On Hardball, as the worms turn: It’s getting more and more painful to watch our “press corps” as it crashes and burns.
As it endlessly spirals downward. As worms devour the last of its brains. As Enlightenment values and procedures increasingly cease to exist.
As a nation breaks apart into a collection of incoherent tribes.
We earned this gloom the old-fashioned way. Last night, we watched the first, short segment of Hardball.
In the old days, we watched the program’s horrific host as he savaged both Clintons and Gore over a span of roughly ten years. Last night, we watched the reinvented corporate employee as he bungled the anti-Planned Parenthood video story.
As he bungled the facts even further! Let's start with a quick bit of background:
As you may have heard, Candidate Fiorina has been lying her aspic off about what she saw on a certain videotape.
Initially, she misstated the contents of the tape at the recent GOP debate. After those initial misstatements were revealed, she initiated a round of overt lying—political lying of a type we’ve never quite seen before.
What did Fiorina actually see on the videotape in question? Did the tape have anything to do with the people at Planned Parenthood?
Yesterday, Matthews seemed to think that he had discovered the initial source of the footage Fiorina misdescribed at that debate. As his program began, he seemed to say that Fiorina had been watching videotape of Lexi Fretz’s stillborn child:
MATTHEWS (9/29/15): Finally, the truth!To watch the full segment, click here.
Planned Parenthood had nothing to do with it. Let’s play Hardball!
Good evening. I’m Chris Matthews in Washington.
Carly Fiorina has been telling the world about watching pictures of a fully formed baby kicking and breathing after a Planned Parenthood abortion. Everyone has heard her—and not a word of what she said was true.
And why? Because what she saw was not true. Facts matter.
At 2:30 today on MSNBC, the mother of a child stillborn at 19 weeks came forward. She described holding him, along with her other children, after the delivery. It was not at a Planned Parenthood facility, nor did it have anything to do with Planned Parenthood. None of it did.
LEXI OLIVER FRETZ (videotape): They were able to see him, to hold him, to realize that he was real. And while, yes, he was technically stillborn, his heart was beating. I held him in my hands until his little heart stopped. I could see it clearly under his ribcage.
MATTHEWS: MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts asked the mother, Lexi Oliver Fretz, how she felt about seeing her son on the anti-abortion group’s video.
Matthews seemed to think that Fretz’s stillborn baby was the fetus in the videotape Fiorina misdescribed. After showing tape of Fretz speaking with Roberts, he seemed to make that point even more clearly:
MATTHEWS: Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina has insisted that the video showed an abortion being performed by Planned Parenthood. Will the truth matter? This attack video on Planned Parenthood being used to shut down the U.S. government is a fraud. Its only value has been to dupe a presidential candidate into mouthing its propaganda in a national debate before 24 million people.Matthews seemed to think that Fretz’s stillborn child was the figure seen in the videotape Fiorina misdescribed at the debate. In the rest of the segment, two guests—a journalist and a congresswoman—conveyed the same impression.
But will the truth—that the baby was stillborn, that its birth and death had nothing to do with Planned Parenthood—count in this wild and angry conflict of values?
As best we can tell, that isn’t the case. But because of the way our “press corps” functions, we still aren’t precisely sure.
How did this latest confusion come into being? Yesterday afternoon, Thomas Roberts interviewed Fretz. But he never nailed down the basic facts of what had occurred.
To watch that segment, click this.
At 7 o’clock, Matthews came on fuming and railing, just as he used to do when lying about Candidate Gore or about the woman he routinely derided as “Eva Peron.” As usual, he didn’t seem to have any idea what he was talking about.
From the unprecedented Fiorina on down, the worms seem to have eaten all their brains. It’s getting harder and harder to misdescribe that fact.