Clearly, Maddow doesn’t: Whenever pundits voice this script, we wonder what lies behind it.
Sunday morning, on Meet the Press, a former Rhodes Scholar cleared her throat and voiced a familiar script. As things have turned out, it’s fairly clear that she has no doubts or questions about this script—no doubts or questions at all.
Indeed, after watching her program last night, we’d be inclined to put it differently. Dhe has no thoughts about this script. She has no thoughts at all:
GREGORY (4/29/12): How, Rachel, should this conversation actually be framed? I, I made the comment when I've done this topic before. In a lot of ways, you know, men bringing up this question, it's almost a condescending question, "Well, what is it that women want?"Gregory’s comments were unimpressive in various ways. But Maddow high-mindedly swung into action, saying she wanted to talk about policy.
GREGORY: So what is the right way to be framing this conversation in this debate, which is a very serious debate because we're talking about the real deciders in the race?
MADDOW: Policy. It should be about policy. And all of our best debates are always about policy and it should be about policy that affects women, specifically. The Romney campaign wants to talk about women and the economy. The— Women in this country still make 77 cents on the dollar for what men make.
“Women in this country still make 77 cents on the dollar for what men make,” she authoritatively said, reciting with perfect precision. Every 16-year-old knows this script. Maddow is paid to recite it.
Voiced in the way Maddow voiced it, we will assume that this script is technically accurate. But this script is commonly used to suggest that women are discriminated against in the market place, to the tune of 23 cents on the dollar.
We would assume that that understanding is wrong, though we rarely see anyone try to discuss it. Instead, life-forms like Maddow recite this script without any sign of further thought ever having entered their heads.
People, this is TV “news!” Memorization is all! This produces the illusion that a discussion is happening! A discussion that isn't hard work!
Maddow voiced a familiar script; it's straight from the pundit play-book. In the way she initially voiced it, we would assume that her statement was technically accurate. But uh-oh! Something unusual happened on Meet the Press—a fellow pundit rose to challenge her statement.
He was a bit hazy in his remarks. But Maddow’s reaction to his objection was many times worse—much dumber, by far.
In our award-winning series, WHY WE FAIL, we’re reviewing the way liberal readers reacted to Gail Collins’ latest column. For our money, the comment thread to Collins’ piece showcased the liberal world’s fatal flaw—our obvious manifest dumbness.
In many ways, reaction to Maddow’s Meet the Press moment has showcased the same fatal flaw, in ways which are even more striking. Example: For Digby’s reaction, click this.
Question: Did Digby even try to support the claim that Maddow’s statements were accurate? Or did the name-calling begin?
Why can’t we liberals build a serious, winning, progressive politics? We’ll look at Collins’ column all week. But uh-oh:
In many ways, Maddow's performance was worse. On Sunday morning, she struck us as dumb.
Last night, her performance got dumber. But how many liberals could tell? And in the current tribal climate, does anyone care any more?
Tomorrow: Maddow fields an objection