Montana Democrats Have Bigger Problems Than Media Whores

by lizard

Was John Walsh the victim of a mean and unfair media attack, the kind of attack that is never directed in the same proportion against Republicans? Don Pogreba’s Few Last Thoughts on Walsh’s political implosion has a comment thread with an interesting smattering of wailing against the media. For the best diatribe, here’s Pete Talbot:

I wasn’t Walsh’s biggest fan — voted for Adams in the primary — but to dump Walsh because he didn’t attribute parts of a paper he wrote for the War College over seven years ago?

This makes me sick.

I used to have respect for journalists and their editors. Now they’re whores for headlines, from the NY Times down to our local rags. There’s Daines: sue the President, fuck the poor and immigrant kids, and a woman’s choice, and health care; deny climate change and, oh yeah, Earth is less than 10,000 years old. Where’s the journalistic outrage on that?

Journalists used to do their own research. I know times are tough in the industry but to rely on opposition research to do your work for you and then make it a big story? Pathetic. Of course, ramp up the pablum on the editorial pages, too: call for Walsh’s resignation. Bold move.

And Montana Democrats are screwed. No big name is going to step up to the plate for the Senate race and the down party ticket is going to suffer; nationally, statewide and locally. It’s a mess.

Nationally, get ready for a Republican controlled Congress. To plagiarize TPM: … the Paul Ryan budget with its huge cuts to safety-net programs and fundamental changes to Medicare … a bevy of limits on access to abortion and birth control, harsh and punitive measures aimed at immigrants and lower-income people who get public assistance, and repeated attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety (and) a whole lot of ideological grandstanding, including, most recently, the attempt to sue the President.

Same statewide and in your own hometown.

On that note, I’m having a shot and going to bed.

Don Pogreba, of course, agrees (and of course, as always, he’s astonished):

I agree. I’ve always been a pain in the ass critic of the media in Montana, but this has been astonishing. The worst I can remember.

I don’t know that I’ve been angrier, or more worried about the direction we’re headed, in a long time.

I have learned from reading Democrat blogs that it’s just fine to be critical of the media when it’s hitting your candidate or issue.

But sometimes it’s not okay to blame the media, like when Kirsten Pabst railed against the Missoulian and Gwen Florio for stoking the rape scandal. To be fair, scapegoating the media in that case did come off as tasteless, considering the source.

And sometimes, if your both critical of the US media (like Talbot’s now despised New York Times) and open to the perspective of enemy state media, then not only are you a crazy conspiracy theorist, but you’re also an anti-American.

But media smear campaigns are ok if they are against crazy libertarian presidential candidates, like Ron Paul, so don’t expect any wailing about the unfair treatment of Ron Paul from those now aghast at the media in regards to Walsh.

In Ron Paul’s case, it was more conservatives jumping on the racist newsletter media attack because Ron Paul was gaining in the polls, thus a threat (that sounds kinda familiar).

I bring up Ron Paul because, as Democrats are licking their wounds and taking shots of booze, a recent piece in that dastardly New York Times is wondering has the libertarian moment arrived ?

Before getting to that piece, I pointed out to Pete Talbot in the comment thread of my last post that Democrats are losing ground with the youth vote to libertarians, to which Pete responded with this:

So how do you woo them back? With Libertarian policies of Social Darwinism; including no government, no regulation — basically anarcho-capitalism?

I think the first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging there is, in fact, a problem. A problem with Democrats. From the NYT piece:

Libertarians, who long have relished their role as acerbic sideline critics of American political theater, now find themselves and their movement thrust into the middle of it. For decades their ideas have had serious backing financially (most prominently by the Koch brothers, one of whom, David H., ran as vice president on the 1980 Libertarian Party ticket), intellectually (by way of policy shops like the Cato Institute and C.E.I.) and in the media (through platforms like Reason and, as of last year, “The Independents”). But today, for perhaps the first time, the libertarian movement appears to have genuine political momentum on its side. An estimated 54 percent of Americans now favor extending marriage rights to gay couples. Decriminalizing marijuana has become a mainstream position, while the drive to reduce sentences for minor drug offenders has led to the wondrous spectacle of Rick Perry — the governor of Texas, where more inmates are executed than in any other state — telling a Washington audience: “You want to talk about real conservative governance? Shut prisons down. Save that money.” The appetite for foreign intervention is at low ebb, with calls by Republicans to rein in federal profligacy now increasingly extending to the once-sacrosanct military budget. And deep concern over government surveillance looms as one of the few bipartisan sentiments in Washington, which is somewhat unanticipated given that the surveiller in chief, the former constitutional-law professor Barack Obama, had been described in a 2008 Times Op-Ed by the legal commentator Jeffrey Rosen as potentially “our first president who is a civil libertarian.”

Meanwhile, the age group most responsible for delivering Obama his two terms may well become a political wild card over time, in large part because of its libertarian leanings. Raised on the ad hoc communalism of the Internet, disenchanted by the Iraq War, reflexively tolerant of other lifestyles, appalled by government intrusion into their private affairs and increasingly convinced that the Obama economy is rigged against them, the millennials can no longer be regarded as faithful Democrats — and a recent poll confirmed that fully half of voters between ages 18 and 29 are unwedded to either party. Obama has profoundly disappointed many of these voters by shying away from marijuana decriminalization, by leading from behind on same-sex marriage, by trumping the Bush administration on illegal-immigrant deportations and by expanding Bush’s N.S.A. surveillance program. As one 30-year-old libertarian senior staff member on the Hill told me: “I think we expected this sort of thing from Bush. But Obama seemed to be hip and in touch with my generation, and then he goes and reads our emails.”

Desperate to lay everything at the feet of Republicans, here again is Pete Talbot:

I don’t believe Obama has disenfranchised young voters as much as you say, JC, but young people want a panacea and that ain’t America right now. The science-denying, hate-the-poor, war-mongering Republicans are getting close to taking over Congress. Can you explain that?

Sure, Obama has disappointed to some degree on some issues, but it’s the whole damn system: a do-nothing Congress, absurd Supreme Court rulings and corrupt campaign financing that have really turned them off. Most of the blame, but not all of these failings, lies with the Republicans, don’t you think?

I suppose I can’t blame youngsters for looking at an alternative party. I did. But the Koch funded Libertarians? Shit.

The more I think about it: the wars, the free marketeering, the safety net cuts; assaults on the environment, women, children and immigrants — I repeat myself for the umpteenth time — fall mostly in Republican laps.

Pete can say it, but that doesn’t mean the kids will buy it.

The sad reality is the Obama brand they were sold was the same crony-capitalist product lurking behind nice, richly pigmented packaging. And that product has continued to push the establishment consensus of perpetual war and domestic austerity.

Is the whole damn system corrupt? Pretty much, yeah. So why are people surprised when a distorted media gets an assist in a political take-down? Why do some partisans find the local media’s participation so astonishing?

Montana Democrats will probably learn some lessons from this Baucus to Hail-Mary-Candidate debacle, like invest more in opposition research. And expand dark money libertarian honey pots to peel off support from the Christo-fascists. And buy a few more ad spots in local newspapers to help their failing business model.

The problem is I don’t think those are the right lessons.

  1. evdebs

    When David Koch ran for president in 1980, he admittedly couldn’t give a shit about homophobia or abortions. He just didn’t understand what all the fuss was about/.

    His focus has shifted entirely to a focus on avoiding taxes and regulations, and disenfranchising and disempowering the poor, minorities, the working class and especially organized labor.. He and Charles have funded hordes of theocrats nationwide who will give them exactly they want in return for power to dictate curricula and their warped version of morality. They share the agenda of destruction of the K-12 system because they want to fund their own madrassas through vouchers and charter schools.

    Similarly, the boys are okay with that, because they know if they get rid of public schools, it will be much easier to demolish the alternative schools without pesky associations and unions around.

    Don’t confuse any of this with libertarianism, please.

  2. Don

    Macus Aurelius was a wise man. One of his most valuable observations was “If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.”

    • lizard19

      thank you for reading and commenting at 4&20 Blackbirds, Don.

    • JC

      Oh, goody. It’s quote day!

      “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
      — Marcus Aurelius

      I especially like this one:

      “The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”
      — Marcus Aurelius

      • Don

        You should actually read some Aurelius. It’s good stuff.

        And that second quote you posted? Never have more appropriate words been spoken in a more appropriate place.

        • JC

          I guess that’s your opinion, and you’re sticking to your perspective. And your condescension about what I have and have not read is duly noted.

          Let me add to the “conversation” by saying you might read Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”. You might learn a valuable lesson about our own empire.

          As to your comment on the second quote: is the object of your life to escape your interminable need to comment here? Sad, if so.

          Somebody, somewhere defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Kind of like electing democrats, if you ask me.

          • Don

            I’m deeply hurt that you don’t enjoy my comments as much as I enjoy the posts over here. Your battle against the forces of neoliberalism inspires me every day.

            I can really see the difference you’re making.

            • JC

              No Don, you can’t see shit because you don’t have a clue about who I am, or the things I do outside the blogosphere. All you can see are a few writings and comments that I do in my spare time for fun…

              And speaking about making a difference, how’s that coming at ID? Helped get any democrats elected lately. If so, what have they done against the forces of neoliberalism? Or are you fine with the neolib status quo?

              • Don

                You did, through what seemed to through your troublingly angry tirade, say one thing that’s assuredly true: I don’t know who you are or what you do. And that’s your choice.

                I think I’ve probably done a little good. I’m okay with that. Not all of us can topple global capitalism from behind the mask. I’ve got humbler ambitions.

              • JC

                You’re so pious…

                “topple global capitalism”

                No, that is not my goal. But I have been an effective monkey wrench in its cogs at times. And that gives me reason enough to keep on keeping’ on.

  3. Pursuit of truth requires leaving one’s comfort zones, having unpleasant encounters with both other people and the mirror. It requires leaving trusted sources behind, and navigating the waters of deception and disinformation, and relying in our own brains rather than trusted sources to figure things out.

    Don’t see that happening.

  4. Turner

    Tokarski’s comment about “leaving trusted sources behind” raises several questions:

    1. By what criteria do we evaluate sources, especially unfamiliar ones?
    2. Is blanket condemnation of the MSM justified or just as lazy-minded as the full embracing of it?

    Trust is a complex and not fully rational state of mind.

    • lizard19

      if a MSM article relies on anonymous sources, that should be a flag for extra scrutiny. the NYT helped sell a war. for that they should always be seen with suspicion when reporting on foreign affairs, especially if Israel is involved.

    • You want security, Turner. I get this. This is exactly why MSM gets away with the lies it does (I just got done writing about a big one, Yazidi women). Vigilant citizens do not “trust!” They think, question authority, verify before believing.

      Blanket condemnation of MSM is justified when they are caught in lies, as they have been since I was a child, going all the way back to Tonkin. They are yet to admit that Tonkin was a lie. They lie about JFK, Iraq WMD’s, Kosovo, Libya, Syria, Ukraine … bt what twisted criteria have they earned my trust?

      “By what criteria do we evaluate sources?”

      By use of one’s brain. It is not easy. We can never know. We can only try to piece truth together out of a tapestry of lies.

      “Two percent of us think, three percent think they think, 95 percent would rather die than think.” (GB Shaw). That 95% is what keeps MSM in business.

      • Turner

        Mark, You didn’t answer the question. How, when presented with a MSM story like the one about the Yazdi women, do you know it’s false? Does a story contradicting the MSM account get credited merely because it contradicts the sources you already distrust?

        How do you know both sides aren’t lying or (to be more charitable) mistaken?

        By the way, don’t presume to tell me what I want. I want security as much as any sentient creature does. But I’ve taken plenty of risks in my life, ones you’d probably not take.

        • I read you by your words. You are asking “how do you know?” You want certainty. You want to be able to trust. It’s all anyone wants. But it is not available. You have to use your brain.

          Yazidi women in danger? How do I know it’s a lie? It might not be, but probably is. It is convenient. It is loaded by archetypical propaganda symbols that appeal to emotions. It coincides with the ISIS attack on Iraq, the final thrust of the 2003 attack, to break up Iraq in to manageable cantons. The US supports ISIS. It would make sense then for the US to move in with strategic bombing in support of ISIS. To do so, they need a cover story.

          It takes a cogent world view born of input form a wide variety of sources, without trust. That’s key.

          • Turner

            It seems you rely on lot more on your gut than your brain. You perceive “archetypical propaganda symbols,” whatever that means, and use that perception to jump to this or that conclusion.

            The more contrarian your conclusion is, especially it pisses off liberals, the better it seems to you. From your smug contrarian perch you spew your arrogance on the rest of us.

            You’re not interested in the truth. You’re interested in striking a pose and holding it.

          • Prior to the 1991 attack on Iraq, the PR firm Hill and Knowlton arranged for the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to appear before congress and testify about Iraqi soldiers tearing babies out of incubators and throwing them on the floor to die. It was a lie. Never happened. MSM ran with it, and the emotional outrage was an important part of the justification for the barbaric attack on Iraq that followed.

            Bad guys harming women and children is classic agitprop. Sorry buddy. Just is. Americna Indians used to rape white girls and kill babies, don’t you know? So when I see the US military, which does not give two shits about women or children, now riding a white horse to rescue Yazadi women, I doubt it. I even chuckle, as in a bitter “there they go again.”

            To the degree that my outlook contradicts your trusted sources, I am a contrarian. It would be good for you to challenge those sources rather than take comfort there and attacking me as some sort of bad guy. My views were stumbled upon, never sought, but once I see ugly truth, there is no retreating back into the lies.

            • petetalbot

              It’s “Yazidi,” Mark.

              • Thanks Pete. Your Pogie-ish avoidance of substance is noted. Meanwhile, MSM has a shiny brand new war to sell us. You’re buying, I take it.

              • petetalbot

                I wouldn’t have pointed the misspelling out to anyone but the infallible, all-knowing Tokarski.

              • To the exclusion of all meaningful exchange of views, you focus in that one Item. That is Pogie-ish. Those who know me know that not infallible nor all-knowing. Far from it, but you do appear out of your depth. Stick to spelling.

              • petetalbot

                Can you give me your source for the U.S. military coming to the aid of the Yazidi, Mark? I haven’t been able to find any mention of it, anywhere. There is U.S. air support for the Kurds in Irbil and humanitarian air drops in the Sinjar mountain range but “the US military, which does not give two shits about women or children, now riding a white horse to rescue Yazadi women … ”
                Where’d you get that?

              • There is U.S. air support for the Kurds in Irbil and humanitarian air drops in the Sinjar mountain range but “the US military, which does not give two shits about women or children, now riding a white horse to rescue Yazadi women … ”
                Where’d you get that?

                I remember 1991 when the US screwed the Kurds over in Iraq, leaving them to starve and freeze in the mountains after HW Bush called on the to “Rise up! ” I saw the word “humanitarian” and nearly puked, Pete. Need you be so easy? That is the problem.


                I wrote about this on my blog this morning, under how to spot lies. This one is painfully out there.

              • petetalbot

                Talk about avoidance, Mark. I ask you to give me your source and you come back with how to spot lies in a HuffPo story. I don’t read HuffPo. I have a hard time with a “news” site that features “Which Celeb Has The Best Boob Job.” Then you go on about H.W. Bush and the Kurds in 1991. I didn’t ask you about the Kurds in 1991. I asked you a simple question about your source on the U.S. military coming to the aid of the Yazidi. You got nothing. You’re a phony.

              • It was late and I was tired when I wrote that and I frankly get tired of guys like you, Pete. I wont’ say why. I just don’t like you because you’re a Democrat first, and don’t think until later. Oh shit. I guess I said why. My bad there.

                You avoidance of HuffoPo likely started about twelve hours ago, not saying I see thru you or anything. Your ignorance of American history in Iraq is patriotic requirement, so don’t disown it and I commend you for the requisite stupidity.

                Oh yeah, my source about us military coming to aid of Yazifi is HuffPo, which you read and could have easily found for yourself if you were not so deceitful. A simple Goggle wok,fun have given you a hundred other American sources. You’re a phony.

            • evdebs

              In 1991 GHWB encouraged both the Shia in the south of Iraq (particularly the “marsh Arabs”) and the Kurds in the north, to revolt against Bush’s former surrogate, Saddam.

              Both were subject to massacres, the marsh Arabs massively, but he did institute a “no fly” zone in the north, maintained by US air power until Bush 43 invaded.

              Ironically, I watched when Powell delivered his pre-invasion scripted performance before the Security Council in 2003, complete with props. He claimed that Saddam was responsible for an al Qaida terrorist camp in northeast Iraq, despite the fact that the US cover kept him from destroying that camp. That was but one of a string of lies that day which anyone with a modest understanding of the situation in Iraq would have realized were complete bullshit.

              Juan Cole, one of a core number of well informed independent skeptics of US Near East policy, then and now, just released this commentary:

    • Don

      If a source agrees with the certainty in Tokarski’s mind, it’s legitimate–even if he called out that very source the day before as being nothing more than a front for capitalist stooges.

      It’s hard for we plebes to understand.

      • I have noticed about you Don that you just don’t process complex information well, and cannot connect dots. (You can’t even follow money in politics.) So you come out with personal attacks instead. My short-term opinion of you is that you’re annoying, and my long-term one is that your bailiwick is partisan politics, which I regard as a waste of time, a sandbox for small minds.

        Have a nice day. You’re banned at my site.

  5. petetalbot

    Liz says: “if a MSM article relies on anonymous sources, that should be a flag for extra scrutiny.” That was one of my points in my “diatribe” against the NY Times reporter. He never revealed his source in the Walsh plagiarism story. Granted, this doesn’t rise to the level of selling the Iraq War to the American people but you get my drift.

    And it was a bit of a diatribe on my part. I try to avoid them but every once in a while …

    Anyway, let me lighten up with this:

    I think the Dems may have found their candidate.

    • I think Abe Froman gave me the source of that story, though we’ll never know for sure:

      I believe Walsh was actually probably hand-picked with at the very least the consent and co-operation of the Baucus camp. Most likely a Daines flunky made the discovery but an interesting thought would be if it were a little Schweitzer revenge served cold (for the Baucus camp blackmailing him out of the race). Not that I know anything. Purely speculative.

      Since when is politics every done in daylight?

  6. David

    Pete supported the New Party, which wanted more government and more taxes. Missoula lost a chance for a company paying living wages to the issue of Bike racks, from opening in Missoula because of this New Party.

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