Along with the bullshit you will: It’s amazing to watch the way the multimillionaire corporate pundit corps functions.
A case in point would be last evening’s Hardball. Chris Matthews had assembled a rather strange panel for a discussion about Candidate Clinton—Republican strategist Matt Schlapp; center right columnist Kathleen Parker; and Michelle Bernard, the all-time anti-Clinton dead-ender in June 2008.
(Bernard is very attractive and very personable. In early 2008, she flipped from being a conservative activist to being a pro-Obama crusader. By that June, she had become the ultimate anti-Clinton dead-ender.)
The overall tilt of last night's panel was perhaps a bit strange. That said, the discussion of Clinton produced a grotesque moment from Matthews himself.
Matthews asked his panel for “the worst scenario” which could emerge from the email mess. Parker mentioned Benghazi. Eventually, this exchange occurred:
MATTHEWS (9/23/15): What did she do in Benghazi?In that exchange, you see Matthews agreeing with a Republican strategist—agreeing with him about a major, three-year old propaganda point.
SCHLAPP: She lied on every Sunday show right after—
MATTHEWS: What does that have to do with what happened?
MATTHEWS: I know your trick. Somehow because they didn’t come clean afterwards, that—
SCHLAPP: But do you think it’s okay to go on the Sunday shows and came up with a lie?
MATTHEWS: No! But it didn’t cause anyone to get killed!
What did the administration do in the aftermath of Benghazi? “They didn’t come clean afterwards,” Matthews affirmatively said.
He also plainly agreed with this: They “went on the Sunday shows and came up with a lie.”
Of one thing you can be certain. Matthews hasn’t spent ten seconds in his whole life examining these claims. He doesn’t know what was said on those Sunday programs. He doesn’t know anything about the current state of the intelligence as regards what actually happened in the Benghazi attacks.
He doesn’t know if anyone “lied.” He doesn’t know what anyone said. He doesn’t know what the intelligence community eventually judged about the genesis of the attack. For whatever reason, he has merely come around to thinking that the stance he adopted last night is the best way to proceed.
Here’s the pathetic part in all this—Matthews actually thought he was defending Clinton in that exchange. Even after the reinvention which let him continue at MSNBC after the channel went pseudo-liberal, Matthews is, without any question, one of the worst of all time.
Currently battling him for that title are the horrible tandem of Mika and Joe. Their conduct this week has been astounding, disgraceful, surreal.
On the one hand, the pair has spent the entire week pimping a new Republican line, according to which the claim that Obama was secretly Muslim was actually started by Hillary Clinton. The claim is absurd, but the twin assassins began to pimp it on Monday morning. They’ve kept it up all week.
(Mika was “away” this morning.)
The claim that Clinton started this whisper campaign turns in large part on her 60 Minutes appearance from early March 2008. For whatever reason, Steve Kroft kept asking her, again and again, if she thought Obama was Muslim.
She kept saying no. He kept asking, again and again. Eventually, Clinton said “no” in a way which could be used against her.
It’s being exploited again this week. As you know, script never dies.
You’re seeing parts of that 60 Minutes tape on Morning Joe, along with a lot of accusations. Here’s what you haven’t seen on Morning Joe this week:
Any footage of Donald Trump’s endless birther tirades from 2011 and 2012. You haven’t even heard any quotations from those repeated tirades, in which Obama's place of birth and his religion were questioned.
We’re not sure that Mika and Joe have even mentioned the fact that those repeated tirades occurred. For whatever reason, Mika and Joe have been deeply in the bag for Candidate Trump this week.
For a quick idea of how this looks, we’ll recommend that you watch this tape from Monday’s Morning Joe.
As the segment starts, the panel is pounding Candidate Carson for his anti-Muslim remarks on the previous day’s Meet the Press. But uh-oh! Around the three-minute mark, the producers actually play some tape of Candidate Trump from the same Meet the Press. Trump is shown making these unfortunate remarks:
TODD (9/20/15): Can you imagine supporting or being comfortable if a Muslim ever became president of the United States?Oof! Trump was performing an obvious dog whistle. And then, omigod! Right after playing that tape, the producers turned the cameras on Mika!
TRUMP: I can say that, you know, it’s something that at some point could happen. We will see. I mean, you know, it’s something that could happen. Would I be comfortable? I don't know if we have to address it right now, but I think it is certainly something that could happen.
TODD: You said you had no problem putting a Muslim in our cabinet.
TRUMP: I mean, some people have said it already happened, frankly. But, of course, you wouldn’t agree with that.
Mika completely freezes. Everyone has been savaging Carson; suddenly, Mika can’t think of a single thing to say about Candidate Trump! An awkward, peculiar silence ensues as she tries to figure what to do.
Finally, Heilemann steps in to save the day! He simply goes back to trashing Carson, thereby taking this cup from Mika, who is one of the worst of all time.
We’re sending the analysts out of the room so we can speak in the first person singular:
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a “cable news” program where the propaganda has been so naked, so thoroughly undisguised. An undisguised assassination is being attempted on Morning Joe. And even as this campaign occurs, Mika and Joe are deferring to Trump in a similarly undisguised way.
Did Hillary Clinton start the claim that Obama is Muslim? The claim is absurd, as Dave Weigel explained to Chris Hayes last night.
Still, Establishment Washington’s Clinton-loathing goes back a very long way. It’s being enacted on Morning Joe in a remarkably naked way.
You may recall a similar episode from the War Against Gore in 1999. These horrible people all stood in line to say it was really Candidate Gore who started the Willie Horton race-baiting episode in 1988, not the Bush campaign or any supporter or surrogate.
That was a ludicrous claim; this is ludicrous too. But these are deeply horrible people. In November and December 1999, they stood in line to say it.
It had been a right-wing line since 1992, when George Will had unveiled it. Now, a long line of mainstream press figures stood in line to recite.
These are horrible people, figures straight out of I Claudius. If you doubt that, just watch Mika any morning as she plays the role of “reluctant liberal” in her program’s undisguised attempt to take Clinton out.
These are deeply horrible people—false and faux all the way down.