Cable star proves it again: We could see that the analysts were swallowing every word.
We let them watch Rachel Maddow last Friday night. At one point, she did a full tease for an important upcoming report.
A major Republican candidate was about to drop out of the race! “I think it is about to happen,” Maddow dramatically said in this, the tease for her report:
MADDOW (8/22/15): So heads up! I think something dramatic might be about to happen in the presidential race.“It’s a dramatic story,” Maddow said. She said she thought a major candidate was about to quit the Republican race. And no, it wasn’t Rick Perry!
It has nothing to do with Donald Trump.
Everyone has been thinking that former Texas Governor Rick Perry is going to be the first candidate to drop out of the race after Fox News wouldn’t allow him to be in the first primetime debate and he did badly at the non-primetime, consolation prize, kiddie table debate.
After that, apparently, Rick Perry’s fund-raising dried up or something, because he has stopped paying his staffers. The Rick Perry for president campaign is now a voluntary operation, which is not good.
Also, Rick Perry is under indictment, which is also not good.
So everyone has been thinking—in the giant field of Republican candidates, everyone has been thinking if the big field is about to start to shrink, the first evidence of shrinkage will be when Rick Perry’s candidacy comes to an end. He’s the campaign who everyone thinks is on death watch.
I’m not so sure tonight. I mean, I think Rick Perry’s campaign is on death watch, but I think he might not be the first to quit the race. I think a much bigger name than his might quit before Rick Perry does. I think actually that one major Republican candidate for the presidency might quit, potentially this weekend.
It’s a dramatic story. It’s not getting a lot of national press, but I think it is about to happen and that’s next.
Stay with us.
We could see our young analysts were swallowing every word.
Maddow followed with two complete segments on this dramatic story, totaling roughly sixteen minutes of air time. As it turned out, it was Rand Paul who was about to quit the race, or so Maddow thought.
It was a dramatic story, and a rather long one. Needless to say, Maddow’s dramatic semi-prediction turned out to be wrong.
Yesterday morning, the caterwauling started soon after we reached the coffee joint. The analysts had reached page A2 of the Washington Post, where they’d encountered this headline:
“Ky. GOP clears way for Paul to pursue two offices”
The dramatic story had fallen apart. Candidate Paul had squeaked by in a dramatic party vote, by a dramatic 111-36 margin.
Whatever! If you want the background to this false alarm, you can read David Weigel’s short news report in the Post. Or you can watch the two segments from Maddow’s Friday show, which burned up almost sixteen minutes in addition to the original full-length tease.
(To watch the first segment, just click here. For the second full segment, click this.)
For the record, Maddow interviewed no one during her two full segments. At MaddowBlog, links were provided to only two relevant sources—an opinion column from December 2, 2014, and a statewide Kentucky poll from three months earlier.
As far as a viewer could tell, the prediction sprang full-blown from Maddow’s head. It burned a large hole in her program.
Predicting the future is hard; that’s why sensible people try to avoid the practice. On the other hand, blowhards and pundits love exciting, dramatic predictions. Predicting the future is easy and fun, especially if you don’t care if your predictions keep turning out wrong.
Maddow’s Friday night prediction helped illustrate two points about the way her program has been devolving:
First, the Maddow show is now pretty much all-candidates all-the-time. It has been this way at least since early May. Conceivably, the program could continue in this vein right through next November.
The emphasis is on personality—and the emphasis is on trivia. Last Thursday night, Maddow played Candidate Bush’s comical bird calls several times—but she deliberately kept you from knowing that he flatly supports birthright citizenship.
In these ways, we liberals get dumbed down, treated like fools. And as Maddow wastes our time in these ratings-fueled ways, she is not discussing a wide range of important matters which need explanation and clarification.
The second point is even worse. Somewhere along the way, Maddow seems to have gotten it into her head that she is some sort of political expert.
Rather plainly, she isn’t. Her predictions have been persistently bad, but she just keeps making them. On Sunday morning, her latest failed attempt left the analysts in tears.
On Friday evening’s show, Maddow spent almost twenty minutes (tease included) telling a dramatic story. “It’s not getting a lot of national press,” she said, “but I think it is about to happen.”
She could have been reporting, explaining and clarifying something that actually matters—the deeply dangerous email brouhaha; various parts of immigration policy; the nature of mass incarceration; the problems of modern policing; the proposals of Candidate Sanders.
Increasingly, she seems to have decided that this simply isn’t her way.
Candidate Paul is still in the race. The New York Times devoted 200 words to the tedious topic in this brief blog post, with no hard-copy report at all. On Friday, Maddow devoted almost twenty minutes to the topic, giving us the benefit of her latest dramatic insight.
Predicting the future is hard. That said, we’ll guess that this silly personality-piddle may define this program’s agenda right through next November’s election.
In the process, we liberals are being made dumber each night. Presumably, though, the bird calls, snark and disinformation work well for the bottom line.