Interlude–Maddow's "huge national news:" Unfortunately, there has been no lack of major news this week.
We refer to events in Brussels, which bring major questions about security and international relations back center stage.
The week has also featured President Obama's historic visit to Cuba, then to Argentina. Also, three states held primaries or caucuses Tuesday night.
Because Rachel Maddow's self-ballyhooed heart aches for the children and adults of Flint, yesterday produced one more piece of big news.
As Kevin Drum somehow managed to learn, "a task force appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has issued its final report on the Flint water crisis." They did so yesterday.
For Drum's quick summary of the detailed report and its 36 findings, you can just click here. For a full news report from the front page of today's New York Times, you can click this.
Because of Maddow's self-ballyhooed heart, we assumed that she would discuss the report on last night's Maddow Show.
Many questions remain to be answered and clarified concerning the events which transpired in Flint, and about concomitant issues concerning lead exposure.
Maddow has never mentioned those concomitant issues, preferring to let children in other cities twist in the wind as she dumbs liberal viewers down. That said, we did assume that she would discuss the thirty-six findings in the report about Flint.
As it turned out, Maddow had bigger catfish to fry–catfish which were bigger than Brussels and Flint. Maddow had a salacious sex tape which she forced herself to air.
It was "huge national news," she said. She used it to burn about two-thirds of her broadcast minutes last night–a night in which, once again, she never mentioned Flint.
Out here in the actual world, where everyone isn't a nine-year-old child, how huge was Maddow's "huge national news?" To appearances, not all that huge:
According to Nexis, the Washington Post doesn't mention the huge national news in today's hard-copy editions.
As of 9 AM Eastern, we couldn't find a mention of the huge national news as we scrolled back through the posts at Slate. We couldn't even find a mention at the new Salon.
The New York Times did report the huge national news in this morning's editions. The news report by Alan Blinder appears across the bottom of page A15, the first page of the paper's National section.
By way of contrast, Flint and two other national topics are reported on the Times' front page. In the judgment of the Times, the huge national news to which Maddow devoted the bulk of her program was, at best, the sixth biggest national story of the day.
To what "huge national news" did Maddow devote her program last night? The topic burned her first three segments and roughly two-thirds of her total minutes.
To what huge news did this peculiar anchor turn? This is the news to which she turned:
Alabama's governor, Robert Bentley, may have had an affair! To use the vaguely prurient term of the multimillionaire known as "The Nun," he may have "shtupped" someone!
Please understand! Bentley is one of The Nun's favorite targets, like Governor Snyder before him. Also note this:
Because the report of the Flint task force apportions blame for this mess rather widely, it doesn't help someone who has told the story of this mess with all the nuance one expects from a rather slow 9-year-old child.
Maddow's mental age is roughly 9 when it comes to matters like these. She has played the mess in Flint that way from its very inception. Yesterday, her 9-year-old mind told her to focus attention on the latest troubling fact–the fact that Governor Bentley, who she also despises, actually may have been "shtupping" someone.
Someone who isn't his wife! "His wife of fifty years!"
For the record, Bentley says he has never "shtupped" the person in question. Maddow, though, was especially drawn to the existence of "SALACIOUS AUDIO"–a salacious audiotape.
We know the AUDIO is SALACIOUS because Maddow, or her ridiculous staff, explicitly told us it is. To set the scene for that revelation, consider the way Maddow opened last night's third segment.
Maddow had already devoted two segments to the huge national news. As she neared the point where she would have to air the tape, she warned her viewers to cover the ears of their children. You might even say she gave a salacious warning:
MADDOW (3/23/16): Attention to anyone watching with your kids right now, or watching with anyone who is easily embarrassed by things of a sexual nature. I'm hereby letting you know, you've got a few seconds to be really distracting before something of a more sexual nature than we would usually play on this show is about to be played on this show.As Maddow waited for the audiotape to play, she ostentatiously shut her own eyes tight, pretending that she is one of the children who need this sort of protection. That said, she has been playing this silly faux game all the way back to 2009, when she complained, night after night, as guest star Ana Marie Cox dropped dick jokes on the teabaggers' heads, night after night for two weeks.
And the reason–
We don't take a decision like this lightly. We don't do this just for prurient entertainment. The reason we are going to play this in just a second is because it is legitimately newsworthy.
It quickly became clear at today's press conference that at least some Alabama reporters who had been covering this scandal didn't seem to buy the governor's denial that he never had a physical affair, or at least it seems like they thought they might have evidence to the contrary.
And that has now led to a remarkable decision by the Birmingham News and Alabamalive.com to publish, post online tonight, what they say is a portion of an audiotape in question in this case. It's an audiotape which reportedly captures Governor Bentley speaking in explicit terms with the staffer in question.
So, now it's time to cover the kids' ears. OK? OK.
The Nun has always pretended that she hates all the talk about shtupping. In this instance, she scrunched her eyes shut tight, bracing herself for what was to come.
Several minutes of audiotape followed. And good lord! In a deeply, profoundly, pathetic act, Maddow's staff posted a chyron which pathetically said this:
SALACIOUS AUDIO OF ALABAMA GOV & FMR. ADVISER
It was salacious audio! We knew that because The Nun said!
(We're not sure why the chyron referred to a "fmr." adviser. As far as we know, the person in question is still a Bentley aide. The apparent error has been fixed online.)
Citizens, do you want the truth? If you want the truth, that audiotape just isn't all that salacious.
It does seem possible that Governor Bentley has had an affair with the person in question. At a press conference yesterday, he said he hasn't had an affair ("a physical relationship").
It's possible that his statement was false. It's possible that it was true.
Today, we're asking you to consider the shape of our floundering world. We're asking you to consider a world in which a "corporate liberal" cable star devoted two-thirds of her program to the deeply troubling events which surround that SALACIOUS AUDIO.
We're asking you to consider a world in which that person's news judgment plays a key role within our liberal world.
To Maddow, it was "huge national news" that Governor Bentley may have "shtupped" someone. The news was so huge that she totally skipped that detailed report from Flint.
Remember when Flint was huge national news? We're so old that we can remember when The Nun was saying that!
Tomorrow, we'll return to our original intended question:
Is it possible that something is "wrong" at the Maddow program? Could it be that the program's host needs and deserves some help?
Increasingly, her performance on her eponymous show resembles that of a clown. Unfortunately, we live in a world where we liberals are too clueless to notice such things and our big major news orgs don't care.
For years, we the liberals have happily said that The Others are hopelessly dumb. Occasionally, it almost seems to us that the dumbness has spread Over Here.
Tomorrow: Everyone on the face of the earth needs and deserves some help
Your route to salacious viewing: To watch the first segment from last night's show, you can just click this. That segment runs 19:09.
For Maddow's third segment, just click here. That's the segment with the SALACIOUS AUDIO. The segment runs 9:08.
Between those segments, Maddow aired a shorter segment in praise of local news orgs which break huge national stories like this. (The Maddow Show hasn't posted that tape.)
Maddow is extremely good at building lofty, high-minded frameworks in support of her weird instincts and judgments. Routinely, we the liberals have perhaps been too trusting to wonder about these frames.