Farewell Ryan Open Thread: Requiem for A Heavyweight Fake


 
Nobody loves a quitter, but dayyum Paul Ryan has a lot of enemies! Of course, he’s taken credit for a budget bill that will explode the deficit while giving still more of our common wealth away to the least deserving plutocrats, while failing to rein in the worst impulses of the leaders of “his” party. And he’s abandoning ship just in time for an actual avowed white supremacist to take the lead in the GOP primary for his replacement, and guaranteeing that we’ll all get to watch at least two of the least appealing Repub congresscritters (Kevin McCarthy & Steve Scalise) fight like crazed weasels to take over his “throne”. Also, he’s the Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver. But the Media Village Idiots always seemed to love him — yet the concensus of public comment right now seems to be GOOD RIDDANCE, at best. Of course the NYTimes is still slobbering over his “bravery”, and there may be television pundits still standing up for their Pauly Blue Eyes…


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Late Night Ugliness Open Thread: Wingnut Wurlitzers & the Pushers’ Dilemma

As with all junkies, a taste of the good stuff, the pure uncut hatred, leaves the consumers of right-wing media hatefests hungry for more and uglier “bumps” from their local pusher. But in order to stay nominally “legit”, the distributors at the top of the pyramid need to avoid public catastrophes that might expose their various enterprises to undue public scrutiny. Sinclair Media, having recently overstepped badly with a nationwide attempt to shut down honest journalism, did *not* need one of its street-level dealers to lose his shit in public, but…

A conservative commentator at a Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned television station in St. Louis has resigned after a statement he made threatening to sexually assault David Hogg drew harsh criticism and sparked the beginnings of an advertiser boycott.

Jamie Allman, who hosts a nightly news show on KDNL, a Sinclair-owned ABC affiliate in St. Louis, as well as a morning FM radio show, wrote on Twitter that he was “hanging out getting ready,” to sexually assault David Hogg with “a hot poker.”

“Busy working. Preparing,” read the March 26 tweet, which is too vulgar to print here in full, but was published as a screen shot by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as the remark began to draw more scrutiny in recent days.

Advertisers, including Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, St. Louis health center Palm Health, and local real estate office The Gellman Team, announced they would stop advertising on Allman’s shows, spurred on by activists who took to social media to highlight the commentator’s remarks, as well as Democratic state lawmaker Stacey Newman and others…

It represented the potential of yet another public relations crisis for Sinclair, which has come under harsh criticism in recent weeks after a video of dozens of its anchors reading the same mandated script about “fake stories” went viral.

Sinclair, the Maryland-based media company, is the largest owner of local television stations in the country, with 173 stations in 81 broadcast markets. It has come under intense scrutiny, as it awaits federal approval for a takeover of another media company, for injecting what many feel is a conservative bias into local news coverage. Its proposed buyout of Tribune Media, for which it needs approval from the FCC and the Department of Justice, would bring its coverage into the homes of as many as 70 percent of American households…

Jamie Allman, gettin’ high on his own(ers’) supply. Even Breitbart’s gonna have trouble finding a warm place for this dude to seek refuge.



Russiagate Open Thread: Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III Finds Himself in A Tough Spot

On the one hand, Trump and his enablers are very angry that even Fox News is losing interest in HRC’s emails (now that the details of Trump kissing up to Putin are becoming much better click-bait). And Sessions doesn’t want Trump to fire him, when he still has so many dark-skinned people, poor people, and ‘sexually irregular’ people to abuse!

On the other hand, Robert Mueller just refuses to go away. Sessions is a bad man, but he’s not a stupid one, and he knows that his every word and action is being weighed and stored for future use. He doesn’t want to go to jail, or even to lose his profession… which looks to be the end result for anyone and everyone who gets too close to Donny Dollhands, Lord Smallgloves.

What’s an elderly, entitled, self-important bigot to do? Here, throw the rubes a Mormon!…

Attorney General Jeff Sessions rejected calls from Republican lawmakers for a second special counsel to look into potential misconduct by the Justice Department and the FBI in past investigations of Hillary Clinton, saying that the issues were already under scrutiny.

In a letter to three Republican committee chairmen, Sessions disclosed Thursday that he has assigned John Huber, a U.S. attorney based in Utah, to conduct an internal probe into complaints of FBI bias and wrongdoing.

“I am confident that Mr. Huber’s review will include a full, complete and objective evaluation of these matters in a manner that is consistent with the law and facts,” Sessions wrote to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, and House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy…

Gowdy and Goodlatte, in a joint statement released Thursday night, said that “while we continue to believe the appointment of a second special counsel is necessary, this is a step in the right direction.”

They added: “We expect that U.S. Attorney Huber, given his reputation, will conduct an independent and thorough investigation.”…

Goodlatte and Gowdy have both said they’re retiring when their current term ends — they probably have the same interest as Sessions: Dragging out this latest snipe hunt in the hope that Trump might implode, Mueller might indict, or the horse might talk something genuinely incriminating the Clinton campaign might turn up, after all this time and effort. Grassley’s immovably stupid, but he’s also old enough that the actuarial odds might turn against him at any moment.

Meanwhile, the Repubs will posture mightily in all their favorite media outlets!



Late Night Pavlov’s Dogs Open Thread: They’ll Believe What They WANNA Believe

Epistemic closure down at the blunt, encrusted end of the stick…

I actually posted an earlier version of this late last night, but quickly pulled it back, deciding the topic needed more thought. Today, Margaret Sullivan at the Washington Post published a piece well worth reading. Sullivan is a professional ombudsman (IIRC, the one who got fired when the NYTimes decided it no longer needed the pretense of objectivity). The sliming of Parkland students shows the spreading stain of media polarization”:

“David Hogg Is A High School Bully,” was the headline of a blog post Erickson wrote soon after the shooting, referring to one of the student survivors who has become a leader in pushing for gun-control legislation. He didn’t mean Hogg was looting the lockers of his schoolmates, but, as the sub-headline claimed, “He is using his status as victim to inappropriately and ridiculously attack people while going unchallenged.”

This week, Erickson made it worse: He tweeted to his mass following what turned out to be an utter falsehood, based on an article on the RedState website speculating that Hogg may not have even been at school the day of the shooting.

He urged his audience to believe it, writing this “isn’t a fake news Gateway Pundit story.”

When that report was thoroughly debunked and RedState recanted, Erickson deleted his original tweet and posted an “update.” He did not apologize.

“I spread misinformation from someone that was credible,” Erickson told me by phone, praising the reporting of RedState writer Sarah Rumpf.

“But I didn’t double down on it, and that’s the difference between someone responsible and someone who’s not responsible.”..

Erickson’s actions matter because, despite his often extreme views, he’s seen as relatively moderate — someone who gets to offer platitudes about “healing” in the New York Times and whose comments get picked up — not as if they were the ravings of an Alex Jones, but as if he were a legitimate conservative opinion maker.

What we’re seeing here is a spreading stain, in which conspiracy mongering from the likes of Infowars and, yes, Gateway Pundit is adopted by some elements of the formerly mainstream right and peddled to a receptive audience softened up for decades by Fox News.

That kind of thing can happen on the extreme left, too, but not as regularly and not as virulently. (And it’s a truism that corrections and “updates” everywhere fail to get the visibility of the original misinformation.)

There seems to be no floor of indecency that we agree to stay above.

As Charlie Warzel, who covers “information wars” for BuzzFeed News, put it recently: Extreme partisanship — pro-Trump media as well as parts of the far left — “is not about intellectual courage. It’s about winning.”…

For the record, the original Redstate poster did apologize, in a long tweet thread…

… And Erickson really *is* the problem here; she’s a poster on a notoriously RWNJ blog; he’s now a Semi-Very-Serious Media Figure, who’s made his name out of clambering over the bones of left-wing “victims”…
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Open Thread: MAGAts Greatest Hits Tour, Pittsburgh Edition

Fun for that one guy, and of course his most fervent supporters!

Will any of them show up to vote for Saccone on Tuesday? How many of them are eligible to do so? How many of them even know who Saccone is?

Well, at least the stupid putz deserved exactly what he got…

The rally, which had been rescheduled after the deadly Parkland, Fla., shooting last month, capped a frenzied stretch of fund-raising and campaigning on behalf of Mr. Saccone, who is locked in a tight race with the Democratic nominee, Conor Lamb.

“He’s an extraordinary person,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Saccone, dismissing Mr. Lamb as “Lamb the Sham.” “The people of Pittsburgh cannot be conned by this guy Lamb, because he’s not going to vote for us.”…

While the rally was not specifically advertised as one for Mr. Saccone, a loss by him would mark the third time that Mr. Trump had thrown his political might behind a candidate without success. With his low poll numbers, Republican leaders and the White House are trying to determine how to handle his desire to campaign in the midterms…


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NRAngst Open Thread: The Elephant in the House (And the Senate, Too)

Ask any of us who works in national security what to do about ISIS, and we’d have no problem pitching you ideas. Even if we lack expertise in the topic or don’t work directly on it, we’d still have opinions and thoughts, because we’ve been swimming in a sea of articles, op-eds, books, hearings, programs, and overall research and debate for years. But ask us about right-wing extremism, a violent ideology that’s killed more Americans than ISIS in the last decade, and most of us would pause — either because we were unaware of the problem or, worse, we were afraid to speak openly about it…

Over the last decade, individuals and groups fueled by this virulent ideology have committed 71 percent of the known politically or religiously inspired killings in our country — that is, 274 of the 387 Americans murdered by extremists. Reports now indicate it was part of the recent murder of 17 school children and teachers in Florida, just as it was part of mass shootings that have happened everywhere from California to Charleston. It has not just hit inside the US, but has struck many of our closest allies, both causing near-tragedies and horrible massacres. It is not a new threat; it has killed hundreds of Americans in past decades. But it is growing in power and influence, worrisomely being stoked by foreign nations like Russia that wish our nation harm. It is a clear, present, and proven danger to the United States. Yet we find it awkward to talk about.

There are many reasons why we have a hard time acknowledging the deadly threat from the cluster of groups that gather inside our country under the hateful flags of white nationalism, white supremacy, anti-government militia, and Neo-Nazism. One reason is to avoid appearing too partisan, a desire to be even-handed. There is irony in that we seek to avoid appearing biased, even when the threat espouses bias to the point of justifying hating and even killing their fellow Americans. So, after each episode of right-wing violence, we avoid talking about it, even to the point of reaching in the opposite direction. For instance, after these groups united to march on Charlottesville, culminating in the killing of a young woman, major U.S. papers ran more op-eds condemning the counter-protesters, who have yet to commit a mass killing, than those who committed the crime…

We also have to admit that we are quiet about right-wing extremist violence out of calculation. The cost-vs.-gain equations that shape our choices are simply different from other topics. Compare the professional benefits to the potential risks of publishing an article, creating a college course, writing a book or dissertation, organizing a conference, hosting a speech, creating a university or thinktank project, funding a foundation program, etc., on right-wing extremism. It is not just that there is no great profit in it. It is that every one of these endeavors would be far more difficult, and would likely create far more headaches for us and our bosses, than a similar project on pretty much any other topic in our field.

This isn’t to say there aren’t fantastic researchers on this topic; there are many, who have valuably shaped much of what we know about the issue. But we in the rest of the field must acknowledge that they’ve chosen a more professionally risky path than most of us, even though the very object of their study has killed more Americans over the last few years than essentially any other problem we are working on…



Thursday Morning Open Thread: The CPAC Clown Parade Is Back in DC


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… and this year, they have a drum major!

Remember when we could laugh at these creeps, grifters, bloviators, and post-college hopefuls trolling on Craigslists’ M4M?


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I want a better acronym than “Clowns Pandering to Aging Christofascists”. Any suggestions?

One extremely promising-for-parodists panel has already been cancelled…


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