Charlottesville: Instant desire to kill the pig!

THURSDAY, AUGUST 17, 2017

Also, what Edie Doyle said:
Peter Cvjetanovic, who's 20 years old, took part in last weekend's ridiculous, pitiful and ridiculous Charlottesville march. Apparently, he's a college student at Nevada-Reno.

As Cvetanovic marched around chanting his ridiculous chants, he was photographed; later, he was identified. As he achieved local notoriety, he explained his thinking to a Nevada TV station:
CVETANOVIC: I did not expect the photo to be shared as much as it was. I understand the photo has a very negative connotation. But I hope that the people sharing the photo are willing to listen that I’m not the angry racist they see in that photo.

[...]

I came to this march for the message that white European culture has a right to be here just like every other culture. It is not perfect; there are flaws to it, of course. However I do believe that the replacement of the statue will be the slow replacement of white heritage within the United States and the people who fought and defended and built their homeland. Robert E Lee is a great example of that. He wasn’t a perfect man, but I want to honor and respect what he stood for during his time.
We got these quotes from this post by Josh Marshall.

Those comments by Cvetanovic strike us as rather dumb. Then again, did we mention the fact that he's only 20?

Beyond that, we can't speak for what this young person actually does and doesn't believe. That said:

On Monday, in that same post, Marshall recommended a twitter thread in which a bunch of our brightest liberals were aggressively egging each other on, seeking ways to kill this particular pig. We're surprised that Marshall would recommend this approach.

When we read that twitter thread,
we thought of The Mortal Storm, a fascinating 1940 fictional film about the rise of Nazi Youth. We thought of the many deaths which occurred during China's "cultural revolution."

We thought of Lord of the Flies, and of course of killing the pig. We also thought of Edie Doyle.

Edie Doyle is the main female character is the great, somewhat testosterone-laden film, On the Waterfront. The part was played by Eva Marie Saint in Saint's first film role.

Edie Doyle's working-class parents have saved their nickles and dimes to send her off to be taught by the nuns, far away from the corruption of the waterfront. On Christmas vacation, her brother is killed. She insists on learning how he died before she returns to the nuns.

With this, a note about this unusual film:

On the Waterfront's major theme involves the exciting world of street-fighting real men. The more significant undercard involves the values of Edie Doyle, and the discovery of same by Terry Molloy, the Marlon Brando character.

Early in the film, Saint and Brando walk through a park, recalling the fact that they attended parochial school together. Brando recalls the way the nuns abused him. In reply, Saint expresses the time-honored views of the bleeding-heart liberal:
TERRY: You know, I've seen you a lot of times before. Do you remember parochial school out on Puluski Street? Seven, eight years ago?

[...]

You don't remember me, do you?

EDIE: I remembered you the first moment I saw you.

TERRY: By the nose, huh? Some people just got faces that stick in your mind.

EDIE: I remember you were in trouble all the time.

TERRY: Now you got me. The way those sisters used to whack me, I don't know what. They thought they was going to beat an education into me, but I foxed them.

EDIE: Maybe they just didn't know how to handle you.

TERRY: How would you have done it?

EDIE: With a little more patience and kindness. That's what makes people mean and difficult. People don't care enough about them.

TERRY: Are you kidding me? I'd better get you home. There’s too many guys around here with only one thing on their mind.

Am I gonna see you again?
Cinematically, you have to be there. Saint's performance is angelic. Beyond that, she's plainly lit to glow.

At any rate, how would Edie have "handled" Terry? "With a little more patience and kindness," she says.

For our money, the greatness of this film begins in that scene. Rather plainly, Terry sees that Edie is a better person than he is. An unusual desire is also signaled: as he absent-mindedly slips the glove she has dropped onto his own hand, we can see that he wants to be more like her, more like this better person.

In very, very few major films do you see the major male character observe and accept the moral superiority of the major female character. But that's the (secondary) theme which plays out all through the rest of this film, as the Brando character turns his back on the values of the waterfront where he's been raised.

In this famous film, the Brando character has played an unknowing role in the killing of Edie's brother. Last weekend, in Charlottesville, a lost soul named James Field killed an admirable young woman named Heidi Heyer. A few hundred other people paraded around on Friday and Saturday, exhibiting tremendously unfortunate behavior and saying ridiculous stupid things.

As it turned out, Field was already badly disturbed by the time he was 13 years old. "There but for fortune"—or so we liberals used to say in the face of such a miserable, profoundly unfortunate story.

Edie would have handled him with a little more patience and kindness. Josh encouraged our liberal teammates to go out and start killing the pig.

Why was Cvjetanovic at that pitiful rally? We can't tell you that. But we're going to guess that the best results don't come from aping the hatred.

Susan Bro was Heidi Heyer's mother. She says that hate will breed more hate. That's what Dr. King also said! As a general matter, we the humans aren't wired to see things that way.

Susan Bro said she felt sorry for the lost soul who killed her daughter. "Jesus Christ is here on the waterfront." That's what the local priest, played by Karl Malden, says in Elia Kazan's great film.

We thought that twitter thread was deeply unwise. In fairness, we humans have always been wired that way. People are dead all over the world because of this inbred reaction.

A few more words of advice: Should we call the marchers dumb? Or should we call them evil?

When we call people evil, we tend to invest them with substantial power. When we say they're pitiful, lost and remarkably dumb, we create them a different way.

When we call a lost soul a terrorist, we encourage the next lost soul to achieve notoriety that same way. What makes us build these people up? It seems to us that Edie Doyle, like Susan Bro, would have looked for a better way.

Once again, the discussion not traveled!

THURSDAY, AUGUST 17, 2017

Bernstein goes there again:
Maybe once a month or so, Carl Bernstein is permitted to say it.

He makes yet another attempt to start the relevant discussion—the discussion about Donald J. Trump's mental health. Last night, speaking with Anderson Cooper, his effort began like this:
BERNSTEIN (8/16/17): I think there's considerable evidence that there's a consensus developing in the military, at the highest levels, in the intelligence community, among Republicans in Congress, including the leaders in the business community, that the president of the United States, Donald Trump, is unfit to be the president of the United States.

And that's the undercurrent. I've talked to you about it for weeks, that I've been hearing in Washington. There is increasing talk about his emotional and mental stability, as David Gergen referred to earlier.
More on Gergen below. Once again, Bernstein was saying that major players in Washington think Donald J. Trump is unwell.

Our big news orgs have been ducking this obvious question for months, perhaps for years. Just this morning, Joe Scarborough suggested that his bosses have told him not to go there.

Bermstein goes there once a month. Here's the way he continued:
BERNSTEIN (continuing directly): This is extraordinary. It's a dangerous moment in our history. Trump is under siege. Also from a special prosecutor, his family is under siege from a special prosecutor.

But more than anything else, I think there's a sense among military, congressional, business leaders that he's in a kind of freefall, and he made not have many parachutes left, except for his base, to land safely. And that's an awful thin cushion.

We've never seen anything like this. We don't know where it's going.
Below, we'll offer some thoughts on the key words there: "It's a dangerous moment in our history."

More on that comment below. Later in his segment with Cooper, Bernstein restated his basic points:
BERNSTEIN: This is unprecedented. That's exactly right. Donald Trump knows the peril of where he's in because he is cognizant of what he is facing. That he now knows that things are closing in on him, that he has lost the constituencies, the business leaders that he had to fire, as it were or dismissed from an advisory council before...

We are in territory we've never been in, but again what we're hearing—and I think all reporters need to be checking their sources and finding out what people on the Hill, in the military, the intelligence communities are saying, because of this element that David Gergen said today, somebody who served in many White Houses, about the stability and mental condition of the president of the United States.

COOPER: Yes.

BERNSTEIN: This is something we haven't dealt with before.
During the 7 PM hour, Gergen had spoken with Erin Burnett. During the 9 PM hour, he spoke with Cooper, saying this:
GERGEN: Anderson, I think we're going to go through a rough period now on race relations. We're going to have to work our way through it...

The scarier part right now is the state of the presidency and the man who's in it. I just—

It echoes some of what you've been saying. Leadership starts from within, from within a person. That's just sort of what's the— Are you anchored? You know, are you sound? Are you of good mind? And I think there are increasing questions tonight about whether this president, about his temperament, about his emotional and mental stability. These issues are now rising among psychiatrists in the country. How do we come to grips with the anger that's in this man, the narcissism, the impulsivity?

You know, there's a "Goldwater rule," as they call it, that says psychiatrists can't comment really or can't offer diagnosis of public figure without having a personal evaluation. That rule is under challenge tonight by a lot of psychiatrists who think they need to speak out. They need to put this on the record. And we have never experienced this before and I think it's why the military has spoken up today.

[...]

I think there's a reason the military rallied today, because they have genuine fears about the emotional and mental stability of the man in the Oval Office.
We don't know if Gergen is right what military leaders think. Let's note a few points about Bernstein and Gergen's remarks:

First, the networks and major news orgs are avoiding this discussion. This reluctance may be understandable. But in a modestly rational world, this discussion would be seen as the one we need.

(In fairness, no serious person thinks our press corps, especially our cable news corps, is capable of conducting such a discussion.)

This isn't a question of whether Donald J. Trump should be described as a liar. That's the least of our problems. It's a question of whether Donald J. Trump is unwell. Concerning that, consider this:

We see people exulting about the new pressures being brought upon Trump. We think this is silly, shortsighted.

If Donald J. Trump isn't "anchored;" if Donald J. Trump in truly unwell; the feeling "that things are closing in on him" could be extremely dangerous. Donald J. Trump holds the nuclear codes. If he is truly unwell, additional pressure may be the last thing we need.

Last night, we watched Cooper as he mocked Christopher Cantwell, a visibly unhinged leader of last weekend's Charlottesville march. Cooper is very brave about mocking these people now. But as he did so last night, we couldn't help remembering the way he played Candidate Trump's pool boy/caddie during last year's election.

Cooper is very bold today. Last year, he was a highly-paid pool boy. He rolled over and died.

Again and again and again and again, people like Cooper rolled over and died for Candidate Donald J. Trump. Their bosses wanted the ratings and the income. The millionaire caddies of cable news did as they were told.

WEAKER APART: We pause our previously planned report!

THURSDAY, AUGUST 17, 2017

Pause—With a few simple starter questions:
As announced yesterday, we've decided to pause the report we'd planned to pursue this week. Charlottesville has overtaken it, in several ways.

That said, we thought we'd leave you with a few simple starter questions. Imagine that someone—a person you knew, or perhaps an academician—approached you with questions like these:
Question 1: Do unauthorized immigrants commit fewer crimes, on average, than native-born Americans? Than native-born white Americans? Than native-born black Americans?

Question 2: Would it be racist to say that they do?
If someone asked us those questions, our own award-winning answers would be these:
Answer 1: As far as we know, they do commit fewer crimes, on average.

Answer 2: Please. Could we possibly start to grow up?
Those would be our answers, based on things we've read.

Moving right along, let's consider two more questions. Suppose a researcher jumped you with these questions:
Question 1: Do Asian-American kids work harder in school, on average, than American kids of other ethnicities?

Question 2: Is it racist to say that they do?
Incomparably, our answers might go something like this:
Answer 1: We have no way of knowing. It's certainly possible.

Answer 2: Same as Answer 2 above.
Why do we imagine such questions? Here's why:

As we've noted in the past few days, the Washington Post has produced a mini-orgy of eye-catching headlines about the "racism" of These Millennials Today, or perhaps about the racism of These White Millennials Today.

One such headline appeared earlier this week. The op-ed column it topped linked to an earlier analysis piece—a piece which appeared in June 2015, under this eye-catching headline:
"Millennials are just about as racist as their parents"
That's an unpleasant-sounding headline. It seems to reflect on tens of millions of people—on These Millennials Today.

We think that's an unwise headline. In fairness, the headline basically captured the judgment expressed in that earlier analysis piece—a piece which was written by the Post's polling director.

In part, the polling director was basing his judgment on a set of survey questions—questions which aren't gigantically different from the ones we've imagined above. Let's consider one of those sets of questions:

In fairness to These White Millennials Today, 70 percent of These White Millennials answered the questions in a way which freed them from the claim of being "racist."

That said, thirty percent of These White Millennials answered the questions wrongly, in way which were judged in-correct. On this basis, the polling director judged them to have displayed "racial prejudice," which was instantly turned into "racism" by the gods of These Headlines Today.

In this and a thousand other presentations, These Professors and Journalists Today have tossed their favorite bombs around in rather dull-witted ways. Within our liberal tribe, this can create real problems:

For many liberals, it's hard to consider the possibility that our ranking academics may not be especially sharp, especially when their deathless research results in the types of judgment which fire our tribal narratives.

For ourselves, we've long found that our academics aren't always especially sharp. Back in the day, Albert Einstein drew the exact same conclusion!

We have decided that Einstein was right. These Academics Today aren't always especially sharp. And once they mate with These Journalists Today, we can be in for a rather dumb ride.

Work of this type, with R-bombs attached, tends to fire us liberals. It also tends to leave us weaker apart.

More than anything else, such work just isn't especially bright. As we've often said to imaginary inquisitors:

Academics and researchers, please! Could we possibly start to grow up?

What Athene said: We think Athene, daughter of Zeus of the aegis, had it just about right when Odysseus returned from the fighting around Troy. Her deathless words of wisdom were recorded by sacred Homer, right at the end of The Odyssey:
And now they would have killed them all, and given none of them homecoming, had not Athene, daughter of Zeus of the aegis, cried out in a great voice and held back all the company: "Hold back, men of Ithaka, from the wearisome fighting, so that most soon, and without blood, you can settle everything."
We think Athene had it right. In fairness, we're just saying.

Charlottesville: Superb report by the Washington Post!

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16, 2017

With pitiful conduct by Us:
The Washington Post has repeatedly done superb reporting in the aftermath of the Charlottesville events.

Today, we recommend a brilliant profile by Jessica Contrera. She spoke with the father of 30-year-old Peter Tefft, who took part in the Charlottesville march.

The father in question, Pierce Tefft, lives in North Dakota, apparently in or near Fargo. He wrote a letter to the Fargo newspaper denouncing his son's beliefs and conduct.

Contrera described the elder Tefft's attempts to dissuade his son of his “pro-white activist” views, which he apparently began to develop a few years ago. When the son was identified from photographs taken in Charlottesville, the geniuses in our own liberal tribe apparently swung into action, in the familiar old ways.

They got busy killing the pig. We humans are wired to do this:
CONTRERA (8/16/17): Internet sleuths were sifting through photos of other protesters at the “Unite the Right” rally, determined to identify their names, ages, home towns and employers. With each name uncovered came the possibility that somewhere, another parent was finding out for the first time that their child was an avowed racist.

[...]

Tefft's family members, especially Peter’s mother, have been inundated with social-media messages and phone calls from people who assume they share or condone his opinions. The backlash began when Peter started discussing his beliefs locally, but it snowballed this past weekend, when the Twitter account @Yes­YoureRacist posted a photo of Peter at the Charlottesville rally with the caption, “This charming Nazi is Pete Tefft of Fargo, ND.”

Peter Tefft, who identifies as a “pro-white activist” online, did not respond to requests for comment for this article.

His father said the messages the family received because of “guilt by association” were so vile, he wouldn’t repeat them. He canceled his landline phone service.
This is the sort of familiar conduct Josh Marshall encouraged in Monday's unwise post.

Tomorrow, we'll return to that unwise post. We'll praise the values of bleeding heart liberalism.

We'll end up walking with Marlon Brando through that cinematic park, the famous cinematic park that overlooks life on the waterfront. A brilliant young woman will speak.

CNN is nothing but talk!

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16, 2017

HBO does the reporting:
Yesterday afternoon, Donald J. Trump delivered one of his most furious performances yet.

Along the way, he may even have made a couple of accurate statements. That said, you'll never find out from CNN, which also gave one of its weirdest performances yesterday, in reaction to Trump.

We're referring to CNN's 5 P.M. Eastern hour. The hour was devoted to bloviation and blather. It was strikingly devoid of reporting and fact.

We saw most of CNN's hour. We hadn't yet seen Trump's disordered performance. Midway through that 5 PM hour, we were surprised by some videotape Wolf Blitzer aired.

It was videotape from last Friday night's march in Charlottesville. Luckily, CNN's "sister network," HBO, isn't like CNN.

This was horrible, but highly informative, videotape. Needless to say, it didn't come from the fully ridiculous CNN. It came from HBO instead:
BLITZER (8/15/17): Let me play a little bit—this is some video of what actually happened in Charlottesville.

This is video from VICE, from our sister network, HBO, just a little clip to remind our viewers
and remind you, Congressman, of what was going on. Watch this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will not replace us. You will not replace us. You will not replace us. Jews will not replace us. Jews will not replace us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will not replace us. You will not replace us. You will not replace us. Jews will not replace us. Jews will not replace us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will not replace us. You will not replace us. You will not replace us. Jews will not replace us. Jews will not replace us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Blood and soil, blood and soil, blood and soil. Blood and soil, blood and soil.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Blood and soil, blood and soil, blood and soil. Blood and soil, blood and soil.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Blood and soil, blood and soil, blood and soil. Blood and soil, blood and soil.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whose streets? Our streets. Whose streets? Our streets. Whose streets? Our streets. Whose streets? Our streets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whose streets? Our streets. Whose streets? Our streets. Whose streets? Our streets. Whose streets? Our streets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whose streets? Our streets. Whose streets? Our streets. Whose streets? Our streets. Whose streets? Our streets.

[...]
(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right. So there you saw the white supremacists. They were shouting, "You will not replace us. Jews will not replace us. Blood and soil, blood and soil. Whose streets? Our streets."

Those were really disgusting words we heard there. And it should have been so simple to simply say, "I condemn this. I don't want their support. These are very bad people."
Truly, the tape was horrific. So was Blitzer's work.

According to Blitzer, it should have been easy for Donald J. Trump to say he condemned that behavior. Blitzer also said that the videotape was "reminding" CNN viewers of what had transpired last Friday night.

We were puzzled by that statement. We'd watched lots of bloviathan on CNN since the events of last Friday night, and we didn't think we'd seen anything like that remarkable videotape.

The tape had come from HBO. Had CNN ever shown any comparable videotape of this ugly behavior? Had CNN even reported the fact that this ugly behavior occurred?

We fired up our Nexis and tried to check it out. First, we searched on the specific chant, "Jews will not replace us." Then, we employed a broader search term: "Jews AND replace us."

Our finding? CNN viewers, people like us, were being "reminded" of nothing. We found no sign that CNN had ever shown videotape of those remarkable chants. According to the gods of Nexis, CNN had barely reported the fact that such chanting had taken place.

Where the heck was CNN at the time of the march? Wherever they were, they had gathered no videotape of those remarkable chants.

In terms of simply reporting those chants, the record seems to be this:

In last Saturday afternoon's 1 PM hour, CNN anchor Boris Sanchez reported the fact, on one lone occasion, that the marchers had been chanting "Jews will not replace us." According to Nexis, that was it for Saturday.

The next day brought some eyewitness testimony. In Sunday's 11 AM hour, Brian Stelter interviewed UVa's Larry Sabato during CNN's Reliable Sources program. Rather dramatically, Sabato made the highlighted report:
STELTER (8/13/17): I want to go first to Charlottesville and Larry Sabato. He's the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

And, Larry, I know this is personal for you. You were on campus Friday night. Those scenes of those mostly men, mostly young men carrying torches, trying to express their views, their largely racist, anti-Semitic views. What was your experience Friday night at UVA?

SABATO: Well, Brian, I live on Jefferson's Lawn, in a pavilion that he designed and it's right next to the rotunda. And I watched this group of young people, mainly young people, as you said, in their upper teens, 20s, 30s march with their torches lit, and I was shocked, first at how many of them there were. There were hundreds. I hate to put an exact number on it, but it went on and on. It was longer than our graduation lines.

And then I—then they got closer and I heard what they were chanting. And they were chanting, "You will not replace us," and that was alternated with, "Jews will not replace us." Then they got to the front of the rotunda, and it didn't take them but a few minutes to this do what they really come to do, get a lot of media attention by attacking the relative handful of counter-protesters who were there.

This was all unplanned, by the way. We didn't know they were going to do it until late in the day Friday when some rumors started coming—

STELTER: Interesting. So, Saturday was planned, Saturday's rally, but not Friday night.

SABATO: Not Friday night. It came as a surprise to everybody. And I just can't—

As somebody who has been associated with the University of Virginia for 47 year, Brian, this was the most disturbing, nauseating thing I have ever witnessed there. And right there on the lawn, which the center of our university. I don't know long it's going the take us to get over this.
This was a rather dramatic report from a very well-known observer. According to Nexis, CNN never played tape of Sabato's eyewitness account. His dramatic testimony came to an end right there.

This chanting was mentioned one more time, on one lone occasion by Blitzer himself during Sunday's 5 PM hour. According to CNN's transcript, he misstated what had been said:
BLITZER (8/13/17): We also got a statement just in from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum here in Washington which says in part that the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum mourns the loss of life in Charlottesville, Virginia, strongly condemns the violence and neo-Nazi racists and anti-Semitic symbols and language used by some of the participants, including reported chants of quote "the Jews will not overtake us," close quote.
On Monday, that chanting was never mentioned on CNN at all. Nor was it mentioned on Tuesday, until Blitzer "reminded" us of what had occurred, thanks to HBO.

Briefly, let's be fair. The killing of Heather Heyer quickly became the centerpiece of cable's repetitive conduct. Beyond that, it may well be that CNN had no one on the scene last Friday night, since the main march was scheduled for Saturday.

That said, we were struck by the ugliness of that videotape—and by CNN's failure to perform. As we watched yesterday's % PM hour, that failure took two forms.

During yesterday's 5 PM hour, the pundits behaved like the legendary beheaded chickens. The stars took turns insulting Trump, not always in accurate ways. Basically, they kept repeating the words "neo-Nazi"and "Ku Klux Klan" as often as they could.

It was highly repetitive bloviation—and it wasn't always especially accurate. They did no reporting, offered little analysis. In the main, they simply kept excitedly reinforcing one another.

Beyond that, we were perhaps even more struck by how little reporting about that march we'd been exposed to. In the days since it had occurred, we'd heard endless bloviating by the talking heads of CNN and the other cables. But as we watched the videotape Blitzer had cadged from HBO, we were amazed by how poorly the cables had described and reported the basic ugliness of what occurred.

Bliter's 5 PM hour last night was a journalistic mess. We were struck by the way CNN has thrown reporting under the bus in favor of repeated screeching and hollering by its remarkably useless gaggle of talking heads.

Today, the first half hour of Morning Joe was a similar mess. Everyone was staggered by what Donald J. Trump had said. Few were able to describe what he said for more than ten seconds without making some obvious gongy misstatement.

Yesterday afternoon, Donald J. Trump was borderline deranged. Then too, that's what pretty much cable tends to be like. They were like this long before Trump. Trump, who may be mentally ill, has largely just built on their conduct.

Let's all thank God for HBO, which managed to do the journalism in Charlottesville last Friday night.

WEAKER APART: Professors and journalists, weaker together!

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16, 2017

Part 3—The Washington Post relents:
Inevitably, your DAILY HOWLER keeps cranking out those results.

We refer to the Washington Post's decision to change the headline we cited in yesterday's report. Below, you see the way the headline was, as compared to the way it is now:
The way it was:

White millennials are just as racist as their grandparents

The way it is today:

Trump’s lasting legacy is to embolden an entirely new generation of racists
Will that be Donald J. Trump's lasting legacy? As opposed, let us say, to the role he may yet play in producing the end of the world?

We don't know how to answer your question! But that eye-catching, original headline was ushered to the memory hole just as soon as your DAILY HOWLER noted how gongy it was.

Briefly, let's be fair. From the standpoint of the catching of eyes, that headline had it all!

It not only dropped an R-bomb, which is sure to get juices flowing. It also tossed a generational claim around!

A fiery R-bomb, linked to a G-bomb! Presumably, nothing grabs eyeballs so well!

Don't misunderstand! Imaginably, there would imaginably be a way to determine if, on average, tens of millions of people in one generation might be "just as racist" as the tens of millions of people who are, on average, their grandparents.

Imaginably, our professors and journalists could imaginably make such a finding. But that didn't happen in the column written by Catherine Rampell.

Sad! For starters, that exciting, eye-catching headline was an embellishment of what Rampell had actualy said in the column so bannered.

In our view, Rampell's actual claim was unwise and dumb on its own. But that headline ratcheted what she said, presumably yielding more clicks.

Here's what Rampell actually said. This came near the end of her column:
RAMPELL (8/15/17): More significantly, the presumption that millennials are uniformly more progressive than earlier generations is false.

Millennials overall are more racially tolerant than earlier generations—but that’s because young people today are less likely to be white. White millennials exhibit about as much racial prejudice, as measured by explicit bias, as white Gen Xers and boomers.
These white millennials today! Rampell nuancedly said that they "exhibit about as much racial prejudice, as measured by explicit bias, as white Gen Xers and boomers." The reader was left to imagine what "racial prejudice, as measured by explicit bias," might actually mean or be.

As written, Rampell's claim was rather murky. That said, the headline writer dropped all the qualifiers—and he or she turned "racial prejudice, as measured by explicit bias," into "racis[m]," the bomb that has launched a million clicks.

Yesterday, someone at the Washington Post decided to change that headline. For ourselves, we spent some time examining the data to which Rampell had semi-referred.

When we did, sad! Rampell's link took us tothis April 2015 report by the Post's Scott Clement. Just seven years out of Vanderbilt at the time, he was identified as "the polling manager at The Washington Post, specializing in public opinion about politics, election campaigns and public policy."

Appendix aside, Clement's actual piece had been fairly short. Especially in its appendix ("General Social Survey methodology and question wording"), it was at various times strikingly incoherent.

That said, Clement's piece from April 2015 still bears an eye-catching headline. Here's what that headline says:
Millennials are just about as racist as their parents
Seven years out of Vanderbilt, the Washington Post's polling director, not unlike Santa of old, knew who was naughty and who was nice in at least two generations.

"Surely not all millennials are racist," Clement magnanimously said near the start of his piece. He went on to offer evidence in support of the implied claim which was fairly accurately captured in the headline atop his report.

As has been clear for a good long time, R-bombs are very good for our liberal world's tribal soul. Presumably, they're also good for clicks at newspapers like the Post.

That said, alas! Again and again, R-bombs turn out to be good for something else. They're often help us see how weak one modern alliance is.

We refer to the often unholy alliance between These College Professors Today and These High-End Journalists. We might all be better off if these two groups were kept apart!

Due to events in Charlottesvile, we may terminate the report we planned for this week—at least, we may terminate it for now.

Those events from Virginia are much more pressing this week. That said, the Washington Post's bomb-laden headlines almost surely play a part in that larger story.

What made the Washington Post feel it could offer the eye-catching headline which topped that 2015 report? The eye-catching headline in which, like a god, some editor brandished a favorite bomb, spread across two generations?

In large part, the Post's polling director had been working from a particular question on "the General Social Survey conducted by NORC's 2010, 2012 and 2014 waves." He didn't bother explaining what that acronym meant, so we won't bother either.

For today, we'll only say this:

We think the use to which that question was put helps display the remarkable lack of skill which is often put on display by our professors and journalists, who often seem to be weaker together. Therein lies a ancillary tale:

We liberals! We tend to find it hard to believe that our professors are perhaps a bit weak in the head, especially when their deathless surveys lead to headlines which tickle our tribal scripts. Sadly, our willingness to bow to authority in this way makes us resemble, in ever so tiny a way. the long-derided ditto-headedness long declared Over There.

We've long ridiculed that trait when displayed by Those People. Over There, they've swallowed all manner of cant from Rush. We tend to get ours from our professors, especially as their work is channeled through columnists and "polling directors."

Had that youngish polling director really found a way to measure the "racism" of two generations? Yesterday, in an easy link, Rampell seemed to say that he had.

An exciting headline followed. Later, it was withdrawn.

We liberals have been highly skilled for many years at seeing how dumb The Others are. In truth, the pronouncements of Rush and Sean have routinely, though not always, been tremendously dumb.

But good God and holy smokes! The major pathetic unhelpful Big Dumb can also be found Over Here!

Today, the headline which sat atop Rampell's column is gone. Incomparably, your DAILY HOWLER keeps pounding out those results.

Elsewhere in today's Washington Post,
superb reporting describes the complaints of some of the nation's least discerning young men—young men who are found Over There.

We'll stick to that work for the rest of the week. But the dumbness is also quite thick Over Here, and the stories are not unrelated.

Charlottesville: There but for fortune, continued!

TUESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2017

Two ways of seeing a life:
In this morning's Washington Post, the portrait of a life continues.

The life is that of James Fields, the 20-year-old man who seems to have committed a lunatic murder this weekend.

He seems to have done a crazy thing. According to the Post's front-page report, it didn't come out of the blue:
HERNANDEZ (8/15/17): Years before a 20-year-old Ohio man allegedly rammed his car into a panicked crowd of activists in Charlottesville, it was his disabled mother who was terrified.

James Alex Fields Jr. was barely a teenager in 2010 when his mother—who uses a wheelchair—locked herself in a bathroom, called 911 and said her son had struck her head and put his hands over her mouth when she told him to stop playing a video game, according to police records. On another occasion, records show, he brandished a 12-inch knife. Once, he spit in her face.

“Mom is scared he is going to become violent here,” a dispatcher wrote in a log of the November 2011 call
in which Fields’s mother, Samantha Bloom, requested police help in getting her son to a hospital for assessment.

The portrait of a violent teen emerged as Fields was denied bail Monday during his first court appearance in connection with the Charlottesville attack that killed one and injured 19 others...
In 2010, Fields was 13. It sounds like something was already terribly, horribly wrong:
HERNANDEZ: The 911 records indicating Fields’s teenage outbursts, first reported by the website TMZ, cover police calls made while Fields and his mother lived in Florence, Ky., about 20 minutes southwest of Cincinnati. In the past year, they moved near Toledo. The records seem to indicate that he was arrested and held in juvenile detention after the November 2011 call.

In the 2010 call, Bloom reported that her son had struck her in the head and threatened to beat her after she told him to stop playing video games. Bloom said her son was taking medication to control his temper and told authorities that she was locked in the bathroom.

In October of the following year, Bloom called 911 to say that her son was “being very threatening toward her” and that she didn’t feel “in control of the situation,”
according to a dispatcher’s notes.

And in November 2011, police were asked to come to the house because Bloom was said to want her son to be assessed at a hospital, according to the records. He had spat in her face, said the caller, whose connection to the family is not clear in the records.

The previous night, Fields had stood behind his mother with a 12-inch knife, the caller reported.

“Scared mom to death not knowing if he was going to do something,” the dispatcher’s report continued.
In 2011, Field was 14. It sounds like something was terribly wrong at that point.

There seem to be at least two ways you can respond to reporting like this. Over here, we tend to start by saying, "There but for fortune." (For background, see yesterday's post.) Whatever explains such disturbed behavior at such a young age, we ourselves were never so afflicted.

Perhaps we got better help at home. Perhaps this young person had organic medical problems of a type we never had.

If a young person if your own family started behaving this way, you'd probably want to try to get him help. In the case of this young person, such efforts—it sounds like he was on medication—don't seem to have worked in the end.

We'll be honest! When we read about young people like this, we tend to take the "bleeding-heart liberal" approach. We feel sorry for his lost life. We tend to say, "There but for fortune."

We'll make Josh the bad guy again. Yesterday afternoon, in this post, he linked to a report about this early disturbed behavior.

To our ear, his headline—"Fits The Pattern"—seems to signal or suggest our own tribe's tribal greatness. The "pattern" would seem to be that of Those People. We don't sense the presence of a heart mourning a second lost life.

When we saw that post by Josh, we thought of the speech from On the Waterfront, the speech by the Eva Marie Saint character. As she speaks with the Brando character, she affirms the values of bleeding heart liberals. In our view, the reaction of the Brando character forms the heart of the film.

Before the week is done, we'll post the text of that brief speech. Sixty-three years later, we'll recommend the worldview it espouses.

One final point. Last night, speaking with Anderson Cooper, Susan Bro continued to express her moral greatness.

Her 32-year-old daughter, Heather Heyer, was the person who was killed. But she said she had two feeling about the young man who killed her:
BRO (8/14/17): I have two feelings about this young man.

One is, he was extremely young, in my opinion. He's not a child. He's an adult. He made his decisions, and I believe that he thought hate was going to be the answer, and that hate is going to fix things.

But he was wrong, and he will some day come to see that, I hope. And I'm sorry for the pain he will go through when he sees that. I'm sorry for the pain he's putting his mother through right now.

I'm also extremely sorry that he chose to kill my child and to injure a bunch of other people. He didn't have the right to do that. And if you watch the tapes, you can tell he had that exactly in mind.
In our view, Bro just keeps expressing remarkable moral greatness. In our view, we could use a bit more of that within our liberal and corporate liberal tents, where the unwise, self-impressed virtue signalling is running quite high this week.

WEAKER APART: These (white) millennials today!

TUESDAY, AUGUST 15, 2017

Part 2—Carol Leifer's joke:
In the past few days, we've found ourselves thinking about Carol Leifer's joke.

In our view, it wasn't one of her better jokes, but it did score with audiences. We're going back to the 1980s, when Carol—according to the leading authority on her life—was well on her way to her total of 25 Letterman spots.

Carol was a very nice person and a very successful comedian. We refer to her joke about throwing the ball for the dog—rather, about pretending to do so.

The protagonist of Carol's joke would pretend to throw the ball, then skillfully hide it. He or she would howl with laughter when the dog raced off, in complete confusion. We've been thinking about the punchline, which went something like this:

How far down the evolutionary scale do we have to go to find someone we can feel superior to?

We'll guess that Carol's wording was tighter. But we've been thinking of that joke—and of Tim Russert's interview.

The interview to which we refer took place in 1999. Four years later, writing for Slate, Jack Shafer said Russert got beaten:
SHAFER (7/2/03): One-time grand wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and permanent white-supremacist nut job David Duke beat Russert badly in March 1999, when he appeared on Meet the Press during his Louisiana campaign for a seat in the House of Representatives. Unable to stick it to Duke with his time-proven techniques, Russert sputtered, steamed, and almost boiled over.
In real time, other pundits didn't think that Russert had been beaten that day. In his selection of a guest, he'd gone all the way down the scale to Duke, who he proceeded to savage, pound, assail and slam for his abhorrent views.

When we think of that interview, we think of Leifer's joke. If we recall correctly, Russert was widely praised by other pundits for the way he'd defeated Duke. But then, Russert was always widely praised, no matter what he did.

(Not necessarily his fault! Based on our own few interactions with Russert, he too was a very nice person.)

It isn't hard to pretend to throw a ball and get your dog confused. Similarly, it isn't hard to find the shortcomings in the worldview of someone like Duke, former top dog of the Klan.

Within the American context, it's amazingly easy to spot the flaws in his histories of 1) the Ku Klux Klan and 2) the German Third Reich. It's so easy to spot these flaws that even our pundits can do it.

This has led to several days of active "virtue signalling" on the part of this hardy band. As they take turns assuring us that they disapprove of Klansmen and Nazis, they also take turns assailing Donald J. Trump for the fact that he maybe, possibly, pretty much just perhaps doesn't feel the same way.

Our many pundits have stood in line to engage in this "virtue signalling." We aren't real impressed by their noble displays.
Here's why:

How far down the scale do you have to go to get to Donald J. Trump? It isn't hard to find the tiny small imperceptible flaws within the conduct of his life. But then, something else isn't hard to find:

It isn't hard to find the disgrace in the way our reporters and pundits, and their corporate owners, agreed to go easy on Trump, and make money off Trump, pretty much every step of the way.

The people who signal their virtue today rolled over and died in real time. There was lots of money to make from interviewing Candidate Trump—and from failing to make him angry, guaranteeing that he would come back for many future guest spots.

For these reasons, the reporters, pundits and TV stars largely rolled over and died. Why had this peculiar fellow made himself king of the birthers starting in 2011? Despite their signals of virtue today, these hustlers agreed not to ask.

In this and a hundred other ways, they helped smooth Trump's way to the Oval.

(Other ways? When Comey launched his first attack in July 2016, he was praised for two nights on the Maddow Show, then never mentioned again. When Trump's main birther enabler, Greta Van Susteren, got hired at MSNBC, a certain major cable star told her fans that they should watch Greta's new show because of her journalist greatness. She even said that she and Greta were regular drinking pals! Meanwhile, Susan Rice is still under the bus from 2012, when Benghazi scripts were being created, in part thanks to the total silence from These Corporate Liberals Today. The people who played the game this way are signalling virtue today.)

Today, these people are signalling virtue. They've found a message so simple and pleasing that even they can repeat it.

That said, we think you should be very unhappy with all this easy group virtue. You don't have to be very high on the scale to see that Nazis and Klansmen are perhaps a bit less than ideal. When our "thought leaders" signal their virtue this way, we're all very low on the scale.

In this, our main report for the week, we'd planned to engage in a largely technical venture. Tomorrow, we'll start to follow through with some of what we'd planned, but events in Charlottesville have taken a bit of precedence.

That said, the virtue signaling has been general in our press corps this week. And uh-oh! Aside from the Nazis and the Klansmen, no one is taking it on the chin quite like these (white) millennials today.

These millennials today! Last week, an analysis piece for the Washington Post appeared beneath this eye-catching headline:
Think millennials are woke? A new poll suggests some are still sleeping on racism.
Just this once, we'll be honest. As we reviewed the results of the survey in question, we didn't see any way to determine whether some, many, all or even a few millennials are still sleeping on racism, whatever that might turn out to mean.

That headline grabbed eyeballs, but it didn't seem smart. Then this morning, Bam! Here, readers—have another:
White millennials are just as racist as their grandparents
That headline appears above a new column by Catherine Rampell in that same Washington Post. These millennials today! They got hammered again!

We can't say that today's headline captures the overall gist of Rampell's column. That said, she does cite a survey, late in her piece, which is alleged to say something like that. Tomorrow, we'll examine what "survey says."

For today, we'll only say this: someone at the Washington Post seems to like eye-catching headlines. Those headlines excite our tired blood, and they may seem to signal virtue.

Those headlines may suggest moral greatness. But again and again in the past few days, we've had the feeling that we are observing a great deal more signal than virtue.

Tomorrow, we'll take a look at the survey Rampell cites. Thursday, we'll plan to return to the starting point we defined in yesterday's award-winning post.

Tomorrow: The professors posed a question. Did their question make sense?