The suits may be getting involved: We don’t know Chris Hayes. Personally, we weren’t thrilled with his book, but it was well-received elsewhere.
That said, Hayes made his name on cable by conducting long, discursive, intelligent discussions during a two-hour program on weekend mornings.
A lot of people liked him, and the suits moved him to weekday nights. In that spot, his ratings have been very poor.
Presumably, that explains the way he opened last night’s program. As he started, Chris Hayes said he was seething with anger:
HAYES (6/20/13): Good evening from New York. I’m Chris Hayes. Thank you for joining us.Hayes promised that we would be shocked by Taibbi’s shocking report. Then he teased a shocking turn of events in the House.
Tonight on All In:
If you still possess the ability to be shocked by the rank corruption that crashed our economy, then you’re going to be shocked by the report Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone has for us tonight. That is coming up.
Also, a shocking turn of events on the House floor as the House speaker brings crucial legislation to the floor and watches it go down in flames. I`ll tell you why what`s bad for John Boehner is good for the country.
Plus, taxpayer funded bailouts of struggling casinos? Now there is something that sounds totally ridiculous. But, yes, it is also something that is totally happening.
We begin tonight with a truly rare bit of genuine progress from Congress. Excellent news, in other words—excellent news that nonetheless has me seething with anger.
Here’s what’s happening that’s great news and infuriating.
Then, he teased a story about an action that is totally ridiculous. But he was going to start with a story which had him seething with anger.
“Here’s what`s happening that’s great news and infuriating,” he said.
To us, that didn’t sound like Hayes. It sounded like a new approach, designed by the suits to generate added excitement.
Those are speculations, of course. But as Hayes continued, we thought we saw the new game planning continue. It didn’t take long before he seemed to be showing off his new-seeming Maddow-style chops:
HAYES (continuing from above): Here’s what’s happening that’s great news and infuriating.“I see you, Marco Rubio?” We’re going to call that a Maddow hook. But then, we think we’ve seen more and more Maddow hooks in Hayes’ delivery in the past week or so.
The bipartisan group of senators committed to making sure 11 million undocumented immigrants are given a road out of limbo and fear and toward citizenship is trying to pass a comprehensive bill by a huge margin in the Senate. That group of senators are called, annoyingly, the "Gang of Eight" and the reason they think they need the huge margin victory is to put pressure on House Speaker John Boehner to bring the legislation to the house floor even though it will almost certainly not have the support of a majority of House Republicans.
So that’s the game plan, right? The goal is get 70 votes in the Senate, a goal that has seemed, well, further away by the day lately. I mean, when one of the bill’s architects, Marco Rubio—I see you, Marco Rubio!—started openly flirting with killing it.
And not only that! Hayes was even annoyed this night by the name, “Gang of Eight!” To watch this whole segment, click here. Do you think he’s seething with anger?
Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with trying to build ratings. Sometimes, though, this process can cause you to lose the essence of what you liked in the first place. When Hayes explained what had him seething, he didn’t really seem to be seething. Beyond that, we were even struck by the dumbness of his presentation.
In the beginning, people liked Hayes because he wasn’t dumb.
What has Chris Hayes seething with anger? The massive spending on border security that is being proposed to lure House Republicans into support of reform. As Hayes explained why this is infuriating, he made a presentation which struck us as very dumb:
HAYES: The price tag? Well, it’s all for a cool $30 billion, or more.It will cost $30 billion over how many years? Hayes didn’t say.
Now when you were evaluating—you right now watching this, the American voter, the American citizen, the American taxpayer—you’re thinking: Is this a smart way to spend money?
I would like you to keep in mind these two important things. The Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, found that in 2012 we spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement agencies, a 43 percent increase from 2006.
Here’s the kicker. That $18 billion, that’s more than we spent on all other law enforcement agencies combined by 24 percent.
And do you happen to know what the net migration between Mexico and the United States currently is? It is zero. Zero!
The most recent numbers show that from 2005 to 2010, the net migration is zero. A huge change from 1995 to 2000, the net migration from Mexico to the U.S. was more than 2 million people. But from 2005 to 2010, the number of people coming here from Mexico was about the same as the number of people going to Mexico from the U.S.
So we’re already spending almost $18 billion a year on a problem that does not exist. And Republicans in the Senate are poised to add $30 billion to that all over a handshake deal to win votes.
But the part of that passage which struck us as dumb was the final highlighted claim—the claim that we are already spending $18 billion per year “on a problem that doesn’t exist.”
Please. Has the problem of unauthorized inflow actually ceased to exist? Any Republican would instantly say that the situation has improved because of that increased spending on enforcement—and they wouldn’t obviously be wrong. Meanwhile, the graphic behind Hayes as he spoke showed that illegal inflow is still quite high. The balance has improved because of the very large outflow of unauthorized residents from 2005 through 2010, presumably in reaction to the economic slowdown.
Hayes’ graphic still showed a lot of unauthorized inflow. Would anyone really buy the idea that the problem in question, at this time, “does not exist?”
Was Chris Hayes really seething with anger over that large spending proposal? Watching the tape, he didn’t seem to be seething with anger. And it seems to us that people like Hayes because he doesn't seethe.
The suits may have said that he has to seethe. If so, is that why people decided they liked Chris Hayes in the first place?