Part 2—We predict our big stars won't push back: Last Monday night, we observed an extremely rare cable news event.
Anderson Cooper was leading a 900-member political panel through an appalling pseudo-discussion—a pseudo-discussion of Candidate Trump's coming attacks on the extremely vile character of one Candidate Clinton.
To demonstrate Cooper's fairness and balance, his panel included the following folk along with CNN anchor and national correspondent John King. We describe them as they're described on the CNN transcript:
Anderson Cooper's balanced political panel:In case you don't know, McEnany has replaced Jeffrey Lord as CNN's number-one diehard Trump supporter. This has happened for reasons you won't be able to discern, unless you or someone you know happens to be sighted.
Ana Navarro, Republican strategist
Matt Lewis, conservative writer
Mary Katherine Ham, senior writer, The Federalist
Barry Bennett, senior adviser, Trump campaign
Kayleign McEnany, CNN political commentator
Angela Rye, political strategist
Paul Begala, CNN political commentator
As such, the panel, which was fair and balanced, included one official Trump adviser; one diehard unofficial Trump supporter; one Republican strategist; and two conservative writers.
They were evenly balanced by Rye, a former executive director and general counsel to the Congressional Black Caucus; and by Begala, a former Clinton adviser. Events proceeded from there.
The discussion this night was driven by McEnany's true-believing recitation of the many ways in which Candidate Clinton has demonized victims of sexual assault, starting with a 12-year-old girl and including such figures as Juanita Broddrick, who "should be on this network."
"I think we should bring on the victims," McEnany ardently said. "If you don't want to hear it from Donald Trump, let's bring on the victims, and let them have their day in court right here, right now."
McEnany wants Bill Clinton's alleged victims to tell us about the ways they've been demonized by Hillary Clinton! And no, it isn't just Bill Clinton's alleged victims who Hillary Clinton has demonized! Or so McEnany assured the fair and balanced court:
MCENANY (5/9/16): She has a long history, not with respect to her personal life, but with respect to her legal work of demonizing sexual assault victims. Women will not like this. It's going to be put in an ad and Hillary Clinton is going to suffer for that."Clinton is going to suffer for that?" "In her love of punishment, she sounds like an Oppositeworld version of Maddow!" several analysts cried.
Incomparably, we cuffed them aside. Let's proceed with that evening's events:
McEnany is always pleasant, as are the rest of CNN's cast-of-thousands "political commentators." We'll guess that CNN has been training its scores of pundits in the need for comity on the air.
That said, McEnany's true belief has never seemed more apparent than it did this night. This led to the highly unusual event we observed.
This unusual event involved some well-informed factual pushback. You virtually never see such pushback on cable news. We actually saw some last Monday night!
It happened when Bennett, the official Trump shill, stepped up to reinforce McEnany, the unofficial such voice. Because the panel was perfectly balanced, Begala was able to respond.
Incredibly, he actually knew what he was talking about!
The things shown below were actually said that night. (In various places, we've corrected CNN's multiply-bungled transcript.) Simply put, this sort of thing never happens within the corporate gong-show known as "cable news:"
BENNETT: What we're saying is that Hillary has said some really nasty things about some of these women—Because it's likely that you may not know, let's explain what was being said there.
BEGALA: Such as?
BENNETT: —at least in private conversation.
BEGALA: Such as?
BENNETT: The "loony tunes" remark.
BEGALA: It was a private conversation with her best friend.
BENNETT: I didn't say it was public. I said it was a private conversation.
BEGALA: Do you think it's fair game to criticize her for being unhappy that her husband had an affair? In a private phone call?
BENNETT: I'm surprised, though, that she didn't say anything about her husband in that conversation.
BEGALA: Yes, she did. Didn't make the story, but she did. And who cares? It's a private conversation.
How far afield had this stupid conversation gone by this time? Bennett, the official Trump shill, was referring to an unflattering comment Hillary Clinton apparently made about Monica Lewinsky in a phone call with the late Diane Blair in 1999.
Blair, a political science professor, kept notes on her private phone calls with Clinton, her very good friend. As it turned out, Blair's notes were included in her official papers, which were donated to the University of Arkansas Special Collections library after her death.
In 2014, the comment about Lewinsky became public. Stupid conversations ensued.
Please note: Because Clinton's comments were made in private, they may well represent what she actually thought at the time. If that is true, Clinton believed that Lewinsky was inventing her claim of an affair with Bill Clinton in 1999.
At any rate, Clinton's apparent comment to Blair had been made in private. There is no record of Hillary Clinton demonizing Lewinsky in public during this period. But true believers are eager to faint dead away as they suggest otherwise, and Cooper is happy to stand there, dumb and silent, as these highly emotional claims are sent out over his air.
On this particular night, an unusual event occurred. Because Cooper's panel was perfectly balanced, and because Begala is the very rare pundit who tends to know the facts of these matters, viewers got to hear a brief but accurate account of some of the basic facts behind this particular charge about Candidate Clinton's vile character, in which she is said to have demonized Lewinsky.
Good God! It was "a private conversation," Begala accurately said! It was "a private conversation" in "a private phone call" with Clinton's best friend.
Nothing had ever been said in public, Begala accurately observed. No "demonizing" had actually occurred.
Bennett, the official shill, said he knew those things all along. Cooper forgot to ask the obvious question, as he tends to do:
If Bennett and McEnany knew those things all along, why were they pimping this incident as a sign of Clinton's vile character? Absent-mindedly, Anderson Cooper completely forgot to ask!
The type of exchange we witnessed that night is very, very rare. Yes, the exchange was extremely brief. But in the corporate gong show called "cable news," such exchanges almost never happen.
It's very rare to see liberal pundits push back against these types of attacks. It's even more rare to see liberal pundits present the actual facts in the face of this type of attack.
Your favorite liberals have been shirking this duty since 1992. In truth, it simply isn't done. People are dead all over the world because they've refused to serve.
This morning, Patrick Healy has made a prediction in this New York Times news report. Healy's prediction:
We're going to see a wave of these attacks from Candidate Trump in the months ahead.
We will predict that Healy is right. Beyond that, we'll make another prediction. Your favorite stars, seeing no evil, will keep telling you there's no need to be concerned. They may even tell you that Candidate Trump has a one percent chance to win!
They'll keep repeating their time-honored line: "What, us worry?" And they'll keep failing to intervene in the gong-show "discussions" to come.
Tomorrow, we'll start to look at the latest predictions from this group of liberal pundits. Their predictions could turn out to be right, of course. Any prediction can.
That said, they've refused to push back against the McEnany's (and the Dowds) for the past twenty-five years. This cosmic refusal to serve has produced horrific results in the past.
It could easily happen again. Yes, it actually could.
Tomorrow: The one percent prediction
The pushback which didn't bark: How ludicrous is the claim that Hillary Clinton victimized Broaddrick?
If you understand the actual facts, the claim is highly ludicrous. But despite that evenly-balanced panel, Begala didn't get a chance to speak to that point last Monday night.
Thanks to the disgraceful Cooper, viewers heard the accusation from the ardent McEnany. They also heard no response.
This is the way this game has been played for the past twenty-five years. People are dead all over the world because of the way our big corporate stars have played this faux, stupid game.