STARTING TOMORROW: The wages of Storyline!

MONDAY, APRIL 17, 2023

Could Biden lose next year? Sarah Weinman is a widely-acclaimed journalist and author. As a general matter, she writes about "true crime."

Weinman is highly accomplished and highly regarded. That said, her column in Sunday's New York Times struck us as a bit odd.

In Weinman's view, it seems that "true crime" writing is becoming less true! Ironic headline included, here's how her column started:

Truth Is Drifting Away From True Crime

During the end credits of the recent film “Boston Strangler,” ...there’s a notation that addresses the fate of a convicted murderer named George Nassar who, the movie states, is “still in prison in Massachusetts.” I’ve long been fascinated with the Strangler case and Mr. Nassar’s connection to it, so this detail caught my attention—since I was pretty sure I recalled an interview from a few years back in which he announced that he had terminal prostate cancer. As it turns out, Mr. Nassar, who told authorities that his cellmate had confessed to being the Strangler, died in 2018 at a prison hospital in Jamaica Plain.

As a writer and editor of true crime, I might be more sensitive to these sorts of factual errors than most people. But they are part of a troubling trend. Errors like the one in “Boston Strangler” threaten the integrity of true crime, which as a genre has grappled with whether the stories it tells about crimes are, in fact, true.

In Weinman's view, factual errors like the one she cites "threaten the integrity of true crime."

Indeed, such errors "are part of a troubling trend" within the true crime genre. In Weinman's view, the true crime genre "has grappled with whether the stories it tells about crimes are, in fact, true"—irony plainly intended.

Weinman is a highly accomplished journalist and author. On the other hand, we're inclined to wonder where she's been over the past thirty years.

As she started her column, Weinman focused on a factual error about a relatively minor character in a recent, "true crime" Hulu film which has been little noted and won't be long remembered. 

True crime is ceasing to be true, she suggests. We'd be inclined to add this point:

True crime, join the club!

Officially, Weinman is "the crime and mystery columnist for [the Times'] Book Review." As such, she works for a newspaper which plays a key role in the American national discourse.

Readers, can we talk? Even within the realm of high-end American journalism, that discourse has been drifting away from the presentation of carefully selected true facts for at least the past thirty years. Instead, the discourse has moved toward the embellished, misleading and bogus tales which emerge from Storyline.

True crime films are becoming less true? Welcome to Neverland!

As Al Pacino might have ranted, this whole American discourse is becoming less true! Having advanced that claim, let's move on to this second point:

Last Thursday, in that same New York Times, Charles Blow raised a possible point of concern about next year's White House election. The column ran beneath this slightly frightening headline:

What Are Biden’s 2024 Chances? I Asked These Democratic Campaign Veterans.

The headline suggested an obvious possibility—it's possible that the Republican Party candidate could win next year's election.

President Biden could lose! Regarding Blow's possible point of concern, we've already posted the relevant passage two times. Because next year's election will be quite important, we'll post the passage again:

BLOW (4/13/23): [James Carville] raised perhaps the most interesting concern, one I wasn’t expecting: “The biggest story in my mind out of 2022 is abysmally low Black turnout.” Specifically, he said, “it’s a problem with younger Black voters.”

In the most recent midterm elections, even in places where Democrats fielded strong Black candidates against flawed Republican opponents, Carville considered Black turnout underwhelming. But he isn’t sure what’s causing this problem, or how to fix it.

I talked to Terrance Woodbury, a founding partner at the consultancy HIT Strategies, which researches Black voter sentiment. A January survey found that three-quarters of Black voters don’t believe their lives have improved since Biden became president, despite his administration’s “initiating or completing” a majority of the Black agenda, Woodbury said.

Woodbury underscored what can only be described as a glaring communications failure, particularly when it comes to young people. As he said, “It’s not that we haven’t made progress,” it’s that younger Black voters “don’t know about the progress.”

According to James Carville, a decline in turnout among younger black voters may put next year's election at risk. 

Blow didn't present any statistical evidence in support of Carville's presentation, but he and Terrence Woodbury both seemed to feel that Carville's concern has merit.

Is something undermining the interest of "younger Black voters" in turning out to vote? More specifically, is something undermining the likelihood that "younger Black voters" will turn out to re-elect Biden next year?

Is that a realistic point of concern? We have no obvious way of knowing, but we'll go ahead and say again what we've said before:

When we read that passage in Blow's column, we thought about Angel Reese, an All-American basketball player at LSU. A few weeks ago, Reese went viral, and she has pretty much stayed there. 

We also thought about a prevailing tendency, over perhaps the past dozen years, within blue tribe and mainstream press corps Storyline.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but Storyline tends to rule human cogitation. According to experts, we humans tend to adopt a preferred view of the world. We tend to adjust our facts, and torture logic, to adhere to that preferred view.

Within the mainstream press corps, a certain Storyline began to emerge all the way back in early 1992. 

Our blue tribe slumbered and snored as its tales took hold. It ended up sending Donald J. Trump to the White House some twenty-five years later.

As of 2012, a new and important Storyline had begun to emerge. This Storyline has taken hold within the major organs of the upper-end press corps, but also within the sprawling network of entities which advance contemporary Blue Tribe Thought

That Storyline has been all around us for, let's say, the past dozen years. We thought of that prevailing Storyline as we read Blow's column—and we also thought of Angel Reese, who is twenty years old.

The wages of sin is death, or at least so it says in a very old, famous book. Based upon what Blow has written, we find ourselves posing the following question:

Is it even possible? Could the wages of (blue tribe) Storyline be Joe Biden's defeat?

Tomorrow: We have a great many points to explain. Also, more from Weinman's column?


  1. Somerby seems to engage in unintentional irony himself by juxtaposing Weinman’s skepticism about truth (in the true crime genre) with unsupported claims about black turnout from Carville and Woodbury, via Blow.

    Here’s another example of the “sky is falling for Dems” type of story from CNN from December 2022:

    “Black voter turnout was down in 2022. Democratic operatives are panicking about what it could mean for 2024”

    If you read through the entire thing, there is similarly no actual data shown or linked to, but there is this quote that leaves you to throw up your hands at the media:

    “Cornell Belcher, who has conducted polls for several groups focused on Black voters, said the worries about the Black vote are overblown, since by the numbers he's run, Black voters made up just as big a share of the Democratic votes in the 2022 midterms as they did in the 2018 midterms.”

    In other words, Belcher directly contradicts the premise of the article.

    Par for the course.

    1. I agree with Belcher about Democrat's inability to address black's economic anxiety.

    2. Please quote where Belcher says that.

    3. Somerby pretends that we don’t understand electoral politics to the degree we actually do, and then uses this false notion to victim blame (with a kind of hilarious, but also pathetically sad, foreboding tone - note to Somerby: we are not children, and certainly not your children, you can’t “tone” us into buying your nonsense).

      Somerby says “y’all made me do it, look at what you made me do, I’m a racist right winger, but it’s your fault, y’all better think twice about fighting oppression next time.”

      Could Somerby be more of a crybaby?


  2. "Within the mainstream press corps, a certain Storyline began to emerge all the way back in early 1992. "

    Meh. There's always a "storyline", dear Bob.

    ...why don't you re-read Nineteen Eighty-Four?

    1. The chances that Mao has ever read anything by Orwell are very slim to none.

    2. Mao misunderstanding, misappropriating, and misusing Orwell’s 1984 is one of the amusing joys of the comments section.

  3. The second amendment is evil.

  4. "When we read that passage in Blow's column, we thought about Angel Reese, an All-American basketball player at LSU. A few weeks ago, Reese went viral, and she has pretty much stayed there. "

    Of course he thought of Reese, because when you read about young black voters your mind just naturally turns to sports figures. This is the power of stereotype.

    I don't see much difference in fact between a man dying recently (2018) in prison and a film that states he is still in prison. It isn't as though he had been released at any point and a film or book isn't expected to stay current forever. I also question whether the true crime genre is ever considered to be true in the same sense as a prosecutor must get his or her facts straight before arresting a suspect. The purpose of true crime remains entertainment, a lurid speculative form that reflects poorly on humanity, in my opinion. How can it be "true" when the authors do not have the same access to information as investigators do?

    Comparing this to reporting, which also does its best but cannot know the full truth in the space of time alotted for gathering facts before deadline, is inappropriate. Blaming humans for being imperfect also strikes me as a fool's game. What is Somerby's suggested solution to factual error? It would be worse to do away with news reporting because it cannot be perfect. Here, he seems to suggest that the blue tribe or liberals have some lock on imperfection but comparing the left to the right, where they don't even try to approximate truth, shows that Somerby is nitpicking the wrong tribe.

    Again, Somerby teases some storyline that he hints may have disenchanted young black voters, again without telling us what he thinks it is and why it has alienated young black people. How can anyone seriously discuss Somerby's premise when he won't state what he thinks our destructive storyline (with us since 2012) consists of?

    It seems possible that Somerby is upset because Reese claimed she had received a different reaction on Twitter to the same gesture that her rival Clark (a white player) had, because of Reese's race (or being too hood). Given some of Somerby's past comments, he may consider Reese's complaint to be unjustified, an example of inflated grievance on the part of black youth. Somerby has said that he thinks black young people do not experience racism any more and have to be taught to look for microaggressions because they experience so little racism in their own lives. But Somerby is apparently afraid to repeat such ideas today, so he refers to some vague storyline -- but did the left only start talking about racism in 2012? I don't think so. Recall that Obama ran for reelection that year, after being elected in 2008 when he discussed the need for a serious conversation on race among Americans. So what the heck is Somerby's supposed storyline? Does he think microaggressions were only "invented" in 2012?

    Or maybe Somerby thinks black young people are insufficiently ladylike to participate in high level sports. Why else would he mention Reese at all in a discussion of black voting patterns in midterm elections? She is a basketball player. Maybe it is because Obama himself used the same gesture toward Hillary during a speech in the primaries in 2007-2008? But what do disrespectful hand gestures have to do with blue tribe narrative and Angel Reese and GOTV in 2024? Nothing that I can see.

    Will Somerby explain himself? I wouldn't hold my breath about that. Coy teasing instead of direct communication, plausible deniability of any speculation, seems to replace discussion for him, as he blames a film for saying someone is still in prison who died shortly before the film was made. If Somerby cared about getting things right, he wouldn't force his readers to guess about his opinions like this.

    1. It's sloppy fact checking, and even outlets dedicated to getting the facts straight are going to make an error once in awhile. Weinman is an author herself, probably works hard on research, so She can be given some leeway to be resentful. The was the story of Bill Clinton and his Impeachment has been rewritten would give Bob a lot to work with, but at some point he basically stopped caring. Often a narrative is defined by the fact that is left out. Could a younger person not be forgiven for not knowing that George Bush appointed Clarence Thomas, since it is never mentioned. The fact that Hillary Clinton was the popular vote winner in 2016, critical to understanding Trump's attempt to steal the election, is also forgotten in such a way it's hard to not see as strategic.

    2. One of the worst things about the true crime genre, particularly in the misdirection-obsessed realm of reality tv, is how it usually involves delving into suspects that later turn out to be completely innocent, but only after their character has been assassinated, their reputation ruined.

      Reality tv producers are some of the most depraved individuals you’ll ever meet, ugh don’t ask me how I know, but what a waste it was going to film school.

  5. Why would supporting civil rights drive away black voters?

    Has Somerby seen the filth that passes as commentary on Twitter? Does he not understand that the reaction to Reese's gesture may have involved blatantly racist negative reaction to Reese that Clark did not hear when she was similarly rude? The bigotry displayed in naked form in such venues is shocking to any of us and would be more so if directly at a young baseketball player personally. Somerby says he doesn't even read his own comments here, so he cannot blame Reese for being upset by what is said about her by racist cretins. Similar racist garbage appears any time a black person is in the news, over at the right wing blogs. Ketanji Brown Jackson got similar racial trashing when she was nominated for the Supreme Court for heaven's sake! Maybe Somerby should go read some of that vitriol before he blames Reese for being too sensitive (or the blue tribe for calling out racist behavior).

    1. Recall Somerby got his ire peaked when they referred to KBJ as the best qualified nominee, his response was “really? She’s ok but is she really The Best? Cmon guys” Somerby’s racism is fairly out in the open.

  6. This is stupid and simply makes no sense. What does Biden’s chances of re-election and his popularity with Black voters have to do with inaccurate reporting in crime books and reporting becoming more widespread? Let me answer for you: nothing. Bob just wants to share his fantasies of Biden not being re-elected. Nobody is saying Trump does not stand any chance of being re-elected, for whatever reasons. One of the biggest reasons it could happen is there are dopes like Bob Somerby.

  7. We don't know what Somerby's purpose is today, with his vague reference to preferred storyline, but if he wants to discuss Reese's mistreatment, he shouldn't cloak it in concern-trolling about losing to Trump in 2024, because young black people are put off by some blue storyline that Somerby won't (or can't) articulate.

    It is more likely that some white people are put off by civil rights advocacy, but given that the Democrats have been supporting civil rights since long before 2012, it is hard to fit that into Somerby's claim about a new storyline in 2012. Or is this the same storyline as emerged in 1996? Hard to tell without knowing what story Somerby objects to.

    Here are some facts. George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin in Feb. 2012. BLM started in 2013 after Zimmerman's acquittal. Support for BLM on the left was an extension of ongoing liberal concern with social justice. It wasn't anything new. A series of similar killings in the years following that fueled marches and protests, with black and white support. The attacks on protesters produced more support for that movement. And killings of black and white people by police were substantially reduced as a result of those protests and the changes made to policing.

    But Somerby thinks that this movement (which came from black people, but was supported by liberals and reported by the mainstream media, and by many politicians on the left) is some sort of tribal narrative originating in 2012, not part of ongoing racial injustice and a civil rights movement. This is what ignorance of black history produces among white people such as Somerby. And it is possible such folks find the Republican party more understanding, comfortable, less troubling to their own racial attitudes.

    But how can Somerby generalize that to young black people and suggest that they too might be pushed toward Trump, when that is the most ludicrous suggestion on the face of the planet? It sounds more like Somerby is threatening the left by telling us that we are too extreme and may lose votes because of it, when black voters are more important to our traditional voting base but also exemplify important values held by our party. Racists are welcome to go join the Republicans, except that they have most likely already done so. Meanwhile, implying that if we are too chummy with black concerns and make a fuss over deaths of young black men, we will lose votes, is a scummy political tradition going back way before 1996 (or whenever Somerby wants to pretend liberal started to care too much about black people).

  8. Republicans should support statehood for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

    1. Has Puerto Rico applied for statehood?

    2. No, statehood got 46% support in Puerto Rico in 1998. There may be another vote in Nov 2023.

    3. Has DC applied for statehood?

  9. What new narrative happened in 1996?

    Bill Clinton was re-elected president and signed welfare reform. Star Trek: First Contact with Patrick Stewart appeared. The first volume of Game of Thrones was published. The Spice Girls debut album appeared.Tupac was shot and killed. OJ was found not guilty in 1995. Apartheid was dismantled in South Africa, Tutu retired.

    Nothing there that would suggest a new narrative storyline on the left. So what is Somerby talking about?

    1. Clinton, as is never mentioned, also raised taxes on the wealthy, which seemed to provoke some of the seething hatred on the right Bob is probably alluding to. No President has tried it since though Biden would seem to want to.

    2. Obama hiked up rich people taxes by 3.6% after Bush cuts. Biden raised minimum corporate tax rate to 15% and has proposed raising rich people taxes back to Obama levels after Trump's disastorous cuts.

  10. Bob seems to be suggesting the Democrats have either let down blacks, or spoiled them to an extent that they don't pay proper deference to White Southerns. Or maybe both. But he won't say what he is getting at it's a waste of time to guess.
    Last year Sarah Weinman published "Scoundrel" a gripping account of the case of Edgar Smith, who murdered a young girl in 1957. Somehow he was able to attach himself to William F Buckley, who, along with a book publisher who was interested in him, got him out of jail in the early seventies. He came very close to killing another girl, a dubious surprise as there had never been any real reason to suggest he didn't commit the murder.
    To an interested media critic, this book raises a lot of interesting questions. Smith made the rounds of all the talk shows, brandishing the minor wit Buckley had found so impressive while Smith was flattering him, no one challenged his story. Were the good old days of reporting that Bob pines for ever so great in the first place? Was the "thinking man's conservative" ever that much of a thinker? Does celebrity fixations on underserving parties really something of our age? Did the press ever acknowledge it had screwed up?
    Bob might have been interested in such things once. Now he wants to dream of Biden losing, as Ginny Thomas dreamed of torturing him at Gitmo.

  11. Neither storyline nor race may be the factor driving politics now. Doug Sosnik in today's NY Times suggests it is level of education:

    "College-educated voters are now more likely to identify as Democrats, while those without college degrees — especially white Americans, but increasingly others as well — are now more likely to support Republicans."

    He continues:

    "The impact of education on voting has an economic as well as a cultural component. The confluence of rising globalization, technological developments and the offshoring of many working-class jobs led to a sorting of economic fortunes, a widening gap in the average real wealth between households led by college graduates compared with the rest of the population, whose levels are near all-time lows.

    According to an analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, since 1989, families headed by college graduates have increased their wealth by 83 percent. For households headed by someone without a college degree, there was relatively little or no increase in wealth.

    Did you know you can share 10 gift articles a month, even with nonsubscribers?
    Share this article.
    Culturally, a person’s educational attainment increasingly correlates with their views on a wide range of issues like abortion, attitudes about L.G.B.T.Q. rights and the relationship between government and organized religion. It also extends to cultural consumption (movies, TV, books), social media choices and the sources of information that shape voters’ understanding of facts.

    This is not unique to the United States; the pattern has developed across nearly all Western democracies. "

    It is no coincidence that Somerby's attacks here are not only focused on the mainstream media but also those in higher education, including professors and other experts who appear on cable news shows. Somerby continually tries to undermine the idea that people can know things, that expertise matters, even while suggesting that the press cannot be trusted, that it purveys storyline instead of facts, and that it is spreading liberal propaganda (in other words, the right wing version of the so-called liberal media). Educated people are less likely to buy this guff than are those with little or no college training in how to evaluate what they read and hear.

  12. The storyline he is speaking about is most likely our obsession with calling people racists.

    1. You probably have that correct. Is there some reason Bob can’t simply say this? My guess would be that while padering on race certainly occurs, ignoring instances of racism in the MAGA camp make is fairly ridiculous to call a “storyline.” Bob sure does love fo look the other way when racism is obvious.

    2. @1:39 PM - "our"

    3. 1:39 only in the same way we were obsessed with ending slavery or stopping Hitler.

      You seem to have your own storyline that bears no resemblance to reality. Where do you think that comes from, how did you get to be so misguided?

    4. We weren't obsessed with stopping Hitler. We reluctantly took a few steps against him and he declared war on us.

    5. We’re taught to think of racism as individual acts of intentional meanness across race. That it’s always an individual, it has to be conscious, and it must be intentional. That definition exempts virtually all white people from the system that we’re all in and that we’ve all been shaped by. It is the bedrock of our country. That changes the question from “If I’m racist,” [to] which most white people would answer “No,” to “How is this manifesting in my life?” Because it is. It’s on me to figure out how.

    6. “we” refers to leftists. Many of those in power throughout the world were obsessed with stopping leftist movements, Hitler served that purpose (leftists were sent to the camps before Jews were), thus, in part, the reluctancy. (Initially, nazis wanted to relocate European Jews, but in part because the world was so racist against jews, they could not come up with a viable relocation solution, so they dementedly shrugged their shoulders and went about the business of killing them instead)

      For the excessively literal, the point is, it’s not unhealthy to fight against racism (or any oppression); furthermore, fighting racism/oppression is a prime electoral motivator.

    7. The habit of naking false accusations of race or colluding with Russia as a way to avoid substantive realities have been really bad for us.

    8. Leftists tend to think of issues in terms of systems and institutions, avoiding blaming individuals and victims.

      As someone who grew up in South Carolina, many, if not most, right wingers in the south aren’t as coy about their racism as some might suggest. In SC, a very common way of saying thanks is “that’s mighty White of you”. “White makes right” is another common phrase.

      How pernicious and widespread racism in the US continues to be is easy to see; a White person walks around with a dollar in their pocket, while a Black person has 15 cents - at least until they are arrested.

    9. 3:54, it's a shame that we still cannot know the full extent of Trump's conspiracy with Russia in the 2016 campaign, since Trump was able to successfully ABORT the investigation. don't you agree?

    10. We've gotten to the point that we're so focused on what people say and how they say it that we're paying more attention to that than to the perhaps less glamorous work of getting out on the ground and trying to change society.

    11. @5:01. I don’t think that’s true. That strikes me as the Republican stereotype of liberals. Democrats are not a debating society in Denver, where I live. The internet is not a good model of what progressives do to achieve change. All there is is talk online. But that isn’t activism.

    12. 5:01: you’re commenting at a blog where the blogger spends his life watching the talking heads on tv, rather than paying attention to the people who are “getting out on the ground and trying to change society. His is a warped perspective.

    13. Are people not on the ground because they are watching talking heads on tv and spending time on Twitter? What are doing on the ground today?

    14. @8:04 -- The more time you spend watching TV and using twitter, the less time you have available to do things on the ground. Somerby, by his own admission, spends a whole lot of time watching TV, writing this blog and reading newspapers, opinion pieces, and other blogs (Drum) on the internet.

    15. You spend hundreds and hundreds of hours in this comment section and every minute of it is completely inconsequential. Every single minute of every single hour of the hundreds and hundreds of hours you spend writing poorly reasoned attempts at criticism is a complete waste of time. It's time you could be spending affecting real change and doing something consequential and positive. But you choose to piss all of that time completely away. You never do anything on the ground to positively change society.

  13. Webronix provides web development and social media services help businesses drive engagement and increase their visibility online. We leverage the latest technologies and trends to create custom digital solutions tailored to our client's needs. We strive to deliver high-quality results that exceed our clients' expectations.

  14. Hello I greatly recommend you Via our ongoing Invitation to join our Great Illuminati and become Rich and Famous.

    With help of Bryan George Steil make me believe that illuminati is real, when you come across wrong person’s you will think that life is not real but when you are with the real one you will experience the goodness of your life, Mr Bryan George Steil has made me discovered my purpose of life. Welcome to the great brotherhood of Illuminati and everyone in other Countries can join the Illuminati brotherhood to get rich and famous, Are you a Business man/woman, retirement pensioner, musical artist, student, footballer Pastor, pianist, engineer, scientist, lawyer, Politician, Model, Music Teacher, Photographer, Musician, Doctor, fashion artist, Footballer, pilot, Swimmer, social media influencer, philanthropist, filmmaker, and podcast host, producer, tv host, comedian, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), e.t.c? Do you want to be a Famous Artist or an Actor or whatever occupation you do, you want to be rich, powerful and famous in life. Illuminati can grant all your heart desires to join the Illuminati to become rich and famous in life, Illuminati will make you achieve all your dreams to become rich and protected all the days of your life…… BENEFIT GIVEN TO A NEW MEMBER WHO JOIN THE ILLUMINATI a new dream car valued at $200,000.00 USD a dream house to build in any country of your own choice one month holiday (fully paid) to your dream tourist destination. One year golf membership package a V I P treatment in all airports in the world a total lifestyle change access to bohemian grove, a membership benefit funds amount $1,500,0000 USD to start of a business that will be bring profit to you monthly, one month booked appointment with our leaders and some celebrities» JOIN ILLUMINATI YOUR FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES ARE BROUGHT TO AN END. WE SUPPORT YOU BOTH FINANCIALLY AND PHYSICALLY SPIRITUALLY TO ENSURE YOU LIVE A COMFORTABLE LIFE . IF YOU ARE INTERESTED CONTACT Email: For immediate response… Note: There aren't any Human sacrifices and no bloody involvement.

    The Club of the Rich and Famous; the world oldest and largest fraternity. We are one Family under one father who is the Supreme Being. In Illuminati we believe that we were born in paradise and no member should struggle in this world. Hence all our new members are given Money Rewards once they join in order to upgrade their lifestyle.; interested viewers should get instant initiated to the Illuminati Brotherhood membership profit funds, sum of $1,500,000.00 USD to start off a business that will be profitable.

    After Illuminati membership profit funds, a sum of $1,500,000.00 USD was given to me to start a profitable business, I now earn a daily profit of $50,000 USD for just inviting new customers to The Club of the Rich and Famous and being part of this life changing opportunity.

    Invite customers Get reward 100% guaranteed and legitimacy

    Please note, Kindly make sure all your responses are sent directly to the Illuminati secret Authorities email stated above only at: For more instructions on our membership process.