Their hatred for class traitor Kristof: On Monday, President Obama offensively dared to criticize the press.
Obama spoke at a journalism prize ceremony, one of several million the press corps stages to honor itself each year. According to the New York Times, Obama "delivered a forceful critique on Monday of politicians and the journalists who cover them, lamenting the circuslike atmosphere of the presidential campaign." The Times quoted this remark by Obama:
"A job well done is about more than just handing someone a microphone."
Everyone knew what that meant. That said, within the guild still known as the press corps, it's against the law to criticize the glorious work of the press. Consider what happened when Dan Rather showed up on Tuesday's Last Word.
Rather was Lawrence O'Donnell's first guest. Incredibly, this was Rather's response to O'Donnell's very first question. To watch the segment, click here:
O'DONNELL (3/29/16): Dan, as you've been watching this campaign, you heard the president's critique last night of how we've been covering it. What is your reaction to what you've been seeing?Astonishing! What could possibly make Rather think that the press corps doesn't "tell Obama (and others) how to be president?"
RATHER: Well about the president's speech last night, my first reaction was, "Mr. President, respectfully, I'll try not to tell you how to be president. Don't try to tell me, or any other reporter, how to cover a political campaign."
The press corps does that all day long! There's nothing wrong with doing that, of course. But Rather got his knickers knotted when, on just one lone occasion, the roles were briefly reversed.
According to Rather, his "better angels took over" after that initial reaction. He went on to say that Obama actually made some decent remarks about the people who own the major press outlets in the course of his remarks.
That said, no criticism of reporters or anchors is allowed! This is the way these ridiculous people have always played this game.
The mainstream press corps never tells you the truth about the mainstream press corps. We've been noting that obvious point at least since 1999.
That said, even we have been amazed by the poisonous reaction to Nicholas Kristof, the press corps' new class traitor.
Kristof earned that title in last Sunday's New York Times. Impermissibly, he wrote this column about the way the mainstream press corps, "television in particular," has assisted the rise of Candidate Trump through bad journalistic practices.
In how many ways has the press corps pushed back? Let us count some of the ways.
Last week, a certain major cable star had already murdered a straw man down in response to an accurate claim about cable's fawning treatment of Trump. Late at night, sitting next to Brian, she pushed back in the most disingenuous way possible.
We thought her behavior was striking and sad, but after Kristof, the floodgates opened. On Monday night, Chris Hayes invited a pair of hacks to discuss what Kristof had said.
Hayes specifically cited Kristof's piece, then threw to his guests. Note how long it took these hacks to move completely off-topic:
HAYES (3/28/16): Joining me now to hash out the unified field theory of the rise of Trump is MSNBC contributor Josh Barro, senior editor at Business Insider, and Jess McIntosh, spokesperson for Emily's List, which of course has endorsed Hillary Clinton.That's almost perfect hackdom! McIntosh fed us the names we hate. Barro blamed the racist voters.
So what do you think of the media argument?
MCINTOSH: I think that the media certainly didn't help anything, but I'm not here to j'accuse you. I think that the Republican Party did this, and they've done it slowly over decades. Like I believe that Lee Atwater started it. I think that Newt Gingrich gave us the tone and "call your opponents bizarre weirdos and that's okay if that's how it's going to win."
I think Karl Rove gave us this "divide the elites and pander to that base and make them as big and powerful as they possibly can be," and no one realized that eventually they were going to swallow everything whole.
And then you have Donald Trump himself, who I honestly, like, that man is a phenomenon! If he weren't who he is— I mean, Chris Christie has tried this shtick. Lots of people have tried this shtick. He's real good at it.
BARRO: You know, I think a lot of these theories can all be true at once.
HAYES: Yes. It's an over-determined phenomenon.
BARRO: Right. Voters are for Trump for all sorts of different reasons. Some are upset about trade, some about immigration, some have these racist impulses that Donald Trump is finally letting them let out. These things can all be true. But I also—
You know, we can't let the voters off the hook. And I don't just mean that in the tautological way that like when somebody wins an election it`s because people voted for him. But, you know, everybody has impulses that they try to resist and you know you're not supposed to eat the second doughnut and sometimes you succeed at that, and sometimes you fail.
Donald Trump is really good at convincing people to be bad. He's built his whole career on this. Even in his real estate. Like, you're not supposed to cover everything in brass. You're not suppose to go around bragging about how much money you have. But Donald Trump does these things and makes them seem joyful. He talks about greed, which is a sin as a positive thing. So I think he's really found a weakness in the voters as an institution themselves.
That said, did you notice what happened there? McIntosh and Barro were specifically asked about the role of the media. McIntosh abandoned the topic after one sentence. Barro delivered a long oration about the failures of Them the People.
Creepy, climbing hustlers like these all understand the bargain. As they continued, Hayes played you on behalf of his owners and colleagues:
HAYES (continuing directly): Yes. But so here's the argument, and I guess I'm taking up for the purposes of "the media is to blame" side of this. This study of how much—According to Hayes, the key thing is, the coverage hasn't all been patty-cake! McIntosh continued from there, in a similar fashion. To watch the whole segment, click here.
You know, he has been covered quantitatively more than any other candidate by margins that are very difficult to find precedent for, right? $1.9 billion in, quote, free media.
Now, the key thing I think to add to that is, lots of that has been intensely negative. And in fact, as evidence of that, look at his favorable / unfavorables. The guy is like deeply unpopular with the general electorate. He's, you know, thirty points under water, which is not— So if this was all patty-cake he would not be 30 points—
You were never going to hear an honest discussion on this program about what Kristof had said. One prime offender, Morning Joe, earns money for Hayes' corporate owners.
If only for that reason, Hayes and his pair of hacks were never going to conduct a real discussion. It would have been better—much, much better—if Hayes hadn't pretended to discuss this topic at all.
After Kristof, the deluge! We'll cite two major offenders:
Gene Robinson pushed back against the class traitor in an indignant column at the Washington Post. As his reward, he was feted during one of his regular appearances on the aforementioned Morning Joe.
All the gang thought his column was great. Mika even read some of the piece aloud. Gene was among his good friends again! They all knew Kristof was stupid.
Yesterday, Frank Rich showed up with this poisonous interview about Kristof, and about Obama's criticism, at New York magazine. The following excerpt is classic Rich. Is there a bigger fraud anywhere in the press corps?
RICH (3/30/16): The press is hardly flawless in its coverage of this campaign. It has consistently underestimated Trump’s appeal and success. But for Nicholas Kristof to piously claim, as he did in a Times column last weekend, that everyone in journalism should share in the “shame” of Trump’s rise is offensive. Though certainly Kristof deserves his share...Kristof's (accurate) column was "offensive," this world-class bag of wind said.
Maddow, Hayes, Robinson, Rich, and the indignant Rather. We didn't get to everyone, but the basic point is clear:
These people will lie in your faces—they'll do it all night long—if class traitors fail to honor the greatness of the guild.
They're paid millions to do this. This is the way they've always played. Plainly, they always will.
A somewhat different tack: In fairness, O'Donnell has taken a somewhat different tack.
He's done so very carefully. No names of offenders allowed!