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“The analysis gets a great deal dumber when you see it in its full context.”

[ 65 ] February 22, 2013 |

When Charlie Rose hosts Michelle Rhee, the results are pretty much as bad as you’d expect.


Comments (65)

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  1. commie atheist says:

    Wow. I knew Charlie Rose was bad, but this is world-historical bad. He actually had no idea whether Rhee’s reforms were beneficial or not? He asked HER TO TELL HIM WHETHER OR NOT THEY SUCCEEDED? That’s it, we’re totally fucked.

    • Bill Murray says:

      Rose is following in the Tim Russert journamalism track. If only Rose had a fine progeny to follow in his footsteps.

      • c u n d gulag says:

        PBS is bad enough already, after all of the influence the Reich-wing’s whining about it for over 30 years has had, and 8 years under W’s administration, without a Luke Rose!!!

        NPR, too!

    • JKTHs says:

      Clicking through, it strikes me that the only people who must find Charlie Rose to be “high-minded” or “intellectual” are people who think that 90% of the country is a bunch of rubes who only get their news through TMZ and compare themselves to that. Anyone with a brain would have been cracking up over Rose’s “People are saying different things. It’s all so damn confusing!”

      • LosGatosCA says:

        who think that 90% of the country is a bunch of rubes who only get their news through TMZ

        I’m having a difficult time seeing how that perspective is inaccurate in a grossly distorting way. Knock the percentage down to 70% or include the Faux News, The Daily Show, Colbert Report, and the Kardashians and the percentage is likely north of 80%.

        America is simply not a well informed nation, and a clear overwhelming majority like it that way.

        When you can push the candy that whiney, misbehaving children become irrational about at the grocery checkout queue with tabloids and magazines that peddle gossip and nonsense to whiney adults with the same level of intellectual curiosity about important issues as those misbehaving kids, the answer about how many people are getting their ‘information’ from TMZ and clone sources is painfully clear.

  2. somehow worse than I thought it was going to be

    and the Charlie Browns that Rose must have in order to say, to an interview guest, on a national hour-long interview show, “It’s very confusing, with all these competing claims by people with different agendas I don’t know what to believe. Please tell me why your record was successful, I will not ask a follow-up question.”

  3. Warren Terra says:

    You walk into any school building anywhere in this country today and you ask parents or kids or other teachers, “Who’s the best teacher in the school?” They’ll tell you.

    It must be bliss to think like this.

    • Anonymous says:

      You walk into any school building anywhere in this country today and you ask parents or kids or other teachers, “Who’s the best teacher in the school?” They’ll tell you.

      Which is why we need to spend millions of dollars and countless hours of instructional time on a high-stakes testing regime, with no input from student or (especially) colleague evaluations, to measure teacher effectiveness.

      Wait… what?

      Christ, what an asshole.

    • timb says:

      I have kids aged 15, 14, and 5 in every level of my school district (High school, jr. high, and elementary) and I STILL couldn’t tell you who the best teacher in any of those schools are. I know who the bad ones are, because they’re the ones who “failed” with both my older kids, but Dr. Rhee is, as ever, wrong about her simple answers to complex problems

    • wengler says:

      Since the vast majority of students don’t have the vast majority of teachers, this is a rather pointless exercise.

      • LosGatosCA says:

        I’m thinking an annual student assembly with the parents invited at the HS football venue with a large stage ala graduation ceremonies where Michelle Rhee holds her hand over each faculty member’s head as the students/parents applaud, cheer, boo, etc.

        The teachers in the bottom 20% are summarily disciplined – fired, horse whipped, pistol whipped, hung upside down, put in the stocks, summarily executed, whatever.

        Saves a lot of testing preparation, cheating preparation, test time, and investigation of cheating time. And in those cases where the low rated teachers (by the audience applause) are summarily executed, there should be a broad decline in the number of wrongful termination suits filed. Which, of course, will be partially offset by a slight increase in the number of wrongful death suits. But on the whole, there will be fewer union members, which I think we can all agree on is the ultimate goal here.

  4. cpinva says:

    and a very successful asshole.

    “Christ, what an asshole.”

    at least with respect to herself. somerby has been filleting and flambe’ing rhee since almost the beginning of her tenure in the DC school system. apparently, he alone bothered to do due diligence on ms. rhee’s resume’, something the DC public school powers-that-be didn’t bother themselves with, wouldn’t have been polite, or something, i guess. it turned out her resume’ had some questionable claims on it. claims which, when compared to the actual data, were, shall we say, somewhat exaggerated. one might also say, with equal correctness, they were lies. no matter, she was promptly hired anyway, continuing the years of disservice to DC public school students, that those same powers-that-be have become most famous for. that any DC public school student does succeed, is a testament to that student, their parents, their teachers and school administrators, and their determination, not to the DC school board.

    ms. rhee’s schtick is that all educational failures, in the public school system, are the result of teacher’s unions. she figured out, years ago, this is a profitable schtick, because that’s what republicans want to hear, and they’ll happily pay her well to say it. it’s been very profitable for her, for public school students, not so much.

    • c u n d gulag says:

      “It’s been very profitable for her, for public school students, not so much.”

      Well, on the plus side, we won’t have to worry about the publics school students for much longer, since there won’t be any.

      And I’m sure the parents will love having their children in Christian Madrassa’s – like in Bobby J’s LA. SOME of them, at least.

      And the right-wingers like Rhee have statistics (THEIR numbers) to support what they want to do, and how privatizing the schools and getting rid of unions, will create some sort of educational heaven.

      About the privatization of EVERYTHING in America, from our military to our schools, and the people like Rhee who the Reich-wing uses to give cover to their plots to undermine the public welfare, I say:
      “Beware of geeks bearing grifts.”

    • Kurzleg says:

      Being superintendent of a public school district has long been a grift. There have been revolving doors in major urban areas all of the country. Superintendents bring their “new thing”, hang around for awhile and then land new, more lucrative jobs in other school districts or in think tanks based on their “new thing” with little or any data analysis to support the effectiveness of the “new thing”. Times have changed, so yeah, now the new thing is to blame it all on teacher’s unions. But this is a grift that’s been going on for a long time, and it’s really not too much different than the CEO carousel that you see.

      • cpinva says:

        true enough.

        “Being superintendent of a public school district has long been a grift.”

        but the “special” that ms. rhee has brought is her stated desire to destroy not just a local public school system, but the public school system of the entire country. i call that ambition, on a scale the average school system superintendent only has wet dreams about.

        she gets support from such well know education experts as bill & melinda gates, both with decades of experience in public education, as teachers (in low-income schools) and administrators (i believe melinda was a principle in a low-income elementary school, beloved by students & parents alike. she brought lovingly hand-crafted cupcakes for everyone, on fridays). bill did his student teaching in the barrios of east LA, leading classes in computer science and math, classes filled with tough-but-hearts-o-gold hispanic kids, determined to code their way out of poverty. truly inspiring backgrounds.

        ok, yes, that’s all a lie. neither of the gates has even a sprinkling of a glimmer of special knowledge/experience in education, aside from having been students themselves. these are the kinds of folks rhee relies on, who believe her bullshit, because they don’t know any better. they also have lots of cash to give her and her ilk. better they should spend it on a nice yacht or something, they’d get a better return on their investment, and we’d be spared them.

        • Linnaeus says:

          better they should spend it on a nice yacht or something, they’d get a better return on their investment

          They are getting a return on their investment: the power to remake public schools according to their own vision. Almost no one else gets to do that.

      • Cody says:

        The (now previous) superintendent of Indiana was like this. He came from Henryville Indiana, very close to where my mother teaches. She said he was the worst principal, teacher, and person she had ever met.

        Naturally, the school voted him superintendent of the district so they would not have to see him so much. Only way to get rid of him. From there he continued to climb the ladder as (I assume) every office wanted to get rid of him. Except Mitch Daniels. Mitch Daniels really liked him!

    • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

      ms. rhee’s schtick is that all educational failures, in the public school system, are the result of teacher’s unions. she figured out, years ago, this is a profitable schtick, because that’s what republicans people in power want to hear, and they’ll happily pay her well to say it. it’s been very profitable for her, for public school students, not so much.


      Education “reform” is an entirely bipartisan cause. Rhee herself is a Democrat. And you don’t get anywhere in local DC politics by appealing only to Republicans.

      • DF says:

        Quite right. When even the liberal party doesn’t want to discuss structural issues, we end up with the corporate reform movement we currently have. Opposition to reform from the Democratic Party could do a great deal to blunt what’s going on. Unfortunately, Arne Duncan is one of the biggest business-school reformers.

        • ” Opposition to reform from the Democratic Party…”

          Jesus Christ, better vernacular please.

          • mds says:

            Yeah, it’s missing the quotation marks around “reform.” Alternatively, one could go with “smash and grab.” Or “gutting public education.” Or “destroying our schools.” Or … You get the idea. But yes, “Opposition to reform from the Democratic Party” reads like a pull quote from one of Yglesias’ ignorant dumbshit posts about education.

            • DF says:

              Maybe I phrased that poorly. I’m saying, were the Democrats to oppose the corporate reform movement, they could stop it a lot of its excesses. But the Dem leadership is mostly on board with it, so it is largely unopposed, at least in the corridors of power.

              I guess I could have said “reform,” but I thought calling it the corporate reform movement was pejorative enough.

              My point is, the Democrats should oppose the reform movement.

      • Pee Cee says:

        Is there any modern context where the word “reform” does not mean something negative for most people? I’m having trouble thinking of one.

        “welfare reform” = screw over poor people
        “education reform” = screw over teachers and their students
        “tort reform” = screw over victims of malpractice and corporate misdeeds
        “labor market reform” = screw over workers

      • cpinva says:


        “Education “reform” is an entirely bipartisan cause.”

        • I’m not actually sure that’s true. I mean, there’s widespread support for “reform,” but that’s a nebulous concept that can mean a lot of different things depending on where you’re coming from. If nothing else, basically everyone is “pro-reform” unless you think the status quo is perfect and requires no major changes of any sort.

          The flux point here is high-stakes testing, which too many national Democrats support. In theory, if you get past that you probably wouldn’t have too many major disagreements between the Democrats and teachers’ unions on “education reform.”

  5. TT says:

    I used to watch Charlie Rose pretty religiously back when I was young and impressionable. Then about a decade ago I realized that it’s just the same thing every night: Charlie Rose and his rich friends stroking their chins and discussing what must be done about the Little People. My brother refers to Rose’s shtick as “fella-CEO”.

    • nixnutz says:

      I was always more annoyed by his other mode, where he answers all his own questions and the guest has trouble getting a word in. It might be interesting to see which guests get which treatment but I’ve never been able to watch him for more than a few minutes at a time.

      • LosGatosCA says:

        Not as bad as the Dick Cavett shows where Dick interviews himself nightly sharing anecdotes about where he was, what he was doing, and who he was talking to at the exact time of the significant events that his guest was involved in. The guest is asked a lead question to provide an answer that becomes the point of reference for Dick to start talking about himself and his experiences relating to the event.

        “Yes, I remember being (elated/dismayed/depressed/shocked/euphoric) when I (heard about/saw on the news/was told by another celebrity) and I immediately (hid under my covers/called another celebrity/thought of other events in my life that are even less interesting than the one I’m relating right now.)”

    • Barry Freed says:

      I admit that I have a soft spot for Charlie Rose but that “fella-CEO” quip is spot on. He still does some half-way decent culturati interviews and some of the journalists he has on are good (e.g. the late, lamented Tony Shadid was a frequent guest). I like to put it on in the evening and drift off to sleep listening to it. But there are also far too many interviews with the likes of Airmiles or Henry Kissinger. No thanks, nightmare time!

    • Chatham says:

      I haven’t watched him in almost a decade, but I don’t remember the show being that bad. When I watched it it seemed like a lot (most?) of the guests were non-political types – directors, authors, scientists, etc. He also had people on the left (Amy Goodman, Michael Moore) on occasionally when discussing politics. So it was only the ~30% of the time he had establishment political people on that things got annoying.

    • rickhavoc says:

      Along those lines, where was Rhee’s “suck on this” moment re teacher’s unions? Girl’s gotta hone her chops.

  6. Carbon Man says:


    After all she’s a racial minority and according to most liberals, that means any criticism of her is secretly RAAAAAAAAACIIIISSSMMMM! somehow, in some way. If liberals have taught us anything in the past four years, it’s that.

  7. Incontinentia Buttocks says:

    Never understood the appeal of Charlie Rose. He’s always been as awful as Larry King, who also succeeded by constantly coddling his guests. Of course, Rose’s superficially more sophisticated audience ought to know better. But then again, sophisticated does not necessarily mean intelligent or discerning.

    • JKTHs says:

      The audience is “superficially more sophisticated” in a Brooksian or Friedmanite chin-stroking way. We call these types “Very Serious” mockingly but there are plenty of people who actually take that to be the truth. Not to mention the people in power who eat that shit up.

      • timb says:

        There are tons of very capable people who spend their smarts and energy on work and, when those people want to act like they understand the larger world, they need a shortcut through the bs and to the “right thinkers.” They read Rose is serious, so he must be fair-minded and serious.

        It doesn’t make them dumb, it just makes them part of conventional wisdom

        • JKTHs says:

          I’m not even talking about those people though. I’m talking about people who are already “well-informed” or whose work may center around these kinds of issues who take him as serious.

      • fledermaus says:

        Rose looks and sounds like a “serious” intellectual. That’s all people seem to go by these days.

    • Barry Freed says:

      I’ll bite. I have a bit of a soft spot for Charlie Rose. It’s true he has on the likes of Airmiles, Kissinger, and the CEO billionaire of the week far too often. But he also has some decent guests in the arts, music, literature, film, etc. He also has some decent journalists on (Tony Shadid RIP, whom I mentioned above, was a frequent guest).

      And while he’s no Terry Gross in his interviewing chops, he still lets them go on for at least 15-20 minutes up to almost a full hour without commercial interruption. So when it’s good it’s pretty damn good and far better fare than you can get elsewhere in the US of our time I’m afraid this is as good as it gets.

      I guess what I’m trying to say is I really fucking miss Dick Cavett.

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