Dan Abrams on Lord of the Flies: The analysts came out of their chairs last week when Chris Matthews described Donald Trump.
Matthews offered his description on last Monday’s Maddow Show. As we noted this morning, this was the first thing he said:
MATTHEWS (6/15/15): Well, [Trump is] kind of a comic book figure. I mean, if you imagine in a Superman or better yet a Batman comic episode, he would be “Downtown Developer,” walking around with his trench coat, good-looking wife, lots of money, a flash. He’s a show-off.On Olympus, the gods roared with pleasure. To some extent, was Matthews describing himself?
He is the kind of guy, a sort of Sinatra of land development, where the average working guy, who doesn’t have much money, says this is how I’d behave if I were rich. I’d have big buildings named after me. I’d have a beautiful wife, I may have several wives. I would show off and talk about running for president even, I’d make fun of other people. I would be kind of a wise guy—a show-off. I can’t do better than that.
Matthews has been a major “cable news” star since the mid-1990s. During that period, he has sometimes showcased his beautiful wife, “my queen Kathleen.”
A few years ago, he was showing off and talking about running for the Senate from Pennsylvania. Like a certain person we don’t plan to name, he opted out of the race.
Over the years, Matthews has routinely “made fun of people,” often in repugnant ways. Remember when he said that Al Gore “doesn’t look American, even?” We do! He was talking to his brilliant friend, Don Imus, at the time. But that was very typical stuff for Matthews during the years when he worked for conservative owner Jack Welch, the man who made him rich.
Here’s a second basic point about Matthews’ conversation with Maddow. In a rather familiar move, the cable stars almost seemed to blame the public for their own guild’s silly behavior toward Trump.
By last Tuesday night, Maddow seemed to have learned that Trump doesn’t have especially good polling numbers among Republican voters. Despite such problems, he has always gotten tons of attention from the national press when he starts claiming that he might run for the White House.
At one point on Monday night, Maddow acknowledged that basic fact. Before long, though, Matthews executed a standard conflation, without complaint from his hostess:
MADDOW: When he was making noise about running in 2012, I’m sure you remember this, we were all part of it to some degree or not, you know? But the tons and tons of attention, not just on cable but from all the networks and tons of print media attention, everybody was talking about the possibility of him running and the way he was attacking President Obama.Maddow recalled the “tons of attention” Trump received from the press. By the time Matthews got through, he seamlessly seemed to be talking about the attitudes of the public.
MATTHEWS: You seem dismayed by the man’s media power. He’s got it. People pay big money to live in one of his towers. They’re paved with gold.
You know, they’re—they’re confections, but people do go for it, as they went for Sinatra. Sinatra had talent. This guy is a particular kind of talent. It’s called PR. He knows how to build himself up and it`s all part of this comic book image that people are taken with.
They don’t hate Donald Trump. People don’t. They find him entertaining.
This is a very standard conflation. The press corps routinely finds ways to blame the public for their own behavior.
As of last week, Brian Williams has been reassigned by NBC News. Starting in mid-August, the handsome anchor will cover “breaking news” for MSNBC.
On yesterday’s Reliable Sources, Brian Stelter interviewed Dan Abrams about the new assignment.
Today, Abrams is chief legal correspondent for ABC News. But he was general manager of MSNBC from June 2006 through October 2007. He hosted a legal show on the channel through August 2008. In September 2008, the Maddow Show went on the air in that time slot.
Abrams was at MSNBC during many days of confusion. Today, the channel is trying to revamp its mission. In that context, we thought the highlighted comment was intriguing:
ABRAMS (6/21/15): You know, I think this is the way to reestablish Brian Williams’ credibility. And that’s why, by the way, I think that he’s probably very grateful, in the sense that they are allowing him to restore his reputation.Given his scrapes at MSNBC, Abrams may not be an impartial observer. But presumably, his “Lord of the Flies” comment was meant to describe MSNBC during both the Olbermann and the Maddow years.
STELTER: Right. This is a big win for him.
ABRAMS: Huge win. They’re going to allow him to now get back into the news game, to be at the desk covering news, which he does really well. I mean, there are very few people who are as good as him in breaking news situations.
STELTER: That’s why I mentioned Charleston at the top. He could have been on MSNBC that night as all this information was spreading, helping people make sense of it.
ABRAMS: Yes. So I think it’s going to be a very—it will be a big win for MSNBC in that way.
Look, MSNBC is in the midst of a big transition. It has been “Lord of the Flies” over there for a number of years now, where the anchor with the best ratings basically runs the show. I think that Andy Lack is now moving in and saying, “OK, we’re going to start treating this like a news channel again.” And Brian Williams is the beginning of that.
In recent years, has the hapless liberal channel been letting Maddow “basically run the show”—basically do what she wants?
We have no idea! To our ear, there has always seemed to be a lack of journalistic supervision at the Maddow Show. To our eye, the situation has been getting worse of late—has been sliding out of control.
Maddow is good at selling herself. Even if Lord of the Flies breaks out, some liberals may not notice.
Other people have said that before, that Maddow has a lot of authority at MSNBC over more than her own show.ReplyDelete
Can you imagine what a nightmare that must be? Can you imagine the obsequiousness that Stewart-purloining blowhard's ego must require? Oy vey!Delete
The MDS is strong in this one. You'd almost think he sent Somerby a father's day card.Delete
When she falls, she will fall hard.Delete
Fortunately she'll have that big hot tub to fall into and a big screen TV to keep her distracted.Delete
Maddow may think she has power, but everyone knows Dowd is calling all the important shots.Delete
Anonymous, not really. just easier. hey, this is gcblues. al i have to say is hahahahahahahahahahahaha. milk through the nose. OMG!ReplyDelete
"But presumably, his “Lord of the Flies” comment was meant to describe MSNBC during both the Olbermann and the Maddow years."ReplyDelete
We don't know what Bob seems to presume, but presumably he simply forgot to let you liberal rubes know that the rest of what Abrams said about Lyin' Bryan was identical to what the Clowning clown of cowardly cowardice said about Williams a few night before.
What was the term he used to describe the Lady of the Flies? Ascot Kissing?
Say, did Abrams say what Williams did was wrong? We don't know.
Bob didn't say. But the Ladyfly Ascot Kisser did. I'm sure that went over well in the sumptuous Williams farmhouse in faraway Journalist County. But Williams has been blessed by the Pope and Rachel's mom like the Pope. So all will be well in Mixed Metaphorland.
She said Williams was wrong? How bold. Williams said Williams was wrong young fool.Delete
MATT LAUER, "THE TODAY SHOW" CO-HOST: Did you know when you went on "Nightly News" that you were telling a story that was not true?Delete
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC ANCHOR: No. It came from a bad place. It came from a sloppy choice of words. I told stories that were not true over the years, looking back. It is very clear I never intended to.
Can you imagine what a nightmare that must be? Can you imagine the obsequiousness that Gore-purloining blowhard's ego must require? Oy vey!Delete
“LOVE is the key to LIFE”.ReplyDelete
“LOVE is the key to LIFE”. That was the word from Dr Ukaka when I consulted his powerful Love Temple. I married the wrong man; I realized that after four years of our unfruitful marriage. Everything was going from Best to Worst in our life, no child, I got demoted from work after our marriage, my husband was.....
You know what? This isn't worth it. Even Dr. Ukaka can't help this place.
Poor Chris Matthews. He almost ran for the Senate. He almost described himself. He almost got somebody killed. But he did get Bush elected!ReplyDelete
And remember, one out of four can get you his salary if you are a middle infielder.
Chris ain't poor, he's still spending that right wing mogul Jack Welch's money.Delete
If Rache were to suddenly become a free agent, any chance Roger Ailes might come a calling? Double her salary, pay her $14mil per the next two years (2-3 starting pitcher/productive corner outfielder money) to trash Hillary ala Matthews/Gore circa '99. Bill her as the one liberal willing to stand up and sound off about Clinton treachery. Welch proved buying off pundits pays, and the pseudos would be soon to forget all about it.
You make Chris almost sound like a Clinton.Delete
But Rache? Switch to Fox? Can't see her as a blonde, on a couch, in a short skirt, making chit chat with Doocy.
Not saying she wouldn't consider the career move at any price. Just saying Roger Ailes know what he can sell to his audience. Maddow just isn't the right fit.
Of course a major conversion to Jesus, a quick book, a twirl on the mega church circuit and a rejection of the homsexual lifestyle? Who knows?. She is rumored to be good with a gun. That is a good place to start.
I recently saw her on TV recently dressed in camouflage climbing into the back of a troop carrier of some sort.Delete
Nothing has more utility in right wing world than a liberal who has seen the light, even if just partially. It's not unlike born again evangelist world where those who have fallen the furthest make for the most compelling testimonies.
Ailes is on record as being a big fan. It wouldn't harm the product one bit to have a social issues/civil rights liberal regular, one who seemingly has no strong convictions regarding economic/class issues. She wouldn't have to renounce either her sexuality or her "liberalism", she would provide "balance" in discussion after discussion of Hillary "scandal" (has she yet to weighed in at all on Benghazi!)? I'm sure she wouldn't have any problem feigning confusion over Hillary's motives and actions. She'd make for a perfect right wing tool.
Fox is the only network that would take her. She's perfect for them actually. We'll see what happens after the boom is lowered.Delete
It will certainly free up Somerby to refocus on Dowd and Collins since he seems to have avoided FOX in recent years almost as if under contract to do so.Delete
MSNBC on air opinions emanate from a "bad place." ' Brian will be at home among NBC's farm team.ReplyDelete
He lives in the farmhouse where his wife grew up. His old car is still somewhere among the cornstalks. When Al Gore drops by with his mule team they plan to rescue it like a fire threatened puppy and convert it to a solar powered NASCAR racer.Delete
Every once in a while I'll read something about MSNBC having terrible ratings so its hard to see why they haven't changed things sooner. I find Rachel Maddow insufferable, even worse than Bill O'Reilly. It would be good if they replaced her with Brian Williams.ReplyDelete
I think Caitlyn Jenner would be a better choice.Delete
CJ is a conservative. The only GOP representative allowed to be a co-host on MSNBC is Joe Scarborough. And his criticisms are relegated to conservatives while ignoring the scandals of the Obama Administration.Delete
Brian Williams doesn't deserve rehabilitation. It is like NBC is saying truth doesn't matter. How can he be considered really good at his job after telling lies? This is just wrong.ReplyDelete
After it was proven Clinton lied his popularity reached all time highs. And Clinton was never even blessed by the Pope.Delete
Chris has an amazing understanding of the working class, of "average" Americans and what makes them tick. Turns out we live to emulate Donald Trump at his most obnoxious. The accuracy and insight regarding Matthew's world view is simply uncanny. I'm glad I have a guy like that on my TV to help me make sense of the world!ReplyDelete
No. We are the problem. We're lazy and we aren't very smart. We exude a moral squalor. We're lazy and dumb and our morals are bad. We’re able to see how crazy, true-believing and gullible many of us the people are. Comment threads help us see this.Delete
I am not sure what you mean by "most obnoxious."Delete
You dumb rubes are being played. Notice how Bob Somerby quickly shifted back to his favorite whipping girl when a real issue, TPP came to dominate discourse.ReplyDelete
Why doesn't Somerby mention the TPP, where it is not the media making "war" on Clinton-Gore but Clinton-Gore making war on you and me?
Everyone wants more ‘global cooperation’ but no one wants to let Big Pharma stamp out generic drugs or let Big Tobacco tell us how they’ll label their products. And no one wants some secretive global tribunal telling a state legislature how to govern. If there’s an easier case to make, I’ve never seen it. You may ask why every Democrat in Congress doesn’t make it, but that's obvious. Whether they’re in thrall to their donors, their consultants, their leaders or their ambitions, whoever or whatever holds them back, they just can’t do it.
Why is Bob so dismissive of real progressives like Warren and Sanders? What is he so defensive of the Clinton foundation fronting for "global" partnerships? Why has he been silent on TPP?
He said he likes Sanders. Warren isn't running. He doesn't comment on current events because this is not a current events blog. It is about media.Delete
Like I said. Dumb rubes. Being played. Follow the money.Delete
Let's all attack/defend the shiny anchor person. Because the concentration of media power is really about Ron Burgundy and Sybil the Soothsayer.Delete
Who advertises on TV News? Big Pharma.
There are many serious issues raised by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but the one that may have the greatest long-term impact is its provisions on drug patents. The explicit purpose is to make patent protection stronger and longer.
In 1994, at the urging of pharmaceutical industry, President Clinton put the TRIPS provisions into the Uruguay Round of the WTO. This required countries throughout the developing world to have U.S.-style patent and copyright law.
Now President Obama is prepared to make these patents longer and stronger with the TPP. Perhaps President Obama plans to follow in the footsteps of President Clinton, using his post-presidency to run around the world with billionaires, raising money to try to undo some of the damage he did to the state of the world's health care during his presidency. That is not a very proud legacy.
Somerby shows hypocrisy going on in the supposed "liberal" media.ReplyDelete
But I think he should go the extra mile.
Matthews comments on Trump are not weighty insight buy fairly accurate for a change, whether you view Matthews as a comic book figure himself or not.ReplyDelete
It's typical Bob is so bent out of shape about Brian Williams but never had anything to say about the slap on the wrist and reinstitution of Laura Logan by 60 Minutes. Williams was bragging, Logan was trying to run a scam on Hillary Clinton. But of course, the left is supposed to meet a higher standard..... OT: I'm I the last of the old timers around here? Seems like most of the people who once respected Bob have been chased away, more in sorrow that in anger.
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