Rachel Maddow mugs and clowns!

SATURDAY, AUGUST 20, 2016

We think you ought to see this:
Here at THE HOWLER, we're still recovering from this week's loss of connectivity.

We're also working on our posts about Amy Chozick's recent attempt at campaign bio.

Chozick's example of campaign bio concerned certain episodes in the life of Candidate Clinton. The piece ran 2600 words. It stretched through 58 paragraphs.

In our view, the piece was riddled with journalistic problems, shortcomings and errors. It illustrates some basic problems with the highly fraught, widely abused genre of campaign bio.

For these reasons, we want to review and refine our posts before we publish them. We'll proceed with part 2 in our series on Monday morning. For part 1, just click here.

For today, we really think that you should consider some recent mugging and clowning. We start with this short post by Caitlin MacNeal at TPM.

On Friday morning, MacNeal posted the video of a short segment on Thursday night's Rachel Maddow Show. The segment concerned a trivial point about the doctor who wrote a letter last December discussing Donald Trump's health.

The strangeness of the doctor's letter was widely discussed back in December, when the letter appeared. On Thursday, Maddow discussed a minor additional point, but her mugging and clowning were so extreme that we think you should give it a look.

Maddow's segment ran three minutes and 24 seconds. Video of the segment can be found at MacNeal's post.

The most remarkable mugging and clowning start at the 2:30 mark. Chuckling by the enablers can be heard in the background.

Increasingly, the nation's discourse lies in a heap. This mugging and clowning is part of the problem, which only continues to grow.

Thursday's segment grew from Maddow's discussion of fake medical claims about Caniddate Clinton, a topic she discussed Wednesday night. The spread of bogus information is a very important topic, a topic Maddow never pursues to the end.

Maddow touched on this topic on Wednesday night. By Thursday night, the mugging had won. (Maddow had teased the segment as her "Catch of the Day.")

One more point. MacNeal, a youngish TPM reporter, didn't seem to see anything strange about the video she posted. We think that's a very bad sign. Here's why:

When conservative sites spread bogus factual claims, they help destroy conservative brain cells. Rachel Maddow's mugging and clowning can have a similar effect Over Here. MacNeal saw nothing strange in that videotape. We think that's a very bad sign.

We really think you should watch that tape. What you see may be inevitable when corporate "news orgs" make stars like Maddow extremely wealthy and tribally famous, revered.

Under current arrangements, there may be no way to avoid such corporate-sponsored mugging and clowning. But mugging and clowning can kill brain cells, and the death of our American brain cells has tremendously harmful effects.

The spread of bogus information is extremely harmful. In the end, so is our own tribe's mugging and clowning, with chortling from the hacks.

We think you ought to watch that tape. In our view, that embarrassing tape ought to be cause for concern.

45 comments:

  1. Is trivia more important than serious issues in winning an election? I don't think so. At the moment, Trump is being made to look foolish or worse, based on all sorts of trivia, including a naked statue http://www.theverge.com/2016/8/18/12538672/nude-donald-trump-statues-union-square-los-angeles-indecline

    Meanwhile, in the last week, Trump is talking about important issues: crime, education, civil rights, foreign policy, immigration, terrorism. For the large number of Trump-haters, the trivia is sufficient. But, at some point, I think others will focus on the issues and how they will be personally affected. If Hillary's campaign has merely been negative, I don't think that will be enough to get elected.

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    Replies
    1. I tried to watch some of Trump's Town Hall meeting with Sean Hannity on Fox News last Tuesday (it was more like a campaign rally with, "USA, USA, USA" and "Trump" chants from the audience, and booing anytime HRC's name was mentioned). Even with Hannity helping him, Trump had a hard time staying focused and making coherent statements about policy matters, or anything else.

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    2. Hillary's campaign has not "merely been negative." She has detailed policy proposals on her webpage and she has been discussing these at every appearance. The whole point of her tour of states strongly affected by globalization has been to discuss specific solutions to help workers hardest hit. She has been discussing police issues more recently.

      If you think Hillary is negative, you haven't been paying attention. People on the left are complaining because she hasn't hit Trump hard enough.

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    3. You're probably right, 6:29. But, Hillary doesn't need to go negative personally. Her surrogates, including many in the media, do the dirty work for her.

      My liberal friends and relatives post political stuff on Facebook. The attacks on Trump are the only things that seem to catch their attention. That's why I was unaware of Hillary's positive programs.

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    4. That's why I was unaware of Hillary's positive programs. Sometimes I despair of the effectiveness of the Republican Party, the party of personal responsibility.

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  2. Trump will win it. The rest is just a bunch of temporary noise. Bob has showed what born losers libs are.

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  3. The doctor is claiming a credential that he no longer has. He is a fucking fraud. RM was not mugging and clowning, just reporting the facts in an entertaining manner.

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  4. The doctor is claiming a credential that he no longer has. He is a fucking fraud. RM was not mugging and clowning, just reporting the facts in an entertaining manner.

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    Replies
    1. You need glasses.

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    2. Yup. I'm with you. Did anyone else -- anyone who hadn't watched Maddow's show -- know about this? And the contrast is important. The Trump camp is firmly behind all the absurd rumors regarding Clinton, despite the fact that she has an actual reputable doctor, and despite the fact that the actual reputable doctor released an actual description of the state of Clinton's health.
      This kind of information about the candidate is important. Are they in good health? Do they work for the mob? (I'm sort of kidding there, Bob, but we have 30 years of Clinton's tax returns and zero years of Trump's...) And apparently the media -- the non-Maddow media -- seems completely uninterested in the comic document that Trump's "doctor" released.
      I have no idea why Somerby is so fixated on Maddow. I find her both informative and entertaining. And yes, she has a liberal bias, and yes, that sometimes colors what she has to say, but I don't see that detracting from the information she presents. I really wish Bob would just get off his high horse once in a while.

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    3. Lots of people on the internet have been discussing this, so anyone who reads knew. You don't think Maddow does investigative journalism, do you?

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  5. Joseph Cannon is suggesting that these bogus claims about Clinton's health are a setup to a dirty trick later, such as drugging her surreptitiously and making her appear to be unhealthy during a public appearance (e.g. debate). If something bad happens to her, they will claim she was already sick. This could even provide cover for an assassination plot, so this is very serious stuff.

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  6. More Maddow hate from failed stand-up comedian Bob. Isn't sad and pathetic when a life long failure like BS is so jealous of someone that is successful.

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    1. Maddow is just plan weird. The way she pretends that she has done some great journalism by pointing out some irrelevant inconsistency that nobody will care about in a week. She gets paid $7M from her corporate overlords to do that? Compare and contrast it with this. http://www.motherjones.com/media/2016/08/whats-missing-from-journalism

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    2. I don't like Maddow at all. Phoney.

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    3. hardindr,

      So you don't like Maddow because she makes $7MM. You sound as petty and envious as BS.

      Delete
    4. I don't like Maddow because she is kooky and does very little real journalism on her show, while making $7M/year. Whether she chooses to focus on trivia and garbage on her show of her own volition, or is forced (or nudged) to do so by her corporate overlords at ComCast is irrelevant. Get to know some real journalists/freelancers and ask them how much they make a year. Ask them what they could do with $7M/year (or what Mother Jones could do with it). I would always like to make more money at my job, but not $7/M, especially if I had to be someone's dancing bear to gawk at on Cable TV News.

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    5. So, hardindr, you really really object to Rachel Maddow's salary. That's just... sad. You'd like her better if she was making as little as you? Or as little as me? How does that enter into it?
      Really, there are plenty of people making zillions of dollars for really stupid reasons. The Kardashians come to mind. And there are plenty of people making next to nothing for doing really important things. News flash: The world is NOT fair. Get over it. Don't like Maddow? Don't watch the show. Watching the show because, like Somerby, you hate it? There's a name for people like you and Bob, you know...

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    6. hardindr,

      Maddow doesn't claim to be a journalist, she is an opinion commentator. There is a difference.

      The Other Guy,

      Well said!

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    7. Maddow's show is touted as "arguably the smartest person on TV" and she is promoted as being an authority on politics. That makes her more than a Kardashian and more dangerous when she is wrong or misleading.

      She does claim to be a journalist. Read her bio and the various interviews with her. It is what she studied to become and what she considers to be her career. You cannot assert that she is not a journalist just because she is bad at it.

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  7. Today (Sunday), Huffington Post ran a negative headline (with a link to the NY Times article on the Clinton Foundation) suggesting that the Clintons disband their charitable family foundation because it is an anchor around Hillary's campaign ambitions.

    Do they not understand that this is a charitable foundation that helps people around the world? How callous is it for a supposedly progressive site like HuffPo to just ignore the needs of the people served by that charity and suggest it be abandoned for political reasons.

    And the alarms posed by the NY Times are largely manufactured, as have been the many other attempts to throw mud at Hillary. It is wrong to suggest hurting people that way.

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    Replies
    1. Dave the Guitar PlayerAugust 22, 2016 at 12:29 PM

      I agree. This occurred to me as well. If the Clinton haters get their way and the Clinton Foundation is disbanded, all the good work that it does will be ended just to appease the sensibilities of people who (obviously) have no concern for those less fortunate than themselves.

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  8. From Kranish & Fisher's article about their upcoming Trump bio:

    "Trump was at times naive yet wise, like Chauncey Gardiner, a dim gardener whose unwitting folk wisdom turned him into a possible presidential contender in “Being There” (1979)."

    They clearly didn't get the point of that movie. Gardiner wasn't wise -- he was intellectually disabled. People projected their own thoughts and views onto him because his lack of verbal ability presented a blank canvas. Calling Trump a kind of Chauncey Gardiner is an insult to Trump but misses the point of the film.

    Did they not actually see the film or are they the wrong age to understand it?

    I also think Trump is not Howard Beale but the soulless network programmers who cannot recognize and do not value anything with intrinsic worth. Trump may be angry like Beale but he is putting together the reality shows and the packaged products that appeal to the lowest human instincts and promise hope but deliver nothing of value (like all lotteries and game shows, not to mention cons and scams).

    Again, did they even watch the movie or are they relying on interpretations of those films filtered through the media over the years?

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  9. Somerby seems to imply that what when opposite political persuasions find bias in an article, it must not actually be biased. That isn't necessarily true.

    In the psychology studies of bias where students from two colleges watched officiating and counted fouls in the same game played by their two teams, there was a factual number of infractions that existed and could be counted, independent of the judgements of the students who were subjects. Each set of students thought the officiating handicapped their own team unfairly, but the truth still exists separate from their judgments.

    An article in a newspaper can be biased and unfair even while partisans claim that there is bias against each of their candidates. The truth exists independent of the biases of individual readers.

    Somerby was educated before postmodernism infected the humanities, so he should be able to understand this point.

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    Replies
    1. Somerby may seem "to imply that what when opposite political persuasions find bias in an article, it must not actually be biased," to you. But that was not my impression. Of course I could be wrong, but I thought of it as a casual remark about a curious phenomenon of human behavior.

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  10. BS writes:

    "When conservative sites spread bogus factual claims, they help destroy conservative brain cells. Rachel Maddow's mugging and clowning can have a similar effect Over Here. MacNeal saw nothing strange in that videotape. We think that's a very bad sign."

    So, on the one side, we have a stream of misinformation; on the other, we have no misinformation (none alleged at least in this case) but funny faces. These funny faces are just as bad as misinformation. I don't get it.

    I think the context is this: the Dr. who wrote that outlandish letter is a clown. His explanation for why he continues to claim that credential is crazy. Maddow makes the appropriate funny faces.

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    Replies
    1. BS is absorbed with a jealously and envy of Maddow. He's an old, white, conservative southern man who can stand that a gay woman has a TV show and he doesn't. If only he would call out people like Joe Scarborough or Andrea Mitchell for their lies, then BS might have some credibility.

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    2. Yup. Well... I have no idea what Bob's leanings are, but he sure does have a bug up his ass where Maddow is concerned, and that's too bad. I used to enjoy the Daily Howler back in the day, but stopped reading it when Bob got into that rut of attacking the same people over and over, with the same tiresome language. I came back to see if anything had changed, but... well, no. Perhaps the players have changed, but it would seem that every post about Maddow includes the phrase "mugging and clowning." So... I get it, Bob. You don't like Maddow. I have no idea why, but for you, that's all that matters. You don't like her, and you watch her show because... actually, I'm baffled. I watch her show because she's wicked smart and because I like the way she weaves a tale to tell the "A block" story. It's fun. Most news these days isn't fun.
      My suggestion, Bob? Stop watching the show. Write about something that actually matters. You used to have something important to say from time to time, but now? Screed after screed about Rachel Maddow. Get help.

      Delete
    3. Dave the Guitar PlayerAugust 22, 2016 at 1:01 PM

      TOG - I find it hard to understand why you do not see the point in criticizing Rachel. She certainly is a legitimate target for a blog on the media. I would think you would agree that she is not doing progressive causes any favors by ridiculing conservatives in a humorous and over-the-top manner. I would bet she is not changing any minds and probably gets very little attention from independent voters who are offended by her style. It may be entertaining, but it is bad journalism and a bad strategy.

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    4. Dave the Guitar Player,

      The point is why does BS continually attack Maddow while ignoring lies spewed by many others in the media. Even if BS doesn't want to go after FAUX, there are still plenty of people on CNN and MSNBC (Like Morning Joe and Andrea Mitchell) who lie all the time. And BS doesn't criticize Maddow, he attacks her, not on substance, but on her style. And regularly bringing up her salary. He has shown that he is just a petty, jealous little man.

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    5. Dave the Guitar PlayerAugust 23, 2016 at 11:38 AM

      TOG - I disagree. When Bob criticizes Rachel, all you seem to see are the comments he makes about her salary and style. While Bob certainly uses Rachel as an example of millionaire media clowns, he normally brings up Rachel's show when he feels she is leading her viewers astray on some specific issue in the media. Bob does criticize Morning Joe and Andrea Mitchell. I personally don't care what Bob (or you) personally feel about Rachel. I come here to gather insight on whether I am getting the full story, or just being entertained or pandered to by the media stars.

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    6. Yes, I recall the invaluable service Bob provided for weeks when Rachel was leading her viewers astray over a legitimate traffic study.

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    7. Rachel jumped to conclusions way before there was evidence. That it later became clearer about Christie's involvement and what was going on is irrelevant to the point that Maddow shouldn't have called someone guilty ahead of the facts. Journalism has both ethics and standards. That doesn't change just because she was right about Christie.

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    8. Dave the Guitar Player,

      BS only occasionally criticized Joe and Mitchell, he regularly attacks Maddow and mainly over her style and salary.

      Maddow is a commentator, not a journalist. And she was dead right about Christie vs. Bob who was defending a fellow conservative white guy.

      Delete
    9. Dave the Guitar PlayerAugust 29, 2016 at 12:34 PM

      Anon 9:56 - By saying that Maddow is just a commentator, not a journalist, you are just admitting that you prefer to be pandered to, rather than informed.

      Delete
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  12. I have to assume that the pro Maddow comments are from her staff. She talks to the camera like an eleven year old telling a nine year old some adult stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ass/u/me away, Einstein.

      Delete
    2. Spoken like a true Trump supporter. You have to be incredibly stupid to believe that a cable news show has a paid staff of people who troll the internet and post comments. Although... it DOES turn out that Russia is employing an army of internet trolls to post favorable things about their favorite orange-toned candidate, so I suppose I can see where you came up with that idea. It's Very Republican to believe that other folks are engaged in the same shady stuff you're doing.
      Still, you're a moron.

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    3. Maddow just changed the name of her show to "Republicans Say the Darndest Things!"

      Delete
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