What Rachel said about Rove: Do we liberals want to be conned when we turn on our TV machines? Do we want to be pleasured and serviced in silly tribal ways?
That’s the way Fox treats conservative viewers. Do we liberals want that treatment when we turn on The One True Channel?
That question popped into our heads as we watched cable last night. We were back on our sprawling campus—and we were soon handed this:
MADDOW (12/10/12): As the Republican Party and the conservative movement try to figure out who they are in the wake of this year’s elections and who is in charge, right, on the conservative cable news network, the Fox News Channel, it is reported now that the two political analysts most closely associated with not just wanting Mitt Romney to win the presidential election, but saying Mitt Romney would win the presidential election, those two analysts have been benched by cable executives.The analysts tried to cover their ears. But it was too late!
One of them is Karl Rove, who famously on election night tried to convince Fox News-watching Americans that Mitt Romney had not really lost Ohio. That could not be. Not when he, Karl Rove, had spent $390 million raised from conservative zillionaires to make sure that never happened.
After that spectacle, Rove’s post-election appearances on Fox News are apparently being limited.
Maddow was dishing some tribal comfort food—the food which makes liberals adore her. Rove had behaved like a fool on election night! “Famously,” Rove tried to convince Fox viewers that Romney had not really lost Ohio—that this “could not be.”
That’s the comfort food Rachel served—and it felt good going down. But is that what Rove really said that night? Or is this just tribal bullshit?
No, it doesn’t matter that much. But here are some of the things Rove actually said during that “famous” episode, when he made a “spectacle” by saying that Romney had won:
Just for the record, it started with Chris Wallace. We'll highlight the places where Rove voiced his judgment:
WALLACE (11/6/12): I have great respect for our Decision Desk, and I see that they [Obama supporters] are very happy in Chicago, but I've got to tell you the Romney camp has real doubts about the call that's been made by us, and I guess other networks, about Ohio. They do not believe Ohio is in the Obama camp. I just got email from a top Romney person. I said, "Do you agree with our call?" They said, "Not really. It is less than 20,000 votes now with 20 percent of the vote still out in GOP areas.”As it turned out, Obama did win Ohio. The call by the decision desk turned out to be right. But in that “famous” incident, Karl Rove simply didn’t say what Rachel told you he said. This was his next statement as the "spectacle" continued:
Karl has just been on the phone with somebody else and you got some more recent figures.
ROVE: And here it is. The secretary of— The networks, our network called it on the basis of 74 percent of the vote being in. The [Ohio] secretary of state web site has 77.49 percent of the vote in, and it shows 2,229,686 votes for President Obama with 49.19 percent of the vote, and for Governor Romney 2,228,695, a 991 vote difference, 49.17.
WALLCE: You're saying it's a 900—Obama is leading by 900 votes?
ROVE: When it was at 74 percent, it was 20 some-odd thousand votes. Now with 77 percent of the vote in, it is 991. One of the reasons why it's— One of the biggest blocs of votes out in the state are the Republican suburbs inside Hamilton County. And as they started to come in, they've narrowed that margin dramatically. The speaker pro tem of the House, his district had 3 percent of the vote in until very recently. Now it's started to come in.
WALLACE: I'm going to ask you a straight-out question. You went through this in 2000. You almost went through it in 2004. Do you believe that Ohio has been settled?
ROVE: No, I don't. And, look, if we are calling this on the basis of 74 percent of the vote being in and when 77 percent is in, secretary of state web site, I got the director of the Ohio campaign for Romney on the other end of the line refreshing the page every few seconds and this went from being, when we started this conversation three or four minutes ago, 1995 vote margin for President Obama to just now 991.
WALLACE: So you're not saying that Obama isn't going to win, but you're just saying he hasn't won it yet.
ROVE: No. I just think this is premature.
WALLACE: Karl?Poor pundits! No one knew what to do when someone dared to go off script. But at no time did Rove “try to convince Fox News-watching Americans that Mitt Romney had not really lost Ohio,” that this “could not be.”
ROVE: Apparently the Web site is now being crashed because they can no longer refresh it. But look, I don't know what the outcome is going to be, but you should—we've got to be careful about calling things when we have, like, 991 votes separating the two candidates and a quarter of the vote yet to count. Even if they have made it on the basis of select precincts, I would be very careful about intruding in this process.
WALLACE: Well, folks.
WALLACE: So maybe not so fast.
BAIER: Thank you. It's great to have you guys here.
KELLY: That's awkward.
Repeatedly, Rove said he didn’t know who was going to win Ohio. He said he thought the decision desk was making a premature call—that Romney still might win Ohio.
No, it doesn’t hugely matter. But Karl Rove simply didn’t say what Darling Rachel told us last night. But then, Rachel embellishes her facts quite a bit. It makes us rubes love her more.
Fox hosts have played it that way for years. Do we liberals want to get pleasured in similar ways when we turn on our TV machines?
It's comfort food—and it tastes very good. As we note all the bullshit on Fox, is this what we want from the millionaires who get paid to service our needs?
By the way, a procedural question: When we mis-paraphrase Rove this way, do we have a right to complain when people like Bob Schieffer mis-paraphrase Susan Rice?
Not that Maddow would ever criticize Schieffer. Dearest darlings, it just isn't done!