Part 3—Loathing in the past tense: On Tuesday, April 12, a certain major "cable news" star returned to her eponymous program after a day of rest.
She fronted the cable news show for each of the next four nights. The masterful dumbness of her work now belongs to the ages.
How dumb was the cable star's work on those time-wasting, dumb-dealing programs? Consider the way she started her week on last Tuesday night's program.
First, a quick bit of background. As the cable star began her mugging, a trivial event had occurred.
This trivial event involved Phyllis Schlafly, the 91-year-old activist who was once a major force in conservative and Republican politics.
It seemed that a war had broken out for control of one part of Schlafly's 44-year-old organization, the Eagle Forum. As best we can tell, the organization's board was attempting to oust Schlafly from its nonprofit group, though not from its political wing. The attempted coup apparently stemmed from Schlafly's endorsement of Candidate Trump last March.
Adding to the excitement and fun, one member of this "Gang of 6" (Schlafly's term) was Ann Cori, Schlafly's very own daughter. Plainly, the whole thing was delish.
The attempted partial coup may have been delicious; it was also unimportant. Phyllis Schlafly was a powerful figure on the right for decades. Rather plainly, that's no longer the case.
How important was the attempted partial coup, against which Schlafly had railed in an April 11 press release? Truth to tell, the attempted partial coup just wasn't real important.
According to Nexis, the attempted partial coup hasn't been mentioned in hard-copy editions of the Washington Post or the New York Times at all, right to the very day.
On line, the Post gave the attempted partial coup 355 words in this brief blog post by Dave Weigel. On April 13, the Times reposted this AP report on its web site. For better or worse, that was it.
In all honesty, this attempted partial coup just wasn't very important. Schlafly was once a very big deal. She isn't a big deal today.
Correction! The attempted coup wasn't important—unless you were watching a certain "cable news" program last Tuesday night! On that night, a certain major cable star placed this trivial pointless event roughly on a par with the outbreak of World War III.
Good lord! Refreshed by a well-deserved day of rest, the major star opened her program with an endless, 21-minute report about the attempted coup. Roughly half her program's broadcast minutes had already been wasted this way, but when she returned from commercial break, she then devoted a second segment to an interview about the way the attempted partial coup had happened.
By the time all this nonsense was done, the cable star had burned away at least 60 percent of her broadcast minutes. "We've got much more ahead tonight. Stay with us," she said as she took another break, apparently without irony.
As we noted in Monday's report, a slough of major issues of substance begged for exploration last week as the New York primary fight proceeded. Why had this unnamed major star burned so much time on this pointless event?
We can't answer that question. What explains the descent of this cable "news" program into relentless inanity in the past year? We can't tell you that either.
But the endless segments about Phyllis Schlafly introduced two major themes from last week's broadcasts. In those programs, we liberals were taught how to loathe The Others more fully and, a bit more specifically, how to loathe The Others in the past tense.
For the record, the major cable star in question seems to know that Phyllis Schlafly is a thing of the past. You could tell she knows this from this part of her endless report:
MADDOW (4/12/16): After her command performance at the 1992 Republican convention, there was a really awkward moment when her oldest son was outed as gay. She's the leading voice of vituperative, anti-gay politics in the Republican Party and then she had to come out and publically confirm that, yes, her oldest son is gay, but also he works with her and she says he agrees with her on everything, including how anti-gay she is. That was awkward.To watch that whole segment, just click here. Warning! Brain cell loss!
There was that moment last fall when Phyllis Schlafly and her Eagle Forum put out an excited press release announcing that all of the Republican presidential candidates would be coming to the Eagle Forum's national convention, what they call their Eagle Council. And then in the end, only four of the 17 Republican candidates actually showed up, and one of them, Rick Perry, only showed up because he decided that Phyllis' Eagle Council would be an excellent place to quit the race. The first person to drop out of the Republican presidential race this year dropped out on Phyllis Schlafly's stage.
Almost none of the hopefuls showed up for Schlafly's event, the cable star reported. This helps us see that she understands that Schlafly's no current big deal.
That said, the schadenfreude was wonderful, including the delicious part about Schlafly's own son having turned out to be gay. To confirm that "awkward" state of affairs, the cable star's site offered a link to this ancient news report from 1992. Just for the record, the cable star didn't mention the part of the headline and the report where Schlafly said that she loved her gay son.
The cable star may have felt that you didn't need to hear that.
Nor is there any place in that linked report where Schlafly said that her son "works with her and agrees with her on everything, including how anti-gay she is." That statement by the major star seems to have been false. But as we'll see a bit later this week, this wasn't the only time she played this game to help us improve our loathing last week. As with many such media types, this cable star has seemed to become less and less obsessively honest as her devotion to loathing has grown.
Those endless opening segments last Tuesday constituted an amazing waste of time. As we close today's report, let's return to that one key distinction about last week's programs. This involves the way we were taught how to loathe those from the past.
If you choose to watch the endless, 21-minute segment which opened Tuesday's program, you'll receive your latest lesson in how to loathe The Others. The love of loathing was on wide display on last week's time-wasting shows.
In the course of last week's programs, the star performed a rather selective segment which helped us learn to loathe Candidate Trump even more. On Friday, she opened with a truly demented segment in which we were taught, through demented means, how to loathe Candidate Kasich.
We'll review those segments on Friday. For today, let's note the way we were incessantly taught how to loathe in the past tense.
Good God! If you watch that endless, Tuesday night segment, you won't be restricted to loathing the highly irrelevant Schlafly. As the segment opens, you'll even learn how to loathe the late Prescott Bush, the father of "Poppy" Bush.
(Why should we loathe Prescott Bush? In 1964, "he didn't just abandon his friend. He publicly excoriated his friend as a moral reprobate for what he had done"—for having gotten a divorce. So we were taught Tuesday night.)
On Wednesday night, your time was wasted in even more remarkable ways. The cable star opened by revisiting Richard Nixon as he made his famous final speech as president.
For some reason, the cable star seemed to think that this famous speech, which is frequently aired, has almost never been seen. Once again, the schadenfreude was thick as she wasted everyone's time playing a chunk of that speech.
("He cried pretty much throughout the speech, or at least on and off throughout the speech he cried...Oh my God, was that speech dark." Also amazingly pointless.)
As it turned out, the cable star had mainly wasted our time that way so she could help us learn to loathe someone else. That person is Edward Cox, President Nixon's son-in-law, the current chairman of the New York State Republican party.
After wasting our time with pointless footage of the White House wedding of Cox and Tricia Nixon, the cable star finally helped us learn the best way to loathe Cox.
Uh-oh! Cox was throwing a black tie event in Manhattan last week! Unless your brain has been taken to Neptune, this is demented stuff:
MADDOW (4/13/16): In New York state, he's not just a Republican in good standing, he's actually today the chairman of the New York state Republican Party. And as someone with that sort of troubled Republican royalty pedigree, as somebody who is no stranger to gala high-profile events, tomorrow night in New York City, Edward Cox, Dick Nixon's son-in-law, is going to be hosting an exclusive sold-out huge black tie gala event.The loathsome Cox would be wearing black tie at a fancy, thousand dollar a plate dinner inside a fancy hotel. In this way, he was going to raise a gazillion dollars for the Republican party of New York.
Tickets to attend are reportedly a minimum of $1000 each. The event is going to happen in one of these huge midtown hotel ballrooms at the Grand Hyatt on 42nd Street in the heart of New York City.
At this event tomorrow night, they're going to raise a gazillion dollars for the Republican party of New York state. Mr. Cox, as chairman at this event, he will be hosting all three Republican presidential candidates in person, at this event tomorrow night.
And we can now report that Edward Cox will also have several hundred, if not several thousand, severely unwanted guests at the same New York City black tie gala tomorrow night.
Outside, people would be protesting, demanding a $15 minimum wage. We'd gone through all that Nixon/Cox bullshit just to arrive at that.
What makes that resentment-fueled presentation just this side of demented? Ignore the amazing waste of time involved in watching the tired old tape of Nixon allegedly weeping. Ignore the loss of brain cells as viewers were forced to watch tape from the Nixon/Cox wedding, an event which took place in 1971.
The cable star was firing resentment about that fancy black tie dinner! Unless your brain has been taken to Mars, you may understand that the pols for whom this cable star pimps all take part in such fund-raising dinners, even as our resentment was fueled at the thought that Cox, with his "troubled pedigree," would be doing such a thing.
Please understand this:
During the course of last week's programs, the cable star never discussed, explained or clarified the merits of the $15 minimum wage. Most strikingly, she never discussed the differences between the two Democratic candidates concerning that high-profile proposal.
Last Thursday night, those differences came to a head during the Democratic debate in Brooklyn. The cable star didn't discuss those differences on Friday night. Instead, she opened her program with a truly demented segment in which we were given demented instruction in how to loathe Kasich more fully.
This major star spent almost no time discussing matters of substance last week. Instead, she wasted endless amounts of time with pointless journeys into the past, teaching viewers how to steep themselves in resentment and loathing.
On these time-wasting excursions, we learned how more fully to loathe Prescott Bush, Phyllis Schlafly, Nixon, Cox and President Reagan, among a range of historical players. We were also taught to loathe Trump and Kasich. We'll explore the lunacy of that last lesson in Friday's report.
We were repeatedly taught to loathe and resent, often through the use of tortured or flatly inaccurate presentations. But as we were taught to loathe and resent, this major star made virtually no attempt to explore major matters of substance.
As our public discourse devolves, matters of substance are just for the squares! If you're paid $7 million per year by your grasping corporate owners, you're expected to teach us rubes how to loathe. It's the best way to gather the gullible eyeballs your sponsors simply adore.
Starting with the Schlafly time-waste, the cable star's programs were dumb and demented last week. You'd almost have to write a book about those programs to work all the dumbness in.
We'll sample some of this master dumbness in our next two reports. That interview about the legality of bribing Republican delegates was plainly dumbness for the ages. Not to mention the faux interviews with the two Democratic senators!
On one point, though, all could agree as the cable star mugged and clowned and pretended to bring you "the news." Over here, in our own perfect tribe, we marks are lucky enough to have the best of all possible candidates.
Tomorrow: The dumbness-dealing cable star pretends to discuss our own hopefuls