Part 3—Fast-selling the news: On Tuesday morning, Donald Trump said he was running for president.
In his announcement speech, he made the types of noxious statements which have become his ugly trademark in the Obama years. By Tuesday night, he was being savaged on Hardball—and by George Will and Charles Krauthammer, on the Fox News Channel.
Trump is one of the dumbest, most noxious figures in modern American discourse. Everybody seems to know that—except Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow.
Sure enough! As Maddow began her program Tuesday night, she was discussing her favorite subject. As usual, the clownish cable news star was talking about herself—about herself and her staff.
She was also aggressively selling a product—a product she calls “the news:”
MADDOW (6/16/15): Good evening, Chris. Thank you very, very, very much. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.As any sane person could see, the tape of Bush slow-jamming the news actually wasn’t mind-bending. But in these opening comments, you can see several aspects of Maddow’s performance art which are eating her program alive.
So today was amazing in the news. In just the news about politics today, we changed the stories that we were going to cover, and the order of everything? We changed the show like 300 times today, because new things kept happening all afternoon and into the evening, each of which was more amazing than the things that had come before on this amazing news day.
Up to and including Jeb Bush slow-jamming the news with Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show tonight, which has just happened. We actually just got the tape of it.
We will have that for you in just a moment. It’s mind-bending.
On the one hand, Maddow loves to let us know what she and her staff have been doing.
We’ll offer a guess as to the reason for this approach. Aside from Maddow’s apparent self-absorption, this is likely a marketing play—an effort to make us feel that we’re just “part of the gang” when we watch this increasingly ludicrous show.
Maddow and her staff are our bestest TV friends! A few minutes later this evening, Maddow would crack herself up with a somewhat tasteless, somewhat puzzling joke about Candidate Walker. As she did, she would issue a shout-out to a staff member who had also lost her composure in the face of the TV star’s astonishing wit:
MADDOW: [Walker] had his wedding on the anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth. He had his life-changing, career-defining gubernatorial recall election on the anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s death. And we now know, at least according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that Scott Walker will formally announce that he is running for president on July 13th, which will be the 30th anniversary of the exact day that Ronald Reagan had a benign noncancerous polyp removed from his large intestine.Apparently, “Jackie” was the staffer we could hear laughing at Maddow’s incredible wit. In this way, staff member Jackie earned an on-air shout-out.
I know, right? I know. Wow. [Attempting to control her laughter]
So in terms of who else is going to get in, we still don’t have a date—
I’m sorry, Jackie. I think I hurt Jackie.
As with the nightly naming of the Mousketeers on the old Mickey Mouse Club program, Maddow seems to want us to think that we know her staff members and that they’re lots of fun. But then, it doesn’t end with the staff on this self-referential program.
A bit later on Tuesday night’s show, we were also treated to this:
MADDOW: Programming note. It’s about the show and also not about the show.Even the part that’s “about-the-show” started with a statement to Mom! But then, as Maddow shared in late January, “I’ve mentioned a few times on the show before that I come from a family that is rich in nuns.”
First of all, the not-about-the-show part. Very important is that it’s my mother’s birthday today.
Hi, Mom. Happy birthday!
[Childishly waves to Mom]
And here is the about-the-show part. Mom, tomorrow, on the occasion of your birthday, I have planned for you tomorrow a really excellent story for about the Pope because I know you love the Pope. And I know in most families that would be a really weird birthday present to give your mom, but not in mine.
In my family, that’s perfectly normal, isn’t it? I think it is.
Happy birthday, Mom. I love you. Pope tomorrow.
In theory, a person could do a smart news program while constantly talking about herself, while making staff members a part of the show and cracking up at her own jokes to the point where she has to issue shout-outs to similarly-afflicted staff.
In our view, Maddow isn’t achieving that end at the present time. Her “campaign coverage” has been astoundingly dumb in the past month or so. Her coverage has been massively dumb, even by the miserable standards of American “cable news” programs.
What makes the coverage so dumb? It’s isn’t simply the self-absorption, which seemed to be on display once again as Maddow discussed the way she and her staff had changed her program “like 300 times today...on this amazing news day.”
It isn’t just the self-absorption which drags this program down. It’s also Maddow’s constantly peddling of “the news” as an “exciting,” “dramatic” and “fun” TV product—her constant attempt to convince us, the low-IQ liberal rubes, that it will be exciting and fun if we watch her increasingly ludicrous, low-IQ “news” program.
In her current manifestation, Maddow is constantly selling “the news” as a product—and she was selling very hard this night. In just her first 128 words, she told us, three separate times, that “the news” had been “amazing” that day, with one event reaching “mind-bending” status.
In fact, “the news” hadn’t been amazing this day. Beyond that, the slow-jamming by Candidate Bush wasn’t “mind-bending” at all.
But even as she keeps citing our friends the Maddowsketeers, Maddow is constantly selling this product—and increasingly, the product she’s selling is amazingly dumb, especially her endless and blatantly faux “campaign coverage.”
How “amazing” were the events of this day? As Maddow continued her opening monologue, she offered her first example.
Uh-oh! To make the event seems more “amazing,” she misinformed us for a while. We’re sorry, but what she’s saying here simply isn’t accurate:
MADDOW (continuing from top post above): We will have that for you in just a moment. It’s mind-bending.Maddow is constantly telling her viewers that what they’re hearing is “interesting.” In this case, she invented a phony embellished claim to help us see that the news was so “interesting” this day that it was really “just nuts.”
In addition to that, we’ve got Donald Trump announcing that he is running for the Republican nomination for the president of the United States today.
You obviously heard about that, it got lots of press today. But did you also hear that Donald Trump, since he announced that he’s running for president this morning, he has since then announced who he wants his running mate to be?
It’s the first day he is running for the nomination for president, but he’s already announced his running mate, who he’s running with. And he says he and this running mate, unbeatable combination, they will definitely win.
Now, since he made that announcement today, we have been trying all afternoon and all evening to reach that person, to reach Donald Trump’s would-be running mate to find out if she’s into the idea. Yes, she! We will have that for you in just a moment.
Today is just nuts. Today is one of those days that is just nuts. Too much stuff is going on, and it is all interesting.
Readers, ask yourselves a question. Have you heard that Donald Trump has announced who he wants his running mate to be?
Almost surely, you haven’t heard that said, because Trump has made no such “announcement.” Maddow was referring to something Trump said that day in response to a question from George Stephanopoulos—a question about something Trump had said, apparently as a joke, back in 1999.
Whatever! Goosing “the news” as she constantly does to make it seem “amazing,” Maddow told her liberal viewers that Trump had “announced” that he wants Oprah Winfrey to be his running mate!
After inventing this embellishment, Maddow did what comes naturally. She turned it into an exciting story about herself:
MADDOW: So we have put in a call to Oprah Winfrey’s enormous company today to see if they would give us a statement to find out if, over the course of these past 16 years that he’s been floating the idea, whether or not she has warmed to the idea of being Donald Trump’s vice presidential running mate. Whether she would like to be vice president to Donald Trump.Oprah! Over here! Oh please, please, please pick me!
So far, we have not heard back from Ms. Winfrey. I’ll let you know. I’m going to be sitting by the phones all night in the hopes that she might call.
Obviously, she’s probably not going to call. I would guess, if she does call, that she’s going to say no.
But what if she did call and she said yes? What if I was the first person she said yes to about that?
I will be up all night. I will have the ringer on. Oprah Winfrey, please call! That was awesome. Today has been an amazing day in the news.
Obviously, Maddow wasn’t up all night with her ringer on. Meanwhile, no one else is discussing this vice presidential “announcement” because it didn’t occur. That said, the chance to sit up all night, waiting and hoping for Oprah’s call, was just another element in the awesome news day Maddow was actively selling.
Last night, Maddow closed her show in a way which was even stranger. She said today’s news would be so awesome that none of us should go to bed.
This is the way she started:
MADDOW (6/17/15): Tomorrow’s going to be nuts, because all in one day tomorrow—first of all, we`re going to have Supreme Court rulings. We don’t know which ones yet, but at 10 a.m., we’re going to find out. The fate of lethal injection, the fate of Obamacare, the fate of same-sex marriage nationwide.As she continued, Maddow mentioned the possibility of congressional action today on “the big trade bill”—the big trade bill she never discusses or explains, thanks to all the time she wastes examining the head shots of George Pataki. She also mentioned the pending release of the Pope’s encyclical on climate change.
We’re still waiting on rulings on all of those and a whole bunch of other cases. And it’s possible the Court will put off the big ones until even later and tomorrow won’t be any of the big cases but it is already June 17th. It’s getting kind of ridiculous.
According to Maddow, Thursday (today) will be nuts! On that basis, she made this peculiar suggestion as she ended last night’s show:
MADDOW (continuing directly): Honestly, tomorrow is going be too much. My recommendation, in terms of dealing with tomorrow, is that you should not even go to bed tonight. You just stay up and wait for tomorrow’s glorious dawn of news to shine on your face because you think this news week has been nuts, tomorrow’s [pause] done.“Because tomorrow’s done?” We agree—that didn’t make sense.
That does it for us tonight. We’ll see you again tomorrow.
Is something “wrong” with Maddow? If so, that’s a bad thing, of course. But it’s hard to watch her devolving show without wondering about that question.
Her manic delivery; her constant selling; her absurd imitation of “campaign coverage”—her devolving performance has achieved a degree of inanity where such questions should arise.
That said, we’ve shown you little of what she has said about Donald Trump’s performance this week. Tomorrow, we’ll return to Monday night’s program, when she asked for analytical help from her friend, Chris Matthews.
Maddow has clowned about Trump all week. For today, we’ll only tell you this:
If you don’t like her account of Trump, you should simply wait awhile. Each night this week, the basic story has changed.
Something seems to be badly wrong with Rachel Maddow’s “news program.” But as has been the case for decades, the liberal world seems unable to recognize the most obvious manifestations of any state of affairs.
That’s the way we got President Bush. Are we hoping for President Walker?
Tomorrow: Matthews on Trump. Readers, look who’s talking!