Supplemental: Baltimore’s full of superlative kids!


Anderson gets it right:
We’ve sometimes mentioned an important fact.

The city of Baltimore is full of superb young people. We see these superlative, admirable kids every day of the week.

We’re talking about kids of grade school age. We’re also talking about young people who are older, right up through the purposeful, impressive young people we see at Morgan State.

What kinds of kids are we talking about? In this unusual piece at the Atlantic, Melinda Anderson offers one example.

Anderson profiles Scott Thompson II, a 13-year old freshman at Baltimore City College, a deceptively-named academic high school of long standing and great tradition.

Thompson is only one person, of course. Beyond that, there are plenty of superb young people in Baltimore who couldn’t get admitted to City College. That doesn’t mean that those other kids aren’t equally superb in the ways we mean; Thompson’s strengths, as portrayed by Anderson, go beyond reading and writing.

As portrayed by Anderson, it sounds like Thompson is very lucky in the family he has, though his father is no longer living. (“[My family] won’t allow me to not be something. If I fall, I need to get right back up...”)

It also sounds like some superlative people helped Thompson at his middle school, Southwest Baltimore Charter, especially humanities teacher Valencia Gray.

All over the country, a lot of people have tried very hard, often with substantial success, to create better schools for city kids. This is true in many charter schools. It’s also true in many traditional public schools.

As Thompson describes his middle school, he is describing the fruit of such efforts, an important fact he may not be aware of. (There’s no reason why he should be.) At any rate, the important fact of this improvement brings us back to our constant complaint:

What kind of “press corps” refuses to report the rising achievement levels attained by Thompson and his peers nationwide? What kind of “press corps” keeps sliming the work of people like Gray in the dumbest possible ways, apparently in the constant attempt to keep themselves on message?

What kind of “liberal world” is willing to tolerate these unhelpful, propagandistic phenomena? With respect to Anderson’s young subject, why can’t the wider society be allowed to learn about, and take pride in, decent young people like this?

Can we talk? The caliber of our young people and our teachers far exceeds the caliber of our journalists and our other elites. The latest peculiar example:

Yesterday morning, we gaped at this piece in the Washington Post; it was written by Harold Levy, former chancellor of the New York City schools. Judging from the column he wrote, Levy has just discovered a troubling phenomenon—a phenomenon everyone else has been discussing for quite a few years now.

We’re sure that Levy’s a good, decent person. That said, it sounds like he has just arrived back on the planet after an unexcused absence of quite a few years. The fact that the Post would publish his piece seems to mean that the Washington Post is clueless too, despite its attempt to maintain a high profile in the area of public ed.

We’ll look at Levy’s piece tomorrow. For today, we’ll only say that Anderson has written the type of piece whose constant, unhelpful absence we’ve always gnashed our teeth and torn our luxuriant hair about.

The country is full of good, decent kids. Why can’t the public be told?

Previous examples of good, decent kids: Alumni of Baltimore City College include Elijah Cummings, our current congressman, and Ben Cardin, one of our two United States senators.

Also Alger Hiss, Class of ’21! There’s one in every crowd!



Part 1—Sadly, the best we can do:
The other tribe is full of very bad people. It isn’t clear that they’re human at all.

Tribal players have always known these truths, down through the annals of time. As our own political culture has become increasingly tribal, we liberals have increasingly learned to love those ancient truths too.

Last Friday, the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza acted on this prehistoric knowledge. Just for the record, he’s a “CNN contributor” too.

Lizza was present when one of The Others made a heinous remark about the shootings in Oregon. The excited scribe fumbled for his device—and no wonder!

According to Lizza, this is what he saw The Beast say about the latest killings:
CANDIDATE BUSH (10/2/15): And this president—the tendency when we have these tragedies that took place yesterday, it’s just heartbreaking to see these things, but this is the broader question of rule-making I think is an important point to make. That whenever you see a tragedy take place, the impulse in the political system, more often in the federal level, but also at the state level, is to “do something,” right?

And what we end up doing lots of times is we create rules on the 99.999 percent of human activity that had nothing to do with the tragedy that forced the conversation about doing something.

And we’re taking people’s rights away each time we do that and we’re not necessarily focusing on the real challenge.

So if we have people that are mentally ill, to the point where they go into the vortex and they don’t come out, and they’re hateful, and they’re in isolation, and they kill people, the impulse in Washington is take personal rights away from the rest of us.

And it won’t solve the problem of this tragedy that is just heartbreaking to see. Maybe we ought to be more connected in our communities. Maybe we ought to have greater awareness of the mental health challenges that exist all across this country. Maybe there’s a better way to deal with this than taking people’s human, you know, personal liberty away every time we kind of require people to do something.
Say what? Can that be what the candidate said? Where’s the statement we've all loved and enjoyed in the past few days?

Don’t get us wrong! For our money, that was a very soft, somewhat store-bought response to last week’s killings, a point we’ll explain below.

But where’s the part of the statement we liberals got to enjoy inside our prehistoric souls? Where’s the part where The Very Bad Chieftain of The Others cruelly waved the killings away, heartlessly saying this:

“Stuff happens.”

In the statement posted above, The Other keeps referring to the shootings as a “tragedy” which is “heartbreaking.” Where’s the part where he showed the world how empty and evil he is?

Prehistorics, please! If you sift through the evildoer’s subsequent statement, you’ll finally come to the two-word fragment you love. Sadly but inevitably, that subsequent fragment was the only thing Lizza chose to tweet that day, after he excitedly fumbled for his device.

Sadly, Lizza can’t claim to be dumb, since he basically isn’t. But so what! Here you see his full initial tweet, the tweet which brought so much joy to us in our own tribal world:
LIZZA (10/2/15): In Greenville, South Carolina, Jeb Bush, arguing against calls for gun control after major tragedy, says, “stuff happens.”
Heinous! All that talk about “heartbreaking tragedies” was now wiped away as we were pleasured by that!

Tribals, let's be fair! If you read the full transcript of what Candidate Bush later said in response to a follow-up question, you will see the longer subsequent statement from which Lizza pulled those two words. Stuff happens!

Lizza didn’t invent any words, as his colleagues sometimes have when they wanted to help us learn to loathe certain candidates. He didn’t conjure any words; Candidate Bush actually said the two words he excitedly tweeted.

Lizza invented no words! But for our money, the CNN star embarrassed himself when he offered that tweet—except embarrassment no longer exists when tribal feeling runs high within a society or culture.

Don’t get us wrong! We think Bush’s initial statement was “political,” less than obsessively honest—perhaps a bit store-bought. With respect to our endless mass shootings, everyone knows that there is at least one thing the federal government could and should do:

As everyone knows, the federal government could, and obviously should, eliminate the ludicrous “gun show loophole!” By very large majorities, voters in both major parties have agreed with that obvious proposition in the recent past.

That wouldn’t stop most mass shootings; presumably, it wouldn’t even stop many. But when a candidate can’t even bring himself to mention that obvious possibility, we’d have to say that he perhaps isn’t being obsessively honest.

Then again, neither was Lizza! Sadly, though, we liberals may have reached the point where this is the best we can do.

Where did that longer statement by Candidate Bush come from? The longer statement in which The Beast kept describing the killings as a “heartbreaking tragedy?”

Here’s where that statement came from:

After being criticized for perhaps over-simplifying matters a tad, Lizza managed to tweet that much of Bush’s initial, larger statement about the Oregon killings. Even at that, he didn’t bother transcribing the follow-up question to which The Beast was responding when he finally gave our tribe the two words we thoroughly loved.

We still haven’t seen a complete transcript of the discussion from which two glorious words were selected for tweeting. For a longer transcript of what The Beast said, we’ll offer this link to the Washington Post. Scroll all the way to the bottom.

For today, we’ll close with a few observations:

We think Lizza should be embarrassed by his initial tweet. We think he should be embarrassed by the silly follow-up question with which he then extended this wonderfully pleasing event—the wonderfully pleasing tribal use he found for the Oregon killings.

That said, we think we liberals should perhaps be embarrassed too by our familiar reactions. For all of us in Our Own Liberal Tribe, we’d be inclined to say this:

Our Own Stuff keeps happening too! It seems to happen more and more often. Given our love of loathing The Other, it may be the best we can do.

That said, our prehistoric love of loathing isn’t likely to help us attain our legitimate goals. Do we still have any such goals? Or are we now all about loathing?

Tomorrow: We've seen this movie before. What can this movie tell us?

Supplemental: Candidates Biden, Clinton, Gore/Bush!


The corps’ “authenticity” games:
Brendan Nyhan got his start in the old Spinsanity days.

Today, Nyhan is an assistant professor of government at Dartmouth. As a sign of total respect, we’ll omit his honorific in the remarks which follow.

In a recent post for the New York Times, Nyhan examines the concept of “authenticity” as it’s applied to White House candidates by the mainstream press corps. And good God, is that concept ever applied to candidates!

Today, we’re constantly told that Candidate Clinton isn’t “authentic,” but the highly subjective and nebulous concept has been around a long time.

The highly nebulous concept became journalistically de rigueur during Campaign 2000. In December 1999, USA Today’s Walter Shapiro even gave “authenticity” his Silver Wordy award for the year:
SHAPIRO (12/22/99): Comfortable with Himself and Authenticity: In a few short months, these have become everyone’s favorite buzzwords to describe the come-from-behind appeal of Bill Bradley and John McCain. Compared with the scripted George W. Bush and the synthetic Gore (see “Alpha Male”), these two different-drummer candidates seem spontaneous, original and, yes, comfortable with themselves.

The phrases are so cliché-ridden and inauthentic it’s difficult to figure out who first applied them to the dynamic duo of Bradley and McCain...
Just for the record, the first phrase was actually “comfortable in his own skin.” For the record, these laudatory descriptions were being applied to Candidate Bush in many quarters too.

(Earlier in the same column, Shapiro had awarded his “Bronze Wordy” for the year to the phrase “alpha male,” a term which was being used all the over the press to denigrate the inauthentic Candidate Gore.)

Concerning his Silver Wordy award, Shapiro was plainly right is several major respects. By the fall of 1999, those subjective assessments were everywhere as the mainstream press corps pretended to assess the four major candidates.

In our view, he was also right in his suggestion that the use of these subjective assessments related to a deep “inauthenticity” within the press corps itself. As they pretended to cover the race, the phoniest people on the face of the earth were telling us which candidates were “authentic!”

(General answer, widely expressed: Everyone but Gore!)

In his post for the New York Times, Nyhan picks up at this point. He notes that Candidate Clinton is the hopeful who’s currently being assailed for her lack of “authenticity.” He then suggests that pundits should stop assessing candidates by this highly subjective and nebulous metric.

He suggests that reporters can’t tell who is and isn’t “authentic.” He doesn’t note how phony it typically is when reporters pretend to make this assessment.

That said, we think Nyhan’s overall assessment falls a bit short of the mark. In the following passage, he makes a daring but worthwhile suggestion about non-Candidate Biden. He then offers a disappointing assessment of the authenticity narrative which prevailed in Campaign 2000:
NYHAN (10/1/15): [W]e shouldn’t assume that politicians who appear to be sincere are actually more genuine or revealing of their true selves. Like the stars you see telling scripted anecdotes on talk shows, they’re often just skilled at performing their public role. As the political scientist Richard Skinner has noted, the personas of popular presidents such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy were artificial constructions.

Even Joe Biden, the outgoing and expressive vice president who is widely seen as a more “authentic” alternative to Mrs. Clinton, has publicly cited his family’s genuine grieving over his son’s death as a reason not to enter the Democratic race while privately continuing to lay the groundwork for a possible run.

Recent examples illustrate how inconsistently and arbitrarily the labels of authenticity and inauthenticity are applied to candidates. Scott Walker changed a number of positions after entering the G.O.P. presidential race but generally wasn’t covered as a phony, while Mr. Romney was. Jeb Bush has stuck to some unpopular stances, but isn’t covered as a “maverick” like John McCain. The difference may be their performance skills, not their positions.

Similarly, George W. Bush and Al Gore were both born into powerful political families, but were perceived very differently. Mr. Bush successfully reinvented himself as a down-home Texas ranch owner despite being the son of a president with elite New England roots, while Mr. Gore was widely mocked as a phony who grew up amid wealth and power in Washington, especially when he invoked his childhood work on his family’s Tennessee farm. Again, one simple explanation for the disparate treatment they received is that Mr. Bush was a better political performer.
Can Brendan Nyhan say that? In that second paragraph, he almost seems to semi-suggest that non-Candidate Biden is perhaps and possibly being almost a tiny bit phony in his current posture.

We’ll return to that suggestion below. First, let’s consider this explanation for the fact that Candidate Gore was widely assailed as a phony while Candidate Bush was not:

“One simple explanation for the disparate treatment they received is that Mr. Bush was a better political performer.”

You’ll note that Nyhan doesn’t claim that this explanation is complete or correct. He merely says that this explanation would be “simple.”

We’ll move from simple to “simple-minded.” We’ll also say that explanation is almost surely incorrect.

Was Candidate Gore perceived as a phony by the mainstream press corps? We don’t know, but he was plainly portrayed that way—and Candidate Bush, the plain-spoken Texan, rather plainly was not.

Did this obvious “disparate treatment” result from Bush’s performance skills? Crackers, please! Here’s the most obvious reason for the disparate treatment:

This was a prevailing press corps script which ran all through Campaign 2000! The assertion that Gore was “inauthentic” was a mandated narrative throughout that long campaign. Pundits clung to that narrative as drowning rats cling to floating bodies.

Everything that happened in Campaign 2000 was hammered into that mandated framework. Consider the candidates’ shoes.

Sometimes, Candidate Gore wore regular shoes. Sometimes he wore boots.

The same was true of Candidate Bush. Sometimes, he wore regular shoes. Sometimes he wore boots.

Here’s the difference:

When Candidate Gore wore boots, he was brutally assailed as a phony. For a punishing background report, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/4/03.

The Nexis record clearly shows that Gore had worn boots all through his public career. Incomparably, we've detailed this fact in the past.

Gore had worn boots all through his career; Washington journalists knew that. But everyone from the disgraceful Cokie Roberts on down now took turns insisting that he had just started wearing boots in an attempt to reinvent himself as a down-home man of the people.

Some news orgs even fought about a related issue—how high was the candidate hemming his pants in order to showcase his boots? The Los Angeles Times said he was hemming his pants three inches too high. Time magazine said it was "at least six."

That's what happened when one of the candidates wore both shoes and boots. What happened when the other candidate did the same thing?

In the New York Times, Bruni happened! As the campaign began taking shape, this was the start of a lengthy, fawning profile of the glorious candidate:
BRUNI (9/14/99): When Gov. George W. Bush of Texas first hit the Presidential campaign trail in June, he wore monogrammed cowboy boots, the perfect accessory for his folksy affability and casual self-assurance.

But when he visited New Hampshire early last week, he was shod in a pair of conservative, shiny black loafers that seemed to reflect more than the pants cuffs above them. They suggested an impulse by Mr. Bush to put at least a bit of a damper on his brash irreverence, which has earned him affection but is a less certain invitation for respect.

As Mr. Bush presses forward with his almost preposterously charmed quest for the Republican Presidential nomination, he has plenty of confidence, evident in his easy swagger...
No one suggested that Candidate Bush was revealing himself as a phony through his shifting footwear. Moronic assessments of that type were reserved for Candidate Gore.

This disparate treatment was not a result of performance skill. This was the outcome of script.

In the past week, Gore made a public appearance in which he discussed climate and sustainability issues. Below, we’ll link you to a photograph where you can observe his footwear, sixteen years after Cokie and them savaged him as a big phony.

First, let’s relate the use of the nebulous concept “authenticity” to the scripting of the current White House campaign.

In that scripting, non-Candidate Biden is now the world’s most authentic known person, while Candidate Clinton’s a phony. This places Biden in the fully favored position the press corps bestowed on McCain and Bradley, their most favored saints, in the fall of 1999.

In the passage we’ve posted above, Nyhan almost seems to semi-suggest that non-Candidate Biden is perhaps and possibly being almost a tiny bit phony in his current posture. Full disclosure:

As Biden continues exploiting the death of his son, that unflattering assessment has frequently crossed our minds too!

That said, the authenticity of non-Candidate Biden is now deeply embedded in the press corps’ controlling script. As it was with the sainted Candidate McCain, so now with the sainted non-Candidate Biden—everything he says and does just proves how authentic he is.

What does Deep Narrative look like? It appears atop page A4 in this morning’s hard-copy Washington Post.

In our hard-copy Post, page A4 is designated as the CAMPAIGN 2016 page. Beneath that heading, we see a rather large photo of non-Candidate Biden, apparently deep in prayer.

(As we type, a different photo appears on-line.)

The large photo of Biden in prayer spreads across four columns. It tells us how completely sincere he is.

So does the following standard account, part of the latest lengthy report about the fact that there’s nothing to report:
KANE AND BALZ (10/3/15): At times, Biden sounds far from ready. But then there are moments like Thursday night, when Biden sprinkled his remarks to a Manhattan crowd with comments that sounded like someone with a keen interest in running.

He made a reference to the many miles he has traveled as vice president—now clocking in at more than Clinton did as secretary of state. He also drew an ideological contrast with Sanders, who has generated enthusiasm on the left with his populist economic agenda.

"I'm not Bernie Sanders," Biden said at the Concordia Summit. "He's a great guy, he really is. But I'm not a populist; I'm a realist."

When Biden talks like that, it feeds speculation that he is getting ready to join the race, and there is plenty of activity around him to suggest that he is overseeing a campaign in the making.

And yet, there is a parallel universe of greater significance, the single factor that no one can overcome, which is that Biden’s family is still grieving the loss of Biden’s son Beau, who died of brain cancer four months ago at age 46. The vice president has repeatedly said that no decision about running for president can be made until his family is ready to commit, even if it means that the moment passes.

"It's just not quite there yet, and it might not get there in time to make it feasible to run and succeed because there are certain windows that will close. If that's it, that's it. It's not like I can rush it," Biden said in an interview with America, a leading Jesuit news site, just before Pope Francis arrived in Washington last week.
(We never do this, but we'll do it today, so obvious is our conclusion. In that text, Biden is allowed to take a pot shot at Candidate Sanders. If Clinton did that, every pundit would know what to say: It's Just Like The Clintons to do that!)

By his own admission—made to the Jesuits, no less—Biden is fully authentic. He’s doing the fully selfless thing. It involves a universe of greater significance, the need of his family to grieve.

That may be an accurate portrait, of course. After all, Biden made this selfless admission just before meeting Pope Francis! It’s also possible that Biden has never intended to enter the race unless Candidate Clinton implodes behind the email mess, and that he keeps hiding behind the death of his son as he waits to see if that happens.

To his credit, Nyhan suggested some such possibility in the passage we posted; we’ve seen no one else break the embargo and do so. That said, he chose his words with so much care that his meaning is barely perceptible. Perhaps he’s been influenced by the wrong crowd down at the faculty club!

Has Biden been playing a game involving the death of his son? We don’t have any way of knowing, but the thought has often crossed our mind that he may be behaving badly.

Nyhan excepted, no such thought will ever appear anywhere in the press corps! They’re working from their latest official group script, and everyone is reciting.

In this year’s script, Biden is prayerful and authentic; Clinton is the phony. Sixteen years ago, the same “disparate treatment” was dumped on the head of Candidate Gore as the world’s biggest collection of phonies obsessively followed their scripts.

They did it because the corps had agreed on a mandated narrative, not because of Bush’s vast skills. They were able to do it because the cowering career liberal world sat back and let it happen, or even played an active part in the war.

One final note about the inauthentic Candidate Gore’s utterly phony choice of shoes, which showed Cokie and the rest of guild how inauthentic he was.

On Thursday, Gore was interviewed by James Fallows at the Washington Ideas Forum. A large color photograph can be seen here.

Go ahead! Look at the shoes!

Cokie and the rest of the children insisted that Candidate Gore was a phony. They could see how phony he was. Just look at those cowboy boots!

People are dead all over the world because of the endless ways their promulgated their script. Today, Cokie continues to chortle and simper on network TV as she tells us that Candidate Clinton is the big phony this time.

The liberal world accepted this conduct in Campaign 2000. Weak and gullible as we are, we are currently planning to lap it up again.

Cokie and Steve not-in-boots: In the fall of 1999, the nation’s pundits took turns assailing Candidate Gore for his insincere footwear selection.

The phoniest people on the planet were taking turns killing the pig. On October 15, Cokie and her husband, Steve Roberts, did so in their syndicated column, which went all over the nation:
ROBERTS AND ROBERTS (10/15/99): Look at Al Gore, after almost 23 years in public life, suddenly searching for his “authentic” self and then finding it in cowboy boots and open-necked shirts.

Is this the same Al Gore who grew up in a fancy hotel in Washington, went to Harvard and now lives in the vice president’s mansion, a short walk from the elite prep school he attended? Somehow, we doubt that cowboy boots and polo shirts were part of the dress code at St. Alban’s.
He shouldn’t be wearing those polo shirts either! They weren’t in his high school’s dress code!

People are dead all over the world because Cokie played this astonishing game—and because everyone else, from E. J. on down, politely stood by and watched. Can you believe that the person who wrote that column is still allowed on TV?

The same faux game is underway now. We’re going to buy it again.

Supplemental: Worms and the next GOP debate!


Percentages can be hard:
Wednesday night, we got the word while watching the Maddow Show.

The next GOP debate, on October 28, will be run by CNBC. According to Rachel Maddow, here’s what Republican hopefuls will have to do to qualify for the main event:
MADDOW (9/30/15): They’re only looking at polls from NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, CNN and Bloomberg...Anybody who averages 2 1/2 percent or more in all of the polls taken during that time period will get into the real debate. They'll get into the real prime time event which will start at 8 that night.
If you average 2 1/2 percent, you’re in the main debate! At least, that’s what we thought, until we read the next day’s New York Times:
RAPPEPORT (10/1/15): To make the cut in the later debate, candidates will need to be polling at 3 percent in an average of national polls conducted by NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN and Bloomberg that were released from Sept. 17 to Oct. 21.
The Times said three percent!

It was like a version of the old joke known as Goldberg’s Law: “The man with one watch always knows the time. The man with two watches is never quite sure.”

Who to believe? Later, checking the Hardball transcript, we were bollixed by this formulation:
MATTHEWS (9/30/15): Well, CNBC has released criteria now for their Republican presidential debate—Republican debate—on October 28th, at the end of this month. To make the primetime debate, candidates must have a polling average of 2.5 percent in certain polls—by the way, that rounds up to 3—conducted between September 17th and October 21st.
That seemed to make no obvious sense. Did we mention that this was Hardball?

Three news orgs, three different answers! The analysts said we had to go right to the horse’s mouth! And so, we clicked to CNBC.

Please ignore “criteria is.” Aside from that, this is what the press release said at the financial channel:
CNBC PRESS RELEASE (9/30/15): Candidate criteria for the October 28, 2015 CNBC Republican Debate is as follows:

National polls will be used to determine a candidate's eligibility and placement on the stage. To be eligible to appear in either segment, a candidate must have at least 1% in any one of the methodologically sound and recognized national polls conducted by: NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN and Bloomberg, released between September 17, 2015 and October 21, 2015.

To appear in the 8pm debate a candidate must have an average of 3% among these polls. The polls will be averaged and will be rounded up to 3% for any candidate with a standing of 2.5% or higher. Candidates who average below that will be invited to the 6pm debate.

No really—that’s what it said:

“A candidate must have an average of 3% among these polls. The polls will be averaged and will be rounded up to 3% for any candidate with a standing of 2.5% or higher.”

Have we mentioned our new leading theory? That worms have been quietly eating the brains of our “journalistic” elite?

Final points:

This may be the only post we’ve ever done where Maddow turned out to be right on the facts. Also this:

At three percent, we’d have to say that the New York Times got it wrong. But then, what else is new? In the world of elites, we mean.



Part 5—We tell the truth every nine years:
On September 14, 2015, Matt Yglesias told a remarkable story:

“The formative experience of my political life was the 2000 presidential campaign, in which the media mercilessly persecuted Al Gore over a series of trivial exaggerations and now-forgotten pseudo-scandals...”

As best we can tell, Yglesias had waited fifteen years to describe this formative experience. Still, his brief account of the coverage of Candidate Gore was perfectly accurate—and it alleged astounding journalistic misconduct.

Nine years earlier, Ezra Klein had told the same remarkable story.

Yglesias told the story at the start of a lengthy report for Vox. In April 2006, Klein had told the same remarkable story at the start of a cover piece for The American Prospect:

“The address was the keynote for the We Media conference...In attendance were Tom Curley, president of the AP, Andrew Heyward, president of CBS News, and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, all leading lights of a media establishment that, five years earlier, had deputized itself judge, jury, and executioner for Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign, spinning each day's events to portray the stolid, capable vice president as a wild exaggerator, ideological chameleon, and total, unforgivable bore.”

More than nine years have passed since Klein made those remarkable charges. As best we can tell, he has never told that remarkable story again.

In their fleeting but aggressive accounts, Klein and Yglesias have accused the elite mainstream press corps of astounding misconduct. According to these twin accounts, the press corps “persecuted” and “executed” Candidate Gore in the fateful, history-changing 2000 White House campaign.

That is an astounding charge—and the charge is perfectly accurate. But how strange! As far as we know, Klein has never revisited this astonishing claim. As far as we know, Yglesias waited fifteen years to describe those events, which were formative.

Nine years passed between the publication of those reports. Meanwhile, can you name a single career journalist who fleshed out those astonishing, accurate charges in the time which passed?

Offhand, we cannot. That too is an astonishing fact.

Citizens! When you look at those brief accounts, you’re looking at liberal samizdat! On rare occasions, we briefly whisper a muffled account of astoundingly important events. But because our story is forbidden, years will pass before the next scribbled note is passed, then quickly erased and discarded.

Klein and Yglesias told the same story. Last weekend, on CNN, a well-known fellow told a more encompassing version of their forbidden tale.

We refer to William J. Clinton, a well-known former president.

Klein and Yglesias described astounding journalistic misconduct in one campaign, Campaign 2000. In the main, Clinton was discussing the press corps’ scandal-driven coverage of his wife, the current Candidate Clinton.

But citizens! Even as his host pretended not to hear, Clinton expanded on what the youngsters had said. He said this type of journalistic misconduct happens every time:
CLINTON (9/27/15): This is just something that has been a regular feature of our presidential campaigns—except 2008, for unique reasons. Ever since Watergate, something like this happens...

The other party doesn’t want to run against her and if they do, they'd like her as mangled up as possible. And they know that if they leak things, say things, that that is catnip to the people who get bored talking about what’s your position on student loan relief or dealing with the shortage of mental health care or what to do with the epidemic of prescription drugs and heroin out in America, even in small towns of rural America. Or how are you going to get jobs into coal country, given how much they’ve lost in the last twenty years?

So that just happens. It always happens. We’re seeing history repeat itself. And I actually am amazed that she’s borne up under it as well as she has. But I have never seen so much expended on so little.
For ourselves, we’d say we’ve seen more expended on less. That said, Clinton was making a wider claim about the work of the mainstream press. He went to amplify a pair of claims about their typical campaign work. They get bored discussing matters of substance, he said. And he suggested that they try to drag front-runners down because they “want a race.”

Whatever! If Clinton’s general accusation is true, the press corps’ conduct toward Candidate Gore would simply be a leading example of their repeated misconduct. It always happens, he said, except in 2008.

Could President Clinton defend that claim? We’ll never know! Fareed Zakaria pretended that he hadn’t heard Clinton’s allegations concerning the press corps. Elsewhere, leading “journalists” rushed to reject his claim out of hand.

(“Preposterous,” Joe Scarborough said to his paper-trained amen chorus.
In the Sunday New York Times, Amy Chozick said that Clinton had “conjured up” his claim—and yes, she made that dispassionate statement as part of a “news report!”)

Can President Clinton defend his claim? We’d love to see him asked to speak in detail! But two things are clear at this point:

In various ways, the current coverage of Candidate Clinton echoes the coverage of Candidate Gore. In our view, the coverage of Gore was crazier than the current coverage. But the echoes are numerous, and the current coverage feeds on the past.

Second point: The liberal world’s silence about the coverage of Gore makes it hard for people to see the problems with the scandal-obsessed coverage of Candidate Clinton. Over the past many years, our liberal stars have opted for silence and samizdat every step of the way. For that reason, liberal and centrist voters are ripe for another kill.

“I have never seen so much expended on so little?” We’re inclined to disagree with President Clinton on that point.

That said, there’s a great deal to criticize in the obsessive coverage of Hillary Clinton by newspapers like the Washington Post and the New York Times. But because of long-standing liberal silence, voters have never heard the back-story to this year’s events.

When he spoke on CNN, Clinton omitted one part of that back-story. It’s obvious why the omission occurred, but it makes clear vision hard.

What point did President Clinton omit? He failed to note that we’re caught in a long-standing war between the mainstream “press corps” and the demon Clintons. The “persecution” of Candidate Gore during Campaign 2000 was part of this larger, long war.

Major journalists will sometimes acknowledge the existence of this long-standing discord. But career liberal journalists have relentlessly agreed to play nice about this important matter. Nowhere has their silence more striking than in their long-standing refusal to discuss the press corps’ “persecution” and “execution” of Candidate Gore.

Why have our heroes stayed silent? Liberals, please! In the case of Campaign 2000, the war against Gore was principally waged by these news orgs: The Washington Post; the New York Times; NBC News and its cable arms.

This was a war of the mainstream press; Fox News played almost no role. That said, liberal careers run through major orgs! If the young Ezra Klein had told the full truth about the “execution” of Gore, he couldn’t have had his years at the Post—years which helped fuel his career. Similarly, if David Corn and Joan Walsh had ever told the truth about the “persecution” of Gore, they couldn’t be Chris Matthews’ caddies today, the high-profile positions they hold.

Amazing silence has obtained over the past sixteen years. (The undisguised war against Candidate Gore began in March 1999.) That silence constitutes an act of gross journalistic misconduct, just like the original reams of events our stars have agreed not to notice.

Our silence and our samizdat are setting us up for another kill. In closing, a brief personal note:

Without any doubt, Yglesias is right in what he wrote. From March 1999 through November 2000, the mainstream press corps did in fact “mercilessly persecute Al Gore over a series of [non-existent] exaggerations and [conjured] pseudo-scandals.”

As he continued, Yglesias described the same distorted journalistic values Bill Clinton described last weekend. According to Yglesias, “political reporters” in Campaign 2000 found important matters of substance “much less interesting than snarking about Al Gore’s wooden speaking style and complaining that his ‘demeanor’ was disrespectful during a debate exchange in which Bush repeatedly attacked Gore with bogus math.”

That’s true—and that’s the same disdain for substance Bill Clinton cited last weekend.

Yglesias also said this:

“Harping on the fact that Bush was lying about the consequences of his tax plan was shrill and partisan. Commenting on style cues was okay, though, so the press could lean into various critiques of Gore’s outfit.”

Did Candidate Bush lie about the consequences of his tax plan? Personally, we wouldn’t be inclined to say that. But from September 1999 through February 2000, the press corps harped on virtually every aspect of Candidate Gore’s deeply troubling wardrobe—his boots, his suits, his polo shirts, the number of buttons on his suits (three).

The height at which he was hemming his pants. The color of one of his suits (brown, a troubling earth tone).

They considered the psychiatric meaning of his various wardrobe choices. Was he sending sexual signals to female voters with the three buttons on his suits?

Crazily, Matthews wanted to know that.

Obsessively and crazily, Brian Williams had the same reaction, night after night, concerning Gore’s troubling polo shirts, which he crazily said were being worn to fool female voters. In the smuttiest part of this brain-damaged nonsense, our journalists aimed an ugly month of misogynistic slanders at Naomi Wolf, who, they agreed to pretend, had convinced Gore to wear those troubling earth tones.

Liberals agreed not to notice this crazy, disgraceful behavior. People are dead all over the world because Matthews and Williams and Margaret Carlson acted this way.

Vastly understating what happened, Yglesias correctly said that the press corps “leaned into various critiques of Gore’s outfit.” Curious, we decided to click the link he provided—and oh our God! We never thought we’d see such a thing! It was a link to our abandoned companion site, the invaluable How He Got There!

We quit on that invaluable history after writing and posting six lengthy chapters. Simply put, we couldn’t take the silence any more. Imagine spending so many years compiling so much invaluable information and seeing every word ignored as part of a silence campaign.

It hit us after we posted Chapter 6, which is truly invaluable work. People who do eight posts a day couldn’t spare a single link to announce work of that caliber? We’d already started on Chapter 7, but at some point, the sheer absurdity of the situation told us we had to stop.

(We’ve tried to return to Chapter 7. But we know that would be absurd.)

What did the mainstream press corps do in Campaign 2000? This:

In an astonishing, endless group effort, they invented the story that Candidate Gore wasn’t “trustworthy and honest.” They invented endless scenarios designed to show the world that he wasn’t “authentic.”

These same stories are now being pushed about Candidate Clinton. They slide down especially easily because they echo so much work which was successfully done in the past—disgraceful “journalistic” work which went down without a peep of protest from the Corns and the Walshes.

Today, some liberals prefer Candidate Sanders, a choice which makes perfect sense. Back then, some liberals preferred Candidate Bradley, which was also perfectly sensible—until the Bradley campaign went to work pushing tired old right-wing lies about Candidate Gore.

(Candidate Gore was now said to be the man who gave the world Willie Horton! Last week, we were told that Candidate Clinton is the woman who started the Obama Muslim rumors. On Morning Joe, they played pointless videotape of her, no tape of Birther King Trump at all. The world has seen this movie before, but our silence has left it undiscussed.)

People! Whatever one’s ultimate preference may be, it’s dumb for liberals to tolerate trashing of Candidates Clinton/Gore in the hope that it will help Candidates Sanders/Bradley. Example: On page one of today’s Washington Post, the sliming of Candidate Sanders has begun.

It’s a remarkable news report. But decades of liberal silence concerning the Post will help its hook slide down.

Every nine years, one of the kids pens a brief samizdat about what happened in Campaign 2000. Nine years from now, some other youngster will briefly note what the press corps did in the twenty disgraceful months which changed the history of the world.

After that, liberal silence will prevail once again. People! It’s the Post and the Times! It’s cable news!

Dearest darlings, please use your heads! It’s good jobs at good wages!