Corporate star does it again: Anna Fels is a psychiatrist and faculty member at Weill Cornell Medical College.
In yesterday's New York Times, she wrote an op-ed column about hatred and where it comes from, evolution-wise.
We expect to pursue the topic next week. For today, we'll merely say that hate and hatred may lead us to dissemble about some object of our hatred, possibly even to lie.
Possibly even to lie to millions of people! Consider Rachel Maddow's presentation about Jeff Sessions on Thursday night's TV show.
Perhaps because we'd been under the weather, we didn't know, when we watched Thursday's show, that a controversy already existed about What Jeff Sessions Had Said.
We didn't know that the Washington Post's Daniel Drenzer had already apologized for misrepresenting what Sessions had said. To Drezner's credit; click here.
We didn't know that Snopes.com had already shot down our liberal tribe's hatred-inflected account of What Sessions had said. For the Snopes fact-check, click this.
We didn't know about all that. We did know this:
We've been watching Maddow for years. Through those painful years of service, we've developed a fairly good ear for her "Maddow moments."
As we watched her declaim on Thursday night, we suspected that we'd encountered another such "Maddow moment." Our ears perked up when we heard her say that Sessions had written a speech "around the idea that people crossing the border are seen by the United States as 'filth.' "
Knowing Maddow as we do, we suspected that Sessions hadn't done that. As usual with these "Maddow moments," it turned out that we were right.
Maddow was discussing an April 11 speech by Sessions, an object of liberal hatred. Two nights after Sessions delivered his speech, this is what Maddow said:
MADDOW (4/13/17): So Jeff Sessions went to [the southern border] this year, went there this week...What he planned to do was denounce the "filth" coming across the border from Mexico into the United States.Credit where due! Maddow didn't claim that Sessions had actually said the word "filth" when he delivered his speech.
You might have seen headlines this week about Jeff Sessions planning on giving what some people were calling a full-blown white nationalist scary speech on the border. Part of the reason people thought it was a scary speech is because of the use of the word "filth."
Here was part of his prepared remarks: quote, "It is here on this sliver of land where we first take our stand against this filth." That was his prepared remarks.
Here's what happened when he came to that part of the speech in real life:
SESSIONS (videotape): It is here on this sliver of land, on this border, where the first—we first take our stand.
MADDOW: Jeff Sessions writes a speech and crafts policies around the idea that people crossing the border are seen by the United States as "filth." But then he chickens out, when it comes time to actually say it in front of real people.
We need a better term than "chickening out" to explain what he's doing here...
She said that he had written the word. According to Maddow, he "chickened out" when it came time to say it out loud.
Did Sessions write the original speech? We'll guess that he did not. That said, the real problem here involved Maddow's blatant misrepresentation of what the original speech really said.
According to Maddow, Sessions had written a speech which referred to unauthorized immigrants as "filth." But uh-oh! Whoever may have written the speech, that rather plainly isn't what the text of the speech actually said, as Drezner and Snopes (and quite a few others) had noted on April 12.
Who was described as "filth" in the original text of the speech? More precisely, was that rather ugly term meant to describe typical unauthorized immigrants?
Rather plainly, no—and surely, Maddow and her staff must have known that. Below, you see the start of the speech which Sessions delivered that day. This excerpt ends with the tiny sliver of text Maddow was willing to share with her viewers:
SESSIONS (4/11/17): Good morning. It's a pleasure for me to be with you and I want to thank our superb, brave men and women of the Customs and Border Protection for their hospitality. Their ICE officers, our HSI officers, who work every day to restore a lawful system of immigration that we can be proud of.For whatever reason, Sessions dropped the term "filth" from his remarks when he delivered the speech. (Even in the face of his real subject matter, we think he showed good judgment.)
I appreciate Secretary Kelly for his leadership and his willingness to have his people host me today. I appreciate that, and all of Homeland Security.
Our men and women who are securing our border are making astounding progress. Here, along our nation's Southwest border, ground zero in the fight. Here, under the Arizona sun, ranchers work each day to make an honest living and law-abiding citizens seek to provide for their families.
But it's also here along this border that transnational gangs, like MS-13, and international cartels flood our country with drugs and leave death and violence in their wake. And it is here that criminal aliens and the coyotes and the document-forgers seek to overthrow our lawful system of immigration.
So let's stop here for a moment. When we talk about— When we talk about MS-13 and the cartels, what do we mean?
We mean international criminal organizations that turn cities and suburbs into war zones, that rape and kill innocent civilians, and who profit by smuggling poison and other human beings across our borders.
Depravity and violence are their calling cards, including brutal machete attacks, even beheadings. They threaten the very integrity of our nations in our hemisphere. It is here on this sliver of land, on this border, where the first—we first take our stand.
For whatever reason, Sessions dropped the term "filth" from his actual speech. But even as the speech had been written, the term wasn't directed at unauthorized immigrants, as Maddow claimed in an attempt to help us hate Sessions more fully.
Rather plainly, Sessions was talking about "transnational gangs, like MS-13, and international cartels [which] flood our country with drugs and leave death and violence in their wake" in that part of his speech. Rather plainly, that's who the original speech writer had referred to as "filth."
As of April 12, many people had noted this fact. On April 11, a report by the Wall Street Journal had spread the misimpression that Sessions' speech had referred to unauthorized immigrants as "filth."
On April 12, Drezner apologized for repeating that claim. That same day, Snopes explained why that claim had been wrong. So did quite a few others.
That said, so what? Hatred makes us do many things. On the evening of April 13, Maddow persisted with the bogus claim, exhorting wildly as she did, trying to help us learn to hate Sessions as much as her own broken soul does.
(To watch Maddow's segment, just click here. Note the highly dramatic, overwrought way she keeps saying the thrilling word "filth.")
We'd have to say that Maddow came extremely close to lying on this occasion. She did something very similar on April 3 when she excitingly said that Carter Page had been "successfully recruited" as a Russkie spy back in 2013.
That said, Maddow does this sort of thing quite a lot. She covers for herself with her constant chuckling and her weird grinning. But in the midst of all that corporate fun, her dissembling seems to grow.
Just for the record, let's discuss the workings of MS-13, the "transnational gang" Sessions was explicitly discussing in his speech. Just yesterday, the New York Times discussed their work in a featured news report which appeared beneath this hard-copy headline:
"Four Bodies Are Discovered on Long Island, and a Brutal Gang Looms"
According to the Times report, police said the four victims in question "had been killed in a manner 'consistent with the modus operandi of MS-13,' the transnational gang with roots in Los Angeles and El Salvador that was responsible for 11 deaths in Suffolk County in 2016."
It isn't just the Times. In the past month, the Washington Post has offered an array of reports about the rapes and murders linked to this gang's resurgence in in the D.C. area. For an overview, click here.
These are the murders and rapes to which Sessions referred that day. Maddow was eager to make you think he meant something different. For that reason, she disappeared the bulk of his speech. What we liberals don't know may help us learn to hate more!
Maddow does this sort of thing all the time. She's giggles and smiles as she does. In this way, she disguises the tribal hatred she insists on peddling.
In this latest remarkable instance, a substantial array of reliable people had already debunked the notion that Sessions was sliming regular unauthorized immigrants with the word he chose not to say that day.
As of April 12, everyone knew that this claim had been wrong. On the evening of April 13, Maddow pimped it anyway. It's hard to distinguish this conduct from outright lying.
Do you mind if we close with a note about one part of Maddow's play? Consider again this slippery part of what she said:
MADDOW: You might have seen headlines this week about Jeff Sessions planning on giving what some people were calling a full-blown white nationalist scary speech on the border. Part of the reason people thought it was a scary speech is because of the use of the word "filth."Do you see what this strange hater did? As people of this type will do, she slithered ahead with words she took from the mouths of others!
"Some people" had called Sessions' speech "a full-blown white nationalist speech," she said. They had based that assessment on the use of the word "filth."
Do you see how she hid behind others' skirts to pimp the ideas she wants you to share? "Some people" had referred to the speech that way! She hadn't done that herself!
Assuming minimal competence, Maddow and her gruesome, laughing-off-camera staff lost their way a long time back. We wouldn't pick Sessions for attorney general ourselves—but Maddow shouldn't be on the air.
Maddow seems to be trying to teach you to hate. Does that seem like a good idea?
What makes people want to hate? Anna Fels raised the question this week. Maddow supplied the example.