One of the first blogs I started reading with any regularity was The Daily Howler by Bob Somerby. It was the first blog to be added to the blog roll of CFLF in 2003 and it remains to this day a near flawlessly executed example of how to exercise one’s voice in the political process. At the time I could not tell you why I liked Somerby’s writing other than to say that it seemed intellectually honest, well informed and passionate. These are characteristics I admire in any writer but particularly in a political writer in a time when just about everyone has something to say and most of what is said is a veiled attempt to either say something else or intentionally avoid telling the whole story in order to further their own agenda.
Well, today I stumbled across a post in my RSS feed from The Daily Howler which seems to perfectly encapsulate the Somerby I have grown to enjoy so much and validates that my initial reaction to him was accurate and still holds true. It is in essence a defense of Bob’s having nailed the media to a wall all these years for being shallow and crass and all too wrapped up in themselves to realize the damage they do when their lazy fifth grade selves come out to play around campaign time. It is also an honest attack on what has become known as “the professional left” in the form of TNR’s Jonathan Chait and Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum for their silence all these years on the matter of the truth behind the very public dismantling of candidate Al Gore and their new found willingness to speak the truth as though they had been doing so for the past decade.
It is entitled, “TELLING THE TRUTH TWELVE YEARS LATER! Jonathan Chait told the truth very slowly. Kevin Drum brought in The Snide” and it is well worth 10 minutes of your day. Just a snip…
Krugman said this about that, quite correctly: “Indeed: the treatment of Gore in the 2000 race should be taught as a lesson in journalistic malpractice.”
That’s absolutely accurate. That said, we think Chait is a very strange apostle for this creed, for reasons we will explain below. We might not even have cared about that, but Kevin Drum decided to bring out The Snide in his own remarks about Chait’s post. So cheeky! Kevin offered this pathetic reference to the person who reported and described this problem in real time, when it was actually happening, not a safe twelve years later:
DRUM (5/13/11): Mitt Romney is a panderer who’s shifted his positions repeatedly as the sweet spot for the Republican nomination has shifted. But that was never Al Gore’s problem. Gore’s problem was that, as politicians go, he was a perfectly decent but not especially sociable guy. So the press didn’t care for him much. But instead of simply reporting occasionally that he was a serious but not especially sociable guy, they turned on him like a pack of hyenas and insisted that every word out of his mouth, every stitch of clothing he wore, and every story told about him was part of a carefully calculated, meticulously constructed political persona. It was a feeding frenzy. See Bob Somerby for several million more words on this.
Sorry, Kevin. As folk who admire your overall work, we’ll suggest you take that “several million words” and shove them right up your keister. Kevin’s quite good at The Snide in this post; like Chait, he’s also quite good at telling the truth twelve years later, when it’s finally safe to do so. But as the person who wrote those “several million words”—as the person who wrote quite a few of those words in real time—we thought we might take this opportunity to explain why we did so.
It only get’s better, give it a read.
Oh, and if you wish to get a sneak peek (five chapters and counting) into Bob’s upcoming book be sure to check out:
How he got there
The press corps’ war against Candidate Gore:
How George W. Bush reached the White House.