My Media/Politics Book That Will Never Be Written

Main topics:

Intro — Chuck Todd “race to the bottom”, “NY Times, Whitewater Pilsbury lunacy “Clintons made vast profit”, L Jean Lewis joins the Pentagon in the midst of Iraq War scandals to silence from the press.

Overall trajectory of wankery 25+ years.

Whitewater, War on Gore, Iraq, torture, ACORN, Benghazi, 2016 Campaign.


Glenn Thrush/Maggie Haberman and the Susan Rice committted a crime Trump interview fiasco. Bulk is examination of NYT treatment of black women in (or aspiring to) government. Jocely Elders, Lani Guinier, etc.

Clinton Cash, NYT reporter tweets during/after 2016 campaign.

What did Mike Schmidt knwo and when did he know it.

Dean Baquet vs Jill Abramson

What to do when the passive voice of misogynistic white supremacy is that of a confused-looking doofus. (Drill down on Chuck Todd)

If you watch the Sunday shows you are huring America.

Whitewater- WSJ crazed craziness. Baleful effect of their deranged editorial. The “wall” between editorial and news is not preserved in reader’s minds.

2016 pre-preliminaries

Jon Karl

Trey Gowdy (Rachel Bade piece). HRC testimony.

High court of bigots (Supreme court)

The most effective racist in America (John “Dick” Roberts)

Bush v Gore

Shelby County

Sibelius (Medicaid expansion)

New asshats (Kavanaugh, Gorsuch)

 2 minute Hates:

Harriet Miers would have been much better SJC than Alito

“Ironic” pedants

I thought I had more …

Another Very Occasional Lamentation about the National Political Media

Lots of craziness what with King-Burwell and HRC email story. But just going to note a couple of items from a short while back. Both ostensibly taking conservatives (Guiliani and O’Reilly) to task,  but actually stunning demonstrations of cluelessness.

1) Eric Wemple after someone explains how much Williams’ (who is in fact a prevaricating asshole) sins are worse:

Agreed. Williams appears to have laid down exaggerations and embellishments no matter the topic. O’Reilly, by contrast, appears to have an Argentina problem.

Now this was in fact before several other specific bits of BS  “came to light” (or got some coverage anyway).  But get a clue. The soft bigotry of low expectations strikes again.

2. Chris Cilliza (who apparently has a serious case of Clinton Derangement Syndrome) takes Rudy to “task” for his  black president doesn’t love America (… or me … or you) remarks. But in doing os he uncorks a howler of world historical proportions.

Making the “Obama isn’t really like you and me” argument in that setting plays into a corrosive racial narrative that Republicans have worked very hard to steer away from — and smartly so — during the Obama presidency.

So astuteness.

I voted for Obama and all I got was this lousy website

Or why Joan Walsh was fucking right and the neolib wonky fanboys  wrong on the admittedly crappy launch. First, I will simply note that the Rude Pundit himself calmly chimes in with a piece describing the Medicare Part D  rollout challenges. Soft bigotry of low expectations: Republicans judged on winning elections. Democrats judged on governing well, fixing Republican screw-ups, and winning elections.  And now I found I am all worn out  on this topic. If anyone even cares, they can go read my various comments on this Unfogged thread.

Or just contemplate this chart. Or read this paper from a Georgetown academic from June of this year comparing and contrasting the challenges of ACA with Medicare Part D.

Alex Koppelman is Fucking Insane

No more so than most in the political media, but the way various folks on my side of the political spectrum have been referencing his fatuous “Spinning Benghazi” piece from last Friday has been bugging the shit out of me.

For a long time, it seemed like the idea of a coverup was just a Republican obsession. But now there is something to it.

Right, bureaucratic talking point negotiations in the heat of events involving a clandestine facility in post-revolutionary Libya are “something.” And of course it now appears that ABC have found their new Chris Vlasto in John Karl who seriously misreported the nature and content of the freaking e-mails in a way calculated to add fuel to BENGHAZI!! But never mind that, even if the reporting had been correct Koppelman’s piece would have been insane in any sane world. Koppelman’s and just about everyone else’s political insanity (mine too) comes from trying to wrap our brains around a world where anything Darrell Issa says apparently has to be taken seriously. Or a world where the Republican House is preparing to take their 37th vote on repealing Obamacare. Or … I don’t know, I’m running out of steam on this, but let’s just say that the disproportionate attention to the “scandals” this week in the context of the last 20 years of American politics is literally insane. Tywin Lannister would be proud.

But no caveats on a giving Koppelman a big “Christ, what an asshole” for his last para:

This is an incredible thing for Carney to be saying. He’s playing semantic games, telling a roomful of journalists that the definition of editing we’ve all been using is wrong, that the only thing that matters is who’s actually working the keyboard. It’s not quite re-defining the word “is,” or the phrase “sexual relations,” but it’s not all that far off, either

Update: Ryan Lizza is also fucking insane. Talking to Darrell Issa, Like many journalists who haven’t followed every single twist and turn of the case, I found e-mails that had been leaked to ABC News the week before somewhat damning, and I said so. What the fuck is wrong with you fuckers?

Update 2: I am picking on Lizza and Koppelman because they are within shouting distance of being sane, unlike most in the political media. And then there are the calculating evil like Brian Williams.

“As a lot of American adults not so fondly remember, the last time the government was found looking into the phone calls of reporters and using the IRS for political purposes, it was the Nixon era, and while times have changed and circumstances are different that subject came up at the Obama White House today as the administration now scrambles on several fronts.”

Keep fucking that chicken, Brian.


Asshole Halloween

Asshole Halloween

A low moment for America; Bush prancing around like a First World Idi Amin ten years ago today.
(title from Frank Conniff)

Savage Boohoos Impersonate Elites of World’s Only Remaining Superpower

Too numerous to cite individually.

The NY Times makes a funny about torture

Black comedy gold from the NY Times. “U.S. Engaged in Torture After 9/11, Review Concludes.

Gee! D’ya think? Certainly reporting on the report in itself is legitimate and mad props to the folks put together the report itself, but this bit really is fucking hilarious:

News organizations have wrestled with whether to label the brutal methods unequivocally as torture in the face of some government officials’ claims that they were not.

For you kids at home, that’s how the pros do it.

Here’s a trip down memory lane with regard to the Times “wrestling” with how to characterize “brutal methods.” (Hint: Turns out it’s torture when someone else does it. When we do it, not so much.) Stick to Real Estate Porn and Ivy League Aspirational Masturbation you half-witted wankers masquerading as the newspaper of record.

Fatuousness thy name is Politico

Try to beat this from Dylan Byers on the press and Boston.

It’s been more than 24 hours since the explosions in Boston. But while new details emerge by the hour, the question on so many people’s minds remains unanswered: Who did it?

We’re standing on the verge of a very important national conversation about something, and we have no idea what it is.

True, but 24 hours seems a lot longer in the dark. The prospect of another 24 — or 48, or 72, or 96 — is hardly welcome.

Word fail. I can only hope Richard Jewell gets a chance to piss on Byers in the afterlife. In the meantime a damning report on torture and the media’s complicity in not calling it what it was is ignored. Despicable and will be rightly judged unremittingly harshly by history.

Come See the Wankery Inherent in the System

Watching Jake Tapper and the rest of the Beltway media pull their piteous “One of us! One of us!” act in the face of the White House calling out  FoxNews for being disingenuously partisan (Stop the presses!)  is the perfect capstone to fifteen-plus years of utter debasement for the national political media. I am not really interested in untangling all the structural reasons they would act this way, but some day– although it may be many, many years from now–the whole lot will be universally understood to be world-historical asses. Bosses, editors, pundits, reporters all. This gives me a modicum of comfort despite their active role in contributing to my overall mood of  late-empire fatalism. Never forget, “The judgment is harsher in Washington,” says The Post’s Broder. “We don’t like being lied to.”

Update: Despite my, “I am not really interested in untangling all the structural reasons they would act this way”, it did occur to me on reflection, that my stupid Python quote title actually does a good job of capturing my take on the current state of the media. On the one hand, I think the Manufacturing Consent propaganda model is essentially correct, but it is often applied in an almost cartoonish way, with evil Daddy Warbucks-type media owners being the only ones in the whole system with any agency.  It takes a whole confederacy of wankers to make the system work.

There’s a Light, Over at the GNF place

In the velvet darkness,
Of the blackest night,
Burning bright,
There’s a guiding star.
No matter what or who you are.

Brad & Janet:
There’s a light…

Over at the GNF place.

Brad & Janet:
There’s a light…

Burning up the human race.

Brad & Janet:
There’s a light, … light … in the darkness of everybody’s life.