Part 1—Bungling Magic Johnson: It would be hard to find a more obvious pseudo-discussion than the current pseudo-discussion, the enthralling pseudo-discussion about the weird, incoherent and pitiful things Donald Sterling apparently said.
All the pundits know what to say as they stage this pseudo-discussion. For starters, all our national pundits admit to being brighter and more upstanding than Sterling is!
To appearances, it isn’t hard to be brighter and more upstanding than Sterling in the arena of race. Sterling seems to be almost as clueless as Cliven Bundy, the pundit corps’ previous feel-good scapegoat.
It isn’t hard to be brighter than Sterling! For that reason, Sterling’s recent apparent comments have touched off the type of discussion our millionaire pundit corps loves.
Alas! These low-calorie pseudo-discussions substitute for real discussions about the real issues dogging our plutocrat-infested society. Your pundits will carefully avoid those issues, even the fearless millionaire pundits who tell you they’re “on the left.”
The laziness of these millionaire pundits ought to be a legend by now. For one example, consider what Willie Geist said.
In the first segment of today’s Morning Joe, the pundits were all reciting their lines about the Sterling affair. To watch the whole segment, click here.
In fairness, Mika made the first misstatement about the Magic Johnson connection (text below). But soon, Scarborough threw to Geist.
Years before, the vapid, obedient legacy hire joined Tucker Carlson in mocking the notion of climate change. This morning, the vapid fellow began reciting the current script about Sterling.
Can your spot the mistaken impression conveyed in Geist’s presentation today? Much more importantly, can you see what this suggests about Geist himself?
GEIST (4/29/14): There’s so much to say about this, but it’s amazing, when you start at the very beginning. It shows how deep, if this tape is in fact Donald Sterling, how deep his racism is, that he was upset that this woman brought Magic Johnson to a Clippers game.Ignore the unintended comedy of Geist’s disclaimer. Have you spotted the bogus impression conveyed in that presentation?
SCARBOROUGH: I was going to say—
GEIST: —arguably the most beloved athlete in the United States of America.
It’s terrible on its face, but then when you go deeper into it— It was Magic, he was upset that Magic Johnson was at his game! He’s lucky Magic Johnson was at his game. There’s so much here.
More importantly, have you seen what this tells us about Geist?
Here’s the misimpression:
Listening to Geist, a person would get the impression that Sterling was angry because his girl friend, the apparently pitiful V. Stiviano, “brought Magic Johnson to a Clippers game.”
If Geist had listened to the original, nine-minute TMZ tape, he would know that isn’t what the lovebirds were arguing about. He’d know there is no indication that Viviano ever took Johnson anywhere, let alone to a Clippers game.
The logic is often hard to follow on the nine-minute tape. But the reason for Sterling’s anger is clear. Plainly, Sterling is angry because Stiviano posted a photo of herself with Johnson on Instagram.
At one point, Stiviano says she doesn’t know Johnson personally; she simply took a photo with him, a man she admires, at a public event. There is no indication that she ever brought Johnson to a Clippers game, and that clearly isn’t what she and Sterling are fighting about.
None of this matters, of course, if we’re trying to judge Sterling. But if we’re trying to understand the work of our national pundit corps, we see that Geist is so lazy and so unprofessional that he apparently hasn’t bothered listening to the actual TMZ tape.
That original TMZ tape is only nine minutes long! To appearances, Geist has been too lazy to review it. He knows the general shape of the script—and that is all that ever matters to the vapid people who shape our pseudo-discussions.
Years ago, Geist was kissing the ascot of Tucker Carlson as he ascended the ladder at NBC. At the time, Carlson had a daily show on MSNBC. Geist served as one of his sidekicks.
This is part of the script Geist recited on one pathetic occasion:
GEIST (12/12/06): Tucker, I have got some real news for you. Al Gore seems intent upon not losing another close election, so he is everywhere these days, campaigning for an Oscar for his global warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth.Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
The former vice president has been on Oprah, the Tonight Show, the Today Show and every show in between, plugging the film’s DVD release. On Saturday, he’ll host a nationwide network of 1,600 house parties to watch and discuss that movie. The Oscar nominations are due out late next month…
CARLSON: Have you seen the Gore movie [An Inconvenient Truth]?
GEIST: No, I have not seen it.
CARLSON: I suspect it’s a shade, what’s the word? Pedantic.
GEIST: Yes, I didn’t see it because I had paint to watch dry that weekend, so I couldn’t get to it. But Hollywood would like nothing more than to help propel him to the White House. So, don’t be surprised if gets it [an Oscar].
CARLSON: Good point!
In that instance, Geist was mocking an important film, a film he was too lazy and unprofessional to watch. He was also pimping the script about fake/phony stupid old Hollywood.
This morning, he was reciting the script about an audiotape he has apparently been too lazy to review. As people like Geist perform these roles, real discussion is avoided. Plutocrat power grows.
In fairness to Geist, this is what all these people are like. Earlier this morning, Mika had introduced this topic of Sterling’s comments in this manner:
BRZEZINSKI: The recordings in question allegedly capture Sterling for allegedly scolding his mistress at the time for—unnnhh—for bringing African-American men to Clippers games and posting photos of them on her Instagram account.That isn’t what Sterling is scolding her for. To all appearances, Mika hasn’t listened to the tape either.
After Willie took his turn, Scarborough briefly jumped in with a question about Johnson, an iconic Los Angeles Laker. Why would Johnson attend a Clippers game?
Briefly, Willie was flummoxed:
GEIST: It was Magic—he was upset that Magic Johnson was at his game! He’s lucky Magic Johnson was at his game. There’s so much here.Phew! Willie escaped! But the whole Morning Joe segment conveyed a bogus impression about the nature of the argument. There was no sign that anyone on this pundit crew had devoted even nine minutes to playing the original TMZ tape.
SCARBOROUGH: Which raises a question—why was Magic Johnson at a Clippers game?
GEIST: I think the picture actually was at—they had Dodgers gear on.
SCARBOROUGH: Actually, I’m joking.
This latest shallow script is an easy script for pundits. But as they condemn the latest scapegoat for his troubling racism, they keep us away from real discussions about society’s actual structures, including those involving race.
Everyone gets to kill the pig! No one gets challenged or enlightened about anything that actually matters.
As pundits recite these easy scripts, they work to keep our eyes off the prize. The work on cable last night was abysmal. Tonight, you’ll see more of the same.
Tomorrow: Leifer’s joke
Willie nails Hillary Clinton: Back in 2007, Willie was helping Tucker push his script about Hillary Clinton.
At the time, MSNBC was the market leader in undisguised misogyny. Liberals were happily refusing to say that, of course:
GEIST (7/16/07): Well, I think the metaphor in this next story, Tucker, is pretty clear. So I will just report the straight fact. The newest collectors’ item on the presidential campaign trail is a Hillary Clinton nutcracker. They’re going like hot cakes in Rochester, Minnesota, where the idea for the nutcracker was hatched.These are the ways people like Geist worm their way to the top. This week, he’s wasting our time with denunciations of the world’s craziest man. So is everyone else.
It’s a Hillary doll with serrated stainless steel thighs that, well, crack nuts. If you can’t make to it Minnesota to pick one up, you can go to HillaryNutcracker.com and that could be yours for the low, low price of $19.95. They`ll also throw in a bag of Hillary nuts for five bucks.
I don’t know what they’re getting at here, Tucker. What do you think they`re saying about Hillary?
CARLSON: I don’t know, but that is so perfect. I have often said, when she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs.
GEIST: I know you do.
CARLSON: I’m getting one, by the way.
GEIST: Go to the website. It sounded like a little country store in Rochester, Minnesota. This guy just had the idea. Now they’re literally flying off the shelves, so he had to start a website. And people can’t get enough of these things.
You have covered a lot of campaigns. You always get these sorts of keepsakes that come with the campaign. I think this will be one of the best.
If you swallow crap like this, you'll never get anything else. So far, the liberal world has swallowed this crap from players like Geist every step of the way.