The Gatekeepers


Matt Taibbi lets the mask slip:

Here’s the thing: Sanders is a politician whose power base is derived almost entirely from the people of the state of Vermont, where he is personally known to a surprisingly enormous percentage of voters.

His chief opponents in the race to the White House, meanwhile, derive their power primarily from corporate and financial interests. That doesn’t make them bad people or even bad candidates necessarily, but it’s a fact that the Beltway-media cognoscenti who decide these things make access to money the primary factor in determining whether or not a presidential aspirant is “viable” or “credible.”


The Washington/national press has trained all of us to worry about these questions of financing on behalf of candidates even at such an early stage of a race as this.

In this manner we’re conditioned to believe that the candidate who has the early assent of a handful of executives on Wall Street and in Hollywood and Silicon Valley is the “serious” politician, while the one who is merely the favorite of large numbers of human beings is an irritating novelty act whose only possible goal could be to cut into the numbers of the real players.

Sanders offers an implicit challenge to the current system of national electoral politics. With rare exceptions, campaign season is a time when the backroom favorites of financial interests are marketed to the population. Weighed down by highly regressive policy intentions, these candidates need huge laboratories of focus groups and image consultants to guide them as they grope around for a few lines they can use to sell themselves to regular working people.

Sanders on the other hand has no constituency among the monied crowd. “Billionaires do not flock to my campaign,” he quipped. So what his race is about is the reverse of the usual process: he’ll be marketing the interests of regular people to the gatekeeping Washington press, in the hope that they will give his ideas a fair shot.

It’s a little-known fact, but we reporters could successfully sell Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or any other populist candidate as a serious contender for the White House if we wanted to. Hell, we told Americans it was okay to vote for Barack Obama, a man who moves his lips when he reads.

But the lapdog mentality is deeply ingrained and most Beltway scribes prefer to wait for a signal from above before they agree to take anyone not sitting atop a mountain of cash seriously.

Thus this whole question of “seriousness” – which will dominate coverage of the Sanders campaign – should really be read as a profound indictment of our political system, which is now so openly an oligarchy that any politician who doesn’t have the blessing of the bosses is marginalized before he or she steps into the ring.

I have a confession to make. I kinda sorta made a little edit to that passage. I changed the name “George Bush” to “Barack Obama.”

Way back in February 2007 Barack Obama was still relatively unknown. By any reasonable standard he had no business running for President. He should not have been considered to be a serious candidate. But Rolling Stone ran a feature article about him, calling him “Destiny’s child” and they weren’t referring to the musical group.

(Good luck finding that article now. It’s sorta been purged. I think I have a copy saved somewhere.)

Rolling Stone wasn’t unique. The national media treated Obama as a contender way back in the winter of 2007 while they basically ignored other, more accomplished candidates. The media decided that the 2008 nomination would be between Hillary, Obama and John Edwards. Then suddenly Edwards wasn’t a contender anymore either.

Where else have we seen this?

Chris Christie and Jeb Bush are contenders. Ted Cruz and Scott Walker are not serious candidates. Sarah Palin wasn’t a serious candidate, but they reported on her every move anyway.

If this doesn’t bother you, it should.

The White House Correspondent's Dinner

The White House Correspondent’s Dinner

About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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53 Responses to The Gatekeepers

  1. swanspirit says:

    I like the way he says “we” . Because he knows it is a group effort, and an inside group at that.

    • Myiq2xu says:

      The only real dispute in Washington DC is which wing of the Uniparty gets to be on top.

      • Constance says:

        They have to kind of alternate between the two parties to make it look like the system is healthy and not corrupted by multinational corporations.

  2. 49erDweet says:

    I have a dream. I dream of a land where the people neither read or follow media advice as to product or politician, but I repeat myself.

  3. Myiq2xu says:

  4. Myiq2xu says:

    BREAKING NEWS: Preliminary findings show Freddie Gray suffered head injury in police transport van

    An investigation into the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray has found no evidence that his fatal injuries were caused during the videotaped arrest and interaction with police officers, according to multiple law enforcement sources.

    The sources spoke to ABC7 News after being briefed on the findings of a police report turned over to prosecutors on Thursday as well as preliminary findings made by the medical examiner’s office.
    Sources said the medical examiner found Gray’s catastrophic injury was caused when he slammed into the back of the police transport van, apparently breaking his neck; a head injury he sustained matches a bolt in the back of the van.

    Details surrounding exactly what caused Gray to slam into the back of the van was unclear. The officer driving the van has yet to give a statement to authorities. It’s also unclear whether Gray’s head injury was voluntary or was a result of some other action.

    I’m sure this will calm the waters.

  5. swanspirit says:

    Exhibit A is Baltimore itself. The city hasn’t been “neglected.” It has been misgoverned into the ground. It is a Great Society city that bought into the big-government vision of the 1960s more than most, and the bitter fruit has been corruption, violence and despair.

    All you need to know about the confused ineffectuality of the city’s leadership was evident in the purposefully inadequate initial response to the mayhem, apparently on the theory that a little rioting is OK.

    And why not? The left has a soft spot for rioters. As soon as the windows start breaking, it rolls outs its intellectually rancid excuse-making for the destruction of property.

    As police cars burned and businesses were ransacked, progressives declared nonviolence “a ruse” (Ta-Nehisi Coates); hailed looting as “a legitimate political strategy” (Salon); and called the senseless rampage part of a series of, sententiously all-caps, “UPRISINGS” (Marc Lamont Hill).

    Lowry NAILS IT.

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    • leslie says:

      It is currently 45 degrees at the lakefront where the NFL Draft activities are taking place. It is a beautiful day – sunny, a bit windy and chilly. Real football weather. I hope the fashion show was indoors…. The people who are actually attending the Draft Day activities are kicking field goals, throwing passes, viewing the football museum set up on Grant Park. I’d love to have been there. Maybe next time…. 🙂

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  13. Myiq2xu says:


    Obama goes to a primary school to talk to the kids to get a little PR. After his talk he offers question time. One little boy puts up his hand and Obama asks him his name.

    ” Walter,” responds the little boy.

    “And what is your question, Walter?”

    “I have 4 questions:

    First, why did the USA Bomb Libya without the support of the Congress? Second, why do you keep saying you fixed the economy when it’s actually worse? Third, why did you say that Jeremiah Wright was your mentor, then said that you knew nothing about his preachings and beliefs? Fourth, why are we so worried about Brazil drilling for oil, but we aren’t allowed to?”

    Just then, the bell rings for recess. Obama informs the kiddies that they will continue after recess. When they resume Obama says, “OK, where were we? Oh, that’s right: question time. Who has a question?”

    Another little boy puts up his hand. Obama points him out and asks him his name.

    “Steve,” he responds.

    “And what is your question, Steve?”

    Actually, I have 6 questions.

    First, why did the USA Bomb Libya without the support of the Congress? Second, why do you keep saying you fixed the economy when it’s actually worse? Third, why did you say that Jeremiah Wright was your mentor, then said that you knew nothing about his preachings and beliefs? Fourth, why are we so worried about Brazil drilling for oil, but we aren’t allowed to? Fifth, why did the recess bell go off 20 minutes early? And sixth, what happened to Walter ?”

    • swanspirit says:

      It is a good week for Wicomico County, the kid who cut off the Prezzy is from Wicomico County too LOL

    • Anthony says:

      What a polite young man! A simple “Girl, please…. STFU!” would have sufficed. See what a difference good parenting makes?

  14. Myiq2xu says:


    A Maryland sheriff who traveled to Baltimore to help law enforcement stop Monday’s riots told 105.7 The Fan that he was stunned when officers alerted him of the orders to stand down.
    Michael Lewis is the Sheriff in Wicomico County, and was also a Sergeant with the Maryland State Police. He joined Ed Norris and Steve Davis on Thursday to talk about the alleged controversial orders the police were given during the riots.

    Lewis said it wasn’t his intention to come to Baltimore, a drive of about two hours, but he felt it was his duty to help.

    “I hadn’t planned to go to Baltimore at all. I watched the events unfold Saturday night like we all did, and was very concerned about what I saw, and the the lack of response Saturday night,” he said. “I immediately rallied up the troops. We made sure our MRAP was prepared and ready. … We were assigned to assigned to protect Baltimore City Police headquarters, all of E. Fayette Street up to City Hall, to include City Hall. There wasn’t a whole lot of activity taking place at all. We could smell that putrid smell of burning tires and a city on fire when as we came into the city. Had lots of concerns like everyone else. We maintained our post all night long until we were relieved.”

    But what shocked him the most, he said, was when city police told him not to confront and accost the rioters.

    “I was sick to my stomach like everybody else. … This was urban warfare, no question about it. They were coming in absolutely beaten down. The [city officers] got out of their vehicles, thanked us profusely for being there, apologized to us for having to be there. They said we could have handled this, we were very capable of handling this, but we were told to stand down, repeatedly told to stand down,” he said. “I had never heard that order come from anyone — we went right out to our posts as soon as we got there, so I never heard the mayor say that. But repeatedly these guys, and there were many high-ranking officials from the Baltimore City Police Department … and these guys told me they were essentially neutered from the start. They were spayed from the start. They were told to stand down, you will not take any action, let them destroy property. I couldn’t believe it, I’m a 31-year veteran of law enforcement. … I had never heard anything like this before in my life and these guys obviously aren’t gonna speak out and the more I thought about this, … I had to say a few things. I apologize if I’ve upset people, but I believe in saying it like it is.”

    Lewis said though he didn’t hear the order to stand down come from the mayor, he did hear it from police officials.

    “I heard it myself over the Baltimore City police radio that I had tethered to my body-armor vest, I heard it repeatedly. ‘Stand down, stand down, stand down! Back up, back up, retreat, retreat!’ I couldn’t believe those words. Those are words I’ve never heard in my law enforcement vocabulary,” he said. “Baltimore City police, all law enforcement agencies are very capable of handling that city. They’re trained to handle that city. These guys were hearing words that had never been echoed in their lives, in their careers.”

    Lewis claims after the riots many officers told him they were done being cops in the city and how heartbroken they are that they were not allowed to defend their city and stop businesses from burning.

    • 49erDweet says:

      The exodus begins. Next year about half the Baltimore cops will be brand new rookies. THEN the rioters will have some fun!

    • swanspirit says:

      He is the Sheriff of Wicomico County (pronounced why COM’ ic o) is the county next to mine, right up the road, on the Eastern Shore. He has a big job. Wicomico County, is not a sleepy little county. Salisbury , the largest city on the shore ; has a huge drug problem , due to the fact that people smuggle drugs in on boats via the many many waterways from the bay and up the Wicomico river.
      I am sure he isn’t “afraid” of any repercussions from speaking his mind.

  15. Myiq2xu says:
    • swanspirit says:

      This terrifying thought just occurred to me. Rev Al, for all intents and purposes, is now the de facto mayor of Baltimore, with ValJar as the shadow mayor. Thank the gods and goddesses they have to deal with Larry Hogan.

    • leslie says:

      She looks as though she got a dressing down from ValJar via old Al. I watched another clip from FOX and they sure weren’t pretty people.

      • Lulu says:

        She looks a lot different than in her glamor shots” for magazines, political ads and Dem Party shendigs.

  16. kanaughty says:

    I don’t have a lot of money and i find sanders irritating like nails on a chalkboard. Like elijah cummings and harry reid. Those three are extremely annoying politicians to me. So i don’t know what taibbi is saying when he says a lot of people like sanders. Uggggh, barf really. Huckabee and santorum on the repub side are extremely annoying to me too. Although i don’t mind huckabee too much when he isn’t in office or running for office. He can be funny.

  17. kanaughty says:

    Also again taibbi being hypocritical acting like obama wasn’t also a big money candidate, with focus groups, speech writers, polling outfits, and political elite like the kennedy’s backing him. They act like obama was grass roots. You can’t be grass roots if you are the first candidate in history to raise 1 billion dollars. These people are so delusional over obama, makes me sick.

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