This is the business they've chosen: Last night, MSNBC faced a business problem.
President Obama was staging a town hall meeting about guns. Traitorously, he was holding the meeting at 8 P.M. Eastern on CNN, MSNBC's corporate rival.
What was the liberal channel to do? And then, of course! They had it at last! They would air the latest, utterly worthless speech by Candidate Trump! Hopefully, that would draw eyeballs away from Obama!
Sure enough! When Hardball came on the air last night, the cable gods found Chris Matthews waiting for Trump to start his speech.
Hardball would belong to Trump this night. This is how Matthews began:
MATTHEWS (1/7/15): The battle of Lake Champlain. Let's play Hardball!First, a bit of background:
Good evening. It's Chris Matthews in Washington.
Tonight, Donald Trump is in Burlington, Vermont, doing what he does best, orchestrating great political razzmatazz. The Republican front-runner is set to take the stage any moment now at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts up there. He's chosen the bluest of blue states on the East Coast, Bernie Sanders's home turf, in fact, to build the ballyhoo.
The candidate was speaking in Burlington for a reason. Apparently, the state of Vermont will be holding a primary on March 1 of this year.
Plans for the primary were still unknown as of this past Monday night. During the week, Rachel Maddow asked around and learned about the primary's existence. On Wednesday night, she reported that it might explain Trump's plan to speak in Vermont.
At any rate, it was now Thursday night, and Matthews was impatiently waiting. As soon as Trump began to speak, his program would be sacrificed as part of a ratings grab.
Here's the way he explained it:
MATTHEWS: P.T. Barnum once said, "If you want a crowd, start a fight," and that's exactly what Trump is doing, bringing the political circus to the town of his chief enemy.Tur and others helped Matthews kill time while waiting for the duce to speak. At roughly 7:15, Matthews reassured worried viewers that they'd soon get their reward:
Well, we're covering the spectacle for the first—actually, the next two hours tonight here on MSNBC. Chris Hayes is up in Burlington already. He'll join us in just a moment. Katy Tur is just outside the theater and joins me right now.
MATTHEWS: Well, we're awaiting that Donald Trump rally up in Burlington, Vermont, right now, the heart of Bennie—actually, I was going to Ben and Jerry's country! The heart of Bernie Sanders country. We're going to bring it to you live when it happens, any minute now. And we'll continue our in-depth look at the phenomenon of Donald Trump himself. Hardball back after this.Poor Chris! With every minute that passed, he could be losing viewers. Plus, what if Traitor Obama started his show before the Birther King did?
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to Hardball. We continue to wait for Donald Trump to take the stage up in Burlington, Vermont, the city where fellow presidential candidate Bernie Sanders once served as mayor of that city.
Finally, the corporate suits were able to breathe a sigh of relief. At 7:29, Matthews rushed back from another commercial break. At that point, the transcript says this:
[COMMERCIAL BREAK]From that point on, for the rest of the hour, Hardball was nothing but Trump. Once again, MSNBC had shut down its scheduled Hardball show. The channel now belonged to King Trump, who proceeded to deliver the same old utterly pointless, utterly news-free speech.
MATTHEWS: And here is Donald Trump on stage in Burlington, Vermont.
TRUMP: We're in Vermont. That air is so nice and clean. I'm breathing so much of that air.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: Thank you. That's so great. That is so great.
In one way, this is refreshing. When the channel shuts Matthews down and turns its programming over to Trump, it is making an honest admission:
There is absolutely zero news value to its regular Hardball programs! They might as well just air a rerun of Trump's previous hour of drivel.
In one way, that honesty is refreshing. On the other hand, we again saw The One True Liberal Channel doing all it could to let the crackpot Candidate Trump spread the word far and wide.
Thirty minutes later, Matthews broke in on Trump to announce the end of his Hardball program. This is what the talker said as he threw to Chris Hayes:
MATTHEWS: You just heard, "Get them out." That's Donald Trump's order to his bouncers. Get the protester out of the room.What happened when Hayes took over? We aren't entirely sure. We weren't watching in real time, and MSNBC hasn't yet posted a transcript of the program, or videotape of the program's opening segment.
Trump, by the way, continues his rally up in Burlington. I want to thank my guests tonight, Heidi Przybyla, Michael Steele, and Sabrina Siddiqui.
Our coverage of the Trump phenomena, if you will, continues right now on All In, live from Burlington with Chris Hayes. Chris.
Videotape does make one thing clear. By 8:15, Hayes was airing regular programming—but he did so in a split screen format as Candidate Trump continued to talk. You could watch and listen to Hayes as he spoke with his various guests. But you wouldn't be robbed of the chance to watch the great Trump in action.
Maybe that would draw some eyeballs away from the traitor Obama!
This is the business these people have chosen. Whatever this channel's bosses are doing, it's hard to argue that they're actually running a channel devoted to "news."
Over on CNN, Obama was discussing a serious issue in that town hall meeting. Meanwhile, on The One True Channel, we the liberals were getting handed the latest big dosage of Trump.