TPM Continues To Misreport Clinton Letter To NBC

By Big Tent Democrat

Talking Points Memo continues its very poor journalism on this story. Now Josh Marshall approvingly publishes an e-mail that falsely characterizes Hillary Clinton's letter to NBC News President Steve Capus as calling for David Shuster's firing. What is particularly egregious about TPM's work is it minimizes, even omits, the REAL point of the letter - that NBC has demonstrated an unbroken pattern of sexism in its reporting and commentary and Clinton's demand that this pattern be addressed.

At this point, it simply can not be denied, TPM is choosing to ignore NBC's egregious pattern of sexism. That is very bad of TPM and Josh Marshall. This is part of a pattern of malign acceptance of sexism that we must all fight against.

Update [2008-2-9 22:10:28 by Big Tent Democrat]: After its egregious journalism on this story, TPM NOW compounds it by simply lying. Yes, I am calling TPM liars. Their LATEST headline Says "Clinton Backs Off Firing Demand." They NEVER demanded it. ONLY TPM said FALSELY they demanded it. Shame on TPM. Shame on Josh Marshall. Disgraceful work.

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    So sad for girls seeing this today (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 08:52:17 PM EST
    -- a marvelous role model to see, to give them courage, too . . . but then they see how the media and others attack women.  I'm glad my daughter is grown, as she was such a news junkie at even an early age that, if it was then, I would have to have some hard talks with her about realities.

    I remember a friend who gave in to a young daughter who desperately wanted to see Disney's Cinderella movie.  So the friend took her daughter to the movie -- but then took her out for ice cream and a talk to the effect that there are no Prince Charmings. . . .

    She told her that there are a lot of good guys, but you can tell who they are because they don't try to "rescue" us.  They respect us.

    Yes, Virginia, there are no Prince Charmings? (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:01:28 PM EST
    Now you tell us?

    I can tell that you (none / 0) (#61)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:24:33 PM EST
    kissed a lot of frogs and figured it out a long time ago.:-)

    Dumb and Dumber (5.00 / 3) (#11)
    by lily15 on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:12:07 PM EST
    Excellent post....We are starting to recognize that the enemy is within.  We are weak as a party because of elite liberals like Josh Marshall.  They are like double agents, ensconced in the media world, ostensibly on the side of progressives...while their narrative says something quite different.  Sexism has become a huge problem in this election.  The coverage has been clearly biased.  But TPM will twist any set of facts to get the narrative they desire.  And only when blogs such as this...where critical thinking and analysis are a priority--that draw more readers every day because of a  reputation for credibility that keeps growing---only when you begin to question the credibility of these poseurs...will the collaborators among us...be revealed.  These people put George Bush in the White House.  These people trashed Al Gore. These people supported Bill Bradley in the primaries, thus hurting our best candidate, Al Gore.  Their pattern becomes clearer every day.  Progressive men over there, at TPM, don't like strong women.  They cover this election disingenuously.  And they've gotten away with it because not enough women and men have called them out.

    Not enough people have put their feet down and their arms up and said, "enough of these lies and mistruths".  Thanks for keeping the pressure on.  Unless the credibility of these so called mainstream blogs is questioned, we will keep getting the same story that Washington elites regurgitate daily. The same old tired MSM...the same slanted viewpoint, where self interest is the controlling principle...Where membership in the primarily male controlled media club is limited to those better bred and refined prognosticators...A Versailles elite...that is becoming more narrow as the days pass...determined to keep its perquisites even at the risk of electing Republicans.  They are an insular group that refuses to give us facts and critical thinking, as they are determined to keep us dumb and dumber.  

    Bob Somersby at DailyHowler (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by RalphB on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:34:20 PM EST
    has been writing about this for years.  The so-called liberal media is just as bad as the conservative media.  It never takes a real stand on anything of importance, just bloviates a bit and goes on to get along.

    I think it's worse that that (4.00 / 0) (#22)
    by rebecca on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:28:41 PM EST
    These are people who do and have seen sexism and have been willing to call it out.  Just as they do see and have seen voter disenfranchisement.  This is what makes it worse.  They do know and they are willing to ignore it all to get their candidate elected.  Look at the arguments here which flip from you have to follow the rules for FL and MI since it benefits Obama but not following the rules about superdelegates is argued for since it also benefits Obama.  

    To watch people who not too long ago were strong defenders of enfranchising people arguing that what we're seeing going on with caucus' and especially the caucus' in Washington is not disenfranchisement because it benefits their candidate is pathetic.  

    After this whole debacle they will return to their ability to see both voter disenfranchisement and sexism with no problem.  That is what makes this so horrible.  They do know better but they are putting their political ambitions before what they know to be wrong.  Quite a few people in the blogosphere have lost my respect.  I'm not sure they will be able to regain it.  


    I agree. (none / 0) (#26)
    by kangeroo on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:33:31 PM EST
    Yes (none / 0) (#109)
    by CognitiveDissonance on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 01:23:44 AM EST
    I've permanently taken them off my favorites and don't read them anymore. I've got quite a list now. If you can't trust them about something this important, then you can't trust them to be fair about anything. What do they think they are getting that is worth losing their reputation over?

    I don't really think TPM trashed Gore. (none / 0) (#74)
    by MarkL on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:46:29 PM EST
    The signal failure of TPM since its inception has been in Josh's support for the Iraq war.
    However, unlike many war supporters, he has unequivocally admitted his error.
    Yet ANOTHER problem with his reading, IMO, is that threats should be ambiguous for best effect.
    Unambiguously calling for Shuster's firing sets up Clinton to look weak if she fails. Hinting that firing him would be ok is just the right tone.

    BTD, (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by kangeroo on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:22:25 PM EST
    you're rapidly becoming my hero.

    He's misreading the letter, (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Alien Abductee on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:27:07 PM EST
    inexplicably stopping at the "no temporary suspension or half-hearted apology is sufficient" and ignoring what follows it. The misread seems to come at least in part from Jake Tapper (his previous post entitled "Hillary: Bring Me the Head of David Martin Shuster").

    Hillary is calling them out and demanding they raise their standards. In fact, as I read it, her letter goes beyond calling out their sexism - she's demanding a more professional level of commentary from them in general. Could we actually hope for media that aim at professional objectivity and impartiality in reporting again, instead of "balance"?

    Can we have a better TPM? (none / 0) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:28:45 PM EST
    Jake Tapper is a hack.

    Now TPM is a hack's site.


    Disappointed (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by carolyn13 on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:38:00 PM EST
    You know, I've really had TPM at the top of my list for reliable blogs for years and I have recommended him to others curious about the blogosphere. I feel betrayed by this, like I've been duped. There are wounds being made during this primary that are going to leave some scars.

    Yes. I'm a diehard Dem voter but (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:45:50 PM EST
    the sexism -- and especially Obama not saying anything about it, and he is the father of daughters -- would make me vote only reluctantly for him this fall, if he is the nominee.

    It's just about down to the Supreme Court for me, needing a Dem for the next four years, and that's it -- and frankly, I begin to worry about what he would do for the sake of "unity" when it comes to the Supreme Court, too.

    If he's the nominee, I really worry that we won't  win, up against the GOP swiftboating to come.  And then . . . I'd like to point out that, in four years, Senator Clinton will be only 64. :-)


    You know (none / 0) (#38)
    by Alien Abductee on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:46:17 PM EST
    I really think people are expecting too much. I've never expected objectivity of bloggers. There's no code of professional blogging, no standards. They're more like the pre-professional 19th c. rabidly partisan press - packs of wild dogs savaging their political opponents. Maybe it's less satisfactory now because they're partisan opponents of your candidate.

    But they held themselves out as something (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Teresa on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:51:46 PM EST
    different. Now we see that they are not only not any better, they are worse.

    They DID hold themselves out as (5.00 / 3) (#48)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:06:20 PM EST
    something better.  They decried bias and now they are easily as unapologetically biased as any other.

    That's called hypocrisy.

    They are also NOT progressive.  Progressivism is about social justice.  Social justice means putting your petty differences aside and fighting against things like rabid, blatant, degrading sexism.  Had this been anything other than a presidential primary, these blogs might have done so -- but now they've revealed that if they did, it would only be to suit their personal agendas.

    The mainstream blogs are about attempting to pick a winner to salve their egos.  It is about their egos and their bottom line, just as it is with any news organization.

    Their race for the bottom between the mainstream blogs and the media is near complete.  The two are neck and neck.


    Alien (none / 0) (#91)
    by carolyn13 on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 11:39:40 PM EST
    Oh, I've been around the blogs long enough to have few illusions. :) I did think Josh would check his sources though before running with that headline. He really looks like a fool for sticking to his guns now that the Clinton campaign has clarified. He's in effect saying Hillary is a liar without checking it out with anybody at NBC or her campaign.

    Maybe so (none / 0) (#144)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 02:08:07 PM EST
    I think it's foolish of him not to take the opportunity to push back on the media and make them afraid to casually smear any Democrat the way they've felt so free to do for far too long. A wasted opportunity on his part, imo, no matter how he read the freakin letter.

    Would that be why it says right at the top (none / 0) (#44)
    by Alien Abductee on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:03:17 PM EST
    "BLOG by Joshua Micah Marshall"? What is that holding it out to be except one dude's opinion?

    Not the point. Blogs are informational (none / 0) (#111)
    by Cream City on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 01:41:16 AM EST
    -- sometimes little more than links to news stories, too.  Others are only blathering unfounded opinion.

    What is needed in educated discourse is opinion based on evidence, the mark of the better blogs.

    The point here is that TPM was one of the better blogs.  Now it's not.  It's a loss -- leaving us with less of the good blogs that base opinion on facts.


    As I recall, BTD once stated (none / 0) (#115)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 02:53:10 AM EST
    Marshall, before he permitted comments, was the actual reporter for his posts, i.e., doing the investigation, doing the writing, and that now things are different there.  

    It's still just opinion (none / 0) (#116)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 03:07:13 AM EST
    What is needed in educated discourse is opinion based on evidence

    It seems to me that from JMM's perspective he IS basing his opinion on evidence - we're all reading the same letter, aren't we? You just don't like how he's interpreted that evidence.

    I'd say the informational aspect of blogs is that they fairly frankly acknowledge their biases. If you can't or don't want to use that to read between the lines of everything they write, and instead look for something more matching your own biases in order to tell yourself that that's somehow being the most truly objective, have at it. You're certainly entitled to read where you please.


    A lot of people are (none / 0) (#25)
    by Alien Abductee on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:33:15 PM EST
    losing their minds this primary season, that's for sure. Was it anywhere near this bad in '04? I wasn't reading the political blogs in those days.

    I didn't see it as quite so bad (5.00 / 0) (#122)
    by kenoshaMarge on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 05:36:03 AM EST
    But then back in 2004 most Democrats/Liberals/Progressives were bashing The Bush Administration and the War-Mongering, Corporate Loving Republicans. Now they just bash away at each other. I wonder sometimes who the Obama supporters loathe worse, Bush or Hillary Clinton.

    I am a Clinton supporter and although I would never in a thousand years vote for ANY damn Republican, the sheer hypocrisy and vitriol coming from the Obama supporters and surrogates towards Hillary and Bill Clinton makes me dislike Obama intensely. It would be very hard for me to vote for him. I would have to keep saying, Supreme Court, Supreme Court, Supreme Court over and over. And even that might not be enough.


    Marge (5.00 / 0) (#128)
    by auntmo on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 09:39:41 AM EST
    I  agree  completely,  Marge.  The  damage  the  Obama supporters  have  done  to  the  "unity" of  the party  has  left  me  very  disappointed  in  their  rabid  Clinton  hatred  that sounded like   AM  radio.  

    There's  supporting  a  certain  candidate,  and  there's  damaging  the party  as  a whole.  

    In   the  second  choice,  we  ALL lose.


    Some of the Obama supporters (4.00 / 0) (#143)
    by Alien Abductee on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 02:03:57 PM EST
    are pretty rabid and idiotic but that's no reason to tar the candidate. From what I see at sites like Taylor Marsh and HIllaryis44 there's also a rabid push of propaganda and smearing of a political opponent that could have come from Karl Rove's shop at its height. Not what you'd want from a member of the same party with the same ostensible goals. Keep in mind that what you're reading there is not necessarily the straight goods but is being spun hard in favor of Hillary. I hope you're reading sites that favor him as well to get a more balanced picture. Or try watching some of his actual speeches on youtube instead of hearing about them and supporter antics as filtered through partisan Hillary sources. It sure would be unfortunate if you despise our Dem prez for the next eight years. :)

    I support Obama but I'm no cultist, and I certainly oppose Bush or any Republican more than HIllary. In fact I don't despise Hillary at all. Far from it. I'm for whoever I think is going to be most effective at helping the progressive movement take control of the political and cultural levers of power in the country again, and I happen to think he's going to be best able to do that.


    You've gotta love (none / 0) (#49)
    by lilburro on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:09:29 PM EST
    the smarmy headlines.  Fox News-Lite.

    The most pathetic part... (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by OrangeFur on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:28:08 PM EST
    ... was a post at TPMcafe where some reader asked if TPM was going to issue an endorsement, and Marshall said that it wasn't in his DNA as a journalist.

    Right. Tell me another one. That site has lost a lot of credibility, sadly.

    If Obama wins the nomination I'll vote for him, but not enthusiastically. I find it hard to get excited about someone who's running against universal health care and has good things to say about Ronald Reagan in a Democratic primary.

    repeating Republican talking points (none / 0) (#47)
    by noholib on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:05:19 PM EST
    I agree.  I think the reaching out to independents could have waited until a general election campaign.  In a Democratic primary campaign, it would be more seemly to present his case without praising Reagan, without implying "a pox on both your houses" [when in fact one of the houses is his own the Democratic one!!].  I too expect someone running for the Democratic nomination to say something positive about core Democratic principles and values at least sometimes.  In my view, both Clinton and Obama are centrists, and he is no more liberal or progressive than she on domestic policies.  Far from it.  His repeating Republican talking points on heath care and social security is not going to help Democrats in the fall or in the future.
    On another note, the only consolation of the rampant sexism and misogyny now evident in the media is that perhaps perhaps it will be a radicalizing wake-up call.  Maybe more young women will see how women are sexualized and trivialized and damaged everywhere in our mass media and culture.    

    Yeah, I think this analysis (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by kangeroo on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:21:36 PM EST
    by Eriposte comparing their voting records is pretty useful.

    records compared (none / 0) (#84)
    by noholib on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 11:26:19 PM EST
    Thanks.  This post is really substantive.

    my pleasure :) (none / 0) (#105)
    by kangeroo on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 12:52:30 AM EST
    Josh Marshall has his explanation up now. (5.00 / 0) (#30)
    by Tony on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:36:01 PM EST
    It doesn't pass the smell test to me.

    Depressing (5.00 / 0) (#32)
    by Lena on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:36:09 PM EST
    Previously, I had found blogs like TPM and dailykos to be great places to get political news and analysis, and hear the viewpoint of people I respected.

    Now my eyes have been opened. I can no longer respect the viewpoints of people like Josh Marshall or kos; their inability to see the sexism all around them (or worse yet, to care about it) has made me question their analytical ability more generally. Moreover, when I see the reaction of my fellow Democrats on the political blogs to the sexist drivel emanating from the media, I realize what a fantasy I was living in to think that the Democratic party was seriously dedicated to eradicating sexism, both within the wider world and within its own ranks.

    If I have to find a silver lining here, it's that racism within the party isn't nearly as bad as I suspected it was. In fact, it seems pretty paltry compared to its sexism.

    Pie fight (5.00 / 0) (#36)
    by carolyn13 on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:45:16 PM EST
    I haven't had any faith in the blogs desire to even acknowledge sexism since the whole mess of the pie fight. I wasn't offended by the ad that started it but the fallout opened my eyes.

    I did think Josh had integrity though. Guess not.


    One day (none / 0) (#42)
    by Lena on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:58:23 PM EST
    I'm going to have to find out just what the whole "pie fight" term is referring to. I had no idea that it had anything to do with sexism. Now I'm really curious...

    The Josh Marshall part of this whole thing is the most disappointing bit. I used to really like him.


    iirc "pie fight" (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by hookfan on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:10:34 PM EST
    on dkos occurred over an advertisement that displayed a rather explicit picture of an attractive female with her derriere prominent. Many feminists took offense asking the ad be removed, many others saying they liked it, and kos elected to allow it to continue to be displayed over loud protest. Many who were offended left. Others stayed.

    And somewhat like what we saw with MSNBC (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by Cream City on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:20:33 PM EST
    and now see at TPM, Kos himself got into the blog battle, denouncing the "women's studies set," etc.

    I gave up on DKos then.  I came back for these primaries/caucuses, needing my political junkie fix -- only to find the sexism to the max there again.

    Glad I'm here.  I gathered that He Who Shall Not Be Named Armando had migrated somewhere with his wise (if often cryptic:-) posts, but did not know where.

    And then I discovered Jeralyn, too.  Thank you both for blog moderation, for civil discourse, for discussion of realities and not nonsense.


    Here is a link to the dkospedia article on it (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by rebecca on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:14:52 PM EST
    Thanks, rebecca (none / 0) (#62)
    by carolyn13 on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:24:39 PM EST
    I was looking for the link, but you were faster.

    The sexism displayed throughout the blogs was truly frightening at that time. I wince when it's used to describe something trivial and funny.


    Thanks all (none / 0) (#67)
    by Lena on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:33:08 PM EST
    Haven't clicked on the link yet, but already the short explanations have been educational.

    Now that I've heard a very basic background of the pie fight, it's like all the pieces have suddenly fallen into place. Everything makes sense now. At first, I wondered if I was just over-sensitive about the people posting on dkos. Then the sexism became more undeniable. And now the pie fight history wraps it all up for me.

    And I'd love to see the demographics of who posts over there - age, sex, class, etc. I bet that would be a real eye opener too.


    Et tu, Olbermann (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by BDB on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:43:06 PM EST
    How did I miss this?  This is terrible, check out that banner under Paris Hilton ("slut and battery") and Keith's little "joke."  Ick.  I don't care if it is Paris Hilton.  Just ick.    

    There is a very broad and deep problem at MSNBC.  And shame on TPM and Marshall for not standing up against it more strongly and making it about Clinton and her politics.  

    I just sent this to TPM: (5.00 / 0) (#39)
    by MarkL on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:49:14 PM EST
    "If you want to be a literalist, then obviously a heartfelt apology from Shuster would solve the problem.
    Your reading of the Clinton letter, even from a literal standpoint, fails.
    The other problem with your strained interpretation is that a firing is NOT what would help Clinton, as you well know. It would create a backlash,  and would do nothing to stop the other MSNBC cretins from being even more insulting. When Chris Matthews got his slap on the wrist, nothing changed; that is the context in which the Clinton letter should be read.
    Look, it's not just about Hillary. Joe Scarborough threatened to hit Mika B. the other day. Now that SHOULD have been a firing offense all by itself."

    I got a response from Josh (5.00 / 0) (#45)
    by MarkL on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:03:20 PM EST
    he insists that Clinton is demanding firing, even though, by the cramped way he reads the letter, one sees that a heartfelt apology from Shuster WOULD be enough.

    Got 2 more responses. (none / 0) (#58)
    by MarkL on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:21:35 PM EST
    One to the email I sent just BEFORE I read TPM's explanation. I wrote that TPM had sub FOX standards.
    I amended that to say that they have reached CNN standards on this story now.

    Ok, he's sticking to his guns. (none / 0) (#63)
    by MarkL on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:27:09 PM EST
    This letter is a demand that Shuster be fired---period.

    Another problem (none / 0) (#95)
    by standingup on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 11:53:04 PM EST
    is that Josh had already decided for himself that Shuster was "outta here."  I think Josh felt Shuster was going to take the dive while others like Matthews would continue on at MSNBC.   The letter only reinforced what Josh already believed was going to happen.  

    I got a response from Josh, too (none / 0) (#64)
    by ding7777 on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:29:06 PM EST
    He zeroed in on the word "temporary" - even though that is what the suspension was.

    I asked if HRC wanted Shuster fired, then why did she close with this:

    Surely, you can do your jobs as journalists and commentators and still keep the discourse civil and appropriate.

    "Temporary" is redundant. (none / 0) (#65)
    by MarkL on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:32:24 PM EST
    which means that it adds nothing to the meaning; therefore, it can be removed from the sentence without changing the literal meaning.
    Read the sentence without the word "temporary"---it just doesn't sound right.

    He's like Bob Somerby on a bad day (none / 0) (#66)
    by MarkL on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:32:54 PM EST

    Depressing (5.00 / 1) (#93)
    by BDB on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 11:47:57 PM EST
    You know I think I'll get over MSNBC's sexist buffoonery a lot faster than I will having read so many "progressive" and "liberal" blogs defending or minimizing it.  

    Honestly, I feel like this campaign has really opened my eyes.  It's like you think you live in one society - one where sexism certainly still exists, but that, like racism, it's socially unacceptable to most people or at least to most liberals - but instead you find out you live in a different society than you thought you did, one where, unlike racism, sexism is something to be accepted, rationalized, and at times even celebrated.  It's just incredibly depressing.  

    I want to add (none / 0) (#94)
    by BDB on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 11:49:58 PM EST
    that obviously, it's not all blogs or all male bloggers.  Look at BTD!  And I've found Matt Stoller and Tom Watson to be pretty good on these things.  And, of course, Media Matters.  Those guys rock.

    But it's been depressing, nonetheless.


    Depressing, isn't it? (none / 0) (#123)
    by kenoshaMarge on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 06:56:14 AM EST
    I knew that sexism, racism, age discrimination and every other kind of "ism" you can think of were still alive and well. But in my naivete I thought that was the "other" people; the conservative, Republican People. Surely Progressives weren't like that?

    I'm learning that sadly, they are. And it is a painful learning experience. I have removed many blogs that I used to read every day from my favorites list. I don't care if they support Obama as long as they are honest about it. ( Josh Michaels at TPM is not.)

    My main objection is the same as it is with the MSM, fairness. Honest, decent people can and do support different candidates. That's what happens in elections. But to allow, even to take part in dishonesty and/or double standards proves that hypocrisy isn't just for Republicans/Conservatives.

    Misogynists come in all sizes, shapes, colors, ages, ethnicities, political parties, and even gender. (Yes there are women hating women that despise women that take a different path than they take.) I thought we, progressives, we better than this. Sadly, I was wrong. Very, very wrong.


    My Exchange with Josh (5.00 / 3) (#96)
    by andgarden on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 11:54:27 PM EST
    My original email:

    I know you've gotten lots of mail about this Josh, but I think you're simply wrong. A straightforward reading of the text clearly shows that the Clinton campaign is NOT asking for Shuster to be fired.

    It would also behoove you to acknowledge the real point of the letter: that MSNBC has long been a bastion of misogyny. Surely you must recognize this?

    You should correct the record. If you don't, I will no longer take you seriously as a journalist--and I've been reading for a long time.

    Josh's Response:

    Andgarden -- these amount to threats.  I've been doing this for a while. And what you realize is that the only way to do this job sanely and with integrity is to do your best to accurately report the news and not be buffeted one way or another by criticism or attacks, if they don't provide any evidence that makes the story appear different to me.  So I'm going to have to stick with what I think she said.  And you don't take me seriously as a journalist, I guess that's the price I pay for not changing a story I think is accurate.

    And my response to his response:

    Threats?! Talk about a "strained reading." Have it your way, just realize that you've become exactly like the bad journalists that prompted me to start reading you in the first place.

    That's a great zinger!! (5.00 / 2) (#97)
    by MarkL on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 12:04:34 AM EST
    We continue (5.00 / 2) (#102)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 12:31:31 AM EST
    His response (2):

    Yep, I've become exactly like them.  That's it.

    My response (3):

    I'll grant that you haven't accused Hillary of claiming to invent the internet.

    His response (3):

    Silliness, grow up

    My response (4):

    Silliness is when you cling to one possible interpretation of a text when the party who wrote it a) provided another plausible reading within the text itself and b) later confirmed that meaning.

    You made an unfair inference and won't back down.

    Enough for tonight, I think.


    Is It Me? (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by BDB on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 01:14:36 AM EST
    This response by Marshall and the response by Harold Meyerson when called on his smear of Clinton (which was much, much worse than what Marshall has done, btw) sound exactly like so many mainstream journalists who simply refuse to admit they made a mistake.  Instead, they get all huffy and defensive.  It's what Shuster did in this instance in response to a Clinton campaign email.  It's what Tapper did over the Bill Clinton misquote.  It's what Klein did on FISA.

    I don't understand it.  Marshall's site covers a ton of things and it's going to make mistakes.  Other than pride, why dig your heels in?


    He's admitted mistaked before (none / 0) (#110)
    by MarkL on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 01:38:44 AM EST
    which makes this odd.

    Yes (none / 0) (#112)
    by BDB on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 02:15:23 AM EST
    Which makes it all the more disappointing and puzzling.  

    Unfortunately, the only explanation I'm left with is that he is incapable of seeing passed his own bias on this issue.  Everything has to be about the Clinton campaign and politics.  It can't just be that MSNBC has become a daily dose of embarrassing misogyny, which manifests itself in how it covers Clinton, but ultimately is not really about Clinton.  She may be the favorite target, but she's not the only target.

    It's like he cannot simply admit Clinton is right on this.  He has to make it so that she seems to be overreacting.  But then, you know how hysterical women can be.  Or is he playing to the "Hillary has no true feelings, everything is a scheme to get ahead and gain politically" angle?  There are so many sexist stereotypes about powerful women generally, and Hillary in particular, that it's hard to know which one is being used.


    Well, John Aravosis is the worst. (none / 0) (#135)
    by MarkL on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 12:01:10 PM EST
    His site is almost unreadable now.

    Wow.. you should fwd this to (none / 0) (#103)
    by MarkL on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 12:32:45 AM EST
    Glenn Greenwald. He might get a kick out of it.

    Too far (none / 0) (#138)
    by rilkefan on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 12:43:23 PM EST
    I think he's just plain mistaken.  Misreading something once doesn't make him Adam Nagourney.

    Also, dunno if that email was written for publication.


    How disappointing (5.00 / 3) (#106)
    by Steve M on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 12:56:00 AM EST
    The letter was written in plain English.  I had no trouble understanding it.  It obviously was not a demand for a firing.

    Carolyn13 said (5.00 / 1) (#117)
    by rosaleen on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 03:57:21 AM EST

    "You know, I've really had TPM at the top of my list for reliable blogs for years and I have recommended him to others curious about the blogosphere. I feel betrayed by this, like I've been duped. There are wounds being made during this primary that are going to leave some scars."

    Carolyn, I know exactly what you mean. I've been reading TPM for so long I can't remember logging onto the internet and not having his site come up as my home page. I actually cried when I dumped his url from my favorites list. I don't know when I've felt so betrayed. And I could kick myself for getting so attached to his site when he was pimping the war in Iraq back in '02. I should have known then that he is nuts.

    But this sexist business at KOS and TPM has been ongoing. It's become more and more obvious in the past months. And Marshall didn't misread Hillary's letter, he misrepresented it intentionally to cast her in a bad light. He's trying to make her look like she is castrating a male.

    I wouldn't be so quick to annoint Olbermann, either. In his apology, he went to great lengths to praise Shuster and his record, but he said not one decent thing about Hillary or Chelsea who is a credit to her parents in every way.

    Thank you, BTD, for calling Josh Marshall what he is --a liar.

    Btw, I'm new here. I followed a link from Taylor's place.

    Aye, I'm so glad I found this place... (5.00 / 0) (#118)
    by reynwrap582 on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 04:09:59 AM EST
    I've been going to TPM for the past couple months, and just now discovered TalkLeft.  The quality of the coverage and the objectivity here is light years ahead of TPM.  The thing that really made it clear to me, however, is the intelligent tone of the people who leave comments.  The comments section at TPM is...ridiculous.  What they lack in intelligence they make up for in their talent to type without using their brain.  I'm very impressed by both the TL writers and the TL community.  I think I've found a new home!

    Welcome! (none / 0) (#139)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 12:55:48 PM EST
    I'm glad you found us. The comments stay reasonable because Big Tent Democrat and I try to monitor them. If we miss something, feel free to e-mail me.

    The comment policy is here. The main rules are:

    No personal attacks or insults to other commenters, no name-calling of anyone, your comment should be directed to the topic of the thread unless it's an open thread, no profanity, and don't chatter (explained in the comment rules.)

    Also, urls must be in html format (use the link button at the top of the comment box to paste it in) because otherwise they skew the site. We're a fixed width site.

    I try to close comments when they hit 200 -- more than that the site slows down and by then everything that needs to be said has usually been said.


    here's the comment policy (none / 0) (#140)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 12:57:03 PM EST
    as i've said elsewhere (5.00 / 0) (#129)
    by english teacher on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 09:49:53 AM EST
    the alliance with msnbc in itself is extremely troublesome.

    for prominent so called progressive blogs to be allied with the one news organization that did so much damage to gore and kerry is in itself inexcusable.  

    kos, marshall, and huufington are now in bed with the network that trashed gore, and they are trashing hillary and pushing obama.  to me that right there says more than enough about what is going on.  

    English teacher (5.00 / 0) (#131)
    by auntmo on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 10:18:33 AM EST
    It  does  for  me  too,  teacher.  

    And  MSNBC  LOVES   John McCain.    If  Obama wins  the nomination, they'll  throw  him under  the  bus    in order  to idolize  John McCain.  

    Josh  is  incredibly  naive  not  to know  that.


    I would like to see a specific example. (none / 0) (#145)
    by dc2008 on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 02:21:34 PM EST
    I'm not currently a Kos reader, and I don't follow Huffington Post as regularly as I follow this blog or TPM.  I think a case can be made that MSNBC and some of these blogs and MSNBC have a pro-Obama bias, though I don't think it's perfectly clear.

    I'd like to see some specific examples of the outlets "trashing Hillary," as you said.  I've actually been looking out for this, and I'm hard-pressed to think of any examples.  Bias?  Maybe -- maybe.  Sexist use of language?  Some of Matthews' can certainly be interpreted in that way.  Trashing Hillary?  I would like to see a specific example.

    Again, I've been specifically looking for signs of  anti-Clinton biasing, and in my opinion the concrete evidence for it seems pretty sparse.  But I haven't made up my mind about it.


    Both NBC & MSNBC (5.00 / 0) (#137)
    by kenoshaMarge on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 12:12:50 PM EST
    Cannot say enough good things about John McCain. The Conservative base may not be pleased with him but NBC and MSNBC have had McCain on their programming so many times he's practically got a show of his own.

    Josh and kos and Arianna are all waaay too politically savvy not to know that once it is down to one Democrat and McCain the Democrat, any Democrat will be trashed 24/7. Every word that comes from the Democratic candidate will be parsed, spun, twisted, tortured and misrepresented. McCain will be Hero, Straight-Talker, Maverick and on and on.

    I just don't understand it. Can their Hillary and/or just plain Clinton hatred be that important to them? (Arianna I would expect does hate Hillary Clinton enough not to care what happens so long as she can keep bashing. She is after all a former Republican and Clinton hatred is in their DNA.)

    I also wonder if many of the liberal blogs are not experiencing the same kind of power problem that Republican hate radio is having.  Many liberal blogs have shown nothing but rabid hatred for Hillary Clinton from the gitgo. If she ends up getting the nomination then they are shown to not have the power they want every one to think they have. Just being cynical, I think.

    You know what's the worst part of all of this? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Teresa on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 08:31:31 PM EST
    Anger at the media will cost us this election. A CNN exit poll from today said that Clinton supporters would not be happy voting for Obama while the Obama voters were more likely to be okay with it. The opposite of Obama's theory.

    Just like I've read on this site, some otherwise good Democrats say they won't vote for Obama if he wins because of the media shoving him down their throats. I am fighting a battle within my own family with two who say the same thing. We can't let this continue to where people get this bitter.

    People Say All Sorts (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by squeaky on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 08:35:42 PM EST
    Of things when there is not a gun to their head, so to speak.

    When it is either Obama or Clinton against a warmongering Republican, many oaths will be forgotten, and most of us will get down to the business at hand.


    That's what I tell them. Just wait until the (5.00 / 0) (#4)
    by Teresa on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 08:38:26 PM EST
    Republicans attack Obama. That will get us good and angry and ready to fight for him. I will but I will always remember this election for the media manipulation that I've seen.

    It Will Be Particularly (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by squeaky on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 08:44:31 PM EST
    Hilarious to see the 180 degree shift at kos if Hillary gets the nomination.

    That would require a frontal lobotomy. (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:21:13 PM EST
    Or (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by squeaky on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:10:53 PM EST
    The prospect of another 4 years republican rule.

    I'm just not confident the (none / 0) (#72)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:37:02 PM EST
    leader is flexible enough to make the change; he's been deriding HRC for a long, long time; long before she became a Dem. candidate for Pres.

    Things Change (none / 0) (#76)
    by squeaky on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:55:57 PM EST
    And anyway,  we all will deride the new president, no matter what sex or color it is.

    Maybe not (5.00 / 0) (#125)
    by kenoshaMarge on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 07:03:50 AM EST
    Don't count on it. Some of us are old enough to remember what happened when Teddy Kennedy ran against incumbent Jimmy Carter. When the smoke had cleared, we got 8 years of Ronnie Reagan.

    Marge (5.00 / 0) (#130)
    by auntmo on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 10:00:36 AM EST
    Speaking  of  Teddy  Kennedy,  when Obama  was  asked   about   his "follow  the rules"  and make  superdelegates  follow the vote of  their  states,    asked  specifically  if  that meant  John Kerry  and Teddy Kennedy , as  superdelegates,   had  to  vote   Clinton,  since  she won their  state.....

    Obama  said  (paraphrased):   "Well,  we  can all   talk  about  these  things  when the time  comes."  

    Good  grief.


    Just Heard About That & (5.00 / 0) (#132)
    by kenoshaMarge on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 11:00:43 AM EST
    need to see what I can more I can find out about it. Guess it's just another one of those "Obama Rules". You know where there is one set of Rules for Hillary Clinton and another for Barak Obama.

    Oh and Mo, if you're a died-in-the-wool unreconstructed old feminist like me here's something you might enjoy reading. I found it inspiring.


    KMarge, isn't that piece incredible? (none / 0) (#147)
    by Cream City on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 02:40:03 PM EST
    I mentioned it to some of my students, and they're reading it in women's studies classes. . . .

    I also sent them the response by Laura Flanders -- I don't have the URL; sorry -- btw, to be balanced.  But her voice is so world-weary, lacking in similar passion about the wrongs we see all around us.  I wonder if she might write differently now, after this macaca moment by MSNBC and so many blogs?


    the other site i visit (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by kenosharick on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 08:46:29 PM EST
    (americablog)- where I have been nearly chased out for defending Clinton has mostly obama supporters wh swear they will NEVER vote for Hillary. They are so nasty and vicious that they have nearly put me off of supporting Obama if he wins the nom.

    I thought they'd pulled back on that? (5.00 / 0) (#20)
    by kangeroo on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:27:43 PM EST
    They've been that way recently?  Lemme guess, does this cartoon sum the experience up for you?

    T'would be funny (5.00 / 0) (#28)
    by magisterludi on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:33:49 PM EST
    if it wasn't so freaking true.

    Cartoon (5.00 / 0) (#133)
    by kenosharick on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 11:03:28 AM EST

    Know what you mean (5.00 / 0) (#124)
    by kenoshaMarge on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 07:01:56 AM EST
    I used to read Americablog every day. Now, not at all. These days it seems the Obama supporters loathe Hillary Clinton a lot more than any Republican. And because of attacks on them and their candidate Hillary supporters are beginning to loathe Obama.

    Don't count on all this going away once a candidate is selected. Old farts like me remember what happen when Teddy Kennedy helped to rend the Democratic Party when he was running against Jimmy Carter. Thanks to Teddy and his "machine", we got 8 years of Reagan.


    Tapper (none / 0) (#54)
    by echinopsia on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:14:20 PM EST
    TPM is not ignoring the sexism (none / 0) (#2)
    by dthurston on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 08:32:21 PM EST
    TPM is choosing to ignore NBC's egregious pattern of sexism.

    I don't see where you're getting that; TPM did earlier go into NBC's egregious sexism at least twice.  (Josh Marshall was saying or implying that it's weird to punish Shuster like this when Chris Matthews and others are so much worse.)  I think they're just misreading the letter.

    I also think the letter is fairly ambiguous on what proposed solution the Clinton camp wants.  I'm sure there's plenty of negotiation behind the scenes.

    On another note, has the Obama camp made any response to this?

    The misreading of the letter (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 08:44:40 PM EST
    and Josh's posts, the one you praise, actually DO ignore the pattern. I wrote about it earlier.

    The letter is ambiguous you say. Suppose you are right. What type of journalism would call for STATING EXPRESSLY that Clinton called for his firing when it EXPRESSLY does not?

    This misreading IGNORES the next sentence about the pattern of NBC's behavior.

    Your apologia for TPM is woefully weak imo.


    I have totally... (5.00 / 0) (#9)
    by magisterludi on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 08:56:30 PM EST
    lost respect for Marshall. He's become somewhat pathetic in his denials of allegiance to BHO.

    Do you remember (5.00 / 0) (#134)
    by kenoshaMarge on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 11:03:52 AM EST
    just before the California Primary when TPM had a story about the Clinton Campaign being guilty of push-polling? Then shortly after that they came back with "oops our bad, nothing there". Don't tell me all those smart people over there aren't well aware that once the accusation is out there someone will always believe it and repeat it and so on and on.

    Yes, that is very much the pattern (5.00 / 0) (#136)
    by MarkL on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 12:02:50 PM EST
    he runs hits against Hillary without checking the facts, over and over.

    TPM (none / 0) (#12)
    by carolyn13 on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:19:48 PM EST
    has a headline up saying "Clinton Camp Backing Off Firing Demands" The link takes you to this snide little piece on ABC.

    I think that's just Tapper's headline linked in. (none / 0) (#13)
    by Teresa on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:20:09 PM EST

    I'm not sure (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by carolyn13 on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:30:32 PM EST
    The headline on Tapper's piece is different.

    sorry, I must have clicked through on the (none / 0) (#27)
    by Teresa on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:33:34 PM EST
    wrong link?

    No excuse (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:20:42 PM EST
    And ot accurate actually (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:22:29 PM EST
    It is a TPM written headline based on reporting by the egregious Jake tapper.

    TPM is now a card carrying member of the Media, and just as disgracefully bad.

    You will be hearing aboutr this from me for the next week.

    TPM WAtch begins in earnest now.


    Go Get 'Em (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by BDB on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:58:27 PM EST
    I swear if I had the time, talent or inclination, I'd start a Blog Matters internet site.  

    It's going to be needed even after this primary cycle.  Everyone needs accountability.  And I'm not talking about insisting on them being objective, they're advocates after all.  I'm talking about insisting that folks don't lie and misrepresent things as part of their advocacy.  Failings most human beings have, frankly, which is why bloggers are no more immune than the MSM.


    Could you also (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Salt on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:27:25 PM EST
    get his to stop using Zogby polls?

    I'm glad I am not the only one who noticed (none / 0) (#86)
    by standingup on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 11:28:16 PM EST
    I think that is when I recognized there really was a bias for Obama.  

    When it comes to blogs, I'm convinced they (none / 0) (#31)
    by Teresa on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:36:01 PM EST
    are playing to their audience and hits.

    Agreed (none / 0) (#71)
    by Randinho on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:36:06 PM EST
    Including this one. Reading all this ugliness back and forth makes me miss John Edwards all the more. At least he stayed foucsed on the issues.

    I have read BTD (and Jeralyn) for years. (none / 0) (#73)
    by Teresa on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:41:54 PM EST
    They have always argued against hypocrisy. When the media starts treating Obama unfairly, you will see how consistent they are.

    So Have I (none / 0) (#75)
    by Randinho on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:54:42 PM EST
    And I agree with on Jeralyn, but I remember some threads and subsequent posts on Edwards by BTD that I thought were very unfair and harsh in a partisan manner.

    I agree Mark. Careful with your (none / 0) (#41)
    by Teresa on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:53:41 PM EST
    language though. Jeralyn has many professional readers and some words block her site.

    oh right.. i forgot. (none / 0) (#52)
    by MarkL on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:11:55 PM EST
    I don't care if that comment is deleted.

    Yup, it got deleted (none / 0) (#53)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:14:03 PM EST
    You can repost without the objectionable language.

    No problem.. I already said my (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by MarkL on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:20:12 PM EST
    piece in other comments.

    Another point: (none / 0) (#46)
    by MarkL on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:05:11 PM EST
    the use of "temporary" is most likely purely descriptive. Shuster is not going to be fired, so the options are that he apologizes credibly (which failed) or is temporarily suspended.

    Accurate discription of the suspension (none / 0) (#88)
    by standingup on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 11:32:48 PM EST
    as reported by Greg Sargent on Friday:

    Late Late Update: MSNBC spokesperson Jeremy Gaines tells me that Shuster's suspension is "temporary," adding that the length of it hasn't been determined.

    But when Hillary correctly calls it a temporary suspension, it is different?  Forrest....trees.  


    Correction - "description" n/t (none / 0) (#89)
    by standingup on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 11:38:13 PM EST
    My letter to TPM (none / 0) (#60)
    by rilkefan on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:23:20 PM EST
    Hi, I'm writing to try to explain your mistake in logic re the Clinton letter.  They say, A is not enough; you must do B. You then ignore the flow of meaning and look into A.  You then use the fact that you've elided B to make assumptions about the
    meaning of one of the adjectives in A (entirely and inconsistently ignoring the other parallel one).  Describing the suspension as "temporary" is simply factual, as far as we know.  Unless you
    want to argue that the letter is a poem and every word that can possibly be eliminated detracts from the impact of the work, you have nothing to base your claim on.  At best you could say the letter was ambiguous.  But you've even ruled that out.

    You've made a strained, partisan reading and insisted it is the only one possible.  It shakes my faith in your editorial ability.

    Are you a lawyer or a journo? (none / 0) (#68)
    by echinopsia on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:34:06 PM EST
    That was some fine parsing.

    Yes, much better than my emails--- (none / 0) (#70)
    by MarkL on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:35:55 PM EST
    but I was still correct:)
    By his reading, a heartfelt apology would suffice.
    He asked if I was saying that the two options were "heartfelt apology" and firing, to ridicule me, to which I responded that his interpretation was the one subject to reductio ad absurdum by this chain of reasoning.

    Parsing (none / 0) (#77)
    by rilkefan on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:57:41 PM EST
    Thanks, no, I'm a physicist, but also a poet.

    nice! i like that. (none / 0) (#107)
    by kangeroo on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 01:02:09 AM EST
    Very good letter. It's nice to see (none / 0) (#69)
    by MarkL on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 10:34:21 PM EST
    that people are making the same point---it adds credibility.
    As I was saying above, if you want to parse for meaning, then you should REMOVE "temporary", because it adds nothing to the meaning.

    I know 2 "brilliant journalists" (none / 0) (#78)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 11:00:11 PM EST
    who must have flunked reading comprehension!

    (Marshall and Tapper)

    ...or do they just hate Hillary that much.

    How many of us would put up with the BS the Clintons have endured and stay in politics?  Wow.

    How Many (none / 0) (#81)
    by squeaky on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 11:11:09 PM EST
    How many of us would put up with the BS the Clintons have endured and stay in politics?

    Lots of rpublicans. The plantation, as it was called.


    Ok, they're just lying (none / 0) (#79)
    by MarkL on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 11:07:43 PM EST
    I read the article linked at TPM, and saw that the Clinton camp explicitly stated they were not asking for Shuster to be fired, and yet Josh continues to assert otherwise:

    "After some conversations with folks at the Clinton campaign, I can offer some clarity -- maybe -- on what they're asking NBC/MSNBC to do.

    And despite Clinton's letter, saying David Martin Shuster's apology and suspension was not sufficient, Clinton's goal is not for NBC to fire Shuster, he and his fans will be happy to hear. Until Thursday, the Clinton campaign had no issues with Shuster, I'm told.

    The campaign says it has more to do with what it sees as a sexist, locker room, on-air atmosphere at MSNBC."

    FWIW (none / 0) (#85)
    by rilkefan on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 11:26:44 PM EST
    I think JMM genuinely believes he read the letter correctly.  Thus he presumably thinks that the Clinton camp has decided it looks bad to ask for Shuster's head - if he believes Tapper, which I have some reason to doubt.

    But it's bad journalism, as (none / 0) (#87)
    by MarkL on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 11:32:42 PM EST
    I noted in another comment: he doesn't even say anywhere on the front page that the Clinton's deny asking for Shuster's firing.
    Also, since when are all threats unambiguous? The best threats often have shades of meaning.

    No official word (none / 0) (#90)
    by rilkefan on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 11:39:26 PM EST
    It's just Tapper's say-so, isn't it?  And, well, he's not the most reliable guy judging from his recent performance.

    Not sure what you're arguing. (none / 0) (#92)
    by MarkL on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 11:41:32 PM EST
    Tapper at least claims to have talked to Clinton's people, and is linked on TPM---so why not mention this in his post?

    Josh Marshall Has Ruined His Reputation (none / 0) (#80)
    by xjt on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 11:08:48 PM EST
    Odd. He's the last one I would have expected to become a shill for someone and toss it all to the wind. But then think of Colin Powell holding up the vial of anthrax in front of the U.N....people who you really thought were level-headed turn out to surprise you in the weirdest ways.

    I just sent him ANOTHER email (none / 0) (#82)
    by MarkL on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 11:23:24 PM EST
    because I noticed, reading from a link at his own site, that the Clinton campaign denies that they are seeking Shuster's firing.
    It's just bad journalism to accuse Clinton of demanding a firing and not to note that her camp explicitly denies this.

    I agree he's the last one I would have (none / 0) (#83)
    by MarkL on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 11:24:20 PM EST
    expected to go this way.. and what about that "more pimpin" tag earlier today? That doesn't show a good attitude.

    FWIW (none / 0) (#98)
    by Heimyankel on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 12:04:48 AM EST
    My understanding was the same as Josh Marshall's.

    But the larger point is this entire matter is getting blown out of proportion. Yes, Shuster made a  terrible mistake but what is appropriate here? Should he lose his job? Should the injured party decide? I don't know but I'm curious to see how it's resolved.

    And yes, of course the Clintons have every right to be offended...as do all other decent people, but let's not draw and quarter David Shuster. In fairness, he's done some fine reporting and the totality of the man's work deserves some consideration as well.

    Reading here so far, all I've seen is overkill.

    Josh's reading is based on (none / 0) (#99)
    by MarkL on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 12:10:29 AM EST
    hyper-literal parsing, and fails by even that standard. The only fair point of agreement is that firing Shuster would be acceptable, but since the stated goal of the letter is to encourage MSNBC to change its ways, firing is obviously NOT the most desired goal.

    It's the difference (5.00 / 3) (#101)
    by andgarden on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 12:25:05 AM EST
    between "could be true" and "must be true." But when Marshall claims that it it's the latter, he's making an unfair inference.

    He needs to correct the record because a) there's another entirely plausible reason given in the letter and b) the Clinton campaign has apparently told him that the other reason was the reason.


    Right: if the Tapper post is credible (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by MarkL on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 12:34:58 AM EST
    enough to link to, then he should cite its contents in his post.

    The response was harsh (none / 0) (#100)
    by rilkefan on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 12:15:33 AM EST
    I've written here that the response to Shuster was harsh in context, as has BTD.  I would guess that that's the general view of readers here.  But if, as I think should be quite clear at least on reflection, the Clinton campaign didn't ask for his firing, I don't think your call is relevant.

    Josh definitely has a blind side- but put (none / 0) (#113)
    by thereyougo on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 02:31:09 AM EST
    his stamp of approval on the tortured logic....

    I also agree that the letter didn't advocate for a firing but called for correcting the Hillary bashing that has becomes institutionalized in the MSM starting with tweety( I think he's got diabetic issues that make him go hawywire proportional to his glucose). Suspension, the letter explains was not sufficient to stop this kind of 'reporting'or punditry, but a fundamental change is needed. I agree.

    TPM may be right (none / 0) (#114)
    by dc2008 on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 02:45:11 AM EST
    I don't know, it seems to me at a minimum that the Clinton letter is suggestive of the idea that Shuster should be fired, though I agree that it also goes into the larger criticism of MSNBC's operation as a whole.  I agree with Marshall that the Clinton team has a pretty strong understanding of the impact that words have.  Therefore I believe it is likely that they intended at a minimum for the question of whether Hillary Clinton wants Shuster fired to be one that got discussed.

    If you think that TPM should have reported the letter as being ambiguous and only possibly asking that Shuster be fired, as opposed to definitely asking for it, I might be willing to go along with that.  But the split between those two ideas is a finer one than what has been charged here, and hardly merits the over the top statements that have been made here about Marshall and TPM.

    I frankly think the TPM interpretation of the letter is one legitimate interpretation, and I find the tone here fairly surprising.

    Josh loses on the ambiguity of the letter. (none / 0) (#120)
    by ding7777 on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 04:47:30 AM EST
    Even after Tapper verifies the letter's intent was the pattern of behavior at MSNBC which needed addressed, Josh continues to cling to the "fatal flaw" in that arguement  (i.e, the word "temporary" to describe suspension).



    Legitimate Interpretation? (none / 0) (#127)
    by kenoshaMarge on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 08:40:53 AM EST
    Why would you find it surprising when so many of the posters have stated repeatedly that they do not think TPM's interpretation of the letter was correct? You evidently agree with TPM. Many of us do not.

    Our "tone" is consistent with people that are angered by their perception of dishonesty. Then once someone confronts Josh Michaels with what he has written, he is arrogantly dismissive and refuses to consider any other point of view. Not very "progressive" of him, is it? He is a major disappointment to many of us who once thought him an important voice in the Progressive Movement.


    Where is the arrogance? (none / 0) (#141)
    by dc2008 on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 01:48:36 PM EST
    The tone from so many here is what's arrogant.  I have not seen Marshall call anyone dishonest because they interpreted the Clinton letter differently from the way he does.  Yet numerous people here including one of the lead bloggers have called him that.

    There is not a slam dunk case on this question in either direction.  And therefore calling people dishonest because they have a different interpretation is the very essence of intellectual arrogance.

    Marshall has explained why he interprets it that way -- agree with his argument or not, it is a reasonable argument, and therefore his interpretation of the letter is one reasonable interpretation.

    The opposite interpretation is a reasonable one, but in my opinion the tone of both the original post here and the comments is not.  But you're free to take a different interpretation about that, and doing so won't make you dishonest.


    Need help here (none / 0) (#119)
    by LarryE on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 04:14:14 AM EST
    Since I assume we can do this without generating the ritualistic accusations that a position taken or, as here, a question asked, is proof of bias for or against a particular candidate, I'll get to the point.

    I have to say that the first thing I thought on reading the Clinton letter - which I found by following links from here, i.e., I read this post first - was yes, she wanted him fired. So if I'm to accept that was not the intention, I need someone to explain to me just what punishment it is that is more than a temporary suspension (which was not "sufficient") but less than being fired.

    Just to head off a few obvious responses, you ("you" being whoever cares to respond) can't say that by "temporary" she meant just a couple of days or something. By the argument made here the lack of the word "fire" makes it wrong to think that was meant, so the lack of a specified time limit on "temporary" makes it improper for you to assign one.

    You also can't say that it referred to the suspension that was imposed, because again that is interpreting the meaning, which is what is said can't be done.

    For the same reason, you can't propose a permanent suspension from on-air work while still employed as a writer, researcher, etc., because a reference to "on-air" was nowhere to be found so by your own argument you can't suggest it was intended.

    And don't even bother responding by saying I'm "avoiding the real issue" of sexism. A) You don't know me or my background and if you said such a thing to folks who do know me you'd be making a fool of yourself and B) it's not an answer to the question I asked.

    x (none / 0) (#126)
    by Mary Mary on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 08:10:05 AM EST
    You yourself have put forth three alternate explanations of what punishments the letter called for. Obviously, it's not clear to you, either.

    In which case, it would be best not to headline the piece to the effect that Clinton demands the man be fired, then claim that Clinton is backing off a demand that might have existed only in your own interpretation.

    In any case, since TPM has branched out into reporting, it seems to me that the author of the piece try to confirm with the Clinton campaign before running with it. Failing that, the tired-and-true "if, then" qualifier could have been employed ("if this is truly the case, then this is what I think").


    but these are all fairly fine-tuned issues (none / 0) (#142)
    by dc2008 on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 02:01:44 PM EST
    My point is that if we are discussing questions like whether a headline was the best one, whether an author fully distinguished what was an interpretation vs. a fact and did so at every stage that a topic was discussed, whether an author should have explicitly used a qualifier, whether an author should have contacted all the right people -- these are all good questions to ask, but they fall far short of justifying the kind of words and tone that I've seen here on this topic.  And whatever validity your arguments may have, in my opinion they are not at the slam dunk level where one should be willing to say that Marshall is categorically wrong as a result -- much less a liar.

    I leave the "slam dunks" to BTD. :-) (none / 0) (#148)
    by Mary Mary on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 02:54:27 PM EST
    I can't speak for the tones of others, and I certainly didn't call Josh Marshall a liar. I do, however, think he was wrong to run with that headline, and I do think it was weaselly to link to Jake Tapper to walk it back instead of doing so himself.  

    I also thought the picture that he has on his blog to illustrate his story was a bit one-sided; it's not one of Hillary's best shots, but Shuster looks like a choir boy.


    Wrong (none / 0) (#146)
    by LarryE on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 02:26:57 PM EST
    You yourself have put forth three alternate explanations of what punishments the letter called for.

    Wrong. I put forward one explanation I regard as correct and two others I specifically labeled as invalid.

    The point remains: The sentence that described a temporary suspension as not "sufficient" referred to David Shuster by name. It is quite a stretch to insist that the insufficient punishment did not also refer to him.

    So if I'm to accept that my understanding is incorrect, it must be possible to state a punishment that is greater than a temporary suspension but less than firing while remaining consistent with the claim that anything not specifically mentioned in the letter can't be considered (because the argument was that firing was not intended based precisely and solely on the fact that the particular word was not used).

    I asked what such a punishment could be. That question remains unanswered.


    My point (none / 0) (#149)
    by Mary Mary on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 03:03:52 PM EST
    You put forth three explanations. IMO, case closed, as refers to my original point. I don't KNOW that your "understanding is incorrect." I don't KNOW that mine is correct. Therefore, since there was some ambiguity, the article should not have had an unambiguous headline.

    AFAIR, there was no mention of "punishment" in the  letter. Here is the portion that contains the word "sufficient."

    Nothing justifies the kind of debasing language that David Shuster used and no temporary suspension or half-hearted apology is sufficient.

    That immediately segues into the sentence about MSNBC as a whole. No mention of punishment.

    I just believe my understanding of the letter is  closer to the writer's intent than yours is. Given that we have now another source indicating that the intent is closer to my understanding than yours, I wonder why you continue to argue this particular point.  


    Still wrong (none / 0) (#150)
    by LarryE on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 07:30:20 PM EST
    This will be my last on this.

    You put forth three explanations.

    Sure, if you consider advancing one valid explanation and pre-emptively shooting down two bogus ones as having "put forth three explanations." Calling that "case closed" is just hand-waving, brusquely brushing away an argument without dealing with it. It's an evasion.

    there was no mention of "punishment"

    Excuse me? A direct reference to Shuster (who was suspended) and to a "temporary suspension" as not being "sufficient" is not a reference to punishment? That's just plain silly; it's even sillier than the argument that there was no desire for Shuster to be fired because the particular word "fire" was not used. Apparently, the Bush DOJ is not the only place language can be parsed beyond the breaking point.

    I wonder why you continue to argue this particular point.

    Because the issue here isn't who was "right" about the "actual intent" (your claims for which rely entirely on the conviction that the Clinton campaign must be telling the unvarnished, pristine truth) but about whether or not it was reasonable to read that letter as calling for Shuster to be fired. Not only was that a reasonable read, I say it was the only reasonable read and that the following reference to the locker-room mentality at MSNBC was a second issue, saying "it's not just Shuster, either."

    Yet purely on the basis of reading it that way, people have been charged with crimes ranging from sloppy journalism to being blatant liars to misogyny in terms that were increasingly nasty and irrational. And that's not something anyone should less pass.


    It was a follow-up letter. (none / 0) (#121)
    by ding7777 on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 05:02:37 AM EST
    Another aspect we are missing, is that the letter is a follow-up to a conversation Hillary had with Mr. Capus.  

    It is in the context of what they previously discussed that matters in how this letter is interpreted.

    Hopefully, Mr. Capus will respond.