Rapidly eaten up by the machine!


Watching Chris Hayes disappear: The time has come to ask a question:

Is Chris Hayes, the cable news host, on performance enhancing drugs?

Hayes’ persona has been reinvented since he was moved to prime time. Early on, Hayes described this as the process of becoming a showman.

This was the relevant Q-and-A. The interview with Salon appeared last June 25:
SALON: You have to think about ratings more? MSNBC has had its challenges there lately.

HAYES: Yeah, ratings are the measurement of what you have to think about, which is producing entertaining television. The ratings—I try not to think about the numbers, because that data can be very overwhelming or misleading. The thing I do think about is “are we producing a good show?” And the word “show” is key. You have to be a showman. It is a show. You need to put on a show every night. Which means, like, step right up, ladies and gentlemen, let me entertain you.
Italics by Salon.

It isn’t necessarily evil to let the suits reinvent your delivery and your person. That said, the carnival barker who hosted Hayes’ program last night did raise questions in our minds concerning the use of pep pills.

Remember how normal Hayes used to seem? To watch his pepped-up opening segment, click here, and then click this.

Nor was his content great. This is the start of the snarky taped presentation with which Hayes opened last night's program. We'll focus on two factual claims which heightened the story-telling:
HAYES (2/17/14): Meet Lieutenant Thomas “Chip” Michaels, a police officer at the Port Authority. Chip was on duty at the George Washington Bridge on September 9, 2013. That would be the first day of traffic in Fort Lee.

But September 9 wasn’t just a normal day at work for Chip, because he had a meeting with a high-ranking official at the Port Authority, according to documents submitted to the New Jersey assembly…Yes, according to documents submitted by David Wildstein himself on September 9, Chip Michaels appeared to be texting the former Port Authority appointee David Wildstein, "It’s expletive up here."

Later, the two met in person. Michaels took David Wildstein for a ride around to survey the impact on traffic. In the coming days, documents indicate that Chip texted Wildstein with updates on the traffic. A message on September 10 reads, "Local Fort Lee traffic disaster."

And Chip Michaels and David Wildstein had more in common than an interest in traffic. They both hail from Livingston, New Jersey, where they attended high school with none other than Chris Christie. In more recent years, Michaels coached Christie’s kid’s hockey team. In a 2010 profile for the Star-Ledger, Michaels joked about seeing his childhood friend ascend to governor of his state.
Please forgive Hayes for referring to Lieutenant Michaels as “Chip.” Journalistically, no, he shouldn’t do that. But he was just trying to please you by snarking about a supposed Christie pal.

On the other hand, note the way the reinvented Hayes improved his story-telling. Right away, he said that Michaels “attended high school with Christie.” He also said that the Livingston lads had been “childhood friends.”

Those claims made Hayes’ story much better. As the arm-waving, finger-pointing, hopped-up host propelled himself through his opening segment, he was soon speculating that Michaels might have gotten in touch with his childhood friend to tell him about the traffic lane closings which he observed in real time.

That would mean Christie knew! It would mean that Christie’s been lying!

Like everything else, that could have happened. Everything is possible! That said, the speculation works much better if the pair really were childhood friends—and if they really went to high school together.

But according to yesterday’s Asbury Park Press, Michaels is 44 years old, seven years younger than Christie. See our previous post.

If the Asbury Park Press got it right, that makes “childhood friends” a bit of a stretch. It makes the claim about going to high school false.

This morning, we were thinking about the many lives of the Christie “childhood friend” meme:

As you know, the guild loves to improve its stories through the use of brainless embellishments or inventions. A large amount of modern political discourse involves the repeated misstatement of easy-to-understand inaccurate facts.

In the current manifestation, the claim about Christie’s “childhood friends” has gone through quite a few changes. As always, the impulse has been to keep preferred claims about childhood in play, even after such claims have been shown to be wrong.

The bogus claims go away for a while. After that, they start returning! Lassie behaved the same way!

We’ll run through the changes another day; we think they’re worth reviewing. Meanwhile, take a look at the frenetic fellow who hosted Hayes’ program last night.

You may understand why we’re worried that Hayes may be popping pills. Everything is possible!

Watch his frenzied physical conduct. Consider the instant snark about “Chip.” Note the extensive speculation, with absolutely nothing to back it up.

Is Hayes on pep pills? We can’t be sure! We also aren’t sure about Michaels’ age.

Do you think Hayes knows what his age is? Or did he just say this last night: Step right up, ladies and gentlemen?

Now for a bit of good news: Last November, Lt. Michaels intervened to talk a teenager out of a suicide attempt.

Hayes won’t likely be able to talk about that. To read the Huffington Post’s real-time account, go ahead:

Just click this.


  1. Yes, Bob. Michaels is seven years younger than Christie. They couldn't have gone to high school together. You've proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt and with geometric logic.

    And you would have produced that key to the wardroom icebox if they hadn't pulled the Caine out of action.

    1. Do you really think this doesn't matter? If you were Michaels, would you be happy that people were accusing you of being part of some corruption? If you were doing your job, following the instructions of your supervisor and carrying out your duties well, would you like having people imply that you are running around town abetting Wildstein or Christie in some plot? Try to imagine how some of the real people in this situation might feel, especially if they were innocent.

      Should people's lives be fodder for increasing ratings of MSNBC hosts, especially when their reputations get trampled in disregard of the facts at hand?

    2. It may be way to late to ever get you to see this Anonymous 6:31, but did it ever occur to you that if this was a legitimate study, or at least Michaels thought that it was, he might be very proud to be noticed for his small contribution?

      Sometimes the small things our men in blue do goes
      without recognition.

    3. And he might be proud to have it suggested by Chris Hayes that he was in high school when he was seven years old -- what a bright young boy!

      It may be too late for you to stop trolling, 10:39 -- it's an addiction, clearly -- but did it ever occur to you to fuck the hell off?

  2. I am distressed at what Chris Hayes is becoming, which is a typical MSNBC attack guy to go along with the rest of the attack guys or gals.

    1. Soon he will be frothing, foaming, and wearing big orange clown shoes. If he doesn't get the hook first like Big Ed and get sent back to Saturday.

  3. "Is Chris Hayes, the cable news host, on performance enhancing drugs?"

    I laughed. That should be the first line, though.

    I never thought he seemed "normal." He drives me crazy -which is not his fault - I just can't stand that over-emphasized manner of speaking where he HITS every FOURTH word HARD.

    He also drops his chin to deepen his voice during "grave" moments, which they must teach in Cable School.

    1. He is a lot different now than when he first appeared on air, in my opinion.

    2. Whenever I read comments like this, I feel really bad for Bob.

    3. I bet Bob was exactly the same on stage as he was in front of the classroom.

    4. These comments are about Hayes not Somerby.

    5. Which ones, in your opinion?

    6. 5:44, 6:27, 18:18 = non-sequitur, 11:53 = correction, 12:05 = you

    7. Sorry, 10:18 not 18:18.

    8. Don't apologize to me. Apologize to 10:18.

  4. Yes! Yes! Kill the pig! Kill the pig!

    We have a fresh, new one! Kill the pig!

    1. You really don't get this reference, do you?

    2. You really don't get how this post and comments sound like a bunch of school kids talking about the nerdy new kid behind his back.

    3. I would be ashamed to be associated with such a remark by a person alleging to be Irish.

    4. I knew a guy who was called "Slim." He wasn't and didn't claim to be. He was just called that. He was not nerdy, but he was manly in a non threatening way.
      Firm but gentile.

    5. Firm but gentile.


    6. It's a supid poleaxe joke.

  5. What the nutty voices who attack any critic of the slanted commentary on MSNBC do not understand is how much MSNBC will work against liberals or Democrats for being slanted and unfair and how much the trollish nuttiness of slanted commentary will turn liberals or Democrats away.

    Bob Somerby is a gem, a wonderful gem.

    1. We need more unique voices like this one.

    2. Then they would all cease to be unique.

    3. He did not say "Just" like.

    4. Excuse me. I forgot that I was in Bob's World where the true meaning of simple declarative sentences change when it is pointed out how idiotic they are.

      Incidentally, Mr. English Prof, "just like" is redundant. It is either "like" or it is "not like." And if it is "like" then it is not "unique."

      But go ahead and parse away the rest of the day. Bob would be proud!

    5. Anonymous 9:33 should have said "exactly" like.

      But as the Great Communicator would have said,
      "there you go again." What a troll. Trying to tyrannize some poor soul trying to clarify what someone else said.

      I truly believe you would benefit reading the treatise on the personality disorders identified by the psychology professors from the University of Manitoba would did the world a favor by their careful examination of the mental state of blog commenters.

      Oh, and to anticipate your next attempt to get paid by
      the post, he was a Great Communicator. Even out current liberal President understood that and wasn't afraid to say so despite the pounding he took from politically correct "real progressives" for doing that.

    6. And another comment from the guy who read a blog post about a study without bothering to read the study itself, and thinks that tells him everything he could possibly know about people who don't hold the same opinion he does that Somerby is such a unique treasure.

      So how many times you going to bring up this study you haven't read?

      Perhaps, like your hero, every day for the next 16 years and pretend you are writing something new and unique every day?

  6. C'mon Chris. There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part! You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!

  7. I think it's about ratings. Fox has made a lot of money by being a cookie right-wing attack machine, so MSNBC is trying to out-stupid Fox from the left in order catch up.

    1. You may well be correct about motive. But there is simply no way MSNBC will out stupid Fox. They
      got their hands and heads in the cookie jar so long ago nobody can ever catch them.