We'll guess that Laura Ingraham knew better!


Did she get this other point right? Yesterday morning, a surprising disagreement broke out on Fox & Friends.

It happened early in the 7 a.m. hour; we happened to be watching at the time. At Mediaite, Colby Hall reported the spat—but he omitted one part of what was said.

Weird! Out of nowhere, Steve Doocy blurted the statement shown below about the GOP's attempt to impeach President Biden. For Hall's report, click here:

DOOCY (2/28/24): On Capitol Hill, a lot of Republican lawmakers say they have seen zero evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors. And right now, the Republicans do not have enough votes to impeach. And after dozens of interviews and over 100,000 documents released to the committees, the Republicans have yet to produce any direct evidence of misconduct by Joe Biden.

Weird! Doocy started by saying that, and then he just kept going!

At Fox, friends don't let friends say things which make them seem to be drunk! Brian Kilmeade hurried to push back against Doocy's highly peculiar lapse. Ainsley Earhardt tried to help Kilmeade do that. 

"Things got a bit spirited," Hall correctly wrote. To watch this surprising debate between friends, you can start by clicking here.

Doocy basically stuck to his guns in the face of the pushback. Eventually, Earhardt said this:

EARHARDT: They're just so corrupt. The whole family is so corrupt. 

KILMEADE: Unbelievable.

EARHARDT: How does Joe Biden have multimillion-dollar houses? We know what he makes. He had to have gotten money somewhere.

Eventually, that's what Earhardt said. At Mediaite, Hall didn't report her remark.

Where did President Biden get his money? If you're a red tribe cable news viewer, you've seen that obvious insinuation advanced a million times. 

At Fox, it's a standard talking point. Everyone knows to repeat it.

Meanwhile, the answer to Earhardt's question has been reported a million times. You just aren't allowed to hear the answer on Fox News Channel programs. 

Where did "middle-class Joe" get his money? Headline included, Politico reported the matter as shown below during Campaign 2020:

Bidens earned $15 million in 2 years after Obama administration

Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill earned more than $15 million during the two years after they left the White House, with the bulk of it coming from lucrative public speaking and book deals, according to new financial disclosures and tax returns released Tuesday.

The disclosures offer a new, more comprehensive look at the money the Bidens amassed since leaving the White House—a sharp uptick from where their finances stood in the final years of the Obama administration and Biden’s time in the Senate, when he referred to himself as “middle-class Joe” and put a working-class life story at the center of his political campaigns.

That report came from Politico. For the AP report, click here.

These facts were reported a million times as part of the coverage of Campaign 2020. If you google the topic, you'll find this matter reported again and again, often with a direct tie to the purchase of the Bidens' Delaware beach house.

In fairness, we wouldn't assume that Earhardt actually knew that. We assume that Ingraham would have known, but she played the same "where did he get his money" card on her Fox News program last night.

Just a guess:

We'll guess that Earhardt was simply repeating a standard talking point, one she'd heard a million times. We'd assume that Ingraham would have known that her insinuation was perhaps a bit bogus.

On the other hand, we thought Ingraham made a fairly decent point last night about the brutal killing of Laken Riley, age 22, down in Athens, Georgia. 

For the record, Ingraham is plenty smart. She's also fairer than a Fox bombastic like Sean Hannity, though she doesn't necessarily overdo it in any particular circumstance.

Last night, she opened her program with a segment about the brutal murder of Riley. She started by drawing a comparison between the way the killing of George Floyd was treated within the liberal world, as opposed to the way the killing of Riley has been ignored by the Biden administration, even as it has been afforded nationwide attention within other demographic segments.

Why not consider taking the Laura Ingraham Challenge? To watch that opening segment, you should start by clicking here.

We thought Ingraham made a fairly decent point, though you have to be prepared to ignore some formulations that will surely strike you, correctly or otherwise, as inaccurate / overstated / unfair.

When Ingraham snarked about the source of Biden's wealth, it seemed to us that she was selling a point where she likely knew better.

When it came to the killing of Riley, we thought she made a fairly decent point. We mention that for only one reason:

At present, President Biden is getting beaten by Candidate Trump on the basis of such concerns. At some point, will we blues ever get around to wondering how we look to tens of millions of others—why we could even end losing in November to the world's least electable man?

Allowing for the enumerated points of concern, we thought Ingraham made a fairly decent overall point. Tens of millions of others would have agreed. Our basic question goes like this:

Can that many others be wrong?

BLUES: Was there something we were withholding?


Last night, blue tribunes confessed: Can denizens of our own blue tribe come to see ourselves more clearly?

At this site, it has long seemed to us that we badly need to do that. Might we come to see ourselves more clearly through the auspices of classic literature? 

In recent weeks, we've been working with an ancient poem of war as we seek a way to gain such insight. That said, before we turned to the verses of The Iliad, we had cited a poem of war composed by Robert Frost.

Frost recited that poem from memory at President Kennedy's inauguration. (Blinded by sunlight from an overnight blanket of snow, he'd been unable to read a new poem he'd composed for the occasion.)

Blinded by light from the blanket of snow, Frost had to work from memory. He recited a poem of the American revolutionary war, such as that revolution was. 

Frost's poem was called The Gift Outright. The passage we've cited says this:

Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.

In Frost's poem, we colonials finally came to acknowledge the fact that we had somehow come to be Americans. This acknowledgment led to many years of war, the poem says as it continues:

Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.

We were in eighth grade when Frost recited that poem. We don't remember what we thought about it at the time.

At that time, we had a very limited understanding of the various prices which were paid as the land "vaguely [expanded] westward." That said, we memorized the poem for our 8th grade English class.

We were way out in California then, but the New England based poem always stuck in our head.

That said, how about it? Have we denizens of our own blue tribe been withholding something in recent years—something which has made us weak? 

Have we been withholding ourselves? Has that been making us weak?

Last night, in the wake of yesterday's Supreme Court decision, major figures from within our own tribe finally acknowledged that act of withholding—even copped to what's been withheld. 

We'll start at the end of last night's All In as Chris Hayes spoke with David Plouffe, President Obama's campaign manager. To watch their full exchange, you can start by clicking here.

In a decision which rocked the world of blue tribe cable, the Supreme Court had suddenly built another delay into the "insurrection" trial of Candidate Donald J. Trump. 

It now seemed that this trial wouldn't take place before November's election. In the final segment of All In, Plouffe and Hayes spoke with unusual clarity about what this change in the landscape means: 

HAYES (2/28/24): The election is eight months away. All of [Trump's] efforts to wriggle out of legal criminal, criminal legal accountability have sort of worked so far.

Like I said at the top of the show, it's hard to believe that I ever allowed myself to think it would be otherwise, right? 

This is how it's gone, but here's the thing. Here's the thing, the most important thing:

The only thing that has ever worked to stop Donald Trump is you and me. And I mean that in the sense of the will of the voters, Americans, the pro-democracy majority, in Americans showing up at the polls and in the streets and in civil society to protest Donald Trump and to vote against him.

The democracy he wants so badly to destroy, that is the only way that this will end.

We'll have to beat him at the polls! With that, Hayes introduced Plouffe, who quickly engaged in this exchange about the Court's surprising decision:

HAYES: There's a kind of spectatorship quality to the legal stuff that is transfixing and compelling. But there's nothing you or, you know, people can do about what happens there.  

What they can do about it is how they participate in American democracy. And one of the remarkable stories since that first march that first weekend of 2017, is how much people have done.

PLOUFFE: Well, it's a reminder. There is no cavalry. The only cavalry is the voters.


We are where we are, which is there is going to be no outside event that prevents [Trump] from taking those walks on January 20 and unleashing Hell, if not the end of our democracy. So it's on the voters... 

You just have to find a way to put it together so you keep this guy out of office.

It's up to the voters, Plouffe and Hayes said. There will be no "outside event" which keeps Trump out of the Oval.

Briefly, might we talk? Hayes and his "beloved colleagues" have spent the bulk of the past many years beating the drum in search of some such "outside event."

Hour after hour and day after day, they've sold us the story we very much like—the story in which Trump is magically frog-marched away at the end of one of his trials.

They have refused to talk about the issues which have propelled Trump into the lead over President Biden in a wide array of recent polls. They have pleased us and pleased us and pleased us again, offering us the magical story which keeps us viewers returning for more.

How much are they paid to sell us this corporate product? You aren't allowed to know that! Now, and finally—at long last—Hayes was saying that we'll have to do this ourselves. 

As Plouffe continued, he even said such remarkable things as this:

PLOUFFE: Listen, we have a challenged candidate because of his age. But at the end of the day, he's starting to talk about that more openly...I actually think this helps focus the mind. There is no easy off-ramp. No one else is going to save the country. 

Really? Our blue tribe has a challenged candidate? Suddenly, it's OK to drop the veil of group denial and say such things out loud?

As the conversation continued, Hayes and Plouffe were even more frank about the blue tribe's candidate. 

"Biden has a lot of work to do, no question about that," Plouffe said. This is where the exchange and the program ended:

HAYES: I've got this feeling about— You ever go, let's say you go to a reunion, OK? You haven't seen someone in fifteen years. It's like, "Whoa! Wow! You've aged," or "You've gotten work done," or—

I don't know, there's a million different ways you might see a person and be like, "I haven't seen you in a while and you look different."

It strikes me that there's a little bit of that with Biden....Joe Biden is 81 years old. No one's pretending otherwise. That's what he sounds like.

PLOUFFE: ...Yes, it's not the same guy from 2016. But this is who he is.

HAYES: David Plouffe, it's always great to have you here in person.

Candidate Biden isn't the same guy he was in 2016? Suddenly, we're encouraged to notice such things, even to say them in public?

Hayes and his beloved colleagues have spent the past many years pleasing us with the idea that some "outside event" was going to take Candidate Trump off the field of battle.

Focus on the legal minutia has started at 4 p.m. each day with two hours of Deadline: White House. The focus on the lawsuits and trials has continued on through the night.

In the course of chasing this theme, blue tribe stars have refused to talk about such issues as immigration and the southwest border. As a general matter, they've also been pretending that nothing of consequence has changed with our blue tribe's candidate.

To our eye and ear, President Biden doesn't seem to be the same person he was in 2016. A large majority of the public has told pollsters that they've also noticed some such thing. 

By and large, those voters have also noticed the vast disorder at the border. On blue tribe cable, we've just continued to seek that glorious "outside event."

At 6:08 this morning, Jonathan Lemire was suddenly singing the same new song on Morning Joe. "We can't count on the courts to bail us out," the Morning Joe sidekick now said. 

At 6:15, Joyce Vance followed suit:

"Voters, it's up to you," the legal analyst said. 

At the start of the 7 o'clock hour, the new morning got even newer. There was Jeh Johnson, on Fox & Friends, appearing above a chyron which said this: 


Johnson was director of Homeland Security under President Obama. To watch his presentation, start by clicking here.

For years, there was something we were withholding. In our view, it was making up weak. 

Our stars were withholding a wide array of truthful assessments. This was very good for ratings, for profits and for salaries, but it was making us weak. Let us refresh you with the recent "swing state" survey results we posted yesterday:

Nevada: Trump +10
North Carolina: Trump +9
Georgia: Trump +9
Arizona: Trump +6
Pennsylvania: Trump +5
Wisconsin: Trump +4
Michigan: Trump +3

The campaign may not turn out that way. Then again, it might!

Along the way, our blue tribe's dream of an "outside event" has been making us weak. At this site, we're going to vote for Candidate Biden, but Candidate Biden is behind in the polls, and for all the ridiculous, pitiful claims that Donald J. Trump called his wife Mercedes, there is zero guarantee that that will ever change.

Can we learn to see ourselves more clearly? The hour is somewhat late.

Tomorrow: "Beloved viewers"

This afternoon: Laura Ingraham, possibly right (but also plainly wrong)

President Biden's war on shrinkflation!


A State of the Union alert: Yesterday, if only in passing, we mentioned reports that President Biden is planning to go to war with the practice known as shrinkflation. 

The latest report to that effect appeared yesterday, on the front page of the New York Times' Business section. Print edition headline included, the Times report started like this:

New Target For Biden: Shrinkflation

On Super Bowl Sunday, the White House released a short video in which a smiling President Biden, sitting next to a table stocked with chips, cookies and sports drinks, slammed companies for reducing the package size and portions of popular foods without an accompanying reduction in price.

“I’ve had enough of what they call shrinkflation,” Mr. Biden declared.

The video lit up social media and delighted a consumer advocate named Edgar Dworsky, who has studied “shrinkflation” trends for more than a decade. He has twice briefed Mr. Biden’s economic aides, first in early 2023 and again a few days before the video aired. The first briefing seemed to lead nowhere. The second clearly informed Mr. Biden’s new favorite economic argument—that companies have used a rapid run-up in prices to pad their pockets by keeping those prices high while giving consumers less.

The products arrayed in the president’s video, like Oreos and Wheat Thins, were all examples of the shrinkflation that Mr. Dworsky had documented on his Consumer World website.

So the Times report began, with a definition of "shrinkflation" lurking in paragraph 1: 

When companies "reduce the package size and portions of popular foods without an accompanying reduction in price," what we have is a case of "shrinkflation!"

The price of the candy bar stays the same, but the candy bar is smaller! That sort of thing happens all the time—but it doesn't necessarily mean that the company has been "padding its pockets" by "keeping prices [where they were] while giving consumers less."

Wheat Thin consumers, let's talk! Sometimes a company has to charge more just to keep its profit margin where it is. 

The company may be paying more for the ingredients it uses in creating its biscuits or crackers.  To maintain its pre-existing profit margin, the company has to "pass that increase along to the consumer." 

It has to pass the increase along! A company can accomplish that task in two different ways:

It can keep the size or the volume of its product the same while raising the price of the product. Or it can leave the price of the product where it is while providing a smaller candy bar or a few less potato chips.

That second practice is known as shrinkflation. You get to keep paying the same old price, but you run out of Oreos faster. 

Now for the key point in all this:

There's no obvious reason to believe that shrinkflation is a sign of price gouging. The company may be boosting its profit margin but there's no reason to assume that it is.

As noted above, there are two different ways to raise the per-unit price for products like Triscuits or Froot Loops. Why should the practice known as "shrinkflation" come in for special attention?

We don't have the slightest idea! But as the Times report continues, it almost sounds like the Biden White House has signed on to that fuzzy idea:

While inflation is moderating, shoppers remain furious over the high price of groceries. Mr. Biden, who has seen his approval ratings suffer amid rising prices, has found a blame-shifting message he loves in the midst of his re-election campaign: skewering companies for shrinking the size of candy bars, ice cream cartons and other food items, while raising prices or holding them steady, even as the companies’ profit margins remain high.

The president has begun accusing companies of “ripping off” Americans with those tactics and is considering new executive actions to crack down on the practice, administration officials and other allies say, though they will not specify the steps he might take. He is also likely to criticize shrinkflation during his State of the Union address next week.

Mr. Biden could also embrace new legislation seeking to empower the Federal Trade Commission to more aggressively investigate and punish corporate price gouging, including in grocery stories.

Raising the price of the product is OK, but reducing the size of the product isn't? That doesn't seem to make any obvious sense, but presidential action against this practice may be lodged in next week's State of the Union address!

Just a thought:

Consumer anger about inflation almost surely isn't based on the price, or on the size, of candy bars and bags of potato chips. Second term presidents have sometimes been accused of taking aim at tiny targets, but this first-term target seems especially tiny, and the way it's being singled out from its fraternal twin doesn't seem to make any sense.

To be clear:

Pretty much by definition, "corporate price gouging" isn't OK. Presumably, corporate price gouging is already illegal under a thousand and one different federal laws. 

If President Biden can offer evidence of that kind of corporate conduct, appropriate action would be desirable. But there's no particular reason to think that "shrinkflation" is more corrupt than the simpler practice of raising the price that is charged for an existing product.

A war on shrinkflation would seem to be a bit incoherent and remarkably small. Will we the people really go for some such crusade?

Just a guess:

Red tribe pundits will scream and howl. Blue tribe scribes will applaud it!

BLUES: Red viewers were told about Nevada!


Blue tribe viewers were not: Oof! A new assortment of swing state polls was bruited on cable last night.

Correction! The polling results were bruited on red tribe cable. Blue tribe cable stayed silent concerning these scary results.

The data came from polling done by Emerson College / The Hill. As best we can tell, this listing of recent swing state polling results can be defended as basically accurate:

Nevada: Trump +10
North Carolina: Trump +9
Georgia: Trump +9
Arizona: Trump +6
Pennsylvania: Trump +5
Wisconsin: Trump +4
Michigan: Trump +3

That's the rundown as we saw it bruited on Fox. As best we can tell, those figures can be defended as a basically accurate account of the recent polling data.

We saw those figures bruited on Fox; they weren't cited on MSNBC. Headline included, here's a February 22 report from The Hill concerning the Nevada / Arizona figures:

Trump leads Biden in Arizona, Nevada: Polls

Former President Trump is leading President Biden in head-to-head hypotheticals in both Arizona and Nevada, polling released Thursday shows. 

A new Emerson College Polling/The Hill survey found 46 percent of Arizona voters support Trump when pitted in a one-on-one match-up with Biden, while 43 percent back the incumbent. Another 12 percent were undecided.

In Nevada, an Emerson College Polling/KLAS-TV/The Hill survey found Trump leading by 6 points—with 46 percent of voters in the state supporting the former president and 40 percent backing Biden. Fourteen percent were undecided. 

As Biden and Trump both appear poised to win their respective party presidential nominations, the polls signal a close race in key battleground states. 

With independent candidates added into the mix, Trump’s lead over Biden in Arizona jumps from 3 to 6 points—and climbs in Nevada from 6 to 10 points.

We're not sure how those polls "signal a close race" as we look ahead to November. That said, the new Emerson surveys may have been "wrong" on the very day they were conducted—and they could end up having little to do with the way the campaign ends up in those seven swing states.

We don't offer these data for their (limited) predictive value. We offer them as another example of the way our modern news industry works.

In this age of "segregation by viewpoint," red tribe voters will routinely hear some set of facts—facts which will often be accompanied by waves of clownlike distortions.

Blue tribe voters will hear vastly different sets of facts. On occasion, it's even possible that blue tribe voters may hear alternate distortions!

In yesterday afternoon's post, we mentioned this rapidly devolving aspect of our nation's journalistic arrangements. In this subsequent post, Kevin Drum posted this (fully representative) part of what we said:

On one channel, [the claim that an illegal immigrant killed a nursing student in Athens, Georgia] drove eight hours of primetime reporting and discussion. On the other channel, the topic doesn't exist. However you may assess the dueling news judgments, our tribes are now living in two different worlds with respect to topic selection and delivery of information.

So it went, again last night, with respect to those polling statistics. 

Gone are the days when everyone sat and listened to Walter Cronkite, with few other sources of news. Also gone are the more recent days when cable news programs like Crossfire presented debates, or possibly pseudo-debates, between advocates of some red tribe position and advocates of the blue stance.

Under our new arrangements, Red America lives in one journalistic universe, Blue America lives in another. That said:

Concerning that brutal murder in Georgia, we're inclined to disagree with the general thrust of what Kevin then said:

DRUM (2/27/24): Immigrants, both legal and otherwise, commit crimes at lower rates than natives. Still, they do commit crimes, and if you force feed your audience hours of news about every one, they'll naturally think that crime from illegal immigrants is out of control. It's all theater.

We agree with Kevin's initial statement. It has long been our understanding that "immigrants, both legal and otherwise, commit crimes at lower rates than natives."

Having said that, we'll also say this. In our experience, red tribe tribunes haven't been disputing that fact in their treatment of immigration and border issues over the past few months.

In our experience, they've been saying something different. It seems to us that it's hard to argue with the claims they have been making, clownish Jesse Watters-style distortions to the side.

At time like these, members of every warring tribe may need access to good sound advice. "Long ago when the men fought for Troy," it was Nestor, king of Pylos' sandy harbor, who "always gave the best advice," starting in Book One of the Iliad, when he chastises Agamemnon lord of men, tells him to beat back his rage.

The ten-year siege of Troy was a war of the Late Bronze Age. Our current sieges are being fought in our own Information Age.

Last night, the PBS NewsHour took up the matter of the dispute about the Georgia killing. When it did, it seemed to us that our blue tribe was handed some unhelpful advice.

You can read the transcript of the NewsHour segment here. You can also watch the videotape.

At one point, the NewsHour's Amna Nawaz asked the most direct and appropriate question about what's being said. It seems to us that her academic interlocutor responded by debunking several points which we've seen no one make:

NAWAZ (2/27/24): Professor, I'm sure you have heard this argument before. We're hearing this again, which is that if this man had not been allowed to enter into the United States, if he'd not been allowed to stay, he couldn't have committed this crime, and this young woman would still be alive today.

Are people making that argument wrong?

PROFESSOR KUBRIN: Well, it's not that that argument's wrong, because, essentially, that is true. But I think it's misplaced, because, at the end of the day, if we really do want to cut down on crime in general, absent this one horrific incident, making restrictive, exclusionary and harsh policies aimed at immigrants is really not going to yield the benefits of reductions in crime that many people believe, largely because, as I just mentioned, immigrants are not the ones engaging in crime.

I would point out also that there's been a lot of instances of violence on campus with young individuals getting killed, tragic events, most of which are occurring by native-born Americans. And so I think we need to pay attention to broader factors that contribute to this kind of senseless violence, rather than simply aiming our targets at immigrants.

So it went. For the record, each participant may have seemed to be assuming the guilt of the accused. 

That said, Nawaz accurately recounted the argument which is being made on red tribe cable. The professor responded by saying that the argument is "true"—at which point, she said the word "but" and just kept on going.

The professor proceeded to knock down several claims we've seen no one make. We thought back to the occasion when our blue tribe's leading tribune had made a common but mistaken claim about the gender wage gap—and an academic came on the air the following night to help her wriggle away from a clear statement of the fact that she had erred.

As we continue to watch blue tribe cable, it increasingly seems to us that our tribe's leading tribunes are increasingly going wrong in their general focus. 

We humans all need good sound advice at times of tribal warfare like these. There's a lot of journalistic garbage on red tribe "cable news"—but are we getting good advice and sound direction from our own blue tribe's TV shows?  

Increasingly, it seems to us that we pretty much aren't. Also, it seems to us that the die has been cast—that it's too late for our tribal advisers to intercede in ways which might help.

Next November, will it turn out that those Emerson College polling figures were basically "right?" We can't answer that question, but one group of voters heard about those figures last night, and one group of voters did not. 

Tomorrow: Still trying to make our way to those "beloved colleagues [and] viewers"

On Fox, they discussed the murder all night!


Could that new survey be accurate?  As with any such survey, it might be "right," but it could always be "wrong."

That said, the survey was described as "shocking" by Mediaite's Isaac Schorr. We can easily see why he would have said that.

Headline included, here's what Schorr's report said:  

SHOCK POLL: Trump Has a Positive Favorability Rating, Biden’s Is 11 Points Underwater

A shocking new poll from Harvard University’s Center for American Political Studies and Harris X suggests that former President and likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is well-positioned to retake the White House come this November.

In addition to boasting a 6-point (48%-42%) lead over President Joe Biden, Trump’s favorability rating has recovered to the point where he is now seen positively by a plurality of the country. While 36% of the 2,022 respondents indicated that they view Trump very unfavorably and additional 11% view him at least somewhat unfavorably, 30% say they view him very favorably and an additional 20% view him at least somewhat favorably.

These figures look particularly good when they’re contrasted with Biden’s on the same question. Thirty-nine percent view the incumbent very unfavorably and 15% more at least view him at least somewhat unfavorably. Biden’s favorable numbers summed, meanwhile, add up to only 43%. That means that while Trump’s head is above water for what seems like the first time in ages, Biden’s is underwater by 11.

We can see why those numbers came as a shock. Also, we wouldn't assume that those numbers just have to be "wrong"—although, of course, they could be.

Why in the world would half the country be placing Trump in the "favorable" basket? That could reflect the state of certain high-profile policy issues—issues which may favor Trump even more solidly now than when that recent survey was taken. 

Also, it could reflect the clowning which occurs on our nation's dueling "cable news" programs. Consider the distribution of issues which prevailed on red and blue cable last night.

On MSNBC, prime time starts at 4 p.m. (Deadline: White House.). On the Fox News Channel, prime time starts at 5 p.m. (The Five).

Below, you see the way Jesse Watters started The Five last night. This is journalism at its dumbest, but we'd have to guess that the news event in question strongly favors Trump:

WATTERS (2/27/24): It's five o'clock in New York and this is The Five.

[Introductory music]

Shocking details in the slaying of a Georgia nursing student, Laken Riley, at the hands of a criminal illegal immigrant. The liberal media is trying to blame everything except Joe Biden's open borders insanity for what happened.

For starters, Watters forgot to insert the word "allegedly" into his capsule statement.  Absent-mindedly, he had already convicted the man who has been arrested and charged with this brutal crime. 

That was an obvious though relatively minor point. The depth of the dumbness grew when Watters authored this claim at 5:02 p.m.:

WATTERS: The Associated Press is doing everything they can to avoid mentioning the suspect is illegal, referring to him as "an Athens resident" and focusing their headlines on the dangers of women jogging alone.

This silly 47-year-old child was up to his tricks again.

Question! Had the Associated Press been doing everything it could to avoid mentioning the fact that "the suspect is illegal?" 

Actually, no. No, but also sad!

By that time, the AP had published at three basic, full-length reports about the arrest of Jose Ibarra, age 26. Below, you see the headlines from the reports along with the AP's account of Ibarra's immigration / citizenship status:

Saturday, February 24
Police arrest man in killing of nursing student at University of Georgia

It wasn’t immediately known if Ibarra had an attorney who could speak on his behalf. [University of Georgia Police Chief Jeff] Clark said Ibarra doesn’t have an extensive criminal history and is not a U.S. citizen, but he did not know Ibarra’s immigration status.

Saturday, February 24
Georgia university town is shaken by the killing of a nursing student who was out on a run

Jose Ibarra, 26, was taken into custody for the slaying of Riley on Friday, police said. Ibarra is not a U.S. citizen and is from Venezuela, but his immigration status is not yet known, said Clark, the university police chief.

Monday, February 26
Republicans say Georgia student’s killing shows Biden’s migration policies have failed

The man charged with murder in Riley’s beating death, Jose Ibarra, is a Venezuelan citizen who immigration authorities say unlawfully crossed into the U.S. in September 2022.


U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement says Ibarra, 26, was detained by the Border Patrol on Sept. 8, 2022, after entering from Mexico near El Paso, Texas. He was released for further processing, according to ICE. It’s unclear if Ibarra applied for asylum.

At the time of the initial AP reports, Ibarra's immigration status hadn't been officially reported. The AP reported the facts which had been reported, then added the fuller information in yesterday's report. 

As of the start of last evening's program, had the AP been "doing everything they can to avoid mentioning the suspect is illegal?" That was just the usual persiflage from the silly child Fox has chosen to be the smirking face of its "journalism."

The silly child's silly complaints were based on a single offshoot report by the AP, a report which bore this headline:

The killing of a nursing student out for a run highlights the fears of solo female athletes

In that offshoot report, the AP did not discuss Ibarra's immigration status. 

We can't say it's entirely clear that the AP should have done so in that report. It also isn't clear that the AP should have run that report in its current form at this time at all.

It is clear that Watters' claims—his claim that the AP was avoiding Ibarra's immigration status, along with his initial childlike claim about "the liberal media"—were merely the latest examples of the silly child's inexcusably childish "reporting." 

(To appearances, the silly child's sweeping claim about what "the liberal media" is doing was based upon that one offshoot report by the AP.  Watters behaves in such dimwitted ways on a stunningly regular basis. If some one columnist at some one publication says A, B or C or X, Y or Z, Fox News viewers are instantly told that "the media" said it!)

Waters is a practiced clown, a journalistic trained seal. That said, the coverage of this particular murder has a lot to show us about the way our discourse works under the arrangements we've described as "segregation by viewpoint."

Consider what happened last night:

As we've noted, the Fox News Channel's prime time schedule started with The Five. That program began with a 13-minute segment concerning this brutal murder. From there, the topic drove prime time programs on the channel all the way up to midnight.

Over on the blue tribe's channel, a different judgment prevailed. As best we can tell, there was no mention of this murder on any of MSNBC's programs, starting with the two-hour broadcast of Deadline: White House from 4-6 p.m.

On one channel, this topic drove eight hours of primetime reporting and discussion. On the other channel, the topic doesn't exist. However you may assess the dueling news judgments, our tribes are now living in two different worlds with respect to topic selection and delivery of information. 

Red tribe viewers live in one world. Our blue lives in another. 

What was being discussed on MSNBC last night? Does anyone need to ask? The one standard topic was being flogged:

Trump Trump Trump Trump Jail! Next up, Stormy Daniels!

Today, President Biden has finally decided to travel to the southwest border. Last week, he finally went to East Palestine, Ohio, more than a year after the environmental disaster he was supposedly there to investigate.

News reports say the president plans to discuss "shrinkflation" in next week's State of the Union address. It's stunning to see the way this White House has lost control of basic issues, the southwest border chief among them. 

Beyond that, it's amazing to think that as silly a non-topic topic as "shrinkflation" seems to be dominating the thinking of President Biden and / or his issues team. For a report from page B1 in today's New York Times, you can click right here.

Is it possible that the "shocking" Harvard / Harris survey could actually be accurate? What doesn't kill me makes me stronger, Nietzsche apparently said.

Candidate Trump keeps powering on, a bit like Freddy Krueger. As he does, our blue tribe stars don't seem to be able to stop talking to themselves and to our own blue tribe's highly permissive choir.

Candidate Trump keeps powering ahead! Our White House seems to have lost control of its topic agenda, and our blue tribe pundits can't seem to get their heads out of some very deep sand.

Final point:

We saw a segment on yesterday's Deadline White House which was stunningly unintelligent. To watch Nicolle Wallace lead this discussion on her first day back, you can start by clicking here.

That's just really silly stuff—deeply unintelligent. Cable stars start acting that way when there's no one around with an alternate view—when there's no one on hand to critique their presentations or simply to object. 

Our view? By this time, as derangement and denial seem to be taking over, the mental acuity of our blue tribe's cable news stars seems to be in serious doubt.  

The silly child Watters clowned with that topic yesterday, but then again what is new? In our view, the strength of that emerging topic is clear, with denial and avoidance unlikely to be very helpful. 

(We refer to the Athens murder, and to the southwest border as a general topic.)

Could that shocking new survey be accurate? If it is, our own blue team will almost surely be the last ones to know!

BLUES: Its gender politics are gruesome throughout!


What about our own? Can we modern-day, tribal humans possibly learn to see ourselves more clearly? 

Can we learn to see ourselves more clearly through the auspices of the western world's earliest war poem? Can those of us in our own blue tribe take advantage of such opportunities?

If so, The Iliad beckons! It's the story of a ten-year siege—a seemingly endless siege of Troy conducted by a vast assembly of Achaean (Argive; Greek) armies. 

Judged by contemporary standards, the gender politics of the epic is awful.

But then too, just take a look at us! Before we consider our society's current political sieges, let's revisit that siege of Troy.

As we've already noted, the gender politics of The Iliad are horrible right from the jump:

Book One of the ancient war poem is called "The Rage of Achilles" in the Robert Fagles translation. That rage is brought on by a slight to Achilles' honor.

That slight is occasioned when Agamemnon, lord of men, is forced to return his sexual slave to her father, a priest to Apollo. He proceeds to seize Achilles' sexual slave to make up for his loss.

Thus insulted, Achilles repairs to his tents and refuses to fight. This creates the central problem of the ancient poem:

The Achaeans know they will never conquer the towering walls of Troy until Achilles, their greatest warrior, agrees to return to the fight.

Judged by contemporary norms—at least, judged by stated contemporary norms—the sexual politics here are awful. That said, it isn't until Book Three of the epic that we learn why this siege ever took place. 

Once again, the sexual politics are painful and gruesome, as judged by supposed modern standards.

Why have the Achaeans armies wasted nine of ten years of their lives fighting and dying on the plains before the walls of Troy? In Book Three, we're finally told! We'll let the leading authority on the war poem offer a brief synopsis:

Exposition (Books 1-4)


(3) The armies approach each other, but before they meet, Paris offers to end the war by fighting a duel with Menelaus, urged by Hector, his brother and hero of Troy. 

Here, the initial cause of the entire war is explained: Helen, wife of Menelaus, and the most beautiful woman in the world, is either through seduction or by force, taken by Paris from Menelaus' home in Sparta. 

Menelaus and Paris agree to duel. Helen will marry the victor.

All in all, that's about as old-world as it gets. 

For the record, Hector and Paris are the sons of Priam, the Trojan king. Menelaus is one of the sons of Agamemnon, lord of men and commander of the Argive forces.

At some point in the past, Paris has run off with Helen, the wife of Menelaus. Inevitably, Helen is understood to be "the most beautiful woman in the world."

The ten-year siege has been undertaken due to this insult to Achaean honor. As in the case of the sexual slaves in Book One, so too here: 

Helen is prized for her astonishing beauty. Such was the traditional framing of women's role in this ancient poem.

Book One turns on an offense to honor occasioned by the theft of a sexual slave. In Book Three, we learn that this ten-year siege has resulted from an offense to honor caused by the loss of the world's most beautiful woman.

This is old-world sexual politics in its most old world. That said, a more modern strain of humanity enters the poem in Book Three when we're taken inside the walls of Troy and we see the way Helen relates to her father-in-law, King Priam.

Was Helen stolen away by Paris, or was her flight consensual? Within the translation of Rober Fagles, we'll go with the latter construct.

As we enter the world of Book Three, Achaean and Trojan armies are about to wage their latest battle on the plains outside Troy. Helen is called to the walls of Troy by the intercession of a goddess. 

We begin to get a glimpse of who Helen actually is:

And now a messenger went to white-armed Helen too,
Iris, looking for all the world like Hector's sister


And Iris came on Helen in her rooms
weaving a growing web, a dark red folding robe,
working into the weft the endless bloody struggles
stallion-breaking Trojans and Argives armed in bronze
had suffered all for her at the god of battle's hands.

Helen is weaving a robe which records "the endless bloody struggles...suffered all for her." The goddess tells her to come to the walls of Troy, "so you can see what wondrous things they're doing," in effect on Helen's behalf.

Helen is more decent than that. At this point, the poem's first "live tears" take form:

And with those words
the goddess filled her heart with yearning warm and deep
for her husband long ago, her city and her parents.
Quickly cloaking herself in shimmering linen,
out of her rooms she rushed, live tears welling,
and not alone—two of her women followed close behind.
Aethra, Pittheus' daughter, and Clymene, eyes wide,
and they soon reached the looming Scaean Gates.

When Helen reaches the walls of Troy, she joins her father-in-law. The old men of the realm are gathered around their king:

And there they were, gathered around Priam.


The old men of the realm held seats above the gates.
Long years had brought their fighting days to a halt
but they were eloquent speakers still, clear as cicadas
settled on treetops, lifting their voices through the forest,
rising softly. falling, dying away.

Chirping like cicadas, the old men marvel at Helen's "terrible beauty." As they do, they inevitably extend a clear hint of blame.

That said, Priam is deeply humane, in the ancient and the modern fashion—and Helen, a "dear child" to her (second) father-in-law, is soon shedding hot tears:

They murmured low
but Priam, raising his voice, called across to Helen,
"Come over here, dear child. Sit in front of me.
so you can see your husband of long ago,
your kinsmen and your people.
I don't blame you. I hold the gods to blame.
They are the ones who brought this war upon me,
devastating war against the Achaeans."

And Helen the radiance of women answered Priam.
"I revere you so, dear father, dread you too—
if only death had pleased me then, grim death,
that day I followed your son to Troy, forsaking
my marriage bed, my kinsmen and my child,
my favorite, now full-grown,
and the lovely comradeship of women my own age.
Death never came, so now I can only waste away in tears.

If only death had taken her then, this many subsequent deaths in battle would never have come! So speaks the radiance of women, whose role in this ancient drama is tied to her impossible beauty in a way unlikely ever to be undone. 

Among the Achaean troops, the insult to honor has occasioned ten years of tribal rage. Inside the walls of Troy, Priam speaks kindly to his "dear daughter," but she can't escape the framing placed upon her by the gender politics of this time.

Everyone knows whose side he's on in this ancient poem. The honor of the Achaeans has been offended against. Those inside the walls of Troy are fighting for their survival.

Here today, within our modern sieges, red tribe armies are conducting a siege of the Biden White House. Our own blue armies have been conducting a lengthy siege against former president Trump:

Starting on March 25, we blues will hurl ourselves against the fact that the aforementioned Trump allegedly had consensual sexual relations, on one occasion years ago, with an amazing "porn star"—with a consenting adult woman who wasn't his actual wife.

Starting on March 25, the candidate will be prosecuted, perhaps in somewhat unusual ways, for related behaviors. As we hurl ourselves into this complaint, to what extent have human conduct and human impulse actually changed?

The siege of Troy was a war of the Late Bronze Age. Our current armies are conducting their dueling sieges in our own Information Age.

As we've noted in recent weeks, red tribe armies engage in all manner of dissembling and disinformation when they conduct their assaults on the Biden White House. Unfortunately, that doesn't necessarily mean that their basic complaints lack merit.

Tomorrow, we'll start to look at the ways of our blue tribe's armies. We'll even start to ask you to take the Modern Tribal Challenge:

Can you conceive of the possibility that the tribunes who vote the way we blue denizens vote may at times be less than fully insightful, possibly even less than fully honest?

Can you imagine taking that challenge? Also, can we possibly see ourselves a bit more clearly as we thumb the pages of antique works of fiction?

Is there any chance of doing that? We think our own blue tribe is flawed, perhaps in dangerous ways.

Inevitably, you will decide. 

Tomorrow: Her "beloved colleagues and viewers"

We're happy to see a slippery star...


...attracting some mainstream attention: We're happy to see the Fox News Channel star Jesse Watters attracting some mainstream attention.

In January 2022, Watters first became a primetime host at the Fox News Channel. He'd started as Bill O'Reilly's silly, inane man-in-the-street. Now he would be the host of a 7 p.m. weeknight show, Jesse Watters Primetime.

The more consequential promotion came seventeen months later. Here's the way the leading authority on Watters' career thumbnails his life and times and his series of ascensions:

Early life and education

Watters was raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, son of Stephen Hapgood Watters, a teacher, and child psychologist Anne Purvis, daughter of Morton Bailey, Jr., publisher of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. His maternal great-grandfather was Morton Bailey, publisher of The Saturday Evening Post...

Watters grew up in the Germantown and then East Falls neighborhoods. He attended the William Penn Charter School through junior year, before moving with his family to Long Island, New York. In 2001, he graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, with a B.A. in history.


After his graduation, Watters began work as a production assistant at Fox News. In 2003, he moved to the production staff of The O'Reilly Factor, and in 2004 he began to appear on air in segments of O'Reilly's show.

On June 11, 2014, Watters debuted on the Fox News show Outnumbered, later occasionally appearing as a guest co-host. On November 20, 2015, Watters debuted his own monthly Fox News program, Watters' World. While Watters is characterized as an "ambush journalist," Watters has said, "I try to make it enjoyable for the person I'm interviewing. ..."

In January 2017, Watters' World became a weekly show, airing Saturdays at 8 p.m. ET. In April 2017, Watters became a co-host of the roundtable series The Five.


After being one of several rotating fill-in hosts in the network's 7 PM time slot, it was announced on January 10, 2022 that Watters would become the permanent host of a new primetime show, titled Jesse Watters Primetime, which debuted on January 24, 2022. Watters' World ended on January 15, 2022, while Watters continues to be a co-host of The Five.

In June 2023, Fox News announced Watters as the permanent host of the network's 8 p.m. EST hour following the firing of Tucker Carlson.

We've omitted news of his New York Times number one best-selling book, How I Saved the World—a book which apparently attained that status, like other Fox books, through the auspices of bulk sales.

In our view, several key points seem to be lurking within that career thumbnail:

First, it looks to us like the Fox News Channel cultivates its "talent" with substantial care. 

The channel began to develop Greg Gutfeld through the creation of Red Eye, a 3 a.m. [sic] nightly show. Somewhat similarly, the channel began to develop Watters through the creation of Watters' World as a monthly show.

The most significant part of that thumbnail is its last component. After Tucker Carlson had cracked so much pottery that the channel had to send him away, the channel decided it was time to anchor its weeknight lineup with Watters in the 8 p.m. hole.

For today, we'll close with a question. What's in the waters at Trinity College, an institution which has somehow managed to produce Tucker Carlson and Jesse Watters? What's going on up there?

For the record, Watters is a very slippery performer who works behind a very slippery though highly refined persona. In recent weeks, his routinely ridiculous work has been critiqued, at some length, in separate profiles by the New York Times and the Washington Post.

We're glad to see those newspapers starting to play it that way. We've been calling for this sort of thing dating back at least twenty years. 

In the next day or two, we'll show you what has been written about the types of gong-show work which have emerged on this "news channel" from this dim-witted, watery world.

The Post and the Times have each gotten it right. Attention should be paid!

BLUES: Donald J. Trump gave a poisonous speech!


Here's what one blue army found: This past Saturday, presidential candidate Donald J. Trump delivered a remarkable keynote address at the annual CPAC political gathering.

C-Span's videotape can be seen here. Warning! The tape is almost two hours long—and it seems to be the videotape of last year's CPAC address! 

More on that below. Regarding Trump's actual CPAC speech from this actual year, here's the start of the report, headline included:

Trump calls himself a ‘proud political dissident’ in CPAC speech

Former President Donald Trump cast November’s presidential election as “judgment day” and declared himself a “proud political dissident” during a speech before conservative activists outside of Washington Saturday as he again cloaked his campaign in religious imagery.

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference ahead of his win in the South Carolina Republican primary, Trump painted an apocalyptic vision of the future if President Joe Biden wins a second term as the two prepare for an expected rematch election.

“For hardworking Americans, Nov. 5 will be our new liberation day. But for the liars and cheaters and fraudsters and censors and imposters who have commandeered our government, it will be judgment day,” he said to loud applause.

Trust us! From our own blue tribe's political perspective, things went way downhill from there. Unless we've been looking at the address Trump gave last year!

At any rate:

Based on that full AP report, Trump's speech this past weekend was stunning. Let us also say this:

Assuming that C-Span has aired the tape of the actual speech, this is the actual way the candidate started last Saturday's speech. Even if this was the start of last year's speech, this tiny bit of text establishes a well-known basic fact:

I want to start by thanking Matt and Mercedes Schlapp and everyone at the American Conservative Union—thank you, Matt—for hosting this wonderful event. It really has been something over the years..."

That's the way Trump began the speech—the speech which seems to date to last year. He started that speech by thanking Matt Schlapp of the American Conservative Union—but also by thanking Mercedes Schlapp, the gentleman's well-known wife.

As everyone knows, this annual conference "was founded in 1974 by the American Conservative Union and Young Americans for Freedom." As of last year, Matt Schlapp was still riding high as kingpin of the gathering.

As far as we know, Schlapp was still in charge of the conference this year, but he and the conference itself had fallen on harder times. In this report from last Thursday, Politico's Ben Truss summed it up like this:

The event had once been perhaps the premier conference for American conservatives. But its stature has gradually declined in recent years as it has come to be seen as a mere adjunct of Trumpism and, as its head, Matt Schlapp, has fended off allegations of sexual misconduct and financial mismanagement.

As far as we know, Schlapp was still in charge of CPAC this year. But the last year has been a bit messy.

At any rate, Trump seems to have given a fire-breathing CPAC speech this year. Here's more of the AP's report on last Saturday's address:

Last year, Trump used his speech at CPAC to tell his supporters that his 2024 campaign would be one of “retribution.”

“In 2016, I declared: I am your voice. Today I add: I am your warrior. I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution,” he said then.

This time, he cast himself as a savior standing between his supporters and near-anarchy as he spoke of “hoards of illegal aliens stampeding across our borders,” warned the country’s social safety net and education system would “buckle and collapse,” and claimed that, “the gangs will be invading your territory.”

“These are the stakes of this election: Our country is being destroyed and the only thing standing between you and its obliteration is me,” he declared, casting Biden’s leadership as “an express train barreling toward servitude and to ruin.”

”A vote for Trump is your ticket back to freedom, it’s your passport out of tyranny and it’s your only escape from Joe Biden and his gang’s fast track to hell. And in many ways, we’re living in hell right now,” he said, adding that: “the unprecedented success of the United States of America will be my ultimate and absolute revenge.”

The AP went on from there to perform some basic fact-checking. But on that very Saturday night, as blue tribe pundits gathered together on our blue tribe's "cable news" channel, we blue tribe viewers were handed a somewhat peculiar takeaway concerning Saturday's CPAC address.

For the record, Lawrence O'Donnell seemed to think that the CPAC speech had been delivered on Friday. That minor error isn't the problem with what O'Donnell now said, as his gang of allies happily chuckled and agreed with his pronouncements.

Below, you see part of what O'Donnell said at 7:15 this past Saturday night. As he starts, he's talking about Trump's recently concluded victory speech in South Carolina. From there, he makes a peculiar claim about Trump's earlier CPAC address: 

O'DONNELL (2/24/24): When Donald Trump was doing his initial thanks [in South Carolina], it was to his family. 

If you want to roll the tape, you will see him reading from notes, beginning with the word "Melania," which he got wrong yesterday [sic].

He called her "Mercedes" yesterday [sic] in his speech. So yes, there's a presidential candidate who doesn't get his wife's name right. But you won't find out about that among the headline writers and political coverage

STEPHANIE RUHLE (with snark): Lawrence, perhaps it would be easier to get her name right if she were standing next to him at the podium. But alas, she is not.

At this point, Chris Hayes threw to Rachel Maddow for further comment. To watch O'Donnell's fuller statement, you can start by clicking here.

Mercifully, O'Donnell's multipart flight into fantasy was temporarily done. Question:

Did Donald J. Trump really call his wife "Mercedes" during Saturday's CPAC address? We're going to guess that the answer is no, but let us direct you to this:

At that link, you will read a takedown from Newsweek about this claim—about the claim which swept certain precincts of blue tribe social media in the hours before O'Donnell spoke.

Newsweek made the obvious observation. Almost surely, Trump was referring to the rather well-known Mercedes Schlapp in the comment to which O'Donnell now referred. 

As Newsweek notes, you probably know you've gone off the rails when Keith Olbermann attacks an attack on Donald J. Trump, as Olbermann would later do in this tweet:

OLBERMANN (2/24/24): Trump spews out astonishing evidence of his dementia, brain trauma, and possible substance abuse on an hourly basis. There is NO reason to add to this list easily disproven nonsense. He did NOT call his wife "Mercedes" at CPAC. 

He's unmistakably referring to Mercedes Schlapp.

At least that's what Olbermann said. For the record, "easily disproven [blue tribe] nonsense" tends to help Donald J. Trump.

If you watch the videotape from blue tribe cable in which O'Donnell makes his angry claims, you'll see a bunch of blue tribe tribunes chuckling and enjoying themselves as O'Donnell apparently misstates this point and makes other apparent blunders. We'll further explore this silly trivia as the week proceeds.

For today, let's review:

On Saturday, Candidate Trump gave a remarkable speech at the annual CPAC event. By 7:15 that night, the best our blue tribe pundits could do was to chuckle and enjoy themselves as one of their number made a trivial claim which is almost surely inaccurate.

Fellow citizens, please! Mercedes Schlapp has long been a big deal and a major presence at CPAC!

Beyond that, she served "as White House Director of Strategic Communications in the Trump administration," then worked "on the Trump 2020 re-election campaign as senior advisor for strategic communications." 

You'd think those facts would have occurred to any blue tribe pundit before he ran onto national TV and repeated a highly improbable (and trivial) claim. That said, let's continue our review:

C-Span seems to have posted last year's speech by Donald J. Trump as if it was this year's speech. Everybody makes mistakes, but that one should be corrected.

Early last week, O'Donnell offered a detailed, very smart critique of the suggestion that the Democratic Party could simply replace Joe Biden as its nominee at the party's August convention. Things went straight downhill from there, leading to the amalgam of apparent blunders he authored last Saturday night to approving clucks from his helpmates.

As we've noted in recent weeks, red tribe "cable news" is routinely a virtual parody of actual journalism. The blue tribe tape to which we've linked isn't gigantically better.

These are the fruits of the current "segregation by viewpoint" which afflicts so much of our nation's journalism. Our own blue pundits were joking and laughing and enjoying themselves, but the various things they were saying were utterly trivial and were almost surely wrong.

The red tribe's armies are in the field, conducting their siege of the Biden White House. At the same time, our own blue tribe pundits are conducting a siege of Candidate Trump.

The Achaeans armies fought outside the walls of Troy for ten years until their siege was at last successful. This week, we'll start to review the type of warfare being conducted, this very year, by the armies of our own blue tribe.

As we do, we'll ask you to take The Citizen's Challenge:

Can you conceive of the possibility that corporate employees who vote your way can, on the rare occasion and in the small way, be unhelpful or even just wrong?

Can you conceive of that possibility? Can such vaunted blue tribe stars be unhelpful, be wrong?

Tomorrow: A shout-out to her beloved colleagues and to her beloved viewers

SUNDAY MORNING: "Saboteur," the first friend said!


A second friend quickly joined in: As it seems to have turned out, Donald J. Trump didn't get to sixty percent. Nikki Haley didn't make it to forty.

Each candidate fell a smidgeon sort of a statistical goal. The official totals seem to go like this:

South Carolina Republican primary:
Donald J. Trump: 59.8%
Nikki Haley: 39.5%

Is a 20-point win a lot or a little? That's where the dueling propagandas will now start to come in.

Early this morning, on Fox & Friends Weekend, the propaganda started up fast. Inevitably, it was Rachel Campos-Duffy who first uttered the word:

CAMPOS-DUFFY (2/25/25): What's the pathway forward for her to get delegates? 

HEGSETH (sarcastically): It's 40 percent, Rachel. It's 40 percent. Forty percent, not 50 percent. That's what she said.

CAMPOS-DUFFY: But since she didn't really explain, because she can't explain, how she can win, because she can't win, it leaves wide open the possibility that she's just a saboteur.


CAMPOS-DUFFY: And that's, I think, where people are at.

HEGSETH: Fair point.

Candidate Haley's a saboteur! So was Robert Cummings in Alfred Hitchcock's 1942 clunker of that very name:

Saboteur (film)

Saboteur is a 1942 American spy thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock with a screenplay written by Peter Viertel, Joan Harrison and Dorothy Parker. The film stars Robert Cummings, Priscilla Lane and Norman Lloyd.


Aircraft factory worker Barry Kane wrongly falls under suspicion of setting fire to his Glendale, California manufacturing plant during World War II, an act of domestic sabotage... 

The Robert Cummings character was seen as a saboteur. At of 6:09 a.m., so was Nikki Haley!

As we've noted in the past, Campos-Duffy has a tendency to see "Communists" and / or "Marxists" (her terms) under every bed. This morning, she moved on to "saboteur," with no explanation provided.

It's possible that Haley's a saboteur, Campos-Duffy said at 6:09 a.m. At 6:46, her statement was echoed by a second friend as he spoke with a GOP strategist:

HEGSETH: We tried to figure this out last night. It's a million-dollar question. Why is she still in it? It almostit looks like sabotage at this point. What is it?

It looks like sabotage at this point, Hegseth said.


Who or what is Haley supposedly trying to sabotage? Also, why would she try to do that?

No one bothered to ask or to tell. But at 7:09 a.m., Hegseth repeated the point, saying that Haley is now getting money from unnamed "saboteur donors." Everyone's a saboteur now!

At that point, we stopped watching the program. But briefly, during the 8 o'clock hour, we turned the program back on, and there it was again!

Let's give Will Cain credit! At 8:07 a.m., speaking with Shannon Bream, the third weekend friend passed on the chance to affirm the new designation:

CAIN: We've been asking as recently as last night, the three of us, on Pete's Fox Nation special. Why is Nikki Haley running for president? There is not many good answers to that question, and the answer is certainly not to become the Republican nominee for president. That's not the answer.

So the answer is— I don't know if Donald Trump gets taken down by lawfare and she's trying to be an insurance policy, or if she's playing the professional donor game—

CAMPOS-DUFFY: Or if she's a saboteur.

CAIN: Or if she's going, right after Super Tuesday, to switch right over to No Labels and make this a three-person race, Shannon.

To his credit, Cain passed on the chance to affirm the new bomb, "saboteur." On the other hand, he didn't question or challenge the other two friends—didn't ask them to explain what they actually meant by their use of that age-old insinuation.

Key point:

Increasingly, our cable news channels are segregated by viewpoint. Seldom is heard a discouraging word concerning the preferred accusations of the particular moment.

Early this morning, on Fox & Friends Weekend, Haley was being fashioned as a saboteur for the program's red tribe viewers. That said, also this:

Last night, watching MSNBC, we saw Lawrence O'Donnell make a few of the craziest statements we've ever seen him make. Instantly, Rachel Maddow jumped in to second one of his claims.

Segregation by viewpoint is like that. That's how the arrangement works.

In the next few days, we'll visit those angry claims by O'Donnell—claims which were almost insane. Meanwhile, there's very little propaganda in the pages of The Iliad, the western world's first and greatest war poem.

Except when someone's honor was offended against, no one had to be persuaded to fight. Among the Achaeans, everyone knew why he was taking part in the siege of Troy. 

Those were different, simpler times. Can we possibly learn to see ourselves in that poem's pages?

SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Which is worse, the vulgar or the (stunningly) stupid?


Gutfeld! lets you decide: This afternoon's exercise is for extra credit only. We offer it as an attempt to complete our preliminary study of the culture of the Gutfeld! primetime "cable news" show, as seen on the Fox News Channel.

Last night, host Greg Gutfeld surrounded himself with the usual four-member panel. As usual, the panel included one former professional wrestler; two B-grade comedians; and one conventionally attractive woman dragged in from Outnumbered.

(Full disclosure: There's nothing "wrong" with being conventionally attractive.)

At this site, we continue to marvel at the culture of this extremely low-rent "cable news" primetime show. Today, we pose a basic question about that culture:

Which is worse? The gruesome coarseness of the program, or the blinding stupidity of the program's pseudo-discussions?

We'll start with the coarseness. 

Each Friday night, the program's host—he's 59 years old!—begins the show with a monologue called "Greg's Leftovers." Allegedly, these are the jokes the host didn't get around to using at some earlier point in the week.

Last night, the host offered 23 such jokes at the start of the program. The call of the roll went like this:

He started with the standard denigrations of the standard targets (Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi). 

One joke—the joke whose punchline was "Calendars"—was actually well-composed. Whatever you think of its premise, it was a flat-out well-written joke.

All in all, the other six were pretty much basic hackwork. Inevitably, they included a violent death fantasy regarding Vice President Harris and a euthanasia jibe directed at President Biden.

That left sixteen jokes to go. These jokes showcased the host's obsession with body parts, bodily functions and the standard misogynist denigrations, insults and taunts. 

To wit:

Joke 8 was a joke about breastfeeding and transgender women. Joke 9 was a bit hard to decipher, but its general theme seemed to be that Nancy Pelosi eats [BLEEP].

The next two jokes dealt with an attempt to "grow artificial testicles in a lab." 

(Joke 11 involved a naughty-boy double entendre involving Chock full o' Nuts coffee. In Joke 12, the host suggested that Prince Harry needs to buy a new pair.)

Joke 13 involved a man who was arrested for sticking items in an antique shop up his rectum, then placing the items back on the shelf. Joke 14 turned on the observation that Chris Christie is way too fat.

In Joke 15, we're admonished not to conduct prostate exams on ourselves through use of selfie sticks. Joke 16 turned on the bromantic jibe that Jesse Watters is "a fraudulent blowhard with no friends and a micro-penis."

(Are you starting to get the general drift of this work of comedic art?)

Joke 18 concerned a severed human leg found on a subway track. Joke 19 turned on the premise that women are mainly concerned with not looking fat.

With Joke 21, we're back to transgender athletes, the problem being that the audience didn't seem to recognize a photo of Dennis Rodman. The premise of Joke 22 was that Madonna is way too old and rather ugly to boot.

Joke 23 turned on the claim that Joy Behar is way too old, and also that she's a dog.

You might think that no discussion could be as stupid as that monologue was. If you thought some such thing, you would, of course, have been wrong.

After the reading of the Leftovers, the host launched a discussion of Google's announcement that it's "pausing its artificial intelligence tool Gemini’s ability to generate images of people."

Headline included, here's the start of CNN's recent report on this matter:

Google halts AI tool’s ability to produce images of people after backlash

Google is pausing its artificial intelligence tool Gemini’s ability to generate images of people after it was blasted on social media for producing historically inaccurate images that largely showed people of color in place of White people.

The embarrassing blunder shows how AI tools still struggle with the concept of race. OpenAI’s Dall-E image generator, for example, has taken heat for perpetuating harmful racial and ethnic stereotypes at scale. Google’s attempt to overcome this, however, appears to have backfired and made it difficult for the AI chatbot to generate images of White people.

Gemini, like other AI tools such as ChatGPT, is trained on vast troves of online data. Experts have long warned that AI tools therefore have the potential to replicate the racial and gender biases baked into that information.

When prompted by CNN on Wednesday to generate an image of a pope, for example, Gemini produced an image of a man and a woman, neither of whom were White. Tech site The Verge also reported that the tool produced images of people of color in response a prompt to generate images of a “1943 German Soldier.”

At least in theory, we can imagine the possibility of a serious discussion of this embarrassing breakdown. To see how stupid it got on this primetime "cable news" program, we'll offer this suggestion:

First, steel yourself against the possible onset of anguish, dismay and despair. Then, to see the rumination which emerged from the former professional wrestler as he attempted to handle this particular topic, you can start by clicking here.

(Warning! Another fat joke from Gutfeld ahead!)

We remain astonished by the fact that this gruesome "cable news" program is actually on the air—in prime time each weekday night, no less. Meanwhile, as in The Emperor's New Clothes, so too here:

Denizens of the upper-class mainstream press seem unable to articulate the fact that the host of this gruesome program is an aging, angry fellow who has no discernible journalistic clothes. Everyone has accepted the presence of this ugly, stupid TV show as part of our "cable news" culture.

The host's coarse sensibility sets the tone for the nightly show. The "discussions" signal a basic fact:

This whole discourse is out of order and has been for some time!

Can a modern society function this way? We dare you! Steel yourself against despair, then go ahead:

Click those links!

SATURDAY: This morning, we heard America singing!


Neighbors and friends call C-Span: This morning, we heard America singing. 

We started with Fox & Friends Weekend at 6 a.m., live and direct from South Carolina. By 6:15, the friends had introduced Tom Homan, who proceeded to discuss this horrible murder in Athens, Georgia.

Who the heck is Tom Homan? In a somewhat jumbled report, the leading authority on that question tells us such things as these:

Thomas Homan 

Thomas Douglas Homan is an American former police officer and government official who served during the Trump Administration as Acting Director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from January 30, 2017 to June 29, 2018. Within the U.S. government, he is among the earliest proponents of separating children from their parents as a means of deterring illegal entry into the country. Since his retirement from government, he has been a Fox News contributor.

...He was a police officer in West Carthage, New York before joining what was then called the Immigration and Naturalization Service in 1984. He was a Border Patrol agent, investigator, and supervisor before being appointed by President Barack Obama to Executive Associate Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in 2013.

By 2014, he had begun to argue that separating children from their parents would be an effective means of discouraging illegal border crossings. The journalist Caitlin Dickerson describes him [in a profile written in 2022] as the "intellectual father" of the policy, which he outlined years before it was adopted by the Trump administration... 

In 2015, Obama gave him a Presidential Rank Award as a Distinguished Executive...

On January 30, 2017, President Donald Trump demoted acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement director Daniel Ragsdale to deputy director, a position he already held, and appointed Homan as acting director.


In the April of 2018, he and Kevin McAleenan formally advised Secretary of Homeland Security Kierstjen Nielsen to implement the Trump administration's "Zero Tolerance" policy on immigration, including the prosecution of parents and the separation of children from their families. Homan participated in the May 2018 press conference announcing that the policy was going into effect.

None of that necessarily means that what Homan said today, about that murder in Georgia, was necessarily wrong. Let it be said that Homan seemed to be furious about the chain of events which he said had created the possibility of this vicious killing. 

He came back on the air in the 8 o'clock hour to voice his anger again.

On Monday, we may start next week's report with this very topic. With that in mind, we'll move ahead to what we heard today starting at 7 a.m.

Starting at 7:06, we heard America singing as neighbors and friends made telephone calls to C-Span's Washington Journal.

Viewers were asked to describe their top news story of the week. In the first phone call, Patrick from Pittsburgh weighed in with these remarks on the Democratic line:

PATRICK FROM PITTSBURGH (2/24/24): My top story is the Ukrainian illegitimate war. 

You know, it's astonishing. Just imagine you're living in Toronto and missiles are being shot from Pittsburgh into your community because there's Americans there. This is exactly what the Ukrainians were doing in Russian enclaves in the upper portion of the Ukrainian territories.

This war has no legitimacy whatsoever. The Russian Federation repeatedly reached out in order to negotiate. The Ukrainians are Nazis. They're a complete absolute fascist state taking hundreds, hundreds of billions of our dollars. 

We're talking about hundreds of billions of dollars. We could be providing reparations to our brothers and sisters of color, particularly people who have had family members that were historically enslaved...

Patrick continued from there. In the morning's second call, Ed from Georgia, on the Republican line, started off like this:

ED FROM GEORGIA: Good morning! That guy from Pennsylvania is forgetting who caused all this. It was Biden. 

But anyway...

Ed from Georgia continued from there. President Biden has wiped out half his savings, the fellow from Georgia now said.

The third caller, Ralph from Michigan, focused on the arrest and rearrest of Biden accuser Alexander Smirnov. Soon, C-Span's moderator was playing videotape of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) repeating the repeatedly debunked canard according to which Joe Biden, while vice president, fired Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin because Shokin was aggressively pursuing Burisma, Hunter Biden's firm.

This evergreen claim has been debunked a million times by now. This morning, it wasn't critiqued or challenged in any way by C-Span's moderator.

The fifth caller also focused on the war in Ukraine. His statements were such that the moderator interrupted to ask him this:

MODERATOR: Randall, you think that Russia did not invade Ukraine in 2022?

RANDALL FROM MICHIGAN: I'm talking about the causation of why they went in.


It was now 7:17. We'd been hearing American singing for a bit more than an hour.

Under current arrangements, the American discourse is remarkably jumbled and vast. Factual claims arrive on the scene from every direction. All in all, there's no process by which even the most fundamental claims ever get addressed, let alone straightened out or discarded. 

Under current arrangements, the American discourse is a sprawling Babel. Next week, we expect to explore the following topic:

The wages of separation.

We expect to explore that topic next week, in part with reference to the ancient siege of Troy. This afternoon, we'll direct you to some of the things we heard on the Fox News Channel last night.

Under current arrangements, the American discourse is a 24-hour, round-the-clock version of Babel. Can a large modern nation really expect to function this way? Should someone at C-Span ask?

SEPARATION: He's "likely to [BLEEP] in the Oval Office!"


Our blue tribe averts its gaze: According to the leading authority on such matters, the Fox News Channel's Brian Kilmeade is 59 years old.

So is the channel's Greg Gutfeld. This morning, we'll start right there.

We're so old that we can remember when Fox began experimenting with Gutfeld's brand of programming. The leading authority on the Sat Matean's career arc describes it in this manner:

Beginning on February 5, 2007, Gutfeld served as host of the late-night talk show Red Eye on the Fox News Channel. The hour-long show initially aired at 2:00 A.M. ET Monday through Saturday mornings and at 11:00 P.M. on Saturday evenings. However, beginning in October 2007, the show began airing at 3:00 A.M. Monday through Saturday mornings while retaining its 11:00 P.M timeslot on Saturday evenings. 

From 2007 to 2013, Bill Schulz served as Gutfeld's sidekick, and Andy Levy served as the show's ombudsman. Schulz had been Gutfeld's colleague at Stuff magazine...

On July 11, 2011, Gutfeld became a co-host and panelist on the Fox News political talk show The Five, which airs weekdays at 5:00 P.M. ET. Gutfeld left Red Eye in February 2015...

For the record, we think the authority should have said that Red Eye aired at 2 or 3 a.m. on Tuesday through Saturday mornings. At any rate, according to this further discussion, "Red Eye was originally named Wasteland in its early testing stages." 

The experiment—or at least, the enterprise which resembles an experiment—started at 3 in the morning! Gutfeld's sidekick had served with him during his tenure at Stuff.

At one point, we saw our friend, San Francisco's Will Durst, guesting on the middle-of-the-night TV program. Because Will is one of the world's greatest people, we assumed that meant that Gutfeld was basically OK.

At any rate, the experiment started at 3 a.m. According to that leading authority, it continued along in this fashion:

On May 31, 2015, Gutfeld began hosting a new weekly late-night talk show on Fox News called The Greg Gutfeld Show, which aired at 10:00 P.M. ET on Saturdays. 

In February 2021, it was announced that, beginning in the second quarter, the show would move to weeknights at 11:00 P.M. ET. On March 10, 2021, it was announced that the new weeknight show would be called Gutfeld! and premiere on April 5. 

In August 2021, Gutfeld! overtook The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in the nightly ratings, becoming the highest-rated late-night talk show in the United States. It averaged 2.12 million nightly viewers, more than The Late Show, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!.

By the end of 2021, the combined viewership for Gutfeld! and The Five averaged over five million viewers.

Gutfeld has appeared as a guest on Coffee with Scott Adams and The Adam Carolla Show.

Everything's possible in America! Gutfeld made it all the way from 3 a.m. to a spot on Carolla's show—Carolla, he of The Man Show!

The Man Show is particularly well known for its buxom female models, the [NAME OF GROUP WITHHELD], who would dance in themed, revealing costumes at the opening of every show, in the aisles of the audience just before The Man Show went to commercial break, and during the end segment "Girls [sic] on Trampolines".

The first year of The Man Show featured beer-guzzling entertainer Bill 'The Fox' Foster as the show's emcee. Foster specialized in chugging two beers in record time (sometimes while suspended upside down) and singing lewd drinking songs. He would close every episode by leading the audience in the German drinking toast Zicke, Zacke, Zicke, Zacke, Hoi, Hoi, Hoi!, a tradition that the show continued after his death from prostate cancer in 2000.

Not that there's anything wrong with it! Unless you think there maybe is.

Gutfeld had come a long way, baby—all the way from 3 a.m. to stardom alongside Carolla! Along the way, his eponymous program on the channel had made him "the highest-rated late-night talk show [host] in the United States."

At this site, we can't say that we're enthralled with Gutfeld's current sensibility. We'll spare you news of the opening segment of last evening's Gutfeld! program, other than to say that its topic didn't lend itself to comments about President Biden.

In the evening's second segment, Gutfeld began making up lost ground. The topic involved this very peculiar news report from the New York Times about the more than twenty-four biting incidents caused by Commander, President Biden's former dog. 

Commander bit a lot of people. Gutfeld started his discussion as shown:

GUTFELD (2/22/24): He's the commander-in-chief who can still use his teeth...

The White House says President Biden has given his German shepherd, Commander, away to relatives following at least twenty-four reports of incidents against Secret Service members between October 2022 and July of last year. This means the only one likely to crap in the Oval Office now is Joe.


Instantly, there followed a similar piece of analysis concerning Hunter Biden. Still within the segment's first minute, it was on to another target:

GUTFELD: [The report included a case in which White House tours had to be suspended so blood could be mopped from the floor, which was quickly bottled for Nancy Pelosi's anti-aging bath.


GUTFELD: That's terrible.

And another attack where an agent suffered a severe deep open wound at Biden's Delaware beach house. In Commander's defense, he was upset about Joe pissing in his dog bed.

And so on, endlessly, from there. At the age of 59, this is where Greg Gutfeld is. 

The Gutfeld! show airs in primetime, each weekday night, on the Fox News Channel. Last night, Gutfeld had assembled his usual four-member panel of analysts to help him sift world news.

He surrounded himself with two B-room comedians and with a former professional wrestler who now tours as a comedian. Also, with one "money maven" dragged in from the Fox Business Channel. 

When he finally threw to comedian Jim Norton, this is what occurred:

GUTFELD: Apparently, Biden's as bad with pets as he is with humans. He can't raise anything, whether it's dogs or humans, a border wall, or an erection. 

TYRUS: Ooh. Jesus!



GUTFELD: Jimmy, you love dogs. Some might say a little too much.

COMEDIAN JIM NORTON: Yes. I think Joe Biden spoiled that dog with peanut butter.

GUTFELD: [after extended feigned laughter]: Just the image itself is making me warm all over.

Was that an allusion to humans engaging in sex with dogs? We're happy to say that we're not entirely sure.

If you want to watch this entire segment, you can start by clicking here. We'd advise you to steel yourself against this program's soul-draining capacity. But so it goes, night after night, in prime time—not at 3 a.m.—on this major American "news channel."

Who can say why Gutfeld is still behaving this way at the age of 59? While we're at it, who can say why we humans ever behave this way?

One answer might go like this—for us human beings, sexuality and romance have always proven to be difficult, challenging, hard. Below, you see Agamenon lord of men, complaining about the idea that he will have to return his prize, the "girl" Chryseis, to her elderly father, the priest.

We're still in Book one of the Iliad—Book One, "The Rage of Achilles:"

But King Agamemnon countered, "Not so quickly,
brave as you are, godlike Achilles—trying to cheat me.
Oh no, you won't get past me, take me in that way!
What do you want? To cling to your own prize
hile I sit calmly by—empty-handed here?
Is that why you order me to give her back?
No—if our generous Argives will give me a prize,
a match for my desires, equal to what I've lost.
well and good. But if they give me nothing
I will take a prize myself-your own, or Ajax'
or Odysseus' prize—I'll commandeer her myself
and let that man I go to visit choke with rage!

There's a lot of rage among the Achaeans as this story begins to takes shape.

At any rate, Agamemnon agrees to surrender "Chryseis herself, in all her beauty." But as a replacement, he goes to Achilles' tents and takes Briseis, the swift runner's wartime "prize."

This action triggers Achilles' rage, and sets the in motion the chain of events which will end with this famous closing line, as rendered by Richmond Lattimore:

Such was the burial of Hector, breaker of horses.

Inside the towering walls of Troy, Hector is shown to be a loving husband and a delighted father. The Iliad is clogged with images of a wide array of recognizable modern human types.

We're speaking about Greg Gutfeld today. We're skipping past Brian Kilmeade, who's also 59.

Last Saturday night, Kilmeade got busy pushing his channel's Storyline concerning various aspects of urban crime. Two weeks earlier, on February 3, he had been joined by John Walsh (America's Most Wanted) in a similar segment about crime—a segment which came to us, live and direct, from the front seat of the clown car.

Until that very moment, we didn't know that Walsh was like that. Kilmeade's been like that for the past twenty-five years.

Due to the power of Separation, little of this is ever mentioned by the organs of our own blue tribe. The silence concerning gender politics dates back many years within the cable news universe.

Once in a while, a very brief performative era may occur. MeToo came and went quite quickly, with everybody swearing that they never had any idea.

Last night, Gutfeld and them were at it again, as they are night. The program's a little bit nutty and a whole lot smutty. This is who and what the Serra High graduate is at 59 years of age!

What makes friends and neighbors behave in such unhelpful ways? 

At this site, we'll continue to create a record of the ongoing siege of the Biden White House, just as sacred Homer recorded the siege of Troy.

Along the way, no one is told about this ongoing conduct on Fox. Thanks to the power of the god Separation, a larger question lies unanswered:

Can our blue tribe ever learn how to speak to others? Separation, and the silence it enables, keep us from ever having to speak to that challenging task.

Tomorrow: Who was Aleksei Navalny?