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The Ugly Side of Bob Herbert
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It honestly takes everything I have to read Herbert. Not because he's incisive or compelling in his rhetoric. Not because he speaks 'truth to power'. But because he is such an obvious spinmiester.

Rarely do I get past 3 paragraphs of a Herbert piece before I throw my hands up in utter disgust and find something else to read.

Sometimes, however, he manages to get below even his low standards for honesty.

Today's op/ed is, as usual, riven with half-truths, emotional nonsense, innuendo, and revisionist history. If Bob Herbert didn't have those "tools" with which to twist his words, he'd essentially have nothing to talk about.

Instead of concentrating on the whole article let's look at a couple of points (and no this isn't to defend the GOP, it's to discuss the basic dishonesty of this particular writer).

First he addresses a Congressional representative for DC:
The G.O.P. has spent the last 40 years insulting, disenfranchising and otherwise stomping on the interests of black Americans. Last week, the residents of Washington, D.C., with its majority black population, came remarkably close to realizing a goal they have sought for decades — a voting member of Congress to represent them.

A majority in Congress favored the move, and the House had already approved it. But the Republican minority in the Senate — with the enthusiastic support of President Bush — rose up on Tuesday and said: “No way, baby.”

At least 57 senators favored the bill, a solid majority. But the Republicans prevented a key motion on the measure from receiving the 60 votes necessary to move it forward in the Senate. The bill died.
Note his appeal to majoritarianism. Screw the Constitution, which clearly says that representation will be apportioned among the 'states', of which Washington DC isn't one. You'd think someone who has reported on government his entire life would understand that the document exists for a reason and that its provisions are the law of the land.

Instead we get a good (and usual) dose of blame placing wrapped in emotionalism and racism (you have to read the whole article to pick up on that) and not a cool analysis of why the Republicans actually opposed the bill (and have opposed it for decades).

If DC wants a Congressional rep, then the Constitution needs to be amended. Herbert knows that, but it's easier to throw out this race baiting tripe than actually confront the real issue.

Then we're treated to this:
At the same time that the Republicans were killing Congressional representation for D.C. residents, the major G.O.P. candidates for president were offering a collective slap in the face to black voters nationally by refusing to participate in a long-scheduled, nationally televised debate focusing on issues important to minorities.

The radio and television personality Tavis Smiley worked for a year to have a pair of these debates televised on PBS, one for the Democratic candidates and the other for the Republicans. The Democratic debate was held in June, and all the major candidates participated.

The Republican debate is scheduled for Thursday. But Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson have all told Mr. Smiley: “No way, baby.”

They won’t be there. They can’t be bothered debating issues that might be of interest to black Americans. After all, they’re Republicans.
Of course Herbert never mentions the fact that last Sunday, the day that Hillary Clinton was appearing on Fox News Sunday and 4 other shows, the Congressional Black Caucus's "long-scheduled" debate on Fox was supposed to be airing.

But "no way baby". Democratic presidential candidates, bowing to the likes of, DailyKos and most likely Bob Herbert, refused to honor the CBC by appearing on that network. But that, apparently isn't considered a "slap in the face to black voters".

Additionally, thus far the Republican candidates have mostly refused to engage in the special interest group pander-fests Democrats have willingly engaged in. Instead they've kept their debates more general in focus.

As for the Democrats, they've pandered to everyone who will listen to them. Well, except for that time when they refused a Native American debate after doing one for gays, blacks and hispanics. Is that a "slap in the face of Native American voters" Mr. Herbert?

And to add the final nail to the coffin of his credibility, Herbert says:
Republicans improperly threw black voters off the rolls in Florida in the contested presidential election of 2000, and sent Florida state troopers into the homes of black voters to intimidate them in 2004.
In a word, "BS". Thoroughly debunked and utter nonsense. But you can count on Herbert repeating such myths when they're useful to his poisonous rhetoric.

Race baiting, emotionalism and spin are all Herbert has. And frankly they and he are getting tiresome.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

prevented a key motion on the measure from receiving the 60 votes necessary to move it forward in the Senate.
But Erb told me that 60 votes WEREN’T needed. Doesn’t that mean Erb isn’t even as smart as Herbert? Ouch.
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Given the falling revenues, I think there are more and more people throwing up their hands in disgust after reading the NYT.
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
The Democratic Party has spent the last 40 years insulting, disenfranchising and otherwise stomping on the interests of black Americans, who nontheless continue to throw their votes away while allowing themselves to be taken for granted
That’s more accurate. Herbert proves what I always say- black america’s true problem america. They self-marginalize worse than any hooded hillbillies or institutional racists could ever do to them

Written By: shark
URL: http://
He’s one of the reasons I stopped reading that rag of a paper. I got sick of being accused of being a racist every Monday morning.
Written By: Veeshir
URL: http://
I was going to propose a reverse sort of Times Select. Let me pay somebody to keep a small group of columnists out of my mailbox and away from the web sites I read. I would pay to never read nor read mention of Herbert, Krugman, the late and unlamented Ivens, Young and a couple other similar vessels of bile.

It’s the next killer app.

Life is far too short to waste on people for whom nothing is ever good, right, decent, wise or generous. Ann Landers said something on a related topic that rang true. "Why would you let these people live in your mind, rent free?"
Written By: MarkD
URL: http://
Screw the Constitution, which clearly says that representation will be apportioned among the ’states’, of which Washington DC isn’t one.

The Constitution says, "The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states. ..." It doesn’t say "... by the people of the FIFTY states." Looks to me like 37 out of 40 U.S. states have congressional representation in violation of the Constitution.

... the document exists for a reason and ... its provisions are the law of the land.

I agree, but have a question: Does this apply to all provisions of the Constitution, or just the ones that effectively disenfranchise black people?
Written By: Kathy
That should have been 37 out of 50 states, of course. :-)
Written By: Kathy
Herbert is a johnny-one-note third-rater who is the uncle tom totem on the NYT Op-Ed page.

The reason you never see Herbert on TV shows isn’t because he’s "speaking truth to power," it’s because he is STUPID!
Written By: daveinboca
Kathy: Uh... I’m pretty sure you’re trying to make a joke, but I confess I don’t get it, or even how it’s supposed to be a joke in any way.

So, maybe you’re actually serious. On that hypothesis, let’s try some textual analysis:

"The several states" means "all the states, individually" (See meaning 2.), in its plain English meaning in the usage of the day, its plain English meaning today, and, as far as I know, in all analysis and interpretation of the clause by all parties at all times.

There simply isn’t any confusion about that clause or what it means.

It does not mean "those states that existed at the time of writing and no other ones", or "some of the states to be selected randomly", or "whatever the hell Kathy is talking about as some weird attempt to make a joke or some attempt at a political point that fell totally flat".

See, people talked funny 220-odd years ago, but some of us today can still divine the clear meaning of their antiquated writings.

(And, er, what "effectively disenfranchises black people"? Will this pseudo-objection go away in a few years when DC isn’t majority black anymore?

It’s already just under 55%, and if current trends continue, will be under 50% by, oh, 2012.)
Written By: Sigivald
URL: http://
I don’t see how anyone could accuse the party of Macacas of racism. Frankly, it’s astonishing.
Written By: jpe
URL: http://
Kathy: Uh... I’m pretty sure you’re trying to make a joke, but I confess I don’t get it, or even how it’s supposed to be a joke in any way.
One visit to her blog will dispel this notion.
Written By: Terry
URL: http://

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