What is it about Chris Christie that so enthralls some in the media? I have to wonder if it is because he screams at his constituents. Mother Jones posted an article with 8 videos of Christie berating and yelling at people, go take a look to see what “straight-talk” is according to his adoring friends in the media.
The Star-Ledger had an opinion piece that makes fun of the people I am now referring to as the “Benghazi stupid.” This group of knuckle dragging idiots makes up the leadership of the Republican party these days, along with the reactionary, hateful nihilists that are easily distracted by the word “Benghazi.”
Somehow, the right’s response to Chris Christie’s still-breaking Bridgegate scandal has devolved into this: Why are you writing about New Jersey traffic jams, because Benghazi!
In letters to newspapers and online comments, in phone calls to their favorite conservative radio and TV pundits, conservatives are in a state of collective denial: They refuse to acknowledge there’s anything to Gov. Chris Christie and the George Washington Bridge scandal until President Obama and the consular attack in Benghazi get equal time.
What’s the difference? Here are three reasons the unrelated Bridgegate and Benghazi stories aren’t getting equal time – and shouldn’t.
Intent: America’s press corps has looked at Benghazi, the IRS scandal and the other Obama-related scandals tossed around last weekend. In each case, the facts dampened the early cries of conspiracy and cover-up. In Benghazi, neither congressional investigators nor the New York Times found evidence to support the idea of a concerted executive branch failure or cover-up. In the IRS fiasco, an investigation found both conservative and liberal political groups were subject to review – and everyone got what they wanted, anyway.
Coverage: It’s hard to argue that Benghazi, the IRS scandal or Obamacare’s glitchy website weren’t covered in full. Each story was subject to intense coverage when it broke – just as Bridgegate is breaking now. To expect coverage of old stories to increase because of an uncomfortable new story is silly.
Just as silly are suggestions that New Jersey media, including The Star-Ledger, are spending too much time covering a breaking story of corruption in the governor’s office. Because Benghazi?
Cover-ups: Each scandal resuscitated by the right last week began with cover-up allegations that have faded under the bright lights of media coverage and federal investigation.
Meanwhile, new evidence that Christie’s aides tried to cover their tracks is surfacing as thousands of newly released documents and e-mails are made public. None of the evidence suggests the governor was involved at that level, but there are a lot of questions about the GWB lane closures that still haven’t been answered.
I watched Chris Christie’s marathon press conference the other day and he laid it on pretty thick for his adoring media audience. For those of us who aren’t swayed by his tactics, it didn’t pass the smell test. And now, with the release of more information about who in his office knew what was going on, it stinks even more.
He had to know what was going on.
It’s fascinating for someone who has kept a critical eye on Glenn Greenwald to see him playing in the big leagues and striking out so much. I do believe it’s time for him to be sent back down to the minors.
Glenn Greenwald frequently attacks people who disagree with him, he can’t help himself. He has a hair trigger on that gun of his and likes to shoot it off. (By the way, he is against gun control, in case you weren’t aware.)
The most recent example of Glenn’s penchant for lashing out happened on Twitter as he attacked Daniel Serwer of Johns Hopkins University and peacefare.net.
Well, that one little tweet from the “Rio Pundit” prompted quite a backlash from many different directions. One of the best came from Adam Serwer, Daniel Serwer’s son, a writer for Mother Jones and a reporter for MSNBC.com.
Glenn Greenwald’s knee-jerk attack on Daniel Serwer revealed exactly how GG rolls. I wrote a post recently, The Top 5 Exaggerations By Glenn Greenwald On NSA!, that looked at just a few of Glenn’s exaggerations in his latest 15 minutes of fame. This one tweet from Glenn is both an exaggeration and an attack, combining two of his favorite tactics. And for those that say Glenn is “smart”, please read that tweet one more time.
Daniel Serwer, the person that Glenn tried to dismiss by claiming Edward Snowden had “done far more for the world in the last two months than you have in your life”, has actually spent most of his adult life working for peace. Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs has Daniel’s bio and gives his take on this incident. Here is a piece of the bio…
Daniel Serwer (Ph.D., Princeton) is a Professor of Conflict Management, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He is also a Scholar at the Middle East Institute.
Formerly Vice President for Centers of Peacebuilding Innovation at the United States Institute of Peace (2009-10), he led teams there working on rule of law, religion, economics, media, technology, security sector governance and gender. He was previously Vice President for Peace and Stability Operations at USIP, where he led its peacebuilding work in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan and the Balkans and served as Executive Director of the Hamilton/Baker Iraq Study Group. Serwer has worked on preventing interethnic and sectarian conflict in Iraq and has facilitated dialogue between Serbs and Albanians in the Balkans.
I won’t spend time pushing back against the Snowden claim, you can go read some of Bob Cesca’s work here, here and here if you want to get up to speed on the issues surrounding the Edward Snowden leaks.
One of the main tactics Glenn Greenwald uses is to attack anyone who challenges him, with venom and over the top projections of all things evil onto his target. I’ve personally been called a few names by him, mostly because I support President Obama. He really dislikes people who support President Obama. Joy-Ann Reid wrote about this a while back.
Anyone who fails to loathe Obama as he does is an “Obama lover” (just chew on that, if you’re African-American) or a “cultist.” It isn’t possible that Obama could do anything that isn’t vile and insipid and worthy of continual, emphatic condemnation.
Since I’ve spent way too much time reading and writing about Glenn Greenwald, mostly because I despise his tactics, but in all candor, partly because he has such a profound hatred for President Obama, I thought I’d share some links I have gathered over the years. You can decide for yourself how you feel about Glenn, considering the following.
10 Examples of Glenn Greenwald Attacks
1. When the “don’t touch my junk” guy emerged on the scene, Mark Ames and Yasha Levine wrote a piece questioning some issues surrounding that incident, Glenn Greenwald pounced on them. Go read this account by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine, it’s quite remarkable.
2. Benjamin Wittes of Lawfare and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution wrote a great piece explaining why he won’t engage with Glenn Greenwald and the piece reveals a lot of what others have seen too. It is one of the reasons why I quit interacting with Glenn, I’ve blocked him on Twitter and try not to read any of his trolling drivel.
3. Glenn Greenwald set his aim at Wired Magazine when they published the chat logs of Bradley Manning, which got him busted. The targets of his attack on this time were Evan Hansen and Kevin Poulsen. (You may have to Google ‘The Curious Case of Glenn Greenwald vs. Wired magazine’ if you hit a paywall)
4. One of the worst attacks Glenn has made over the years, which he has never apologized for, involved joining in on attacking a friend of mine, Imani Gandy (Angry Black Lady). This one included tweeting about rape with one of his minions.
5. Ben Cohen at The Daily Banter (a most excellent site), wrote a great piece about Glenn attacking fellow journalists who supported the Iraq War…but of course, Glenn Greenwald told us in his own words how he supported President Bush in his invasion and slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s. And of course, Glenn was also supporting President Bush when he rammed the Patriot Act through…you know, that law that started much of the surveillance that Glenn now rails against.
6. Jonathon Chait wrote a hilarious and revealing post titled “Glenn Greenwald is Ralph Nader“, which prompted Glenn Greenwald to attack Paul Krugman…go read it, you’ll see why. And here is a post detailing the attack on Paul Krugman, for making a reference to the NSA story.
7. You have to give Greenwald credit for taking on people who are way smarter than he is. Here is an exchange between Al Giordano and Glenn Greenwald that has a lot to do with the current NSA revelations, this is a must read if you want to be informed and entertained. I wish Al posted more often, he is amazing.
8. Chez Pazienza wrote a terrific piece called “The Daily Banter’s Official Helpful Media Guide for Interacting With Glenn Greenwald” that is a must read for anyone thinking of saying anything that Glenn Greenwald disagrees with.
9. This little skirmish with Sam Harris is pretty interesting. Sam Harris likes to tell it like it is and Glenn got a little bit of push back from Sam.
10. The last one I’ll throw in the mix is Greenwald’s attack on David Gregory, which I have mixed feelings about. David Gregory asked a horrible question loaded with innuendo and completely blew the opportunity to ask a really good one and then hammer Glenn until he answered it. The question I would have asked is “did you have any contact with Edward Snowden before he took the job at Booz Allen?” A lot of people want to know the answer to that question. It seems to me that the protection a journalist has by saying that someone came to them with information kind of flies out the window IF that “journalist” had something to do with stealing the information. And please, any GG minions, spare me turning that last sentence into an accusation, the word “IF” should be your clue. The act of stealing the information and then publishing it are separate acts.
Bringing it back to the original Glenn Greenwald attack, I think Daniel Serwer’s final tweet to Glenn Greenwald is pure perfection.
The Extremely Liberal Podcast Talking Drones, The Filibuster Bluster and Polls As A Crutch for the Media!
This podcast was recorded on March 13, 2013. I’ve been a very bad podcast poster and deserve to be scolded by someone. In this episode we talk about Rand Paul’s filibuster that brought out support from the faux-left, those who conveniently ignore Rand’s crazy ideas about such things as the Civil Rights Act. We also talk about Chez Pazienza’s great article that caused David Sirota to lose his mind and attack Goldie Taylor for tweeting it. He shouldn’t have done that, as I’m sure he learned very quickly. We round things out by talking about how the media uses and abuses polls. Give a listen. More episodes coming soon…
In this edition, recorded on January 31, 2013, we discuss the failing attempts by the GOP to rig elections, Lindsey Graham’s latest batshit crazy appeal to the Tea Partiers in his state, Lance Armstrong and his drugging ways, immigration reform, the media sleeping on the job and a little gun control talk to top it off.
The RSS Feed is hanging out over there on the right sidebar.
If you are tired of watching pundits playing “both sides” and revealing their conservative biases, check out our little podcast where we say it like it is and delve into topics you won’t hear anywhere else. Listen, enjoy!
Those of you who read my rants know that I have major differences with Jane Hamsher and some of the folks at her Firedoglake Empire. Although I agree with them on many things, I don’t agree with their tactics when dealing with President Obama and others who differ with them on issues. One of the most recent examples of her tactics was the slanted poll she sponsored in Arkansas’ 2nd district, which ended up causing Vic Snyder, the one on the losing end of the poll, to withdrawal from the race. Most people who’ve looked at it say Hamsher’s poll was the reason for his quitting. Nate Silver rips apart the questions they asked…
So, for all that work, the poll shows a whopping 4-point decline in Snyder’s poll numbers, and a 2-point increase in Griffin’s — not even outside of the margin of error. We don’t know how much of that has to do with opposition to the mandate versus the balance of the bill since the poll doesn’t unpack them — they could have asked an additional question or two to tease this out, but they didn’t.
And that 4-point decline — which may or may not be statistically significant and which may or may not have anything to with the individual mandate — comes only after they’d asked five or six questions in a row that framed the mandate in a negative light, and also reminded people for no particular reason about just how happy they are with their coverage in the status quo — all while using robopolling technology that was never really designed to ask complex sets of policy questions like these.
Great work, guys!
In contrast to Hamsher’s approach to polling, Daily Kos is all over the proper way to conduct a poll. They lay out the methodology and policies that clearly are meant to get fair accurate results. Here is the first thing covered in their published guidelines.
1) Questionnaire or survey instrument: This is the list of questions that will be asked in the poll.
First of all, it is vital to ask the question as fairly and objectively as possible. The exact wording of the questions and their order in the questionnaire are obviously important, as this can be the most controversial part of any poll. To provide full transparency, we publish the exact questions we ask, in the order asked…
…What must be emphasized is that it is important to be objective and have the facts straight when asking any issue question. Adjectives cannot be used in asking such questions, period. A question about the death penalty, for example, needs to be asked fairly and straightforwardly, with no embellishment: “Do you favor or oppose the death penalty?”
Nate Silver’s piece is most excellent, I recommend you read the whole thing. It clearly shows how polling in the wrong hands can produce very slanted results. The media has embraced polls as the gospel these days., no matter how bad they are done. And really, did you see the results of the last Daily Kos poll, here are some results. Do you want these folks setting policy for us?
Do you believe Sarah Palin is more qualified to be President than Barack Obama?
Not Sure 33
So, when you combine the not sure and the yes, that’s 86% of republicans who either think Sarah Palin is more qualified than President Obama or they really don’t know. Wow! President of Harvard Law Review vs. beauty pageant contestant and news anchor. Hmmmmm, which one would be more qualified?
I’ve been accused of being an all sorts of things because I support President Obama, but in an interview with Diane Sawyer he reminded me why I support him so much. Look at this exchange with Sawyer, the whole transcript is here.
SAWYER: Ever in the middle of all that’s coming did you think maybe one term is enough?
OBAMA: You know, I — I would say that when I — the one thing I’m clear about is that I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president. And I — and I believe that.
You know, there’s a tendency in Washington to think that our job description of elected officials is to get re-elected. That’s not our job description. Our job description is to solve problems and to help people. And, you know, that’s not just the view of elected officials themselves. That’s also the filter through which the media reads things. And the reason I can say this with confidence is I’ve gone through this before. I went through this through the campaign.
When your poll numbers drop, you’re an idiot. When your poll numbers are high, you’re a genius. If my poll numbers are low, then I’m cool and cerebral and cold and detached. If my poll numbers are high, well, he’s calm and reasoned.
So that’s — that’s the filter through which a lot of this stuff is interpreted. But…
SAWYER: Do you think there’s a lot of bed wetting, as David Plouffe said?
OBAMA: I do think that people are always thinking in the cable news cycle, and whatever appears that given day is how people view the world. That is not how I look at things. You know, I went to Iowa — I went to Ohio last week on Friday. And I went to a company that the family had owned for years — third generation. They make machine tools.
And you go and you talk to the workers there and you talk to the owners and then you go to the diner and you’re meeting with people and talk to them. You know, they are not interested in whether Democrats are scoring points on Republicans or vice versa. What they’re interested in is, you know, I can’t get a loan from my bank right now. I’m trying to save for my kid’s college education. You know, I’m worried that my 401(k), although it’s bounced back a little bit, still doesn’t leave me enough for retirement.
Those are the things that people talk to me about. And so that’s what I spend a lot of my time thinking about.
As you may have noticed if you’ve read any of my previous posts, I think the media is lazy, stupid, reactionary, sensational, style over substance, process over policies…..every thing is filtered through polls, the horse race or the latest outrage. Any politician can get on cable by being outraged about something, whether they are sincere or not, whether they need a boost in the polls or not, whether they are lying or not. The media eats that shit up and then craps it back out for us wrapped in a poll. Arghhh, don’t get me started……oh wait, I started it myself. Oops. :)
I’ve been stunned since the Supreme Court’s decision to sell our country off to corporations, well what’s left of our country anyway. They’ve pretty much owned it for many years, the crooked court that brought us the decision in Bush V. Gore just made it much easier for them. I’m hopeful that this will be the straw that broke the camel’s back and something will be done about this by the congress. The Rude Pundit shows us what our country looks like now in this post. Here is a sample….
Hey, maybe if they’re willing to pass a couple of disclosure laws, members of Congress can all be honest about whose whores they are.
Senator Lisa Murkowski is brought to you by the shareholders of ExxonMobil. ExxonMobil: Suck our pipeline and suck it good, America.
You have to give Republicans credit for being consistent in their support of everything bad and their being against anything good for our country. Even though most of them claim to be christians (whatever that means), they are some evil motherfuckers and just keep proving it over and over and over again.
Has the media succeeded in taking control of our government? I propose that the media uses polls to force weak-ass politicians to bend to the current will of the majority, as shown in the latest poll. Often these polls use very small samples and the methodologies of different polling organizations are wildly different. Morning Joke loves to throw polls at politicians and confront them about how their stance doesn’t fit with the majority. It isn’t just Joe (an intern was found dead in his office) Scarborough but many other talking heads and pundits do the exact same thing. Haven’t they had any statistics classes?
As Chris Matthews pointed out so pointedly on his show two nights ago, go here for more, “But the poll that was the official poll, where people had to go into the booth and vote…” that’s the only “poll” that really counts. I could rattle off all sorts of polls that have been wrong over the years for individual races, but that’s really beside the point I’m trying to make. When we elect someone, we elect that person to make judgments and represent us with the principles they ran on, and their whole world view. When I vote for a candidate, I want that candidate to make decisions based on their best judgment not whichever way the wind is blowing on that particular day.
The media just beats these polls into the public consciousness, and as we learned from the Reagan years and ever since, if you repeat something over and over again, pretty soon people start to believe it, whether it’s factually true or not. Of course the Republicans have raised it to an art form, I’m pretty sure the NEA has given them grants it’s such a powerful art form. The really shitty part of this phenomenon is that there is no good way to change it. The lazy journalists in this country use it as a crutch, heaven forbid they write an original article or do a little research or expose a crooked politician. And it gives them tremendous power that they yield over politicians, you can’t watch a Sunday morning show or any other political cable news show without a poll being dragged out and abused.
The last thing I’ll say about polls is that they are exaggerated to the extreme. “The people want this or that”….when it may very well be 52% of the people in a poll with a margin of error of +/- 4%. It drives me nuts when they completely discard the views of the other 48%. When you see a margin of error higher than 3%, the sample is usually less than 800 people, many times less than that because not every question is answered by all the participants. So often the results they spew are even smaller subgroups within the poll. “Of the people who support Obama, 20% believe this or that”…..which may very well be less than a hundred people when you divide up the pie.
If you are ever in need of a reality check about any given poll, visit Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog, he’ll give you realistic analysis and perspective too.
If Coakley wins, I’m sure the MSM is going to spin it into a loss by the president. He wasn’t on the ballot. I read that George Snuffleupagus is saying it will be the biggest upset of the century or some shit like that. That’s crazy, upset? She was appointed to fill a vacancy, she hasn’t won a national election ever, how can it be an upset. Simply because Teddy Kennedy held that seat doesn’t make it a democratic seat. Sure, the democrats will have to take a look in the mirror and learn from this election, but the big lesson from this is that if democrats want to win, they have to put up good candidates. I don’t care how long a seat has been controlled by one party or another, voters are going to pick the best candidate. It’s only the punditocracy that sees it the other way. You get what you vote for, Massachusetts, you vote for an idiot teabagger, you get an idiot teabagger. Life goes on.
The duo who loves to go on Morning Joe and feed Joe the beast with insider political gossip are all the rage these days with their new book Game Change. It looks like many in the media are eating it up and spitting it back out. Liz Cheney is appauled at Harry Reid using the word Negro, I’m sure it comes from her deep seated hatred of racism in general, it has to be. I’m not really surprised by what is attributed to Harry Reid, doesn’t surprise me at all. Of course President Obama is going to forgive him for his insensitive comments, that’s our president’s style after all. What fascinates me the most about this particular issue is the reaction from Republicans, it raises that question I think needs to be applied to many issues the media trumpets, “so what?” I wonder what is behind their pushing of this story, is it to show that democrats are racist too, so it’s OK for republicans to be racist?
There are many other comments by others including Bill Clinton that will get a lot of traction too, specifically racially tinged comments when talking to Ted Kennedy. The media is going to pound these stories to death, I just know it. But I want someone to ask “so what?” They will put this all out there to linger, but won’t ever tell us why it is important that we know it. I think all sides of the issues need to stop and think about why they are pushing the story, what difference does it make, why should we care? I guess for those who think we’ve transcended race, it will be a reminder that we haven’t and for those who are racist, they can take comfort in knowing they aren’t the only ones…..see, those liberals are racist too.
Let the republican hypocrisy begin. There is already pushback against the book, which sounds more like a gossip rag than an actual book. Check out these posts on the subject.
Here are a few links to some stories that caught my eye recently.
I’m starting a new series called the “So What” watch. So much of what passes as news these days is just crap and I find myself often saying so what? Who gives a shit about some of this stuff. Here is one from one of the worst “media” offenders, The Huffington Post. I am not linking to Huffpost, but the original article that they linked to, I don’t want to give them any more clicks than they already get. It’s about “ABC beauty Bianna Golodryga” who just recently got engaged to Peter Orszag, the White House budget director. I guess it’s an attempt to embarrass the white house or something. So What?
Is it just me, or does the media love the phrase “there are many unanswered questions.” Well yeah, questions are freakin easy to ask, whether they are on topic or off topic. It often creates controversy where there is none, implies guilt when there may not be any and is the refuge of the lazy journalist. It’s not a conservative thing or liberal thing, it’s a crappy media thing.
Check out these links if you are looking for some good stuff to read.
Kay over at White Noise Insanity has a great piece on Bristol Palin, the entrepreneur. Click here!
Bob Cesca has a great post about our president making some change. Click here!
Ezra Klein at his new Washington Post digs has a piece on the inside Washington media. Click here!
Finally, here is a great Youtube video from Bill Maher’s show featuring the one and only Sarah Silverman. Click here!