...and lead her away from her desk: Rachel Maddow has become an undisguised clown. She’s now a nightly parodic version of her own lost self.
Money and fame can do that to people. We’ve seen this fact put on display from Judy Garland and Elvis Presley forward.
That said, it’s time for someone to take Maddow by the arm and lead her away from her desk.
If you want to see what it means to be lost, we recommend that you watch the tape of Maddow’s opening segment last night. (Click here. You might want to turn down the volume.) Get ready for the extreme histrionics with which this lost cable soul sells her undeveloped eggs to her pitiful viewers each night.
Pretending to enlighten those viewers about the strange events in Fort Lee, Maddow started last evening’s program with an absurd declaration. Lost souls devise ideas like this:
MADDOW (1/27/14): On Friday, we learned that David Wildstein, the guy at the center of the "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee “bridgegate” shut down scandal...we learned that the Port Authority had cut off David Wildstein. They notified him on Friday that he would have to be paying for his own defense in the Chris Christie bridgegate scandal in New Jersey.Will the Port Authority pay for Baroni’s legal expenses? We’re sorry, but that just isn’t a “super interesting question.”
Port Authority says there’s no answer yet on whether Bill Baroni is also going to be on the hook for paying for his own legal defense.
That question of whether or not Bill Baroni is going to be cast aside by the Port Authority the way the Port Authority has cast aside David Wildstein turns out to be a super interesting question and a super interesting problem overall for everybody else implicated not just in what happened on that bridge, but implicated in covering it up afterwards.
The question of what happened in Fort Lee is extremely interesting, in part because these unexplained events seem remarkably strange.
But who will pay Baroni’s fees? That is pretty far down the list of super interesting questions. Except to Maddow, who has a nightly show to peddle, and wants viewers to think she knows much more than she does about these strange events.
Earth to Maddow: An incoherent claim doesn’t come clear if you repeat it many times and say it even more loudly. That was the approach Maddow took when she screeched to the skies last night about the Fort Lee cover-up/cover story.
Warning! The key words in this defiantly stupid passage are these: “as far as we know:”
MADDOW: Bill Baroni, as far as we know, did not arrange the shutting down of those lanes on that bridge and the grid-locking of Fort Lee, New Jersey, as far as we can tell. He’s not the one who put that plan into motion the way David Wildstein did. He`s not the one who apparently called for it the way that somebody in Chris Christie`s office did.In this deeply stupid way, Maddow continued to rage on the moors, telling her gullible, misused viewers about that traffic study—the one “we now know did not exist.”
Bill Baroni, though, is the one who tried to cover it up. In an almost impressively elaborate way, it was Bill Baroni who spun this whole elaborate tale to the New Jersey legislature back in November, before we had seen that "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" e-mail. It was Bill Baroni who showed up at the legislature with photographs and charts. He brought big photos that he drew on, expounding in great detail, spinning this ornate tale about the traffic study. He testified for more than two hours about that traffic study that we now know did not exist.
What does Maddow mean when she tells viewers that the study “did not exist?” We still have no clear idea. Meanwhile, she ought to be fired for saying those things because, despite wasting hours of time on this ranting, she has never told her viewers the following basic facts:
Basic facts Maddow hasn't reported:Summary conclusions were prepared about the results of the traffic lane closings. These data were reported in the Bergen Record.
*Traffic data were collected each day during that peculiar week.
*The traffic data were then analyzed by Pott Authority traffic engineers.
*Starting on August 21, bridge officials had been told about the impending study or test.
*A very clear (if inane) rationale had been presented to the officials. In the testimony of bridge director Cedrick Fulton, Wildstein was posing a question “which neither of us could answer.”
Was this entire process a hoax? That’s certainly one of the possibilities. But on a journalistic basis, Maddow is misbehaving very badly. Despite the hours she has burned on this topic, she is withholding basic facts from her misused viewers.
You might say she’s pulling a Wildstein! Except it still isn’t clear what Wildstein did.
Maddow knows about the facts we've listed, but she has never shared them with viewers. Instead, she rages on the moors, clowning, snarking and rolling her eyes as she begs for the “ruin” of the people she apparently must believe to be bad so she can believe herself to be good.
Which she currently isn’t. Maddow needs to be led away from her desk, very gently, by friends, if she has any.
As she continued last night's testifying, Maddow kept restating her incoherent point. After playing tape of Baroni at a November 25 hearing, she snarked the following at her viewers, pretending to be speaking in Baroni’s voice:
MADDOW: [Speaking as Baroni] “We at the Port Authority are super sensitive to the effect of traffic on our cities. We have nothing to be embarrassed about with this traffic study. Fort Lee has been getting more than their fair share of access to that bridge for years now. So yes, we had a traffic study to show how selfish Fort Lee is and how much they are hurting everybody else.”“There was no traffic study?” To this day, we have no idea what Maddow means when she makes that statement.
That was totally made up. There was no traffic study. The whole thing was concocted as a cover-up to disguise what we now know they were actually up to. Now, that is known and we know that Bill Baroni was in on it. He knew exactly what happened, down to the fact that emergency services were having trouble reaching someone who was having a heart attack, because of that traffic on the first morning of the shutdown.
Traffic data were collected, and those data were analyzed. What exactly does Maddow mean when she says we know there was no study? Isn’t it time she explained?
As we’ve noted many times, that attempt to conduct a “traffic study” or a “test” may have been a hoax. It may be that The Wildstein Gang just wanted to shut Fort Lee down for some reason which is still unknown.
In that sense, it may turn out that there was no good-faith attempt at a traffic study or test—that the whole thing was a sham. But on a journalistic basis, that hasn’t been demonstrated yet.
Meanwhile, Maddow keeps refusing to report some very basic facts.
To our physician’s eye, Maddow is morally ill. Her weird bouts of dishonesty have suggested this state of affairs for some time. But last night’s raging on the moors make this point fairly obvious.
What does Maddow mean when she says Baroni’s testimony “was totally made up?” When she says, “There was no traffic study?”
We don’t know, but we do know this:
Traffic data were collected that week. Maddow needs to report that.
Those traffic data were analyzed. She needs to report that too.
Preliminary conclusions were reached—conclusions which were quite underwhelming. That too is part of the basic sworn record. Maddow’s viewers have never been told.
Instead, a morally sick person keeps waving her arms, raising her voice, rolling her eyes and pimping her snark.
Maddow has become a parody. She’s acting out Network, The Sequel.
If Bill Wolff were a journalist, he would know what to do about this. But Bill Wolff has no background in news. In effect, he is the hoaxster in charge at The One True Channel.
Because Wolff is himself a hoax, he doesn't know what to do with his star. Let us help this unqualified person:
He needs to take his Judy, his Elvis, and walk her away from her desk.
The sort of thing a lost soul says: At one point, Bill Wolff’s lost soul made this presentation last night:
MADDOW: At one point, Assemblyman John Wisniewski asked Bill Baroni if the legislature could please see this traffic study that he seemed to know so much about. Bill Baroni told him no. He said the legislature couldn`t see it. He couldn`t provide data or numbers about the traffic study because the study was cut short. The traffic study was ruined.In fact, Wisniewski asked if there had been a “report.” This is the start of the exchange to which Maddow referred:
ASSEMBLYMAN WISNIEWSKI (11/25/13): So there is a report that exists?The boys went on and on from there, with Wisniewski asking if the data could be provided to the committee.
BARONI: No. Because the week was cut short and it was never completed. So that’s why I said in my opening remarks these numbers are—
WISNIEWSKI: No, no I understand your opening remarks. But my question is: Somebody compiled data to give you, right?
BARONI: Well, the data— It wasn’t created, it was not created to give to me.
WISNIEWSKI: No, not created; compiled.
WISNIEWSKI: Somebody printed out something from readers, and assembled the statistics—
The data were provided. Last night, Maddow played it cute. To this day, she has never told her viewers that those data were ever compiled and analyzed at all. Instead, she keeps suggesting that no such conduct ever occurred.
Everyone in the New Jersey legislature knows these basic facts. Due to her ridiculous conduct, Maddow's viewers, night after night, are being kept in the dark.
Maddow should report the basic facts to her viewers. Better yet, the task should fall to the person who take her place as she tries to recover her health.
Maybe Bill could ask Ronan to do it. If only Judy and Elvis had taken a little time off!