Would say it anyway: What sorts of things go through the minds of our top-rated TV stars?
Last Wednesday, Nicolle Wallace gave us a look behind the cable curtain. Six minutes into Deadline: White House, she made an inaccurate, though pleasing, statement. It's a statement she makes all the time:
WALLACE: Joyce Vance, Robert Mueller found that Donald Trump committed crimes, that he committed ten acts of obstruction of justice. Robert Mueller also found that Russia attacked our democracy to help Donald Trump.That's what Wallace said. To watch the full exchange, click here, move ahead to the 6-minute mark.
These are two really simple truths. These are two—you know, Elizabeth Warren was able to boil them down into a simple sentence. Why can't Democrats?
In fact, Robert Mueller didn't "find that Donald Trump committed ten acts of obstruction of justice." As we noted yesterday, the Mueller report explicitly says this:
MUELLER REPORT (Volume II, page 8): CONCLUSION"This report does not conclude that the President committed a crime" (our emphasis). It doesn't get a lot more explicit than that.
Because we determined not to make a traditional prosecutorial judgment, we did not draw ultimate conclusions about the President’s conduct. The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that would need to be resolved if we were making a traditional prosecutorial judgment. At the same time, if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, we are unable to reach that judgment. Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.
Six minutes into her popular show, George Bush's former number-one spinner had uttered an obvious falsehood. And at this point, the impossible happened:
Ever so gently, after some fluffing, Joyce Vance basically said so! This sort of thing is never done on the Wallace recite-along show:
VANCE: ...I would maybe take issue with the notion that Mueller found ten instances of obstruction. I think he definitely had evidence to support moving forward on four. And so you can see how just doing the top-line explanation there, it takes time.You'll note that Vance didn't claim that Mueller himself had made any such findings. She seemed to say that, in her judgment, Mueller had described four events which would be worth pursuing as instances of obstruction.
Being sensible, having good policy, understanding the law, it takes time. So the real challenge for Democrats is getting the attention of the country in something more substantive than a tweet.
This sort of thing is never done on the Wallace show. On the Wallace show, Wallace assembles a five-member panel of "some of our favorite reporters and friends." Each favorite takes his or her turn agreeing with whatever Wallace just said, at which point she starts a new topic.
In fact, this sort of thing is rarely done on MSNBC at all. But in response to Vance's statement, Wallace supplied us viewers with a rare look inside. Continuing directly, here's what she said:
WALLACE (continuing directly): I'm going to say something that is going to keep me off Twitter for a week.We're going to guess that the "you-know-whats" were almost surely cajones. At this point, Wallace threw to Claire McCaskill, who helpfully changed the subject. This let all the favorites move on.
When Democrats lose elections, this is why. I mean, what Joyce just said, I'm sure, is accurate. He didn't find ten—
But the opposite of "I can't say crimes weren't committed" is, to a political communicator, "Crimes were committed." And if Democrats don't have the you-know-whats to assert that and let people, let the president's lawyers, go out and say, "Well, he found ten instances where the nexus between an occurrence and a proceeding were not exactly met, but—"
I mean, let Trump explain that a crime wasn't committed in the obstruction section!
At any rate, Wallace said that she was sure that Vance's statement was accurate. That seemed to mean that she was sure that what she herself had just said was false. Though she'd called it a "simple truth!"
Having said that, so what? Wallace now said that, "as a political communicator," she'd make the false statement anyway and let The Others sort things out. For the record, this helps explain why so many kids are dead at this time in Iraq, if not in the Rio Grande.
Back in 2004, Wallace was charged with convincing the world that John Kerry was the world's biggest flip-flopper.
Inane examples were invented. It was left to our pitiful team to try to sort them out.
She also helped get the rubes out to vote on all those statewide anti-same sex marriage ballot measures. Today, though, she's thoroughly anti-Trump. That makes her our tribe's best friend.
At present, Wallace is working her "political communicator" arts in the anti-Trump world. We liberals love love love the way she plays the game.
Big-brained humans that we are, we can tell that she's on our side. Or so anthropologists say.
Tomorrow: Toobin too! Plus a closer look at Wallace's stated logic