart or decent. But when he claims that we believe that without justification, that is the same as calling us dumb and indecent. But he hasn't got the guts to actually call liberals names, so he uses these cutsie circumlocutions.

    Somer of us are smart and some not so smart. Some of us are decent and some not so decent. But we have one thing in common -- we didn't vote for a slimeball like Trump and we never would, while continuing to call ourselves liberals.

    Who knows who Somerby actually votes for, what he does in his spare time, or how decent he pretends to be? We can know for sure that he is dumb as rocks because of the crap he writes here day after day. I sure hope he is getting paid for this shit, because it would be sad if he is wasting so much time on so much drivel and getting nothing in return.

    1. The notion that one could assess the political media but only examine one half of it would not be held by anyone who sees themselves as smart. So yes, by his own definition he’s not a liberal.

  10. "Blaming the people, not the powerful!"

    In a democracy, the people are the powerful.

    Somerby's division between the people and the pols demonstrates an anti-democratic attitude in which the people are distinct from those who consider themselves their rulers, those in power. That is authoritarianism in attitude. Democratic leaders consider themselves the servants of the people, who are the powerful, the ones with the ability to put them into office or remove them.

    Little slips like this reveal underlying attitudes. He pretends he cares about the opinions and beliefs of the people, says we should respect and listen to them, then says something that reveals his own inherent lack of respect for their role as the heart of a democratic system.

    1. Actually, Democratic leaders consider themselves the servants of the superdelegates, who are the powerful, the ones with the ability to put them into office or remove them.

      Fixed it for you.;)

    2. The superdelegates exist to prevent the Democratic party from falling under the influence of someone like Trump. You have to acquire some delegates via the primary process before the superdelegates matter at all.

      Remember how much those super-delegates mattered when Hillary was on her way to winning the nomination but the super-delegates abandoned her? I didn't hear you crying then.

  11. It’s clear that Trump was the choice of Republican primary voters in 2016 out of a field of 2,000 available mostly standard-issue Republican pols, and that Republican voters supported him in the general election. Trump was widely rejected early on by Republican politicians. Even Fox News didn’t get on board with Trump initially.

    So, Saletan is correct.

    Let’s assume that Somerby is urging pundits like Saletan (“liberal” for the sake of Somerby’s argument) to ignore this truth and focus on GOP leadership, while praising the lovable but apparently mindlessly gullible voters.

    You can bet (because he’s already done it) that Somerby would attack Saletan in that case for going after “The Others”. Doesn’t he frequently attack people for going after Trump, the apparent heir to the GOP throne?

    So, having noted Somerby’s gaslighting, it is quite clear that he views the GOP electorate as emotionally stunted children whose votes are merely reaction, sometimes to mean liberals, but here apparently as automatons manipulated by their Republican overlords.

    Maybe he is right, but it doesn’t bode well for a democracy, where the individual citizens are supposed to be responsible with their votes.

    It’s also clear that Biden, among many other Democratic politicians, still talks about bipartisanship as important. It was practically a central issue of Biden’s campaign. I don’t hear that from any Republican politician. The opposite in fact.

  12. “Buyer beware” is still good advice. It doesn’t hurt to point out this truth occasionally, especially after 4 years of Donald Trump. At some point, the consumer should have enough evidence to make more informed choices.

  13. Seems strange to me that TDH's point is so hard to accept. Consent is manufactured. It's not that Republican base voters aren't responsible for uncritically accepting what they're fed by the Party. But capacity for critical thinking is pretty scare all around. It starts with those who distribute the propaganda for a living, surely. They have resources and know what they're doing. If the consequences don't hit them hard (listening DOJ?), they'll keep on ramping it up, manipulating commoners made vulnerable, to be sure, by their own human weaknesses. Glad I don't have any!

    1. And you can bet (because he’s already done it), that going after the wrongdoers will cause Somerby to attack liberals for wanting to “put the Others in jail.” So his point isn’t quite as obvious as you portray.

    2. And isn’t part of the process of deplatforming the poor slobs (unlike us, the Enlightened) pointing out the ways they are being manipulated and played for fools? Shouldn’t all of us step up and take more responsibility for our votes?

    3. Honestly, I don't think TDH has opposed criminal prosecution of lawbreakers. And the process of "deplatforming" is pretty much what Somerby thinks he's doing for - yes! - HIS OWN SIDE. Being, at best, an enlightened poor slob, I believe he is a liberal, and a good one. But not always right about everything.

    4. David, what blog have you been reading? He constantly attacks liberals for impeaching Trump and going after him for his misdeeds. Anytime a pundit (like Maddow) reported on malfeasance of Republican office holders, he accused that pundit of wanting to “put the others in jail.” Just look up that phrase in his blog history.

    5. He does seem a bit fixated on making hay from Trump's being "mentally unstable", not just run-of-the-mill villainous. Possibly his real delight is dangling fine distinctions above the tribal scrum, and popping popcorn for the comments.

      As for Maddow, I loved her on Air America and at first on TV (she does radio on TV, is how I explain what exasperates others in my house). But I find justice in the criticism that she sometimes becomes embarrassing in the face of Republican scandals, particularly involving sex. That said, I find some of her work valuable.

    6. Somerby only blames Dems, and worse his electoral politics are demonstrably, to put it charitably, ineffective for Dems. Somerby is going about the business of manufacturing ignorance, but all that happens in his comments is that he and his nonsense are daily ripped apart.

    7. TDH's point today hinges on Republican voters being naive and ignorant to an incredulous degree. At other times, when trying to make other points, TDH extols Republican voters' savvy and understanding of facts that, he argues, exposes Dems for being dumb and uncaring.

      TDH is a mess.

    8. His focus is liberal discourse. And in my experience, many Republican voters I know are extremely naive and ignorant - quite literally ignoring facts that don't satisfy them. I don't doubt they are "helped" in this by a feeling (right or wrong) of being left behind by a changing world, and dissed by liberals who think they are better than they are. They seem to double down on loyalty to an order that no longer serves them (maybe never did, but nostalgia is generally a fabrication), instead of welcoming forces that might give them practical benefit now. I don't recall TDH extolling them, or positively espousing electoral politics of any sort. Typically, he criticizes a journalist, and commenters accuse him of taking sides against Dems. He rarely addresses the merits of a topic, but when he does, his sympathies are plainly liberal. His focus is how matters are discussed, how problems are made worse by counterproductive speech. How could anyone read this blog and not see that? Why would anyone continue to read it, if he was a Trumpist trolling the libs?

    9. "He rarely addresses the merits of a topic, but when he does, his sympathies are plainly liberal."

      Like when he called all of the candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination "terrible"? I wouldn't call that liberal sympathies.

      And when he said that Chanel Miller was at fault for her own rape because she drank too much at a frat party? Not so liberal in my opinion. Or when he called Stormy Daniels a con artist who was scamming Trump? Not so liberal.

      And he has never mentioned anything about climate change, immigration, class issues and income, taxing the rich, reducing child poverty, addressing covid, or anything else that might be called liberal. No sympathies there, apparently.

      And then there is his racism. He has said that he considers the 1619 Project full of errors, he sided with the police against BLM and has brought up facts to malign unarmed black men shot by police. He thinks racism is over and that when we call someone racist it makes them vote for Trump. He dislikes woke, PC Culture, and Cancel Culture (as defined by conservatives and considers them flaws that liberals have allowed to make fools out of ourselves.

      The only actual liberal sympathy he displays is to occasionally quote an excerpt from a Pete Seeger or Bob Dylan song, but the last one he used, by Malvina Reynolds, was to malign liberals as elitists mocking the working class.

      I don't think you have read enough of this blog to know what you are talking about. And some of us comment here because Somerby lies about liberals and then calls himself liberal, while repeating conservative memes. Some of us think that a way out of this mess is to stick up for the truth, and Somerby has been telling too many lies.

    10. Which candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination wasn't "terrible"?

    11. If you intended to go easy on me, by suggesting I don't read enough posts to enable me to see all that you see, it won't work. Unfortunately, I read almost all of them. I just don't see all that you see.

      Rather than go through each point you make, which would be fun but tedious, I think my differences with your findings in each case come down to this: where I take TDH as objecting to what he calls "novelization", and pointing to facts that don't fit the narrative, and cautioning us to recognize that we know less than we think we know, you take him to be asserting the opposite, that we are completely wrong about case.

      You see, I think Somerby is actually trying to stick up for the truth, by cautioning against too easy a presumption to it. For two reasons, I think: first, because skepticism is healthy in the search for truth; second, because without it, we sound arrogant and needlessly alienate more and more fence-sitters.

      Again, if I don't know what I'm talking about (and, as it has been said, "anything is possible"), I don't have the excuse of not reading enough of this blog. Except maybe for the comments.

    12. You can stick up for the truth without repeating Right-wing nonsense themes. So can I. Not so Somerby.

    13. It seems to me that you are saying that you have been taking Somerby at face value and consider him a liberal because he calls himself one, and aren't really willing to consider whether that might not be true.

      No one can blame you for not wanting to invest any time in evaluating Somerby's essays, but I hope you will think about your own political views more carefully.

    14. Much appreciated! I'll do my best!

    15. Sorry, I was rushing. With some time to think about your comment, it sinks in that "carefully" is very good advice, indeed. It occurs to me that when challenged, I am inclined to double down on my retrograde opinions. I wonder how different I am from Somerby or Trump supporters in this regard. Perhaps I should carefully consider this. As Kierkegaard wrote somewhere, I should try to understand myself objectively, and others subjectively. Maybe my political beliefs are strongly influenced by my human feelings arising from how I fear others might regard me. I should be very careful about this. Thanks, again, for your help!

  14. I have been following politics for a very long time, from Kennedy/Nixon then Johnson/Goldwater. I have debated the others from civil rights to the Vietnam war to Watergate to Iran/Contra and then thru the extraordinary 4-year attack on President Clinton culminating in an impeachment over an unauthorized blowjob that dragged this country down to its knees, while the leering disgusting Newt Gingrich pushed along his "contract on America". And as right-wing HATE RADIO came to dominate the national dialogue dominated by the filthy racist slob Rush Limbaugh who earned an incomprehensible fortune by shoveling lies and bullshit down the skulls of millions of Americans day after day, year after year.

    Through all that I still never would have believed that right wing in this country would have embraced and supported to the point of unqualified devotion such a manifestly unfit corrupt megalomaniacal blatantly racist mendacious excuse for a human being as Donald Trump.

    Yet it happened, I saw it with my own eyes and every time Trump was exposed for the contemptible person who truly was, his popularity with the hateful ignorant right wing went up. There was no line he could cross up to and including plotting to steal an election and inciting an attack on the nation's Capitol.

    Sorry, you can't talk to these people anymore.

  15. Doris Kearns Goodwin recently noted the different reactions to the beating of Charles Sumner by Preston Brooks in 1856.

    Brooks was lionized in the South, replicas of the cane he used to beat Sumner almost to death became popular there.

    I don’t see a both sides issue here. Brooks was wrong, the South was wrong.

    I also do not see both sides in terms of the Jan 6 insurrection. Those who perpetrated it, encouraged it, organized it, and now wish to support it, despite their original condemnations, are despicable.

    You cannot abdicate a belief in right and wrong, even if that belief pisses some people off.

    And you cannot accuse people who are trying to hold these assholes accountable of engaging in mere political stunts to “put the others in jail.”

    1. mh,this mentality makes me wonder if anonymices truly do want to see Trump sidelined from a future campaign.

      This sort of endless hysterical crisis with rhetoric and Leninist buzz terms (The Big Lie) is 24/7 hard work.

      It is not in your favor for Trump to mosey on into history because pandemics and uber-villains don't grow on trees. You’ve reformed Dick Cheney and company and I don’t know how much vehement disdain the non-militant, non-anonymouse Democrat is going to be able to maintain for regular bubba who is two doors down the street.

      You have the help of the oligarchs and their manager class, but they’re smart enough to be praying that Trump rises.

      If Trump doesn’t run, don’t be surprised if the scripts are rewritten and the next new (old) big boogeyman is Big Woke.

    2. I 100% agree with Cecelia that lying, racist grifter, Donald J. Trump, who was twice impeached for treason against the United States of America, is no worse than any other standard-issue Reagan Republican.

    3. Anonymouse 8:41am, I gave a hat tip to your mentality right in my post.

    4. Congratulations for knowing your post at 3:34 was bullshit before you hit "Publish".

  16. This is just regular defeatism pretending to be realism. Republicans might win back some seats, let's call their voters rude names.

    It's true, Red state political culture was shaped to be more religious than self interested. There are people inside that culture who are truly misguided and awful. There are also those who are open to new opinions. But you don't need to hear about labor rights and tax credits if there's evolution and rock and roll and abortions to oppose, they want to drown out the conversation. So it's different types. Some people are deeper in the matrix than others.

    1. It’s always good to announce that the “others” are in the “matrix”, but certainly not yourself!

    2. Oh no it's a metaphor I'm so scared

    3. There are more of us than there are of them. That is what gets me out of bed in the morning.

  17. I guess Fox may have available transcripts but one assumes Bob doesn’t read them just like he won’t watch their shows, in his odd approach to appraising the media.

    1. I didn't see any transcripts on their website.

  18. "Or is it the regular people who don't know that they're being misled?"

    The same people who have been "mislead" since 1980. No, they know what they believe: hatred and destruction for anyone who they disagree with. It's in their genetic code and bones.

  19. "Few Einsteins found around here"

    Few Einsteins found around anywhere, including Somerby, who couldn't understand "Einstein for dummies" and therefore concluded that not even Einstein understands his own theories.

    Do liberals sit around thinking about how few Einsteins there are and whether Einstein is even an Einstein himself? Not so much, in my opinion. Most liberals value both higher education and the sciences, and they respect the accomplishments of those who engage in physics, even if they don't personally understand it themselves. Most liberals are willing to accept that if someone is beyond their own understanding, that doesn't mean that those who understand are faking it, charlatans, cons and grifters. Who believes that? Conservatives, especially when the scientist in question is Dr. Fauci, or even Neil DeGrasse Tyson or Dr. Nye the Science Guy. They prefer the pseudoscience of Dr. Oz.

    But Somerby says he is liberal, so of course we must all believe it. Even when he says things no liberal would ever say, such as that Chanel Miller deserved to be raped because she got too drunk at a frat party (girls should know better than to drink in public). How many boys die at frat parties each year? More than you would think, because there is a sense of entitlement among frats that they can demand that young men do dangerous things in order to join the group, and stupid young men will do it. Including rape young women, but Somerby blames the university president. What liberal thinks that way? No one I know, but if Somerby says he's liberal, it must be true. Why would he lie?

    1. That's a stupid way to look at it.

    2. No, that's the ONLY way to look at it, and you goddamn well know it.

    3. I don't think so, boomer retard.

  20. Somerby focuses negative attention on both Saletan and Slate as his targets du jour. Saletan writes for Slate, but has also written on Israel and wrote a book on conservatives and abortion rights. He is, of course, educated:

    "Saletan, a Jewish native of Texas,[1] graduated from Swarthmore College in 1987."

    That is not youngish, but it is enough for Somerby to return to his old theme that education makes one arrogant and elitist (notice the knock on Einstein) as Somerby, in his arrogant and elitist way, mocks the everyday problems of people described in advice columns, suggesting that their questions are made up (not today perhaps, but previously).

    Don't you think there is something not quite right about knocking elitism from an elitist position, like the one Somerby adopts by excessively quoting philosophers and Greeks while professing that they are writing bunk? This is the equivalent of Al Gore rolling up the sleeves of his white dress shirt and claiming we're all working men together.

    1. Saletans opinions on other topics don't prove he is investigating this vein of political marketing more thoroughly, unless you have other examples. I checked his top result for abortion, his article, it's basic medical reporting, nothing about how it has become politicized. Israel was similarly a dissection of a single incident and offered nothing insightful about propaganda, except that he sided with the powerful military in his conclusion. Hmm. Is he really that insightful?

    2. He is the author of the book "Bearing Right: How the Conservatives Won the Abortion War."

    3. I didn't see anyone call Saletan "insightful," just not as braindead as Somerby pretends that Slate is. That seems unfair to Saletan, who is a serious journalist, not the author of an advice column, as Somerby implies. This kind of potshot at a journalist seems unfair, not to mention petty.

  21. Quoting an Amazon review of "Bearing Right."

    "While Saletan states that the book "suggests new ways to think not just about abortion but also about politics, dialogue, and the communication of ideas" (p.1), Bearing Right merely provides ways of thinking about the debate, rather than offering concrete solutions. Pro-choice readers will undoubtedly put the book down frustrated. While critique and analysis are important, so is vision, and Saletan provides none."

    I'll vote lib over a fascist but as a movement it's so sucky. Where's the democracy?

    1. Anyone can write an Amazon review. Saletan is a journalist not an activist. An Amazon reviewer doesn't understand that -- so what? And on this basis you condemn all liberals?

      Why should anyone believe anything you say about who you would vote for, when you show no support for liberals in your own statements? Because Saltetan disappointed one of his readers? Get real!

    2. Looks like somebody is scared I might be an activist instead of a liberal

    3. Someone can be an activist and a liberal without any conflict, but trying to be an activist disqualifies one from being a journalist, because the job of an activist is different than that of a journalist. More objectivity is required of journalists. That's why the Amazon complaint that was posted was specious.

      You can be whatever you want -- no one expects you to be objective as an internet troll.

    4. You can be a journalist and an activist. There's no law. That's just what someone told you once.

    5. I don't understand the liberal's satisfaction at knowing that problems exist but refusing to tell anyone they can do something about it. You can't hide behind "he's a journalist" forever. At some point someone has to make a plan. Fuck!

    6. You start, since you seem to know what to do.

      This is like calling for your local public librarian to lead a protest, or your car repair guy, or your child's teacher. Somerby keeps waiting for the philosophers to lead us out of the gloom. If you are seriously interested in doing something, Daily Kos has a handbook for getting started in grassroots politics. Telling others to get off their asses isn't really activism. It makes you sound kind of ignorant about what people do in their day jobs.

    7. My biggest goal is voting rights. I have reached out to a group in my city about putting it on the ballot next year. I'm planning to help them get 85,000 signatures.

      The liberal solution to my problem would be to sit on my ass and donate to Michelle Obama. Let's go Washington politicians, keep trying!

      You can see my frustration with the state of liberal politics with better context if you have read someone like Thomas Frank, who points out that it's so easy to sit back and swallow whatever religion they're selling you instead of looking out for yourself. You know that story from red states already.

    8. My solution, as a liberal, has been to sit at a folding table in front of Costco and register voters as they come by. I have done this via the Democratic Club in the city where I live, although many other organizations organize such efforts too. You could go door to door in your neighborhood too.

      When I was still teaching college, I put the voter registration deadline on my calendar so I could remind my classes that they needed to register if they planned to vote. Then I told them how to do that if they were living on campus or had just moved here for school. I did not tell them what party to register for or who to vote for -- that would be against state law. But students are more likely to vote if they are helped to know how to do it, where polling places are, how to sign up. I also reminded them at election time.

      Your implication that liberals just sit around and let Michelle do all the work is ridiculous. Liberals do the GOTV work. I don't see how you think it will help anything to malign liberals here.

    9. I'm not going to say you're doing anything wrong. But punching a button on a screen every few years is barely democracy. Without voting rights, we'll never actually be a democracy.

  22. What Republican politicians do is not just throw out lies, they pander to the racism and religious tribalism of voters. This gets the loyalty of lower-income whites and causes them to accede to the Republican economic policies, which are to the detriment of those lower-income people. When the tribalism is sufficiently aroused, they will believe even the most bald-faced lies. So who are the villains here, the politicians or their racist subjects? You can choose whichever you want, but Somerby's bugbear the liberal media is not a major cause of what the right has become.


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