A large, diverse nation can't function this way!


Headlines in the Post: Grumpily waiting to see our favorite surgeon, we scanned the front-page headlines in today's Washington Post.

We're speaking of the print edition of the Post, which is still a traditional newspaper. Above the fold, the front-page headlines this morning said this:

Climate-linked ills threaten humanity
Pakistan is the epicenter of a wave of health threats from global warming, a Post analysis finds

Biden to block oil drilling in Arctic
Ban would cover more than 10 million acres of 'irreplaceable' lands

Those reports appeared on page A1, above the fold. Below the fold, the front-page headlines said this:

Resistance on repeat to masking at schools
Response to virus uptick draws educators into a political battle

In Kyiv, Blinken pledges $1B in additional aid
Visit comes as doubts swirl around Ukraine's halting counteroffensive

For Santos, a life in Brazil at odds with GOP politics

For the record, that last report was a "human interest" throw-away regarding an insignificant Republican member of Congress. 

All in all, we were struck by the minor role these topics play in the realm of blue tribe "cable news." If you watch blue tribe cable tonight, you won't be hearing about oil drilling in the Arctic, or about the way a wave of health threats are threatening humanity.

You won't be hearing about public schools in the low-income state of Mississippi. You won't be hearing about Mayor Adams and immigration, or about Mayor Breed.

(To hear about Mayors Adams and Breed, you'll gave to tune in to Fox.)

What will you hear about instead on our own tribe's corporate channel? For the Post's reports on those topics, we had to turn to pages A2 and A3, where these headlines appeared:

Prosecutors say they plan to indict Hunter Biden this month
Filing suggests special counsel will seek gun charge in Delaware

Ga. prosecutors predict four-month trial in Trump case
Judge remains skeptical of timeline as attorneys attempt to separate cases

Trump accuser Carroll wins liability claims in next New York civil case

Included there are the topics our blue tribe panels discuss You see, blue tribe cable has almost wholly disappeared into the silo marked Trump Trump Trump Trump Jail.

Few topics are allowed to intrude on the pleasures provided by that cable food product. Our porridge is served by a circle of friends who pleasure us with hours of speculations about the rolling legal minutia involved in a welter of trials. 

They seem to care about nothing else. In this way, they hold a spotlight up to our tribe's ongoing retreat from the world.

Also, sadly, this:

Last night, we saw the apparent plan to indict Hunter Biden discussed on MSNBC and on the Fox News Channel. That said, an increasingly familiar pattern emerged:

Remember how, in the old TV shows, the names had been changed to protect the innocent? In last night's reports, only the names remained the same! Viewers of our nation's dueling "news channels" were offered completely different sets of claims about this deeply dangerous topic.

Long ago and far away, it was a simpler American world. 

For the most part, we were a two-identity society (black and white). We had a potent external enemy (the shoe-banging Soviet Union) imposing a type of unity on us. 

Most important, we had Walter and David and not too much else. It was hard to get exposed to crackpot accounts of the news.

Today, our own blue tribe is serviced by a gang of highly paid corporate hirelings. (You aren't allowed, or even encouraged, to know how much they're paid.)

Within the realm of corporate profits, Trump Trump Jail is a top-selling product. Our tribunes talk about little else. The most important rule is this:

Our tribunes never speak to Others! They only speak to collections of their favorites and friends.

If you turn to the Fox News Channel, the propaganda which starts at 5 o'clock each morning would merely be comically awful in a different world. In this world, that clowning, and our own tribe's studied cluelessness, defines an existential crisis—and let this also be said:

Watching Fox, you will sometimes see discussions of actual topics and actual problems which our own tribunes disappear!

Long ago, Little Red Riding Hood took a stroll through a very dangerous wood.

Under the guidance of Lawrence and his stunningly landlocked friends, we blue tribe true believers are now the ones who are taking that dangerous stroll. 

For extra credit only: Back in early 2016, why in the world did Vice President Biden move to get rid of Viktor Shokin?

Last night, we saw "the great one," the ranting Mark Levin, provide a ranting account of that matter to Sean Hannity's viewers. No one was present to challenge his claims—and over on our own tribal channel, a similar separation prevails.

A large, diverse nation can't function this way. If you doubt that, take Springsteen's advice:

"Son, take a good look around."


  1. "Our tribunes never speak to Others!"

    What about when they interviewed that random person in a diner on MSNBC?

    Heh heh

    1. Republicans and other right wingers are routinely featured on MSNBC, from the executives that run the network, to their hosts, to elected officials, to financial professionals, to the working class, to conspiracy theorists, to folks in diners.

      Republicans/right wingers and their worldviews are highly featured on MSNBC.

      What’s not well covered on MSNBC is the Left.

    2. "Overall, we rate MSNBC Left Biased based on story selection that consistently favors the establishment left. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to news hosts and the website producing 3 pants on fire claims."

      Updated (M. Huitsing 04/16/2023)

    3. Why do they bother?

      Media Bias/Fact Check is run by a guy in Greensboro North Carolina with no background in journalism, media bias, or fact checking, he’s a former physical therapist.

      On their own website they make clear their value, with their own disclaimer: “Disclaimer: The methodology used by Media Bias Fact Check is our own. It is not a tested scientific method.”

      Columbia Journalism Review described Media Bias/Fact Check as "an armchair media analysis" and characterized their assessments as "subjective assessments that leave room for human biases, or even simple inconsistencies”.

      Having said that, here is what this advertising company disguised as the Pope of media bias says of MSNBC: “Generally, story selection favors the Left; however, they are also occasionally criticized by left-leaning organizations. For example, according to Fair.org, MSNBC did not dedicate much airtime to the West Virginia Teachers Strike until the fair.org article was published. Further, Salon published an article criticizing MSNBC for employing the “Republican Never Trump” type of conservatives.

      According to the article, they are “Loading up on semi-repentant conservatives and ignoring the activist left, MSNBC is doing the nation a disservice.” In other words, MSNBC is so focused on negative coverage of Donald Trump that they are ignoring the progressive left and actually moving right.”

      So MB/FC recognizes that MSNBC is “ignoring the progressive left and actually moving right.”, quoting Salon.

      Worse, they define “Left” as “liberal”, and use the phrase “establishment Left” that was coined by right wingers.

      Leftists are not liberal, liberals are not leftists, and there is no such thing as Establishment Left, this is Politics 101.

      Furthermore, aside from being a website to profit from advertising, they use right wing framing, exposing their own, rather obvious, bias and intent.

      MSNBC never features any prominent leftist.

      MSNBC routinely and solely features Republican/right wing/neoliberal views and framing. It’s a corporation owned by neoliberals and right wingers that feature only neoliberal and Republican hosts/journalists/pundits.

      This claim is trivially obvious and stands without any credible or relevant counterpoint.

    4. 2:46: Bernie Sanders is a frequent guest. They have progressive guests, not solely former Republicans, and they discuss labor issues (from the standpoint of support for labor), climate issues (from the standpoint of assuming that climate change is real), childcare (from the standpoint that universal childcare is a good thing), taxes (assuming higher taxes on the wealthy is a good thing) etc.

      At any rate, if “neoliberal” means, in the case of the Trump indictments, factual and thoughtful legal analysis, then so be it. Whenever I occasionally watch, I am able to discern facts and bias, if such exists. There are multiple sources of information. I would much rather watch them than the abomination that is Fox, the only one of the two which has been slapped with hundreds of millions of dollars in fines for spreading falsehoods about the 2020 election.

    5. And you might ask yourself if you think Somerby is complaining about MSNBC because it doesn’t feature the “activist left.” Get real. He complains because they are hard on Trump. Somerby hates the activist left, if you want the truth.

    6. For those of us that unfortunately can't read - these are the complaints about MSNBC from this post:

      News Coverage Focus: The post criticizes the focus of news coverage, particularly in the "blue tribe" media, on sensationalized topics like Trump and legal issues while overlooking important issues like climate change and education.

      Political Polarization: It highlights the growing divide in news consumption between different political tribes and expresses concern about the lack of meaningful dialogue and diverse perspectives in today's media landscape.

      News Priorities: The post suggests that important topics such as climate change, education, and international aid are often overlooked by the media in favor of more sensationalized and polarizing subjects.

      Lack of Meaningful Dialogue: Somerby expresses concern about the lack of meaningful dialogue between different political tribes and suggests that this hampers the functioning of a large and diverse nation.

      Media Bias: It implies that media outlets, including MSNBC, have specific biases (in this case, "blue tribe") that influence their coverage choices.

      Call for Balanced Coverage: The post indirectly calls for a more balanced and comprehensive approach to news coverage that encompasses a wider range of important issues and encourages dialogue between different political perspectives.

    7. It is unsettling how often most mainstream media outlets advance the agenda of the narrative put forth by the CIA and other portions of the national security state. Most of the press circulated the narrative that the CIA‐​orchestrated coups in Iran and Guatemala in the 1950s were spontaneous democratic uprisings. More recently, the news media disseminated allegations that Saddam Hussein had a vast arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Nearly all that information came from Iraqi exiles that the CIA supplied to “friendly” journalists, including New York Times reporter Judith Miller. Perhaps most striking, major media outlets, especially the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN and MSNBC, have avidly joined the national security state’s campaign to demonize Russia. Those media heavyweights enthusiastically promoted the false narrative about collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election. Even worse, they parroted the CIA’s unsupported, far‐​fetched allegation that Moscow had paid the Taliban bounties to kill American soldiers.


    8. The American people receive official propaganda disguised as honest reporting and analysis.

      That's all MSNBC is. State propaganda.

    9. Bernie is and always as been a champion whiner.

  2. Somerby’s zombie claims today have been repeatedly debunked:

    MSNBC covers all the same topics as the other corporate media, including Fox News, one difference being that they attempt to play it straight while Fox News is actively conning their viewers for corporate profit.

    Fox News viewers are not well served by how Fox presents the news, Fox News viewers are less knowledgeable than viewers of other media outlets, including MSNBC. When Fox News viewers switched to CNN for just a month, they actually gained knowledge.

    Trump is the current acute major root cause that impedes societal progress, so it is logical and reasonable to focus on his criminality.

    For evidence to support his claims, Somerby quotes a song from a pop artist. Whatever.

    Somerby wonders what’s the deal with Shokin, as if this is all Seinfeld level amusement, but viewers of MSNBC are aware, since it’s been covered on their network, that Shokin was the corrupt prosecutor-general for Ukraine, that Ukraine wanted rid of him for being corrupt and incompetent, and not just Ukraine, but also Europe wanted him out, and EVEN Republicans wanted him out, and they all appealed to the Obama administration for help, thusly Biden forced him to resign, and then Ukraine officially ousted him by a vote in their parliament.

    Furthermore, Shokin was actively ignoring Burisma, making Biden’s integrity all the more evident.

    In stark contrast to Biden’s integrity, Trump corruptly tried to leverage money that Ukraine desperately needed, merely for his own personal benefit: to try to manufacture dirt against Biden, which Trump desperately needed since Biden in fact defeated Trump, which then exposed Trump’s criminality.

    The circle of life.

    America was never a “simpler world”, but Somerby bemoans gains in technology that have increased the exposure of the significant ills of our society, which is leading to a better understanding of the fundamental struggle in our society of Left versus Right.

    The groundwork is being laid for actual progress to occur, in fact, surprisingly, Biden has made some good progress, for example, Bidenomics’ metrics are quite impressive.

    But Somerby would rather try to con people into thinking that white is black. Ok Somerby, whatever.

  3. "Our porridge is served by a circle of friends who pleasure us with hours of speculations about the rolling legal minutia involved in a welter of trials."

    In regard to MSNBC, a flawless summation.

    1. Yeah it's not for news, it's purpose is world view reinforcement and stringing people along on their Trump-behind-bars wish fullfillment needs.

    2. It's for dumb people, to keep them dumb.

    3. It's for trolls to comment on.

    4. MSNBC is a corporation pushing a neoliberal agenda; however, it attempts to play it’s agenda straight, and has a modicum of integrity to call out political corruption.

      Somerby’s summation is highly flawed, and frankly, nonsensical, for reasons repeatedly expressed here in comments. Somerby ignores both the actual flaws of the network (neoliberalism) and when it actually serves a public good (corruption).

      The smug satisfaction expressed here of being able to promote misinformation in partnership with Somerby, demonstrates a lack of integrity and morality, and thus an irrelevancy to good discourse.

    5. I see MSNBC being proved correct day after day. Hector must have his thumb stuck up his ass like Bob.

    6. 3:00 A more effective response would address the specific claims made in the original post and provide evidence or reasoning to support an alternative viewpoint.

    7. 5:31,

      The point Bob made, which I was affirming, did not concern the correctness of MSNBC’s views but rather their repetition ad nauseum.

      And I’d like to know how you’re able to make such informed speculation about the status of my nether regions.

    8. Specific claims offered without evidence are not worthy of directly addressing, however, those claims in fact have been addressed with evidence and reason, you’re just being willfully ignorant and/or lazy (particularly since you rely on AI to do your thinking).

    9. Hector, watching any cable news channel for long periods of time is going to seem repetitive because the news channels assume people are not watching continuous but dropping in, and they repeat the news for those just arrived. They know how long the typical viewer watches. There is no reason to expect a continuous stream of new info for as long as you care to be there. I don't find MSNBC repetitious because I don't watch it for hours, as Somerby admits to doing.

    10. 7:31,

      you make a good point, but MSNBC's repetition is not just from one hour to the next, but from one day to the next. Trump's legal difficulties are featured regardless of whether there have been any new developments to discuss.

      And aside from the soul-crushing repetition there is the uniform point of view. CNN is starting to bring back panels with other-than-the-usual suspects, but I don't see that happening on MSNBC.

  4. Replies
    1. Trump will be found guilty (that DC jury pool is brutal) but he is unlikely to be put in a traditional prison, due to logistics.

    2. In addition to the jury pool there is the whole guilty as hell thing…

  5. Peter Navarro is guilty.

    1. When he dies he can join Citi Bike Karen in hell, she is also guilty, factually guilty of trying to bully a bicycle away from a Black kid.

      Fair warning, Karens: ponder the Montgomery Boat Brawl, we ain’t fucking around no more.

    2. Karen is innocent. The whites involved in the Montgomery incident are guilty.

      George Floyd was murdered. Trayvon Martin was not.

  6. In terms of hand on the scale, dishonest, much brained laziness, Bob had now far surpassed Chris Matthews, the WP and NYTs, or anyone else you would care to mention from the bad old days of the Clinton Hunt. Let’s hope events keep proving him disgraceful…

    1. Don't bother supporting your accusations with evidence - just saying it's so makes it so!

    2. 5:28’s stance has been well documented over the years.

      You don’t need to cite the sky is blue.

  7. Voters, Shmoters

    Today on TAP: Wisconsin Republicans are poised to impeach a state Supreme Court justice whom the voters just recently overwhelmingly elected.



    As David Dayen wrote, "One thing that comes out of this is the idea from Wisconsin conservatives that a Democrat running for election to the state Supreme Court is actually illegal."

    As I said before, republicans have basically abandoned all notions of democracy in this country.

    So, what the fuck is Bob whining about today?

  8. Bob Somerby entitles his daily post "The Daily Howler". For as long as I've been reading it, his work consists of complaints about the various ills to which cable news shows are heir.
    The entire enterprise has, in the last few years, become more and more irrelevant, since fewer and fewer people watch -- or even pay the slightest attention to -- cable news channels.
    What's Bob going to do when the cable news outfits simply close shop?

  9. Kevin Drum weighs in:


    1. Stopping woke refers to getting rid of commie pinko teachers. The program is working -- many teachers, especially college professors -- are looking for work in other states.

      MTG tipped their hand when she said she wanted liberals to be forbidden from voting within 5 years of moving to a red state. They want to eliminate blue voters and what better way than to get rid of those ratty teachers (as Somerby used to call them, we though ironically, but who knows)?

    2. "commie pinko teachers"

      Come back 50 years ago.

  10. Russia’s bad day, oof.


    Recent estimates put Russian soldiers killed at 120k, 170k wounded, hundreds of billions spent. (Ukrainian soldier estimates are 70k killed, 100k wounded, tens of billions spent - mostly from the US)

    Still just a fraction of the over a million US deaths from Covid caused by Trump’s corruption and incompetency.

    But it is more in line with the rate of how many White Americans commit suicide every year. Why are they so sad?

    Mercury’s advice: Don’t try suicide, you’re going to hate it.

    I learned that from Somerby.

  11. "A large, diverse nation cannot function this way."

    Somerby has used this headline several times before. You think he is going to talk about diversity, but his essay has nothing to do with that. Instead he complainsa about MSNBC, but the headline question lingers in one's mind.

    It that what Somerby intends it to do? Today's reference to diversity evokes wokeness and the focus on people of different races, ethnicities, nationalities, gender, sexual orientation, levels of education, occupations, SES, and so on. In other words, it refers to our differences.

    Many of us on the left consider our differences to be a strength of our nation. Multiculturalism in a formal sense, but also the multiplicity of aspects of individual identity, add to the mix that has always been America, the many strengths we draw on, the flavor and interesting cultures we share with each other. I wouldn't have it any other way.

    Are we not functioning? Of course we are. Why? Because we are a nation whose system of government was designed with the flexibility to accommodate differences of opinion, competing interests, with fraying the fabric of our nation.

    The people who feel uncomfortable here are the ones now telling themselves that this is a white Christian nation founded for the benefit of white Christian people, from the beginning. That has never been true and it is not true now. It is hard for people with delusional beliefs to live anywhere, but diversity is not the cause of their discomfort. It is their mistaken expectations and attitudes that are giving them grief.

    We used to educate our children to understand the origins and nature of our country's diversity, via civics and history and even literature classes (I recall reading The Man Without a Country in Jr High, along with Uncle Tom's Cabin and later, Native Son.) Now the right wishes to isolate its kids from mainstream education so that they will suffer no cognitive dissonance when their parents want to hate on diverse people. That is intolerable and that is what Somerby should be questioning: Can bigotry let people function in a large diverse nation? No very well.

    MAGAs and Trump are an expression of a last ditch wail of pain among bigots who have realized finally that they cannot maintain power without including some of the people they don't like in their coalitions. It hurts but they will get over it. They have no choice, other than to leave, but it seems unlikely the countries that might be open to them will want them there. The diverse are the majority now. The right needs to get over it.

  12. "You won't be hearing about public schools in the low-income state of Mississippi."

    Yesterday Somerby said this about the NY Times and I dutiful posted a list of cites contradicting his statement.

    I am not going to bother doing the same today. Somerby doesn't bother checking before he says this stuff, because his goal is to impugn the Washington Post. Any reporter who behaved like Somerby does (e.g., failed to check for articles before claiming there are none), would be fired.

    Why does Somerby write lies to impugn the NY Times and the Washington Post? Because he wants to undermine the credibility of the mainstream press so that readers will be distrustful and less able to recognize truth and more susceptible to what Fox and the print right wing outlets peddle.

    Earlier, someone helps Somerby out with that, complaining that MSNBC is biased government propaganda. Somerby has been getting lots of help lately with his cock-eyed campaign against legitimate media. This is why I have been thinking that Somerby's sugar-daddy is most likely Russian and not the deep-pockets right wing. First, Somerby still hyping Trump, which is still part of the Russian agenda, but second, Somerby is engaging in deeply anti-democratic sabotage of public trust, and there is hardly any need for that to get Trump reelected, whereas Russia has longer-term goals to undermine American democracy.

    That makes Somerby not just stupid or senile, but actively evil in my book. Who sabotages his own country's institutions (besides Trump, that is)?

  13. Please stop calling Clarence Thomas " a piece of shit", and instead call him " a corrupt piece of shit".
    Thank you.

  14. Somerby catalogs the contents of his Washington Post front page, then complains that it is Trump Trump Trump all the time on cables news. But to prove that, he would need to ALSO catalog the stories on cable and present them side by side with the print paper's news. Why didn't he do that? It would make his case. I believe it is because it wouldn't support his complaint at all.

    I watched Yasmin on MSNBC several days in a row and she never talked about Trump, not one single time, while I was watching. I wouldn't expect that to hold true across the entire network, but I saw stories about a developing hurricane, about the mud at Burning Man, heart health (doctors were interviewed), and a court decision in favor of a transgender woman trying to join a college sorority in WY. She seemed like a normal, professional TV news reporter to me. Nothing like Somerby's description.

    Even Rachel Maddow doesn't talk about Trump all the time, based on her website episode contents.

    This is made-up garbage from Somerby, which he repeats whenever he has nothing to talk about.

  15. Who the fuck is this Trump character Bob keeps talking about?