HOW TO TEACH IT: Lawrence's statement was baldly inaccurate!


Morning Joe moves on: Ambition can be a driving task master. 

That thought came to mind as we read the front-page report in yesterday's New York Times about the political career of former president Jimmy Carter, a person who is generally understood to be both good and decent.

Manifestly, Carter's a good and decent person, but he was also ambitious. He first sought office in 1962, when this local condition prevailed:

KING AND FAUSSET (3/1/23): [T]he repressive environment of the mid-20th century meant that he had no Black voters to woo when he started his first foray into electoral politics with a 1962 bid for a South Georgia State Senate seat. Due to racist restrictions, hardly any Black people were registered to vote in his district at the time.

How many black people were registered to vote in the Georgia of that era? The Times report doesn't specifically say.

That said, the report describes the way Carter campaigned for office at that time, up to and including his first campaign for governor in 1970. Here are a pair of excerpts, with the key word "ambition" in play:

KING AND FAUSSET: [E]nduring Black support for Mr. Carter illuminates two intertwined and epochal American stories, each of them powered by themes of pragmatism and redemption. One is the story of a white Georgia politician who began his quest for power in the Jim Crow South—a man who, as late as 1970, declared his respect for the arch-segregationist George Wallace in an effort to attract white votes, but whose personal convictions and political ambitions later pushed him to try to change the racist environment in which he had been raised. 


After winning his 1962 State Senate race, Mr. Carter, a man of searing ambition, set his sights on the governor’s mansion but was defeated in 1966. He ran again and won in 1970, with a campaign full of unsubtle dog whistles to aggrieved white voters that included promises to restore “law and order” to their communities and, according to [biographer Jonathan] Alter, the dissemination of a “fact sheet” that reminded white voters that Mr. Carter’s Democratic opponent, former Gov. Carl Sanders, had attended Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral.

Assuming the accuracy of those accounts, this is all part of our American history—American history from a fairly recent era. That said, how should such history be taught in the public schools? 

How should it be taught to third graders? Also, how should such history be understood by contemporary American adults?

We hope to pursue such questions in our reports next week. For today, with a few days of travel approaching, we want to focus on something Lawrence O'Donnell has said.

He said it on last evening's Last Word. At the start of his program's second major segment, he offered this baldly inaccurate statement:

O'DONNELL (3/1/23): Malcolm Turnbull, the former prime minister of Rupert Murdoch's home country of Australia, tweeted today:

"Rupert Murdoch has done more damage to American democracy than any other person alive today."

Rupert Murdoch has had many co-conspirators in his attack on American democracy, including the most hysterical liar he has ever employed in his Fox primetime lineup, Tucker Carlson, who, like Rupert Murdoch, has been exposed in legal filings by the Dominion Voting Corporation as privately not believing any of Donald Trump's lies about the election while he and Rupert Murdoch did everything they could to publicly support and advance those lies.

Lawrence knows a lot of things about the workings of the federal government. Along the way, he has done a fair amount of good work. 

Also, he has created a brilliant campaign to help the school children of Malawi. Admittedly, he has done this while paying little or no attention to the interests and needs of lower-income schoolkids here in the U.S.

That said, last night's statement about Tucker Carlson was just baldly inaccurate. Did Tucker Carlson "do everything he could to publicly support and advance" the crazy claims at issue in the Dominion legal filings?

As you can see in last Saturday's report, that statement is just wildly inaccurate. It comes to us, live and direct, from the land of The Lazy and Scripted.

In fairness, it's entirely possible that Lawrence didn't and doesn't know that his statement was baldly inaccurate. Many of our cable stars are frequently just a bit fuzzy concerning the world's actual facts, as opposed to preferred Storyline.

That said, the statement was wildly inaccurate. That said, the pleasure it gave to blue viewers may have appealed to Lawrence's ambitions.

Yesterday morning, we offered you a quick overview of Carlson's disordered presentation from this past Monday night. It's hard to know what words to use for such manifest journalistic disorder. (Lawrence has long seemed to know only two such words. We refer to "liar" and "lies.") 

At any rate, such lunacy is offered on Fox, night after night, to millions of unsuspecting viewers, and newspapers like the New York Times rarely take note of this fact.

Last night, Lawrence entered the fray with a baldly inaccurate statement. In fairness, it was almost surely "close enough for journalistic work"—and in fairness, it's quite possible that he had no idea that his statement was baldly inaccurate.

So it goes as our tribe's TV stars tells us the stories we like. Quite often, they tell us these stories shorn of all context and shorn of all nuance, and in ways which may simply be wrong.

It's easier to do their jobs that way! Presumably, it helps them produce better ratings, their version of stock prices / votes.

In our view, this isn't an especially helpful way for our blue tribe to proceed. In large part, it stems from mammoth sloth. But this is the business our big stars have chosen, along with the corporate players who lurk behind the scenes.

To Lawrence's credit, he was at least discussing the legal filings which were made public within the past two weeks. At Morning Joe, a different approach has come to an end with the gang's return to form on this morning's broadcast.

As the program opened today, Joe and Mika—but mainly Joe—were back in the saddle again. 

Joe went on and on and on about former president Donald J. Trump, concerning whom he loves to rant. Also though, it became clear that the program has escaped the gravity of Monday afternoon's legal filing concerning the testimony of that same Rupert Murdoch—a topic this normally brash show had gone to heroic lengths to avoid in its previous two broadcasts.

It had never occurred to us until this very week! It had never occurred to us that Scarborough loves to rant about Trump, but may be strongly inclined to give Fox News wide berth. As the Morning Joe gang pursues its ambitions, Fox may be more potent than Trump!

As we've noted in the past, it's much easier to notice the things a performer says than to notice the things he doesn't. That said:

"I never knew until this day that it was Barzini all along." 

That's what Don Corleone once famously said at an earlier point in our history. For ourselves, we never realized, until this very week, that the Morning Joe team seems to have made a commitment to leave Fox News alone, even as it repeats its daily rants about Trump.

"I woke from my dream / My idols were clay?" 

So says an unnamed person within the American song book.

The idols we're sold by our tribe's news organs may not always be playing it straight! Next week, we may start with Maureend Dowd's column from this past Sunday as we consider some of the ways this practice plays out in our world, even in our tribe's increasing focus on our brutal American history.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but millions of people saw Carlson's disordered performance on Monday night. For the most part, blue tribe America sleeps as this disordered figure engages in this bizarre and disordered behavior.

We'll be tossed a set of bones; at times, those bones will be absurdly inaccurate. It's easier for our tribe's stars to play it that way, but where does the country end up?

In conclusion:

According to that Times report, Jimmy Carter's political ambitions eventually "pushed him" to change his approach with respect to race. We would also assume that his new approach brought his public conduct more in line with his private beliefs.

How should we present this American history to children in the public schools? To third graders, let's say. Or how about to middle school students? Or all they all the same?

Also, how should we American adults view the unfolding of this history—in columns like the one Dowd wrote, or in Charles Blow's new column?

Our history's a very long and winding and brutal road. How should we adults approach it?


  1. Honestly, and without fear of hurting the fee-fees of Right-wing snowflakes.


  2. tl;dr
    "how should such history be taught in the public schools?"

    Easy question, simple answer, dear Bob: by keeping liberals at least 300 ft away from public schools. All there is to it.'re welcome...

  3. Bob doesn’t go into why O”Donnell’s
    comment about Tokyo Tucker because,
    while a matter of opinion. It’s hardly
    outrageous or, for that matter, false.
    He goes downhill from there,
    just babbling.

  4. Somerby uses some very odd language as he talks about Jimmy Carter. First he says:

    "Jimmy Carter, a person who is generally understood to be both good and decent."

    Why insert the phrase "generally understood to be"? Can Somerby not judge for himself whether Carter has been good and decent, based on his lifetime of work?

    Somerby says: "Manifestly, Carter's a good and decent person, but he was also ambitious."

    Does being ambitious make someone less than good and decent? Apparently it does in Somerby's eyes. Then he quotes King and Fausset (Feb 23, 2023, NY Times) saying that Carter was ambitious and engaged in a kind of racial politics with dogwhistles to white voters (because there were supposedly no black voters for him to appeal to).

    Somerby accepts their analysis at face value, then continues:

    "Assuming the accuracy of those accounts, this is all part of our American history—American history from a fairly recent era. That said, how should such history be taught in the public schools?"

    What "history" is being displayed by King and Fausset, who are reporters not historians, expressing an opinion, not historical fact -- other than that Carter ran twice for Governor? Even Alter, who is quoted by King and Fausset about the racial aspects of Carter's campaign, is described as a political journalist who has written a biography, not as a historian. Somerby's failure to understand the difference between the two is telling. In general, history starts 50 years AFTER an event and does not include the political motives of journalists of any stripe. It would be up to historians to weigh and balance whether Carter was a typical white politician of his time and place, or whether he was more racially liberal for his times. Historians place the past into its own context -- they do not judge past acts by the standard of the present time, as King and Fausset do.

    Here is a better paragraph about Carter's racial attitudes, one that avoids the implications of King & Fausset's accusation of race-baiting inspired by ambition, which Somerby highlights:

    "Although Carter’s presidency constitutes the heart of the book, Alter spends 300 pages on his pre-presidential years, tracing the formation of Carter’s character and politics. He illuminates the racial climate of Carter’s boyhood in the Jim Crow South of the 1930s — hanging out with friends who were Black while still imbibing the region’s pervasive racism. His stern, conservative father, Earl, “prided himself on treating Black people with what he, in blinkered fashion, considered respect,” Alter writes, while still very much a creature of the white rural South. In contrast, Jimmy’s mother, Lillian, a nurse, was liberal and tolerant, treating Jimmy’s Black friends as equals — although as Alter shows, she too harbored her prejudices. (As late as 1977, she opposed interracial marriage.) When Joe Louis fought Max Schmeling, Earl cheered for the German, Lillian for the Brown Bomber.

    These mixed messages about racial difference rippled unevenly through Carter’s early career. At the Naval Academy, cadets mocked the earnest, toothy lad for sticking up for Wesley Brown, their one Black classmate; later, Carter faced down the local White Citizens’ Council in his hometown of Plains, Ga. But he pretty much sat out the civil rights movement, and managed never to meet his contemporary and fellow Georgian, Martin Luther King Jr. Worse, in 1970 Carter ran what Alter calls a “code word campaign” for governor, courting admirers of Alabama’s George Wallace — only to pivot after winning and announce at his inauguration that “the time for racial discrimination is over.” The ensuing encomiums, as much as anything, draped Carter in the credibility he needed to become a presidential contender in 1976."

    1. A historian would evaluate Alter's motives, as well as those of King and Fausset, before blindly copying these accusations into their own work. Another difference between journalists and historians is that Alter needed something spicy to sell his book, which was the source of income for him. Historians are employed by universities which pay their salaries, protected by tenure which keeps their job safe no matter what they write, bland or controversial. They don't need manufactured controversy to sell books and their audience is other historians, not the general public. Historians are searching for truth and trying to get things right, not searching for anecdotes that will tell the public something scandalous to sell books.

      Does Alter even know whether Carter himself wrote those dogwhistles or whether they came from his campaign managers? Does Somerby know whether Carter micro-managed his campaign to the point of approving every line of his campaign materials?

      Notice that Somerby omitted the part of the review that tended to soften and mitigate Carter's racial attitudes. Or perhaps it was King and Fausset who did that. A historian would go to original sources and not take a newspaper account as truth about Carter, proof of anything except what two reporters wrote in a paper, a pleasing narrative for right wing bigots about Carter's imperfections. Imagine the guy in his KKK hood, rope in hand, saying to himself, "Carter was a bigot in his heart so he's no better than I am." This is Somerby's use of the hit piece by King and Fosset, assigned to balance Carter's praise in order to please their right-wing readers.

      What is Somerby's motive today? A historian would ask that question. A journalist asks instead, what are my own motives? Which master am I serving?

    2. Anonymouse 10:42am, is our blantant racism and our cultural intersectionality represented only by KKK members who be comforted by accusations of racial political plays, the GOP, and authors who treat a former Democratic president less than reverently?

      Can we question the motives of the “expert” products of our Ivory Tower institutions too?

    3. Cecelia, the answer to your questions is no.

    4. To be fair to Cecelia, those aren’t “traditional” coherent questions, those are the nonsensical rantings of a loon - one assumes Cecelia is offering an oblique celebration of the Dark Side of the Moon 50th.

    5. Anonymouse 7:11pm, as opposed to offering human sacrifices to the gods/experts.

  5. Somerby has tried to introduce controversy into the life of a man who is regarded and good and decent by nearly everyone. Historians will debate why Carter has been considered such a failure as president despite the obvious accomplishments of his term in office. They will not be so loathe to call him unequivocally good and decent, as Somerby is today, to obviously bolster his own argument that Carter's decency is somehow suspect due to historical controversy. There may be controversy over whether Reagan's campaign negotiated with the Iranians to hold back the release of their American prisoners until after the election, damaging Carter's reelection prospects. There is no controversy over whether Carter has been a good and decent person, and shame on Somerby for manufacturing one, while Carter remains in hospice and many are mourning his passing.

    Couldn't Somerby have found a better choice of political controversy than this one -- or is he lacking all empathy and concern for Carter and those who love him? Somerby is not being a good decent person today, and that leaves me with little faith in his ability to judge those traits in others.

  6. Bob just wants to point out that nobody’s record is perfect. And if everybody was guilty in the South, then nobody was guilty in the Sourh.
    There is a lot about Jimmy Carter that is
    now ignored in the Press.
    Mostly, the vindictive nature of
    the way the Press slaughtered him in
    His own time.

  7. "Also, how should we American adults view the unfolding of this history—in columns like the one Dowd wrote, or in Charles Blow's new column?"

    Those are opinion writers. They are not describing unfolding history as reporters, whose focus is on facts. They are analyzing and opining on current events (sometimes) or other things.

    A historian would only be concerned with Blow or Dowd if he or she were examining opinion about an event. The opinions would be attributed to the authors, not the public. They might be described as possibly influencing public opinion, but they would never be a source of info about any historical events themselves, no matter what they said about them.

    When you take a college-level history class, they don't only teach you about the history of a time period or region, but they teach you to evaluate the sources of information and the historical controversies, support for competing views, and how historians evaluate facts and details to form an overview of what happened (Somerby might call this a narrative). Historians place isolated events into a larger historical context, an ongoing timeline, and a national and world-wide perspective. (I won't say global because that has become code for Jewish among conspiracy theorists.)

    Somerby seems to be working very hard to suggest that history is a matter of competing ideologies and teaching of history involves propagandizing children or older students into a preferred interpretation. History has been misused toward such aims, as occurred when the South tried to rewrite history to eliminate its own culpability. But the process of studying history eventually corrected those abuses. That's why it is important that those who care about truth, including knowledge of our American history, must protect the institutions that pursue knowledge from attack by demagogues such as DeSantis. When historians are free to engage in free inquiry, we have the best chance of knowing what really happened, and passing that knowledge along to interested students and the general public. The kind of interference Somerby seems to urge (by asking how history should be taught, with the implication that our answer should be, our way) is an obstacle to the truth and must be resisted, no matter how good and decent Somerby insists someone is or is not. We need to let the process of discovery proceed unimpeded by political exigencies, including Somerby's.

  8. DeSantis was a history major at Yale. He should know better than to do what he has been doing to education in his state. Talk about ambition affecting one's better nature!

    If Carter actually did any of what he is accused of doing, for political motives, it would be ludicrous to call him an ambitious man in the same sense as Trump or DeSantis, who sacrifice every good decent impulse to their presidential ambitions. Or maybe Carter was just as ambigious but not nearly as venal.

    No, two wrongs do not make a right, but is Carter really that bad, that two good decent people (Somerby will say) had to write a column about his petty racism while he is on his deathbed? I find this deplorable.

    1. Very well said!
      David in Cal

    2. Now, Anonymouse 11:04am, is your concern about Jimmy Carter(D) looking bad or is it that we let kids understand how racial politics were and are the #1 sport of every American institution?

    3. This stuff about Jimmy Carter is in the NY Times, not part of any proposed AP course. Somerby says history is hard to teach, but this isn't actually history. It is political campaign horse-race handicapping and speculation. This would never reach the level of discussion in any AP high school class, even AP Political Science. If a teacher is discussing this article, he or she is wasting the kids time because there is so much more content to the course that going off on tangents will make it hard to cover the actual contents of the course.

      Jimmy Carter is not African American, in case you don't know. He is not a major figure in American race relations either.

    4. There are better examples of racial dogwhistles.

    5. Anonymouse 1:44pm, political campaign horse-race handicapping and speculation is a microcosm of the larger culture.

      I have no doubts that the experts will be very discriminating as to the representatives of racial whistlers.

    6. Now you seem to have lost track of what we were discussing. This comment makes no sense at all. You were asking whether Jimmy Carter should be in an AP African American Studies course. Of course not. He is so tangential that it would be a waste of time, even if discussing his political campaigning is "a microcosm of the larger culture". That could be said about anything.

      microcosm definition: "a community, place, or situation regarded as encapsulating in miniature the characteristic qualities or features of something much larger"

      I don't really think that Jimmy Carter's campaigning fits this definition much, but at least you spelled the word correctly. What does Carter's campaign encapsulate in miniature? Nothing. It is itself an example of a presidential campaign, not a miniature anything.

    7. Anonymouse 6:22 pm, a person isn’t a microcosm, a system can be. Jimmy Carter is certainly representative of a culture in flux and so had to walk a fine line between his old world and a new one.

      What an opportunity to show the sort of mandates that our essentially racist society foists on its representatives.

      Well, I’ve no doubt you’ll find the right example somewhere.

  9. Carter did well in the South. That he could
    do that in the 70s without winking a bit to
    the Dixiecrats would be surprising. It’s why
    Northern Progressives would never give
    him the time of day.
    It was indeed during Carter’s term that
    Falwell and other transferred the Dixiecrats
    Into the Republican Party for good.

    1. Somerby's criticism of Carter may be against his pragmatism, not his racism. It just doesn't sound like he was really that racist. I think it takes a pragmatist to be a good negotiator and diplomat, as Carter was.

    2. Do we know why Carter lost his first race for Governor? Was he attacked for being too friendly to blacks? Was this second campaign perhaps a reaction to what happened during the first one, when he lost?

    3. Anon 11:38am, you’re saying that sleight of hand racial politics with the scenario of Democrats going over to the GOP due to Carter playing footsie with Dixiecrats, should be taught in AP courses?

    4. Cecelia, your suggestion is from outer space. I'm not suggesting that any political considerations be taught as history. History is what Carter said and did, not speculation about footsie.

    5. Actually, Anonymouse 1:21pm, indemic and inveterate racial “footsies” in our society is the stuff of the antiracist philosophy that is under debate as curricula.

    6. There is no such word as indemic. It is endemic.

      No one in any African American Studies course anywhere on this planet is talking about whether Jimmy Carter was a racist.

      Antiracist philosophy is not the content of any AP course on African American Studies or American History either. It was not advanced as part of the AP course curriculum that DeSantis banned.

      You may be using such terms as shorthand to refer to liberal concerns with racism, but it is worth getting the terms straight because they refer to actual topics.

      Based on the discussion Somerby posted here earlier, the College Board didn't discuss anything related to antiracist philosophy or much else with the FL Board of Education. One member did ask if they were going to discuss Black Panther stuff. It wasn't clear if he was referring to the film or not.

      inveterate definition: "having a particular habit, activity, or interest that is long-established and unlikely to change"

      I'm not sure that is the right word for what you are trying to say, but only you know what was in your head. I wouldn't say that political footsies involves habit or interest, in the way you might say that someone is an inveterate poker player, for example.

    7. Is there really disagreement among Republicans about whether being against racism is bad or good? Isn't it more of a matter of how to get people to be less racist, than whether that is a worthy goal?

      Cecelia, are you sticking up for people's right to be racist? If not, why is it bad to include antiracism "philosophy" in any classroom course? Should teachers be encouraging racism instead.

      Please be clear about where you stand on this, since you have raised this issue.

    8. Anonymouse 2:54pm, whether spelled correctly or not, you never think an opponent has used the right words to say what they wish to say.

      It’s astounding that you’re trying to foster the notion now that proponents of the AP course want kids to learn that slavery happened, to hear the particular horrors of it, to know that racism is still a thing at times, and to go and sin no more.

      What nonsense. Of course, antiracism is the foundation of what you want schools to teach.

    9. Anonymouse 2:57pm, since I am well aware that you know that the term “antiracism” is not merely someone who is not a racist or who is against racism (though you’re trying to fudge that a bit in your post) I’ll answer that some of the tenets of antiracism philosophy are the sticking points in this matter.

      That’s why Anonymouse 2:54pm, denied that antiracism was part of the debate.

    10. At the college level, most of the students who sign up for African American Studies courses are themselves black. They want to learn about their own history and they want to understand their own experience. How would it make sense for such a course to consist entirely of antiracism philosophy if the majority of the students, being black, are already presumably against racism?

      You make it sound like the people who are afraid of such courses are worrying that white students might somehow be convinced that racism is a bad thing, to be eliminated. How would that be a problem for anyone, if they came away thinking that, especially if they became less racist in the process? Would it hurt those students to understand black people's experience and why there is so much fuss about racism in our culture?

      You make it sound like white parents are fighting for the right to indoctrinate their children into their own proud white supremacist ideology and don't want that to be derailed by the white folks who think racism is bad, not just the essential means of preserving whiteness in our Christian nation. That's why they're afraid of what their kids might learn about racism in such a course.

      A black history class is about black history, not indoctrination of white students. A black studies course is about the black experience, not indoctrination of white students. Of course it is that simple. The rest is right-wing histrionics and fear-mongering. Go look at the syllabus for any existing African American Studies course currently being taught. They are usually available online. See how many of them are teaching anti-racism philosophy.

      You don't have to remain ignorant about such things. You don't have to take Fox News and Tucker Carlson's word for everything. There is a reality out there that you can investigate for yourself.

    11. Perhaps Cecelia means that antiracism philosophy = CRT (Critical Race Theory). If so, Cecelia is wrong. That is only taught as a theory in law schools, typically in graduate level courses. It is a philosophy about institutional racism embodied in laws, not about racism as such.

    12. Anonymouse 3:40pm, perhaps that statement would be taken as gospel if you said it while clapping your heels together.

    13. Cecelia, 11:38. Here. Any decent or in
      depth historical writing on Carter WOULD
      mention it. That you don’t know
      that suggests you haven’t read much
      history or biography. Now, a certain
      hagiography creeps into the coverage
      of recently dead Presidents. Ironically
      Gerald Ford, a small, petty mediocre
      who exploited his unelected
      Presidency in every tacky fashion
      he could ( including running for
      re-election) has always been
      treated with reverent kid gloves,
      for not being Nixon I guess.
      I’m still waiting for the Bush I
      obit that mentions his shameful
      appointment of Clarence Thomas,
      perhaps the ugliest act of White
      Racism in our time. You and
      your party thru the Presidency
      into the sewer with President
      Trump. What serious person would
      expect you to honestly examine
      his presidency?

    14. This isn’t an argument. This is name-calling.

    15. Does anybody know why this Cecelia character finds being coherent so abhorrent? Or maybe I should say aberrant? Bwahahaha A berry. A strawberry. ESL is no excuse for Cecelia’s level of babbling.

      Cecelia, you apparently want to redefine anti racism, more power to you, but what you say is utter nonsense. Anti racism is not a complex notion, even if you were to philosophize on it.

      Imagine a world where everyone has a dollar, except for people who pretend to be female in comment sections named Cecelia, they only have 15 cents; it isn’t hard to do. Guess what Cecelia, you’d be rightly upset, and then you could genuinely play the victim, instead of your usual faux grievance stance.

      Of course you truly are a victim, you don’t reach your level of spewing hatred with sputtering nonsense without having suffered some nasty trauma.

      Listen, we get it, if Blacks have to suffer yet another 100 years of horrible racism because you and your ilk are mad as hell about whatever went down in your life, so be it!

      Just don’t expect to as vile as you are without some modest pushback, it’s always offered with sympathy.

    16. Anonymouse 7:54pm, I get it. If I didn’t think myself such a victim, I too could get my head around the necessity of teaching queer theory in a high school AP black studies course because…some blacks are gay.

      I too could see that this wasn’t a political agenda, but rather a vital necessity as to the needs of a persecuted minority population.

      I too would see that this has nothing to do with your own ideological agenda, but all about caring and sharing.

      If only I was the useful sort of victim.

    17. Here allow me to educate you a bit:

      Humans have been around for at least 100k years, maybe 300k years. Up until about 10k years ago, humans lived in egalitarian societies, since then, the main struggle for humans has been between the Left and the Right.

      The Left has an ideology - to return to a more egalitarian society; the Right has no ideology, they are just people obsessed with dominance, manifested through oppression.

      Therefore, any action or behavior towards progress is going to naturally coincide with Leftist ideology.

      Anything that increases inequality and hierarchy, that’s what interests those on the right.

      Nothing in the AP battle hinged on queer theory; not that there’s anything wrong with it.

      You yourself have no problem with queer theory or it being taught in an AP class. For you, this is just an issue to weaponize in an attempt to own the libs, because…you have no ideology, you only care about dominance.

      Sure, those on the Right are deplorable, largely irredeemable, but they weren’t born that way. It’s not natural, but there are ways to return to our roots. You help in that you serve as a marker, an example of what ails our society.

  10. "Also, he has created a brilliant campaign to help the school children of Malawi. Admittedly, he has done this while paying little or no attention to the interests and needs of lower-income schoolkids here in the U.S."

    Somerby is talking about Lawrence O'Donnell here. Given that each human being has a limited amount of time on earth and a limitied amount of money (we are not all Musk), why shouldn't he choose who he wishes to help? And I have the feeling that if O'Donnell were helping the kids in Indiana, Somerby would complain that he wasn't helping those in Michigan.

    Is this the same Somerby who once called for us all to consider ourselves one with the people of the world? And since has said nothing more about it.

    I'm sure O'Donnell pays his real estate taxes (the major source of funding for most school districts) and his state and federal taxes. In that sense he has supported school children in his own vicinity. If he wants to do good in Malawi, I think it is churlish for Somerby to complain or imply that he is somehow un-American or neglectful of those kids in Baltimore who Somerby quit teaching in order strut around a stage and tell lame jokes.

    For all we know, O'Donnell may have some personal connection to Malawi himself, but why aren't those kids deserving of help too?

    Personally, I think this is just an excuse to knock O'Donnell, when Somerby admits he is otherwise doing a good job.

  11. "Joe went on and on and on about former president Donald J. Trump, concerning whom he loves to rant."

    Trump is most likely to be the next Republican presidential nominee. Somerby needs to get used to people attacking him. Not just once, but until the election is over.

  12. TDH: Assuming the accuracy of those accounts (of racism), this is all part of our American history—American history from a fairly recent era. That said, how should such history be taught in the public schools?
    How should it be taught to third graders? Also, how should such history be understood by contemporary American adults?

    Well, Bob, you were there in that era. I was there too. Are accounts of racism in the 1960s accurate? Please let us know. I can tell that as a third grader in those years I heard racist jokes and comments from my peers. White third graders were taught to be racist by their culture. You know that to be true. I don’t see any reason why third graders today should not be taught about the racist culture that existed in their past.

    1. “I don’t see any reason why third graders today should not be taught about the racist culture that existed in their past.”

      “How” should it be taught is the question.

    2. Wrong, the question for those in control of the Ministry of Truth, is should it be taught at all.

    3. Is that the Ministry of Truth in our entire institutionally racist Oceania, or just the one Florida?

    4. Somerby's question has been how it should be taught, but oddly, he has raised that question daily and never ever discussed it.

    5. Bob raised the question when Al Sharpton suggested that the such curricula would be a both a symbol of and a gauge for our progress in racial equality.

      Bob was gratified by that. It was the first time that he had heard the subject approached from a positive view of our country rather than from the more somber and critical one that has been a source of controversy.

      By asking the question how should this subject be taught, Somerby is saying that it’s high time the media discusses this aspect of the matter too.

      That really is ground zero.

    6. 2:44, "Florida today, tomorrow the World!!!" Meathead Ron

    7. How should music be taught? Should it be a hands on course, or should students listen and discuss what they hear? Should a teacher be able to play an instrument or sing to illustrate points? Which kinds of music should students hear? Should the mechanics of musical composition be taught, should students be taught about instruments. Should the physics of sound and human perception of music be discussed? Can students understand this without knowing physics first? Should students be asked to perform or write their own compositions? Should the teaching include fieldtrips to hear performers? Should students participate in an end-of-term project involving music? Should students take the role of critics to understand their function. Should there be discussions of why some forms of music are widely popular and make performers very rich while others are supported only by the wealthy and attract small audiences. Is music the same worldwide or do different cultures prefer different types of music. What is good music and what is bad music? How does the music industry work and what jobs exist in it?

      Somerby could have discussed all of the various aspects concerning a course in African American studies in much the way I have broken down the topic of music. He hasn't done anything like this at all. Gates did, with his College Board Committee, but they had the example of such college level courses to model their high school AP course on. But how should students learn about African Americans? Should they meet some? Should they attend a black church service? Should they interview a black person on campus using a list of questions of their own devising and write a report on it? Should they read books by black authors about the black experience? Should they watch films? Should they be taught what melanin is and what physiological differences have been considered racial markers? There are a lot of different things that might be considered part of such a course, a way of teaching it.

      Somerby has not raised a single idea about how an African American Studies course might be taught, much less what it might include as teaching materials, what its course content might be, what teachers might do in the classroom. Not one single idea or suggestion. He raises this issue only to dismiss it as too hard to figure out how to teach. But all subjects need someone who understands curriculum design and teaching materials to figure out how to teach them. That is not an objection.

      Somerby is himself dogwhistling to those who do not want to discuss racism because they don't want to be put on the spot about their own attitudes and behavior. This isn't about history, it is about avoiding confrontation with our society's ONGOING ills. Somerby is too dishonest to say this, so he hids behind unstated difficulties that all the racists on the right understand, while the left cannot address them because they remain hidden behind false concerns.

      That is fundamentally dishonest of Somerby, but it also prevents any meaningful discussion of how to teach African American history because it never states what the concerns are.

      Today's essay about Jimmy Carter is a threat. If we open this can of worms, the right will accuse highly respected dying old men of being racists in their hearts, shrug and claim that no one is immune from racism, so why try to change anything? It is hostage taking. It demonstrates that Somerby's questions about how to teach stuff are actually diversions that reveal the bad faith among those who really do not want to change a thing about racism and will get really nasty about it if you make them feel vulnerable.

    8. Anonymouse 3:25pm, so how do you want the AP course taught?

    9. I want it taught using the course outline developed by Gates and the College Board. There is a need to keep the high school version of the course similar to what is taught in such courses at the colleges and universities, so that they will be willing to offer course credit to those who pass the AP exam accompanying the course. Gates and his committee will have reviewed what is taught nationwide with that goal in mind. I further believe that experts in curriculum design will know how to translate that into a schedule of topics, recommended materials and teaching activities. Let the experts doe their job.


    10. So leave it to the experts is how you want it taught.

      Somerby could have shortened this thread considerably by merely saying that.

      All would be well with the world then, right?

      Gov. DeSantis isn’t going to just hand this matter over to “the experts”.

      He’s fairly clear and definitely more specific than you on how the course should be taught.

    11. Here is what is said at your link about the revisions to the course:

      "Who would say that an important part of Black history is queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda on our kids," DeSantis said. "And so, when you look and see they have stuff about intersectionality, abolishing prisons — that’s a political agenda. That’s the wrong side of the line for Florida’s standards."

      The link also says that the course violated FL state law.

      So, apparently DeSantis did not want the course to discuss LGBTQ+ issues affecting black people. That isn't racism, but it IS bigotry. It appears to be part of the Don't Say Gay law. Intersectionality refers to the experience of someone who is both black and female, and how that differs from black men's lives. DeSantis wants to eliminate women's studies courses too, so it is no surprise he wants to see that gone from the African American Studies course.

      The prison abolition movement may not be familiar to non-black people. Wikipedia says:

      "Scholar Dorothy Roberts takes the prison abolition movement in the United States to endorse three basic theses:[5]

      "[T]oday’s carceral punishment system can be traced back to slavery and the racial capitalist regime it relied on and sustained."
      "[T]he expanding criminal punishment system functions to oppress black people and other politically marginalized groups in order to maintain a racial capitalist regime."
      "[W]e can imagine and build a more humane and democratic society that no longer relies on caging people to meet human needs and solve social problems."
      Thus, Roberts situates the theory of prison abolition within an intellectual tradition including scholars such as Cedric Robinson, who developed the concept of racial capitalism,[6][7] and characterizes the movement as a response to a long history of oppressive treatment of black people in the United States. "

      Because of the connection to both slavery and racial bias in our judicial system, this seems like an integral topic, not something to be dismissed as "political indoctrination."

      Again, DeSantis appears to desire to disappear things he disapproves of, not eliminate indoctrination from a course. Teaching about current thought among black scholars and writers seems like an appropriate content for an AP course to me.

      No one is disputing that DeSantis is opposed to the course. His stated opposition is not an argument against the proposed content. I still think the content should be left up to the experts.

      Note that these are objections to the content of the course, not how it is to be taught.

    12. Now you’re talking about things that were actually ventured for the course.

      The governor’s “stated argument” is that abolishing prisons and queer theory are political viewpoints that are not subjects to be taught in Florida high schools, even in an AP class.

      Floridians can decide if they wish to back that by re-electing him.

      Thanks for reading the link and making it clear what you wish to be taught in a high school AP class.

    13. Sure, you can tell children to go to school to get an education, so they can support themselves and their families, but those are political viewpoints that are not subjects to be taught in Florida schools, even in AP class.
      I hope DeSantis is going to snuff the freedom of teachers to teach kids about Capitalism, too.
      But, I don't think so, because DeSantis is a standard-issue bigot, who supports the indoctrination of students, obviously.

    14. You didn't read the excerpt. Prisons were established to hold runaway slaves, as part of our system of slavery. That makes them an appropriate topic to discuss in the context of slavery. Slavery has been abolished but black people are still being incarcerated at much higher numbers than white people. That makes the need for prisons and the inherent racism of our justice system, appropriate topics for a black studies course.

      What did people do before there were prisons? They branded people who were thieves. They cut off hands for a repeated offense. They fined people who had wronged others, up to and including murder. The killer had to repay the relatives of the person killed for the loss of the deceased person's income and value to the family. In England, they transported criminals and undesirables to the USA. The colonies similarly banished criminals, some of whom went West into new territories. You think of prisons as inevitable and natural because they have existed in your lifetime. Other periods in time didn't do things that way -- that's why an AP course that talks about the movement to abolish prisons is helpful and informative to everyone.

      What I don't understand is what DeSantis hopes to gain by banning queer theory or intersectionality or women's studies. He isn't going to make anyone less gay by doing so. Women aren't going to become men, if they don't learn their history. I see this as DeSantis signalling to conservatives that he is one of them, but he is doing it by hurting students who want to learn those topics. Because it is mostly women who take Women's Studies, and mostly LGBTQ+ people who take queer studies, and mostly black students who take African American Studies, DeSantis is hurting minorities, already stigmatized groups, and that means he is perpetuating oppression. He could just state his opinion, but he has gone the extra mile to actually hurt certain groups of people. That is cruel and unnecessary.

      I wouldn't vote for someone who is deliberately cruel to others, no matter what their policies and campaign positions. YMMV. But pretending that this is about how to teach history is just plain ridiculous under the circumstances. Somerby is being dishonest when he suggests that it is.

    15. Let's just agree the economic anxiousness of Ron DeSantis is boundless.

    16. Anonymouse 6:14 pm, I appreciate the drama and all, but a whole a lot of white people were sent to prisons for the wrong reasons too. Debtors for one.

      It’s sad that some states aren’t going to tolerate a crash course in grievance politics on behalf of indoctrination into your ideological agenda,

      But then we both know that those villain pols must also face the outrage of the media and must try to be re-elected despite it.

      All you can do is to hope that your forward-looking politicians cough up the guts to run on closing down prisons or… get the job done by starting the process whereby high schools indoctrinate teenagers into the merits of that idea.

      That won’t be Florida this year.

  13. Fox has moved away from supporting Trump. Perhaps that is why Somerby is suddenly so eager to attack Fox and Trump. This is a twofer, since he can attack O'Donnell also for not being aggressive enough against Fox.

    1. At 1:21, there is clearly some
      projection going on, but don’t
      overthink it. Bob is a nutcase.

    2. Tucker sinned by recently saying Trump is a “demonic force” and a “destroyer”; Somerby’s minders can not abide.


  14. @12:51 PM,
    according to recent Scott Adams-related news reports, only 53% of "blacks" think that "it's OK to be white".

    So, if for whatever reason you wish to talk about "racist culture" (of all things), why do you need to go to the 1960s? It's right here, no need to reminisce.

    1. If you abuse people, they're going to have strong feelings about it. If blacks had been systematically abusing whites for all these decades, Scott Adams might have a point about them being racist. But that isn't what happened.


    2. So, dear dembot, thinking that it's not OK to be "white" is not considered racist in your cult?

    3. Black people do not have the ability to discriminate against white people because they do not have much power in our society. It seems natural to me that someone might dislike white people after a lifetime of experiencing intermittent discrimination at their hands. That's why black people are given a bye on this -- another way of saying that racism is not bidirectional. They have actual reasons rooted in experience to dislike people who have harmed them. The same is not true of most white people, who dislike black people because of their skin color, not because they did anything to them personally.

      You can do some reading about racism and it might be clearer to you. It is understandable that you might not understand American attitudes about race, coming from Russia or some other Soviet bloc country. Substitute the word "serf" and see if it makes it clearer to you.

    4. Scott Adams should know better. He didn't grow up in a barn, like Mao did.


    5. Sorry, dear dembot, without word salads, please.

      Is thinking that it's not OK to be "white" considered racist in your cult, or not? It's a simple yes or no question.

    6. If you cannot follow the responses to your own comments, are you sure you're qualified to be a troll in a language other than your native tongue?

      I answered the question. Read it or don't.

    7. What was it, your answer? Yes or no?

    8. Anonymouse 3:08pm, this is an example of what shouldn’t be taught in an AP course.

    9. Scott Adams put 2 + 2 together and got 70,0000.

      I think he wanted to retire and had to give himself a good excuse.

      I can’t feel sorry for him.

    10. Scott Adams ain't got nothing to do with it, if you care to read my comment that initiated the word salads produced by the dembot formerly known as 'government scientist'.

    11. Did I address any part of my statement to you in particular, Mao?

    12. We suppose we felt it disrupted a certain harmony. But never mind.

  15. If we want to see a war criminal, all we have is do is look in the mirror.

  16. "For ourselves, we never realized, until this very week, that the Morning Joe team seems to have made a commitment to leave Fox News alone, even as it repeats its daily rants about Trump."

    Somerby states this without any evidence whatsoever. It is his pure speculation. Retrospective thinking about whether someone has done something or not (in this case Joe) is often inaccurate because of memory distortions. Some things are more salient than others and it is easy to overlook or give too much attention to certain events. The only way for Somerby to really know whether Morning Joe talks about Fox and not just Trump is to go back and count what is talked about, systematically recording what happens.

    Somerby will not do this. It is too much work, even if there were transcripts available. In the meantime, he should be more cautious about drawing such conclusions. He should not assume it is true, just because he has had such a thought.

    Don Corleone is talking about something entirely different than retrospective memory of what someone has talked about. But that doesn't stop Somerby from quoting him for "realizing" something, however different his realization might be. Realizing is realizing to Somerby.

    1. Speaking of retrospective thinking, how do you know that Somerby doesn’t know what has been said on MoJo?

      He could be recording the show daily.


    2. He would still have to go back and count. Memory is proven to be unreliable.

    3. Counting shows a Left-wing bias against the Right, who can't understand basic arithmetic.

    4. And, he hasn't done that, yet he has made a claim. He doesn't have evidence to back up what he said.

    5. Yes, by Somerby, without any evidence.

    6. Anonymouse 10:18pm, then by your own criteria, tell me how many days you’ve watched MoJo in the past week and how often they have mentioned the Fox case?

  17. Cannot find this 3/1 article in NYT. Can someone post a link? Bob?

  18. Can anyone explain the Republican Party's fascination with fascism?