Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Howling Like It's 2009

It is, or was recently, a great day for the internets: Bob Somerby's incomparable Daily Howler has finally tacked on an RSS feed so it can be picked up in the aggregator of your choice.*

Add that one to your regular rotation but only if you want to understand the ways of big-name political pundits and opinion-setting news media in the USA. Somerby has a distinctive style that you'll either love or merely endure -- same goes for all of us, I suppose -- but he consistently brings the knowledge and insight.

Here's a reasonably representative passage from Somerby (posted 1/7/09), discussing Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert:

Alas! "Tim believed the small, telling detail can say a great deal about the larger failings or vulnerabilities of a politician," Brokaw reports. Sadly, this belief has led us down the path to ruin in recent decades. In recent decades, public ciphers like Russert and Brokaw have persistently peddled Silly Group Stories built around "small, telling details"--small details said to help us see some Big Major Pol's tragic failings. Often these details were patently ludicrous: John Kerry ordered the wrong kind of cheese for his cheesesteak! Often, these details were factually bogus: Al Gore said he discovered Love Canal! (The press corps repeated this crap for a month, although it was patently false.). But transparent losers like Brokaw and Russert have dined out on such silly stories for decades. Way back in 1972, Ed Muskie cried about his wife Jane --until it turned out, twenty-four years later, that he quite probably hadn't. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/28/07.

By now, you'd almost think that people like Brokaw would have been shamed, by public events, into dropping this practice of telling these stories. But there he was, in the Times magazine, recalling yet another take with a "small, telling detail." Good God! Some politician "spent part of every year on Nantucket"--and while he was there, he didn't wear socks! To people as foolish as Brokaw and Russert, this is the sort of "telling detail" which lets us peer into pols' souls.
I'm not sure when The Daily Howler added an RSS feed but I am so glad it did.

* FWIW, I am still devoted to google reader until something better comes along.


Brian Moon said...

Along those same lines, I only noticed this week that Digby has added an RSS feed to her blog, too. Not sure when that happened but am glad to see her, and Somerby, finally catch up to the rest. :)

Dale said...

Brian, yes. Hullabaloo is a keeper ... but they seem to have something amiss with their feed. The titles never seem to come through properly.

But yes, a great blog -- one of the best for politics.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

It's about time. Somersby's a national treasure ... writes trenchant political commentary only as a liberal former standup comic can (at least I heard he did standup)

Into my rss reader it goes.