Supplemental: Rachel Maddow plays doctor with Issa!

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2014

We’re not sure who was worse:
Let’s brace ourselves for several thoughts we may be inclined to dislike.

For starters, we’ll recommend David Brooks’ new column concerning our nation’s hyper-tribalization.

For our money, the following portrait is basically accurate. Brooks is even nice enough to use an example in which a contingent of The Red Tribe is pointlessly overwrought:
BROOKS (10/28/14): The features of the hyper-moralized mind-set are all around. More people are building their communal and social identities around political labels. Your political label becomes the prerequisite for membership in your social set.

Politics becomes a marker for basic decency. Those who are not members of the right party are deemed to lack basic compassion, or basic loyalty to country.

Finally, political issues are no longer just about themselves; they are symbols of worth and dignity. When many rural people defend gun rights, they’re defending the dignity and respect of rural values against urban snobbery.
In our view, that’s an accurate portrait of our growing tribalization. Brooks was even nice enough to chide the nation's “gun nuts.”

In comments, of course, hyper-tribalized liberals swung into action, helping prove Brooks' case. This was the first real comment:
COMMENTER FROM CONNECTICUT: Actually, it's a lot simpler than that. The Democratic Party is far from perfect, but the Republican Party has gone insane and has abandoned all pretense of principle. Rank-and-file Republicans are fooled by right-wing spin into believing that the Democratic Party is the party that is compromised. Thus strong negative passions are aroused on both sides—typically honest ones on the Democratic side, fabricated ones on the Republican.
Just for the records, we agree with that first point. In our view, quite a few rank-and-file Republicans do get fooled by varieties of right-wing spin.

But all through the annals of time, tribal players have described the world in the way we see as this comment ends. Inevitably, reactions by people in Our Tribe turn out to be “typically honest.” The sub-humans in The Other Tribe are emitting “fabricated” passions.

Brooks’ column, and the instant reactions, made us think of Rachel Maddow’s performance last Friday night.

We refer to the mockery she dumped on Darrell Issa. More significantly, we refer to the cherry-picking and doctored tape which let her thrill us with a portrait of a hopelessly fallen buffoon in The Vile Other Tribe.

We aren’t big fans of Issa here—but we also aren’t fans of Maddow. We thought last Friday’s program was an insult to liberal viewers all the way through.

Maddow started her program with Issa, who had made some relatively minor mistakes in a House hearing about Ebola that day.

What mistakes had Issa made? In an opening statement which he seemed to be having trouble reading, he twice said “Guyana” when he should have said “Guinea.” Beyond that, he said “Eboli” several times when he should have said “Ebola.”

Maddow went on, and on and on, screeching about these errors. To help enrage us even more, she did some cherry-picking:

In the opening statement she was mining, Issa had in fact referred to “Ebola” a great many times. She cherry-picked the two or three times when he said “Eboli,” then gave the impression that he didn’t know the name of the disease in question at all.

Concerning Guyana, can we talk? A few weeks earlier, Maddow had made a rather strange geographical error herself. Rather plainly, she seemed to say, several times, that Estonia, which President Obama was visiting, is part of “the Balkans.”

As a matter of fact, Estonia is one of “the Baltics.” After Maddow mocked Issa concerning Guyana, conservatives replied by mocking her rather obvious earlier error, which she has apparently denied making or intending to make.

In such ways, tribal players have learned to heighten each other’s loathing down through the annals of time.

Warning! Things got substantially worse before Friday's segment was done! At one point, Maddow simply doctored the videotape of Issa, thereby misrepresenting what he had actually said.

During Maddow’s mocking of Issa, she twice played tape of something else he said at that day’s hearing. She rather plainly doctored the tape, hiding the fact that his expert panel had actually seemed to agree with his actual statement.

(In fairness, this may have been that famous old demon, “bad staff work.” Maddow may not have known that Issa’s remark had been doctored.)

At the 1:07 mark on this C-Span tape, Issa is accusing the head of the CDC of having made several errors about Ebola. In this exchange with Dr. Nicole Lurie, he describes a way a person could contract Ebola on a bus:
ISSA (10/24/14): We have the head of CDC—supposed to be the expert—and he's made statements that simply aren’t true.

Doctor, you can get Ebola sitting next to someone on a bus if they, in fact, throw up on you, can't you? That's reasonable.

LURIE: The way you get Ebola is by exposure to body fluids. Yes.

ISSA: OK. So when the head of the CDC says, "You can't get it with somebody on the bus next to you," that's just not true.
No one on a five-member panel challenged Issa’s representation. Dr. Lurie seemed to agree with his statement.

(Later in the hearing, another witness, Rabih Torbay, plainly said you can get Ebola from someone on a bus. He’s vice president of international operations for International Medical Corps.)

In our view, it isn’t likely that someone afflicted with Ebola is going to throw up on somebody else on a bus. But Maddow doctored the tape on two occasions, making it look like Issa had made a completely ridiculous statement which everyone knows to be false.

Sadly, Maddow shrieked the following at one point in her segment. Please note what has been amputated from Issa's actual statement:
MADDOW (10/24/14): When we look back on this time, when books are written about this, and they will be, about this as a challenge and a health crisis and a moment that called for leadership in this nation, it’s almost impossible to believe, but that historical record is going to have to show that there has been a huge partisan divide in the response, a sharply divergent difference in the two kinds of responses that we’ve had in this country.

I mean, this really is turning out to be the Republican response.

ISSA (videotape): You can get Ebola sitting next to someone on a bus.

MADDOW: No, you can’t.

Darrell Issa today, right? Who can’t tell Guinea from Guyana or Eboli from Ebola, but he knows better than any doctor. Don’t take the bus, America! Darrell Guyana, leading the charge in Congress!
To watch the whole segment, click here. This chunk comes after the six-minute mark. At various points, you may need to turn the volume down.

In the first part of that passage, Maddow states Brooks’ basic point. Given the way things are today, even a topic like Ebola produces a tribalized set of responses!

That said, can you see what Maddow did next? She dropped the part of Issa’s statement which refers to someone throwing up on that bus. Obviously, that doctoring changed what Issa had actually said.

She then proceeded to insist that you can’t get Ebola on a bus. She mocked Issa for failing to listen to doctors, even though Dr. Lurie seemed to agree with what he actually said.

Did Issa make a valuable point? We’d be inclined to say no. But rather than speak to his actual point, Rachel Maddow, and/or her staff, got busy playing doctor.

Rather than speak to Issa’s point, they took their clippers and doctored his statement. Thus enabled, Maddow shrieked and railed about the extremely dumb thing he (hadn’t actually) said.

Last Friday night’s program was rancid throughout. In our view, Maddow’s ongoing decline proves a very basic point—when you make people very rich and very famous, some of them will lose their way, especially if they have sycophantic corporate suits urging their clownishness on.

Maddow’s whole program was awful last Friday. As usual, the host just wasn’t obsessively honest in the things she did and said.

Needless to say, tribal players will swing into action, saying this simply can’t be the case.

That’s what Brooks is talking about! People, steel your tribal nerves! We still recommend his column.

42 comments:

  1. I'm a big fan of Bob, but I disagree with his characterization of Brooks's column as "chiding" "gun nuts." In fact, I'd even suggest that Bob's support for Brooks's language is one of the things that bothers legitimate critics of Bob (and others), because it appears as if he's bending over backwards to praise Brooks while slamming Maddow (whom I can't stand, by the way).

    Contrary to Bob, I read Brooks as explaining gun-supporters as reasonably defending "rural values against urban snobbery." The choice of words - "values" versus "snobbery" - reveals Brooks's bias, and ignores that the reason rural people feel that way isn't so much the "snobbery" of city-dwellers, but rather because the conservative propaganda machine has spent years selling them that narrative.

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    1. I wish more of the comments here were from legitimate critics and fans instead of the noise that fills this comment box.

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    2. I agree. This is the kind of commentary we can count on from Jonny Scrum-half. He was the one who let us know D'Leisha is now enjoying the first semester of her Freshman year.

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    3. I wish more of the comments here were from legitimate fans and critics instead of a bunch of complainers about other commenters who offer little if anything substantive.

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    4. Except that quite a lot of big-city liberals do, in fact, look down their noses at those poor, benighted, rural hicks who "cling to their guns and religion," to quote one of the more prominent big-city liberals.

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    5. This is truemajneb. I particularly look down on the ones who lose a child who plays with their unlocked loaded guns at home while they momentarily release their clinging grip.

      More have died this way in the past month than have died in the US from ebola.

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    6. "This is truemajneb. I particularly look down on the ones who lose a child who plays with their unlocked loaded guns at home while they momentarily release their clinging grip."

      Your sarcasm demonstrates my point. Clearly you look down your nose at those idiotic gun owners who are too stupid to stop their kids from accidentally shooting themselves. Unintentional or not, this is the kind of snobbery that rural voters pick up on.

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    7. Yet the voter suppression laid on them by the elites still gets by them.
      I guess calling them un/ mis-informed makes me a snob.

      Berto

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    8. "Clearly you look down your nose at those idiotic gun owners who are too stupid to stop their kids from accidentally shooting themselves."

      What do you do, hold them up to adulation?

      This bullshit snobbery meme is just a spin of the "latte-drinking, Volvo-driving, quiche-eating liberals." It's nothing more than a Hannity stereotype that you and the blogger are stupid and/or mendacious enough to treat a fact and spread like manure.

      And speaking of facts, where's your refutation of 6:16's 2nd point?

      Of course, it's always easier to snark an out-of-context Obama quote and regurgitate Fox's "snobbery" con.

      You did better work with the Zimmerman Defense Team and that's not saying much.

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    9. Hannity and his ilk don't have to spin the meme very hard when it's obvious that significant numbers of "liberals" really think of rural white voters as ignorant hicks who care more about their guns than their own kids.

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    10. "This bullshit snobbery meme is just a spin of the "latte-drinking, Volvo-driving, quiche-eating liberals." It's nothing more than a Hannity stereotype that you and the blogger are stupid and/or mendacious enough to treat a fact and spread like manure."

      This stereotype resonates because it is true -- I know, I used to be a liberal and I saw it all the time. It is also a lot older than Hannity. To call this obvious feature of the Left stupid and to say that only the mendacious spread it is to simply be so partisan, so blatantly blind to the obvious truth of leftist snobbery, as to be hilarious. It is the mark of the True Believer.

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    11. Exactly. People should admire those who consistently screw themselves by voting for thieves.

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    12. Do you see the condescension there?

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    13. Have you tried laying out the facts to them? They don't believe it.
      Their ignorance of reality, economics, history, math, etc is exasperating. They think the corporate-owned media is liberal, for chrissakes. They believe the poor are taking us all for a ride. One told me the poor have too much power in Washington.
      It's a waste of time laying out facts.
      I find it easier to agree with their slogans until they cry uncle.
      Religion in school? Fine, your kids start praying to Allah tomorrow.
      The deficit is the nation's gravest problem? Okay, have a bake sale to fund the war on ISIS.
      Guns will protect us from government tyranny? True, so it's our duty to arm every young black American male.

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    14. "Do you see the condescension there?"

      No, that's your spin.

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  2. Didn't watch the hearing myself, but Issa has a solid point here. We're hearing things from CDC that don't stand up to logic. We're told you can't get Ebola on the bus, but obviously you "can". Why not tell other citizens the facts--you'd need to be thrown up upon to get it on the bus.

    Wasserman-Shultz laughs at Priebus for asking if one can catch Ebola from casual contact. Like that's a dumb question of belief. So if an Ebola patient sneezes in DWS's face, she's not concerned?

    Americans just aren't buying the spin and, while hardly panicking, are losing faith in DC to tell us the straight skinny.

    spongeworthy

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    1. DC perhaps isn't the place to get the skinny. There are lots of places to find out about Ebola, how it is transmitted and what the symptoms are.

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    2. Couldn't agree more, but don't think that's helping grow confidence in our institutions. You're pretty much conceding we can't trust government with our health.

      spongeworthy

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  3. It's like Maddow, in this segment about Issa, is fighting fire with fire.

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    1. I think Maddow is behaving like an idiot. Issa will do anything to attack Obama and other Democrats. Maddow is making a fool of herself.

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  4. OMB (OTB Not Listening to Grampa Rufus on Hypocrisy)

    "That said, can you see what Maddow did next? She dropped the part of Issa’s statement which refers to someone throwing up on that bus. Obviously, that doctoring changed what Issa had actually said." BOB in this post


    "For unknown reasons, Glenn Kessler’s weekly Fact Checker piece displayed the text of a political ad by Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky senate candidate. As he started his fact check of the text, Kessler made this odd assertion:

    KESSLER (10/26/14): This ad has not been publicly released by the Grimes campaign. In The Fact Checker’s experience, the most fact-challenged ads are those that fly under the radar, as campaigns hope that reporters don’t notice the content—but voters do.

    Let’s assume the text in question is false and misleading, as Kessler went on to judge. If the “ad” in question “has not been publicly released by the Grimes campaign,” then why was the ad being fact-checked? How would voters “notice the content” of the ad?

    In what sense was the “ad” an actual “ad” at all?" BOB yesterday


    Kessler's actual article opens with a picture of Alison Grimes, from
    an ad to which he links, in which she speaks the words he reprints below the picture. The caption labels it an ad from Grimes. Then he writes:

    Excuse the fuzzy quality of this ad, but it has not been publicly released by the Grimes campaign. In The Fact Checker’s experience, the most fact-challenged ads are those that fly under the radar, as campaigns hope that reporters don’t notice the content — but voters do."

    Maddow left something out. BOB not only left out the opening of the article, he left out the opening phrase of the opening sentence and altered the grammar to cover up his act. Then he cleverly questioned whether the ad was really an ad, which of course the rest of the article describes as exactly that, a Grimes ad. And BOB did it all himself.

    BOB, naked old men don't get to play the little boy who said the emperor had no clothes.

    You can, however, double down on Maddow like Grimes did on McConnell.

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    1. KZ apparently thinks this blog has the capacity to post pictures. Of course Somerby omitted the ad photo.

      Inclusion of the fuzzy photo and caption would not clarify what Kessler meant by saying the ad was not publicly released. KZ pretends this is a Somerby hypocrisy. It is just one more nothingburger. This is why KZ is a waste of space with nothing to say but Somerby sucks. Go away KZ.

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    2. If this blog has the capicity to say,

      "For unknown reasons, Glenn Kessler’s weekly Fact Checker piece displayed the text of a political ad by Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky senate candidate"

      then this blog has the capacity to say:

      "For unknown reasons, Glenn Kessler’s weekly Fact Checker piece displayed a photo and the text of and a link to a political ad by Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky senate candidate."

      Of course had BOB done that his line questioning whether the "ad" was really and "ad" wouldn't make any sense.

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  5. Wouldn't it be funny if Rachel Maddow ends up contracting Ebola by sitting next to somebody on a bus?

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    1. Only if you were that somebody.

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    2. Even better, she apologizes for her mistake in one of those "Department of Corrections" bits

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    3. I think it would be funnier if Rep. Issa gothis old car gang to steal her new color TV.

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    4. I don't normally wish ill on people, but yes, I would like to see Maddow get Ebola from a fellow bus passenger.

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    5. I'm not a Maddow fan but why? Part of your crusade against tribalism?

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    6. Except that Rachel Maddow would never be caught dead on a public bus BECAUSE she may very well pick up Ebola from such a place. Public transport like that are for proles.

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    7. Do I wish for Rachel Maddow to contract Ebola from someone on a bus? Heavens no!

      Do I think it would be ironically hilarious? Possibly!

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  6. Rachel is down to her last 3 viewers....I guess there are still some people who like her.

    Dying of curiosity to see how long her show can last before getting the axe.

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    1. She came in 2nd ahead of her CNN competition in October, by the widest margin of any of the prime-time MSNBC hosts. How does that fit with your messaging?

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    2. Some "competition" for Maddow. Next up for her: slaying paralyzed infants.

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    3. Maddow and MSNBC are perennially in third place. . They might as well run "Forensic Files" all day which CNN/HLN does after jettisoning their version of Maddow, JVM.

      Same Day Cable News Daily Ratings for October 27, 2014

      FOXN KELLY FILE, THE
      CNN Anderson Cooper 360
      MSNB Rachel Maddow Show
      CNBC PROFIT, THE
      HLN Dr. Drew ON CALL

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  7. Rachel seems to be reliving the old HIV days of her San Francisco girlhood, when there was a degree of panic over how easily that virus could be spread.

    Enlightened people were at peace in the knowledge that HIV could be spread only through an intimate exchange of bodily fluids, such as by completed sex or blood transfusion. Not to worry. Condoms and blood screening made us all safe. No need to quarantine victims. Shake their hands. Hug them. Kiss them. Share dinnerware with them. No problems. Worried about an HIV-positive kid spitting on your kid at school? Don't be silly. So said the intelligent, enlightened press.

    Some even said the threat of passing HIV via straight sex had been grossly exaggerated to draw more attention to what essentially was a gay disease. Even George Will took pains to point out that anal tissue was not designed by nature (evolution?) to stand up to a thrusting penis as was vaginal tissue. It was thus much more subject to tearing and bleeding during intercourse and therefore an ideal mode of viral transmission. Hmm. What kind of researchers was he employing?

    But the most interesting study of people's attitudes I saw was a poll comparing the attitudes of journalists and scientists. The poll said journalists were more likely than scientists to let their kids play with HIV-infected kids.

    I believe in evolution. These little creatures can change their nature at any time. What takes a face full of diarrhea today might learn to travel by fart tomorrow.

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