Josh Marshall

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Josh Marshall is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TPM.

Rough Verdict

One of our TPM Readers had a good sum-up of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, the implosion of which started in Silicon Valley, literally and figuratively, but likely won’t end there.

It’s a terrible terrible blot on Silicon Valley culture and a profound refutation of all those libertarian trolls out there.  They fought the regulation that would have subjected SVB to greater scrutiny. This was a valuable community facility that greed destroyed.  This is what “smart contracts” gets you.  My suspicion about Thiel is just that, no facts, but I hope some journo can press him (and some of the other SV bros) on whether they were short sellers in SVB stock before promoting the run.  I realize this stuff is not your natural beat but frankly it has political valence: why should we buy the don’t regulate/trust us from this crew when they would turn around and destroy a community facility that had provided such useful service.  Say what you want about JP Morgan in the early 20th century, but he at least knew it was his duty to insist on a joint effort to stop a panic rather than profit from one.  

The references here are to Peter Thiel. A key accelerant of SVB’s collapse was Thiel’s guidance to all his invested companies to pull their deposits as the bank’s position became more dire.

The Tucker Carlson Origin Story: Beyond the Fish Sticks

I mentioned last week that there is this ironic backstory to Tucker Carlson. Even as he is daily exposed in the non-Fox/Trump bubble universe as the epitome of the corruption of conservative media he also, a dozen years ago, had one of the most solid critiques of that same conservative media ecosystem. At CPAC of all places.

I was watching Chris Hayes’ show last night and he referenced the same video I embedded in that Deep Archeology post. He said it could serve as the origin story for the super villain version of Carlson we know today. I wanted to say a bit more about this.

I think I may have been introduced to Carlson once or twice years ago. I do not know him at all. But I’ve been observing him since the beginning of his career about a quarter century ago. In my post last week I said that while Carlson was always a conservative, “his younger incarnation held an air of ironic and quasi-urbane detachment from full wingnut intensity.”

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Media Reporting on Media Remains Basically the Worst

You can treat it as a rule of thumb that most media coverage you’ll read is fairly superficial. (That started as a much harsher first sentence but I thought better of it. You’re welcome.) All you righteous media reporters are now free to attack me over this. But I’m obliged to keep things real and, let’s be honest, it’s a good rule of thumb. The top practitioners at the major outlets tend to have little focus on the actual journalism, which is sorta okay if you’re really covering the business of media, but also have a thinnish grasp of the business dynamics of news as well. Their focus is on industry, news room and board room gossip — a sort of vérité Succession. (Which, yes, is an amazing show.) I was reminded of this when I read a repartee between the two media reporters for Puck last week.

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Tucker Carlson and No Crying in Baseball

I understand that people are outraged by the Tucker Carlson/Kevin McCarthy video stunt. It’s natural and understandable to react negatively and angrily to liars and traitors. But this is not at all the best or most effective response. The first response is simply mockery. That’s the most logical response and also the most effective. Watch these videos. They’re moments when the insurrectionists weren’t breaking down doors or hitting Capitol Police over the head with flag poles. This is like showing a Zapruder film containing just the part where JFK is happily waving to the crowd in Dealey Plaza. He’s having a great time. Why does Oswald get such a bad rap? Similarly, it’s been shown that probably 99% of the time Osama bin Laden wasn’t blowing up anything. And yet, look at what’s gotten all the focus.

This is more Saturday Night Live skit than outrage.

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Deep Archeology and the Powell Memo Prime Badge

One of the most apt critiques I read of my post on the deep archeology of Fox News focused on what we might call the counter-revolution of capital, and whether I’d ignored it in telling this thumbnail history of the Movement Conservative counter-establishment. I didn’t ignore it. It’s closely related to, but distinct from, the history I described. They’re like two separate rivers which flow together in the 1970s to create the rightward turn of American politics usually identified with the Reagan revolution. Many of you also referenced a now almost legendary document called the Powell Memo, a genteel call to arms which many now point to as the founding document of the business counter-revolution which began in the 1970s, a kind of Rosetta Stone for unlocking the origins of the modern American right.

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The Staffers We’ve Been Waiting For …

I really want to echo David’s point from Friday about this Democratic staff report into Jim Jordan’s “weaponization” hearings. If you’ve been waiting a very long time for no nonsense Democrats to jump in front of Republicans, grab a whole buttload of facts and just pound them over the head with them … well, your moment may have arrived.

The document is more than three hundred pages long and the details are simply amazing. You probably didn’t figure that Jordan was going to unearth a lot of legitimate scandals or secret antifa cells at the FBI or other arms of federal law enforcement. But even if your bar was low, the levels of incompetence and pro-insurrectionist content is still pretty wild.

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Readers on the “Lab Leak Theory” #7

From TPM Reader NB

I wanted to comment with a slightly different perspective on your recent discussion of the “lab leak” theory of the origins of COVID: The FBI is terrible at molecular bioscience.

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The Deep Archeology of Fox News Prime Badge

The evidence emerging from the Dominion lawsuit against Fox News has the quality of liberal fever dreams. What’s the worst you can possibly imagine about Fox? What’s the most cartoonish caricature, the worst it could possibly be? Well, in these emails and texts you basically have that. Only it’s real. It’s not anyone believing the worst and giving no benefit of the doubt. This is what Fox is.

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Outside the Bubble

At a conference today in New Delhi, Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, even now the smiley face of the Russian state, was discussing the Ukraine war as the “the war which we’re trying to stop, and which was launched against us using the Ukrainian people.” The comment was met with a round of guffaws and laughter from the audience. Even in the global south it’s not playing well. See it after the jump.

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Up In Arms and In Our Faces

I did a piece yesterday in The Dispatch trying to frame and contextualize the six TPM Reader emails I posted (see below) with different perspectives on the origins of COVID and the so-called “Lab Leak Theory.” I was struck again by the basic fact: It is all but impossible to discuss the issue as a question of scientific investigation as opposed to a contest amongst — or between? with? — all the stresses and beliefs and collective wounds of the COVID pandemic era. Perhaps, put differently, the public conversation has almost no relation to the actual scientific inquiry. That meta discussion is itself fascinating in a way but only if you can step way, way back from it and see it as an artifact of a society in turmoil. I at least am unable to do that. We’re simply too close, too in the midst of that turmoil. The purveyors of lies and aggrieved special pleading are still too up in arms and demanding. TPM Reader JS captured something at the heart of the matter when he told us that lab leak discourse “is some kind of shibboleth for people who want to feel vindicated that something they didn’t agree with from someone official about COVID, whether it was masks or the vaccine — they want [to] have this sort of liquid position of not actually believing it but thinking that countervailing opinions aren’t being given enough oxygen.”

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