GOBLINS: The goblins have been very active!


Here's what the goblins have said: The ghosts and goblins were out in force last night. 

That said, for several days, they had been active on Twitter. 

By Sunday afternoon, the Washington Post was reporting what the goblins had been saying. As reported by Isaac Stanley-Becker, here's part of what the goblins have said about the apparent / alleged / reported attack on Paul Pelosi:

STANLEY-BECKER (10/30/22): [Elon] Musk, who calls himself “Chief Twit,” also appeared unconvinced by the official story forming in the days after the attack. In response to a tweet from Hillary Clinton condemning the attack and claiming it resulted from “hate and deranged conspiracy theories” spread by Republican politicians, he pointed instead to a story in the Santa Monica Observer claiming without evidence that Paul Pelosi was drunk at the time of the assault and “in a dispute with a male prostitute.” Musk, who later deleted the tweet, did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The website of the Santa Monica Observer, described by fact-checkers as a low-credibility source favoring the extreme right, was offline Sunday morning. But an archived version of the story promised to explain “what really happened early Friday morning in San Francisco.”

It unspooled a lurid tale about nudists and a tryst gone terribly wrong. It also speculated about Pelosi’s medical condition and the security at the home he shares with the House speaker in San Francisco’s tony Pacific Heights neighborhood...

The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times has called the site “notorious for publishing false news,” highlighting its fantastical claim, in 2016, that [Hillary] Clinton had died and been replaced by a body double.

Similarly deluded claims filled social media over the weekend in response to the attack on Pelosi.

As of Sunday afternoon, the lengthy report by Stanley-Becker was providing important information about what was being said.

We'll guess that very few people saw the report. (We ourselves did not.) 

You see, the online Post is now cluttered with braindead pseudo-reports from such key departments as ADVICE, WELL + BEING, LIFESTYLE and HELP DESK. To appearances, the inanity is general over the online Post as owner Jeff Bezos seeks profits. 

Something else is true, of course:

For better or worse, news orgs are inclined to avoid reporting about apparent disinformation. For better or worse, and not without reason, they're inclined to fear that such reporting will only spread false, unfounded or crazy claims even further.

Those journalistic scruples make a definite type of sense. They also help create a system in which crazy claims make their way around the world before official reports can get their pants on—also, before the bulk of the population knows what else is being said.

We'll note an important point about Stanley-Becker's report. (In our view, this brings a variant of Arnold's "eternal note of sadness" in.) 

The important point is this:

In the end, Stanley-Becker can't actually prove that the "lurid tale" being shopped on the web is "deluded." Indeed, he can't even prove that it's wrong!

In the end, proof comes close to being impossible. In the end, it all depends on who you choose to believe.

On this morning's Morning Joe, Mika and her guests were beginning to acknowledge the existence of this widespread lurid tale. They sought to undermine the claims by referring to the official FBI report about the attack on Pelosi.

That said, alas! For many Americans, the FBI has long since been abandoned as a reliable source of information about alleged attacks. 

In recent years, the organization has been fashioned as part of the "Deep State." For many Americans, the fact that the FBI says that Paul Pelosi was attacked now means that he surely wasn't.

Sad but true! In the end, this is the way information works:

We weren't there to see what happened that night. You're weren't present on the evening in question either.

For that reason, we're forced to rely on official reports to let us form our idea of what happened. But in a form of silent secession, many Americans—we have no idea how many—have long since stopped placing their trust in "official reports."

Those official reports come from the Deep State. Those reports are laughed at, disregarded.

Instead, many Americans get their ideas from people like Tucker Carlson. Carlson was playing the Disbelief Card as he opened his program last night. 

Carlson was actively sowing doubt, perhaps in a rather selective fashion. For transcript and tape, just click here

Last evening, the insinuations were general over Tucker Carlson Tonight. In the end, it always comes down to a matter of trust as to whose account of some event a citizen will assume to be accurate.

We're speaking here of a silent secession—of a cleaving of a very large nation in two. Stanley-Becker's report describes the way that process has worked in the current circumstance, but it's going to be extremely hard to find our way back from this place.

The goblins have been general over Twitter in recent days. As always, responses from our blue tribe's tribunes haven't been especially timely, potent, intelligent, insightful, helpful or wise.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but the goblins have been out in force. In reply, our tribe has offered a tiny, tinny children's crusade, run by media personalities who just aren't especially impressive.

This sort of thing has been going on ever since Jerry Falwell toured the country with the Clinton Chronicles tape in the 1990s. Our self-impressed tribe slept through that era, and our corporate tribal leadership is still rather hapless today.

We've shown you what is being said. How strong is our own tribe's human discernment as we respond to this news?

This afternoon: When Mika threw to George [Conway]. Also, what Bret Stephens said


  1. Agree that no claims by a Right-winger should be reported, until after they've been verified.


  2. "Those official reports come from the Deep State. Those reports are laughed at, disregarded."


    ...however, may we suggest, dear Bob, that aside from coming from the "deep state", the official dembot version makes little sense. Logically, dear Bob. It's hard to imagine a homeless junkie breaking into the house of one of the highest officials in the country, just like that. And therefore, dear Bob, the official version is assumed to be a cover-up.

    ...not by good decent persons, of course; by a normal person, y'know .

    1. A homeless junkie who is not a Republican Senate nominee?
      The whole story is ridiculous on its face.
      What next? That there is a Republican voter who isn't a bigot?

    2. It was a date. He brought the hammer, because he's a Republican and refuses to have consensual sex as a virtue-signal.

    3. can you believe it? this nut job "Mao" calls everyone he disagrees with a "Dembot," implying that they just blindly accept whatever the party line is. and yet, he buys into every ludicrous conspiracy theory his side dishes out! the lack of self-awareness is just mind boggling. so, Pelosi's assailant posts all of this hateful, right-wing, conspiratorial garbage leading up to the attack. there's never been any indication before this that Paul Pelosi is gay. there are no sources corroborating that they were seen "out" together. and think of all the people who would have to go along with the conspiracy theory: the police who showed up first, the FBI, the journalists. it's so stupid, it hurts. just one completely biased, unreliable, propagandistic right-wing rag quickly publishes a baseless alternative story, and idiots like "Mao" rush to accept THAT over the much more plausible story coming from police, mainstream news orgs, etc. we truly live in an Idiocracy.

    4. and the assailant himself is apparently in on the conspiracy: Conspiracy Theories About Pelosi Attacker Debunked by Pelosi Attacker

      David DePape told police that he planned to take the House speaker hostage and break her kneecaps if she 'lied' to him https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/paul-pelosi-conspiracy-theories-debunked-david-depape-1234621664/

    5. Mental illness is especially rampant in California. The intruder was also an illegal alien.

    6. This is untrue. California is right in the middle in both prevalence of mental illness and access to care. It is unknown whether the attacker (not intruder) was in the US legally after moving here at age 20 from Canada.


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    1. I remember when the FBI was thought to be a subsidiary of the Dick Cheney Administration and a force for punishing the enemies of Republican presidents.

      Isn’t there an accepted claim by a highly regarded reporter that an FBI chief spilled his guts to the him while the chief was on his death bed?

      There’s been a complete sea change, but now it’s the FBI and beltway politicians who are great and good. Regular people, not so much.

      You can’t trust them.

      Observe the reasoning that if you have questions about what happened, you automatically believe the gay lover theory.

      Observe the reasoning that in a mere week, we must wring our hands over anyone who still might who have the audacity to be unconvinced by the media narrative.

      Observe the reasoning that we should be sweating it because people think as they wish because they are cautious, partisan, distrustful, skeptical, truth-seeking, dishonest, or crazy.

      Who can rid us of troublesome people? Who can make them heel?

    2. You trusted Comey.

    3. I had never heard of Comey till Mr. Somerby introduced “Comey the God”.

      At that point, all the anonymices were singing his praises.

    4. DePape is what the GOP gets for running anyone who isn't a bigot, or isn't perfectly fine with bigotry, out of the party two decades ago.

    5. Cecelia, most political junkies know the name of the head of the FBI. It is currently Christopher Wray, but in 2016, it was James Comey. Trump had him fired for refusing to pledge his loyalty to him.

      Somerby had the idea that liberals were making a God out of Comey, but that is Somerby's invention.

      After Comey torpedoed Hillary's campaign by reopening the investigation of Huma Abedin's husband's laptop (which turned out to have nothing on it), right before the election, making a public statement to that effect that was a breach of FBI policy not to interfere in elections, the right wing made Comey a God. Did Somerby write anything then about it? Of course not. Somerby still blanes Hillary for losing her own election by being a poor campaigner.

      I find it very suspicious that you, being a Republican troll, wouldn't have known the talking points of that day on the right. That makes me think you are perhaps a young person typing comments from your parents' basement. No one else would be so clueless about everything.

    6. Anonymouse1:01pm, that’s total revisionism.

      Bob criticized the hell out of Comey, and anonymices exuberantly defended him because anonymices ALWAYS counter Somerby.

      No credit was given to Bob, after Comey reopened Clinton’s investigation.

      There has never been an instance when an anonymouse has said “Ya got that one right for once, Bob. Good point!”

      I’ve never seen it. Not once.

      That says everything that needs to be said as to who is a troll.

    7. People here didn’t defend Comey in comments. We asked who said Comey was a god.

    8. An intelligent person would read the criticisms, not just defend Somerby in a knee-jerk manner. You are doing yourself what you accuse others of.

    9. Somerby gets so much wrong. Why would someone say “good one” when it wasn’t?

  4. "We'll guess that very few people saw the report. (We ourselves did not.)"

    This isn't how the right wing echo chamber works. When a report appears at a low traffic site that they want to spread around, it is circulated via social media throughout a chain of repetition until it has traveled far wider than the original publication.

  5. "This sort of thing has been going on ever since Jerry Falwell toured the country with the Clinton Chronicles tape in the 1990s."

    Somerby always tends to date these phenomena from some landmark with significance for him, but the distrust of so-called deep state goes back to J Edgar Hoover. People with fringe beliefs have always inhabited the fringes of our political system. The main difference now is that the Republicans cynically encouraged that distrust for political gain. Trump vilified the so-called deep state and has been using the FBI as his personal scapegoat. The mainstreaming of extremist views as official Republican party line has made these fringe-dwellers much more dangerous. They have been welcomed into the party structure, included in mainstream rallies, conferences (CPAC) and party activities, given a legitimacy they never had in the past, and now they have brought their violence to the table, egged on by Republican leadership.

    Republicans own this situation. It is time for Somerby and the media to acknowledge it so that the process of sorting out fact from fiction can take place on the right. That isn't going to happen with the right continuing to back alternative reality, as it keeps doing.

    Somerby is not helping. He is part of the problem, not the solution and he doesn't know what he is talking about when he blames the left (i.e., blames the victim) instead of calling out the right for its actions. And no, it didn't start with Jerry Falwell.

  6. "the inanity is general over the online Post as owner Jeff Bezos seeks profits." Bob is making an assumption that it's Bezos who is seeking profits from the WaPo. But unless he can provide actual evidence of this, it should be taken with a grain of salt. Bezos has said that he bought the Post to preserve its valuable contribution to the country, saying something to the effect that saving a national treasure like the Post is something he would look back on his death bed with pride. He also said he had no intention of interfering with how the Post is run. So it could be the top executives who actually run the Post who are the ones seeking profits. Of course Bezos could have been lying. But is there any actual evidence of this? I've not seen any. Bob is biased against the rich. But being rich is neither good or bad in and of itself. There are rich people who do good with their riches and some rich people are sociopaths like Trump.

    1. If Somerby cannot find his way to the stories he wants to read, that doesn't mean the same is true for other people. There is a contents at the top of the page with links to major sections. Because Somerby cannot find something, doesn't mean the Post is hiding it from him (or anyone else). Why would the paper even publish a story if it didn't want people to read it?

      Somerby is sounding a bit paranoid with this ongoing theme about the way the Post organizes its content. It isn't aimed at Somerby personally, and it doesn't have a nefarious purpose. I think it is most likely that the majority of people reading the Post do not go straight for the political news but enjoy the other topics presented, which are perhaps much more relevant to their own day-to-day lives, if not Somerby's. But this is not earthshaking and it didn't cause anyone to distrust the official sources, as Somerby suggests today. That is idiotic, in my opinion.

    2. There has been a noticeable shift in the prioritization of soft vs. hard news at the online Post. This comes at a time when the Post's executives are making a deliberate effort to address a decline in subscriptions. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/30/business/media/washington-post-jeff-bezos-revenue.html

      So Somerby is probably correct that the shift is part of this effort. However, the way he's choosing to frame this gives support to a right-wing, pro-Trump narrative about boogeyman Bezos having Murdoch-like influence over the Post's content. There is no evidence for this, and it helps Trump and his enablers undermine reliable, mainstream sources of information. The difference between Bezos and Murdoch is night and day. Bezos, if anything, has a libertarian political bias, not liberal. And there's no evidence that he tries to impose this bias on employees at the WaPo. Also, the shift in prioritization at the online Post isn't about political bias, anyway. It's about increasing subscriptions. And it's not even known whether Bezos has anything to do with it. It could just be the executives who actually run the company who are responsible.

  7. Reasonable people do not need to "trust" official sources. They simply need to use facts and their common sense to see what happened. Somerby seems to have taken leave of his own common sense, when he asks about security systems and implies that has any relevance whatsoever to what happened to Pelosi. His inability to tell a red herring from substance has been noticeable lately, when he fixates on meaningless details in order to avoid seeing the bigger picture. That is true again here and my main question is whether it represents cognitive deficits on Somerby's part or whether it is motivated. I think the latter, because Somerby argues other conservative talking points too, which don't always involve misdirection.

    And today, Somerby is telling us that the official sources are not trustworthy, by wondering why so many people no longer believe them, after waging a years long campaign to undermine press credibility here at his own blog.

    1. Remember when the safety patrol banned the New York Post for publishing factual information about Hunter's laptop when facts and common sense told everyone including them that the laptop was authentic and not "Russian disinformation" and then reported that intelligence experts had signed off on a statement saying the same? All of this was done to promote the candidacy of the corrupt disaster Joe Biden.

      No one should trust a word published or broadcast by official sources or press sources.

    2. Questioning the media and officialdom is not what instills distrust in these institutions.

      The demand for an unquestioning stance in the face of conflicting and reports and tenuous reasoning is what undermines trust.

    3. "Questioning the media and officialdom is not what instills distrust in these institutions."

      Of course it is.

      And we do not have anyone demanding an unquestioning stance. We have Somerby saying that nothing can be known for sure, so believe nothing, which is nihilism.

      nihilism definition: "extreme skepticism maintaining that nothing in the world has a real existence"

      Somerby is not demanding an unquestioning stance, and neither am I. I am suggesting that reality can be known from evidence whereas Soemrby is arguing that nothing can be known for sure, thus believe nothing. That, coupled with his relentless attacks on the mainstream media, leaves people with no way of testing knowledge. And it is both false and destructive to our society, because it opens the door to belief in conspiracy theories and oddness, because anything is possible -- Somerby said so.

      I cannot help it if you do not understand what I have been saying. Your putting words in my mouth is unhelpful. Trying reading more and commenting less when you don't get what is happening.

    4. The problem with Hunter Biden's laptop was the lack of a chain of control of the evidence. Anyone could have placed anything on the laptop at any point after it left Biden's hands, and obviously did, given reports that the contents had been tampered with. That's more likely why the press didn't want to report on it. They couldn't be sure of the facts.

      There is a lot of disinformation floating around. It is the job of the mainstream media to filter and figure out what is reliable among the many unreliable sources they come into contact with. They do a far better job of that than the politically motivated sites, whether they label themselves newspapers or not. The various fact-checking sites take that a step further.

      It is untrue that everything should be believed because nothing can be believed. When nothing can be believed, you believe nothing but try to find the least unreliable info you can. Somerby doesn't do that and he doesn't advocate it. Instead he advocates that liberals watch Tucker.

      Today Somerby seems to be trying to cast doubt on Paul Pelosi. Just like all the other conservatives are doing in lockstep with each other. Even Cecelia.

    5. The problem with Hunter's laptop was that it implicated and embarrassed his corrupt father and Democrats and the media apparatus closed ranks to make sure citizens could not become privy to the information thereon. Neither group is trustworthy and our country's future depends on making sure everyone knows it.

    6. @1:19, why invoke a conspiracy theory when a simpler explanation is more plausible? The media hasn't closed ranks around Biden on anything else. Why this particular story?

      For one thing, Biden's son is not runnng for office and not involved with Joe Biden politically, so there is a problem with relevance of the story. Not every person having drug problems makes it into the news, because these are personal problems. Second, at the time they weren't sure the laptop even belonged to Biden's son. Jumping to the conclusion that it was his, on the say so of right-wing operatives, is not actually news but rather a hit job and newspapers don't want to be co-opted into obvious political smears. Third, the chain of evidence was not established and there was no proof the content of the laptop hadn't been altered, even if the laptop did belong to Hunter. Fourth, the circumstances seemed implausible -- who gives a laptop to a repairman and then forgets to retrieve it? Fifth, even if everything on the laptop was true, how are the problems of a president's son news, beyond importance to Hunter and his family?

      The conspiracy theories and plots proposed by the right are not confirmed by Hunter's laptop. There was nothing implicating Joe Biden in any corruption and thus nothing embarrassing -- just sad -- about Hunter's problems. The idea that any of this would embarrass Joe Biden is a right-wing pipe dream.

      The press realized all of this and that is why they didn't print any stories about it. That doesn't make them untrustworthy. It ensures that the press is fair, objective, and not working as the arm of any political operation.

    7. 2:23

      Glad to see that you do not think the corporate media is conservative or biased towards conservatives.

  8. The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

    1. Robert Frost said that, not Somerby, although you'd never know it because Somerby has decided he no longer has to credit famous poets for their famous lines. Frost is dead, so Somerby may not get sued for his misuse of Frost's work, but that doesn't make it right.