RED AND BLUE BABEL: As best we can tell, the news report...


...wasn't mentioned on Fox at all: Last Friday morning, then on through the day, millions of American citizens tuned in to the various programs which constitute the current form of our "cable news" landscape.

Should those citizens have been told? Should they have been told about the news report which appeared at the top of page 1A in that morning's New York Times?

As always, that's a matter of judgment. As we noted yesterday, the headlines on the news report said this:

Officials Brushed Off Detailed Blueprint, Concluding It Couldn't Be Done

As we noted yesterday, the report was treated as a blockbuster on that day's Morning Joe program. But as best we can tell, the report was never mentioned—was never mentioned at all—during that morning's four-hour broadcast of Fox & Friends.

Blue tribe viewers heard all about it, starting at 6 o'clock sharp. As best we can tell, red tribe viewers heard nothing about it--nothing at all—during that four-hour broadcast.

This starts to illustrate one basic aspect of our failing nation's modern journalistic culture. In fairness, it doesn't answer a basic question:

What should our cable news programs have done? Should they have reported the findings in that Times report?

Should the four friends on Fox & Friends told viewers about that report? As a matter of fairness, we'll repeat what we said yesterday:

As always, that's a matter of judgment.

As a matter of basic fairness, there were many other news events to report and discuss as last Friday began. Consider:

On its CNN This Morning program, CNN didn't choose to start the day with the news the Times had reported. As you can see from CNN's official synopsis, the program started with a trio of other topics:

Israel-Hamas Truce Ends, Fighting Resumes; Today: Vote on Whether to Expel Rep. George Santos; Tension Spreading Outside Gaza to Other Areas. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Those are the topics with which CNN began its 6 o'clock hour. That said, here is the official synopsis of the program's second half hour:

DeSantis and Newsom Debate; Israel Knew Hamas' Plans; U.N. Talks of Climate Collapse. Aired 6:30-7a ET

A segment was devoted to the Times report during CNN's second half hour. On Fox & Friends, the topic was never mentioned during the morning's endless four hours.

Other news events took place as the day proceeded. In an event we regard as basically trivial, the ludicrous Rep. Santos was indeed expelled from the House of Representatives. 

Also, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor died that day in Phoenix at age 93. O'Connor had been the first women to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Those events were reported on Friday night's network news broadcasts. That said, the contents of the Times report continued to be described and discussed on two of our "cable news" channels as day turned into night.

On CNN, the report was discussed by Dana Bash during CNN's 12 noon Inside Politics program. It was discussed by Jake Tapper during the 5 p.m. broadcast of The Lead.

At 8 p.m., it was discussed by Anderson Cooper during his broadcast of Anderson Cooper 360. 

For people watching MSNBC, the Times report was described and discussed even more frequently.  Starting at 4 p.m., the roll call goes like this:

The report was discussed on Deadline: White House during the 5 o'clock hour. It was discussed by Joy Reid in the 7 p.m. hour; by Chris Hayes in the 8 p.m. hour; and by Ali Velshi, subbing for Lawrence O'Donnell, in the 10 p.m. hour.

Starting at 6 a.m. sharp, the Times report had been widely discussed on MSNBC programs. That said, we can find no sign that the report was ever mentioned on Fox & Friends, or on any of the Fox News Channel's evening "cable news" programs.

As best we can tell from the invaluable work of the Internet Archive, the Times report wasn't mentioned that day on The Five. Somewhat surprisingly, it wasn't mentioned on Special Report, the channel's 6 p.m. newshour-style program.

It wasn't mentioned by Laura Ingraham at 7 o'clock, or by Jesse Watters at 8. It wasn't mentioned by Sean Hannity at 9. 

At 10 o'clock, the clowning began, as it does every night, with the broadcast of the inanity-laced Gutfeld! clown-car program.

As best we can tell, viewers of the Fox News Channel never heard about the contents of the Times report at all. This starts to describe the landscape of our current news environment. 

Beyond that, it starts to describe the landscape of our nation's current politics.

This morning, print editions of the New York Times include a certain front-page report. Online, the report appears beneath these dual headlines:

Tuberville Drops Blockade of Most Military Promotions
Under pressure from senators in both parties, the Alabama Republican allowed more than 400 promotions to move forward, saying he would continue to block only the most senior positions.

At long last, Senator Tuberville has decided to relent. 

Viewers of today's Morning Joe were told about this news event. Will the event be mentioned on Fox?  We don't have the slightest idea! 

 Will the event be mentioned on Fox & Friends? Tomorrow, we'll report and help you try to decide. We'll help you try to decide what you should think about this aspect of the American news landscape. 

With respect to that Times report, blue tribe viewers heard all about it. As best we can tell, devoted all-day viewers of Fox didn't hear about it at all. 

This helps create a type of Babel, or so it will soon say here. Can a large modern nation really expect to function this way?

We'll guess that the answer to that question isn't a cheerful yes!

Tomorrow: Friday night, Jesse Watters


  1. "red tribe viewers heard nothing about it"

    Don't you think your view of these imaginary "red tribe viewers" is a bit cartoonish? Quite a bit, actually.

    How about an alternative view? Say, this, for example: Fox News concentrates on the events ignored by the rest of the government-owned media. To get a more complete picture, inquiring viewers watch CNN, MSNBC, etc. and Fox News.

  2. "In an event we regard as basically trivial, the ludicrous Rep. Santos was indeed expelled from the House of Representatives. "

    Santos wasn't only ludicrous but a crook. When the House expells someone for corruption, it ensures the integrity of that body, which is a BIG DEAL, not something "basically trivial" as Somerby claims.

    Any sign of normal functioning by the House is very welcome in this time when the Republican party has seemed unable to do its job at all in Congress.

    Somerby's compass is broken when doing the right thing is trivial.

    1. Because of his level of nuttiness, Santos and his story obviously has a novelty effect.However, someone being driven out of Congress virtually never happens, and it is a measure of the debased Right Wing that he made it in in the first place. So it’s really not trivial, and Bob doesn’t like it because it embarrasses his good friends and neighbors. Who, let’s face it, it is now far to conclude are likely sketchy lowlifes too.

  3. "At 10 o'clock, the clowning began, as it does every night, with the broadcast of the inanity-laced Gutfeld! clown-car program."

    To repeat, Gutfield was hired by Fox as a comedian, not a news reporter. He is their version of Stephen Colbert, an entertainer who is supposed to be funny (or what passes for humor on the right).

    1. So cruelty and obnoxiousness, not clowning.

    2. That does seem to be what passes for humor on the right, judging by Cecelia's "quips". Maybe Somerby needs to standardize late night TV too? We recall his efforts to stop Rachel Maddow from telling jokes. Her so-called clowning was one of his biggest objections to her, that and the cash she kept stuffing down her pants.

  4. Another day of this? What can we conclude of this? That other outlets should not cover things unless they can sure Fox will too? If Fox ignores it, does that make it “babel?”

  5. "Viewers of today's Morning Joe were told about this news event."

    Is it really a "news event" when a competing news source publishes an in-depth report based on its own investigation? Does Fox have access to information about that so-called event or might there be proprietary issues of ownership involved?

    Somerby asks whether our nation can survive without Fox reporting on the same stuff as CNN and MSNBC? Why wouldn't it? Must our media function in lock-step in order to be viable?

    Somerby might have tracked the reporting by MSNBC and CNN of any number of ridiculously trivial culture war stories given huge play on Fox. In fact, Somerby has complained before that those of us on the left will never hear important "facts" reported by Fox, including a great deal of misinformation and disinformation invented as raw meat for the Trump base. Can we survive without that? You bet we can.

    So, what is the solution to the differences in reporting on various cable news networks? Is Somerby thinking that the government should dictate to our media so that they all cover the same stuff? That would produce the uniformity of coverage that Somerby craves, even demands, laments not having. Or perhaps the networks should manage what we get to see by colluding each morning in a "talking points" group meeting that coordinates what viewers get to hear? That seems unlikely to happen given that these networks are competing for viewership and get a boost by featuring scoops, but it could be required if a dictator like Trump gets in and starts telling the media what to do. Is Somerby rooting for that?

    This has to be one of the stupidest ideas Somerby has proposed -- that all networks should cover the same stuff so that all viewers are equally informed (who will force them to watch every day?). And how do you get people to be equal in their attention spans, understanding, background knowledge, education? Is Somerby going to call for universal schooling beyond K-12 and required current events curricula for adults? Because otherwise some people will surely skip watching cable at all, and then his precious discourse will be undermined again. That way leads to 1984, thought control, government disinformation (in the guise of information) and all the bad stuff predicted by dytopian novels. Yay yay yay Somerby -- what a service he is providing by tracking the programming to check for unanimity and complain about discrepancies in cable news.

    And look how much effort Somerby put into making today's essay almost identical to yesterday's! And of course Somerby says nothing about the actual article in the NY Times that he has been fussing about Fox's disappearing. Why is this particular piece so damned important to Somerby? Is it because it embarrasses Israel and exalts Hamas (look how they kept their plans well hidden by making them appear impossible to execute!)?

    1. This makes me feel better about Biden's historically low approval rating and mounting evidence of having knowledge and profiting from his son's shady dealings with communist China. Biden won the popular vote in 2020 by a mile.

    2. Another Fox viewer over here spouting lies about Biden. Or perhaps just another right wing troll.

    3. Biden is an ethical politician. He has the American people's best interests at heart.

    4. Me and my bridge partners will definitely vote for Joe Biden, because he is sexy. And because he loves children. I am Corby.

    5. As Corby has said several times, a lot of those bridge partners are conservatives. That suggests you are not THE Corby.

    6. You are a paid Russian troll sowing discord, 12:52 PM.

    7. As a Republican that voted for Trump in 2016, I feel suckered because Trump turned out to be a fraud, all he cares about is enriching himself, and through corrupt means. I will vote for Biden in 2024, and then return to voting for Republicans, on the assumption they return to normal after ridding ourselves of Trump.

    8. A voice of reason!

    9. One of Biden's problem is age. He's way too old.

    10. Not his fault, but that’s why we also elect a VP.

    11. Trump is old, in poor health, and a criminal. And way underqualified.

    12. 4:35,
      I know of a 35 year old, who will raise the income tax rate to 70% on all income over $200,000 annually.
      Do you think nominating him will satisfy those who feel Biden is too old? Asking, because he seems to check the box in what they are looking for from a President.

  6. Why isn't Somerby tracking whether Fox has reported on the objections of women worldwide over the use of rape as an act of war by Hamas? It is important to half the world's population and being discussed by the United Nations. Has Fox been reporting on that? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Clearly Somerby is not reporting on it. Does that imply that he doesn't care about what happens to women in Israel, Gaza or anywhere else? He defended Jayapal because she has been supporting Palestine, like Somerby, but what about the issue itself -- does Somerby think rape is OK when Hamas does it against Israeli women, dismissing the issue as trivial because it is just a bunch of lying women complaining and whining again -- and they shouldn't have been trying to live their lives near Gaza, annoying Palestinian men, if they didn't want to be raped.

    1. Is there any sentient person who could possibly believe that “Somerby thinks rape is OK”?

    2. I don’t see this kind of crackpottery at any other blog I frequent. I think it’s the result of (a) a lack of curation and (b) the use of nyms.

    3. Or, rather, the lack of use of nyms.

    4. And both of those things are 100% controllable by Somerby.

    5. the use of rape as an act of war

      Why are people phrasing it this way now?
      How is this a military tactic of Hamas? How does it advance their military objectives?

      Rape is rape. Unfortunately, it happens a lot in war situations. Germans raped Russians; Russians raped Germans.

      Rape during the Vietnam War, as well as other acts of wartime sexual violence, was committed against Vietnamese civilians by military personnel from the United States, South Korea, and other combatants. According to American academic Elisabeth Jean Wood, wartime rape was frequently committed by U.S. troops because their commanders tolerated them.[1][2][3]: 65  Weaver stated that not only were documented crimes against Vietnamese women by United States military personnel ignored during the international legal discourse which occurred immediately after the war, but modern feminists and other anti-war rape campaigners, as well as historians, have continued to dismiss them.[4]

      Some American veterans believe that sexual violence against Vietnamese women was motivated by "racism, sexism, or a combination of both," as a result of the strong social movements that were roiling the United States in the early 1970s.[3] According to one source, only twenty-five cases of rape committed by United States Army personnel and sixteen by United States Marines resulted in court-martial convictions involving Vietnamese victims from 1965 to 1973.

    6. All crimes increase among soldiers because there is "release of restraint" in order to kill (which breaks a moral restraint) that becomes generalized to other internalized restraints.

    7. "Is there any sentient person who could possibly believe that “Somerby thinks rape is OK”?

      And then Dogface says he doesn't see this kind of "crackpottery" elsewhere. He has apparently never visited any of the incel blogs, where commenters routinely discuss the need for women to be compelled to have sex with men, the OKness of rape and the snottiness of women who think they have the right to choose who they have sex with, and how rape would teach those uppity women a thing or two. And then there is Andrew Tate and Jordan Peterson, whose rancid beliefs get discussed by men on blogs.

      Clearly a lot of men think rape is OK. How do I know that? There is plenty of rape in the world and it is men committing those rapes. In some cultures (India for example), women get raped if they dare to violate norms of dress and behavior dictated by men. It is punishment for wearing pants instead of traditional female clothing, riding on a motor scooter, going out alone, getting a job, as well as honor crimes such as committing adultery or refusing a husband's commands. Those rapes are being committed by men who obviously approve of what they are doing or they wouldn't do it. Who does Dogface think is raping women? Men who approve of rape, obviously.

      Dogface perhaps wasn't reading Somerby when he argued that if Chanel Miller didn't want to be raped, she shouldn't have drunk too much at a frat party. Yes, he said that, and he argued that Brock Turner shouldn't have been convicted of sexually assaulting her because she was passed out and lying next to a dumpster when he assaulted her -- he didn't put her there, so why was assaulting her wrong, Somerby argued. Somerby worried about the damage to a young man's career as an olympic swimmer, not any consequences to Miller who had no business doing things a man might do routinely. Somerby does not believe that men should restrain themselves and not rape women. He agrees with those who think women must always toe the line and hide themselves from men who might be overcome by the need to rape them. Whatta guy our Somerby is!

      And never mind what Somerby said about it being OK for a 32 year old man to interact sexually with a 14 year old, as Roy Moore was accused of doing, as long as the mama approved of the match. He was, after all, a catch, said Somerby.

      Somerby seems to be confused about rape, so why should I assume he doesn't think it is OK, when he refuses to join those blaming Hamas for raping Israeli women as a form of torture during their attack on Israel? Somerby appears to be among those men who think women should give sex on demand because who are women to withhold it arbitrarily from men like themselves. And he has stated that women who accuse men of sexual assault are all liars and that women should not be believed, which is why he uses weasel-words to talk about rape and Hamas, saying they "apparently" committed rape but who knows, isn't it ultimately a matter of judgment and anything is possible (or not possible in this case).

      Misogyny is alive and well at this blog. Don't be that guy yourself, Dogface.

    8. At the beginning of reporting on the Hamas attack, I posted a comment about a report on the use of meth-type drugs by Palestinian terrorists that created a violent frenzy beyond what might have occurred in undrugged men. That seems likely to have contributed to the exreme violence committed by Hamas. Drugging of soldiers goes back to before WWII. Inhuman behavior arises from changing the brain chemistry and altering the psychological state of those committing extreme acts like those by Hamas. I am wondering why that reporting has been so little discussed.

      From USA Today:

      "It's called many names. The jihadi drug, Captain Courage, the Poor Man’s Cocaine. But were Hamas terrorists high on the synthetic stimulant Captagon when they attacked Israel on Oct. 7, brutally killing more than 1,400 people and kidnapping at least 220 more?

      Two Israeli security officials with direct knowledge of the matter confirmed to USA TODAY that the methamphetamine-like substance was found on at least some Hamas members killed during or after the stunning raids on Israel, bolstering an Oct. 19 report by Israel's Channel 12 News that was not based on official sources."

  7. Corby is adorable.

  8. "Should the four friends on Fox & Friends told viewers about that report? As a matter of fairness, we'll repeat what we said yesterday:

    As always, that's a matter of judgment.

    As a matter of basic fairness, there were many other news events to report and discuss as last Friday began. "

    It sounds to me like Somerby is excusing Fox for not covering the NY Times story about Hamas. It is a matter of judgment, Somerby says, and there were plenty of other things to talk about.

    Then, later on, Somerby blames liberals for the babel (which he promises to talk about endlessly).

    Somerby says:

    "With respect to that Times report, blue tribe viewers heard all about it. As best we can tell, devoted all-day viewers of Fox didn't hear about it at all.

    This helps create a type of Babel, or so it will soon say here. Can a large modern nation really expect to function this way?"

    So, by watching news items that Fox refuses to carry, WE liberals are creating a type of babel and interfering with our nation's functioning. It is all our fault and we shouldn't be hearing about things that Fox ignores, according to Somerby.

    But we may already know about too many things that those on the right have not been told. It may already be too late to include the right in our circle of knowledge about forbidden reports. Unless they all want to start watching CNN and MSNBC, I don't know how to solve this babel problem. Perhaps Somerby will tell us what else we should stop knowing, thinking and doing, tomorrow. Or maybe it is just another big tease.

  9. DiC - Productivity up at annual rate of 5.2% in 3Q. Holy smokes!

    1. DiC will politely avert his eyes.

    2. Wake me when DIC is persuaded to change his vote to Biden.

      Electoral politics is about motivating one’s supporters to actually participate in voting, persuasion plays no role of significance.

    3. 1:55,
      Hence the media pounding Biden on inflation and his age.
      They aren't trying to persuade voters to choose Trump. They are trying to de-motivate Democratic voters.

  10. Somerby doesn’t ask if the Times story was true or accurate. Whether cable news should have reported on it is a matter of judgment he says.

    Readers could be forgiven for inferring that, after days and weeks of seeming to indicate that he believes the Palestinians have legitimate grievances, (based it should be said on items he sees in the media and on Wikipedia), Somerby thinks this current story should have been reported.

    But he doesn’t say that.

    I imagine Walter Cronkite would have reported it. But Somerby has written post after post denouncing the times coverage of various things, so it’s unclear what editorial decision he would urge here.

  11. “Should they have reported the findings in that Times report?

    As always, that's a matter of judgment”

    From Monday:

    “Stating the obvious, Donald J. Trump's legal problems are a real and ongoing American and global news event. 
    That said, those legal problems aren't the only American / global news event. In our view, MSNBC's obsessive attention to those problems represents extremely bad corporate judgment, on a journalistic and a political basis.”

    Apparently, part of the decision making at cable news organizations, according to Somerby, should be motivated by political considerations. This despite the fact that MSNBC’s current Trump reporting is accurate.

  12. "If that's been happening on those campuses, why haven't we seen the videotape of those ugly, inexcusable calls? "

    There is video of students chanting "globalize the intifada" and "from the river to the sea" at their rallies. These are both slogans understood to call for aggression against Israel, which is the only Jewish state in the world. The best evidence that aggression is intended is the support by such students for the Palestinian people and for what Hamas did on 10/7, which they justify by blaming Israel.

    Somerby's pretense that this isn't happening is morally repugnant.

    1. wrong comments board, moron. oh, and YOU'RE morally repugnant.

    2. Operation 29:

      Debrief liaison: Fanny Blofart

  13. Operation 28:

    Debrief liaison: Fanny van der Faart