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I am a strong proponent of Progressivism adopting the Rachel Maddow PolitiFacts model with the Right and the Village. I think she has put forth a blueprint we should all adopt as a movement. But. Well, here's the thing:

If PolitiFact is worthy of a polite, non-vicious, non-personal confrontation when they wank, why isn't Howard Fineman. Or Joe Klein? Especially when they sit on your set and be one person, and then transform back into the Villagers they are on some other people' sets who are your co-workers? Do you all watch each others shows or not? Not an attack, a serious question. I've choked down a few Morning Joes and a few Chunk Todd shows. People like Howard Fineman have a real scam going. I would argue that Fineman and Klein do more damage to the discourse than PolitiFacts do because Fineman and Klein are the PolitiFact Being Influential and Serious human delivery devices.

I love Rachel Maddow, I do, I support her show and have since day one. But when she talks about 'the Beltway Press' doing something lazy, stupid, or wrong, she's often talking about Howard Fineman. And the same goes for Lawrence O'Donnell when he does the same, and then turns to Fineman, Joe Klein, or Ed Rendell for the next segment. There is no faceless nameless army of Borg behind the wankery, there is your next on-air guest, playing you by playing to your issues, who is then going next door to say that Obama doesn't love him some golfing with Boehner or have barbecues with the GOP enough tomorrow morning.

I name Howard Fineman because he's running a civility scam on Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell, who should be smarter than that, but also because he's as far as the Village has evolved since Florida 2000, forget about in the four plus years of Birtherism, Teahadi Scorched Earthism, and Engineered Obstructionism that has given us a nation nearly impossible to govern without stupidity and self-injury. What is interesting to me is that his evolution is that he has created a persona that he only adopts when he visits progressive's shows to avoid being called out for his serial wankery and Very Serious Persondom elsewhere. It's genius, because it exposes the flaw in not being more confrontational with the Village. As long as Truthiness is unchecked, Truthiness will find a way. Even a way to put one over on people like Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell, who have been vastly better than most about the problems of PolitiFact Nation and Beltway Groupthink and Conventional Wisdom Pimpery.

I wrote the bulk of this diary, posted below, just before the election in November. I shelved it at the time because I always intended to return to it later but doing things to get Democrats elected or re-elected came first before all other matters, so, I set it aside. But it was time to finish it. Slowly but surely, we are returning to business as usual when it comes to the outrageous double-standard the Village applies to our two political parties. There is no Republican overreach that cannot be ignored, spun away, or apologised for, and there is no faux outrage too small or too absurd or too trumped up to fundamentally cripple a Democrats ability to govern the nation. We are even being told, again, that the 'real problem' with the climate in DC is that Barack Obama isn't having enough cocktail parties and outings with people who are so busy saying Obama is destroying America. Why, oh why isn't Obama more worried about his thuggish knee-capping muggers feelings?  

Mr. Howard Fineman continually gave me just enough lemon juice in the face to get back to it, he also made me think about something. Why shouldn't Rachel Maddow expand the PolitiFact model to her own set when the PolitiFact-esque rogues in our discourse get to run their scams and games to her right to her face? Why shouldn't we adopt the PolitiFact model with the media, or the entire Democratic Party adopt it in dealing with the wankers and Very Serious for that matter. Adopt the red flashing light too. Call Bullpucky. I think the Village makes the case to make this standard operating proceedure. Polite but firm confrontation and pushback.

Folks, the bar is not just set differently for Democrats and Republicans. Republicans have no fucking bar, and the Democratic bar is often a crowbar aimed at their knees.

Original diary below.


When this cycle is finally over, I think there are some events we need to revisit and remember. Viceral things that might just get lost in the swift moving forward current of events should this election turn out from top to bottom to be as positive an outcome for us as our efforts and our hopes long for them to be.

Like, say, what happened on this night, and how it was reported to millions of Americans:

What happened on this particular night was not vague, muddy, or spinnable.

President Barack Obama dominated Willard "Mitt" Romney so completely that, had it been a boxing match, the refs would have stopped the fight. TKO. Romney not only had no real answers, or policy, or even position to advocate, but he couldn't even fake it. He dodged, weaved, and word-saladed his way as long as he could get away with it. He even tried to bring in domestic and economic issues as often as he thought he could con the moderator into allowing it. Foreign Policy Debate or not. Romney was so utterly unprepared for the contest that he pretty much endorsed what we could call The Obama Doctrine, only 'he would do it better'. He practically endorsed President Obama he agreed so much and so often throughout.

But what followed this epic domination was a premeditated crime against the truth. Goalposts did not just move on the pre-and-post political coverage of what had to happen, what happened, and what was said about this night when it was over, they flew around like leaves in the wind.

"There's no question debate coaches would score this one for the president," said CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
I think the best description that I can come up with to describe what happened on this night is also the best description that I can come up with to describe the entire race:
Heads Obama loses, tails Mitt Romney wins.
Goalposts and mile markers were set down. High and low bars were erected.
CNN’s national poll of voters who watched gave it to Obama 48 percent to 40 percent—and once again CNN quietly admitted the sample skewed GOP. In previous polls, the skew was about 8 percent GOP (see final paragraph below). Obama won the previous debate by about the same margin. Without GOP skew, the edge would have been much bigger. CNN, of course, did not highlight that little detail. [....]

Yet CNN, on its site, outrageously leads with: "A CNN/ORC International Poll following Monday's presidential debate found those who watched the third and final head-to-head matchup of President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney did not identify a clear winner." They also tweeted that out in an email.

Reminder: CNN again admitted it's post-debate poll was skewed to GOP last week--didn't get as much attention because Obama won anyway. Like it's poll's for the first debate and the Veep debate, it had, as they disclosed, about an 8% tilt toward GOPers. The difference last week: after much hammering from me and a few others Wolf Blitzer stressed the "skewing" up front, not in small type on their Web site. But Romney could do not so great tonight and still easily tie or "win" in the CNN poll.

-Greg Mitchell, Pressing Issues, CNN Post-Debate

The tale of 2012 is that it was 21rst Century America's Great Post-Truth election.

The election cycle where a 48-40 result being a "tie" with "no clear winner" was a perfectly acceptable place for political journalism to be. A night where it was said that the President had to be perfect, and that all Mitt Romney had to do was basically avoid wetting his pants on live TV, but when the President was as close to perfect as you could get, and Mitt Romney was covered in piss from crotch to heel, well, "tonight didn't matter". Who cares. Not important.  

I believe Barack Obama is going to win re-election. I am doing GOTV locally here in Nevada to get my neighbors to the early voting sites until early voting is over. One thing that everyone who supports President Barack Obama, the Democratic Party, or progressive politics and policies needs to realize is that we cannot allow an Obama victory to cause the outrageous mass bar lowings that consistently happened, time and time again, over the last six months to disappear down histories perpetual vanishing hole.

Election 2012: Heads Obama loses, Tails Mitt Romney wins.

It is a testiment to just how good Obama and the Democrats have been, and just how incompetent and extreme the GOP is, that this cycle is not a Movement Conservative wave election.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have run the most deliberately vague, almost entirely fact-free, numbers free, and policy specific free national campaigns in the history of the Modern US Presidency. If they wren't lying, they were smearing, if they weren't smearing... they were saying 'trust us' at best and nothing at worst. No Democratic ticket, no matter how Rightwing (say Manchin Lieberman 2016) would be allowed to run for the highest office in the land this way. While the GOP is always lowering the bar election to election. Make no mistake, this election is as tight as it is, and the first debate was so disproportionately weighed the way it was, because the public is being told, all the time, that extremism isn't extremism, lies are not lies, and everybody does everything the same, so, nobody is really wrong.

This has to stop. After the election is over, the Center Left should shift from the Media Matters model of carefully documenting and keeping track of the attrocities to the new Rachel Maddow PolitiFacts model of making them have to hear about it, and be savagely mocked as they do. We have GOTV to do, phone calls to make, canvassing to accomplish, early voting to get banked. But then, man, hell to pay.

I'm a strong believer in the idea that Democrats and Liberals should attack the Village when they do shit, either spinning/carrying water for the Right or holding the two parties to two very different standards for a long time now. What Rachel Maddow is doing with PolitiFact, for example, is a model for pushback against the Village as a whole. What are they going to do? Cover the Democrats unfairly, help the GOP create fake scandals and phony outrages, and hold the two parties to two very different standards that benefits the Right?

Post-Truth: CNN Turns To Drudge Report To Revive False "Apology Tour"

CNN cited the Drudge Report to legitimize the false right-wing talking point that President Obama has gone on an apology tour, though numerous fact checkers, independent media analysts, and even CNN have denounced it as phony.

In a segment previewing tonight's presidential foreign policy debate, CNN host Carol Costello cited the Drudge Report and its "many pictures of President Obama supposedly bowing to foreign leaders" to bring up "this idea of an apology tour conducted by the president."

She then linked the fake apology meme with the Obama administration's reported talks with Iran on that country's nuclear program, and asked how both would figure in the debate.

- Media Matters for America

This is the same CNN, the so-called 'non-biased' and 'independent' cable news network that 'doesn't pick a side'. This is how they "previewed" last night's Foreign Policy debate. By letting the Drudge Report's stellar high journalistic standards be the groundwork that set the stage for a pre-debate wanker circle jerk, er, CNN Contributor panel discussion. Oh Boy! More Will Cain!

There's no upside to just accepting this is the way things are.

Rachel Maddow figured it out.

PolitiFact remaining unchallenged is PolitiFact remaining unchecked and maintaining its full credibility to pull its "Democrats say sky blue, we rate this Mostly True" act. She also figured out that it was going to take time, and repetition, and not letting anything slide to start to see change begin to happen. I see what she had done as an elegant and effective model as well as the most easily adopted by others. It's an easy to understand and very pointed and effective way to pushback against what I see as more than simply wankery or hackery, it's a systemic malignancy of media malfeasance that makes people stupid. And, by making people stupid, it can and does effect the outcome of elections and policy fights.

It's only going to keep getting worse without non-Conservatives bringing the pain.

Luke Russert, for example, should be chilling to most non-Movement Conservatives who watch the establishment media Village. He is being raised, on-air, like a combination of lab rat and thought experiment, to be the next generation of Villager Very Serious Person, and he's been guilty of worse and worse and worse since day one. His smears and jeers of Elizabeth Warren could have been handed to him by Reince Priebus they were so out of bounds hacky. You have to take that down a peg, or he'll be making his "boat shoes" jokes while he helps Alaska Senator Bristol Palin make the case that hungry people choose to be hungry. "Starving is a Lifestyle Choice, people".

I'm not talking about doing what the Movement Conservative Right does. Crazy-ass freak-out attacks for the sake of destroying journalism for partisan gain. Attacking on-air talent's physical appearance. I'm talking about marrying the Media Matters model to the Rachel Maddow PolitiFacts model as a tactic moving forward. I'm talking about moving beyond the 'Who Watches the Watchers' mindset and taking that mentality and pushing it into systemic and sustained Democratic pushback. In 2000 George W. Bush ran for President by bullshitting America with "Compassionate Conservatism". In 2012 Mitt Romney has been free to run for President as a lying sociopathic cypher. Following that decaying trajectory, from Bush 2000 to Romney 2012, Can you imagine what the GOP of 2016 and 2020 will be allowed a free run at?

The idea that not pushing back on an establishment level is mitigating this outrageous media misconduct, or that taking the offensive at pushing back against it will only hurt, is completely blown out of the water by just.... watching CNN or reading the WaPo on a regular basis. The same things keep happening. Over and over and over again. The double-standards, the false equivalencies, the 'everybody does everything equally' faux balance.

It has gotten to the point where you can be, if you are a Republican, a real threat to win the White House on pure substance-free bullshit, blustery hot air, wildly waved hands, and jaw-droppingly ballsy denial of things that you've said even 24 hours ago.

You can now make a factually iron-clad case from a moderate or liberal prosective, and it can be pitted up against a completely bogus steaming bag of intellectually dishonest piffle and they not only get treated as equally valid, but often the completely bogus argument is the serious argument and the well-thought-out and backed by math and statistics argument, crafted to try and overcome the slant, ends up being labeled as the 'partisan' (partisan, like liberal, having no further meaning than 'bad' in our discourse) one.

You have to confront the bad faith Conservatism, but you also have to be tenacious with the willing delivery vehicle for that bad faith Conservatism.

When they earn it, they should have to deal with the fallout, and the fallout should be fierce. Firm insistance on recognizing and admitting bullshit, doubletalk, babble, and nonsense that seeps into the conventional wisdom. What are they going to do? Retaliate by slanting their coverage in favor of the GOP? Perhaps provide an unbalanced and openly hostile arena for Democrats and liberals to try and navigate? Carry water for the GOP while sandbagging Democrats over minor trumped-up faux scandals and outrages?


Anybody on the Center Left who is afraid or worried that you can't take on the Village and both make fools of them while maintaining the high ground in every way need only to look at the epic fail that was Ron Fournier vs. The Obama White House recently.

My point is this: Unlike presidential aides and liberal allies, I don't think the president is politically impotent. I think he has the personal skills/power to lead, to fix this crazy mess.

It would require compromise, something the president has expressed a willingness to do. True problem-solving leadership also would require making tough choices that would anger his liberal base far more than the president is doing now; imposing sacrifice on all voters, including the middle class; and risking his high approval ratings. And, yes, he can't do it without Republicans.

QUESTION: Which side's approach to averting the sequester, and solving the deficit, (do I) actually agree with? ANSWER: Ron Fournier; I honestly don't have a strong opinion. Like most independent voters, I just want it fixed. I want my leaders to lead.

'You Don't Want Me To Be President' by Ron Fournier. National Journal. 2.22.13

Babble. Conventional wisdom spewage. Nonsense.

"What, specifically, would you do?"

Uh. Uh. Uh. Uh. I'm not President. No fair. I don't have any core beliefs. Independent. Just want things to magically work. Lalalalalalalalalalala I can't hear you. Lalalalala.

Rachel Maddow's PolitiFact model works. As does her "I call bullpucky" red flashing light and siren. It's not vicious or ugly or mean-spirited. It's effective. It can work against the Right and the Village equally well.


End of Original Diary

Credit to the Obama Administration for pushing back a lot more in term two than in term one. But. We have a long way to go in Democratic pushback and we still live in PolitiFact Nation. As polling shows that too many people have been bamboozled into thinking that the Deficit is our number 1 priority, CNN is busy pushing out Solidad Obrien in favor of Tucker Carlson Award Poster Child for Failing Upward Erin Burnett, we have been warned. The Sequester hit is going to be bad, and there is a government shut-down game of chicken following that hit. We should all know how the Tigerbeat on the Patomac crowd is going to play that by now. Given a choice between reality, and surmising that Obama is to blame for not ignoring his strong public support and giving the GOP everything that they demand, Obama gets the shiv. There is no reason that we should have to re-live the second Clinton term. But the signs are there that it could happen and that is maddening because it should be impossible after what has gone down between the end of Clinton's second term and today. Least of all because the Village is stupid, lazy, and bored and telling the truth about the Republicans doesn't give anybody morning Joe wood in the Beltway. Even better, when you do stand up for yourself, and adopt a more confrontational posture, you often, with both Movement Conservatism and the Village, win because they depend on their bullshit being unchallenged and unquestioned.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 08:13:19 AM PDT

  •  I don't know if it was Howard Fineman, (6+ / 0-)

    the way the sequester is being covered, more Luke Russert, or what.

    But I just had to finish this. Thanks to all who read it. I appreciate you giving me your time.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 08:17:34 AM PDT

  •  Fineman and Rendell are tools, but that boy wonder (6+ / 0-)

    luke russert shouldn't even be seen let alone heard

    we've accepted these beltway blowhards delivering messages totally out of whack with reality for too long

    •  Yeah (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lostinamerica, gulfgal98, elwior, NancyWH

      One of the things that really hurts my heart and my head is whenever Rachel has to talk to Luke Russert and, because basically they are co-workers at the same network, you get the chummy clubby small talk.

      Crap about Russert's boat shoes and his tweets.

      Knowing that, if, say Rachel were a House Rep. from northern Cal or Massachusetts, Luke Russert would be smarming her with the kind of shit he put on Elizabeth Warren.

      He's a huge part of the reason why the Right gets to skate, and non-Movement Conservatives get a pass.

      If you are going to have this standard, where PolitiFact is going to roil you into a serious lather, you should have the same standard, polite but firm refutation of nonsense and Village slambook nonsense, for the wankers that get booked on your show.

      I hate that Howard Fineman can be liberal-friendly Howie on Rachel and Lawrence, and then his wanker self at Morning Joe or Chuck Todds house of bullshit.

      But I also understand that Rachel can't get Olbermanned either.

      It sucks. Especially since the only reason Russert in there is because his dad died and his dads rich and powerful friends hooked him up because, apparently, there has to be a Russert at NBC. Because? Big Tim.

      I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

      by LeftHandedMan on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 09:26:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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