Part 4—Hayes, Walsh and Maddow speak out: Yesterday, Obama announced that Susan Rice will become his national security adviser.

A few hours later, the children began to offer their “takes” on Obama’s selection.

What’s wrong with MSNBC? At 8 PM, Chris Hayes discussed the long-running, savage attacks against Rice. He spoke with Salon’s Joan Walsh.

What’s wrong with MSNBC? If not for what was said in the very next hour, the exchange between Hayes and Walsh could have gone to the Guinness folk as the “dumbest discussion ever.”

To watch their full segment, just click this. This is the amazing way the pair of analysts started:
HAYES (6/5/13): Joining me now is Joan Walsh, MSNBC political analyst, editor at large for Salon and author of the book, “What’s the Matter with White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America.”

OK. I just have to say, just to hammer this home— Susan Rice was so screwed on this whole Benghazi thing. I just, just to make— I mean, she had nothing to do with it.

Why was she the target? I still don’t get it. Why did Lindsey Graham and John McCain— Like, what do they have against Susan Rice?

WALSH: I still don’t get it either.
Walsh still doesn’t get it either! And yes, that is what they said.

Below, we’ll see this amazing discussion continue. But good lord! Nine months into the assault against Rice, Hayes was quick to announce that he “still doesn’t get it”—still doesn’t get why McCain and Graham would have made her their target.

You’d think that puts Hayes in a class by himself among big cable stars. But his guest announced her cluelessness too. “I still don’t get it either,” the Chris Matthews acolyte said.

Hayes and Walsh still don’t get it! Hayes, of course, had thoroughly purchased the McCain-Graham line back on October 13, on his weekend program. Eight days later, he retracted his remarks in another largely clueless discussion.

Last night, as the conversation continued, Hayes histrionically emphasized the size of his anger about the was Rice was treated (see transcript below). And good lord! In a move straight out of Sherlock Holmes, Walsh began to piece together the reasons for the attack.

Why did Rice come under attack? Walsh “can’t help but think” it has something to do with her ties to Obama!
WALSH (continuing directly): I mean, you’re right, John McCain, with his passive aggressive—calling it passive aggressive [sic]. Rand Paul was aggressive aggressive, accused her again, lied about her again and said she was responsible for misleading the American people about Benghazi. When we got those, you know, the talking points memos and we saw, even in the weird ABC version and in the White House official version, the one thing those versions agreed on was that Susan Rice had nothing to do with it.

HAYES: Nothing!

WALSH: Her staff was not anywhere there.

HAYES: No one!

WALSH: People said that she deserved an apology and Lindsey Graham shot back, “She deserves a subpoena.” So they keep it up.

I can’t help but think it has something to do with her closeness to the president...
Good God. What did the liberal world ever do to deserve “leadership” of this type?

According to Walsh, she “can’t help but think” that the endless attack on Rice “has something to do with her closeness to the president!” The analysts groaned and tore at their hair.

Walsh continued to speak:
WALSH (continuing directly): I can’t help but think it has something to do with her closeness to the president, her being a woman— All of the garbage about her being not very smart, according to Senator McCain, and incompetent, according to Lindsey Graham, has creepy gender and race overtones—

HAYES: OK. Can I just say? I just want to say this also, and I want to talk about her new position, because it’s quite a powerful one.

WALSH: Yes, it is.
Hayes broke in as Walsh started down her favorite road, the boulevard lined with overtones about Rice’s race and gender. What did Hayes “want to say” about this puzzle, which he and Walsh still “don’t get?”

This was Hayes’ attempt to explain the conduct of McCain and Graham. What have American liberals done to deserve treatment like this?
HAYES (continuing directly): But also, it’s not the craziest thing to me that they were just like trying to look out for their bro, John Kerry, who they have known for a long time, who was in the Senate with them, who served on committees with them. Like that to me, at the end of the day, when John Kerry got this— I’m not saying this to take anything away from John Kerry himself, but that also looked like what was going on.

WALSH: That’s what a secretary of state is supposed to look like and that’s what they are used to...
Good God. According to Hayes, it isn’t crazy to think that McCain and Graham “were just trying to look out for their bro, John Kerry.” According to Walsh, “that’s what a secretary of state is supposed to look like and that’s what they are used to.”

Actually, it is sort of crazy to think that this episode occurred for the reason Hayes offered. And just for the record: Under the last Republican president, the secretary of state looked like Condoleezza Rice.

But Walsh knows only one way to think. And Hayes, a silly puppy this night, seemed happy to run along with her.

Nine months later, Hayes and Walsh “still don’t get” what the attack on Rice was about! Across this giant nation last night, liberals were asked to stare at their TV screens and swallow this low-IQ guff.

This might have gone into the record books as the dumbest cable discussion ever. Except for what Rachel Maddow said during the very next hour.

In her opening segment, Maddow rambled the countryside, as she often does at the start of her program. Finally, nine minutes in, we finally learned that her actual topic was the selection of Rice.

Astoundingly, Maddow gave the account which follows. To watch the full segment, click this:
MADDOW (6/5/13): Senator Kerry was not the person everybody initially expected President Obama to nominate for the secretary of state job. Everybody expected that the secretary of state nominee was instead going to be this person, the U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.

Susan Rice, by all accounts, was going to be the president’s nominee for secretary of state, until Republicans in Congress decided that they were going to go after her for Benghazi, which she had nothing to do with. But they decided they would go after her for the talking points that were drafted by the CIA after the Benghazi attacks.

Susan Rice used those talking points in September 2012 on the Sunday shows. Nobody in Congress made all that big a deal out of her appearance on those Sunday shows at the time until months later when it seemed like she was going to be nominated to be the next secretary of state. And then, suddenly, Susan Rice having used those CIA talking points on TV made it impossible, unfathomable, for Senate Republicans that she could ever hold the secretary of state job because she used the talking points the CIA gave her. And it was around that time that Senate Republicans just started calling her names.
From anyone else, that would be astounding. From Maddow, it’s par for the course.

Good God! According to Maddow, “nobody in Congress made all that big of a deal out of [Rice’s] appearance” on those Sunday shows “until months later.” After making this ridiculous claim, Maddow played tape of McCain and Graham “calling her names” on November 14 and November 11, respectively.

According to Maddow, that’s when Republicans “suddenly” knew that Rice couldn’t be secretary of state. Surely, Maddow has to know that this account is just bunk.

Rice appeared on the Sunday shows on Sunday, September 16. Instantly, McCain led the way as her statements were misparaphrased and ridiculed. Instantly, cherry-picked video clips drove a mistaken impression of what Rice had actually said.

(This started on Fox, but quickly spread to all other networks.)

“Nobody in Congress made all that big of a deal out of her appearance on those Sunday shows at the time until months later?”

On Wednesday, September 26, four Republican senators “released a blistering letter to” Ambassador Rice, “accusing her of making ‘several troubling statements that are inconsistent with the facts and require explanation.’ ” McCain and Graham were two of those solons. We're quoting the September 27 New York Times.

On Friday, September 28, Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, formally called on Rice to resign. Maddow still hasn’t heard about this. But others in the NBC family knew about this in real time.

On Friday, September 28, NBC Nightly News opened with a report on Benghazi, including King’s call for Rice to resign. The next morning, Chris Hayes opened his weekend program like this:
HAYES (9/29/12): Good morning from New York. I’m Chris Hayes. With critics calling for U.N. ambassador Susan Rice to resign over allegations the administration lied about who was behind the deadly attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, Senator John Kerry last night called for Rice to stay on.
It’s very, very hard to believe that Maddow believed what she said last night. Anyone knowing the history here could guess at the reason why she might have taken deliberate liberties.

We rarely use the L-word here. It’s possible Maddow is so deluded that she really believes the crazy account she broadcast last night. After all, she works for a network where two of her colleagues still “don’t get it”—just can’t understand why McCain and Graham launched those attacks against Rice.

Maddow’s report took place against an unflattering personal backdrop. After Rice appeared on those Sunday shows, the assault on her statements and her character started instantly. Her statements were grievously misparaphrased, in ways Maddow is too dumb and self-involved to know how to untangle. Tape of a single, cherry-picked statement was constantly aired, helping advance the misunderstanding of what Rice actually said.

Within twelve days, King had called on Rice to resign. As the weeks turned into months, the onslaught grew and prospered.

As this destructive gong-show unfolded, Maddow and Hayes and the rest of the gang ran off and hid in the woods. Quite literally, Rice’s name was never mentioned on Maddow’s program until the middle of November. At that time, Obama finally challenged the attacks on Rice, making it safe for this darling child to open her self-serving mouth.

Maddow abjectly failed at her job, as she so frequently does. Last night, she was rewriting history. She pretended there had been no attacks against Rice until mid-November, the time when she finally spoke.

What did liberals ever do to deserve this kind of treatment? Hayes and Walsh still don’t get it.

Maddow seems to get it too well.

Tomorrow: Why did these giants keep quiet?


  1. Wait, I've been reading TDH and been told that Susan Rice had been "thrown under the bus" and "left for dead." Now it turns out she's getting a big promotion to a more powerful job?

    Looking forward to TDH's future posts on why what you thought she said about Syria/Iran wasn't what she really truly meant about Syria/Iran. (Like maybe "all options on the table" could mean sending them candy and flowers..you may as well start typing now, bob.)

    1. It's not important that Rice was widely misrepresented by the press.

      It's not important that the MSNBC crew ignore, fumble and fudge.

      It is important that Somerby's analysis of this be disregarded, since Susan Rice is not literally dead as a result of vehicular homicide.

    2. No, clearly the mis-paraphrasing of Rice was the most important aspect of the Benghazi story.

    3. If the analysis is that Susan Rice has been thrown under the bus, and instead we see that Rice is driving the bus, then, yes it is important that the incorrect analysis be disregarded.

    4. Are you suggesting that the whole "throw Susan Rice under the bus" was a kabuki-esque sham, and that she's now being rewarded for protecting BHO and HRC?

    5. Susan Rice had been thrown under the bus by the liberal pundits on MSNBC. As far as I know, these pundits weren't responsible for Rice's promotion.

    6. Albert,
      Are you suggesting the President picked the UN Ambassador to blitz the 5 Sunday TV shows on some random whim? Is that how your world works?

    7. Anon 729,

      Maybe I don't understand the "thrown under the bus" metaphor. If one is TUTB, don't there have to be some consequences? It's not like MSNBC hosts were calling for Rice to resign.

      Or does TUTB just mean that you don't agree 100% with TDH?

    8. No, I think she was chosen for her loyalty and ability to take a punch.

    9. "Susan Rice had been thrown under the bus by the liberal pundits on MSNBC. As far as I know, these pundits weren't responsible for Rice's promotion."

      DING! Full credit answer.

      Will the troll be banished, abashed? No, no. Tomorrow is another day!

  2. Should Maddow deem it necessary to issue a correction on the above (or any other error she makes), I'm sure history will repeat itself and she'll do so in the same hedging manner O'Reilly demonstrated. They're all the same.

    Essentially she'll say, "while We (always the editorial "We" when mistakes are made)may have erred slightly on this one ultimately inconsequential point, we were absolutely right on some larger issue we were addressing." Emphasis will, as always, be laid on what they got right or what somebody else got wrong. As ever, the effect will be to bury any admission of error under an avalanche of adolescent and unprofessional defensiveness.

  3. May you burn in hell, Bob Somerby, for once again subjecting us to Joan "Watch Your Language" Walsh and the demons residing in her head.

  4. At some distant place in an infinite universe there's some parallel earth where none of this discussion takes place, because people focus on the lies Susan Rice really has told--the ones about the Gaza War. You know, human rights, war crimes, all that stuff too trivial for any of our great minds (including Bob's) to focus on. What a silly planet that must be.

    1. Don't forget the stories she is going to tell in her big new job.