Let it loose

Clive Crook has always struck me as an establishment wanker, but damn:

The other day I said I thought Paul Ryan’s convention speech was politics as usual–evasions and misdirections rather than outright lies. Once, I’d have said the same thing about Romney’s speech too. I’ve changed my mind. I’m convinced that Republicans have crossed a line and are trashing the reputation politicians previously had for honesty and plain speaking. People are angry about this and I see now they’re right to be. From here on it’s zero tolerance for dishonesty wherever I see it. And I promise to amp up the indignation.

So I’ve got just one thing to say about Glenn Kessler. Fire his ass.

Of course I could criticize Kessler without calling him the filthy liar that he is. You know, exercise a little “restraint”. On the one hand, on the other hand, all that crap. But leading scholars have taught us that in politics things aren’t complicated, and when somebody builds a career on a lie, we need to say so. I try to be fair, God knows I try. Like Ezra Klein (what would we do without that impartial authority?) I strive to do justice to both sides. But here’s the thing. At some point, you can be fair, or you can seem to be fair, but not both.

[….]

When a fact is wrong, it’s not some number of Pinocchios, it’s just wrong..

[….]

I know Kessler’s a pretty good pundit–I never denied it. So what if he digs into things and his commentaries are smart. And I know calling him a brazen liar and wishing him to be set upon by ravening dogs isn’t going to open any channels of communication between us. Good. That’s just how I want it. You can be “civil” and have your nice debates, and that’s all fine and dandy if you want to be a filthy traitor in the war of ideas. But when you engage with liars, you validate their lies–lies, lies, lies–and you’re no better than they are.

Update. Now I’m worried that this is satire and I’ve been trolled.

Update. Almost certainly parody, but…honestly I was fooled by how poorly done it is. It’s clearly true that if something is wrong, it’s not some number of Pinocchios, it’s just wrong. Why mix cogent criticism of “fact checking” in with a parody rant?

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102 replies
  1. 1
    Downpuppy says:

    You know how it is when something makes sense in your head, but you write it down & it doesn’t?

    You throw it away.

  2. 2
    scav says:

    wwwooo-ooh.

  3. 3

    Did you hack Clive’s account? C’mon, man! No lies! All joking aside, that is quite the spanking he gave ol’ Glenn.

  4. 4
    gogol's wife says:

    You know, I don’t have time to really figure this out, but when I read that yesterday my impression was that it was another Brooks-like satire-fail. I think he’s making fun of people who excoriate Kessler. But it’s so muddled that I’m not sure about that.

  5. 5
    Zifnab says:

    When a fact is wrong, it’s not some number of Pinocchios, it’s just wrong.

    Meh. The FactCheck “Truth-o-meter” and the WaPo Pinocchio System serve a couple of purposes. One is just entertainment. They’re funny little images that attract eyeballs. Haha – thinking about someone whose pants are literally on fire from lying is funny.

    The other is a tool for expressing (or trolling) concern. I don’t think anyone ever took a 3-P statement and a 4-P statement, held them up to the light, and announced “This guy that made the 3-P statement strikes me as comparatively truth worthy and reliable” :-p It’s just an indignation metric, that allows people to wave around a scrap of paper shouting “4 Pinocchios! Can you believe it?!” without really getting into the guts of the statements being made.

    All told, the problem is that Kessler and his ilk can’t even get their metrics right. They wave off bald-faced lies as partial truths and then try to explode every off-handed Al Gore statement into a conspiracy of deceit. If 4-P actually meant anything except “Gee, I hope this makes headlines and pleases my boss”, it might be at least somewhat valuable. But its not. Kessler knows the game and that’s why the system exists, he won’t get fired, and you’ll continue seeing Dems get 4-Ps for noting Ryan wants to end Medicare while we quietly ignore Romney’s next round of Breitbart-style video edited Obama slander.

  6. 6
    feebog says:

    I love the smell of Villagers napalming other Villagers in the morning…

  7. 7
    Suffern ACE says:

    I for one look forward to enjoying this new zero tolerance policy. I don’t believe it, but I look forward to it nonetheless. It’s like that 19-0 Packer season or the middle income housing that’s always promised as part of New York City redevelopment schemes.

  8. 8
    slag says:

    @gogol’s wife: What you said. It’s like looking into a mirror looking into a mirror looking into a mirror looking into a gaping black hole.

  9. 9
    gogol's wife says:

    I’m sorry, when I read that last paragraph again, I’m SURE this is just like what Brooks did the other day. He thinks he’s parodying unreasonable liberals. But he has no literary or rhetorical talent (like Brooks), so his actual message is not really getting through.

    Parody is hard.

  10. 10
    ShadeTail says:

    What gogol’s wife said. It’s pretty jumbled and poorly edited, so I can’t tell if we’re really supposed to take it seriously. Mr. Crook really might have been as angry as he claimed, which would explain the rambling and lack of editing. But he also could have been kidding.

  11. 11
    Steve says:

    Crook is definitely being sarcastic here in order to defend Glenn Kessler. Let’s pull another snippet:

    All you need to know is this. Kessler’s just another pundit. By calling himself The Fact-Checker he claims the superior authority derived from the special property of a fact–that it’s capable of being simply true or false. To do this is a Very Great Lie. I’m not exaggerating when I say it violates every canon of civilization. Angry? You bet I’m angry. I’m crying tears of rage right now. We don’t tolerate people who torture small children and we shouldn’t tolerate atrocities like this. I can’t think of a penalty too severe.

  12. 12
    Downpuppy says:

    @gogol’s wife: As best I can tell, Crook made some defense of Ryan, Kessler for once got sort of real, and Crook thinks he’s defending his whole world (whose shape is a matter of opinion) by citing a sane Kessler bit to defend pseudo-facts from the attacks on spurious facts.

    If that makes sense, shoot me.

  13. 13
    Scratchie says:

    I was going to say, have you considered the possibility that he’s attempting to write satire?

  14. 14
    mamayaga says:

    @feebog:

    I love the smell of Villagers napalming other Villagers in the morning…

    So the meme of this election is “Villagers in disarray?” I’ll take it.

  15. 15
    brent says:

    I guess he is going for some sort of satire? Its a bit odd because it sort of reads as serious in that it presents some of its arguments in a pretty straightforward way but the whole bit about Kessler, especially at the end, is obviously intended ironically.

    Its just not very well done. I don’t read that piece and come away with any strong sense of what he actually believes about all of this. I think we are supposed to take away something about the wrongheadedness of incivility but, like I said, not very well done. Its just a muddle.

  16. 16
    Punchy says:

    The whole idea that a lie can be judged on a graded scale is antithetical to the definition of “lie”.

    Relatedly, do all pundit Glenn’s feel the need for that extra “n” on their moniker?

  17. 17
    Catsy says:

    @gogol’s wife: That was my impression as well. It’s exactly the kind of come-to-Jesus moment that most of our failed pundit class should be having with regard to false balance and the fact that facts are, well… facts. But it has this undercurrent of breathless hyperbole that suggests he’s mocking the argument he’s ostensibly making.

    Which makes it that much more bizarre, because what he’s trying (and failing) to satirize is this:

    The point is, Kessler isn’t confining himself to checking facts, he’s contesting one interpretation of the facts with his own interpretation. Whatever the merits of the rival interpretations, that’s not fact-checking, it’s commentary. Kessler himself says, “Romney is asserting an extreme interpretation of what might happen…” See? Guilty. An interpretation is an opinion–not a fact.

    One hundred percent correct. And?

    When a fact is wrong, it’s not some number of Pinocchios, it’s just wrong.

    Yes, exactly. Oh wait, this is opposite day and you were trying to suggest that this isn’t actually so.

    Wanker.

    When you’re reduced to mocking the idea that facts are distinct from opinions and that the truth matters, you’ve completely surrendered any claim to credibility and implicitly acknowledged the weakness of your own argument.

  18. 18
    MattF says:

    @gogol’s wife: Yeah, until he says “When a fact is wrong, it’s not some number of Pinocchios, it’s just wrong.” I vote for actually pissed-off.

  19. 19
    hep kitty says:

    @Zifnab: This is just the zenith of assuming marketing and repetition trumps facts. In other words, brainwashing. We follow the constant, 24/7 stream of lies and eventually debunk them but it takes a lot of time to wade through that swamp (which is exactly the point), but the rest of them, their little brains just soak it up like a sponge, and, because they hear it 50 times a day, they just start to believe it.

  20. 20
    scav says:

    Hard to judge, as I spend to little time in that sandbox but he did seem to manage to pull off the semi-incoherent logic of real anger. But, any revolt against ‘fact-checkers’ at this point might also merely serve to re-enforce Rlyin’s defiance of same. Welcome to the Post-Factual world.

  21. 21
    ppcli says:

    It’s an attempt at satire. It’s just such a pathetic attempt that it’s hard to tell.

  22. 22
    Alex says:

    Yep, sorry, Doug. You’re definitely being trolled. What’s weird is how close he comes to sounding reasonable in parts.

  23. 23
    Face says:

    And I know calling him a brazen liar and wishing him to be set upon by ravening dogs isn’t going to open any channels of communication between us. Good. That’s just how I want it.

    Yup, satire.

  24. 24
    wrb says:

    wanking wanker’s still wanking

  25. 25
    Schlemizel says:

    Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of truth;
    That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
    With carrion men, groaning for burial.

    Sadly, I think instead it was Brooksian satire.

  26. 26
    SatanicPanic says:

    Sometimes you troll and sometimes you get trolled. That’s the game

  27. 27
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I think the Ezra Klein reference was the tell.

  28. 28
    slag says:

    @Alex: You’d think DougJ, of all people, would have a better detector for that sort of thing.

  29. 29
    Lee says:

    If this is satire is it really bad satire.

    I have not read any of his other work so I have no basis for comparison but this is so bad as satire that it cannot be satire.

    Does that make sense?

  30. 30
    xian says:

    @Steve: yeah, people need to adjust their snark-o-meters.

  31. 31
    RP says:

    Maybe it’s a satire of a satire. Very meta.

  32. 32
    Julia Grey says:

    Yeah, it’s trollery. I was fooled for a moment, too, but only because Crook is borderline incompetent at the game.

    He needed to put something like that “so what if he’s a good pundit” line and the “ravening dogs” bit together the first paragraph to raise the flag.

    Then it would have been more obvious that he was mocking people like us who dare to call for Kessler’s ouster because he is, in fact, a MENDACIOUS DICK.

  33. 33
    Bill Murray says:

    Brad Delong covered this yesterday

    Colleagues of Clive’s assure me that it is meant to be read as a parody of itself. They say that Clive wants to join Mickey Kaus in his perennial attacks on Ezra Klein: the reader is supposed to understand that Mickey is the good guy here, and that Klein is the bad guy with his statements that in today’s political climate you have to choose between seeming to be fair (that is, saying both Democrats and Republicans lie equally) and being fair.

    http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/.....u-ask.html

  34. 34
    wrb says:

    It is hard to recognize as satire because he’s assuming that people share his satisfaction with a post-truth world.

  35. 35
    patrick II says:

    This is clearly an attempt at trolling. I did not even make it through the first sentence — “my conversion to binary thinking” — without realizing that is what he is accusing others of doing.
    I’ve been trolled a few times by Dougj, so I guess the old saying that you can only con a con applies to trollers too.

  36. 36
    Corner Store Operator says:

    This is the satirical equivalent of a 50 year old man calling another a poopyhead

  37. 37
    rea says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: I think the Ezra Klein reference was the tell

    Also, such close paraphrases of posts by Ezra Klein and Brad DeLong would be plagiarism if they were not parody.

  38. 38
    Kane says:

    Straw man much? If Clive Crook believes that the deceit of the Romney/Ryan campaign is no different than previous campaigns, then he hasn’t been paying attention.

    Ultimately, it’s not Kessler who he is attempting to cover for, it is the Romney/Ryan campaign.

  39. 39
    japa21 says:

    All this really is is laying the foundation for ripping apart any little thing the Dems say that might be even a little bit from the straight and narrow, go the both sides do it and then say it doesn’t matter if RR tell big lies, because the Dems told some little ones.

  40. 40
    Hoodie says:

    Satire, bad satire. Luis Bunuel as interpreted by Michael Bay (or Jason Bay).

  41. 41
    Violet says:

    Relatedly, had the radio while I was in the car this morning. Diane Rehm show and she had some guy on talking about politics (didn’t catch his name). They were taking calls and the last caller expressed frustration that the media wasn’t calling a lie a lie. Politics guest made polite noises about how, yes, this was a problem, but of course we have fact checkers, so that’s a good thing. And there had never been a Golden Age of Journalism, and a big part of the problem was biased media with an agenda, like Fox and MSNBC and really Both Sides Do It.

    Stupid politics critic guy can’t even say the media isn’t doing their job. If they were, we wouldn’t need “fact checkers”. Checking facts is the JOB of the press. GAH.

  42. 42
    MattF says:

    Well, then, it’s self-refuting satire. I can see that.

  43. 43
    NCSteve says:

    Shorter Crook: “I want to be Micky Kaus when I grow up but for now I’ll settle for blowing him.”

  44. 44
    rumpole says:

    “Hey-politics is really complicated and you need to pay people like me to figure it out. “False” -pah. You lack vision.”

    What an asshole. It’s satire. You got played. It encapsulates why most people who can evaluate these arguments against, I don’t know, reality, or third party sources, are utterly fed up with people like this. (And it would make my day if Kessler “explored other opportunities”.).

  45. 45
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Colleagues of Clive’s assure me that it is meant to be read as a parody of itself. They say that Clive wants to join Mickey Kaus in his perennial attacks on Ezra Klein:

    So Crook also blows goats, just like Kaus?

    Whocouddanode?

  46. 46
    quannlace says:

    Now that all the reporters have ‘descended’ on Charlotte, it’s a hoot listening to their reports when there really isn’t anything to report on yet. Found out who’s serving the best hor d’eorves and various slogans on the different campaign pins.

  47. 47
    scav says:

    I don’t think it’s high caliber enough writing to do what the author intended if that is indeed what he intended (I’ll trust you lot on that). Poorly flung objects with incompetently designed sharp edges (and points) could go anywhere and harm anyone let alone boomerang. He should keep to the safety scissors and the paper dollies for a bit longer.

  48. 48
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Clive Crook has always struck me as an establishment wanker

    Your initial impression was obviously the correct one.

    Tumbrel for Mr. Crook waiting in the white zone!

  49. 49

    @gogol’s wife:
    What’s with these horrible parodies all of a sudden?

    Stress response? Sick of being taunted by (those whom they consider to be) liberals, and trying to taunt back?

    WTF?

  50. 50
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @quannlace:

    Found out who’s serving the best hor d’eorves

    “Their tiger shrimp is not as good as those at the Tea Party Welcoming Tent was”

    We certainly know what these pathetic excuses for “journalists” are experts on.

  51. 51
    Joel says:

    Nope. Still a wanker.

  52. 52
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Violet:

    Checking facts is the JOB of the press

    This is where you are mistaken.

    SELLING papers is the JOB of the press. Always has been.

  53. 53
    RareSanity says:

    Update. Almost certainly parody, but…honestly I was fooled by how poorly done it is. It’s clearly true that if something is wrong, it’s not some number of Pinocchios, it’s just wrong. Why mix cogent criticism of “fact checking” in with a parody rant?

    DougJ, there is no shame in temporarily falling victim to Poe’s Law.

  54. 54
    WaterGirl says:

    Okay, I guess now I have to quit laughing at the conservatives who don’t believe Colbert is making fun of them. Because I read this article yesterday and had no idea that it was parody.

  55. 55
    slag says:

    It’s clearly true that if something is wrong, it’s not some number of Pinocchios, it’s just wrong. Why mix cogent criticism of “fact checking” in with a parody rant?

    Ummm…because his head’s too far up his own ass for him to see that it is actually a cogent criticism and not just whiny liberals whining? I’m just guessing here.

  56. 56
    Suffern ACE says:

    @japa21: Yep. Pretty much. They need to get back on track. The Democrats are the big liars who practice crony corruption. While the Republicans shoot from the hip and shoot straight as well and just happen to do things that benefit those nice rich men who donate money to them. We’ve strayed too far from the script.

  57. 57
    Turgidson says:

    @Steve:

    I’m crying tears of rage right now. We don’t tolerate people who torture small children and we shouldn’t tolerate atrocities like this. I can’t think of a penalty too severe.

    Is this supposed to be funny? It says it all right there that Crook thinks our electoral process, in which we decide on the person who is to have access to nuclear codes and can torture entire nations (which tend to include small children) as acts of American foreign policy, OUGHT to be so banal as to allow one of the aspirants to that office to build his entire campaign on a web of easily-debunked lies and pay little to no price for the mendacity.

  58. 58
    Dennis SGMM says:

    OT:

    Listening to the radio this morning and the show had a pollster as a guest. The host asked him about California’s Prop. 30. He said that polling had remained steady with a solid majority (Over 50%) saying that they would vote for the measure. It remains to be seen if the opponents of the measure are going to do a blitz prior to the election.

    For non-CA residents, Prop. 30 is Jerry Brown’s ballot initiative to raise the state sales tax and to create three new state tax brackets aimed at raising more money from those making more than $200K a year. As I understand it, the proposition’s main goal is to alleviate the need for more deep and disastrous cuts to education.

  59. 59
    Violet says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Selling papers (or getting eyeballs to the TV or whatever) is the job of the management. Reporting is the job of the press.

  60. 60
    ppcli says:

    It’s clearly true that if something is wrong, it’s not some number of Pinocchios, it’s just wrong. Why mix cogent criticism of “fact checking” in with a parody rant?

    Because he doesn’t regard it as cogent criticism. He’s retreating to pretend “nuance”: the last refuge of the bullshitter. “Don’t you people realized that it’s never all black and white? It’s always a matter of degree, people. Thank heavens there are sophisticated people like me around who know that if two people disagree, you have to acknowledge that both sides have a part of the truth. That’s subtlety, people, that’s nuance. Ever heard of it?”

    And so we get people looking up whether or not pregnancy rates might not be infinitesimally lower in some categories for rape compared to consensual sexual intercourse, to decide if there might be something to what Akins said, even if it was 4 and 5/6 ths Pinocchios. “It’s not just a lie, people! Let’s have some nuance.”

  61. 61
    RSA says:

    @Steve: I think you’re right, but it’s so incompetently done:

    All you need to know is this. Kessler’s just another pundit. By calling himself The Fact-Checker he claims the superior authority derived from the special property of a fact—that it’s capable of being simply true or false. To do this is a Very Great Lie. I’m not exaggerating when I say it violates every canon of civilization. Angry? You bet I’m angry. I’m crying tears of rage right now. We don’t tolerate people who torture small children and we shouldn’t tolerate atrocities like this. I can’t think of a penalty too severe.

    I was taken in by the parody (except for my confusion about the “interpretation” paragraph) because I read the above as saying “Kessler is lying when he claims an authority he doesn’t really have.”

  62. 62
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I spotted it as parody as soon as I saw reputation politicians previously had for honesty and plain speaking, but even so, I can’t figure out what he’s trying to say about Glenn Kessler with that parody, that he’s a liberal hack or a victim of liberal meanies. One thing I do agree with, this infantlle crap about “pinnochios” and “pants on fire” should embarrass whoever came up with it.

    And from a parody that’s hard to detect to sincerity that should be parody, EvenTheLiberalMSNBC has Mort Zuckerman on, babbling about Obama’s hostility to the business community. That thing Obama said that one time three years ago about fat cats hurt Mort’s feelings, and was very divisive and Obama has used anger and jealousy to divide this country. We would be out of this slump if Obama hadn’t been very, very mean to Wall Street. Everyone Mort Zuckerman sees at the BIllionaires’ Club agrees. Hey Morty, why don’t you release your fucking tax returns and show us how much you’ve suffered under President Danton T Robespierre?

  63. 63

    @Villago Delenda Est: SELLING papers is the JOB of the press. Always has been.

    People love to say this, but I think it’s too glib. If all that matters is selling papers, then you just put busty swimsuit models on the cover of every edition. Why don’t they do that? (Besides The Sun I mean.) Because that’s not the product they’re trying to sell.

    They’re trying to sell “news,” whatever that is, and so it still matters whether they product a quality product.

    Edit: @Violet > me (because of the whole brevity thing)

  64. 64
    redshirt says:

    More proof we’re actually in the Alterna-Evil Universe: A conservative’s attempt at satire is more truthful than anything they normally write.

    Upside down world!

  65. 65
    Ash Can says:

    OK, I got played too. When jeffreyw posted a link to this a day or two ago, I breezed through it and simply assumed that Crook had just become good and fed up, and was finally blowing a gasket. And no, I don’t read him regularly, so I couldn’t tell you what was in or out of character for him. With the commenters here spelling out telltale passages, I can now see the satire angle. But so much of what he said in the first place was so bang-on, it never really occurred to me that he not only didn’t mean it, but pretty much meant the opposite. I guess I just don’t see any humor in saying that the sky is blue, water is wet, and down is down, not up.

  66. 66
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cris (without an H):

    Well, then it speaks to what the general public considers to be a “quality” product.

    Entertain me, don’t inform me. Informing me threatens my deeply held beliefs, by causing me to think, and my brain and I (think Homer Simpson) do not get along.

  67. 67
    gogol's wife says:

    @Ash Can:

    The other day some lovely young people forwarded me Brooks’s supposed takedown of Romney, squeeing in delight that Brooks had finally seen the light. I was very sorry to stick a pin in their pretty balloon. But they thanked me for it.

  68. 68
    Anton Sirius says:

    That’s hilarious. Crook tried to troll Ezra Klein’s audience and ended up trolling himself…

  69. 69
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @Anton Sirius:
    The Brits have a wonderful expression for that; “Own goal.”

  70. 70

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God:
    They BELIEVE in the almighty False Equivalence. They seriously, honestly think not only that both sides do it, but that smart, virtuous reporters are the ones who realize there cannot possibly be a lick of difference between Democrats and Republicans. The Cult of Savvy theory is right, and they are angry that no matter how often they tell us that facts are actually opinions, we think otherwise.

    It’s much like Dick Cheney, still stewing in resentment that the American People don’t understand that every single thing he did was right.

  71. 71
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Cris (without an H):

    They’re trying to sell “news,” whatever that is, and so it still matters whether they product a quality product.

    __
    To me it comes down to: who do you blame for our rotten state of affairs. If the “job” of the press is to produce news then obviously they are making a terrible mess of things. If their “job” is to move product, then the consumer is really to blame for demanding godawful shit in the way of product. Seems to me there is a whole lot of both going around right now. In proportion to the ease with which we can access information cheaply, quickly and easily, most Americans are unskilled and naive consumers of news. Our epistemology hasn’t caught up with our technology yet. Having said that, judging from the frequency with which I hear friends complaining about the news media, our producers of “news” seem to be ignoring a market for high quality news, either because they haven’t yet figured out how to turn it into a reliable revenue stream, or because they have other agendas at work besides just making money.
    __
    Regarding the idea that there never was a Golden Age of reliable, high-qualify fact-based journalism, I tend to agree. The problem with our press today is that they are mixing two different models, the rabidly partisan press we’ve had for most of our history, and the so-called objective approach. The political problem we have is that almost all of the rabidly partisan press is on one side of our political divide, rather than being evenly distributed. Having a dishonest and rabidly partisan left-wing equivalent to Fox News might not make us happier, but it would give us a sort of balance of error in partisan muckraking that the early 20th Cen Progressive Era enjoyed and we do not.

  72. 72
    Cuppa Cabana says:

    It’s clearly true that if something is wrong, it’s not some number of Pinocchios, it’s just wrong.

    That sentence is a little bit wrong. Really. Maybe not so wrong to give Pinocchio a nose-job, but enough to give Geppetto a woody.

    OBVIOUSLY there is wiggle room and nuance in 99% of the horseshit that comes out of politicians’gobs. That is a feature, not a bug, of political discourse.

  73. 73
    Ron Thompson says:

    Crook’s article is such an obvious parody that I’m amazed you didn’t see it. “Trashing the reputation politicians previously had for honesty and plain speaking”? “Leading scholars have taught us that in politics things aren’t complicated”?

    It’s not very well done, because as you correctly perceive, he’s an establishment wanker. But the intent was obvious.

  74. 74
    Ash Can says:

    @gogol’s wife: There was a bizarre over-the-topness to Brooks’s piece that made it more readily identifiable as satire to me — at least, when I first read the piece I did have a flicker of doubt in the back of my mind. That could very well be because I’ve seen more examples of Brooks’s writing and am therefore more familiar with his basic style. This time, I didn’t even get that flash of doubt. So, yeah, I was suckered, all right.

  75. 75
    SectarianSofa says:

    Hmm. Satire fail. ‘Fire his ass’ is not nearly over the top enough. If he had repeated the ‘ravening dogs’ bit a couple of more times, I could more easily see it as satire.

  76. 76
    Nemo_N says:

    People who do satire poorly are usually the same who have no grasp of the truth.

  77. 77
    Applejinx says:

    When your supposed ridiculous mockery is in important ways more decent, human, forgivable and understandable than the serious argument you normally profess, you’re doing something wrong and might want to look into that sometime.

  78. 78
    SectarianSofa says:

    @Steve:

    I must have skimmed that part. Yeah, that’s a little over the top. I can’t believe I was trolled by DougJ getting trolled.

  79. 79
    Soonergrunt says:

    I love the fact that as I’m reading a piece about the press finally deciding that doing their job is more important than sucking on Republican teat, the banner ad is for the new, enlarged and upgraded Fanstasyland at Walt Disney World.

  80. 80
    Citizen Alan says:

    The implications of the Crook piece truly being a weak attempt at satire are astonishing if you think about it. It is simultaneously both hilarious and terrifying to realize that the best way for a conservative/moderate to troll a liberal website is to pretend momentarily to be sensible. It’s like some perverse reimagining of Wonko the Sane from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — a madman going to absurd lengths to demonstrate his sanity through the performance of an elaborate and unfunny joke.

  81. 81
    RareSanity says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    I must have skimmed that part. Yeah, that’s a little over the top. I can’t believe I was trolled by DougJ getting trolled.

    Wow, that’s 3 levels deep of trolling. The only proper term for that would be…

    T R O L L C E P T I O N

    Somebody get DiCaprio on the phone, I think we’ve got an idea for a sequel.

  82. 82
    Andy says:

    I was taken in, too. I should have realized he was quoting DeLong: “Fire his ass” (about Niall Ferguson)

  83. 83
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    Pundits are losing it because the mythology they’ve pimped for decades is unraveling.

  84. 84
    rb says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: this infantlle crap about “pinnochios” and “pants on fire” should embarrass whoever came up with it.

    This, this, fucking THIS. The secondhand mortification is so strong I can’t stand to watch.

    “If you think I’m biased, you must have missed the time I gave Mitt Romney 3-legged-pants-on-fire and a pinnochio with cherry on top for claiming he is carbon-based.”

    How can a grown man write/say such things? It’d be no less embarrassing to be caught playing by yourself with actual my little ponies, including high-pitched whinnies and neighs.

    As for Crook, that was obviously (poorly executed) satire from the get-go (“amp up the indignation”? obvious supersmug pundit tell); it’s not possible to read it any other way.

  85. 85
    Aet says:

    He had me totally fooled. I kind of thought we had a ‘mad as hell not going to take it anymore’ kind of moment here, when someone realizes that money can’t buy principles, that they finally stand up for that one remaining shred of their journalistic soul that they still cling to when its dark and honest.

    I feel like quite the idiot now, boy howdy.

  86. 86
    John M. Burt says:

    How do you express sarcastic contempt for a person who calls out a lie as a lie? Kind of a challenge.

    Plus, there’s the extreme weakness in general of right-wing attempts at humor that don’t involve punching down at people weaker than themselves.

  87. 87
    rea says:

    @SectarianSofa: ‘fire his ass’ is not nearly over the top enough

    He’s quoting DeLong on Niall Ferguson:

    http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/.....guson.html

  88. 88
    Anna in PDX says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I saw the same sentence (about politicians previously having a reputation for honesty) and knew it was supposed to be funny, but honestly? A really stupid article. Attacking people for being upset about lies is just strange. Trying to be funny about it does not work. The idea that you can rate things on an honesty scale, rather than saying something’s objectively true or false, is indeed part of the problem. That the village equates Democratic political rhetoric with Republican actual lies, is so wrongheaded… and how is this guy contributing to the discourse?

    I really think a lot of the media’s job is to keep people from voting. A young person registering to vote for the first time and seeing how cynically the media reports this kind of stuff, like all the politics is just so much bullshit and the only question is who bullshits more stylishly, would definitely say, why should I bother? They are all the same, it does not matter. Chalk up one for the media. Even when they critique they are working for the right wing.

  89. 89
    Mike E says:

    @Violet: Heard that, too. Why I torture myself with that drivel… Rehm’s been the Village Queen lately, Doublin’ down like W, prolly sensing the upcoming torch/pitchfork brigade after this election turns out to not be as close as these twits have so arduously made it out to be.

  90. 90
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ash Can:

    Yeah, to me it didn’t sound all that much different than when other conservatives have finally seen the light and rejected the Republican Party line. You could almost attribute this to Charlie Crist or Lincoln Chafee, both of whom are speaking at the DNC this week, so I really didn’t get the “parody” part.

    Hint to future conservative parodists: if you’re going to satirize someone’s extreme position, please try to find an actual extreme position. “Politicians shouldn’t tell bald-faced, easily disproven lies” is not, in fact, an extreme position.

  91. 91
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @Mnemosyne: “Politicians shouldn’t tell bald-faced, easily disproven lies” is not, in fact, an extreme position.

    Indeed, and neither is “Journalists have a responsibility to pointing out politicians’ lies even if it’s far more often or always the Republicans lying.”

  92. 92

    Clive Crook’s head is so far up his ass he’s become a human klein bottle. He may have intended the piece to be a parody of itself, but he actually managed to communicate that the author is now merely a parody of himself, never to be taken seriously again.

  93. 93
    PopeRatzo says:

    What does it mean when a “parody” actually makes more real-life sense than any of the “serious” columns he’s written?

    Isn’t that the very soul of hackism?

  94. 94
    PopeRatzo says:

    What does it say about ol’ Clive that he believes “journalists should call politicians out on their lies” is parody?

  95. 95
    burnspbesq says:

    Brad DeLong is absolutely not kidding.

    But ever since I landed at National Airport wearing a necktie for the first time in 1993, they all have been substantive policy debates within the broad disorganized coalition that is the Democratic Party. Trying to have a substantive policy debate with any Republican office-holder or spear-carrier has been like trying to hold a geometry study group including a goat.

    http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/.....tment.html

  96. 96
    Lit3Bolt says:

    DougJ, I can tell you what David Brooks and Clive Crook are doing.

    They are fucking scared.

    They are scared shitless and horrified by how badly Romney polls and realize how deep they are in for it by defending these turd-pies.

    SO, the Brilliant Villager Defense of the Day is…TA DA!!! The Parody Article, with humor so shitty you can’t tell if they’re kidding or not.

    It’s their form of doubling down on High Broderism, the Establishment, and the Status Quo. “Hey, we’ll PRETEND to agree with EVERYTHING the liberals say, which almost writes out a decently cogent and thoughtful article by itself, then WHAM! We’ll say we’re just joking and prove their just like Republicans when they jump for the honey pot, and also boost our egos by saying BOTH liberals AND conservatives cite our op-eds. BOOO YAAAAHH!!!! CIVILITY AND MILD DISCOURSE BEFORE THE COMMERCIAL BREAK 4-EVA!!! THAT’S BRODER, GANGSTA STYLE!!”

    So DougJ…you got trolled. By the Establishment. They got nothing, so they’re just trolling now. They know they’re full of shit, and this article will go down the Rabbit Hole of Op-Ed, and history doesn’t matter because we’ll all be dead anyway, so THERE!! I WIN!!!

  97. 97
    JustRuss says:

    @Ron Thompson: Yeah, those two examples jumped out at me too, but the rest of the rant is spot-on. When 90 percent of your “parody” isn’t parody, we call that fail.

  98. 98
    Lit3Bolt says:

    @PopeRatzo:

    It means that he should die.

    Not kidding.

  99. 99
    Some Loser says:

    @PopeRatzo:

    That is why it tricked me. Other than a few funny comments thrown in the piece, it really did make sense. It gave me a sense of a man who actually believed in the False Equivalency realizing how much bullshit it was. It was a nice rant from someone who was just beginning to see reality.

    But nope. It was just a man making fun of the basic ideas of Journalism and integrity. Who the hell mocks shit like this? “Haha. Politicians are supposed to have some integrity? Haha. Journalists are supposed to actually report the news? Fuck you in the ass.”

    What the fuck!

  100. 100
    different-church-lady says:

    If he had addressed this to an empty chair instead of a real person it might have made some sense.

  101. 101
    Upper West says:

    @gogol’s wife: I’m still not sure what Brooks’ intent was with that column. It might be that he was parodying supposed over-the-top liberal attacks on Romney, but it just didn’t come off that way to me — the attacks were too on-target to be construed as satirizing Democratic critiques. Sometimes a parody morphs into reality.

    Clive Crook, though, is merely incompetent, resulting in nothing more than gobbledygook, which is a good word for Brooks’ column today — an unknowing Brooks’ self-parody: “Obama should strengthen unions and hire teachers, although I oppose that, but he should support Simpson-Bowles because that is the holy grail.”

  102. 102
    Ron Thompson says:

    New Rule of Thumb: If somebody who has a well-deserved reputation as a wanker writes something that seems to make sense and reflect reality, it’s probably an attempt at satire.

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