Dogpiling Taibbi and the Dearth of the Free Press

“Belief is the disease that knowledge cures.” –Unknown

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

I am afraid that the headline will be the last coherent thing about this short and ill-organized post, but bear with me; I feel a bit like somebody with an undiagnosed illness must feel. A little off, so I’m checking my breathing, hefting body parts, listening to my internal organs, etc., filled with a sense of unease, but not able to name the cause. The source of my dread, my angst, is the media, our famously free press, whose work product I consume daily, inordinately, ceaselessly.

I’ve been doing the “media critique” for some time; almost since Atrios paraphrased American pundit Mickey Kaus in 2002:

All 1300 readers of the powerful and malevolent MWO and Buzzflash, however, are so mindlessly deranged because ‘Bush is getting away with it’ that a fair percentage of them are simply incapable of controlling themselves. Media critique and political criticism of this kind, where journalists are given derisive nicknames and readers are asked to write faultfinding e-mails, is just the kind of incitement that could push a fair percentage of these scribbling Leftists to do something really dangerous.

Mickey is right to alert other concerned and committed liberals like himself to the frightening emergence of Left Wing Hate and the Mighty Casio that fans the flames of its rage. It behooves the love-drunk flower children of the Right and the complacent apathetic center to wake up before it’s too late.

Lives are at stake here, folks.

As they always are. (MWO stands for “rabid watchdog” “Media Whores Online“, shuttered in 2004, before Bush’s re-election, sadly for this reader.) What strikes a contemporay is how much of Atrios’s trademark light irony has come true. “Trump is getting away with it” (as Bush did, more than did; “Michelle Obama defends friendship with George W. Bush: ‘Our values are the same'”). “Journalists are given derisive nicknames and readers are asked to write faultfinding e-mails,” or rather, today, tweets. And of course there really is such a thing as “Left Wing Hate” (for some definition of “left,” I admit).

Which brings me briefly to Matt Taibbi’s “The American Press Is Destroying Itself” — well worth a read in full — upon which the dogs immediately piled (“a fair percentage of them are simply incapable of controlling themselves”). I really, really don’t want to go through the detail of who said what to whom. (The excellent and funny TrueAnon devotes a podcast to it.) Doing that would be like recounting an episode of office politics where everybody was trying to get HR to intervene on their side and fire the other guy (that being a pretty good working definition of power relations in identity politics, come to think of it). Here is one of the more “mindlessly deranged” (MWO) responses:

Now, I respect Nathan J. Robinson, exactly as Robinson respects Taibbi, but Taibbi’s piece is not “evidence-free.” It is, in fact, heavily linked. To be fair, the essence of dog-piling is speed. One likes to get in first. But “FOX” [hate circuit kicks in; knee jerks]. Really?

Fortunately, Taibbi’s Twitter feed seems to have died down to its baseline level of haters and trolls, which is a mercy. What concerns me, however, is that the media critique has gotten a lot more complicated. Back in the day, it was sufficient to categorize the venue: Rassmussen was a Republican pollster, for example. Then, perhaps around the time that the New York Times’ Judy Miller took dictation from Bush administration sources on WMDs to feed their case for war, it became evident that one must look to the “reporter” as well. Then, at some point between Benghazi and RussiaGate, it became evident that collective delusion could seize certain factions of the political class, and that this would be reflected “the narrative,” as we like to say. And now, the media critique must also — it would seem — take into account a reporters’ complex and ever-shifting merits and demerits on topics of the day or week (particularly those of concern to identitarian enforcers, with whom Taibbi fell afoul, not to mention political campaigns with “sides.”)

In the days when “Rasmussen was a Republican shop,” it was easy to apply a discount to media work product. The process of discounting becomes a lot more complicated and dynamic when venue, reporter, current collective delusion, and, as of now, whoever’s being knifed for being “contrarian” all need to be factored in. And of course, at least in politics, there’s one more player:

(Ellsberg, like, Seymour Hersh and Thomas Frank, has been drummed out of town.)

So. on top of everything else, we’ve got the… intelligence community[1] manipulating everything.

Who is “free,” here? What’s a poor media critic to do?

ADDENDUM

I was so anxious to get to the intelligence community, I skipped over the Democrats. Nobody got excited over this part of Taibbi’s piece, doubtless because it’s so obviously true:

The instinct to shield audiences from views or facts deemed politically uncomfortable has been in evidence since Trump became a national phenomenon. We saw it when reporters told audiences Hillary Clinton’s small crowds were a “wholly intentional” campaign decision. I listened to colleagues that summer of 2016 talk about ignoring poll results, or anecdotes about Hillary’s troubled campaign, on the grounds that doing otherwise might “help Trump” (or, worse, be perceived that way).

Anyone believe that’s not happening now?

NOTE

[1] What the heck is the correct pejorative for a member of the intelligence commumity? I’m not going to the mat for “spook,” obviously.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

114 comments

  1. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    Why would you respect Nathan J Robinson? He’chs working an ideological agenda which is about tamping down anyone who displays a lack of enthusiasm for the DNC and is surrogates. Not only that, he is applying the kind of smug cheek we usually associate with Pres. Trump, wrapping up with a ‘p!55 down your back and tell you it’s raining’ kind of rotten cherry on the cake: “sad”.
    Current Affairs is an outlet for the kind of Fabian ‘socialist’ propaganda that brought us Tony Blair.
    If you think Nathan Robinson respects any kind of independent journalism, you’re deceiving yourself. “But they endorsed Bernie Sanders!” – Sure. The Bernie Sanders who supports milquetoast reforms ‘within the system’ and whose opposition to Empire doesn’t extend to calling for the end of US colonial wars and subversion.

    Reply
      1. Daniel Raphael

        Um…irony work not well on screen, methinks…and not for the first (or last) time…

        But as to “intelligence community” pejorative, I think good old-fashioned ‘scum’ works quite well. Mind you, this is for those who have “proven” themselves by persisting and upping the ante of loathesomeness; I certainly do not mean to include people-in-process who sometimes exit Big Brother’s nether fissure to emerge as…woken humans. I’m thinking specifically and especially of John Kiriakou, for whom I had the honor of extending jail support during the time he was incarcerated for “outing” a CIA torturer (who, needless to say, received not even a tap on the wrist). Keep it simple, pithy, homely, and familiar: I advocate for ‘scum’ as a serviceable moniker of all-around utility for those who do the dirt because it’s business and pleasure, all in one.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I think good old-fashioned ‘scum’ works quite well.

          Now that I think of it, “the filth” is British slang for the police. That could work. Cockney rhyming slang is “Sweeney” (“flying squad” = “Sweeny Todd”). That has the right connotations, but it’s a little twee.

          Reply
          1. Martine

            Love “The Sweeney.” Young John Thaw looking every bit the Brit Paul Newman.

            How about “The Sharon,” as in Intelligence State = Sharon Tate. Adapted from Wikipedia:

            The Intelligence State (January 24, 1943) is an American actress and model citizen. During the 1960s, it played small television roles before appearing in films and being regularly featured in magazines as a model citizen and cover feature. After receiving positive reviews for its comedic and dramatic acting performances, The Intelligence State was hailed as one of Media’s most promising newcomers.

            Reply
          2. RBHoughton

            Bad effect on recruitment chaps. Maybe the soldiery will still sign up to “The Filth” but not the graduates imo. Then we will have a demoralised and low quality intelligence service. All that’s necessary to reduce it to uselesness then is to put a politician in charge.

            Reply
        2. ewmayer

          Re. preferred pejorative, I lean toward “IC creep” myself. Because they seem to creep around Washington, from one administration to the next, forever whispering in the ears of the power players, and more recently, weaving their evil spells directly to millions, as respected members of the MSM.

          “The Slime” also seems to fit quite nicely.

          Reply
    1. JohnnyGL

      You inspired me to peruse the website of Current Affairs. I bumped into this…https://www.currentaffairs.org/2020/04/should-we-just-open-the-borders

      A bit off topic, but, personally, I’d really appreciate it if the Current Affairs-Jacobin crowd would drop the childish open-borders fantasy stuff.

      Marx himself figured out what the immigration game was all about back in the mid-1800s, why do those who purport to represent the working class seem so intent on unlearning what was patently obvious back then and continues to be so, today?

      Yes, I get we all like to meet different people, learn up close about different cultures, cuisines, and all that, but let’s be clear-eyed that there’s a cost to those things. It comes in the form of rising rents/property prices and gentrification, disinvestment in the labor force (why train workers when you can just import replacements?), degradation in local environment.

      Also, can we stop strip-mining the human capital of other countries?

      Let’s focus more on creating a right to ‘stay in place’ instead of ‘freedom of movement’ fantasy stuff which sounds more like a right to tourism or something weird like that.

      Anyway, rant over…

      Reply
        1. JohnnyGL

          Nathan Robinson on June 15th: “I don’t believe the American left has lost its mind”

          Also Nathan Robinson, June 19th:

          https://twitter.com/NathanJRobinson/status/1274112979819278342

          “I have regretfully come to the conclusion that The Hill, owned by one of Trump’s close personal friends, puts on Rising mainly for the purpose of trying to trick leftists into softening on Trump & see nationalist racists as preferable to moderate Democrats”

          Wow…that is flat out ridiculous…how stupid does he think people are?

          Reply
          1. Mr. House

            Have you talked to people in public lately? They can’t understand how you can be against both republicans and democrats. Then spend the next hour trying to convince you to vote democrat. Orrrrr they storm off in a fit.

            Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Neoliberalism’s support of very open boarders for both finance and labor arbitrage is assumed to be always good because the American and English nomenklatura and their apparatchiks implicitly. very often without any real thought, believe in the ideology of neoliberalism. So, while there is often manipulation by whatever hidden authority is doing it, most of the time there is no need. The writers have brainwashed themselves into ignorance. 2+2=5

        Reply
      2. Daniel Raphael

        Borders are a problem only when capitalism prevails. Note the problems/objections you cited…having to do with wages, property prices, and other “market” features that would not apply under socialism. When people rule themselves cooperatively and share the wealth that presently is stolen from them and used against them, the problem of borders will cease to be a problem.

        Reply
        1. WJ

          The problem I have is that, even assuming you’re correct, the utopian socialist crew somehow thinks that open borders is compatible, in the actual capitalist world we live in, with forwarding the interests of the working class. It’s just not.

          Reply
          1. Anarcissie

            Certainly ‘open borders’ are not compatible with anyone’s interests because they’re a contradiction in terms. The capitalists see the border (the real border, not the mythical ‘open border’) as a kind of valve which can be opened or shut as their interests require. It also provides for ways of further disadvantaging certain portions of the working class and thus reducing their wages and eliminating their rights. So the institution of the border turns out to be a kind of variable form of coercion, as well as a myth to build racist and classist politics on.

            Reply
      3. GettingTheBannedBack

        The media is more fascinating by the day if you try not to take it seriously. Really.

        Trying to deconstruct who is the real audience, what is the underlying message (aka dog whistle), how is the media doing plausible deniability, who is the real source (who is the piece written to serve) and what is the motivation for the piece could take whole PhDs to figure out sometimes.

        And it’s hard because I have biases, like everyone I guess, which can get in the way. Every few days I get a lightbulb moment on something and that is fascinating.

        But at the bottom of every media pronouncement is the money, so follow the money and the power. Not so easy sometimes because the real hallmark of the powerful is the ability to pay for invisibility. My CEO used to say that he had no real power. Now, he knew how to operate.

        Reply
        1. Clive

          Yes, this is now my approach. I still watch and read widely, but never (or hardly ever) in the expectation that I’ll either learn something or get told anything even vaguely related to the unvarnished truth.

          Much more interesting (but as you say, requiring adroit mental gymnastics and prone to all sorts of misdirection) is trying to work out the answers to the inevitable questions:

          — Why am I being shown this at this time?
          — What narratives are intended to be constructed by this “story”?
          — Who is trying to influence me and why, into doing (or refraining from doing) what?
          — Is it a false-flag or should it be taken at face value?
          — Is it supportive of existing norms or trying to change them (or, the old favourite stand-by “controlled opposition”)?
          — Is it organic (highly, highly unlikely) or is it the latest exciting instalment of the ongoing oligarch v. oligarch grudge match?
          — What messaging / influencing technique is being employed (fear, guilt, appeal to ethics, tribalism, family values et. al.)?

          The last is usually the most intriguing. Is this the family-favourite Soros v. Putin title fight? A Bill Gates v. Trump proxy war? The Clinton Democrats-in-name-only leftist faction v. whoever Sanders constituency actually is? Globalist Internationalism capitalists v. disaster capitalists?

          I was going to write the following sentence at this point:

          “Someone should publish “Top Trumps” (no irony intended) so we can all work our way around who’s who in all this…

          But then, can you believe it, reality trumped me because some wisecracker beat me to it. Of course, the political power players Top Trumps pack really needs additional categories to make it realistic. “Number of SuperPACs”, “$Billions Grifted”, “Brown People in Far Away Places Blown to Pink Mist Total in Office”, “Media Outlets Owned”, “MSM Actors on the Payroll” etc. etc. etc.

          Reply
          1. Tom Finn

            Thank you Clive for enunciating and listing so clearly the mental editing of reporting that I too have been doing for decades.
            My only addition: __‘Who profits from this being accepted.’

            Reply
      4. Polar Socialist

        There’s a lot more recent papers on the issue than Marx. To put it shortly, it’s almost impossible to separate the effect of immigration on wages from the effects of “free trade” and automatisation.

        For example, in “The impact of massmigration on the Israeli labor market” in 2001 R.M. Friedberg concluded that wages actually went up, when Russians migrated en masse to Israel, though they did not migrate to seek employment.

        Ottaviano and Peri in ”Immigration and National Wages: Clarifying the theory and the empirics” and Card in “Immigration and inequality” state that the models used to estimate the wages are mostly too simple and very sensitive to how education levels are defined.

        All economists seem to agree that in the least skilled or educated “class” the effect of migration is lower wages or raising unemployment, if wages are the only way for the economy to adjust.

        I just don’t think the issue is as clear cut as people make it to be.

        Reply
    2. Fireship

      Robinson is continuing a great British tradition where mediocrities from the Mother country head for the colonies to wow the gullible colonists with their fancy ways. The guy is such a lightweight, like fellow grifting Brits Niall Ferguson or Louise Mensch.

      Reply
      1. Off The Street

        Robinson could refer not to Fox, but to Fox Butterfield. That has a quaint, somewhat British-sounding aspirational upper class twit aspect that seems fitting. /s

        Reply
      2. geoff

        Per wikipedia, Robinson moved with his family from the U.K. to the U.S. in 1995; he was born in 1989. He’s almost entirely the product of an American upbringing and education. He hasn’t dropped the accent because he doesn’t want to. Frankly he’s more of a Florida Man than a Brit imo. (I say this as an admirer.)

        Reply
        1. occasional anonymous

          It’s not a matter of ‘dropping’ anything; his accent isn’t even British. It’s some weird pseudo-transatlantic thing.

          Reply
    3. Donald

      I generally like Nathan Robinson— most of the time he writes long detailed heavily linked arguments that are worth reading and which I think most people here would agree with. He is not liked by mainstream Democrats.

      I was very disappointed with his Taibbi piece. But I tend to be disappointed by nearly everyone at one point or another. When Robinson says he likes Taibbi, I think he is telling the truth. He just thinks Taibbi is wrong in this case, while I think it is Robinson who is wrong.

      Reply
    4. Fergus Hashimoto

      Why is everyone ignoring one of the most bizarre aspects of the Bernie Sanders campaign? That his campaign staff and most prominent supporters were mostly members and supporters of a small religious sect that comprises 1% of the US population, and they were not typical members of this sect, but instead the most extremist ones.
      Moreover this small religious sect that comprises 1% of the US population causes one half of US terrorism deaths. Proof:
      According to Wikipedia, between 2008 and 2016
       right-wing terrorists caused 79 deaths
       left-wing terrorists caused 7 deaths
       jihadi terrorists caused 90 deaths
      Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_the_United_States# Recent trends
      Therefore Islamic terrorists actually killed MORE people than right-wing terrorists. Furthermore, if we assume that right-wingers make up 10% of the US population, and Muslims make up 1% of the US population, then per capita, Muslims accounted for TEN TIMES as many terrorism deaths as right-wingers did. Furthermore Muslims accounted for ONE HUNDRED TIMES as many terrorism deaths as non-Muslims did.
      Bernie Sanders’ campaign was run by Muslim extremists Faiz Shakir and Matt Duss.
      But nobody seems to mind. Anyone who criticizes Islam is called a bigot. But Islam’s holy book says: “Muhammad is the apostle of Allah. Those who follow him are ruthless to unbelievers, merciful to one another.” (Qur’an 48:29) Is that bigotry or is that not bigotry?
      In 1946 the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna, praised Amin al-Husseini, the leader of the Palestinian national movement, in the following words:
      Germany and Hitler are no more, but Amin el-Husseini will fight on!
      Source: Die Welt, Hamburg
      https://www.welt.de/kultur/history/article107737611/Von-Deutschland-lernen-heisst-erinnern-lernen.html
      Bernie Sanders represents left-wing ideas and programs that are ANATHEMA to this small sect and ESPECIALLY to its extremist wing. Ideas like sexual freedom and religious freedom, freedom to criticize religions, equality among religions and non-religions, and equality between sexes, the idea that laws must be made by human beings elected by majorities through democratic elections instead of by some divinity who is obviously merely a social construct invented in order to exert tyrannical power over society. Those are all principles that flatly contradict Islam and its legal code, sharia law, which CAIR has been doing its utmost to protect from anti-sharia lagislation.
      All of Bernie Sanders’ most prominent supporters opposed ALL of his leftist ideas, because they want a theocratic state where binary sexuality is the norm and criticism of their sect is verboten.
      They hopped onto the Sanders bandwagon and took control of it out of sheer opportunism, because they see Sanders as the path firstly to liquidating Israel and thus achieving one of the primary goals of the worldwide Islamist movement, namely to turn the Middle East into a homogeneous Muslim region, and secondly in order to seize key political positions in the political system of the US, DESPITE BEING SUCH A TINY MINORITY.
      Matt Duss, Bernie Sanders’ foreign policy adviser, is tightly linked through his family to World Vision, a Christian charity that for decades has funded the FDLP, a Palestinian terrorist group that is nominally secular, but in reality is Islamist. This is proved by the fact that when some of its members killed 4 rabbis in Jerusalem a few years ago, they yelled Allahu akbar. It was recently discovered that World Vision has financed Hamas with US government money. Moreover Matt Duss together with Faiz Shakir, Sanders’ Islamist campaign manager, have campaigned in favor of sharia law, a legal system that claims divine authority and is a product of 7th century Arabian society.
      By contrast, 20% of Americans are secularists who—at least in theory—strongly oppose the reactionary and obscurantist program of Bernie Sanders’ principal supporters. But no prominent secularist appeared among Sanders’ most important backers. Now why is it that Sanders relied principally on people who wholeheartedly oppose his program and ignored the vastly greater number of Americans who support freedom and equality?

      Reply
      1. Basil Pesto

        Why is everyone ignoring one of the most bizarre aspects of the Bernie Sanders campaign?

        Thank you for providing the long and thorough answer to your own question.

        Reply
      1. JBird4049

        Proto-fascism? I rather think it might be here already, but in an American guise.

        (Sorry, I just couldn’t decide where the sentences and paragraphs should be. Semicolons were the solution.)

        As the United States is its own unique blend; utopian, socialistic, religious, fascistic, authoritarian or totalitarian, dysfunctional, increasingly hourglass shaped (oligarchy with skilled workers, tiny middle class, and massive poor class) like any very corrupt Third-World country; an increasingly oppressive police state trying to control a very diverse, well educated, skilled “rightsized” people, often armed and getting more so, with a large number retire military; everyone is angry or afraid and most know that it was laziness or stupidity or the race/social group/Russians/Chinese/Space Elves that turned the prosperity, power, and general competence of fifty into the economic hellscape, weakness, and near complete incompetence of today; it is increasingly obvious that it was the wealthy with the help of their courtiers and servants of the apparatchiks, and the intelligentsia/punditocracy.

        Fear and self righteousness facing anger and desperation. What a situation to have.

        Reply
  2. anon in so cal

    Bookmarked for later. Nathan Robinson manages to insidiously smuggle Cold War propaganda into articles that ostensibly argue against Russiagate. He appears to be the most dangerous kind of propagandist.

    Reply
  3. Rod

    hooked by the headline

    Read that Taibbi piece and boy does he have links—to back his sound and clear narrative.
    It seems like he always has a lot of research, way more than he makes his case with…

    Drawing fire, as a tactic for the well prepared, can be useful.

    Reply
  4. Carolinian

    If NC wants to add a Media Whores Online section to Links or Water Cooler we won’t object. Of course this would probably inspire PropOrNot part deux. Those MSM journalists can dish it out but not take it.

    As I seem to recall MWO somewhat got the stuffing knocked out of it after 9/11. But when it was really rolling it seemed to embodied what the internet was for and why many of us took it up. Monica-gate followed by Bush v Gore offered a TINA media landscape begging to be debunked.

    Reply
    1. norm de plume

      MWO published what might have been my first blog comment, really just an email, and it was on the Kaus affair, piling on with sarc mode set to high, another example of the ‘hate’ we were apparently guilty of. It was the daily visit then that NC is now. It was important. The creator remains a mystery, though Bartcop seems to deserve favouritism.

      Looking at some of the MWO Wayback pages from 2002 took me back (though the whole of July when the Kaus thing blew is missing). Lots of familiar names – digby, Alterman, Marshall, Conason, Lyons, Pierce et al, all of whom I just stopped reading at some point, probably about the same time I ceased to have any respect for the Clintons.

      Reply
  5. Mel

    No “spook”, huh? Then it’s “secret squirrel”, except they’re hardly secret sitting there on NBC and CNN.

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > No “spook”, huh? Then it’s “secret squirrel”,

      I encountered “Secret Squirrel” in my travels, but I am a big Rocky and His Friends fan (or, rather, I stan Rocky and His Friends (?)).

      Reply
  6. EOH

    Color me skeptical when it comes to the wonders of Mr. Taibbi’s observations. I find his narratives full of sound and fury as often as they are sound and clear. But, like Craig Murray or Glenn Greenwald, he can be a good read on the right topic. Sy Hersh and Thomas Frank, however, I have a lot of time for.

    Reply
    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      By contrast I’ve always found that Taibbi always signifies something, but tries to do so in a way that might enable him to avoid being cancelled or deplatformed. Sy Hersh has no such concern. And last time I checked Thomas Frank was trying to signify to me that “maybe there is a case for Joe Biden”. With more than 40 years’ experience of the man, I utterly disagree.

      Reply
      1. ANTHONY WIKRENT

        “maybe there is a case for Joe Biden” is the headline and most of the article. It’s deception. Read to the last paragraph if you want to see what Frank actually thinks of Biden. Quite a sucker punch! Though that does not fully capture the sticking and twisting of Frank’s shiv.

        Reply
        1. EOH

          But Frank says he came to assess Joe’s mystique, not to bury it.

          As for Joe Biden, consider the alternative of four more years of Mr. Trump’s “malevolent incompetence” and intentional destruction.

          Reply
      2. integer

        Yes I think Taibbi knows a lot more than he puts forward in his articles. How could he not? Same with Frank, probably. Even Hersh censors himself, as evidenced by that recorded phone conversation about Seth Rich.

        Reply
    2. Chris

      The wonder of Mr. Taibbi’s observations is that he’s brave enough to keep making them. Real journalism is rare these days because our corporate organizations have removed journalists from the protected species list. Mr. Taibbi is just documenting the fallout from the officially sanctioned behavior that leads to people canceling those who are discussing actual injustice and real problems in our country. He’s also trying, and failing, to show Team Blue fans that their inability to accept reality hurts their electoral chances. For example, the many attempts to scrub Hillary’s problems from the media lead to a sense of complacency in likely Democrat voters and made people voting for her opponent highly motivated to turn out at the polls. Taking something like her “basket of deplorables” comment and not discussing why it was just as problematic as Mitt Romney’s “48% of people who are voting for Obama don’t pay income tax” comments was journalistic and political malpractice. It remains to be seen whether the many attempts to shield Biden using similar tactics will help or hurt him. Personally I think the Democrats will lose because they have rubber stamped the reduction of voting access so much in so many states that the people who would like to vote for them won’t be able to vote. Which is a legitimately awful problem.

      There are so many issues that Mr. Taibbi has discussed which bear repeating because unless you’re getting your news from sites like NC you just don’t see it. A recent Useful Idiots podcast episode that Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper did with Shahid Buttar noted that an interview that Mr. Buttar gave which mentioned corporate democrats supporting the re-approval of the Patriot Act under Trump was removed from YouTube and no reasons were given as to why that occurred. Stuff like that makes me think we’re living on a spectrum between Brave New World and 1984, with class largely determining where you fall, and we have Cancel Culture people in media running around playing the role of Fireman from Fahrenheit 451 to keep the wrong people from asking too many questions regardless of class. As Mr. Buttar pointed out during his UI podcast interview, the algorithms that FB and YouTube use to remove content without due process catch all the videos of violent acts AND video evidence police abusing citizens. That’s by design. But you wouldnt even know about it without reporters like Matt Taibbi.

      Reply
      1. Rod

        Yes, thanks for taking the time to encapsulate what Taibbi represents for me.
        I admire his relentless pursuit of the ‘how’ our world is being spun out of control.

        Reply
        1. Lunker Walleye

          Yes! Completely agree. Thanks. I heard the interview with Shahid Buttar. I’m hoping for more courageous journalists like Matt.

          Reply
          1. wol

            Yesterday I heard the Useful Idiots interview with Cornell West. At the end I was spontaneously fist pumping.

            Reply
  7. Michael

    That is a very interesting story. Call me paranoid, but IMO we are witnessing the collapse of American society, where every institution is losing it’s credibility for various reasons. Personally, I think it is a combination of increased oppression from the threatened rulers, resulting in increased conformity by its victims ((journalists and the public) This combined with the privatization of information, ( ie everything becoming paywalled) is aimed at the reduction of important information by making it unavailable. I fear all of this ends in a veil of tears. This can only lead to fascism, where only the current accepted narrative is permitted.

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      We face the criminal persecution and torture of Assange; the criminal persecution of Craig Murray; the recent debacle at TruthDig; the demise of the Weatherunderground, the growing numbers of pay walls and pop-ups pleading for money and email addresses all suggesting a most unhappy outcome for the future. The consolidation and control of the major media is old history. Reporters are becoming extinct. And there’s the pollution of youtube, search engines, and social media. Our society is devolving — it is being dismantled, vivisected before our eyes to no end but the end of social order.

      I am not sure fascism is the result. We already live in what is technically a fascism where State and Business share the same bed.

      I still haven’t read Talbi’s critique but will.

      Reply
      1. norm de plume

        ‘The consolidation and control of the major media is old history. Reporters are becoming extinct. And there’s the pollution of youtube, search engines, and social media’

        There should be a public option for the provision of information (surely up there with food, water and shelter as an essential public good) that is not polluted. Of course it would be derided (and feared) by the wingnuts, the Borg and finance capital as a vehicle for progressive propaganda. Which it could well be given consistent polling indicating majority support for many if not most progressive positions. That of course means that the Democrats would hate it too.

        Which segues into my next pipe dream: Abolish parties!

        Reply
  8. Waking Up

    Ellsberg, like, Seymour Hersh and Thomas Frank, has been drummed out of town.

    Interesting that those with a conscience are the ones “drummed out of town”. Guess that tells you everything you need to know about that “town”.

    As for Matt Taibbi, he is one of the VERY RARE journalists that I give the benefit of the doubt is actually telling the truth (even though I still verify) as I usually assume most “journalists” are lying (or trying to sell a particular story) and go from there. I also find his podcast with Katie Halper entertaining and informative.

    Reply
  9. Synoia

    where every institution is losing it’s credibility for various reasons

    They had credibility, when?

    Before the Committee of UnAmericam Activities?

    Before the Korean War?

    Before the Dulles Brothers?

    Before the Monroe Doctrine?

    Manifest Destiny?

    Reply
  10. elspeth ham

    I read that article. I thought it was one of the best of his I’ve read. Hats off Matt Taibbi. As far as I’m concerned once we lose the complexity that inhabits a serious regard for the truth, we’re done. I always appreciate being brought up short by my ‘enemies.’ It means they might not be as hideous as I’d thought.

    Reply
  11. farmboy

    being consistently lied to by TV reporters, print media, and politicians not only breeds cynicism, it births, welps, nurses, and rears. the limitation of news outlets until the explosion of social media meant they could be parsed out in narrow sets of ideas and language. Today big media is laid bare, McLuhan was so right, Today it is crucial to know ones own biases, allow opinion and research in opposition into my field of view. As a trader, I always searched for the refuting argument, chart, analysis that would tell me i was wrong, saved me a lot of money. Inflaming passions today is crucial to getting buy-in, not just voting, which is the tail trying to wag the dog. Taibbi has earned his stripes, fields critics on twitter at least, faithfully and honestly.

    Reply
  12. Sutter Cane

    I have been reading Taibbi since the eXiled. Robinson and Current Affairs I only found out about more recently.

    I view Taibbi as a real journalist with a proven track record. Current Affairs often has some entertaining and thoughful content, but Robinson frankly seems to be more of a lightweight, especially in comparison to Taibbi.

    He specializes in “takedowns” of right wing grifters like Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson. Not exactly difficult targets. His turning on Taibbi, and more recently Krystal Ball and Rising, has been interesting to see. I don’t know if he just grew tired of writing about only right wing types, or if he’s trying to raise his own profile by attacking better-known left media figures (probably a bit of both). Either way, Robinson’s shitck has gotten decidedly old.

    Reply
    1. funemployed

      Robinson’s not really an investigative reporter. More like a pundit for the over-educated left. So it’s not really fair to compare him to people like Greenwald and Taibbi. He’s also quite young, and every one his age has some big blind spots and youthful hubris that will (hopefully) shrink in time.

      And of course his shtick got tired. Anyone who’s job consists of basically writing 2-3 op-eds a week is gonna run out of new material real fast. In a marginally more sane world he’d have a nice job as the regular NYT lefty op-ed guy, and be pretty good at it I think.

      In any case, he’s a sincere young man who does seem to listen and learn. I mostly side with Taibbi in this kerfuffle, but maybe I wouldn’t have 10 years ago. Given the large number of truly horrible people in the public eye these days, the vitriol towards young Nate seems a bit…excessive. Frankly, if there’s anyone who could get the PMC+DSA crowd to start questioning identitarianism, it’s probably him (as I believe they constitute the near entirety of his readership), so lets work on helping him “recognize his own privilege” re: the working class instead of bashing him or questioning his motives.

      Reply
    2. Donald

      I forgot about the attack on Krystal Ball. I didn’t like that either, but another person I generally like, Adam Johnson, did the same.

      I have just gotten used to the fact that there aren’t going to be people I agree with on every important issue 100 percent of the time. This isn’t irony or sarcasm— I really am disappointed when otherwise smart and (IMO) clearly well intentioned people have opinions I think are wrong. But it is possible I am wrong. ( This is all painfully earnest, as corny as it sounds. )

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        I think you have the correct approach. People are far too hair triggered about certain topics. A journalist has to churn out lots of copy, even the best will occasionally get it wrong, or just happen to express beliefs that don’t match up with what i or anyone else believes. It is I think the sort of trap that IdPol people fall into – insisting on increasing levels of purity from those on their side, and immediately casting them out if they dare shift one inch from the narrative.

        It should be possible to read and learn from good writers, even if you disagree with them. And it’s very important that progressives learn and develop by listening to those who have respectful and intellectually coherent reasons not to buy into every precious shibboleth. I think its very important to have voices like Taibbi and Stoller, people who aren’t afraid to make even fellow left progressives angry by taking strong positions.

        Reply
  13. Mammoth Jackstock

    As seen on TV, Frank Figliuzzi x Greenwald mistaking Figliuzzi’s shingle advertising body-man services, for a Wurlitzer. “Figliuzzi” is “small son” in Italian, a euphemism for abandoned orphans, also known for working on behalf of the parents that raised them: The State. Perhaps Figliuzzi’s booking agency has insight into clandestine media control. It’s hard to decipher whether Taibbi’s beef is that journalists’ ethical lapses are not properly coordinated or whether the lapses are not authentic enough. Which is the same criticism leveled at the street demonstrators without acknowledging that higher levels of coordination and authentic anger potentiate more physical harm. Spontaneity is the x-factor in both pursuits. Last point. When the surveillance state is conceptualized as the ever-vigilant eyes of BLM and the feverish archiving of Journos, rather than the underworld of the Police State, the surveillance state-less becomes a mode for positive change. Vindication by security camera. Can one be baffled by hope?

    Reply
  14. Briny

    Put simply, I refuse to be schooled by the ethically challenged MSM. Matt’s doing important work here.

    Reply
  15. Edward

    “What the heck is the correct pejorative for a member of the intelligence commumity? ”

    The intelligence communities must have there own terms for these people. “Agents of influence”? Psychological warfare specialists? Propagandists? Minitrue Goodthinker?

    I think the United States needs a mandatory high school class in “How to read propaganda”. Americans are probably the most propagandized people on the planet.

    Reply
    1. Acacia

      I have heard the term “analyst”, though it’s far too neutral for their activities. “Operatives” or “henchmen” seems more fitting.

      Reply
        1. Edward

          They are the president’s secret army. They have avoided congressional oversight by securing their funding from the drug trade.

          Reply
      1. Edward

        Some of the CIA are analysts, like Ray McGovern, albeit politicized ones. The CIA has different departments. The best word for the CIA is probably “disgrace” or “national shame”.

        Reply
  16. Berto

    Would love to hear Taibbi explain why the NY Times spent the summer of 2016 pretending to care that Republicans pretended to care about Clinton’s email protocols.

    Reply
    1. anon in so cal

      Speaking of the fake news NY Times, here is a good 2017 analysis of its decades-long mendacity and war propagandizing. Here is a snippet:

      “The CIA’s brazen intervention in the electoral process in 2016 and 2017 broke new ground in the agency’s politicization. Former CIA head Michael Morell announced in an August 2016 op-ed in the Times: “I Ran the C.I.A. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton,” and former CIA boss Michael Hayden published an op-ed in the Washington Post just days before the election, entitled “Former CIA Chief: Trump is Russia’s Useful Fool.” Morell had yet another op-ed in the Times on January 6, now openly assailing the new president. These attacks were unrelievedly insulting to Trump and laudatory to Clinton, even portraying Trump as a traitor; they also made clear that Clinton’s more pugnacious stance toward Syria and Russia was preferable by far to Trump’s leanings toward negotiation and cooperation with Russia.”

      https://monthlyreview.org/2017/07/01/fake-news-on-russia-and-other-official-enemies/

      Reply
      1. Off The Street

        Note where so many seemingly-disreputable people end up, and why. There is money, whether to reward for past services, or to transfer in anticipation of legal defenses needed.

        Money shows up in novel ways, like book deals and in plain old propagandizing ways, like pundit spots.

        Reply
  17. McWatt

    Matt Taibbi is a God that Walks the Planet!!!

    Stay the course Matt. When this is all over, you’ll be the last intelligent reporter standing.

    Along with Katie!!!

    Reply
  18. integer

    And of course there really is such a thing as “Left Wing Hate” (for some definition of “left,” I admit).

    Glad to see this qualifier added. I suspect the language that is necessary to have meaningful discussions about political ideologies with people from different political tribes is purposely corrupted by the conservative and liberal media establishments, probably at the behest of the CIA.

    Reply
  19. Sound of the Suburbs

    Einstein’s definition of madness “Doing the same thing again and again and expecting to get a different result”

    Do you remember the last time you let the robber barons and reckless bankers run riot in the 1920s?
    No.
    Do you remember the last time you used neoclassical economics in the 1920s?
    No.
    Do you remember how bad it was in the 1970s?
    Yes.
    Do you remember how bad it was in the 1930s?
    No.

    During the 1920s there was a great consolidation of US businesses into often single companies that dominated every sector.
    This time this has happened in the media.
    About six corporations control the US media, and they make sure you hear, what they want you to hear.

    Reply
    1. Sound of the Suburbs

      A trip down memory lane.

      We stepped onto an old path that still leads to the same place.
      1920s/2000s – neoclassical economics, high inequality, high banker pay, low regulation, low taxes for the wealthy, robber barons (CEOs), reckless bankers, globalisation phase
      1929/2008 – Wall Street crash
      1930s/2010s – Global recession, currency wars, trade wars, austerity, rising nationalism and extremism
      1940s – World war.
      We forgot we had been down that path before.

      I remembered where this path goes.

      When the US needed an FDR, it got an Obama.
      Now they’ve got Trump.
      They’ve taken a more European approach this time.
      Trying to maintain the status quo is not a good idea, they needed a New Deal.

      Reply
    1. Fazal Majid

      Wow, that’s truly despicable!

      That said, anyone who believes the NYT was ever respectable, as in worthy of respect, not as in “mainstay of the establishment”, needs only harken back to Pulitzer’s role in fanning the Spanish-American War to understand how fundamentally depraved an institution it really is.

      Reply
    2. Off The Street

      His name was known to many readers of Slate Star Codex, and they were too polite to repeat it. There is a decency and brilliance that would be sorely missed with any permanent silencing of his unique voice and views.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Absolutely, its a brilliant blog, on so many levels. Its beyond belief that the NY would insist on publishing his real name, when there is absolutely no reason or public interest in doing so.

        Reply
        1. Off The Street

          The NYT fancies itself an empire, dispensing and dispatching at will. Here is a Star Wars quote from Obi-Wan applicable to those that the Grey Lady targets, or even purposefully ignores:

          I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

          Reply
  20. Ignacio

    It is quite interesting, and positive, should I say, that nobody resorted to the argument of “lefty” thinkers destroying themselves as the perennial malaise of the left. Regarding the confrontation between Taibbi and Robinson it looks clear they do not represent 2 variations of the same camp: They inhabit completely different camps though, as an outsider, I am not able to establish clearly the limits between their audiences and their supporting platforms.

    It strikes me, as very well pointed, the similarities that Lambert brougth from Taibbi in the ADDENDUM about the, IMO very likely, Trump reelection and the 2016 elections: he can easily run away with his errors and the liberals look poised to make similar mistakes in 2020 as they did in 2016. They learnt nothing and forgot nothing.

    On this I really would like a well informed discussion on some news pieces that have seen linked here before indicating that Trump very much dislikes voting by mail “because of fraud” though my opinion is that he just wants the election turnout to be the smaller the better.

    Reply
  21. Philbq

    Regarding the vast U.S. media propaganda machine, Chomsky famously said long ago that propaganda was MORE necessary in democratic societies. In a totalitarian regime, the government can control the public with force and violence, imprisoning or executing dissidents. But in a democratic society, citizens have the power to vote and change the government. Therefore, it is more necessary in a democratic society to control how the public thinks. Thus propaganda is the very essence of democracy. Propaganda ids thought control in democratic societies.

    Reply
  22. Webstir

    “What the heck is the correct pejorative for a member of the intelligence commumity? I’m not going to the mat for “spook,” obviously.”

    My dad was a spook. I used to call him a “Peeping Dick.”

    He loved it of course.

    Reply
  23. David

    There was a time when I went to the established media to learn things. Now, it feels more like checking in on an evolving soap opera with a baffling plot and inconsistent characters. There’s a certain grim amusement in seeing the latest plot twist but that’s about all. I get my actual information from sites like NC and specialist sites and newsletters by experts. I’m afraid that my gut reaction to clicking on a MSM story these days is: why is this bast**d lying to me?

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Likewise. The thing is, as a teenager back in the 1980’s I’d read my Chomsky and a number of radical media writers. My eyes had been opened when I was around 15, home on holidays and bored watching afternoon TV when a particular incident occurred in NI. I remember watching open mouthed as the narrative was completely twisted around 180 degrees by the time of the evening news (I won’t go into the details, but it started as ‘brave mourners tackle terrorists who drove a car into a crowd saving many lives’ into ‘barbaric Republicans lynch two innocent soldiers who had lost their way’ over the course of about 4 hours of reporting. But I still, up to a few years ago, as a default tended to believe what I read in the newspapers or watched on TV, unless I had a reasonably good reason not to do so. But no more. I don’t really know whether things have gotten much worse, or I’ve just become more educated/cynical.

      Reply
      1. Ignacio

        Fast forward to 2003, very much like the terrorist attacks in Atocha train station when Aznar phoned all the media to say “it is certain it was ETA” and so the publications in Spain went with this story. Thereafter, only the conservative media went on with a conspiracy theory with the Spanish police in collusion with ETA to maintain their narrative even when it was crystal clear it was a yihaddist attack.

        So, regarding the media, it is the narrative what goes first and much more important than facts. No matter if it is a conservative or a liberal outlet, they will stick to their narrative. This has worsened with time.

        Reply
    2. larry

      I love this quote, so let me be a stickler. The actual question is: Why is this lying bastard lying to me?. It was originally atributed to Louis Heron of the Times and channeled by Paxman in an interview at the end of his Newsnight career. Otherwise, I am depressed to say that I can do nothing other than agree with your view of the MSM in general, although there are a few journalists who appear to be doing what they should be doing even if they may not doing it as well as they probably could. As for the rest, some of them can’t even write.

      Reply
      1. David

        Yes, I’m not sure whether Heron actually said that (accounts differ) but I remember thinking when I first read it decades ago that it was silly: I spent a good part of my life preparing politicians for interviews, and, at least then, you made sure they were briefed to put the best spin on things, which is not the same as lying. But on subjects I was familiar with, I used to reckon that most jobbing journalists (ie not the deep specialists) would get things factually accurate about 50% of the time, and that the problems were more related to ignorance and preconceptions than active attempts to mislead. I don’t think that’s the case now. Journalists today, by contrast, actively tell lies, often for political reasons or to conform to groupthink.

        Reply
  24. John Mc

    Taibbi is a national treasure. He is a funny, engaging writer who knows where the boundaries are involving spin, humor and articulating a precise message. The fact that he has been so clairvoyant about hundreds of issues (Political futility, Financial Crisis, Policing, and changes in Media) is due to his unique willingness to talk to people in all walks of life to understand the complexity of what he is writing about. And when he does not know something, he owns it. Connectivity to people, and his marriage to journalism all breed more and more trust (as well as puts a target on his back).

    We live in a time of fracture (capital/labor, institutional decay, and the indelible scars of markets taking over our lives at every level) means we need people to cut through the noise, effectively — reminding us of our fantastic thinking and proffering uncomfortable truths. And nowhere has this been more apparent than the NL core of the democratic party on the Left:

    1. Russiagate Maddowers versus Mate-Blumenthal
    2. Syria/Bolivia/Venezuela/Chile CIA media engineers vs The Grayzone and Greenwald
    3. The Warren/Sanders rift. The Warren/Warren rift.
    4. The night of 1000 Knives.
    5. BLM and Democratic Party.
    6. And left media puts out a hit against Taibbi – with very little serious discussion of Hate Inc..
    7. Leftist Fractures – N Robinson vs Krystal Ball, Lee Fang, Taibbi and an academic accused of “bad research”
    8. Attack on the show Rising – why would the left talk to the populist right canard.

    The left are playing a role in their own demise — often at the behest of the NL center or in concert to a more individualistic lens, separate of that to ordinary people. Kyle Kulinski just did a 30 minutes on this too.

    All in all, the group who needs to be shattered into a thousand pieces in the wind (the NL core of both parties) just got stronger this election cycle — and in my mind the fractures on the left are just starting.

    It did not have to be that way. Sickening to consider when you think about the opportunity we had in January.

    Thanks Lambert for this article

    Reply
  25. Bruce

    To add to the lists of questions to be asked when reading the “news”….

    “What is not being reported here?” or, more colloquially, “What dog isn’t barking?”.

    Reply
  26. Bruce

    Over the years I have asked many people about press coverage of subjects they knew well. I asked if, from their perspective, the press got all, most, some or none of the story right. The long run average response is between some and none.

    Then I ask, “Why, if your personal experience says the press rarely gets it right concerning something you know a lot about, do you believe they get it right concerning things you know little about?”

    Reply
  27. Roquentin

    Taibbi is correct in that piece, undeniably so, but more than that it’s the entire Sanders-based social democratic movement that’s coming apart. The media is mostly a reflection of that. I had always hoped that the movement towards social democracy Sanders fostered could survive beyond him as a viable candidate, but I must confess I no longer think that likely. The whole movement is imploding in on itself, and people lashing out against Taibbi is, to me at least, just more evidence of how much of his criticism hit the mark.

    Even if the current left can survive the end of Sanders as a political figure on the national stage, I see even less of a path for it once Trump is gone. Rabid anti-Trump sentiment is the only adhesive that keeps the different parts of it together. They saw a boom when Trump was elected, and I can only conclude there will be a big bust when he goes away. If they put a lot of effort into publicly shilling for Biden, then it’s even more likely, because on some level they’ll be bound to carry water for him while he’s in office because they advocated for him as a leader in the first place. No, it’s not just the press that’s destroying itself it’s also practically all of the liberal class and most of what flies under the banner of the left too.

    Reply
    1. Waking Up

      I have to disagree with your assessment about the movement towards social democracy. There isn’t a specific “leader” at present, but just the sheer number of people who protested in the streets around the country (during a pandemic I might add) in regards to police brutality, economic inequality, a better healthcare system such as Medicare For All, are all fighting for social justice and democracy. This is coming from people who recognize what our system is doing to them and others.

      “Rabid anti-Trump sentiment is the only adhesive that keeps the different parts of it together.”

      Once again, I have to disagree. The supposed “liberal” media, many “liberal” politicians, and supporters who base their personal opinion on whatever is popular that particular day may have “rabid anti-Trump sentiment”. But there are plenty of people who recognize we are going through a major “social collapse”. Some people may not want to discuss these issues because they don’t want to change the current system (they would rather attack Matt Taibbi and others than discuss the legitimate problems we have). These problems, including an economic collapse, are not going to disappear the day Donald Trump is out of office nor will it improve with a “more of the same” Joe Biden administration.

      At this point, I tend to believe our country will either a) become even more authoritarian where the citizens just accept they have no civil rights and view police and military brutality as part of “everyday life” or b) we continue on this trajectory of collapse with a very small percentage of people doing quite well and the vast majority wondering or already in circumstances which lead them to question how long it will be before they are homeless, without a job, how they will feed their family and whether they can get any healthcare if they need it or c) we finally wake up as a majority of citizens and demand a government (executive, congressional, and judicial) responsive to the citizens which deals with social and economic collapse. All of those with the current ideologies of the Democratic/Republican parties need to go as they represent either their careers or moneyed interests. Then again, maybe the level of corruption and greed is so far gone in this country that the only trajectory is collapse.

      Reply
    1. flora

      Taibbi sees what is happening on the ground. He reports what he sees. That reporting is, just like 2016, apparently considered some sort of heresy by the MSM and the Dem party estab.

      My own take on the 2020 election is it’s another inside-the-beltway candidate vs outsider candidate campaign. Biden is the inside-the-beltway candidate, backed by neocons and the intel community and the MIC and Wall St. T is again running as the outsider candidate , or trying to, but it’s a lot harder sales pitch to make when he’s the current pres., even though the entire inside-the-beltway gang, including Republicans supporting and supported by the neocons, Wall St., etc, are trying to get rid of T, imo.

      Reply
      1. flora

        adding: “Pravda-on-the-Hudson” and “Izvestia-on-the-Potomac” referring to NYTimes and WaPo used to be a funny snark said in jest. It’s not so funny now.

        Reply
  28. RWood

    PlutoniumKun’s considerations, stretched out to here:

    When things circulate on … media, I always question why the … censors allow it (because it is very tightly controlled). In this case it’s either because they genuinely want to get the message out to be careful with … [the message] or because it follows the narrative that any future outbreaks [of the narrative] are due to foreign contamination (either people or materials) and so not the fault of the government (and also to buy into the rather questionable assertion that the virus [of malformation] has [ /has not]been entirely eliminated …).

    and — finally — mention of the Saturday Night Massacre wrt current events:

    Letters and Politics 6/23/20

    Cat Brooks, John Nichols, Mike Jeserich

    and
    ’Intellectual honesty is a crime in any totalitarian country….’
    https://kpfa.org/player/?audio=338143

    Reply
  29. occasional anonymous

    Anyone one else have a sense that we’re reaching some sort of critical mass turning point? In identity politics, in the media, just in general? I can’t help shaking the feeling that we are. Not for any mystical reason, but probably just because I can’t conceive of things getting more stupid and ridiculous than they are now, or things maintaining the current level of stupidity for long.

    Maybe it’s just hope an a lack of imagination on my part.

    Reply

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