to bobby

so i'm reading the common ills mid-morning post and thinking it's really strong, thinking props to christine for the great essay at ms. musing. thinking 'yea codepink!' and thinking cindy sheehan rocks. and of course dahr jamail reigns supreme in my book. and the daily howler's not included because it hadn't posted yet.

so i head on over to the daily howler and i cannot believe it.

somerby, what's going on?

I'll put flowers at your feet and I will sing to you so sweet
And hope my words will carry home to your heart

somerby's pissing all over the people who feel karl rove did something wrong.

not a tinkle, mind you, this is a horse piss splattering everything on the left and near left and probably spilling over to the center.

bobby, what's going on here?

You left us marching on the road and said how heavy was the load
The years were young, the struggle barely had its start

okay, we got it a long time ago. no 1 could go the howler back during the '16 words' in the state of the union address without grasping that bobby really hated joe wilson. we got that.

it's confusing because bobby loves all things al gore and wilson was involved, loosely, in gore's campaign. so it's confusing that bobby feels the need to attack wilson over and over. and let's not kid here, it's an attack:

Almost surely, Rove thought Wilson was a kook and an asshole. Unfortunately, it isn’t clear he was wrong.

so i call up c.i. and say i'm calling about the daily howler and c.i. says 'it wasn't up or it would have been included, it will be noted tonight.'

i guess a lot of people had already e-mailed about it?

'a ton of people. all mad at what's up there. some congratulate me for skipping it. i didn't skip it. it was not up. i held the post for 30 minutes waiting for it to go up and kept checking to see if it was up yet. i had a meeting and that had to go up then or it wouldn't be up. now some members think that i didn't include him on purpose and they're happy about it.'

what does c.i. think about it?

'well the issue really isn't joe wilson. the issue is rove and plame.'

what about what's up there?

'he goes by the public record, he's very much by the record and that's what he goes by. i don't know what else to say.'

but his record includes the weekly standard?

'i know. i don't know why david corn's work in the nation isn't noted if somerby's going to include the opinion journal the weekly standard. that puzzles me but i haven't read the weekly standard piece.'

and won't.

'of course not. it's goes against everything i believe in and i won't give them my web traffic.'

somerby brings up the senate report.

'without noting that there are qualifiers to the report. such as the thing buzzflash noted by wilson. susan schmitt's article is wrong and i'm surprised it's noted. the chris matthews thing was mentioned earlier in the week and that's public record in my opinion but i'm guessing somerby feels wilson lacks trusts so he's disqualifying that as well.'

the chris matthews thing is when matthews tells wilson that he was told it was open season on valerie plame. that is public record. and chris matthews has never denied it.

what about the diane rehm comments?

'ruth's already called me about that. i told her that the ruth's morning edition report is her space and she can do whatever she wants with it. between that at the top and wilson throughout i'm not sure what i'll be able to pull quote and i know whatever it is, i'll hear about it in e-mails.'

so why quote it at all?

'he's an important voice. just because we disagree in this instance doesn't mean he gets ignored. you know i think he does great work and you know that the whole point is to steer people to places where they can learn information. i don't agree with this and it's not like with the thing on katrina [vanden heuvel] where i could see it as katrina's speaking of things that are true but not in the public record somerby's going by. i don't know what to t-- you're not going to write on this, are you?'

at which point conversation ended on that topic. even with my offer of 'super duper, triple decker, deep background.' (which did make c.i. laugh.)

yes, i am writing on it because it needs to be dealt with.

first, since c.i. and i spoke susan schmitt's article has already resulted in a correction at the bottom of the piece. atrios apparently e-mailed somerby about that.

i use the link to go over to atrios. i note he's now billing his site as an online magazine which is a joke about the rights of bloggers vs. the press. bloggers apparently have no rights. which may make c.i. smarter for maintaining for some time that the common ills is not a blog (it's a 'resource/review' for a community).

that's been corrected so i'll let it go but note that there are so many things wrong with bobby's post.

Do you hear the voices in the night, Bobby?
They're crying for you
See the children in the morning light, Bobby
They're dying

and voices do cry out for bobby. he's an astute critic. but he's wrong here. the children dying?
let's be real honest, bobby hasn't spent a great deal of time addressing the press coverage of the war. or the 'live from the green zone' reporting. or dexter filkins. (i agree with c.i. 100% on dexter filkins' november reporting on fallujah. it will haunt him for the rest of his life and history will not be kind to it.)

pull joe wilson out of the search results and you're not see a great deal of critiquing of the war coverage.

i don't know why that is. nor am i suggesting bobby doesn't care about it.

but i am saying that with bobby's strengths, his critique of the war coverage would be very useful. instead, we're back on joe wilson.

when the common ills community was angered by the slams on katrina vanden heuvel, c.i. stated that somerby's concerned with the public record and katrina's concerned with social justice. (as is c.i.)

but bobby's not going by the public record in slamming joe wilson, he's going by parts of it.

he's noting the new york post and the weekly standard.

i don't know if this is a grudge fuck against joe wilson or what. but c.i. was correct (before the clam up when it was realized i would be writing about this), the issue isn't joe wilson.

the right tries to make it about joe wilson. it doesn't matter what joe wilson did or said. he could dance naked in washington square and it still wouldn't be about him.

the issue is that valerie plame was outed. and we know karl rove was involved.

bobby wants to act like that's not true. bobby should look into the law.

none of his attacks on joe wilson change what karl rove did. elaine called me and said 'turn on nightly news!' i groan (i hate brian williams) but do. they've got a former c.i.a. guy who's explaining that it doesn't matter if karl knew or not, due to his position he knew he should make a call before discussing it.

there's no way to hide behind attacks on joe wilson on that. or on the law.

and while c.i.'s going ballistic on the press for not getting an opinion on the law (they rely on the robert novak's gal pal vicky toejam, as c.i.'s dubbed her, to tell what the law means - she's hardly a disinterested party - a critique that in other times bobby might make).

where's bobby on that? where's bobby saying the press needs to tell the readers, viewers and listeners what the law means? bobby's silent on that while he continues to go after joe wilson.

bobby, we get it. you don't like wilson. now can you move on to something matters?

No one could say it like you said it, we'd only try and just forget it
You stood alone upon the mountain till it was sinking

taking on the press is where you should be. you're not there. you've got a hard on to grudge fuck joe wilson from here to tomorrow. is that the most important thing right now?

knowing ruth was upset i called her. are you going to write about it? 'i don't know. i talked to tracey [ruth's granddaughter] and she heard the show with me. we didn't think it was the 'hey rube' that he did. and if i do write about it, i will be talking about that and i will be talking about npr's pass during the 2004 presidential campaign. rebecca, you know that only c.i. and buzzflash raised that issue. it was a huge press error and 1 npr never addressed. how do you cover the mainstream news day in and day out and not address that conflict of interest even now?'

so you're going to be writing about it?

'i asked c.i. and to every question, i was told "it is your space, use it the way you see fit." which means write what you want, it will go up and you will be supported.'

but it's not exactly a request for the topic?

'no. i was surprised that mr. somerby is also apparently unaware that morning edition had not done 1 report on the topic this week until wednesday. they're a morning news show. it's all over the tv and papers monday and tuesday but they're silent until wednesday.'

what's your feelings regarding the commentary on joe wilson?

'i think mr. somebery needs to stop trying to be so literal. and i think it's an interesting sort of literal. obviously valerie plame did not send joe wilson on the mission as the drag king, tracey's term, claims. but does mr. somerby address that? no. he wants to rip into every statement by joe wilson but he wants to offer up the right wing drag king to dispute wilson and lets her off with a pass of "more right than wrong." she is not more right. the public record does not demonstrate that valerie plame was in charge of who went on the mission and who didn't. to let that stand without comment is suprising to me because mr. somberby can be such an academic. but with regards to mr. wilson, mr. somerby will search high and low through the right wing to find an attack on mr. wilson to back up his own attacks.'

i couldn't have said it better myself.

And in a frenzy we tried to reach you
With looks and letters we would beseech you

whatever his problems with joe wilson, he's not helping any 1 with his attacks. this story is not about wilson. he is supposed to be critiquing the press and he's off on a side road while the real story is playing out on the highway. highway 61 revisted?

ruth knows she can write whatever she wants and it will go up. she also knows, as do i, that if c.i. thinks bobby is taking a stand, c.i. will give him credit for not running with the pack.

that's great that bobby doesn't run with the pack. c.i. noted this week that the easiest thing, after friday's howler proved so popular and was linked all over the web, would be to churn out another 1 just like it. instead bobby went to a point that he knew would bring him criticism. that is brave, i agree with c.i.

but there is a big issue here and bobby is bogged down on wilson.

to the point that he's minimizing the outing of valerie plame as he rushes to offer that maybe karl rove had reasons to see joe wilson as a kook or asshole. bobby, who's that helping?

c.i. respects bobby and c.i. roots for the underdog. i'm wondering what will be pulled for a quote over at the common ills. something will be. and if you're a member and you're angry, realize that c.i. doesn't abandon people just because of a disagreement of opinion.

when bobby raises a valid point (and most of the time that's what he does), there's no 'well this will offend some on the left so we won't spotlight it.' c.i. notes it every day. the daily howler will always be noted there. not just linked to but noted. and c.i. will refer to something bobby said in other entries. so members who are upset better realize it's happening. and that asking c.i. to dump the daily howler is only going to make c.i. see bobby as more of an underdog.

i link to the daily howler on my blog roll. (my magazine roll? should i follow atrios's lead?)

i agree with c.i. that bobby's an important voice. but i also think he's dead wrong here. c.i. probably does too. but if it looks like there's an attack on bobby, c.i.'s not going to join in. so save the e-mails because if you're really upset with bobby (and i am), e-mailing c.i. is not going to make bobby go away. and if you make personal attacks on bobby in the e-mails or dismiss him completely, the result will most likely be that c.i. will start highlighting previous posts by bobby to demonstrate a) that there's no backing off bobby just because he's angered some and b) that bobby is a valid critic with strong skills.

i agree that bobby's talented. even immensly so. i just don't agree that he's right about this. i don't mean that he's wrong about wilson. as with judy miller, joe wilson isn't that important to me. where i think he's wrong is that in the midst of a huge press feeding frenzy, he wants to focus on two years ago as opposed to offering criticques on developments currently. (for example, the fact that the press has yet to explain the law to the people without going by vicky toejam's reading of it.)

wilson's the story to the right wing. miller and cooper are the story to the journalists. at a time like this where bobby is needed is to walk in and put the spotlight on the real issues: the outing of valerie plame and the press's failure to responsibly explain the law to the audience.

Never knowing what, where or how you were thinking
Do you hear the voices in the night, Bobby?
They're crying for you
See the children in the morning light, Bobby
They're dying

there are bigger issues. and bobby's usually up for them and then some. for whatever reason he's now focused on joe wilson and like a dog with a bone he's not letting go.

Perhaps the pictures in the Times could no longer be put in rhymes
When all the eyes of starving children are wide open
You cast aside the cursed crown and put your magic into a sound
That made me think your heart was aching or even broken

bobby doesn't get 1/2 the respect he deserves. i'll be the 1st to admit it. but i'll also be the 1st to say 'this is nonsense' when it's nonsense.

if bobby truly believes joe wilson is a kook and an asshole, what does that have to do with anything? does that allow for karl rove to out valerie plame?


does that make karl rove's actions okay?


others are sitting down for a meal and bobby's off in the tv room snacking.

today's daily howler is a waste of time. (again, i'm really curious what c.i.'s going to find to excerpt.) and it's a waste of time because joe wilson is not the issue. judith miller isn't even the issue. if this were day 1, i wouldn't say anything. certainly bobby's earned the right to be off a game or 2. but this is day 3.

3 days of wasted time. 3 days of an important critic going over his grudge fuck of joe wilson yet again. it needs to stop because the daily howler is starting to turn into a john simon review of barbra streisand on a daily basis. (yes, i am an arts & leisure gal.)

bobby would probably argue that wilson has given the non administration view for the last 2 years. yes, he has. and if bobby has a problem with wilson's view, it's all the more important that he find some 1 else on this topic. someone not from the new york post and not from the weekly standard.

the topic's more important than joe wilson.

But if God hears my complaint
He will forgive you
And so will I, with all respect, I'll just relive you

my intent is to splash some cold water on his face. (or to pull a cher and slap him while saying 'snap out of it!') the daily howler is not supposed to be trivial. it's risking becoming that as he bends over backwards to prop up the right wing to further his own problems with joe wilson.

And likewise, you must understand these things we give you
Like these flowers at your door and scribbled notes about the war

We're only saying the time is short and there is work to do
And we're still marching in the streets with little victories and big defeats
But there is joy and there is hope and there's a place for you

the lyrics throughout this are from joan baez's 'to bobby.' her song to bob dylan. i think it's an appropriate comparison. he can be our strongest voice, our strongest critic, our most sensible.
but right now he's focusing on minor issues when the story's long since moved elsewhere.

And you have heard the voices in the night, Bobby
They're crying for you
See the children in the morning light, Bobby
They're dying