By request


Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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81 Responses

  1. Agreed. Non-troversy. And a sad one at that.

    Now, what’s going on with Lindsay Lohan….?Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Republicans are the only hope for something something.

    Now that that debate is out of the way, the thing that made me freak out was this part:

    Katha Pollitt – Hayes’s colleague at the Nation – didn’t disagree on principle, though she did sound weary of the propaganda. “I hear you. but I am really tired of defending the indefensible. The people who attacked Clinton on Monica were prissy and ridiculous, but let me tell you it was no fun, as a feminist and a woman, waving aside as politically irrelevant and part of the vast rightwing conspiracy Paula, Monica, Kathleen, Juanita,” Pollitt said.


  3. Avatar Will says:

    I found Ackerman’s comments about playing the race card kind of disturbing.Report

  4. Avatar Koz says:

    Mark, let’s note one thing in the latest Journolist revelation. Spencer Ackerman wants to accuse Fred Barnes, Karl Rove et al of racism. Some agree and some don’t. But none of them of disagree on seemingly obvious ground that there is no reason to believe that they are racist and without those reasons it’s a horrible thing thing to accuse somebody of.

    Many of us on the mainstream Right think that liberals ideas about race are more or less cynical political maneuvers beginning, middle, and end. But I think it’s fair to say, liberals don’t think this way. To some extent they really believe that their advocacy actually helps racial justice in some way.

    Given that, why is the schizophrenia inherent in the Ackerman email a nontroversy for you?Report

    • @Koz, 1. Spencer Ackerman writes for a niche liberal outlet – much as I occasionally enjoy his work on foreign policy/civil liberties, he’s incredibly small potatoes.
      2. What he was expressing was materially no different from the sort of things regularly expressed – in public and private – by the Right about people who show insufficient obedience to Netenyahu.
      3. I’m quite certain there was nothing expressed in that e-mail that Ackerman (or other outspoken lefties) hasn’t expressed publicly before, which makes this revelation nothing new.
      4. Many liberals, particularly the most passionate, really do think that the attempts to smear Obama as some sort of a Black Panther wannabe (in which the Jeremiah Wright thing played a major role) suggest a serious problem with attitudes about race on the part of the Right or, at a minimum, a willingness to appeal to the racial fears of middle class whites. It genuinely befuddles and upsets liberals when the media, at the insistence of the Right, focuses election coverage on something that has nothing whatsoever to do with substance. You’ll get a similar sort of reaction in reverse when the Left tries to tie the Tea Parties and/or Sarah Palin to fringe militia groups and blow those ties completely out of proportion.Report

      • Avatar Koz says:

        “1. Spencer Ackerman writes for a niche liberal outlet – much as I occasionally enjoy his work on foreign policy/civil liberties, he’s incredibly small potatoes.”

        I strongly disagree with this. What we saw in the health care debate was that the Journolist people (not the list necessarily but the sort of people on it) are the driving force in the mainstream Left in America today.Report

  5. Avatar Koz says:

    “It genuinely befuddles and upsets liberals when the media, at the insistence of the Right, focuses election coverage on something that has nothing whatsoever to do with substance.”

    Why are you or they supposing that the Jeremiah Wright thing was a matter of no substance? Jeremiah Wright was one of the longest-standing strongest associations that candidate Obama had.Report

    • Avatar Travis says:

      @Koz, because it’s irrelevant to his qualifications to be president?

      Incidentally, I think the Jeremiah Wright thing probably ended up a wash, because Obama got to make one of his greatest speeches out of it. I really hate the guy right now because he’s showing himself spineless and wishy-washy, but “A More Perfect Union” is one of the best pieces of political oratory in at least the last 50 years.Report

      • Avatar gregiank says:

        @Travis, No Travis, don’t you get it. Wright was a scary black man who said something that upset people. We can’t have the prez even know another black man who said something controversial.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew says:

          @gregiank, Exactly, and however good the product ended up being, I remember that morning having a really creepy case of the willies watched as we essentially made this guy go out in front of the cameras and dance and weave, and refudiate this guy who, yes, was a mentor, but who said these things in a context completely apart from his relationship with Obama, statements Obama immediately disavowed any connection from, but that basically wasn’t good enough, basically because the two of them were black. It was a sick, disgusting, and low episode for our country, however you feel about him now as president. It’s one best forgotten in my opinion and that goes for the speech as well. Seeing racism, or as Mark says, at least a profound lack of understanding of race as it works in our country, all around, wasn’t remotely unreasonable. And in any case, what in the world would be so bad about two private people “conspiring” in email communication to call a third private person a name, anyway? What if they had gone through with it?!?! Good god, where would we be then! Karl Rove would have been able to have a fauxtrage hissy fit… Noooooooo!Report

      • Avatar Koz says:

        Yeah, in other circumstances I might buy that but not here. Part of the motive for the Obama candidacy (and a disproportionately large part of the enthusiasm behind it) was the idea that we could elect Barack Obama and balm our racial wounds.Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Perhaps of interest:
    What’shisname has apparently rescinded his offer of $100,000K.

    So I’m guessing that that means that he now has the archive.

    The question might be whether he’s opening with small potatoes or opening with the best he has. If this is the best he has…Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      @Jaybird, at this point, it looks like the Attackerman kerfuffle was the worst he had.

      The Fox News thing is small beer.Report

      • Avatar Koz says:

        Really, why do you think that? It’s not for me.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          @Koz, think what? That the Ack was the worst he had?

          Because Ackerman was coming out and saying “we should call people racists as a political tactic to help our side”. This wasn’t that.

          This was a discussion that folks were having about Fox News. The most “troublesome” question was from a Law Professor (not a journalist) who asked about Fox News not getting its FCC license renewed and one of the actual journalists on the list arguing *AGAINST* the law professor. “But what about Dan Davies!”, I hear you assert. He ain’t an American, he doesn’t have the First Amendment tattooed into his soul. The American Journalist engaged in the conversation acted like, dare I say it, a Liberal.

          This is small potatoes.

          That a conversation took place on Journolist discussing Fox News being taken off the air is interesting… until you find out that it’s the non-journalist liberals who think it’s an idea worth exploring and the journalist liberals who argue against it.

          If you want to argue that journalists are pinkos (dude, I’m with ya!), you need better evidence than a UCLA prof saying something pink.Report

          • Avatar Koz says:

            “think what?”

            That the Fox News thing is small beer. Ie, a news or opinion organization being regulated out of existence because of an editorial stance contrary the to the present Administration.

            And that a law professor at UCLA actually supports it. (And John Judis too, one of the few figures on the Left I would have some confidence in. Judis might have some defense in that he might only be referring to WH press credentials which is more defensible).

            Not that I expect them like Fox News. But the nakedness of the attempt at thought control is a little more brazen that I hoped.

            It’s not small beer for me, especially the law prof part.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              @Koz, it doesn’t surprise me at all that a Law Prof at UCLA doesn’t like Fox News to the point where he thinks it ought be taken off the air.

              Not for a second.

              I’m one of those folks who knows that the media and academia is exceptionally biased leftward (while, interestingly, being somewhat biased in a corporate direction at the same time).

              If anything, I’m surprised at how *LITTLE* damning evidence is showing up in a discussion of Fox News.

              I would have thought that such a discussion would become a treasure trove of spittle and bile. Nope.

              We’ve got a law prof asking about revoking the license and a handful of journalists defending the press’s right to get into the press room above the interests of the administration.


            • Avatar Koz says:

              Yeah, it might help to mention a similar kind of situation in a different context.

              If you haven’t read The Brethren, one of Bob Woodward’s earlier books, so you should. It came out in 1977 or so and was about the internal deliberations of the US Supreme Court. I knew that the Justices held strong ideological opinions and equally strong determinations to enact them through SCOTUS decisions.

              I was just expecting the horse-trading to be a little more subtle than it was. I was probably move naive than I should have been.

              In Prof. Zasloff’s case, I’m not surprised that he thinks Fox News should be thrown off the air. I am surprised that he couldn’t find a better argument than a typical Balloon Juice comment.Report

            • Avatar Koz says:

              “That you cannot name a single supposedly objective MSM journalist who is one of the “protagonists” is not evidence that such correspondents were participants. Talk about an evidence-free assertion!”

              Well so far there’s Michael Scherer from Time, Ryan Donmoyer from Bloomberg News, Laura Rozen from Politico, Alec McGillis from the Washington Post, and probably a bunch of others.

              In any case, as James DeLong points out today, it’s an example of institutional rot for any MSM outlet who had correspondents on the Journolist.Report

          • @Jaybird, One thing that seems worth adding is that, for the most part, virtually every “journalist” who’s been involved with any of these discussions is a more or less unabashed liberal “opinion journalist.” These aren’t, AFAIK, beat reporters or people who make a pretense at neutrality.

            The right wing equivalent of the worst allegations would be something along the lines of Karl Rove coordinating with Charles Krauthammer, Joseph Farah, and Andrew Breitbart to call Obama a socialist. A revelation like that would cause a ruckus among the Left, no doubt, but it would hardly be earth-shattering, “stop the presses” type stuff. If you just want to focus on the Fox/Journolist story, the equivalent would be an e-mail from (insert obscure conservative academic) to Krauthammer, Farah, and Drudge suggesting that anti-Iraq War protesters be charged with treason.

            Also, too: it’s not as if there weren’t a handful of liberal bloggers calling for the revocation of Fox’ broadcast license quite publicly, so the notion that an unabashedly liberal professor would suggest it in a private conversation with other liberals is hardly something that’s newsworthy.Report

            • Avatar Koz says:

              Yes and no. The constituents of the list were opinion journalists, but also a significant number of MSM correspondents (and other as well). A fair bit (not all) of the legs to this scandal come from the fact that supposedly objective MSM outlets are actively slanting coverage for the benefit of their team over ours.

              I think there’s a reasonable case for thinking the cult of objectivity is a crock from the get-go. But, it seems to me that you can either do what you can to follow the canons of objectivity, or you can reject it altogether and make sure everybody knows where you stand.

              I’m trying to imagine Bob Novak in place of the various Journolist protagonists and for me at least it just doesn’t work.Report

            • @Koz, Which supposedly objective correspondents, specifically, are you alleging were on the list?

              And while you may have a hard time imagining Bob Novak acting in this manner, he’s not exactly the only conservative opinion journalist/correspondent who’s ever lived and I don’t for a second have a hard time imagining any of the aformentioned people acting in this manner.Report

            • Avatar trizzlor says:

              @Mark Thompson, an accurate and level-headed conclusion. The most recent dumps from the DC are clearly just intended to mock openly liberal bloggers for being happy, in private, that Obama had won. It’s all pretty pathetic, especially in the context of the Sherrod case where this kind of BS gets innocent people fired.Report

            • Avatar Koz says:

              “Which supposedly objective correspondents, specifically, are you alleging were on the list?”

              Anybody working for an MSM outlet that I’ve never heard of, ie, without a specific platform recognized to be opinion.

              As far as your other hypothetical goes, I assume you’re talking about your prior comment.

              First of all, it would very much surprise me if there was coordination though I easily can imagine one or more of them doing that of their own accord.

              Second, and more importantly, any of them who did call Obama a socialist would be offering some train of thought why. It might be strong or weak but it would be there.

              That’s what’s different about the Ackerman thing. Who cares if Fred Barnes is a racist? We’re going to throw out some blllsttt out there and hope it sticks to get us out of a tight political spot.

              I really don’t like the tu quoque business, not because it’s a logical fallacy (fallacies often have inferential value even if they are not logically waterproof), but because this particular one is way easier to assert than to demonstrate. And in this case, it really just isn’t so.

              From Daniel Foster at National Review:


              “It is fine not to be a fan of Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, but for pete’s sake, liberals, enough with the death wishes. Do you think any mainstream conservative writer has, even in e-mail, fantasized about being complicit in the death of Keith Olbermann or Michael Moore?* Heck, I’ve never even had a single nutty reader indulge in that in an e-mail.”Report

            • @Koz, That you cannot name a single supposedly objective MSM journalist who is one of the “protagonists” is not evidence that such correspondents were participants. Talk about an evidence-free assertion!

              “First of all, it would very much surprise me if there was coordination though I easily can imagine one or more of them doing that of their own accord.”

              First, it wouldn’t surprise many people in the least. (Ferchrissakes, Roger Ailes was offering political advice to the President and the Bush Administration hired a Fox News anchor to be its press secretary). But second, that’s not the point – the point is that there’s nothing terribly troubling about opinion journalists of a particular persuasion coordinating messages with other opinion journalists.

              “Second, and more importantly, any of them who did call Obama a socialist would be offering some train of thought why. It might be strong or weak but it would be there.”

              In a private e-mail to ideological allies who share the same assumptions? Sorry, but I’ve seen too many blogposts from conservative opinion journalists that throw the socialist meme out there without any supporting argument to think that none of them would do it in a private e-mail. Guess what? A lot of die-hard movement liberals really do think (wrongly) that most conservatives are racist bigots. And a lot of die-hard movement conservatives really do think that most liberals are neo-Stalinists or neo-Marxists or closet socialists or whatever.

              Finally, as for death wishes expressed – in private – by an insignificant local radio host, I would just note that Mark Levin seems to have a penchant for quite publicly suggesting people should die, like the spouses of callers he disagrees with. Then of course there’s the various pastors who have actually prayed for the death of Obama. Oh, and the ONE MILLION fans of a facebook page wishing (albeit jokingly) for the death of Obama. I could go on.

              The point is not whether the Right or the Left is less-bad on this issue. The point is that there is absolutely nothing new or revelatory in this story. All the crap that the Right is making a big deal about here is stuff that people on all sides – including the Right – have done quite publicly for a very long time. So it’s a non-story to begin with. To add to that a claim that these problems (and they are problems) are unique to the Left is simply beyond the pale.Report

            • Avatar Koz says:

              “A lot of die-hard movement liberals really do think (wrongly) that most conservatives are racist bigots. “

              If that’s really the case that’s disgraceful by itself and I hope you can point that out while you’re playing for the liberaltarian team. (Of course you’ll be defending yourself as well because from that pov libertarians are no different.)Report

            • Avatar Koz says:

              “I would just note that Mark Levin seems to have a penchant for quite publicly suggesting people should die, like the spouses of callers he disagrees with.”

              And Mark Levin was completely wrong to do that as many commentators on the Right pointed out at the time, and in fact was inside baseball Scandal of The Week for a while.Report

            • @Koz, But blanket assertions that most liberals are neo-Stalinists, or Marxists, or – far too often – anti-Semitic….not disgraceful?

              And yes I push back on these assertions when possible.Report

            • @Koz, I’m not aware of any commentators on the mainstream right who went after Levin for that, unless you want to count Conor (and you shouldn’t, since he’s not exactly held in high regard by the mainstream Right). Certainly Levin never felt compelled to apologize for it; to the contrary, he and his minions vociferously defended it.

              Meanwhile, no one of whom I’m aware on the mainstream Left is running around defending death wishes upon Limbaugh made even in private correspondence. What they are saying, however, is that this is a non-story. Because, well, it’s a non-story. How is what some very minor radio host flippantly said in a private e-mail newsworthy?

              And, FWIW, my position on the Levin thing has long been essentially the same as it is here: who cares?

              I’m sorry, but “Person With Outspoken Political Opinions Makes Intemperate Statement” ranks even lower than “Spencer Pratt Makes Ass of Self” in terms of headlines that might interest me.Report

            • Avatar Koz says:

              “But blanket assertions that most liberals are neo-Stalinists, or Marxists, or – far too often – anti-Semitic….not disgraceful?”

              Maybe, maybe not. It depends on the recklessness among other things.

              If Fred Barnes told Vernon Jordan to shine his shoes then it might be legit.

              Or, when I write about the folk Marxist mentality of liberals I’m talking about a very specific train of thought that I take pains to explain if anybody asks.

              In any case, there’s a real point to be evaluated on its own terms instead of ad hominem cheap shots.Report

            • @Koz, I assure you that a liberal making claims about racism on the Right is perfectly capable of explaining a very specific train of thought to support their point.

              Whether that train of thought is “reckless” is apparently in the eye of the beholder.Report

            • Avatar Koz says:

              Aside from Spencer Ackerman’s recklessness, there’s also a bigger picture lesson from the whole episode that we haven’t hit on yet. We know from Aristotle that politics is both difficult and for some subset of society, unavoidably necessary.

              The subject matter plus the egos involved means that there’s always going to be some amount of bitterness, confrontations, ill will.

              Our team understands and accepts the failures of the human condition so we can handle such things better. Their team tends to have strong utopian undertones and can’t. That’s why the case for conservatives to dominate the public discourse goes way beyond one guy being a jerk.Report

  7. Avatar trizzlor says:

    The Ackerman statement seems to be the most incendiary, but let’s look at the paragraph in question:

    In one instance, Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama’s relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama’s conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.

    At best, this is an extremely sloppy use of quotes. When you are retelling a private conversation this kind of structure is fine, but when your only source is a set of written documents, it is absolutely disingenuous to insert a quote that starts mid-sentence into a scathing 3rd-person accusation. And the rest of the article follows a similar pattern – the author tells us what the journalists were thinking, and then provides a half-quote that is loosely related to the story; halfway through the article he reveals that all of this private conversation resulted in an open and comprehensive letter – talk about burying the lede.

    This could have actually been a bombshell story, but the sloppiness and flagrant editorializing made it clear that the authors wanted a stem-winder rather than an expose. The saddest thing when reading this was the very real sensation that this would shortly enter the collective unconscious of my right-wing friends as definitive proof of systemic liberal bias. No matter how much debunking and critical analysis, “Journolist” will join the pantheon of mindless short-hand like “Climategate” and “Scare force one” and “school-chidren praising Obama” that just widens the rift between reasonable people.Report

    • Avatar Koz says:

      “At best, this is an extremely sloppy use of quotes.”

      Really? Do you have the full quote?Report

      • Avatar trizzlor says:

        @Koz, That’s exactly the point.Report

        • Avatar Koz says:

          Actually there’s more context to that quote further down the article and it looks to me like it’s used fairly.Report

          • Avatar trizzlor says:

            @Koz, The most context I’ve seen (oddly enough, from Sarah Palin’s facebook post) is certainly less clear cut than the DC quote: Ackerman outright says that he doesn’t want a defense of Wright (and Obama by-proxy) but an attack on the Republicans perpetuating what he believes to be a primarily racist issue. I won’t deny that Ackerman’s point is partisan and over-the-top, but there’s nothing inherently unethical about wanting Republicans to be held responsible for flooding the zone with racist muck.

            The bigger issue, however, is that a story that should’ve been “FireDogLake blogger thinks Republicans should be called on their racism” became “Mainstream journalists coordinate unified message to protect Obama”. An operation that was so covert that they published it in an open letter.Report

            • Avatar Koz says:

              “I won’t deny that Ackerman’s point is partisan and over-the-top,…”

              Actually that’s the most defensible part of it. Partisanship is ok. Even the bitterness is forgivable to a point: bad shtt happens to be, they tend to get angry. What’s really awful about this particular episode is the mindless nihilism and ad hominem.

              Come to think of it, it’s worse than ad hominem, it’s an ad hominem whose premise is known or suspected to be false.

              And the fact, as Jaybird has mentioned in other contexts, that anybody on that list could have called Ackerman on the ad hominem, but none of them did.Report

    • Avatar Koz says:

      I was wondering about the full context myself, but the replies from other Journolisters makes it look the use in context was legit.Report

  8. Avatar gregiank says:

    “halfway through the article he reveals that all of this private conversation resulted in an open and comprehensive letter – talk about burying the lede.”—–I’m glad somebody else noticed that. Basically that line makes everything that happened before it irrelevant.

    I suppose one response to this would be to note that if these various journo’s had just publicly called other people traitors or fascists it would be just fine.

    So i assume everybody who is upset about this will now trust Kevin Drum since he argued against Ackerman. hmmm why do i think that will not be the takeaway. But then again various liberal journo’s, some of whom work for openly partisan venues, had crude “private” conversations expressing personal views……. so ummmmm yeah.Report

  9. Avatar Keljeck says:

    The bit about calling Fred Barnes and Karl Rove racists is revealing, but it’s not like we needed private emails uncovered to show that the left likes to accuse conservatives of racism.

    I still don’t see evidence of coordinated strategy, just people talking about strategies. Which is, honestly, what I’d expect out of a bunch of political journalists talking about politics.Report

    • Avatar Koz says:

      Oh yes we do. We don’t need the emails to know it, but we need them to show it.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      @Keljeck, gotta admit: the timing of this is bad, certainly so close to the NAACP’s decision to repudiate the Tea Parties for not expelling the racists among them.Report

      • Avatar gregiank says:

        @Jaybird, what a coincidence.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          @gregiank, maybe what Breitbart is doing is to raise the cost on the left of going after the right. In other words, he found a find a leftwinger’s [sic] and smashed it through a plate-glass window. He took a snapshot of the bleeding mess and sent it out in a Christmas card to let the left know that it needs to live in a state of constant fear. (Obviously I mean this rhetorically.)

          Do you find that particular inclination of his to be unseemly?Report

          • Avatar gregiank says:

            @Jaybird, Well breibart bitching about other people being partisan is very much pot and kettle territory. He is a scalp taker. Did you see the kerfluffle today about his edited video that got some USDA employee fired?

            I’d much rather discuss ideas and policy and cut down on the shit slinging.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              @gregiank, I think that Breitbart’s video was sleazy as hell. She was telling a story about how she moved from (immoral position) to (moral position) and Andy posted a clip from smack dab in the middle of (immoral position).

              But he wasn’t the guy who fired her.

              What would have helped was a transparent, unedited tape providing all of the context for everything said…

              Don’t you think?Report

          • Avatar trizzlor says:

            @Jaybird, the problem is that many of these controversies have too much context to fit into an above the fold breaking news: sure, this woman was lucky enough to have the whole tape and the farmer’s testimony to clear her name; but Climategate took months to unravel and all the casual reader will remember is “hide the decline”.

            Ideally, private out of context conversations would be treated as circumstantial evidence to identify a larger misdeed rather than as an ad hoc smoking gun. Since I’m a masochist, I’ll be holding my breath.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              @trizzlor, well, there has *LONG* been a deep suspicion that the media is liberal to the point where they collude to manipulate stories despite their claims to objectivity.

              When something like this surfaces, it confirms what a great many folks “knew”.

              It’s why Fox does so well. “Fair and Balanced” is obviously a dig at those other guys… and everybody knows *EXACTLY* what it means.Report

    • Avatar gregiank says:

      @Keljeck, but what if they believe barnes and rove are racists? Then they are just expressing what they believe, not some political maneuver.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        @gregiank, the fact that Ack came out and discussed the tactical benefits of doing so doesn’t preclude your explanation, but it does undercut it somewhat.Report

      • Avatar Keljeck says:

        @gregiank, What I took out of “take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists” is that he didn’t care whether they were racists or not. It was just a way to make them “sputter with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction.”

        Meaning, they don’t like being called racists. Probably because they ain’t. And the motive isn’t to spread the word that they are racist anyway.Report

        • Avatar gregiank says:

          @Keljeck, I am not questioning how bad his statement sounds. I still think people say all sorts of things when they are in private, or at least think they are in private. How many people out there would want the nastiest things they have said in confidence to become public?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            @gregiank, this is why I compare to people to Hitler out in the open.

            My private conversations, if made public, would exonerate me.

            “Did you hear the Jaybird transcript?”
            “Yeah, he said that that other guy wasn’t that bad.”Report

          • Avatar Keljeck says:

            @gregiank, But that has nothing to do with your previous statement, and has nothing to do with what I’m saying. Of course things in private are not going to be as smoothed over as things in public. And I don’t think what’s being said in private here is anything mind blowing or newsworthy. Just stuff we already know. Like, the left likes throwing racist accusations as a matter of strategy.Report

            • Avatar gregiank says:

              @Keljeck, We can debate it, but a lot of people on the left think racism is still a serious issue and one that R’s manipulate.Report

            • Avatar Rufus says:

              @Keljeck, My experience with people on the left is that quite a few of them believe that conservatives are considerably more often racist than is likely. My experience with people on the right is that quite a few of them believe that liberals are considerably more often Marxist than is likely. As a result, they tend to see what they want to see about each other’s “true beliefs” before doing any critical reflection.Report

            • Avatar ThatPirateGuy says:


              My experience as a white person on the left in the south is that I hear casual racist comments and attitudes in person, from people I know to be conservative. So I have an actual reason to think that the right has a race problem.

              Anybody hear a-lot of casual marxism love from their local liberals?Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              @ThatPirateGuy, Casual Marxism? Not really. Surprising levels of authoritarianism and assumptions that they would be members of the elite making decisions for us plebes?

              Oh yeah.

              I’ve heard casual references to banning books, television shows, and certain types of speech. I’ve heard people argue that we ought abandon our form of government and say “we just need a good Tsar”. I’ve even heard them say that people who disagreed with them were either evil or sheep.

              Marxism might be preferable.Report

            • Avatar Rufus says:

              @Pirate Guy, Well, I work in academia, so yeah I do hear a lot of casual Marxism, but other people’s results may vary. And, certainly, I’m insulated from a lot of open racism by virtue of where I live and work.

              I’m thinking less about open racism or Marxism and more about the conclusions the left and right jump to. When a Democratic Senator says something banal like, “We need to do more to help those who are struggling”, I often hear conservatives jump to the conclusion: “Ah ha! Covert Marxism!” Conversely, when a Republican says something banal like, “People sure were more courteous back in the 1950s,” I often hear liberals jump to the conclusion: “Ah ha! You miss the days of open racism!” The result is people don’t feel like they’re getting a fair hearing and so they stop talking to each other.Report

            • Avatar ThatPirateGuy says:


              I’ve heard that from so many different people.

              I think the difference between you, me and the people who make those statements is twofold.

              1) We really don’t expect to be those elite people
              2) We don’t even want to be those elite people if that is what we would be doing.Report

          • Avatar Koz says:

            “I still think people say all sorts of things when they are in private, or at least think they are in private.”

            How does it help that this was private? It’s actually much worse that way.

            It’s not a matter of somebody catching himself before saying something he shouldn’t. It’s people in private conspiring to publicly disseminate reckless character assassinations.Report

  10. Avatar gregiank says:

    @jaybird- Well posting the entire clip wouldn’t have held any value for breibart. It was meant to be a scalp hunt.

    Yes firing her is sec was double plus stupid.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      @gregiank, has anyone out there with access to the unedited tape provided it?

      If we see the full context, surely we’d see that this is a molehill, not a mountain… no?Report

      • Avatar gregiank says:

        @Jaybird, I checked TPM. Briebart says he doesn’t have the video, he was given it edited. Classy move to air edited video without seeing the entire thing.

        I think it is up in the air. apparently the women who was helped said the lady who was fired was a good person who saved their bacon and is being treated poorly.Report

  11. Avatar gregiank says:

    So on the Sherrod matter re- the black woman who was fired from the USDA due to a video breibart posted. TPM has the full video posted, this is their summary.

    “he NAACP just posted the full video of Shirley Sherrod’s speech in front of the Coffee County NAACP this past March.

    The relevant part starts about 16 minutes in. Sherrod is talking about how her father was killed by a white man when she was 17; that night, she says, she made a commitment to stay in the South and work toward change.

    She says that she was only thinking about black people when she made that commitment. But God had other plans, she said.

    “You realize the struggle is really about poor people,” she said, and then tells about “the first time I was faced with having to help had to help a white farmer save his farm.”

    Once you get past the part shown in the Big Government clip, Sherrod goes on to say that that white farmer experienced an obstacle she had never seen: He was blocked from filing bankruptcy, and his farm was foreclosed on. The lawyer, she says, had told the farmer he should just give up the farm.

    As Sherrod tells it, she intervened and found the farmer a lawyer who could help him.

    “Working with him made me see that it’s really about those who have versus those who don’t. They could be black, they could be white, they could be Hispanic. And it made me realize then that I needed to work to help poor people, those who don’t have access the way others have,” she says.

    So lets see Breibart is a sleazebag. he put up edited video designed to make this woman look bad. In all this talk about journolist and the biases of the writers what has been lost is that regardless of beliefs there are things good journalists do that lead to committing acts of journalism. One of them is due fucking diligence. You get a lead, like an edited video, then you check up on it. YOU INVESTIGATE. Anybody can do that.

    Now i know some good people got duped by the ACORN videos which again turned out to be heavily edited in a manner to make the subjects look bad. This is briebarts MO he gets sleazy incriminating video but maintains deniability by using other peoples footage that they “edited”. He doesn’t take responsibility nor does he investigate. He is a douchbag.

    That being said the vilsack guy really screwed up. He deserves a smack on the head with a giant clown hammer for dumping his employee so fast and without doing his own due diligence. If the WH was also part of dumping her then they better own up and offer a serious mea culpa.

    smacks all around except to Ms. Sherrod who deserves credit for being mature enough to grow and learn.Report

    • Avatar Rufus says:

      @gregiank, My question is how we’re supposed to judge the “new media” in fusterclucks like this. Having now watched the full tape via Andrew Sullivan, it’s hard not to think that, were Breitbart employed by the “MSM” something like this would, quite likely, be the end of his career. Do we accept it from Internet journalists because we think they’re more open about their biases? I mean, it’s occurred to me that I’m as outraged as the next outraged guy when a newspaper or cable news outlet pulls this sort of crap- and for the record I find Ackerman’s Journolist comments disturbing as well- but the standard of accuracy at most of the news sites I read online seems to be far lower and the excuse that these are passionate and committed non-professionals really doesn’t cut it when they play such a role in shaping the news on the larger outlets.

      As for the USDA honcho, he acted like a true spineless bureaucrat and, in the process, the administration got punked. I’d expect them to offer her job back tomorrow, but the damage is done all around. Breitbart looks like he’s got a hair-trigger ego and the government just fired someone over a ten-second sound bite and defamation campaign. Like you said, she’s the only one who comes out of this looking like a decent individual.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        @Rufus, I don’t think we can judge the “new media.” We can judge individuals and organizations for what they do. Briebart will thrive and survive because his audience will not give a crap about his lack of ethics. If after this and the ACORN videos if anybody believes him without a ton of proof then they are chumps. We should question every thing that comes out of this mouth.

        The thing about journo list which has been lost is that the article in the daily caller has heavy spin. On Jonathon Chaits blog, he was part of j-list, he posts, with permission, some of the other jlister’s arguing back at Ackerman. It was an argument and debate that has been defined solely by the worst part. At least Ackerman actually did something offensive as opposed to Sherrod, but the concept is pretty much the same. The thing is everybody seems to be focusing on Ackerman, but as i have noted, is anybody talking about the push back against him or the people who disagreed with him. The most egregious statement is now defining the entire issue. FWIW i have read Ackerman about 5 times so i really don’t know much about him, but he has a rep for making pretty wild statements in his writing.

        I think the strength of on-line media is in offering a far wider range of opinion and access. We can read in depth analysis from truly knowledgeable people who wouild never have access to. A guy like Pat Lang, who does military and intell commentary and has a ton of actual experience in both fields is far better then anything in the old media. Immediacy is both a virtue and fialure of new media. Every damn duck fart can be drenched in analysis without benefit of much thought. In depth reporting, well the intertoobz are not quite there yet in general.Report

        • Avatar Rufus says:

          @greginak, I guess I mean how we judge the individuals. I wonder if we’re much more forgiving with people who are online amateurs than we really should be, given that we’re getting more news than ever from them. It’s hard for me to think of one site off-hand that hasn’t screwed up royally at some point or another. Well, except for this one, of course!Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      @Koz, I apologize to anyone I may have offended and I regret these comments greatly; they do not reflect the values by which I conduct my life.

      This is a better apology I expected, honestly. It’s certainly better than the “I’m sorry you little people have such thin skin” apologies that you see more often.Report

  12. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Part 3 just dropped. It’s everybody reacting in spiritual ecstasy to Obama’s election.

    I’m trying to figure out why this even rises to the level of “unseemly”.

    It gets weaker and weaker and weaker.

    If there’s an Israel/Palestine thread, you’d think that he’d have posted excerpts from that by now…Report

    • Avatar Bo says:

      @Jaybird, my guess is that the archive is way too enormous to read in entirety, so they’re reading messages from ‘interesting’ days. Like the day Jeremaiah Wright’s sermon went public, the day Obama won, etc. Presumably, the interns will eventually plough through enough to get to some meaty side conversations.Report

  13. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Hrm. The Sarah Palin responses are interesting…

    I suspect that this sort of thing is where Journolist will provide the most fertile ground in the long term. Threads that begin with “man, she’s such an X!”, have finishes like “that’s an awesome point!”, and, the next day, news stories from persons P, Q, and R that all make the “awesome point” seen in e-mail.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      @Jaybird, Here’s a link to Andy Sully!

      • Avatar Koz says:

        And at the risk of stating the obvious, Ezra Klein consciously excluded Right-wingers or conservatives from Journolist. Eric Alterman or Katha Pollitt can be forgiven for being partisan, of course (that’s what they are), but MSM institutions want to have some claim to objectivity, and if they couldn’t keep stuff like this secret, they clearly wouldn’t have it.Report