It’s been common for a few years to observe that Democrats and Republicans barely talk with each other anymore, but if you believe Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall, these days the two parties aren’t even truly fighting with each other.
In a Tuesday blog post, Marshall claimed that each party now is “operating in [its] own political universe.” In one universe, President Obama ignores obstructionist GOPers and uses his executive powers to accomplish what he can; in the other, Republicans and their media allies are less concerned with thwarting Obama than with revving up their base, largely by flogging Benghazi and other scandals.
Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall contended Thursday that there's been a "relatively consistent pattern" of conservatives lionizing those who "hat[e] or insult...some historically or currently discriminated against group." Some of these newly minted right-wing heroes, Marshall argued, lead with their bigotry; others gain fame for "being kind of nuts" and their bigotry emerges later.
Marshall opined that Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson definitely would belong in such a group, but added that he's "on the fence" about whether Dr. Ben Carson would qualify.
Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall thinks that one of the reasons many conservatives despise President Obama is that he's black, but that's basically a micro-issue. The macro version, Marshall contends, is that Republicans' race-based detestation of Obama is inseparable from their discomfort with an increasingly multiracial Democratic party. In fact, Marshall argues that their "crazy...aggrieved and intense" efforts to hobble President Clinton stemmed in large part from their belief that Clinton was committed to the ideals of the civil-rights movement.
The mainstream media typically pay a great deal of attention to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. In the past few days, two prominent lefty bloggers have ventured to explain why.
In a post this past Saturday, the last day of CPAC 2014, Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall asserted that the top two reasons the conference gets a lot of media coverage are that its proximity to Washington makes it "an easy and cheap decision" for news outlets "to send at least one reporter and often many," and that:
It's always interesting when liberals disagree on something because each one believes he or she is always 100 percent correct on any issue, a stance that often leads to fiery confrontations and personal attacks.
The latest example of this concept is the angry Twitter debate between Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith and Talking Points Memo founder Josh Marshall over an article entitled “7 Things Democrats Would Have Freaked Out About if Bush Had Done Them.”
Chris Matthews has yet to condemn Democratic Wisconsin State Representative Gordon Hintz for yelling "You're f–ing dead!" at Republican State Representative Michelle Litjens during a legislative session on Friday, but the Hardball host did find the time, on Tuesday's show, to slam Speaker of the House John Boehner for engaging in "Glenn Beck talk" about guns.
Matthews, initially teasing a guest for using the word "lethal" in a discussion about recent poll numbers on the Wisconsin budget battle, chided: "In the media world, I think we all agreed...after the horror in Arizona that we weren't gonna...use ballistic terms." The MSNBC host then segued into a clip of Boehner making a gun reference, after which he railed: "What is this Glenn Beck talk?...That's how Glenn talks. 'I'm gonna put a gun to your head' and all this!" This led Huffington Post's Howard Fineman to tag in: "Well when John Boehner back slides, he really back slides."
To review, a Democrat man cursing at a Republican woman "You're f--ing dead" isn't worth mentioning in Matthews' mind, but if you dare make a political metaphor referring to weapons (something Matthews himself has done) that's objectionable.
On Monday's Hardball Chris Matthews, who devoted much of last week's shows to Egypt, got caught up on some conservative bashing as he mocked those who attended CPAC as "zany" and likened the conference to a "carnival act." The MSNBC host, joined by fellow liberals David Corn of Mother Jones magazine and Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, led the show by describing the event as a "right wing jamboree that puts the zany in the same room as the zanier."
Chris Matthews on Thursday got another thrill going up his leg, but this time it wasn't for President Obama.
During a "Hardball" segment dealing with Sen. Joe Lieberman's (D-Conn.) announcement to not seek reelection in 2012, Matthews told Josh Marshall, the editor and founder of the perilously liberal website Talking Points Memo, "I'm falling in love with you" (video follows with transcript):
A frustrated Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's Hardball, chided the left for being disappointed in Barack Obama as he essentially told them, he's the best they've got and are going to get. During a segment in which the Salon's Joan Walsh and Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall wondered why Obama and Joe Biden were admonishing their base to stop whining, Matthews took up for Team Obama as he tried to calm down the lefties: "This president has done what we were all taught in graduate school to do, what progressives have believed in from years and years, decades ago...You compensate for the loss of consumer spending and business investment with government spending...No one has had a better idea since the 1930s. Number two, The Wall Street crowd needed governing. They didn't have any, now they've got some. Number three, he's pushed for progressive taxation, he's going after the rich. He's not giving them their tax cut." [audio available here]
At the end of his program, a desperate sounding Matthews listed a bunch of races Democrats still had a chance in, and then pleaded to the left to unify behind those candidates because "the bad guys are gaining." (video & audio of "Let Me Finish" segment below the fold)
The following exchange was aired on the September 28 edition of Hardball:
New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller penned a letter to the New York Review of Books, in reply to a Michael Massing article on the Internet and the news business. After defending his paper's Internet presence, Keller found a blog he actually likes, praising left-wing blogger-journalist Josh Marshall, who operates the Talking Points Memo blog.
I've long been an admirer of the best practitioners of Web journalism, including many of the familiar faces Massing introduces to the Review's readers. My respect for Josh Marshall, to cite everyone's favorite example of a serious journalism venture born online, is all the greater because his success remains, so far, a rarity and a struggle.
At least one media outlet is bucking the field's bleak economic outlook: The left-wing blog Talking Points Memo. On Monday, Noam Cohen reported in the New York Times that TPM has received funding from outside investors that will result in a doubling of staff, and may include some veteran mainstream journalists.
The political news Web site Talking Points Memo this weekend completed a round of investment, of $500,000 to $1 million. The move is intended to increase the number of employees, to roughly 20, from the current 11, in the next 10 months.
The financing is the first part of a three-year plan to increase the site's staff to 60 employees, Joshua Micah Marshall, the site's founder, said in an interview at his offices on West 20th Street in New York.
Marshall, who in TPM's early days (the blog was launched during the Florida recount fight of Election 2000) was less reflexively anti-Republican than today, has beefed up the once-humble blog to include TPM café, a discussion site, and TPM Muckraker, an investigative site almost exclusively devoted to conservative scandal-mongering.
Although the established media often rails against bloggers, Marshall is an exception. As Cohen reported back in February 2008, Marshall won the media's George Polk Award for legal reporting for his work on the Bush administration firing eight U.S. attorneys under what TPM and other liberals claimed were politically motivated circumstances -- a perfectly legal effort that was nonetheless considered scandalous by mainstream media.