‘Remember Us’:  How to Fight Media Bombholing

A couple years ago the journalist Matt Taibbi came up with a telling new term for the way the media works in our time: bombholing. Bombholing is the practice of publishing wild and unsubstantiated stories in the press, then sending those same stories down the memory hole when they turn out to be false. Then the media hits viewers with a new “bombshell,” which makes people forget the old “bombshell.” Viewers are led “from mania to mania.”

Taibbi once laid it out in more detail:

News in the Trump years became a narrative drama, with each day advancing a tale of worsening political emergency, driven by subplots involving familiar casts of characters, in the manner of episodic television. It worked, but news directors and editors hit a stumbling block. If you cover everything like there’s no tomorrow, what happens when there is, in fact, a tomorrow? The innovation was to use banner headlines to saturate news cycles, often to the exclusion of nearly any other news, before moving to the next controversy so quickly that mistakes, errors, or rhetorical letdowns were memory-holed.

Fighting bombholing is not easy. As I discovered when I was the victim of one of these bombholing events, you have to spend a lot of time and resources fighting the original lies, and then push through as people—even those sympathetic to you and your plight—soon begin to tell you to “get over it.” You combat the lies by telling the truth, but then more lies appear. To combat bombholing, you have to be like the Spartan warrior Dilios, who was given a message from the king to bring to the Senate after his comrades fell defending the city.

Here is the speech he gives in the movie 300:

‘Remember us.’ As simple an order as a king can give. ‘Remember why we died.’ For he did not wish tribute, nor song, nor monuments nor poems of war and valor. His wish was simple. ‘Remember us,’ he said to me. That was his hope, should any free soul come across that place, in all the countless centuries yet to be. May all our voices whisper to you from the ageless stones, ‘Go tell the Spartans, passerby, that here by Spartan law, we lie.’

Remember us so that you have the knowledge to anticipate and fight before they try it again.

I was part of what was arguably the biggest bombhole in U.S. media history when, on Sept. 27, 2018 Joe Scarborough hosted John Heilemann, a virtue-signaling lummox and left-wing journalist, on his program Morning Joe. Heilemann had secured an “exclusive” interview with a woman named Julie Swetnick who claimed to have witnessed Brett Kavanaugh, then a nominee for the Supreme Court, attending 10 high school parties where girls were both drugged and gang raped. I was friends with Brett in high school, and this dingbat also claimed that I was at these alleged parties.

Swetnick’s claim came on the heels of an allegation by Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in high school. Ford, who worked with an opposition researcher during the summer of 2018, also claimed that I was in the room when her alleged assault took place.

On Morning Joe, when asked by co-host Willie Geist if Swetnick could offer any “specificity” to her claims, Heilemann said only that: “She was not in a position yesterday, she was not really ready, to do a full formal sit-down interview. We got a chance to talk to her a little but at the end of a pretty long day.”

In other words, Heilemann, a partisan, was purposely not doing his job as a journalist.


After an FBI investigation turned up nothing to verify the claims of the accusers. Scarborough turned on the tirade. On Oct. 3, 2018, Joe went off on Morning Joe. Scarborough had been to some recent social events, where he heard many people expressing doubt about the stories told by Ford and the other crazies. “Quite a few people, that we talked to, and I think a lot of them were registered Democrats, raised questions about Dr. Ford’s story,” Scarborough said. “Now that’s something in 24/7 news coverage, at least in mainstream media, you never hear anybody talk about. They won’t talk about it. They feel that if anybody sticks their neck out and says they disbelieve any part of her story or talk about how there are no corroborating witnessed, well, they’ll get absolutely slammed.”

Scarborough went on: “There has been the assumption that every single allegation was true … Nobody had dared say, even the Republicans, that part of Dr. Ford’s story might just not add up … I turned on all networks at all times and Brett Kavanaugh has been accused of being a serial rapist by columnists in national newspapers … the media has dropped the ball on this from the very beginning.”

So, within the space of one week, Scarborough went from hyping a ludicrous story, to denouncing it and anyone who had spread it or believed it. Joe Scarborough got to beam out ludicrous claims to millions of viewers and reap the benefits of their prurient interest in the lurid tale. Then, just days later, he climbed up onto his high horse, denouncing the very tales that he had so breathlessly and recklessly helped promote.

The left are masters at embedding their narratives regarding key historical events into the public consciousness: McCarthyism, Vietnam, Watergate. The right, on the other hand, can’t even get people to remember Whittaker Chambers. I understand when friends, especially conservatives, tell me to move on from the Kavanaugh hit. It was years ago, they say. I agree with them, but then I realize that even some of those people on the right are trying to memory-hole it, too. If we’re not aware of our history and the mistakes we made in allowing this travesty to proceed, it will happen again. I’m sorry, but alongside Vietnam and Watergate should go the Kavanaugh hit. Why help the left in its attempt to make us forget this?

Get over it already? Like hell. 

Remember us.

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