Where different Americas come from: Back in 2004, John Edwards ran for president talking about “the two Americas.”
Sociologically, his number seemed to be off, though that’s neither here nor there.
We saw Edwards give his “two Americas” speech at Manchester’s Palace Theater, on the day when Brother Franken got into the fight with the heckler. (We were there for that event too, a Howard Dean speech.) We were amazed by how bad Edwards was—memorized to the last gesture.
Today, we are splintering into at least several Americas. Edwards was talking about the rich and poor Americas. But how about the different Americas who watch different cable news channels?
Consider what people are still hearing on Fox about Susan Rice. Last weekend, Rice appeared on Meet the Press. On Tuesday night, Greta van Susteren started her program like this:
VAN SUSTEREN (2/24/14): Senator Lindsey Graham blasting the National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Twitter. Rice still sticking by the talking points she delivered on five different Sunday morning shows in the days right after the Benghazi attack when four Americans were murdered in that attack. But the Obama administration insisted it was all about a video.Just for the record, Van Susteren’s comments weren’t very smart. On Meet the Press, Rice noted that her presentation in September 2012 involved “information [that] turned out, in some respects, not to be 100 percent correct.” And of course, the Obama administration had never “insisted it was all about a video.”
Senator Lindsey Graham tweeting, “Susan Rice may be comfortable about the role she played in Benghazi debacle but no one else outside of President Obama's political inner circle is.”
Senator Graham joins us. Nice to see you, sir.
GRAHAM: What a very smart thing to have said, if I say so myself.
Seventeen months later, that’s what people are still being told if they watch Greta on Fox. As the discussion continued, things didn’t get any better:
VAN SUSTEREN (continuing directly): What—what is going on with this? I mean, at least, I mean—Does Susan Rice “act like it’s still fine?” It all depends on the meaning of what “it” is! In the comment Van Susteren cited, Clinton was talking about the killing attack in Benghazi itself.
GRAHAM: Well, they're getting away with it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this was the most regrettable incident of the time she was there. Susan Rice acts like it’s still fine.
On Meet the Press, Rice was asked about something else. She was asked if she had “any regrets” about what she said that day, not about the attacks.
This was already pretty poisonous. Here’s what Graham said:
GRAHAM (continuing directly): Well, from her point of view, her—her job was to turn the terrorist attack into a protest because there seven weeks from an election. All of the intelligence coming out of Libya, from the station chief, the CIA station chief said this was not—not a protest. Fox has done a marvelous job of detailing how people reported a terrorist attack, named who was involved, and this protest story was politically hatched out of the White House and why was Susan Rice picked? She was the U.N. Ambassador. She has absolutely no control over the conflict in Libya, she doesn't. You know, that's not her portfolio. I think they picked her and not Hillary because she would say anything.Coming from a senator discussing a high-ranking official, that last highlighted statement is remarkably ugly stuff. Meanwhile, the first statement we’ve highlighted is simply false. Has Graham seen the official intelligence report from which Rice was working that day?
(Answer: Obviously, yes, he has. So of course has Van Susteren.)
Today, we have two, three, many Americas. In large part, it’s because of the bullshit being broadcast on Fox—bullshit which is now being matched to some extent by the bullshit on MSNBC or, God help us, over at Salon.
If you get your bullroar from Fox, this is what you heard about Rice as the pair continued:
VAN SUSTEREN (continuing directly): I think it's disturbing that, these years out, that she is still sticking to it.In effect, Rice did say, “I made a mistake.” As quoted above, she acknowledged on Meet the Press that part of her statement turned out to be inaccurate.
GRAHAM: Very disturbing.
VAN SUSTEREN: Instead of, instead of saying, “You know, I made a mistake” or whatever, something, but still sticking to it and acting like we are so stupid that we still believe it, number one. And number two is that I—I don't, I'm always suspicious of someone who will never admit a mistake when backed into the corner with the facts.
GRAHAM: Well, number one, if she really believes what she said is still accurate, God help us all.
VAN SUSTEREN: That's scary.
GRAHAM: She said that the consulate was substantially, strongly, and significantly secured. Who in the world—that's with never mind the talking points, she was making things up. Al Qaeda has been diminished, they are on the run. There is no evidence of a terrorist attack. But what we think is, a protest was caused by a hateful video we had nothing to do with.
Meanwhile, for those who know how to read, Rice didn’t say that the killing attack was caused by the hateful video. And she didn’t say there was no evidence of a terrorist attack. Indeed, she told Bob Schieffer the killing attack may have been “al Qaeda itself.”
“I think they picked her and not Hillary because she would say anything?” That was an amazingly ugly thing for Graham to say about Rice. But we are splitting into a panoply Americas as people clown on our own cable station while people like this engage in this fraud on Fox.
Meanwhile, our big newspapers hide in the weeds. This should be on page one of the New York Times. But the mutts who work at that pseudo-newspaper are devoted to avoiding such topics.
One last point, and this is key:
If Timesmen tried to sort this out, there’s no chance they would know how. Those skills simply don’t exist among our pseudo-elite.
Full and complete disclosures: We’ve chatted with Greta on several occasions, including in Manchester that very same year, where she was nice enough to host a Hotline comedy event.
We sat backstage with our favorite pal, Will Durst. Greta said the people at Fox had been very nice, and that no one had ever told her to say X, Y or Z.
The first time we ever saw Greta was at the White House, at a cattle-call Christmas party in 1999 or 2000. Along with her husband, she was a major Democrat then, or at least that’s what everyone thought.
At some point, Fox News came calling. Or something!
The things some people will do to win! Republican senators may act this way. So may major cable news stars on various cable news channels.