Part 2—Also, last Friday night: A peculiar thing happened last Friday night as Lawrence O'Donnell conducted his "cable news" program.
That very morning, the original report about Roy Moore's alleged assault on Leigh Corfman had appeared in the Washington Post.
It had appeared on line the previous day. Lawrence had assembled a panel to discuss the Post report.
That afternoon, Moore had been interviewed on Sean Hannity's radio program. As shown below, he flatly denied ever having known Corfman.
As Lawrence started the segment in question, he played a piece of audiotape from the interview, then introduced his guests. At this point, The Crazy hadn't started:
MOORE (11/10/17): I don't know Miss Corfman from anybody. I never talked to her, never had any contact with her. Allegations of sexual misconduct with her are completely false. I believe they're politically motivated. I believe they're brought only to stop a very successful campaign, and that's what they're doing.Lawrence began his segment with that chunk of the audiotape. Then he introduced his guests. You can watch the whole segment here.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O'DONNELL: Joining us now, David Frum, a senior editor for The Atlantic, and Jennifer Rubin, conservative opinion writer at the Washington Post.
Also with us, Barbara McQuade, former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan and professor of law at the University of Michigan. She's also an NBC News and MSNBC legal contributor.
Plainly, Lawrence had assembled an all-star panel. On the other hand, the children were deeply entrenched by this time in one of their famous stampedes.
Result? When Lawrence turned first to Professor McQuade, something peculiar happened. We'll highlight the peculiar things the professor oddly said:
O'DONNELL (continuing directly): And Professor McQuade, I want to go to you first, just on your courtroom experience and evaluating the credibility of witnesses.Say what? Lawrence was relying on McQuade's vast experience and her unparalleled skill. But when he did, he received a peculiar reply.
And jurors are told that they should use many elements in evaluating witnesses, including their bearing, what they're picking up from them in their testimony. We couldn't see Roy Moore's face today. That would have helped a lot, it would have helped the jury.
But based on what you heard today, and with reference to some of the inconsistencies that I just highlighted, what was your assessment of that as testimony?
MCQUADE: Yes, and jurors are told they're supposed to just use their common sense in assessing witness credibility.
What I heard him say is he doesn't recall whether he ever dated an underage girl at the age of 14. You know, you "don't recall." Maybe you don't recall what you had for dinner three weeks ago on Tuesday. That seems legitimate.
But you "don't recall" whether you committed statutory rape or, I guess, sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old? That's not a kind of thing you don't, not, you know, you don't recall. It would be an unequivocal "no" if it's something that you've never done. To say "I don`t recall" means "I might have."
Let's be fair to Professor McQuade. In complete fairness, was on an important stampede this day, along with the rest of the children.
McQuade was on a major stampede. But when she reported "what I heard him say," she certainly wasn't reporting what Moore had said in the excerpt of the interview Lawrence had just played.
What she said was highly pleasing, but it certainly wasn't what Moore had said in that interview excerpt:
Rather plainly, Moore didn't say, in that excerpt, that "he doesn't recall whether he ever dated an underage girl at the age of 14." He certainly didn't say that he didn't recall "whether he committed statutory rape or, I guess, sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old."
The gentleman hadn't said that. Professor McQuade made thrilling remarks. But rather plainly, she wasn't describing what Moore had said in that chunk of the interview.
Indeed, and just as a matter of fact, she was describing remarks Moore hadn't made at all that day. In fairness, this is the kind of thing which routinely occurs when the children, some of whom are law school professors, stage one of their patented cable stampedes, thereby thrilling the customers and driving up corporate profits.
If we plan to deal in the truth today, Moore hadn't made those remarks at all—and Lawrence, of course, understood this. Result? He proceeded to correct the professor, without ever telling the customers that she was being corrected:
O'DONNELL (continuing directly): Well, he is saying that he—he is absolutely denying everything that happened with the 14-year-old. And of course, that's the one where if it was in the statute of limitations, the legal jeopardy would be very severe."Well," Lawrence thoughtfully said. From there, he proceeded to correct the professor's wild misstatements (while making a minor error himself), without directly telling the customers that he was doing that.
He is saying that—he is saying he doesn't recall if he dated the other girls. But in the earlier part of his testimony, he seems to be saying he did date the other girls because, you know, you should listen to them. They say that we didn't have sex.
(It's a standard cable move, one that was perfected by Professor Hartmann when she corrected Rachel, without seeming to correct Rachel, after Rachel erred, then almost seemed to maybe possibly tell a rather ginormous fib, about the nature and the extent of the gender wage gap. On cable, you're allowed to correct a guest, even perhaps to correct a host. You may even feel you have to do that. You just can't seem to be doing that. Any conduct which looks that way is of course disallowed.)
There! Lawrence had restored a bit of order to an otherwise uncertain world. Soon, though, he turned to Frum, inventor of the "axis of evil" phrase, and the chaos started again.
Frum is normally very sensible—and he's even Canadian! He's long been forgiven for his role in pushing the war in Iraq, which no one actually cared about in the first place. (He semi-explained his mistake in 2013, at the start of this CNN piece.)
Normally, Frum is sensible, perfectly sane. But even mild-mannered Canadian pundits were on a stampede this day:
O'DONNELL: David, I can't recommend to people enough how much they should re-read that article, if they have to, in the Washington Post.Ironically, Lawrence started by saying that people should read the Post report, presumably to get clear on the facts. He then threw to Frum, who followed Professor McQuade in grossly misrepresenting what the stampede's target had said.
FRUM: You know, Judge Moore could have said, "I never met Leigh Corfman in my life." Or he could have said, "I met her in the courtroom. I talked to her there, yes. I was never alone with her in my life."
That's not what he said. He said, "It didn't happen that way," and then he said, "I never committed sexual misconduct with her."
Well, sexual misconduct, that's an opinion. You know, different people may have different views about what constitutes misconduct. Even there, there isn't a denial. And of course, Leigh Corfman's story is enormously credible.
"Judge Moore could have said, 'I never met Leigh Corfman in my life?' " We hate to be the killjoys here, but that's exactly what Moore had said! Indeed, he had said it quite plainly on the audiotape which started this ludicrous segment.
This time, Lawrence didn't bother correcting his guest's peculiar misstatements. Instead, he seized on a later point Frum made, declaring that it proved that Moore had staged the attack.
This was a very strange segment. But so it has gone, for several decades, when the children stage their stampedes.
(In 1999 and 2000, one such twenty-month stampede sent George W. Bush, and Frum, to the White House, with disastrous results. Late in that campaign, in October 2000, Lawrence played a remarkable role in that twenty-month stampede, in which the children acted out their animus against Clinton, Gore and Clinton. People are dead all over the world because people like Lawrence did what they did, though it's abundantly clear by now that no one ever actually cared.)
By now, we'll guess it's highly likely that Moore was perhaps misstating the facts when he declared that he had never met Corfman. We base that on yesterday's presentation by Beverly Young Nelson, the "deplorable" who described a sexual assault conducted by Moore in 1977.
In matters like these, the second testimony will often be more dispositive than the first, at least for those who aren't stampeding. But we aren't here to evaluate Moore. We're here to evaluate Lawrence himself, along with the rest of the children.
What in the world explains the strange things said on Friday night's program? First the professor, then the Canadian, grossly misstated what Moore had said—what he said on the audiotape Lawrence had just finished playing!
The first time, Lawrence staged a disguised correction. The second time, he simply launched an attack. As this puzzling behavior occurred, 1.751 million customers were being subjected to the latest peculiar nonsense.
That said, the bullshit was general in recent days as the children staged their latest stampede. The very essence of our society, indeed of our species, is called into question by people like these, and Lincoln keeps asking his question:
If the children plan to behave this way, might government of the people perish from the earth? At least in its current form in our large continental nation?
Can our nation survive if the children plan to behave this way? We're not sure, but last night, Lawrence started his program with the latest highly peculiar statement, the latest strong dose of The Crazy.
We'll start tomorrow with that strange statement. From there, we'll discuss the logic of the "can't tell the difference" brigade, as they assail the vile misconduct of the "if true" crowd.
Tomorrow: The editors at the Washington Post can't seem to tell the difference