Three Things: Let the Tedious Bashing Commence!

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Don’t you despise tedious media bashing which is often off base? Ha. I’m still laughing about this.

Quick, name five critics of U.S. media.

If you can’t rattle off at least five without a lot of thought, there isn’t enough media criticism.

We haven’t even touched the depths of tedious media bashing in this country let alone at this site.

~ 3 ~

Headline and subhead from The New York Times on May 9, 2024:

At a Dinner, Trump Assailed Climate Rules and Asked $1 Billion From Big Oil
At a private meeting at Mar-a-Lago, the former president said fossil fuel companies should donate to help him beat President Biden.

Headline and subhead from Washington Post on May 9, 2024:

What Trump promised oil CEOs as he asked them to steer $1 billion to his campaign
Donald Trump has pledged to scrap President Biden’s policies on electric vehicles and wind energy, as well as other initiatives opposed by the fossil fuel industry.

Guess who’s on the bylines for these two pieces. If you read Marcy’s work here frequently you’ll be able to take a good stab at it because of the consistency with which these journalists produce such dreck.

Neither of these articles use the word “bribe” or the phrase “quid pro quo,” and yet that’s exactly what Trump engaged in with fossil fuel companies.

The word “Ukraine” also doesn’t appear though Trump’s first impeachment was kicked off by a whistleblower disclosing a quid pro quo – no association made at all in the articles above with how transactional Trump has been, is, and may be should he win the 2024 election. Readers are supposed to know already just how corrupt Trump’s offer to fossil fuel companies is; they’re not to be so bluntly informed by the two major newspapers in the U.S.

Journalism by shovel. Not just burying the inconvenient, but shoveling bullshit like that POS NYT headline. “At a Dinner…” Really? That’s so critical to the public’s understanding of this candidate’s corrupt election behavior that we need to know this was just a harmless dinner?

If readers are surfing headlines to sift for important news to read, prefacing bribery with “At a Dinner” is one way to ensure readers speed on by.

So is ignoring the bribery.

Go to Google News and search for “trump oil companies” and compare and contrast headlines and articles since May 9. Amazing the consistency with which the Democrats are assailed for questioning a quid pro quo offered during a campaign event.

It’s ridiculous that it took 16 days to learn that the fossil fuel industry would receive a $109 billion return on investment if they paid Trump the $1 billion donation bribe he asked for.

And yes, the Guardian’s piece used the words “quid pro quo” though they quoted Sen. Jamie Raskin in doing so.

~ 2 ~

Jeff Jarvis, journalism prof at CUNY’s Newmark School, is succinct about this particular problem:

Jeff Jarvis @[email protected]

I challenge you to find this good news on the home page of The New York Times. Go to Business and you’ll have to dig to find it. “News judgment” is bias….
S&P 500, Nasdaq and Dow all hit record highs after encouraging inflation data

May 16, 2024, 07:42

I’ll let the NYT’s front page speak for itself:

You can see today’s front page at

Coverage of the internal friction about the appearance of ideological bent between parent NBC and cable subsidiary MSNBC makes the front page. So does a sextortion piece (which could have been run any time in the last year), and a puff piece about everything becoming a “journey” for celebrities.

The NYT’s online front page is fresher but no better. At 10:25 a.m. as I wrote this, the word “inflation” didn’t appear at all.

Plenty about Biden’s loss of donors and Trump leading Biden in polling.

Can’t imagine why coverage of ideological bent in reporting is above the fold at this newspaper.

~ 1 ~

CNN announced the moderators for the June 27 presidential debate. Jake Tapper and Dana Bash, hosts of CNN’s Sunday talk show State of the Union are queued up.

Doesn’t sound like CNN handled this well in past, blaming the institution for confusion about the venue.

You’ll find all the posts at this site tagged with “Jake Tapper” at this link:

And all the posts at this site tagged with “Dana Bash” here:

Pardon me if I am incredibly skeptical about the ability of these two to catch a lie on the fly – especially at a news media outlet under pressure from management to be more Fox News-ish.

~ 0 ~

This is an open thread. Bring discussion here which would be off topic in other threads.

215 replies
  1. Rayne says:

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    • Honeybee says:

      Wanted to respond to your comment about the lack of good media critics. (Sorry to be so late in replying, but I spent an amazing weekend at Santa Fe Literary Festival. What a treat.) The excellent media critic I once worked alongside was offered a job covering suburban high school sports scores when his beat – not the only loss lamented at that paper – disappeared in cost cutting. The paper later became a zombie sports streak. That’s a bigger, longer, sadder story but one that average readers never get to hear. Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

      • Rayne says:

        It wasn’t so much the lack of good media critics as the lack of readers who expect media criticism on the regular. There’s no way someone should complain about our “tedious media bashing” when there simply isn’t enough *because readers don’t demand it.*

        Journalism doesn’t improve just because somebody flips on a light, no matter what Bezos’ WaPo might say.

        • CPtight617 says:

          I’m flattered that you’re so butthurt by my view that there’s a lot of indiscriminate, ill-informed media bashing here that reads like Louise Mensch’s Twitter feed circa 2016. If it wasn’t an accurate assessment, you wouldn’t be so offended.

          I have been a journalist for 30 years and am still one now. As a profession, we love nothing more than to bitch about other news outlets, other reporters and editors, and coverage decisions by masthead hacks. But there’s a difference between criticizing the Maggie Habermans, the Ken Vogels, or the Josh Dawseys for their unethical, self-interested reporting and assigning malign-borderline-criminal intent to 90% of The NYT and WaPo staffs. As I explained, what is attributed here to deliberate subterfuge is more often than not just ignorance, confirmation bias, sloppiness, laziness, shitty editing and bad story assignments. It’s not as exciting as blaming the media’s flaws on a grand scheme to help end democracy, but it is, in my experience, the reality.

        • Rayne says:

          Oh now it’s the general tedious media bashing across social media and not the specific tedious media bashing performed at this site. Good to know *now* you weren’t pointing at this site particularly.

          Rather disappointed influence operations are mistaken for tedious media bashing — that includes Louise Mensch.

          At what point are “ignorance, confirmation bias, sloppiness, laziness, shitty editing and bad story assignments” not actual attacks on democracy when they are consistent as fuck and damage the public’s understanding of the facts while actually undermining democracy? We ended up spending a trillion bucks because of NYT’s lousy editorial management of Judith Miller; the NYT’s constant harangue “but her emails” combined with the October 31 article, “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia” may have done some of the greatest damage, as just a couple key examples.

          We won’t see eye-to-eye on “deliberate subterfuge” because corporate-owned media outlets make deliberate choices to print material for profits. There most definitely is deliberation; it’s just not clear how much subterfuge is involved, like burying inconvenient facts to maintain access to a noxious source in order to keep the clickbait spice flowing. Choosing the profit motive über alles over the public’s need to know most definitely hurts democracy.

          Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.
          ― Ian Fleming, Goldfinger (1959)

  2. Bay State Librul says:

    Trump will never debate Biden. He will pull out – citing some god-awful reason. As usual, he will lie — and take the low road. I’ll even give you 100-1 odds.
    Best media critic, hands down Keith Olbermann

    • xyxyxyxy says:

      He’ll debate. He’s got nothing to lose, he’ll scream, bs, tell his supporters to kill Biden. Let’s see if the networks can/will bleep that out.

        • xxbronxx says:

          If Trump moseys behind Biden, looming large and threatening as he did with Hilary, Joe must say, in no uncertain terms, Sit Down and Shut Up. I’d love the more straightforward SDASTFU and remain convinced that use of that term by Hilary would’ve changed the 2016 narrative. Joe, please do not pass up this opportunity to put Trump in his place.

        • xyxyxyxy says:

          He can be loud and obnoxious without a microphone. You don’t think he can gesture; put up a middle finger, put a finger to his head like a gun or stick his tongue out as Biden speaks? I’d like to see what the networks do when he acts out. They’re looking for eyeball$.

        • e.a. foster says:

          It would be ever so nice if the cut the mikes of those who aren’t to be speaking. This constant talking over each other gives me head aches and leaves me wondering about their managers. Just because you’re loud doesn’t mean you’re right

      • Tech Support says:

        He’s got a lot to lose. The constant drum beat of questioning Joe’s competence may have abated somewhat, but calling Trump out for saying wildly false and downright loopy things during rallies has been largely ignored. His gradually declining inability to remain coherent is going to be new information for a lot of people.

        I think too we’ve seen the Biden campaign deliberately adopt a strategy of needling Trump, chronically, in order to keep him agitated. If he shows up to the debate, it is fair to expect that Biden will have been drilled on the art of baiting and trolling in hopes of getting Trump to have a completely unhinged temper tantrum.

        • xyxyxyxy says:

          He’s got x-number of supporters who are going to vote for him no matter what. There is no way others will vote for him, is why I say he has nothing to lose. Also as Lara said what matters is who is doing the counting and that’s where their energy is focused with I’m sure foreigners. They didn’t steal the computer codes for nothing. Like they were claiming in 2020, the machines changed Trump votes to Biden votes except this time the Biden votes will really change to Trump votes.

        • paulka123 says:

          My thought is that Biden, in response to every single question should insert a brief comment about a different Trump fraud/scandal-Trump U, Trump charity, E Jean Carroll, $2Billion from Saudi Arabia. Every question a new scandal, just thrown out there. Trump will be incapable of not responding and will be on the defensive the whole night where he will look like a lunatic and I don’t think even the most casual American voter will be happy about his bashing the entire judicial system.

    • Stephen Calhoun says:

      President Biden should use a click counter. Every time TFG lies he clicks the counter. Before answering a question he offers up the current count, “We’re up to fifty-five.”

  3. thesmokies says:

    As many have noted, the American public is woefully uninformed. There are many reasons and no easy answers. I am going to focus on one source of this process and suggest a possible though difficult strategy. As you know, the MSM have failed in terms of providing adequate context, focusing on odds rather than stakes, bothsiding it, etc.

    As many have also noted, one of the right’s superpowers is shamelessness. However, I believe there is a bit of shame that the MSM is still capable of. The leading progressive voices like have pointed out these failures of the MSM and challenged the MSM many times. However, each of those critiques are like a drop of water that can be brushed off. Essentially, the MSM can ignore your critiques for the most part.

    My suggestion: The leading progressive publications/journalists should TEAM UP in a coordinated, concerted effort to continuously chastise and challenge the MSM on their failure to inform the public. One or more of you should challenge them, and when they dodge or hedge or ignore, others of you should collectively challenge/question them on it. And keep at it, day after day after day. And collectively publish the MSM’s responses to your challenges. Don’t let up, emphasizing the importance of informing Americans about the threats and stakes involved in this election and other contexts. Over and over and over again, ask them “Why did you do X? Why didn’t you do Y? Why do you continue to engage in actions that provide the conditions for authoritarianism? You are choosing to do this. Why?”

    What do you think? Is it possible for the leading progressive voices, such as yours, to join forces in trying to shame the MSM enough for them to change its behavior somewhat?

    • Dark Phoenix says:

      They can try, but the real problem is that the NYT assumes they already have a decent collection of readers on the “left” and are way more obsessed with trying to placate the right wingers who keep throwing “FAKE NEWS” at them. The NYT conclusion from this is apparently that they’re not right wing enough for right wingers to trust them, so they’re unbalanced and have to move towards the right wingers for “balance”. And they ignore what the rest of us have already figured out; there is NOTHING they can do that will convince right wingers they aren’t “FAKE NEWS”.
      Normally, someone with a brain would ask the guys at the top, “Why are you ignoring your customer base in favor of a group that will NEVER be your customers?” But Sulzberger doesn’t want to hear that.

      • thesmokies says:

        I agree with you. That is why I targeted my approach not towards convincing the MSM that changing will be more profitable, but rather convincing it to change its behavior to avoid the shame of contributing to the possible demise of our democracy, contributing to the dumbing down of the public, contributing to the increased polarization, and contributing to a potential rise in authoritarianism/fascism that among other things will be very hostile to the MSM. I know, they felt very little shame about how they handled the Iraq War, but perhaps a more coordinated and sustained effort would help. Doesn’t anyone feel shame anymore?

    • Bob Roundhead says:

      “ As you know, the MSM have failed in terms of providing adequate context, focusing on odds rather than stakes, bothsiding it, etc.”
      When we look at the consolidation of media and news in particular, you have to ask yourself, If individuals who hold a political ideology that is antithetical to the common good were to create an environment where there is no context, no ability for individuals to determine the stakes, or to even to determine which politicians are looking out for their interests, would you call it a failure when they succeed? The MSM is a monopoly. Break it up. IMO, there is no other solution.

    • FL Resister says:

      If you read Dr Marcy’s feed on Xitter (aka shitter), you would see that she calls out journalists daily, it seems, with specific references to facts left out of their stories.

      By failing in their duty to accurately report on the facts, especially the authoritarian takeover of the Republican Party, installing Trump family members in key political positions, their constant attempts to defy the rule of law and call everything that exposes Trump and his cronies “a sham,” and the overwhelming evidence, grand jury decisions, and due process followed to its extreme, the MSM are aiding and abetting dishonest, self-serving, right-wing propagandists.

      • thesmokies says:

        FL Resister, regarding your second paragraph, I wholeheartedly agree. You have described very effectively the failings of the MSM.

        Regarding your first paragraph, I certainly agree that Marcy and others here and elsewhere have called out the MSM. My whole point was that a person here and a person there calling them out does not seem to be having much effect on them. I am not that optimistic that a more coordinated, persistent effort my multiple progressive voices would be much more effective, but I would like to see them try.

  4. Matt Foley says:

    MAGA math: “Trump’s Wildwood NJ rally had 100,000 people!”

    I could not find any dimensions of the rally area so I found an aerial photo of it then found it on google maps using landmarks in the rally photo.

    Real math:
    Aerial photo shows rally was in an enclosed rectangle on beach between Schellenger and Spencer Ave. Google maps measures 1000′ between these streets but photos show about 100′ of empty beach on either end of rectangle, therefore length was 800′. Eyeballing it the rectangle width was about half the length, or 400′. 800 x 400 = 32,000 sq. ft. 1 person needs about 2 sq. ft. Assuming they were crammed in like sardines (they weren’t) the max number was 32,000/2 = 16,000.

    Let’s be generous and say 900 x 500. That’s 45,000 sq. ft. That’s still only 22,500 people.

    Trump is a liar. But you knew that.

    • Michael8748 says:

      It’s like this in my head.

      The last time Stevie Ray Vaughan played on South Padre Island they estimated there was over 300,000 people on that island, they were so overwhelmed, the Queen Isabella bridge was closed, stores ran out of ice, ran out of water, ran out of gasoline etc.
      So according to maga math if I claimed to hold a rally that day, with just a few folks and signs, I get to claim all the bodies too.
      Probably the game they’re going to play from now till election day.

    • Michael8748 says:

      It’s also the ole, rally at the annual State Fair ploy.
      Meaning, lots of people in the background of the videos weren’t there for him to begin with.

    • Patrick Carty says:

      I spent an entire summer in Wildwood. There’s not 100,000 parking spaces there. On a sunny day in May you’d find maybe 20.

    • Eschscholzia says:

      I believe that your math is off by a factor of 10. 800 * 400 = 320,000.

      I have no doubt that the crowd was nowhere near 100,000, as even dense crowds have 1 person per 4-5 square feet, and that density is beyond claustrophobic when in the middle of a 250 * 400 person array, 100 people from the edge.

      And yes, MAGA math is worse.

      • Matt Foley says:

        Good catch. You are right, it’s 320,000, not 32,000. I am so embarrassed right now since I am normally good at math.

        I would not blame moderators if they delete my comment. The last thing this site needs is bad math.

        Profuse apologies. DAMN, what was I thinking? This is gonna bother me.

        FWIW, I saw somewhere that Wildwood spokesperson Lisa Fagan said the rally capacity was 20,000. My math was bad but my intent was good.

        • Rayne says:

          Thanks to Eschscholzia for the math check and Matt Foley for the acknowledgment.

          Whew. I really don’t want to have to check math here in threads, have enough other stuff to do.

    • trnc2023 says:

      800 x 400 = 320,000, so that would accommodate 160,000 if you’re correct about each person in a crowd needing about 2 sq ft. I think each person can fit into less space if they’re jam packed, but they aren’t jam packed in any picture I can find. I’ve only found one true overhead view and it’s probably from before the rally.

      To be clear, I don’t think he got nearly 100,000 people there based on any of the pics I could find, but the news agencies who get pretty clear overhead views of most large events don’t do that for his rallies. The media could do a little more due diligence if they had any interest.

      ETA: Just saw the comment about the 30,000 max permit. That’s the info that should be included in any of the media stories. Sheesh!

    • Rwood0808 says:

      Another thing the MSM fails to mention is that trump rallies are like a Grateful Dead tour. A large majority of the audience goes from rally to rally, selling t-shirts and engaging in their tribal worship of dear leader. For them, it’s an identity and a lifestyle.

      Fortunatly, their numbers are the inverse of their decibles.

    • Bobster33 says:

      FWIW, the building code has an area factor for people standing in lines of 5 sf per person. In the 2024 Edition of the International Building Code (IBC), the factor is in Table 1004.5.

      The IBC and NFPA 101 use 7 sf per person for concentrated use without fixed seating.

      • Matt Foley says:

        I found this on crowd size:
        A loose crowd, one where each person is an arm’s length from the body of his or her nearest neighbors, needs 10 square feet per person. A more tightly packed crowd fills 4.5 square feet per person. A truly scary mob of mosh-pit density would get about 2.5 square feet per person.

        Using those factors in 320,000 sq ft area yields 32,000, 71,000, or 128,000 people at capacity. I’ve seen no evidence it was at capacity but I have seen video that it was maybe 50%. Trump and MAGA certainly would not post photos showing empty space. I’ve seen no evidence for the 100,000 claim, it appears to have been pulled out of thin air.

        • paulka123 says:

          On a thread about the MSM missing the point and being worthy of bashing, we have 13 consecutive posts about Trump’s crowd size. In other words, the epitome of nothing. Smoke being thrown out there to control the narrative for a few news cycles. Who cares if he had a million people or 3,000. It means nothing and all it is, is a distraction and like usual everyone takes the bait. But here we are 5 days later still talking about it.

          You mean Trump lied?! WOW that is something new, maybe that will change the narrative!

    • xyxyxyxy says:

      Nothing has changed.
      On day one his admin was touting his inauguration had the largest crowd.

  5. RipNoLonger says:

    If the format is a real debate then the two speakers should be given a subject to present in a limited time, and rebuttals – also in a limited time.

    I believe the microphones should be disabled automatically after the designated time. I also think some sound-proofing and disease barrier should be placed between the speakers. We know that trump and family came to the last debate while he was knowingly infected with COVID.

    • Matt Foley says:

      No recording devices allowed, just tv cameras. You know Trump will find a way to cheat, e.g., bring his own camera so he can later post video of himself talking after his mic is shut off.

    • bevbuddy says:

      If Trump’s microphone is not turned off to allow Biden to speak, then perhaps this:

      How to beat Trump’s infamous debating tactic: gish galloping
      Mark Frauenfelder 10:06 am Fri Feb 17, 2023
      Trump uses an infamous debating tactic called Gish galloping. It’s brilliantly simple. He just blasts a sewer pipe of lies, insults, and accusations, giving his debating partner no chance to keep up with him. Political journalist Mehdi Hasan new book, Win Every Argument: The Art of Debating, Persuading, and Public Speaking, has a chapter on how to beat a Gish galloping debater. It’s excerpted in The Atlantic.
      Hasan’s three-point strategy in a nutshell:
      • Pick your battles: single out weak claims and arguments, and focus on debunking them.
      • Call them out: make the audience aware of what the Gish Galloper is doing and that it is a deliberate tactic to deflect and distract.
      • Don’t budge: stop the Galloper midstream and stick to a well-prepared rebuttal, forcing them to argue on your terms, not theirs.

      • trnc2023 says:

        Good info, but Mahdi’s suggestions only work for people who are willing to follow at least a minimal set of rules. “Stop the galloper midstream” in particular probably wouldn’t apply to this format, and good luck shutting DT’s piehole.

      • paulka123 says:

        How about Biden go on national tv from the Oval Office and say he is refusing to debate Trump because Trump is a sex offender, fraud, and oh yeah, he tried to overthrow our government in a bloody coup?

        If we are spit balling ideas and all

        • xyxyxyxy says:

          re your May 17, 2024 at 7:11 pm post
          Trump is not going to answer any questions.
          On every question he’ll keep repeating a long winded bs speech about the Biden fraud/scandal, how he is being mistreated by the Biden admin by the racist NYAG and DA and Fulton Cty DA, how unfairly his J6 supporters that are in unfairly treated, how he will pardon every one of them and all Republican legislators, and he’ll tell his supporters to kill Biden.
          He’ll sound like MGT did a few days ago in the House.

        • xyxyxyxy says:

          Most definitely Biden should drop out.
          Not one voter is going to change their mind from this debate, and only the insane and those looking for entertainment will watch it.

  6. Anvil Leucippus says:

    They don’t need to be in the same room to debate. Put their heads up on giant screens, like it’s the Zoom meeting from hell.

    Or we could just drag out the Hall Of Presidents robots and stick them behind podiums. Switch them on, let them regurgitate their canned phrases. I’m not expecting either candidate to offer any insightful remarks.

    CNN is only doing this for the opportunity something will happen that goes viral, to generate ad revenue for their website. “Come see the soggy remains of the American Empire on display, kids!” — there’s your name for the event.

  7. -mamake- says:

    Two who immediately come to mind (I’m old) are Henry Giroux and Robert McChesney.
    Agree not enough criticism, but in particular to my mind, not enough places where long form, thoughtful, sustained and deep critical conversations happen. Especially with any broad public exposure. Seems many do not have tolerance for sustained focus on deep, meaningful concepts where people build upon one anothers ideas. [NB: Love Ed’s post for this reason…;-)]

  8. Clare Kelly says:

    Gr8 column and topic, thanks.

    Rayne wrote:
    “If you can’t rattle off at least five without a lot of thought, there isn’t enough media criticism.”

    I immediately grabbed a pen (chuckling at self) starting with Marcy, Margaret Sullivan,“On the Media” from WNYC, and Robin Young (though constrained by format). Though only “media” in that The Guardian prints their columns, I’ll add Senator Sanders’ and Robert Reich’s pieces.

    While I’m grateful to and for the above, that’s a short list, yup.

    • Clare Kelly says:

      Oh! And Robin Givens, on occasion.

      I guess I might be thinking about this off and on all day, lol.

      I’ll just add to my list and spare the urge to share.

  9. xyxyxyxy says:

    I didn’t watch, but last night Romney to Ruhle on MSNBC, The Utah Republican argued that Biden should have pardoned Trump when the Justice Department announced charges against him and that the president “made an enormous error” by not pressuring New York prosecutors to drop their case against Trump. (Presidents can pardon only in federal cases.)
    Anyone watch and did Ruhle tell him he’s full of shit?

    • Bay State Librul says:

      I saw the Mittster’s inane comment.
      He is living in the Watergate/Nixon/Ford era.
      He should go back to running Staples
      Pardon, my ass.

    • Just Some Guy says:

      Why anyone would listen to a man named after a baseball glove is beyond me.

      Oh right, he’s ridiculously wealthy. That’s the only reason why anyone has ever listened to Mitt despite him never having anything of value to say, ever.

        • Just Some Guy says:

          Well aware of George Romney. And that reinforces my point, that Mitt’s just, and has always been, a nepo baby as the kids say.

          Take away his father’s achievements, wealth and connections, and I doubt he’d have the dubious career of over-leveraged asset stripping, much less the “popularity” of a politician despised by many on all sides of the political spectrum.

        • Rayne says:

          No, you didn’t call him a “nepo baby,” you called him “ridiculously wealthy” and Mitt’s wealth have have much less to do with his family background than his personal background in business in which I seriously doubt his father had much if any influence.

          His role in the Mormon church played a much bigger role since his father’s politics were seen in the Reagan years and later as more liberal than the rest of the GOP.

      • Just Some Guy says:

        Reply to
        May 17, 2024 at 9:43 am

        I sincerely doubt that Mitt would’ve made it into Harvard much less been hired by BCG then Bain had he not been related to his father, a successful auto executive and governor. Yes, he multiplied his family’s wealth to a degree far surpassing that of his father’s, but that isn’t surprising given Mitt’s field (where executives are over-compensated for stripping assets without risks, which Mitt helped to pioneer).

        But I have yet to notice him ever say anything in his years of so-called public service that convinces me he’s not just an utter mediocrity, bereft of any real ideas, willing to bend with the wind. Comparison with his father only reinforces my notion.

        • Rayne says:

          Reply to Just Some Guy
          May 17, 2024 10:08 am

          Looks like the Romney family being Mormon means nothing to you in your calculations. Okay, then.

        • Just Some Guy says:

          Reply to Rayne
          May 17, 2024 11:09 am

          I highly doubt being Mormons helped the Romneys with anyone except fellow LDS members — certainly not with Harvard, BCG, Bain, or any other Massachusetts institutions. And not with non-LDS voters.

          But at this point I’m not even sure what is being argued. Defending Mitt Romney against the charge that he’s an empty-headed, opportunistic nincompoop who only garners attention because of his wealth seems rather quixotic.

        • Rayne says:

          Reply to Just Some Guy
          May 17, 2024 11:20 am

          Wow, dude. This post was about tediously bashing the media about their sloppy if not disingenuous journalism. My point to you about your initial claim was that you were sloppy.

          And thanks for making my point about Mormonism — it didn’t help Mitt with the largely non-Mormon US including institutions like Harvard and the investment community (which is why he doesn’t talk much about the social activism he does as a Mormon). But you had to be prodded and you still don’t get it.

        • Just Some Guy says:

          Reply to Rayne
          May 17, 2024 11:27 am

          “This post was about tediously bashing the media about their sloppy if not disingenuous journalism.”


          “This is an open thread. Bring discussion here which would be off topic in other threads.”

          Furthermore not a single comment in defense of Mitt disproves what I asserted in my first comment, which is that people pay attention to Mitt because he is a wealthy dipshit, not because he has anything worthwhile to say. It’s not “sloppy,” it’s an observation based on his several decades as a public figure making utterly vapid comments — from “47% are moochers,” to “binders full of women,” to just this week’s TFG pardon comments, which is what the original poster’ xyxyxyxy’s comment was about. And the news media reporting on these inane comments uncritically ties in quite well with your post! (Even if off-topic comments are allowed, which is what was asserted.)

        • Rayne says:

          Reply to Just Some Guy
          May 17, 2024 12:12 pm

          You picked the topic. The least you can do is be more rigorous unlike the news media cited in this post. You think two particular comments are signs of vapidity? Let me introduce you to Mr. Trump.

          We’re done here.

  10. Matt Foley says:

    When Dow hit 30,000 Trump bragged to the media about it.
    Dow just hit 40,000 but Biden is silent. Only his spokesperson mentioned it. WHY??? Biden should be rubbing Trump’s nose in it.

    • trnc2023 says:

      What could Biden say that isn’t obvious to anyone who would listen? One of the good things about the stock market numbers is that it makes the news every day, so it’s not something NYT decides to only report when it favors republicans.

    • Theodora30 says:

      Biden knows that if he had bragged about the stock market he would have been slammed for being insensitive to the working class and poor.

  11. Clare Kelly says:

    Reply to Matt Foley
    May 16, 2024 at 1:07 pm

    …because associating the equity market’s bull/bear cycles with the WH is a very slippery slope, imho.

    That said, see:
    “ Biden slams Trump as he touts record-high Dow crossing 40,000”
    Brian Schwartz • 1h •

    • Matt Foley says:

      Clare Kelly,
      As I said, Biden didn’t make that statement; his spokesperson did.

      re slippery slope, that hasn’t stopped Trump from taking credit when he was POTUS. And just recently Trump again took credit for it even though he’s not POTUS.

      • Clare Kelly says:

        Replying to Matt Foley
        May 16, 2024 at 2:04 pm

        “ The stock market is not the economy. Right? Here’s what the research says.”

        Clark Merrefield
        The Journalist’s Resource
        Harvard Kennedy School
        January 11, 2021

        Advising President Biden to emulate #45, on any topic, takes my breath away.

        The economy under this administration has been remarkable.

        Press analysis of it, for the most part, has also been remarkable in its utter disconnect from reality.

        Although written in March, here are some facts:

        “ Biden’s vs. Trump’s economy, in 8 charts
        The gaps between perception of the economy and the reality, explained.”
        Nicole Narea
        Updated Mar 12, 2024, 3:00pm EDT

  12. RitaRita says:

    I pay attention to media critics, Jay Rosen and Margaret Sullivan.

    I was appalled that the article in The NY Times about the “leftward tilt” of MSNBC was given front page coverage when it really was little more than gossip worthy of high schoolers – the cool kids at NBC were miffed that the granola crunchers at MSNBC might be more popular. I was, at a minimum, looking for a definition of “leftward”. Jose Diaz-Balart, Andrea Mitchell, Katy Tur, and Chris Jansing are leftists?

    Of course, I looked at an ad for PBS which said, that they tried to be “balanced”. Ok – what precisely are they balancing? Fact vs Fiction? Truth vs Lies? Differing opinions?

    One of the undertones of that NY Times article was that the people in the Executive offices at NBC and Comcast might be concerned at making sure that the leftward tilt doesn’t affect market share.
    So maybe the balancing is profitability vs journalism?

    • Theodora30 says:

      Dan Froomkin, “Presswatchers”, is another good media critic. Also Marc Jacob of “Stop the Presses”.
      Margaret Sullivan covered the media for the WaPo but was buried in the Style section. Now she is with The Guardian. Greg Sargent was also a columnist at the WaPo who was not shy about calling out the mainstream media but he is gone, too. (He is now at the New Republic).

  13. wetzel-rhymes-with says:

    I’m daylight fasting but not as strict as in Islam but for forty days like a Christian for Gaza and all the rest of this fascist bullshit also for my knees and my wife is starting to think I’m sexy but there’s nothing she can do about it because I’m fasting. I don’t see protesting or media criticism working at the pace of whatever is this weird apocalypse for our democracy. Fasting and the slow travel of the spiritual expatriate.

  14. Michael8748 says:

    Apologies Rayne, phone did some Malfunnythinking so I tried cleaning it up, apparently lost some history in the process.
    Forgot what moniker I used to sign in with. You made me change it once before.
    Anyway, my bad, have a nice day.

  15. Nessnessess says:

    “At a Dinner, Trump Promised Stormy Daniels Help In Leaving the Trailer Park”

  16. Alan Charbonneau says:

    O/T I just got suspended for 12 hours on Twitter for violating rules advocating violence. I saw a campaign ad for Colin Allred. I replied that I live in Texas and “I SO hope he beats Ted Cruz”.

    Apparently, I should have said I hope Allred “defeats” Cruz rather than “beats” him. I’m not sure whether to be pissed or amused, so right now I’m a bit of both. 🤔

  17. harpie says:

    Meanwhile, just now at the COHEN cross examination of TRUMP trial [NYT live reporting]:

    Todd Blanche is drawing out Michael Cohen about his relationships with reporters over the years. Blanche gets Cohen to admit that he serially recorded reporters without their knowledge, including our colleague Maggie Haberman. Blanche also gets Cohen to say that he sent a recording of somebody else to Haberman as she was reporting a story.

    • Tech Support says:

      It’s like they put all their eggs into the basket of “if we just make Cohen look like a huge asshole they will acquit.”

      Who on that jury went in not knowing that Michael Cohen is an asshole?

      Seems like a lot of time spent on stuff that isn’t going to benefit Blanche’s client.

      • P J Evans says:

        Especially since the prosecution had all the document witnesses first. Cohen is just the finish.

  18. synergies says:

    When the Me Too movement started, the thing I immediately noticed as it progressed is how many men of means & their own “stardom” in le media immediately fought the construct of equal women. We now are in oligarchy. How to destroy Me Too? It’s always how to mindfuck the younger gens. The danger Me Too presented to the right wing. The danger presented to Muslim men & their control of women.
    Can you imagine the $ spent to build tunnels in Gaza? I don’t know if the younger gens will survive this mindfuck. That rape, mutilation & murder of young women & others at a music festival, a music festival, does not outweigh?
    What I know is I’ve always loved Jewish people. 17 million worldwide, 25 million counting those with a Jewish grandparent. I know now that I love & respect Jewish people 100 million times more forever.
    I thought Me Too would survive.
    Le media. Oligarchy.

    • Rayne says:

      This is a really muddy comment, your point not being very clear. It sure looks like you’re trying to smear all Muslims while poking around about the conflict in Gaza, dragging the MeToo movement into it.

      If that’s the case, knock it off.

    • Clare Kelly says:

      Reply to synergies
      May 16, 2024 at 3:29 pm

      Please see:
      “ Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak said Monday that Israel had built bunkers “decades ago” underneath Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

      “It’s already [been] known for many years that they have the bunkers that originally [were] built by Israeli constructors underneath Shifa [which] were used as a command post of Hamas. And, a kind of junction of several tunnels are part of this system,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview. “

      CNN’s Eve Brennan, Andrew Carey and the Amanpour team
      November 21, 2023

  19. gmokegmoke says:

    Saw a reference to article at Media Matters on the fact that MSNBC was the only national news station to mention Trmp’s offer of $1 billion for anything the fossil fools’ hearts desire (

    So I’m guessing that’s where the NYTimes critique of MSNBC is coming from.

    Also remember a long-ago talk by the disgraced John Hockenberry about a story conference at MSNBC in the early days of the Iraq invasion discussing a report from Baghdad while it was being bombed as being a little too pointed. “You mean, like war is bad?”

    Corporate media is corporate. Never your friend, even when they do something well.

  20. Matt Foley says:

    Trump rally Prohibited Items List

    • Aerosols • Alcoholic beverages • Backpacks, bags, roller bags, suitcases bags exceeding size restrictions (12”x14”x5”) • Balloons • Balls • Banners, signs, placards • Chairs • Coolers • Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems • Explosives of any kind (including fireworks) * Firearms • Glass, thermal and metal containers • Laser lights and laser pointers • E-Cigarettes and Vaping Devices • Mace and/or pepper spray • Noisemakers, such as air horns, whistles, drums, bullhorns, etc. • Packages • Poles, sticks and selfie sticks • Spray containers • Structures • Supports for signs/placards • Tripods • Umbrellas • Appliances (i.e. Toasters) *Weapons • And any other items that may pose a threat to the security of the event as determined by and at the discretion of the security screeners.

    Feel that MAGA freedom! Liberty over safety!

    Viruses, antisemites, Christian nationalists, racists

      • Harry Eagar says:

        Ah, to return to the late ’60s-early ’70s, when the only admonition was ‘bring your drugs internally.’

        I am puzzling over toasters, though. It’s like saying NO Penguins

  21. boatgeek says:

    SCOTUS declined to gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over its funding stream 7-2, with Alito and Gorsuch dissenting. Thomas wrote the primary opinion.

    So that’s a nice relief. No doubt to be offset soon by whatever other whackadoodlery is coming down the pike from the 6 conservative justices.

    • Just Some Guy says:

      Just wait until you hear about Alito’s upside-down flag.

      Bet he has a Gadsden flag sticker on his car, and the Thomases have one on their RV.

      • boatgeek says:

        Naw, putting a sticker on your car is too low class for Alito. The flag thing doesn’t surprise me at all.

      • xyxyxyxy says:

        The unjustice Thomas family feels like the movie Get Out where Clarence is captured by Ginni.
        But in their case he wasn’t the one that escaped.

  22. Tech Support says:

    Please add Tom Tomorrow and Cory Doctorow to the running list of media critics worth monitoring.

  23. OldTulsaDude says:

    Texas governor Abbot just pardoned the convicted killer of a Black Lives Matter protester. I guess KKK by proxy isn’t very newsworthy.

  24. dimmsdale says:

    To the list of press critics worth following, may I suggest Dan Froomkin, whose running feature “Let Me Rewrite That For You!” has been an essential corrective to the lazy, mealy-mouthed stenography so many journalists traffic in. His website,, and his regular email correctives (PressWatch) are likewise essential. He served as ombudsman at the Washington Post for years, and was fired when he ‘ombudsmanned’ the Post a little too hard for management comfort. His site and newsletter are musts for me. Site: https:// author/ froomkin/ (extra spaces applied after fwd slashes, just in case)

  25. Obansgirl says:

    Just now NYT.
    At Justice Alito’s House, a ‘Stop the Steal’ Symbol on Display
    An upside-down flag, adopted by Trump supporters contesting the Biden victory, flew over the justice’s front lawn as the Supreme Court was considering an election case.

    • OldTulsaDude says:

      Alito always uses the “dog ate my homework” excuse by claiming it was his wife’s doing.

      • P J Evans says:

        Anyone who’s ever run a flag up a pole knows it’s all but impossible to do it accidentally. Especially when it’s more than once. And who would leave it like that?

    • harpie says:

      At Justice Alito’s House, a ‘Stop the Steal’ Symbol on Display An upside-down flag, adopted by Trump supporters contesting the Biden victory, flew over the justice’s front lawn as the Supreme Court was considering an election case. [] [] Jodi Kantor 5/16/24

      The photo is from 1/17/21, and

      The exact duration that the flag flew outside the Alito residence is unclear. In an email from Jan. 18, 2021, reviewed by The Times, a neighbor wrote to a relative that the flag had been upside down for several days at that point.

      • harpie says:

        While the flag was up, the court was still contending with whether to hear a 2020 election case, with Justice Alito [and THOMAS] on the losing end of that decision [a]. [Decided on 2/22/21] In coming weeks, the justices will rule on two climactic cases involving the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, including whether Mr. Trump has immunity for his actions. Their decisions will shape how accountable he can be held for trying to overturn the last presidential election and his chances [b] for re-election in the upcoming one.

        [a] THOMAS and ALITO dissents:

        [b] In Immunity Case, Trump Can Lose in Ways That Amount to a Win After the justices hear arguments on Thursday, how they decide may be just as important as what they decide. Adam Liptak 4/24/24

        • Terry Salad says:

          At this point, I would not be surprised to see Thomas and Alito at the bench wearing red MAGA hats.

        • Rayne says:

          Nice way to signal to Team Trump how Alito felt about the 2020 election case. Wonder if Thomas also sent up a signal in some way, though I’m guessing he’s bought and stayed bought.

        • harpie says:

          Thanks! This is what POWELL says in that VIDEO:

          [Stew Peters.TV: Transcript]: POWELL: Yes, we were filing a Twelfth Amendment Constitutional challenge to the process that the Congress was about to use under the Electoral Act provisions that simply don’t jive with the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution. And Justice ALITO was our Circuit Justice for that. Louis GOHMERT was the plaintiff in our lawsuit. And we were suing the Vice President to follow the Twelfth Amendment as opposed to the Electoral Count Act, so, or Electoral College Act. So that was the, the main point and Nancy Pelosi had finagled to file an Amicus brief in it. There’d been inside goings on in Congress, whereby, I believe, it was Steve SCALISE and MCCARTHY kept her from being an actual party. She wanted to work her way into the case as a party, but somehow politically that didn’t happen. But, so she got notice when we made our filing, because she wanted to file an Amicus brief, or had filed an Amicus brief. And then, you know, everything broke loose, and she had to really speed up reconvening Congress to get the vote going before Justice Alito might have issued an injunction to stop it all, which is what should have happened.

          So I’m not sure I knew that…
          Pelosi filed an AMICUS and that’s how she knew
          when the GOHMERT suit was filed with SCOTUS.

          That was ON 1/6/21 [#J6TL], probably after TRUMP talked to PENCE.

        • xyxyxyxy says:

          It’s one of their plans in 2024, but the decision by the supremes will be in less than a second.
          They’re not even going to deliberate like they did in 2000 (Bush/Gore).

    • harpie says:

      “I had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag,” Justice Alito said in an emailed statement to The Times. “It was briefly placed by Mrs. [Martha-Ann] Alito in response to a neighbor’s use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs.”
      In recent years, the quiet sanctuary of his street, with residents who are Republicans and Democrats, has tensed with conflict, neighbors said. Around the 2020 election, a family on the block displayed an anti-Trump sign with an expletive. It apparently offended Mrs. Alito and led to an escalating clash between her and the family, according to interviews. […]

    • LaMissy! says:

      What’s worse than flying the flag upside down is that Alito felt he could do so with impunity.
      One of my kids was a National Park Ranger. Had she raised an upside down flag, she’d have been disciplined, perhaps fired. MAGA Supreme – not so much.

  26. Booksellerb4 says:

    Thanks Rayne,

    I do enjoy the Open Threads and your “round-up” of topics here deserves a thorough read through, if only for another opportunity to cynically chuckle (with a Phil Spector-type wall of noise over dubbing my agony at the state of the 4th estate*) and will comment in greater detail later in the weekend.

    * The term Fourth Estate or fourth power refers to the press and news media both in explicit capacity of advocacy and implicit ability to frame political issue.

    See “Baby I Love You” Ronettes 1963

      • Rayne says:

        Yes, at least as early as the mid-19th century, expanding upon the medieval Estates of the Realm (first-clergy, second-nobility, third-subjects/commoners).

        This blog/website is part of the Fifth Estate.

        • Booksellerb4 says:

          And I love this website!!

          The use of “fifth estate” dates to the 1960s counterculture, and in particular the influential The Fifth Estate, an underground newspaper first published in Detroit in 1965. Web-based technologies have enhanced the scope and power of the Fifth Estate far beyond the modest and boutique conditions of its beginnings. (Wiki_Fifth Estate)

          Wow, I was still too young to dig that scene at the time, but I must admit I had a bit of a flashback when you hit me with the ‘Fifth”, because, well, I am a Detroiter. ! May I include a nod to history on the “Fifth Estate”?

          ” Feb. 1, 1969, staff editorial:
          We believe that people who are serious in their criticism of this society and their desire to change it must involve themselves in serious revolutionary struggle. We do not believe that music is revolution. We do not believe that dope is revolution. We do not believe that poetry is revolution. We see these as part of a burgeoning revolutionary culture.”

          See wiki/Fifth_Estate_(periodical)

      • xyxyxyxy says:

        So did Rhule respond to Mitt: Mitt, but for the police officers at the Capital, you and your colleagues would have been killed by the mob siced by the guy you want pardoned?

  27. MT Reedør says:

    It’s not a good sign that Biden’s team felt they had to debate. Quarantining the audio during answers is smart. Disallowing split-screen video during answers would also be smart. That’s just a convention, and one Trump doesn’t deserve. There’s no reason answers can’t be one person at a time.

  28. Bob Roundhead says:

    Does anyone here remember a blog called The Horses Mouth? I am thankful for whoever that was. Firedoglake as well. For myself, reading them felt like listening to Diamond Dogs when it first came out.

  29. khollenCA says:

    I was looking at the image of the NYT front page, saw the “Slovak Premier is Gravely Hurt By a Gunman” headline, and thought that’s a kind of weird way to phrase that. Then I zoomed in on the article text, read “…Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia, who is known for defying his fellow leaders in the European Union…” and that’s *definitely* not how I would’ve phrased it.

    I think it’s important to understand what’s happening in the US in the context of what’s happening all over the world, but at least from what I can see on that front page, that article doesn’t provide it.

    • Rayne says:

      First, NYT’s headline was passive voice. Who did what to whom? Did Fico fling himself at a gunman’s bullet? Did the gunman smack Fico on the head with his weapon to “gravely hurt” Fico? CNN called it an “attempted assassination,” AP called it an “assassination attempt,” BBC called it “attempted murder,” yet NYT behaves as if shooting a man five times at close range was intended to do anything but kill him.

      Second, the total avoidance of the political in the headline. The gunman’s motive may not be clear yet but it was an attempted assassination of a political figure. It was an assassination attempt no matter the gunman’s motive, prevented from being an actual assassination only because Fico didn’t die (yet).

      This morning’s article by NYT, published after the gunman was charged:
      “Speculation Swirls in Slovakia, With Details About Fico Attack Scant”

      Fucking ridiculous. Why would a reader surfing headlines want to read that pablum? NYT must have clued in because the headline was edited:
      “With Few Details About Assassination Attempt, Questions Swirl in Slovakia.”

      (screenshots at

    • harpie says:

      The following is a detailed summary of the situation in Slovakia, which was recommended by Cheryl Rofer on her BlueSky page yesterday:

      A gunman shot Slovakia’s prime minister. Here’s what you need to know. The attempted assassination of Prime Minister Robert Fico happened in a deeply divided political context.
      MICHAL ONDERCO – MAY 15, 2024

      • khollenCA says:

        Thank you, Harpie, this is a great article!

        Yeah, that was the part that really got to me. I saw in the image that the article said Fico was out of office in 2018 and returned in the recent elections, so I looked for it online, and it states that he was ousted in 2018 due to “street protests.” The very last paragraph does mention the murder of Kuciak and Kušnírová but only says, “Protesters said the government was not interested in solving the crime,” leaving out Fico’s links to the murders and to organized crime and that he’s since dissolved the office that was investigating. (I wonder if that last paragraph was added after the paper went to print, because of the placement, and the tone kind of doesn’t match the rest of the article?)

        Meanwhile, here’s the BBC’s 4/24/24 article on the Fico government’s likely dissolution of the public broadcaster:

        The BBC article includes this quote from Slovakia’s Culture Minister Martina Simkovicova, who per the BBC hosted an online pro-Russian and anti-vax/COVID-19 disinformation program: “We’re returning the adjective ‘Slovak’ to the name, which is a declaration of the unequivocal national and state-forming nature of our public broadcaster.”

        And in the same BBC article, this quote from Fico: “The situation in RTVS is unsustainable… [it] cannot be objective because it’s in permanent conflict with the Slovak government.”

        Anyway, how the NYT chose to cover, and not cover, the assassination attempt on Fico, who’s plausibly linked to the murder of a journalist and is currently in the process of dissolving the public broadcaster while openly giving authoritarian and ethnonationalist statements about it, vs. running that piece about MSNBC above the fold, in the same print edition – it’s not entirely what I mean by “US events in an international context,” but it’s definitely part of it.

        • Rayne says:

          It’s of a piece with NYT’s coverage of journalists murdered by governments, ex. NYT’s article on then-total 76 Palestinian journalists killed in Gaza published 30-JAN-2024 but did not appear on NYT’s front page, online or in print.

          76 journalists, dead. Buried in the depths of the NYT.

          The ironic part: headline and subhead of that Jan 30 piece —

          The War the World Can’t See
          From outside Gaza, the scale of death and destruction is impossible to grasp, shrouded by communications blackouts, restrictions barring international reporters and extreme challenges facing local journalists.

  30. Peterr says:

    From the Guardian:

    Trump-linked dark-money group spent $90m on racist and transphobic ads in 2022, records show

    Revealed: Citizens for Sanity was one of top political spenders last election cycle and is back for 2024 with more extreme messaging

    A dark money group with ties to Trump’s inner circle dropped more than $90m on ads described as vile, racist and transphobic in the second half of 2022 alone, new tax records obtained by Documented and the Guardian reveal. The staggering sum makes the newly created group, which is based out of the nerve center for the Maga movement, one of the top political spenders in the last election cycle, as it now appears to gear up to influence voters with violent, bigoted messaging in 2024. . . .

    I’m shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

    Skipping over some of the truly gory details, we then come to this:

    If Citizens for Sanity’s surge in spending in the latter half of 2022 is any indication, the bulk of the group’s spending this cycle is yet to come.

    The newly obtained tax records also reveal that Citizens for Sanity is housed at the headquarters of the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a “nerve center for the right wing” and a key component of Maga political infrastructure. CPI is staffed with former Trump officials – including his twice-indicted chief of staff Mark Meadows and the lawyer Cleta Mitchell – and has launched several other projects, including America First Legal, the legal group created by Meadows and Trump’s anti-immigrant speechwriter Stephen Miller.

    In 2022, OpenSecrets reported that America First Legal also employed Citizens for Sanity’s three board members – Gene Hamilton, John Zadrozny and Ian Prior – all of whom are former Trump administration officials. Prior told OpenSecrets at the time that Citizens for Sanity has “no relationship with America First Legal Foundation”, but the group’s latest tax filings describe the two as “related organizations”.

    Puttin’ the band back together, apparently.

    Lots of important stuff here, with lots of links (omitted in my two excerpts above) to show their work.

    Word to the media: *this* is how it is done.

    • klynn says:

      Thank you for sharing. This is disturbing but not a surprise. A hope a further deep dive into this might be done by an election accountability org.

    • xyxyxyxy says:

      I wonder how much of the 2024 money MGT received for her vile, racist and transphobic thing in the House the other day?

  31. Savage Librarian says:

    Brashest Facist

    It’s not a timely news flash dished,
    Just one of many some say brashest,
    But there are others on the trash list,
    Alito’s one more vicious fascist.

    Add Ginni & Clarence to gnash grist
    for the mill; Other Supremes squished
    law in their own self-service, or fished
    out for themselves whatever they wished.

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Ssssssss. Forgot the other s in the title. Hissss. Fascist. While I’m at it, I think it might be better if “Alito’s one more vicious fascist” is the 1st line, instead of the 4th. At least I spelled it right in that line.

      • ExRacerX says:

        Always good stuff, SL!

        His ethics are squishy
        His attitude pissy
        Signals J6ers, kissy-kissy-kissy
        MAGA supporter, smells really fishy

        Flipped flag ruckus?
        Blame it on the Missus!
        Acting like an asset
        When Trump makes him kiss his

        Roe v. Wade-bustin’ MAGA superhero
        Pro-fascist, fetishizes Nixon & Spiro
        Mush-mouthed rationale provoking Bob DeNiro
        If Trump gets elected, he’ll be fiddling like Nero.

        Sam Alito?
        Not so neat-o.

  32. Matt Foley says:

    Did anyone else watch the clown show aka House Oversight Committee? They met late at night because the MAGAs were paying homage to their orange calf in NY earlier. MTG took things to a new low, if that’s possible. Interrupting Raskin, insulting Jasmine Crockett’s eyelashes, bragging about her own body. Disgusting.

  33. JanAnderson says:

    Unless people have something superior to compare the current state of the MSM to – they are hardly aware.
    There are periods in history when the fourth estate served their function – other periods when they served themselves, and/or the powers that be.
    I’m taking a guess now as to the current state – serving themselves.
    I know I’ll catch shit for that but how else to explain it today? Who is actually, seriously, investing integrity, time, effort, risk and dollars, holding power to account these days (aside from Emptywheel and few others?) Click click click is the only sound MSM wants to hear.

  34. harpie says:

    I was very annoyed about how the word “salacious” has been used
    wrt: Stormy Daniels’ testimony, so this was a great find:
    May 17, 2024 at 6:12 AM

    Good morning, and here I newly am in The Washington Post! [gift link]

    ‘Salacious’ and other words that don’t quite mean what people think Certain words — “coruscating,” “pulchritude,” “bemused” — don’t mean what many people think they do. Benjamin Dreyer May 17, 2024

    […] Was the testimony explicit? Sure. Lurid, most definitely. Depressingly squalid, you bet. But not, I’d say, salacious. [..]

    bio: Benjamin Dreyer, the former executive managing editor and copy chief at Random House, is the author of “Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style.”

  35. harpie says:

    More about ALITO from Adam Serwer:
    May 17, 2024 at 4:06 PM

    Even by the degraded standards of today’s court, the possibility that one or more of the justices supported an effort to end the constitutional order they’ve sworn to uphold is a outrageous new low [gift link]

    Why Was Alito Flying the Flag Upside Down After January 6? Justice Alito blamed his wife for the incident, but he did not disavow what the symbol stands for. Adam Serwer MAY 17, 2024

    […] Alito’s statement is notable because, as the Times reporter Michael Barbaro pointed out, it does not deny that the flag was flown in solidarity with the insurrectionists. It also does not disavow the insurrectionist claim that the 2020 election was stolen, and it does not condemn the Trump-directed attempt to overthrow the constitutional order that Alito has sworn an oath to uphold. Nor do the subsequent statements to Fox purporting to explain the flag’s presence. […]

    • JanAnderson says:

      It floated onto his lawn from the netherworld.
      With a nudge and a wink.
      Diddly dee.

    • harpie says:

      The Smallest Justice Who Ever Lived Samuel Alito’s explanations for his wife’s upside-down American flag make the story even worse. DAHLIA LITHWICK AND MARK JOSEPH STERN MAY 17, 20244:03 PM

      […] The justice’s defenders are scrambling to muddy the waters with some alternate explanation, but the truth is crystal clear, and unrefuted by the Alitos themselves: That flag was hung upside down to piss off some libs. At best, Martha-Ann Alito was trolling her neighbor by professing a militant belief that Biden stole the election; at worst, she held that belief sincerely. […]

    • harpie says:

      I want to reiterate this bit of info from the original NYT article linked above:

      […] Alarmed neighbors snapped photographs, some of which were recently obtained by The New York Times. Word of the flag filtered back to the court, people who worked there said in interviews. […]

      The flag had already been up “for several days” on 1/17/21, so when do you think ROBERTS would have found out about it?

      • Rayne says:

        You’d think some astute journalists would have knocked on neighbors’ doors trying to locate the yard signs which are alleged to have triggered Mrs. Alito’s distress signal via upside down US flag.

      • harpie says:

        [to Rayne:] [from WaPo, this is the only link I have right now

        […] Neighbors and acquaintances of Martha-Ann Alito said they have never heard her espouse election disinformation or support for the Jan. 6 attack. But they also said the flag was displayed on the front lawn of the Alitos’ Fairfax County, Va., home soon after a dispute that appeared to have political dimensions.

        A woman who lives down the street from the Alitos, who like other neighbors spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect their privacy, said her adult daughter had brought home some signs from a protest and propped them up against her bushes in the front yard. Another neighbor, who said the signs appeared in late 2020, said that one had Trump’s name on it with an expletive and that the other carried a message along the lines of “you are complicit.”

        The house sits at the entrance to the quiet suburban cul-de-sac that the Alitos have called home for more than a decade. The neighbor who described the placards said they didn’t mention the Supreme Court justice explicitly, but the wording of the latter one prompted some residents to wonder whether it was a dig aimed at Alito, a staunch conservative who has frequently sided with Trump’s position in cases before the court.

        […] In an interview Friday, the mother of the woman with the signs said Martha-Ann Alito was passing by her home one day and made comments to her daughter about them. A heated back-and-forth ensued, but the mother said she did not know what was said. The daughter, who does not live in the Washington area, did not respond to requests for comment. […]

        • harpie says:


          One neighbor interviewed by The Washington Post said she first noticed the upside-down flag in late January 2021, and it remained up for two to five days. The neighbor said she never saw anyone raise the flag or lower it when it came down, and Martha-Ann Alito never told her what message she was trying to send.

        • harpie says:


          [Sammy] Alito told Fox that someone living on the property got into an argument with his wife and called her a crude, derogatory word for women. [This seems to be the word “cu[]nt”] He said his wife was distraught afterward and wanted to make a statement, so she hung the flag upside down.

          Alito said he couldn’t tell his wife what to do, [BWAHAHAHA] and the neighborhood has been “very political.”

        • Rayne says:

          Uh-huh. Haven’t forgotten how Mrs. Alito wept during Mr. Alito’s nomination hearing. Should have been a sign to him she was not going to handle being the wife of a SCOTUS justice well and he shouldn’t take the job — assuming her crying wasn’t crocodile tears meant to solicit sympathy for poor racist, misogynist dickhead Alito.

          Also notice which outlets covered this and how they did it, like the NYPost:

          By Deborah Orin
          Published Jan. 12, 2006, 5:00 a.m. ET

          Alito should never have been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee let alone the Senate.

        • Rayne says:

          Doesn’t it seem odd when so many people have Ring/Blink doorbells or other videocams for home security that no images have surfaced of the signs in question?

          Doesn’t it seem odd if the Alitos were so concerned about the attitude in the neighborhood that they didn’t have videocams capturing what was happening on their street?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          How predictable of Samuel Alito to think that when he faces social ostracism for his work, it’s the country that is in distress.

  36. harpie says:

    Another gift link, this one from Philip Bump, last week:
    May 8, 2024 at 11:18 PM

    To understand the dishonesty of the new new focus on “non-citizen voters” you can either listen to the rhetoric or see who’s offering it. Gift link

    The 2020-was-stolen crew is here to stoke fears of noncitizen voters House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) led a news conference featuring key Trump allies in which he tried to amplify baseless warnings about non-citizen voters. Philip Bump 5/8/24

  37. harpie says:
    May 17, 2024 at 7:52 AM

    Billionaires in a WhatsApp group coopting the NYC Mayor and NYPD to their interests. This is so chilling, particularly the use of the word “his”: “As you saw he’s ok if we hire private investigators to then have his police force intel team work with them.” [link]

    Business titans privately urged NYC mayor to use police on Columbia protesters, chats show
    A WhatsApp chat started by some wealthy Americans after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack reveals their focus on Mayor Eric Adams and their work to shape U.S. opinion of the Gaza war. Hannah Natanson and Emmanuel Felton May 16, 2024 at 3:15 p.m. EDT

    • Rayne says:

      That’s foreign influence right there, using American billionaire proxies.

      Funny how WaPo manages to identify Josh Kushner as Jared’s bro but NYT couldn’t be bothered when it published a story about Josh and his model wife Karlie Kloss buying LIFE magazine assets.

  38. harpie says:

    Brian Greer [SecretsandLaws] in NYT. [Bio: Mr. Greer was a lawyer in the Central Intelligence Agency’s Office of General Counsel from 2010 to 2018.]:

    It Is Inexcusable How Judge Cannon Is Delaying the Trump Documents Case
    May 18, 2024

    […] The rule of law depends in part on fair, impartial judges. When judges put their finger on the scale, as Judge Cannon appears to have done, it undermines public confidence in our justice system. Moreover, failing to hold Mr. Trump accountable will have the compound effect of undermining our credibility on national security matters — by sending the message that a former president can knowingly compromise the trusted secrets of our foreign allies with impunity.

    The world is watching, and Judge Cannon is proving that she is not fit for this moment.

    • John Herbison says:

      Judge Loose Cannon has assiduously avoided issuing any orders which would be appealable as of right by the government under 18 U.S.C. § 3731. She is no doubt aware of having been twice reversed by the Eleventh Circuit at the investigative stage of this case. I doubt that she will be able to resist that impulse for much longer.

      In other cases where that court has reversed the same district court multiple times in the same case, the Court of Appeals has ordered that upon remand the matter be reassigned to a different judge. See, United States v. Plate, 839 F.3d 950, 958 (11th Cir. 2016); United States v. Gupta, 572 F.3d 878, 892 (11th Cir. 2009); United States v. Martin, 455 F.3d 1227, 1242 (11th Cir. 2006); United States v. Remillong, 55 F.3d 572, 577 (11th Cir. 1995); United States v. Torkington, 874 F.2d 1441, 1447 (11th Cir. 1989) (per curiam); United States v. White, 846 F.2d 678, 696 (11th Cir. 1988).

      • bmaz says:

        “Judge Loose Cannon has assiduously avoided issuing any orders which would be appealable as of right by the government under 18 U.S.C. § 3731.”

        Yeah, most judges do that. And this case is not going to be reassigned.

  39. harpie says:

    Important work from NYT in the Magazine this weekend:

    The Unpunished: How Extremists Took Over Israel After 50 years of failure to stop violence and terrorism against Palestinians by Jewish ultranationalists, lawlessness has become the law. Ronen Bergman and Mark Mazzetti May 16, 2024

    This story is told in three parts.
    The first documents the unequal system of justice that grew around Jewish settlements in Gaza and the West Bank.

    The second shows how extremists targeted not only Palestinians but also Israeli officials trying to make peace.

    The third explores how this movement gained control of the state itself.

    Taken together, they tell the story of how a radical ideology moved from the fringes to the heart of Israeli political power.

    Takeaways From the Times Investigation Into ‘The Unpunished’ Radical forces in Israeli society have moved from the fringes to the mainstream and put Israel’s democracy in peril. Here are the takeaways from our investigation. May 16, 2024

    Ronen Bergman, a reporter in Israel, and Mark Mazzetti, based in Washington, interviewed more than 100 people, including current and former Israeli government officials, for this investigation.

  40. Stephen Calhoun says:

    I wish we had better data about which persons utilize which media sources. My intuitions here I hope take a step in suggesting what could be better mapping of the media ecology. The baseline reduction is: there are broadly viewed, two “bubbles.”

    First, it is incorrect to reduce media sources to the binary Fox/MSM. (My sense is what we have ecologically is akin to polytheism! imo)

    Second, “media savvy” is not well defined. This can mean the use of multiple sources; focus on different competing facets of a problem; ability to correctly contextualize; etc. There is no working definition.

    Third, what actually is involved in highly educated persons end up believing ‘unbelievable’ things? Example: election denialism.

    Fourth, to what extent does media outside the so-called main stream of both left and right play a role in shaping beliefs?

    (For example, some segment of right wing believers understand that Fox News is part of the monoparty or deep state, and so, for them, their media habits shift away to include NewsMax, The Epoch Times, OANN, and other sources, and these also include social media geared to reinforcing the most extreme beliefs. This ends up with communities of shared belief that are jaw-droppingly extreme.)

    Fifth, what do we mean when we term a segment is uninformed or is ‘low-information?’

    Sixth, how do we correctly speak of what it means, and what are the means, to change a belief to a new, more accurate belief? (Social psychology beckons here. Social cybernetics?)

  41. harpie says:

    re: Marcy’s project with lolgop. The entire 27 min. introduction to interview is available here:
    [It’s very well done! And of course, REALLY informative.]

    This is a call to anyone who cares about democracy In Ball of Thread, Marcy Wheeler unwinds the story of the attack that has brought us to the brink of fascism so that we can step back.
    Jason Sattler [< Is this LOLGOP?] May 14, 2024

    • harpie says:

      They’re doing a Q and A:
      May 18, 2024 at 8:42 PM

      I bring this up because we’re doing a bonus Q&A podcast for supporters. The questions will ideally help us tell the story in the main podcast by identifying what people need to know most.

      Since this is the first Q&A and we’re just getting started, I wanted to find out if you have any questions. [LINK] [THREAD]

      […] You can ask your question here or at the Patreon. If we use it, I’ll make sure you get the answer. If we use enough questions from social media, we’ll eventually make the show public on the main feed. // We’re still figuring this out. So, thanks for any questions, interest, or support!

  42. harpie says:

    From Mark Joseph Stern and Dahlia Lithwick at Slate:
    [ELEVEN days ago…I am SO behind.]
    May 8, 2024 at 11:52 AM

    We have a special package out today called HOW ORIGINALISM ATE THE LAW—about the ways conservative judges wield bogus, ever-shifting historical claims to impose their preferred policies under the guise of judicial review. Just in time for SCOTUS season! [Link][Be sure to read the THREAD]

    How Originalism Ate the Law America is captive to a legal theory that dictates our laws on guns, abortion, and so much more. We need to act. Dahlia Lithwick 5/8/24

    […] Most Americans are well aware that the MAGA supermajority on the current Supreme Court is drunk on something. But originalism is the invisible force that allows a handful of unaccountable jurists to unravel both progress and understanding and also the wants of the majority. […]

    I’m not sure about the “most Americans” part…

  43. Alan Charbonneau says:

    A helicopter carrying the president of Iran crashed near the Azerbaijani border in foggy conditions.
    “The state-run IRNA media outlet reported that the aircraft carrying Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and other senior officials went down in a mountainous part of northwestern Iran as they returned from an event along Iran’s border with Azerbaijan.”

    • Rayne says:

      It doesn’t look good.

      Steve Herman @[email protected]
      Update: Anadolu News Agency (Turkey) – Akinci UAV identifies source of heat suspected to be wreckage of helicopter carrying Iranian President Raisi and shares its coordinates with Iranian authorities.

      May 19, 2024, 20:24

      • Alan Charbonneau says:

        Per CNN:
        “Rescuers have reached the crash site of the helicopter carrying President Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency. The agency did not say the condition of those who were on board the helicopter. At least 73 rescue teams are in the area of the helicopter crash near the village of Tavil in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province, according to Pir-Hossein Kolivand, head of the Iranian Red Crescent, Tasnim reported. Kolivand said the ‘the situation is not good,’ according to Iranian state news”

  44. harpie says:

    Chris GEIDNER with an Exclusive on ALITO:
    May 19, 2024 at 9:23 PM

    Last August, as an anti-trans boycott of Bud Light was in its fifth month, Alito sold Bud Light stock.

    On Monday, SCOTUS could take up cases challenging anti-trans laws banning gender-affirming care for minors. All signs suggest Alito will participate. [link]

    Exclusive: Justice Alito sold Bud Light stock amidst anti-trans boycott effort Alito did not respond to questions about the sale, but its timing raises fair questions — particularly in light of other recent ethical questions. Chris Geidner 5/20/24

    • harpie says:

      And back to the upside down FLAG incident:

      Stephen GILLERS is introduced by WaPo as an “expert in judicial ethics at NYU law school”. In an email to the WaPo, “noting that the test in the recusal statute is based on the perspective of a fair-minded person who has all the facts”, GILLERS wrote:

      I don’t think such an objective observer would question Alito’s impartiality based on this incident. [] I find it impossible to believe that Alito knew the flag was flying upside down or, if he did know, that he knew the relationship to ‘Stop the Steal’. I don’t believe he would have allowed this to happen otherwise.

      [And while Alito’s explanation for how it happened is] hard to believe, it is more credible than the view that he knowingly chose to fly the flag upside down knowing its political message.

      You have GOT to be fvcking kidding me!
      May 18, 2024 at 9:57 PM

      Is this legal ethics expert acting in pure bad faith? Is he the most ignorant, most naive person in America? Does he truly believe in the Court mythology – or is he cynically defending it even though he knows it’s bullshit?

      In any case, this type of elite polite society poison is disqualifying.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        Tip of the Speer

        The landfill and the trash bin
        had a meeting in the dark,
        They came across a jar of gin
        as junkyard dogs began to bark.

        The cost of opportunity
        was not wasted on these two,
        They knew that in their unity
        they’d cook up some foul woo woo.

        They found a moldy blueprint
        an architect had tossed,
        smudged roughly with a shoe print
        where a body politic had crossed.

        Just as Goebbels’ propaganda
        was the tip for Albert Speer,
        this trash now had command of
        a message that is clear:

        Put the con in confidence,
        Place the con in fraud,
        Guarantee a providence
        and repeat it, then applaud.

        Lead them down a garden path,
        Promise them the moon,
        Then sling a slimy mud bath,
        And sing another tune.

        It’s time to do the Dersh Walk,
        So, give yourself a pinch,
        Don’t let truth cause you to balk
        because lying is a cinch.


      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Gillers is a famous professor of legal ethics and holds an endowed chair at NYU’s law school. He has contributed to FedSoc. His conclusion that Alito could not have known about the upside down flag flying in his own yard or its association with Trump and Stop the Steal is a Charlie Brown level of credulousness.

  45. harpie says:

    Via Cheryl Rofer:
    May 20, 2024 at 7:00 AM

    OK this is HUGE – ICC Prosecutor seeks arrest warrants
    for three Hamas leaders AND Israeli leaders – Netanyahu and Gallant.
    War crimes/crimes against humanity charges.
    [link to
    Statement of ICC Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan KC:
    Applications for arrest warrants in the situation in the State of Palestine]

    • harpie says:

      Also via Cheryl Rofer:

      Why we support ICC prosecutions for crimes in Israel and Gaza 5/20/24 [< I think…can't find the date right now]

      From Lord Justice Fulford, Judge Theodor Meron CMG, Amal Clooney, Danny Friedman KC, Baroness Helena Kennedy LT KC, Elizabeth Wilmshurst CMG KC
      Panels of Experts in International Law

      […] For months, we have engaged in an extensive process of review and analysis. We have carefully examined each of the applications for arrest warrants, as well as underlying material produced by the prosecution team in support of the applications. This has included witness statements, expert evidence, official communications, videos and photographs. In our legal report published today [link], we unanimously agree that the prosecutor’s work was rigorous, fair and grounded in the law and the facts. And we unanimously agree that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the suspects he identifies have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity within the jurisdiction of the ICC. […]

      • Rayne says:

        No idea why this didn’t clear immediately but the excerpt must contain something in it which triggers the algorithm. I’ve deleted the second attempt.

  46. harpie says:

    Wow. Look at this from ProPublica this morning:

    Toxic Gaslighting: How 3M Executives Convinced a Scientist the Forever Chemicals She Found in Human Blood Were Safe Decades ago [1997], Kris Hansen showed 3M that its PFAS chemicals were in people’s bodies. Her bosses halted her work. As the EPA now forces the removal of the chemicals from drinking water, she wrestles with the secrets that 3M kept from her and the world.
    Sharon Lerner May 20, 6 a.m. EDT

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Yes, well-written exposee that demonstrates 3M has known for fifty years that forever chemicals are dangerous to humans, animals, the environment – and lied about it.

      Exposes 3M’s as greedy, grasping, psychopathic adherent of the tobacco and petroleum industry model. Anything for profit, lie about the danger, use DARVO to attack critics and destroy their credibility.

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