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.

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.
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.

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.

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.
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.

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.

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.
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.”

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.

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.
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.”

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.

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.
Oprah! Over here! Oh please, please, please pick me!

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.

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.
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.

Hi, Mom!

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.

That does it for us tonight. We’ll see you again tomorrow.
“Because tomorrow’s done?” We agree—that didn’t make sense.

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!


  1. Really? The dumbest? Wish I was dumb enough to accumulate $8billion.

  2. Contrary to what has been written, I find Maddow's jokes to be on par with Stewart and Colbert.

    1. Stewart has satirized MSNBC and liberal politicians Maddow and Colbert turn a blind eye to liberal hypocrisy.

      Jon Stewart explaining lambasting MSNBC to Maddow:


      "Jon Stewart Mocks 'Totally Incompetent' IRS"


      "Jon Stewart Rips Obamacare Rollout Democrats Can't 'Spin This Turd'


    2. I wasn't a regular viewer of Colbert during his run but his performance at the White House correspondents dinner was a HOF piece of political comedy.

      I'll also cite this surprising performance with Elvis Costello. A hint of class consciousness.

    3. I like this version better.

    4. Those guys are funny but not as funny, entertaining and insightful as Maddow.

    5. @ 7:43

      Maddow posing as an insightful pundit is indeed hysterical.

  3. tdraicer:

    >That’s the way we got President Bush. Are we hoping for President Walker?

    That is also how we got President Obama instead of the at least somewhat more liberal and far more competent President Hillary Clinton..

    1. Our guess? You are either one of those clueless Hillary supporters who are her biggest problem, or else one of those liberals who is unable to recognize the most obvious manifestations of any state of affairs.

  4. Mistaken for Smart

    "Maddow became a nightly host on MSNBC in September 2008."

    Bob Somerby, Part 1

    Almost seven years later Bob Somerby has yet to adjust to the fact that Maddow's program isn't, never was, and never will be straight news. And that it is, indeed, "all about her."

    That is why they put her name on the marquee and the word "Show" not the word "news." Which is why they pay her the big bucks Bob perhaps once aspired to as a comic, but disdains now that he has never achieved stardom himself.

    Are we cursed as an intellectual culture because "the liberal world seems unable to recognize the most obvious manifestations of any state of affairs." Or are some people cursed with the inability to see and grasp reality and instead warp it into a conspiracy against the world as they think it should be?

    1. it may not be straight news, but TDH is right, she still sucks.

    2. I've always said it is a good thing Bob is at least as smart as most everybody else, but smarter than Donald Trump, Sean Hannity, Rachel Maddow and the whole darn lot of Liberalworld.

  5. I've never understood why Bob thought that a cable channel, once owned by GE and later, by Comcast would program a thoughtful, critical, and incisive news program from the left.
    If Maddow, or Harris-Perry, or even Lawrence hosted that type of news program, they'd lose their jobs.
    If Rachel's delivery is more frenetic than usual, it's probably because she and her staff know that the days are numbered for NBC's foray into news programming for "liberals." NBC has discovered that liberals don't watch cable news in the same numbers as conservative viewers do.
    Let's get real, wall-to-wall cable news viewing is the province of the elderly, and that demo skews right.
    MSNBC is going to be Brian Williams landing pad, and as tattered as his brand is, he won't lead news programming in a liberal ecosystem. By the fall, the left host of MSNBC will be gone, Mathews will be repurposed, just in time to bash Hillary, and Lawrence will be the last liberal standing.
    There was never a chance for the type of programming that Bob insisted should be the norm at MSNBC.
    That type of programming died in the 90s with the cancellation of Tiger TV, The 90s Channel.

    1. I'm sure a rival network will snap her up immediately if this does happen given her immense talent at telling jokes and relating to people who watch tv.

    2. Maybe a talk show. Is there room for more than one heartwarming lesbian on daytime TV?
      Maybe Rachel will survive serving up all snark, all the time. Who knows. She just doesn't have a big enough audience to affect the election.
      I think that's the other thing that Bob misses. People who vote for democrats aren't getting their news from cable. More people are getting news via their Facebook feeds. That's why news organizations are starting to tailor their content for social platforms. TV is old tech for old people.

    3. Maybe she can do a comedy special for HBO.

    4. Boy, if she gets an HBO comedy special somebody better call Protective Services and get the analysts into foster care before Bob the Blogger hears about it.

    5. One thing is for sure. She'll never get that kind of money again.

    6. 4:49. Good one. Maybe you can write jokes for her if she ever lands another gig.

    7. Hope so. Tired of repeating the ones Bob flopped with the last time he was on stage.

  6. The Trolls We've GotJune 18, 2015 at 2:32 PM

    You can ignore Somerby's criticisms of Maddow because...

    [ Use as needed: ]

    1) Maddow's awesome. Why, she covers important stuff all the time, like.... [This used to be the number one response, but the wheels have kinda come off, haven't they?]

    2) Maddow's irrelevant. Nobody watching Maddow imagines that they're getting information. It's just good, funny fun!!

    3) If Somerby thinks he's such a smarty, why isn't he is rich as Maddow? Jealous much??

    1. The Trolls We've GotJune 18, 2015 at 5:47 PM


      4) Maddow??? And her tiny network tevee audience??? C'mon! The real problem is micro-blogger Somerby and his worrying verbal tics. [See next comment for fresh-as-a-daisy example.]

    2. Congratulations. The best defense of the theme of lazy, stupid, dislikeable liberals is a demonstration of its accuracy.

  7. The Bob Fans We EsteemJune 18, 2015 at 4:45 PM

    You can rely (on a journalistic basis) on Somerby's criticisms of Maddow because...

    [ Repeat,repeat, repeat your favorite analyst's favorite]

    1) Maddow's crazy. Why "wires are hanging loose inside her high-IQ brain (When we watch Maddow wet herself)" 8/29/14

    2) Maddow's crazy. "we’re suggesting that Maddow may turn out to have a screw or three loose....Wealth and fame have harmed many people..... At least since Judy Garland and Elvis, this has been the brutal down side of our nation’s relentless star system." 3/14/14

    3) Maddow's crazy. "Maddow bows low to the twin gods, Smirk and Snark....Rachel rolls her eyes at Jesus himself!" 9/9/2014

    4) Maddow's Perverse: On the air "Maddow’s messy self-abuse.... Maddow was creaming, as she frequently does...making herself cream"

    That said, you may prefer that he points out she perspires, pimps piddle, and stuffs bucks in her pants.

    In our view, you either value these intellectual culture saving insights or if you "liberals are willing to tolerate this type of work, the problem with American politics rather plainly is us."

  8. My favorite was the reference to Maddow as "a wasted draft pick". Those who have followed a pro sports team knows that Somerby nailed it. The choicest of prime time slots on national cable television and sadly she's a dud. No other way to put it.

    1. Those who follow any sports know the biggest duds are the complainers on the talk shows and comment boards that couldn't play their way off the couch. And they are geniuses compared to those who comment from the sidelines about politics.

  9. Paid too much to send down to the minors, and with such amazing credentials. The fans are left to endure a highly touted flop.

    1. I bet you can throw a football over them mountains.

    2. Not a fan of football. I enjoy professional sports more from an appreciation of the business and team building strategies rather than from a Walter Mitty perspective.

      It's fascinating comparing and weighing competing philosophies used to build a team who's ultimate performance totals more than the sum of its parts. A wasted draft pick can decimate an entire franchise, at least set it back for a significant stretch of time..

    3. If Jerry had just put me in as GM them Cowboys would have been to the mountaintop long before now.

  10. Wow..... This is quite a fake out, even for Bob. He hooks us by telling us he is going to talk about two figures who legitimize Donald Trump: Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow. He even mentions SEAN first. I got about two thirds of the way down this dishonest post before I realized, like his other favorite Fox News Personality....

    Hannity Gets a Pass!!!!

    And of course, no matter how stupid her show is, Rachel is the one who really does not take Trump seriously, who thinks he's an idiot, just like the many other commentators across the spectrum who weighed in on his candidacy.

    Hard to imagine "The Daily Howler" sinking lower than this; but it's a good illustration of why Bob never cottoned to that "false equivalencies" talk. Without them, degraded posts like these couldn't rattle around in his lizard brain.

    1. Hannity has never pretended to be liberal. Maddow has. Which is more dangerous to liberal interests?

    2. Sloth N. ComprehensionJune 19, 2015 at 11:31 AM

      Liberals are the problem now too! We're lazy and we aren't very smart. We exude a moral squalor. We're lazy and dumb and our morals are bad.

    3. Maddow is the Hannity for liberals. Keeps you dumb and in the dark. Plays to your confirmation bias. She's a horrible player in a dark world of evil charlatans who use you and play you.

    4. Evil charlatans are known to make the analysts scream.

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